Thursday, December 8, 2011

We Love a Parade!

  Our collie club is going to participate in the Leesburg Holiday Parade this Saturday.  It's just a fun event, and an opportunity to let the community know about the club.  To do that, I printed labels with the club's web address and "Find Us on Facebook"! that I then stuck on 300 wrapped candy canes.  Actually, 296--one wrapper was empty, one wrapper wasn't sealed and we seemed to be shorted 2 candy canes.  We'll pass out the candy canes to parade spectators along the about one mile route.
  Hopefully, the collies will draw more attention than the candy!  We have about 10 people participating and about 8 collies with two other dogs who will be collies for the day.  The dogs will be wearing antlers or other festive attire, if willing.  Lauren will be pulling her wagon that will be decorated with garlands and stockings.  Her harness will have bells on it that I polished up this morning.
  Saturday's weather is predicted to be chilly, but that should help put us in the Christmas mood!
  Here's the prep so far:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Missed Opportunities

  We entered Gibson and Gemma in the "Turkey Cluster" this past week-end, so hoping that Gibson would finally have his championship. We employed a bit of strategy to achieve this goal.  I'll explain for those that don't follow dog shows that closely.  Points are earned based on the number of dogs entered.  Sometimes, there will be more points for one sex than the other.  In that case, exhibitors always hope the judge will "split" the points, meaning the Best of Winners earns the higher number of points.  In Gibson's case, we were hoping he would be Winners Dog and Best of Winners for two majors as the number of females entered were the right number.
  On Friday, Gibson was very relaxed outside the ring and gaited the best he's ever done for me.  Unfortunately, he still doesn't like the judge's exam.  The judge told me she couldn't give me Winners since he backed away.  The judge did split the points but since Gibson was Reserve Winners Dog, it was an opportunity lost.
  On Saturday, Gibson was better.  He was comfortable outside the ring again, moved well again and did better for the exam.  He was Winners Dog!  He had difficulty in Best of Variety competition though.  There was some poop in the ring that for some reason unnerved him and the Winners Bitch was in season which also unsettled him.  That's hard for any dog but especially so for Gibson, who has already worked out so many issues.  Saturday's judge did not split the points--Gibson missed another opportunity for a major.
  On Sunday, Gibson showed the best he's ever had for me.  He was Winners Dog and Best of Winners, unfortunately, there wasn't a major in bitches.
  The week-end left me a bit disheartened.  Gibson has tried so hard and I've worked so much with him.  I'm not sure if I should continue this quest with him or not.  I think he enjoys showing but I'm stymied as to how to have him achieve his potential.  It's truly been two steps forward and one step back.
  The week-end wasn't a total bust though.  Gemma, who had been entered for the experience and to help make majors, surprised me.  She was Winners Bitch on Sunday for her very first point!  When I saw the judge look her way as we were lined up, I wondered if she was being considered.  Then, the judge took a bit longer on examing her head. I made sure Gemma was  moving well on the final go around and was thrilled when the judge pointed to us!
  Both Gibson and Gemma were rewarded with special treats for their week-end of work.  We rewarded ourselves with cheese, crackers and a bottle of wine from our local winery, Casanel, after we got home!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Baby Fever

  We were blessed with our first grandchild on Aug 6.  Our daughter-in-law had a great career opportunity to change jobs but it meant starting back to work before she had planned.  Taylor is going to start day care in January but who was going to care for her in the meantime?  Grandma was asked and I leapt at the opportunity to spend time with the beautiful girl!
  Generally, after a day with Taylor, I feed the dogs as soon as I get home.  The dogs are very excited to see me as I'm not spending as much time with them.  But, dinner always has priority and once their bowls are in their kennels, eating is the focus.  Dixie, however, is the exception.  I always hold Taylor in my left arm and when I enter Dixie's kennel, she immediately starts to sniff my arm.  Even when I'm wearing a coat she will check out my arm then sniff around my neck as I bend down to give her her bowl.  Baby Magic and diaper cream is not my normal "scent" but Dixie seems fascinated with these smells!  Last fall, after the puppies' debut to the yard, she was equally fascinated with them, becoming quite maternal.  I think she's looking forward to spring and having babies of her own!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Healing Waters?

