Saturday, August 28, 2010

Just Blowing Off Steam

Does no one read the standard? Certainly quite a few judges seem to have forgotten,
"The neck is nicely arched, fairly long, free from throatiness, and blends smoothly into the shoulders. The back is level and strong." Is that so hard? Where does it say that Dalmatians have a right angle neckset and a ski slope topline? Why do we have so many of them? They are not part of the correct Dalmatian outline. Another thing I wonder is whether or not they understand what this means - "The hindquarters are powerful, having smooth, yet well defined muscles. The stifle is well bent. The hocks are well let down." Do they KNOW that Dalmatians are supposed to have short hocks (actually short rear pasterns)? The distance from the point of the hock to the foot should be short, because this is a trotting breed, not a sprinter.

Too Early!

Ugh. My day is starting too early, but judging is at 8:00AM and I have to pick up Charlie on my way to the show. Hopefully he will behave better than he did yesterday, but I am more concerned that he has re-injured the leg he hurt as a pup. Have a feeling that he may be sitting out for awhile. Fingers crossed. Hope an aspirin last night helped. Not lame, but definitely not moving like he did the previous week.

Penny did well at the Specialty, going Best Of Opposite in an entry of 11 Specials, 5 dogs and 6 bitches. Gives her another major towards her Grand Championship too. Argus & Pauli both showed well, but it wasn't Argy's day. Funny that he can win the big Specialties including the National, but this dumpy little Specialty evades him! I took Argus back in for Stud Dog Class with Penny and Pauli, his two gorgeous liver daughters. First time I have had a chance to use the two of them together. Should probably have gotten a picture. Just hope Penny's BoS picture was good as I have not been totally pleased with any of her show pictures.

Today is Laurie's last day - I drive her to the airport early (VERY early) tomorrow morning. We've sure had fun, but I need to get back to healthy eating - we've enjoyed too many delicious but less than healthy meals. Time for one last fling this evening!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Here We Go Again

Another dog show weekend and I have not even recovered from the last one. Half day of work today, then home to get ready for the Specialty later this afternoon. Two all breed shows this weekend - at least with the early judging, if we lose I can come home and still have the rest of the day to get something done. The cool weather this week has been lovely, but the heat is coming back today. Ugh. What we really need is rain.

Goal for this weekend is to finish Charlie, who only needs 4 points, but there are only 6 points available, and he has to win on Saturday for it to work. I faxed entries for Des Moines so we would have some back up shows, although they will no doubt have small entries too.

The picture is New Champion Penny, the day she finished with such a terrific record. She was Argie's 9th Champion and hopefully Charlie will be his 10th, although Argus has two daughters who each have 13 points and could finish before Charlie does.

Laurie cooked dinner last night, three vegan dishes. I particularly liked the ones with sweet potatoes and collard greens. Excellent. Can't wait to try the eggplant and lentil dishes when I purchase the cookbook that she used.

Gotta pick up Charlie at 7:45 so I'm off.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fun In Minnesota

It's been fun having Laurie visiting this week as we've done some things that might otherwise have been put off, like visiting Como to see the new baby Giraffe, and all the changes that have been made to the zoo. We've also enjoyed some wonderful meals - like Ron & me, Laurie enjoys eating at interesting places. We've hit Tavern On Grand for the wonderful walleye, Caribe for the terrific Caribbean food, and had dinner at Sea Salt in Minnehaha Park - they have the BEST Catfish, but I have to admit that Laurie's Oysters were almost as good. Laurie is cooking tonight, using her vegan cookbook that appears to have a lot of wonderful recipes. I want to learn how to use more healthy greens and grains when I cook, things like collard greens and quinoa, so plan to buy a copy for myself.

If you are local and have never been to a dog show, this is the weekend for you! Friday through Sunday at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Lake Elmo. Friday is specialty shows with about 20 breeds having single breed shows. Saturday & Sunday are all breed shows and you can see just about anything! Dal judging is 4:00 PM Friday and 8:00 AM Saturday and Sunday. See you there!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fun In Colorado

What fun we had in Colorado! Wish we could have stayed longer! I’m already planning to go back next year. Maybe then I can spend a few extra days in Estes Park, and visit Rocky Mountain National Park as well. The only downers on the whole trip were the nasty feedlots, and the equally nasty manager at the Super 8. I’ve stayed at dozens of Super 8s and have never before encountered a manager like that one. Am sure she has never contemplated the meaning of “customer service”.

After our fabulous day on Friday, Saturday was hotter weather-wise and cooler win-wise, although we still did quite well. Charlie went Reserve, Penny went Best Of Opposite Sex, Nena went 2nd in her class (she was 1st at both Specialties) & Argus walked. The judge spent way too much time on heads and ended up with dogs that tended to lack in muzzle strength, a common fault in Dalmatians. Being a Terrier person, the judge was apparently looking for long lean heads with no lip – but the Dal standard does not call for a long lean head. One of the things they discuss in judges education is that the judge should not bring “baggage” from his own breed into the ring of the breed he is judging, yet we see that all the time. No matter. We stayed for Group and cheered on the Best Of Breed winner, and saw lots of terrific dogs we do not normally see in the Midwest. It was very hot but the humidity was very low and we were not uncomfortable.

On Sunday we got up early, took the dogs for good walks and then headed for Estes Park so we could see some beautiful scenery – a feature distinctly lacking on the drive to Greeley. Wow! The drive through Big Thompson Canyon was absolutely amazing. Am sure we all over-used the word Wow! We stopped at the Visitor’s Center in Estes Park, purchased souvenir calendars (so we can admire the pictures next winter, I guess) and walked along the river. The dogs got a lot of out time which they needed before the long trip home.

One of my favorite dog show memories is running on the beach in Ventura with Torch, when we drove out for DCA over 30 years ago. It was my first visit to southern California and the first time I had seen the Pacific. Things were much less crowded then and there were fewer restrictions, so I took off my shoes and Torch and I ran along the beach through the shallow water. Torchie chased the waves and the gulls until he was exhausted and we were both soaked with salt spray. What fun!

Argus and I created new memories in that beautiful river in Colorado, as we walked in the sand, waded out to the little “islands” of sand and rock, and enjoyed the crisp air and brilliant sunshine. Tried to get some pictures of Argus blowing bubbles, but had to settle for pictures of him wading in the river. How I wish I had pictures of Torchie in the ocean, but the memories of that are just as sharp as if it happened yesterday.

We stayed in Estes Park for a only few hours as we had a long journey ahead of us, and the side trip had added another hour to the return trip. We only stopped for gas, dog walking and Subs on the way home, and we all ate Veggie Subs as the feedlots had left literally left “a bad taste in our mouths”. The most awful part of the feedlot horror was seeing a pen full of Bison. Bison! Not cattle that had been raised domestically for eons. And the feedlot was set on the edge of an enormous expanse of open area. Real plains, the kind that should be dotted with “buffalo”, not feedlots. Ugh.