Friday, October 1, 2010


Is there anything cuter than puppies?  Just love watching them wrestle with one another, everything done in slow motion.   These are Sugar's pups at
2 1/2 weeks.  Wish I lived close enough to visit!  Hope Janey sends lots of pictures!  Good news so far, all pups hear, no blue eyes, nice markings, and most of the eye and nose trim is already finished.

Because mama Sugar has a blue eye, I'm particularly pleased that all pups have dark eyes.  Although blue eyes are acceptable according to the U.S. Dalmatian standard, most Dal breeders prefer two brown eyes.   I've owned top quality blue-eyed Dals in the past and finished titles on many of them, including three consecutive generations of blue-eyed champions.  I rather like the way blue eyes look, but if I keep a puppy it will have to have two DARK brown eyes, not just brown, but DARK brown.. While it's not necessarily true that blue-eyed Dals are deaf (even though we get asked this quite often), blue eyes and hearing issues tend to show up in the same litters.  It's argued that this is not true in all bloodlines, but my own experience certainly matches up, and my blue-eyed Dals generally did a higher percentage of deafness.  I once bred a bitch with a single blue eye to a dog who (I did not know at the time) was a high producer of blues himself.  I got 2 double blue-eyed pups, 3 single blue-eyed pups, and 2 deafs - the deafs were unfortunately the 2 brown-eyed pups - but the relationship was still there.  That was before we had BAER testing available, but I am quite sure that some of those pups were also unis.

The other blue-eyed bitch who was bred to Argus was a double blue and her litter had 2 single blue-eyed pups, but fortunately all 5 pups had bilateral hearing.  Some breeders do not accept blue-eyed or unilateral hearing bitches for breeding, either because they do not believe that they should be bred from or because they don't want to take a chance on their stud dog siring blues, unis or deafs.  I don't agree with that notion, and feel that good bitches should not be discarded simply because they blue-eyed or a uni. They just need to be bred more carefully.  There are always males in this breed who do better than average hearing numbers - most of them do a higher than average percentage of patches, but produce good hearing numbers no matter how they are bred.  You can produce blue eyes or deafs even when breeding from brown-eyed bilateral stock.  We have tools (such as BAER testing) to help us reduce the incidence of deafness, but because the whole thing is related to the extreme-white-piebald color gene (that all Dalmatians have), we will not eliminate deafness without changing the look of the breed.  And who wants a solid black or liver Dalmatian?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blue Screen Of Death

Twice in the past week the Blue Screen Of Death has come up on my computer.  I've been working along when suddenly the screen goes black, and then THE screen comes up.  In each case my computer has rebooted fine and everything still seems to be working, but something is wrong.  What?  What can I do?  I run virus software and keep it updated, I also run another program for spyware and malware.  I never click on suspicious links.  OTOH, perhaps my computer is just plain tired!  It gets an awful lot of use . . .

I've been thinking how much of a person's life resides on their computer(s).  Most of my pictures, all of my correspondence, so many articles I have saved, my contracts, and my address book.  I don't track my finances on my computer, but do almost everything else.  I DO have a little backup drive that I use periodically (as I did this week after the first blue screen), but I don't even know if it works!  I just followed the directions and trust that Clickfree actually did what it was supposed to do.  I ought to KNOW that I can't trust either advertising or technology!

So what's the option?  Reams of paper and boxes of pictures?  Nah, guess I'll just rely on technology.  Or maybe investigate an on-line backup service so I can have two sets backup that I probably can't figure out how to access or use.  Sigh.  Folders of letters and boxes of pictures might have been easier!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Proper Celebration

"Cassie" finished her Championship on Sunday and is enjoying an appropriate reward - her first cheeseburger!  I hope her owner John had one too, or better yet a nice steak!  Cassie is Argie's new champion offspring and finished her title novice owner-handled.  John's daughter got the first few points, then dad took over and he and Cassie were quite the team, although they didn't get to the shows very often.  Cassie finished by winning her 4th major (take at least two major wins).  We love seeing new people finish their own dogs and only wish we had been there to cheer them along, but John & Cassie live in Florida. 