  I have blogged before about our senior dogs, Ben and Sophie.  They are now 12 1/2 and we know that every day we have with them is a gift.  They have good days and bad days and Ben, especially, has started with longer cycles of bad days.  We watch them carefully for signs that it is time to say good-bye, but are always relieved when that decision can be put off for at least one more day.
  Ben and Sophie spend quite a bit of time sleeping, have difficulty getting up, their balance can be unsteady, their appetite inconsitent and Sophie is unable to spend a long night inside without an accident. A few weeks ago, their difficulties were very apparent and severe.  With a heavy heart, I thought it was time to take Ben to the vet, with Sophie to follow very soon after. 
  When that last day comes, I always give the dog a bath and a good grooming if possible.  It gives me quality time with the dog, a chance to say good bye privately and lets them cross over with the dignity they deserve.  After deciding that it was time to make arrangements for Ben in the upcoming week, I spent the week-end trimming nails, brushing and then bathing Ben and Sophie.  They can't tolerate long times on the grooming table, so over the course of the two days, many short sessions were needed to finish the brushing.  By dinner on Sunday, they looked like the show dogs they used to be!  They had a spring to their step and a sparkle in their eye.  I felt good, knowing they were comfortable and we had had good, final days.
  Monday was a surprise!  Ben and Sophie greeted me at the door of their room in the morning, eager for breakfast.  Ben finished his and was looking for more!  The walk to the kennel was energetic and they were interested in visiting the other dogs.  I began to think I could wait another week before calling the vet.  In the days that followed, it was if time was reversing itself.  Both dogs ate their meals every day, greeted us enthusiastically, even started playing!  When I would let the rest of the dogs out in the play yards, they would trot over to the fence and watch the activity.  Sometimes, they would bark with the rest of the dogs as the deer would come out of the woods and cross the property. 
  I'm not sure why Ben and Sophie are suddenly doing so well, but I'm certainly not complaining!  Could the baths have had healing properties?  If so, I wish it would work as well for my own aches and pains!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Great Hike

 Three other members of the Northern Virginia Collie Club and I went for a hike on Veterans Day at Balls Bluff Battlefield Regional Park.  It was a chilly day, but once we started on the wooded path, the trees blocked the wind, making it much more pleasant.
  Balls Bluff is the site of a Civil War battlefield and our country's smallest national cemetery.  Each of the graves had an American flag on it from a daybreak ceremony honoring veterans.  Perhaps the dogs sensed the importance of the day, too.  They behaved nicely as we stopped to pay our respects.
  I should probably put that another way.  Because Chloe is always good and while Frazier has all the energy of his not quite six months, he listens to his owner.  It was Treasure who stopped pulling on her lead long enough for me to pause at the cemetery.
  When we planned the hike, I couldn't decide which dog to take along.  Whenever I do an activity, I try to choose a dog that has not had a big block of solitary time with me.  I thought the older dogs would have found the hilly, wooded paths a bit stressful on their joints so they weren't considered for this trip.  Gemma and Gibson have shows in a couple of weeks, Jackson had just had a morning out with me, which left me the choice of Bijou, Ref or Treasure.  I don't know why I chose Treasure, but she was the lucky one.
  As soon as I opened her kennel door, she bolted out the door and started running around the building.  I let her make a couple of rounds, to burn off some energy, but when I called her to me, it seemed to make her go faster!  She'd race around, only stopping at Ref's or Gemma and Bijou's kennels to bark at them.  When she saw me coming, she'd twist around and race in the opposite direction.  I'm not sure how long she spent running, but I was ready to leave her behind and take another dog!  Treasure either ran out of energy or recognized by the tone of my voice that I had had enough of her antics.  She stopped abruptly and let me put the leash and collar on her.
  On the hike, Treasure pulled constantly on the leash.  My upper arm and shoulder were quite sore that night!  I've not experienced such a headstrong determination in Treasure before.  It was one of the few times that she's interacted with dogs from outside our kennel.  Plus, the woods had lots of great scents that needed to be explored.  We saw a young buck run through the woods, which made all the dogs want to give chase!
  I don't have pictures to share as the battery on my phone suddenly started to go.  I didn't want to take a chance on using up the battery on pictures, then needing my phone later.  It was a very pretty day, though.  Most of the leaves were off the trees but still had color.  The path was very colorful with all the reds and yellows!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Phoebe's Surprise

