Friday, August 3, 2012

Road Trip

Pups paid a visit to Jess's office yesterday and rode well after just a few minutes of yelling.  I packed them up in a crate and took along the big exercise pen which we set up under a tree in the parking lot at Your Esthete Partner.  Jess's co-workers all came out to say Hi, and office dog Stella Cavalier, Jess's boss's dog, was put in the pen with them.  Poor Stella!  The pups thought she was a furry toy and they especially liked her tail.  Mickey was the pushiest with her, and all the pups were unafraid. Stella is very good with pups and extremely used to Dal pups.  She's socialized a lot of them over the years!

We took the pups out one at a time to explore the office, so we could observe their individual reactions to an entirely new situation.  Most of them trotted around quite happily, interrupted by frequent bouts of scratching at their new collars - it will take them another day or two to get used to something around their necks.  When the pups first started noticing things after their eyes & ears opened, Mickey was usually first to try everything and appeared to be bold & cocky.   Lately we've been observing that he is actually somewhat more timid than the others.

I had expected that the uni pups might be more sound sensitive about the noises in the warehouse, but they were all fine and bilateral Mickey had the most trouble with the large fan and the totally unfamiliar surroundings.  That tells me that we need to put extra time into him before he leaves for his new home.  Fern was a bit cautious, reminding me of Rob as a pup - she had to think things over first.  When we brought her in a second time she was totally self assured.  She'll need plenty of socializing, and confidence building, but should be fine.   The other pups were very good, especially Dixie & Degidio who were prepared to explore the whole warehouse.  Luci & Murray were also absolutely fine about the new experiences, and all the pups were very friendly with Dan the warehouse manager who took the time to handle each of them.

This weekend the pups will take two more road trips.  They'll go to visit Carol, Stephanie & Foster, and spend a few hours there without me.  On Sunday we'll go visit Wendy & Kathleen, and their mother Pauli.  Each pup will get individual handling too, and all will go out for short leash walks in the neighborhood.  Then it's time to think about their departures!  Dixie's family is in Disneyland right now, so she'll have to wait another week.  Another family will be picking up Mickey or Murray as soon as I tell them OK, and we need to make plans to send Luci to California.  I like to wait until 9 weeks for shipping, but it won't be long now!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Audrey is doing well.  My Cup Plant towers over the back yard, about 10 feet tall and covered in yellow daisy-like blooms.  She is officially known as Silphium perfoliatum, a member of the Aster family a native perennial wildflower, but I consider Audrey to be quite domesticated.  This is her third year of dominating my backyard, and she's outdone herself with flowers this year.  When the flowers go to seed, they will provide food for a variety of small birds.  Even now, she is attractive to Goldfinches and that makes for a lovely sight!  Audrey has pretty much destroyed the raised bed with her massive stems and roots, but I consider that a small price to pay for a chance to enjoy this lovely plant.

Pups are growing restless and need more outdoor time.  Yesterday noon I took them outdoors, and Ron brought them in several hours later.  They were out again in the evening.  Wish I had a safe place to leave them outdoors all day, but I can't risk them disturbing the neighbors - or being stolen.  Still have people who want to visit the pups, but part of this weekend will be spent taking the pups visiting - they need more travel and more opportunities to explore new places.  They are getting heavy, and I'm not looking forward to taking them in and out of the car, but it's something that needs to be done.  Because a couple of the pups have unilateral hearing we're doing lots of "noise things" too, as unis can be sound sensitive if not exposed to a variety of loud noises as pups.

Fern went for her first walk on leash last night and did quite well.  Unfortunately, the path I normally use for walking small pups included a couple of lawns that had been sprayed.  Lawn spray is supposedly "safe" after it dries, but I don't believe it.  We'll wait a few days to go that route.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Saw this on Facebook last night and only wish there had been a Dalmatian too, as we approach the time for the pups to depart for their new homes.  While most people think in terms of purchasing a purebred pup or adopting an older mixed breed dog from a humane organization or rescue group, there are sometime wonderful adult dogs available from responsible breeders.  Most responsible breeders sell their pups on a "first refusal" so they can take back any dogs of their breeding that are in need of new homes. Those dogs are then available for placement.  Also dogs who are retired from the show ring, dogs who will not be bred or have already been used in a breeding program, or youngsters who did not grow up to be quite what the breeder what planning to keep and show.  If you want a specific breed, but don't want to go through the hassle of a puppy, it pays to check with breeders to see if they have, or know of anything, available.