Cassie's mother Reggie was bred to Argus via chilled semen - we never had the privilege of meeting and entertaining Reggie.  The semen was collected here, processed & packaged and shipped off to Reggie's vet in Florida.  This has been done in livestock for years and is becoming more commonly used with dogs now.   Because shipping is so expensive, weather is often an issue, and particularly because the airlines are so difficult to deal with, chilled semen breedings (and frozen as well) are becoming increasingly common.

Things are looking better with Argus.  I picked him up yesterday and took him over to Jess's office so we could work with him and see how he is stacking and moving.  He's been on buffered aspirin, Arthrisoothe Gold, leash only walks (one to two miles a day), daily stretching, and NO wrestling or tugging with Josie, no treeing squirrels, no flying off the deck.  When he goes into the dog yard it's only with Coral who I KNOW won't wrestle or tug with him.  We're also using the Fitness Ball for a few minutes every evening - he LOVES that.  Jess and I both agree that things look much better.  He's standing more squarely on the leg that was injured, and carrying himself a lot better when he moves.  He's surviving the restricted activity a lot better than poor Josie is.  Nothing she likes better than tugging with Argus!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Another weekend shot, but after a cold start Saturday morning it really was a nice one.  Trees are starting to color up now, and the fall flowers are at their peak.  My Dahlias didn't do well during the miserably hot summer, but are making up for it now.  The Begonias and the Sedum are also looking lovely.  One oak tree on the next block is bright scarlet, but the rest are still very green.  Many of the Maples are multi-colored, and lovely mix of orange and green.  Hopefully we will have good color this fall.  I'll have to find an excuse to do a road trip to somewhere, just to see the colors.

Dinner on Friday evening at The Barbary Fig, a Mediterranean Restaurant in St. Paul.  We had liked it in the past and enjoyed it again this time.  The location was originally an old house transformed into an excellent deli that we used to visit regular when Jess was a small child - wow, that must have been 30 years ago.  Barbary Fig has been there for quite awhile.  Not sure why we don't go more often as we like that kind of food.  Just too many places to eat, too little time!  I had an appetizer of warm olives sauteed in oil with garlic and cayenne - excellent!  My entree was a bit different and I had Tangine Of Rabbit, I think the first time I had eaten rabbit.  Cooked with sweet potatoes and dried cherries, it was very good.

Saturday afternoon we picked up my mother and visited Pine Tree Orchards to buy apples.  Mom wanted Harrelsons and I bought Honeycrisps.  We'd both have bought Regents had there been any.  Pinetree has a wonderful bakery too, so I purchased Apple Cookies, mom bought Apple Donuts, and Ron got a loaf of Apple Bread.  We all enjoyed a slice of their excellent Apple Pie.  Wish I'd purchased a pie to bring home.  We normally go to Aamodts, but their pie is so bad I was a bit suspicious.  This pie was awesome, even the crust was good.

I had a long list of chores for the weekend, but didn't do a very good job of crossing things off. Too many of the chores required staying inside (things like dusting and vacuuming). There will be plenty of time for indoor chores later, but for now I will enjoy as much lovely fall weather as possible.

One thing that happened was not on my list - I ordered some Bettas. My fishkeeping affliction started with just one Betta, but I've been Betta-less for about a year. Lots of other fish, but no Bettas. I had removed the link for off my computer screen to cut down my temptation to check in and look at available fish. This time I checked in anyway, saw a two lovely Red Dragon HM males, contacted their seller in Thailand to check the availability of matching females and bid on the two males. Got them and ordered the three females as well. They were shipped on Sunday to Linda Olson in Colorado, a Transhipper who clears the fish through customs, repacks and sends them on. I should have my new fish later this week!