The other day, I took advantage of the nice weather and did some outside chores.  It was also a good day for the dogs to play outside.  I spent a bit of time working around the big play yard where we mutually enjoyed each other's company.
  Phoebe has always been a bit of a diva, not joining in with the pack when they are let out to play.  Now that she is a senior, she is a bit more aloof, avoiding the rough housing and mad racing about the yard.  She also likes to sleep more, finding quiet corners for her naps.
  I was installing an additional bolt on the big, wooden doors of the play yard.  All the dogs, except Phoebe, were watching me, jockeying for better positions near the wire fencing.  Phoebe was sleeping, very hard, outstretched in a shady corner away from us.  As I was finishing up with the bolt, I heard a "fwop, fwop, fwop".  Looking up, I saw a huge black vulture rising up from the ground, near where Phoebe was asleep. It must have thought Phoebe was a potential meal!  The noise of the vulture taking flight woke Phoebe up, and she had the most surprised look on her face when she saw the big bird!  One of those times I wished I had a camera!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

An Afternoon Out for Treasure

  Treasure has been entered in her first show.  She's been a homebody for a few weeks so we thought it would be good for her to meet new people and experience new things before the show.  We took her to Casanel Vineyards for a fun, relaxing afternoon.  Treasure met lots of new people, a couple of other dogs and had a snack of bread crusts and cheese rinds.  She even seemed to enjoy the musician that was playing when we first arrived!
Relaxing on the Patio

Hoping there is something left to share!

Walking home

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Too Smart!

  September was a very busy month for us, with all the preparations for our son's wedding.   The blog has been neglected and the dogs must have felt very neglected!  With wedding showers, rehearsal dinner plans and many, many days of rain, the collies had to spend much of the month in the kennel, with few opportunities to play in the big yards.
  Bijou especially wanted to do something different and took advantage of my distracted mind the day of the rehearsal dinner.  I forgot to lock her gate after breakfast and as is her habit, she tried the latch late in the day.  I heard quite a bit of barking but thought the dogs were upset with the squirrels, which are coming into the kennels now to get the fallen black walnuts.  Lauren was in "tattling" mode as I took the stack of dinner bowls out.  I didn't pay much attention to her, as, like usual, I was on a tight schedule and had just enough time to feed the dogs and get ready for dinner.  When I tried to open the kennel door, two things quickly registered--Bijou and Gemma were staring at me through the glass and the door was locked!  When they jumped up to grab the supply of poop bags--which were shredded and thrown about--they must have hit the door knob and turned it into the locking position.  The back door won't stay closed on windy days and I usually use the dead bolt on it.  Just to be sure, I ran around the kennel and tried the door--yep, it was locked, too.  No choice but to put the bowls down and  crawl through one of the dogs' kennel doors.  I thought Phoebe and Claire would be the least likely to hassle me as I tried this, but just to be sure, I gave them their dinners.  The other 9 pairs of eyes looking at me as I crawled through the door was a mix of surprise and delight.  The younger ones thought this was a great new game and looked at their doors, as if someone would be crawling into their kennels, too!
  The unexpected change in their routine didn't damper their appetites and once Bijou and Gemma were back in their kennel and everyone fed, I quickly got back to mother of the groom mode.  I had a funny story to tell at the wonderful rehearsal dinner and beautiful wedding!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Storm Prep

