Friday, May 20, 2011

Very Early Saturday

Goofing around in the ring

Saturday's blog is being written Friday night while I wait for a load of laundry to dry.  Went to dinner with Ron, came home and went to bed early, but had to get up to walk Argus & Reebok and to finish my laundry.  Tomorrow starts early as I return Reebok to Rosie for a couple of weeks while the fence is redone. Reebok will return next month and then we'll start planning for pups.   She's been a great guest and I've enjoyed having her.  Although shipping chilled semen is a lot easier than entertaining a visiting bitch, I have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know many lovely Dal girls over the years, and it's given me a bit of extra insight into the temperament and personality differences within bloodlines.

Love the cute shot of Argus that illustrates this blog.  Our friend Prue caught that from ringside at DCA while Argie and I were in the ring waiting to be judged.  He's such a silly brownie goofball guy.

Mariah arrived safely in Arizona, and her new owner Kay seems to be please with her and says if I change my mind I can NOT have her back.  That's just as well considering that the odds of being able to ship from Phoenix to Minnesota, by way of Houston, are slim to none this time of the year, and we were extremely lucky that we were able get Mariah out today.  Am so pleased that I found just the right home for her, and it came about because of this blog.

It's looking more and more like the State Of Minnesota will be closed for business come July 1st.  A newspaper poll said that 87% of the respondents felt a shut down was likely.  "They" say most of us our just one paycheck away from poverty.  Am not eager to have that confirmed!

Yes Laura, There Is STILL An Audrey

Audrey is alive and well.

This picture is for Laura, who wondered if Audrey had appeared again this year.  Yes indeedy!  Apparently you can't keep a good Cup Plant down.  She looks to have survived the winter in good form and is quite a robust little thing already.  Hopefully Audrey will not grow any taller than the 12 feet she achieved last year - she'll interfere with the phone wires if she does. 

On my list of projects is redoing the raised flower bed Audrey inhabits, as her huge root mass shifted some of the timbers last year.   Hate to move her as she obviously does well in this spot, so perhaps we will just make the planter wider, to accommodate her needs.

Argus wonders what is going on here!
The dog yard project is proceeding well.  Ron removed the board fencing that we put over the chain link when the neighbor observed that my yard looked like a prison camp - somehow I doubt that 42 inch chain link would hold prisoners for long, but we covered it up just for her.  The chain link along the side of the dog yard will be replaced by all new privacy fence to match the back fence we are replacing. 

The digging is complete, the perennials have been moved, and the fence guys are scheduled to start on Monday.  They'll take down the back fence, set the posts for the new privacy fence, and reset the posts for the remaining chain link.  Eventually they will return and put up the new fence - hopefully that won't take too long as we will be without a fence for that period.  I'll put up a temporary fence, but of course the dogs can't be left out safely until the new secure fence is up.  Means we'll be doing a lot more walking.

Amazingly, the bitchy neighbor has been as nice as can be.  It probably won't last but I'll appreciate it for now.  And I'll keep wearing my Amy Klobuchar & Mark Dayton tee shirts when I deal with my very staunch DFL neighbor!

Mariah is on her way to her new home in Arizona.  Honestly did not think we could pull this off because of the (justifiable) temperature restrictions on shipping animals, but Continental Airlines was very nice to work with and Mother Nature co-operated.  Dropped her off at 4:00 AM - who knew airports were that busy so early in the morning!   The airline personnel could not have been nicer and hopefully everything goes smoothly for her flights.  The timing was good as Mariah would have been the most affected by the lack of fencing.  She LOVES being outdoors, no matter what the weather.  We'll miss her a great deal as she was a good fit for this household, just not quite what I wanted to keep and show and possibly breed from.   So, we still have an "open spot" in Paisleyland.

Hopefully Rosie can meet me tomorrow and retrieve Reebok for a couple of weeks.  I'm really tired of four extra walks a day, and Reebok is tired of living in the basement.  When she comes back to have her pups here, she'll move into the family room with the others, and be a full time house dog if she can get along with Coral & Josie.  If she's bitchy with them she will just run with Argus & Watson.  I don't like running shifts and prefer to have all the dogs run together, but sometimes it's not an option when bringing in an adult dog.  My dogs accept anyone who comes to stay, so I'm hoping she'll fit in.

Thinking puppies!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Still Digging

Argus winning his 3rd Award Of Merit

One of the memorable things from DCA this year was all the compliments received on my attire.  I am not a shopper, and normally dress very casually, but this year I had two spectacular outfits to wear.  The one worn for the Top Twenty included a gold-sequined jacket.  It had been purchased for the previous year's Top Twenty, but I had to sit that one out with my broken ankle.  The long jacket worn for Best of Breed judging retailed for more than $300.00, but like the Top Twenty outfit it came from a next-to-new shop, and cost less than $20.00 - and came with the tags still on it!  A black/red/brown/gold Paisley pattern, with metallic threads.  Such fun!

Another night spent digging in the yard, but we are almost there.  Tonight I'll do some transplanting as the dog yard will get a bit larger and include an area currently planted with Hostas and elderly Asiatic Lilies - given to me by my brother's girlfriend almost 40 years ago!

