Friday, February 25, 2011

Something Different

Oscar is a longcoated Dalmatian

Because of the color pages on my website, I often get pictures of "odd-colored" or unusually marked Dalmatians.  Occasionally I get correspondence from people who own long-coated Dalmatians.  While not by any means common, the gene for long-coats does exist in the breed and functions as a simple recessive.  Texas & Southern California are the most typical spots for long-coated Dals to show up, but this story is rather unique, and the dog especially handsome.  There are long-coated mixed breeds who are "Dal-like" but only purebred Dals have spotting as clean and crisp as Oscar's.  Dal mixes and backcross dogs (but that's another story) normally do not have markings like Oscar's.

My name is Gill and I am the proud owner of Oscar the Long Haired Dalmatian. I was trawling around on the internet and found your web site, and thought you may be interested in this rather handsome boy.

Oscar (or Ozzie as he is affectionately known) began life in a pet shop on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok. The shop was next to my Grocery store and I always popped in there to make a fuss of the kittens. The shop always had Dalmatian puppies for sale as '101 Dalmatians' was still a popular movie in Thailand, but with so many street dogs looking for homes, it was our policy not to encourage the pet shops by buying over-bred dogs, but to home rescue dogs instead.

However one day I was confronted with a beautiful puppy with ringlets !! What was a girl to do? I fell in love and enquired as to his 'mix'. I was assured by the shop owner, that ; 'he was a very rare, long haired dalmatian from North America...because it is colder there', ??!

I didn't really believe him, but Ozzies fate was sealed. I didn't care what he was (or wasn't) and I bought him there and then for (probably) all the wrong reasons.

He was a lovely boy from the start. He's loyal, friendly, obedient, v. loving and just the right amount of 'mad'. He is never far from my side and is stretched out at my feet as I write.

He is now a well travelled dog with a passport and an international fame. We left Thailand for the UK, and Ozzie flew to France, where he spent 6 months enjoying life in a French farmhouse on the coast of Brittany. This 'holiday' was the alternative to 6 months in quarantine in the UK.

Once in the UK he settled into his new life, walking for miles along the South Downs, chasing rabbits and messing with his friends. But, after 5 years, Ozzie was once again on a plane and landed in his next destination - California. This has been a short visit for us, just 11 months, but we have made the most of it, hiking our way through the State Parks of Northern California.

Next week he will again board a flight for the UK , where I know he has been sorely missed by his friends and their owners.
We have always assumed Oscar was a mixed breed, probably Dalmatian and Retriever. When we go walking, everyone (almost without exception) comments on his look, and he has managed to turn even the most indifferent into an 'Oscar' convert.

It was in our local vets that I met a breeder, with a rather pretty young Dalmatian, who was adamant that Oscar was a pure bred and informed me of other Long haired Dalmatians.

Being America, I was able to purchase a DNA kit, which I sent off immediately... and.... Yes, he is 100% Dalmatian!!

We love our pet dearly and he has given us 10 years of pleasure. He is unique and the day fate crossed our paths, was a lucky day for both of us.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Birthday Celebration

Shall I just step over that fence?

Watson is wondering if he should just step over the fence and leave the dog yard.   Snow is so high he certainly could, but no one has yet.  If Mariah was home, she probably would, she's at that age, but the others respect fences they could easily walk over and into the rest of the yard.  Think some shoveling is in order tonight, to reduce the temptation!

Yesterday was Ron's birthday and we went out for a nice dinner at LaGrolla, an excellent Italian restaurant in St. Paul.  They have a small bar next to the kitchen and we enjoy sitting there and watching all the activity.   In my next life I will be involved in the industry - as a food critic or writer, restaurant owner, or perhaps as a chef.  I've always found such things fascinating.  We had a particularly good server last night, which always adds to a positive dining experience.  Although we almost never have dessert when we eat out (sure saves on the calories) we had Tiramisu last night, and I brought home most of my pasta - I'll have an excellent lunch for the next two days!  Ron said he didn't want dessert but he ate at least half of mine.  Knew he would!

A friend asked if this was a Special Birthday for Ron.  I assured her that NO birthdays were special at his age.  In retrospect though, perhaps ALL birthdays are special since they mean you are still alive!

As it currently stands we will NOT be entertaining the California girl who is being bred to Argus, and we'll do chilled semen instead.  I would have enjoyed having her here, but she probably would not have enjoyed our weather!   Hopefully we can get the collection/shipment done before we are due to leave for St. Louis, but have the name of a backup vet in St. Louis if we need to go that route.  With two free weekends before St. Louis, and two or three free weekends after St. Louis, it would really have been nice if she'd waited, but that was not to be and we will get this worked out.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Enough Snow Already!

My little garage is getting buried

The weather forecasters were right once again - unfortunately.  We did indeed get 10-13 inches or more.  We got the "or more" part here, at least 15 and possibly 19 depending on who you believe.  Fortunately, a holiday weekend made it a lot easier to manage and gave us an extra day to shovel.  We got the cars out without too much difficulty, which is always the toughest shoveling chore.  If my garage was large enough for my van I could get it off the street, but then where would I put all the junk that normally lives in my garage?  If I built a larger garage I would have to give up the dog yard, and that won't do either.  Hopefully we are done with major snowfalls for the season.  Fingers crossed.   It's been quite a winter!
Argus plays well with babies, including son Eddie

I met Lisen & Jerry at Medford on Saturday to pick up Eddie and drop off Mariah for a week of "puppy camp".  Eddie will be going up to Canada while Lucy comes down to be shown this spring.  He's a cute little guy, still possibly show quality, but not really a star.  He has a wonderful personality, smart, calm, and very cooperative.  A very special puppy.  He's already totally house-trained, and very good in a crate.  Lisen & Jerry have done a very good job with Eddie, and who ever ends up with him will get a very nice dog.
Shoveling needed

Argus has a lovely wife coming from Southern California, but before she arrives we still need to shovel out the west side of the house!  That's where the door to the basement is, a door we rarely use in the winter, but the one that leads to the basement.  Visiting ladies share the basement with all the fish tanks, and use the side door when going out for walks.  Not sure this visitor is going to be too impressed with our weather, and her owners are quite sure she will not enjoy snowy walks, BUT she still needs to get out.  The drifts on the other side of that gate are a good 4 feet tall, so I'll start working on that when I get home from the office today.

Hopefully the timing will work out OK for us to still go to St. Louis, but we'll have to see how that goes.  Weather could be an issue too, and some years we are unable to make the trip due to bad roads somewhere along the way between St. Paul & St. Louis.  Because this girl is older, she'll get a series of progesterone tests to pin point the optimum day for breeding.  We always used to depend on the dogs to pick the right days, but it's also nice to have science to fall back on if there is any question.  Hopefully everything falls into place here.