If you are a longtime reader, you know that we placed our beloved Letty a few months ago, at about 10 months of age.  I kept her to show, but she wasn't quite what I wanted for the breed ring, so even though we loved her dearly and she was a perfect fit for our household, we decided to place her IF a PERFECT home came along.  It did, and we did, though not without a lot of soul-searching and a few tears.  Letty is doing well with her new family and is much loved by all.  Our friend Sue who takes Josie to the dog parks (Sue is a dog lover who does not have a dog, so she shares Josie with us) sometimes meets up with Letty and her new dad Skip.  Josie is a Frisbee fanatic, while Letty is all about dogs like her dad Argus, but sometimes they get together for a game of keep away!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Count Down!

Won't be long until the pups start leaving for new homes.  A good interview last night with one of the people who has been waiting patiently to find out if there was a pup for her.  This will be another first-time Dal owner.  There was a time, after the fallout from over-popularity and bad press, that the only people looking for Dal pups were previous Dal owners who knew all the negative publicity was NOT true of well bred, well raised Dal pups.  We've finally gotten past that, and have a number of first-time Dal owners again, people who have taken the time to understand that a new puppy is not "for the kids" but "for the family", and that pups don't raise themselves and turn out to be good family members without someone putting the appropriate amount of time and effort into insuring that happens. Smart, busy, inventive, adventurous, mischievous spotted pups need time, training, patience, exercise, a sense of humor, and a lot of love to turn them into responsible canine citizens and family members.   But it is oh, so very much worth the effort!

Registrations are back from AKC, puppy folders are being assembled, books have been received from, and socialization has gone well. Pups have been BAER tested, had their health checks, and ride well in the car.  I would have to say this is one of the easiest litters we've ever done.  Pups are brave and friendly, with lovely personalities and no real extremes.  They are also one of the quietest groups we've ever had, with very little barking or fussing.  They wait patiently to eat, wait quietly to go outdoors, and play nicely with one another or by themselves.  All are good eaters  (we sometimes have a slow one who doesn't keep up), no one is a bully, and all are as cute as can be.  Some litters have an annoying pup who we are all glad to see depart, but I can honestly say there are none of them in this litter.  What a group of sweethearts!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cheeseburgers For All

It's our tradition to treat the dogs to cheeseburgers to celebrate good show weekends.  Yes, they normally get their meat raw, BUT they all love cheeseburgers and it's such fun to watch them enjoy a special treat.  Years ago my ex & I used to take birthday dogs to MacDonalds for a cheeseburger, but we now generally celebrate birthdays with vanilla ice cream.  Cheeseburgers are saved for dog show wins.  When Argus was being campaigned, we always got cheeseburgers on the way home from a successful dog show weekend.  He still gets them when his kids finish their championships.  This weekend he enjoyed a  cheeseburger with two granddaughters.  Of course he got to come along to watch, even though he is semi-retired.

A MOST successful dog show weekend.  We took puppies Meribel & Amery to the Waukesha Wisconsin shows.  Both of them had 14 of the 15 points needed to finish their American Championships, and they had both done it in spectacular fashion, with Meribel going Best of Winners at the National & St. Louis Specialties for two 5-point wins and WB at Chicagoland for 4 points.  Amery picked up 12 of her points in one weekend, going Winners Bitch at the Greater Washington Dal Club AND the two supported entries.  Meribel's wins came from the Puppy Class, and Amery was shown in the Bred By Exhibitor Class  (she was bred and is co-owned by Jess, Laurie & me, which allowed Jess to show her in that class).  They will turn one year of age next weekend, so this weekend was their last chance to finish as puppies - we had never previously finished littermates as puppies.  So Jess decided which judge would be right for each girl, and entered one of them each day.  Talk about cutting your odds.  Each girl had just one chance to finish at these shows.

Meribel was in on Saturday, went Best Of Winners, and was considered for Best of Breed but got distracted by a dragonfly (she is after all still a puppy).  New Champion!  Amery was in on Sunday, her first time showing on wet grass and she really wanted to sniff but kept it together nicely and stacked beautifully (see picture at right).  She ALSO went Best of Winners and the judge was most complimentary about her excellent breed type.  New Champion!  Wow, what a weekend!

Jess and I BOTH really needed a weekend away from home, so it would have been a fun weekend even if the girls had not finished, but finishing BOTH of them was such a thrill, and both finished in a minimal number of shows.  Next up, the 3rd sister Gemma, who is absolutely stunning.

It was fun to come home and see the babies after being away for a few days.  Amazing how much their spots had grown.  Oh my, they look so beautiful!