Reebok will go home to Rosie for a couple of weeks.  Don't need an extra dog here while my fence is down.  It will be tough enough managing the regulars with no fence.  She'll be back in June, pups due in July.

Odd, Spell Check does not include the word Hosta/hosta.  How stramge.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

. . . and It Was Not Continued

Argus competed in the Top Twenty

It suddenly occurred to me that because of computer problems I never completed the posting about the National.  Checking back I discovered that lots of good things were omitted.  I haven't ordered my "official" show pictures yet, but have some nice ones taken by friends to include.  It is amazing how many people take pictures wherever they go.  I'm sure that most of those pictures stay on the devices that were used to take them, or get downloaded to a computer, and very few ever get printed.  This was the first year I noticed iPads used to take pictures and video too.  Ah, technology.

Argus won the Stud Dog Class for the third year in a row, what a thrill!  Each year he has gone in with two of his beautiful daughters.  Rita & Pauli in 2009, Penny & Nena in 2010, and Penny & Lucy in 2011.   The judge Mr. Sabella commented on how much fun he had doing the Stud Dog Class, what an excellent sire Argus is, and what lovely type he produces.  He does.

The Best Of Breed competition was outstanding, with over 80 of the top Dals in the country competing (these are the "Specials", dogs who are already champions).  The judge divided the males into 3 groups and the bitches into either 2 or 3 (I forget) so that the ring was not overcrowded and none of the dogs had to stay in the ring for long periods of time.  She selected "keepers" from each group - that is called "making the cut" and then brought those dogs back for further judging and additional cuts.  Argus and his offspring Krash, Penny & Cassie all made it through the first two cuts.   Krash & Penny went out on the third cut, but when I looked around Cassie was still in the ring with Argus and many of the top winning Dals in the country.  Cassie and her owner/handler John were attending their first DCA, and Cassie is the first dog that John had shown to her championship.

Cassie & John, with Argus & me
 The judging continued and Argus & Cassie were still in the ring.  There is only one Best of Breed, and this year it went to a handsome young black dog who is professionally handled and has had a fine career.  The judge has the option of giving out Awards of Merit to the top 10% of the Specials.  As I looked around the ring and counted the number of dogs who were still in competition it looked as if there would be enough AoMs to go around.  Success!   Argus won his third consecutive Award of Merit (and was Best of Breed in 2008) and this year, the first year he had champion offspring in competition, daughter Cassie won one as well.  What a thrill.  John's daughter Liz took this picture of Argus & Cassie wearing the award sashes. 

A very successful National!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

We're Back!

Lucy & Jess at DCA

A new modem and millions of cookies deleted, my computer seems to be running normally again.  I can even upload pictures to my blog.

So much catching up to do here, so many changes have taken place in the past week.

Reebok has been bred to Argus with pups due in July.  I'll have to sit down and figure out the exact date.  She'll go back to Rosie for a few weeks while my new fence goes up, then come back to have her puppies here.  We are SO ready for puppies.  The guess is that she is not liver-factored, but both Rosie and I are hoping that she is.  Her father is pure for black, her mother is a liver factored black.  We could do the cheek swab test to find out if she carries liver, but we'll find out in 9 weeks.  Actually, one litter is not really a sufficient sample, so if she has liver pups we'll know she IS factored, but if she doesn't have any liver pups we won't be quite sure that she's not.  (My liver Gremlin once had 10 black puppies by liver factored Ringer.)

New fence project starts the week after next.  It turned out to be a lot bigger project than anticipated, as I have to move the fence on one side of my yard (it's between 2 & 8 inches over onto the neighbor's property).  It's a perfect time to replace some of the chainlink with additional privacy fencing.

Mariah's wound
Mariah's leg is healing nicely and we are still hoping to get her to Arizona.  The problem of course is the temperature, as dogs can't be shipped when it's over 85 on either end of the trip, and Arizona is already HOT.  She's been wearing an e-collar at night, but has left the stitches alone and has not bothered with the wound.  The stitches will come out in a few days.

Someone posted the following question to my blog.    "Why is mariah considered small? doesn't the standard say between 19 and 23 inches? if she is already almost 20 inches as a puppy, isn't that normal? just wondering! "

That's a very good question indeed!  Mariah is "too small" for my taste.  She is not growing and does not have enough bone to be taller than she is.  She would not be disqualified in the show ring, but she is smaller than I prefer to show.  I want my bitches to be about 22 inches tall and weigh about 45 pounds.  Mariah is less than 20 and weighs about 35 pounds.  She's actually going to a home (assuming we can get her there) where she might eventually be shown, but I am selling her as a pet.   Our "Peaches" was about Mariah's size, and although she did win some points she was "too small" to finish easily.  She was an excellent producer, had 7 champion offspring, earned a CD in obedience, and lived a long and healthy life.  Dogs don't care whether or not they get to be show dogs.

The standard is a guideline, and for all practical purposes we can show almost any dog that does not have a disqualifying fault. That doesn't mean that all those dogs SHOULD be shown, only that they CAN be shown.    Many people show dogs who I consider to have totally unacceptable spotting, dogs with terrible toplines, or nasty tails.  That's their right.  Tiny bitches can also be shown and fit the standard for size.  I just choose not to show them.   A breeder needs a mental picture of what the breed should look like (not can look like), needs to compare her dogs to that picture.