Friday, December 16, 2011

Picture Perfect

Love this picture of Meribel!  Jess brought her by for pictures yesterday, and we got good shots of her, Letty and Sparkle.  Meribel's sister Amery was the pick of the girls from the Cruise/Penny litter, but Meribel was a close second and is maturing well.  She's very together for her age, and although she's got more color than we'd prefer (a few too many spots for my taste) her depth of color (the intensity of her liver coloring) is fabulous, and with a short shiny coat she really looks good.  "Fancy", we call it.  Meribel is very fancy.  She also has the wonderful dark eyes that are extra nice on livers.  We took this particular shot because Meribel also inherited her mother Penny's beautiful neck and forechest.  So far so good.  This one does look like a keeper.

Meribel came along at just the right time too, as Jess & Don needed a little "therapy dog" to help them get through the loss of German Shepherd Pepper who recently died of cancer.  A funny, cheerful, extra-cute puppy is definitely good for the soul!  The elderly Shepherd Simmie really like Meribel too, so it's made things easier for her as well.

Things are still on for Sparkle to go up to Canada for awhile.  She goes in for a rabies shot today, and we'll meet up with the Pellas tomorrow in Duluth.  Looks as if the weather is cooperating - fingers crossed.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Surprises Can't Wait

Last night there was a looonnnggg list of chores on my To Do List, but as is so often the case I got side-tracked.  Ron had picked up my main Christmas gift, and because the store only had a 10 return policy (for immediate replacement) he wanted me to "try it out" to be sure it worked the way it should.  Although I personally prefer Christmas surprises, I was pretty sure this would be under the Christmas tree anyway, so it wasn't actually a surprise.  A new Nikon Coolpix L120 camera, the one I had decided on since I've been very satisfied with my current Coolpix, it was supposed to reduce red eye, got good reviews and has a wonderful long zoom.  Had considered a fancier camera with more bells and whistles, but I really do NOT need another hobby and this one should do what I need it to do.

Unfortunately, it does not totally eliminate "red eye", a real problem when taking flash pictures of liver Dalmatians, but it definitely reduces it (see above).  This I can live with, although I guess it's time to learn to Photoshop red eye, since many otherwise good shots get deleted because of the distracting eye glare.

The trees DID get decorated though, the real tree with traditional ornaments plus many of my Dal ornaments, and the porch tree with fish ornaments - courtesy of Ginger, of course - and a few of the bulkier Dalmatian ornaments.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Feelin' Groovy, No, That's Gloomy

I thought the weather was getting me down, cool & gray are not my thing, but I realized this morning that it's really the fact that I am not going to Eukanuba, an invitational dog show being held in Florida this weekend.

Don't even recall how the darned show got started, especially with a dog food company's name - when Pro Plan is actually more supportive of dog shows than any other dog food company.  After a number of years being held in California, it's back in Florida this year.  Dals never get good judges, and have an English judge again this year - and last year an English dog won under the English judge, leaving a bad taste in MY mouth, since English dogs are often much larger than the American standard calls for.  But the Specials entry is 43, and it sounds as if lots of people are just going to watch as well.

Dogs qualify by various means, winning a Best in Show, placing well in the breed rankings for the previous year, finishing their Grand Championships, etc.  Argus and five of his kids qualified for this year, so we could have gone, but the judge did not appeal, this is an incredibly busy time at work, and to be honest I don't have the money.  It would have been an expensive trip, and now that Argus no longer has co-owners and I am paying all his bills, there's no way to fund all the little extras - or in this case BIG extras.  With pups to show in the spring, I need to watch my $$$, such as they are.

Because the Republicans continue to refuse to tax those who can actually afford it, those of us who actually CAN'T get stuck picking up a bigger part of the bill.  My house payment goes up almost $100.00 next year, due to the huge increase in property taxes.   I'll be lucky if I can continue to make my house payments next year . . .  I can understand the wealthy people who vote Republican - it's in their best interests to do so, unless they actually have a conscience, but I sure can't understand the lower and middle class people who do.

Hmmm, that did NOT help with the gloominess either.  Guess I will go play with Letty.

And Good Luck to the Argus kids who WILL be showing at Eukanuba!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Letty's Back

Letty's back and she got a good report card for manners.  Took her about 10 minutes to settle in with Alana & Mike, and just a bit longer with Brodie who was thrilled to have a house guest.  Remembered her house manners, good in a crate, and didn't embarrass me!  It's nice to have her back, but it WAS a lot easier with just Sparkle over the weekend.  Two pups this age certainly increases the activity in the family room!  Weather permitting, Sparkle goes off this weekend to spend some time in Canada.   Looks as if I will be doing Christmas Eve day here, so it will be easier with one less resident pup, since Jess will be bringing Meribel along.

Need to get Puppy Eddie entered at the January shows, and have to figure out a time to go pick him up so he can stay with Jess for a few days and get some training.  Meribel will probably come here during that time - still playing Musical Dogs.

Obedience went well last night and I'm really pleased with Argie's progress.  Each class sees him much improved in one area or another.  Last night it was his sits.  We've been working very hard on straight sits, as he has a tendency to swing in slightly toward me when we stop.  It would be so much easier if I could just explain to him the concept of "straight".  It IS amazing what they can pick up though.   My footwork is much improved, but I've been working hard on that, even walking patterns without the dog.  Proper footwork (by the handler) makes a lot of difference in a dog's performance. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

ARGH! I just wasted ten minutes fighting with the html coding for this page. Finally deleted the whole thing. Sometimes the pictures go up so nicely and the text formats the way I want it, while other times nothing seems to work. There was a time when I could have figured out the coding problems, but do so little of it now I'm obviously out of practice.
The Oldsters, Josie, Watson & Coral
It was a Letty-less weekend as she went off to camp with Alana, Michael and their Dal Brody.  Again she was suspicious at the start, settled in quickly and fit in well.   She's definitely a bit slow to make up to strangers, but settles in quickly.  Hopefully as Letty increases her circle of friends, she'll become quicker to make new ones.

Sparkle did well on her own and enjoyed her trip to a new pet store.  Argus filled in as puppy entertainer, but will be glad to give up the duty, I'm sure!   One more puppy class on Thursday and then she's off to Canada for a month, assuming all the pieces fall into place for the trip.  Letty can do Sparkle's 4th lesson, and then we'll concentrate on Christmas!

Finally got the lights on both trees, the artificial one on the porch, and a small live tree in the living room.  Checked the old 100-light string before decorating the porch tree and all worked fine, but by the time I had the lights on the tree 1/2 the lights no longer worked.  Hate it when that happens!  By then it was too dark to look for a bulb that may have fallen out or worked loose. 

The inside tree has red LED lights, nice and bright and cheerful.  Tempting not to even put on bulbs, but I suppose I will.  Maybe I should decorate the porch tree with the assortment of fish bulbs, gifts from Ginger of course,  The doggy ornaments don't always get used, but this year they will as I will have company on Christmas Eve day - weather permitting.