  Fortunately, it looks like Hurricane Irene will not affect our area that much.  Still, we should be getting some heavy rains today and high winds.  Our trees have been stressed so much this summer with several severe storms that it doesn't take much now to lose limbs plus we've had some problems with water running through the kennel after a hard rain since we had trees taken down last fall.  I decided to try to correct the water problems before the week-ends rains and see if I could find a temporary fix.  I think ultimately we will need to take down the fencing, grade the property and replace the runs.  In anticipation of this costly endeavor, I'm scrimping and saving!
  In the meantime, I spent a morning this past week moving gravel, not a favorite activity, but a good workout!  The dogs have run off the grass in the play yard across from the west side of the kennel so I started to spread the gravel there.  I put more gravel in Jackson's kennel and attempted to pack it down.  The ground is hard as rock, so that wasn't very successful.
  My one theory as to why we've had so much water in the kennel since last fall is that the trees, though mainly dead, had had enough leaves that with the limbs provided enough diffusion of the falling rain during heavy storms.  I remembered yesterday that we had a kennel sun shade in the shed.  I spread that across the tops of two of the runs that had the biggest trees.  I'm hoping it will provide some of the diffusion that the trees did.
  What a difficult task to do alone!  Jackson was rather scared of the cover so he stayed inside, making his run almost easy to manage.  Phoebe, Claire and Lauren were so happy that I was inside their run that they were underfoot, trying to get my attention, knocking into me as they pushed against each other to get to me.  Ref and Treasure thought they were getting a great, new toy!  As I was trying to tie the cover onto their kennel fence, they were trying to pull the end down into their yard and nipping my fingers as they tried to catch the string I was using.  I had my doubts my work would last long, but the cover is still there today!  The dogs ignore it and the girls seem to like the extra shade.
  Now we just wait to see what the weather will do.   So, pass on through, Irene!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


  Poor Jackson has had a rather rough month.  His kennel mate, Dixie, came into season in early July, which necessitated changing rooming assignments.  Jackson was by himself for a little bit, then Gemma moved in with him.  He had to get used to a new roomie, at the same time figure out all those wonderful smells in the other kennels as all the girls have taken turns coming into season.  His 13 month old body (and brain!) must have lots of conflicting urges.  Sometimes when I'm in his kennel, he just jumps up against me, wraps his paws around my waist and buries his head in my chest!
  Gemma is now showing signs of coming into heat and has a great reluctance to share a kennel with Jackson.  This morning, I switched Gemma and Dixie, now that her season is finished.  Dixie was so happy to be back in her kennel!  She can watch the house easier (a favorite pastime of all the dogs) and can relax on her favorite tree stump.  I don't know why that is her favorite bed, although it does give her a good view of the house, but it was the first place she went.
  Dixie was not so happy to have Jackson's welcome home.  He can be quite over-enthusiastic under normal circumstances, but after being apart, he pestered her unmercifully.  Dixie generally enjoys being kenneled with Jackson, but has no patience when he bothers her.  She barely gave him a warning growl before snapping at him when he jumped on her.  Undaunted, Jackson went to her other side and tried again.  Again, she snapped at him, then used her body to shove him away.  He bothered her so much that Dixie gave up her place on her stump and went inside.  Jackson tried to follow her and Dixie just exploded.  I heard a ruckus and then it looked like she bodily threw Jackson out the door!  After that, he must have decided that she was serious.  It's been quiet the rest of the morning!

Saturday, July 30, 2011


  Treasure is the most confident and self assured puppy I have ever seen!  Unlike Dixie (aka "the Bad Baby") who always tested limits and pushed boundaries, Treasure just does what she wants until told otherwise.  She's also a smart girl so generally only has to be told "no" once to respect the rules.  She'll have a puzzled look on her face, wondering why she can't continue her chosen behavior, but always respects the boundaries placed before her.
  But, oh, the things Treasure tries!  She's been chastised by her kennel mates, her uncle, her grandmother and myself.  She takes toys, eats out of others' bowls, torments someone to play with her or refuses to join in group games.  The other day Treasure ignored the established fetch rules that Dixie has when we play and grabbed her by the ear.  Dixie gave her a snap and a verbal thrashing so Treasure didn't do that again but did keep trying to get the toy until Dixie corrected her again.
  Treasure also has a fascination with my hair and clothes.  She'll grab my ponytail, try to chew on my hair when it's loose or if it's tucked up in a cap, try to grab the bill.  She was especially curious about the drawstring on my shorts the other day.  Quietly, she began to chew on the end while I was busy giving her a back scratch.  I didn't realize what she was up to until she tried to dash off with the string in her mouth, practically jerking me off my feet!  She also surprised me another morning when she nipped me in the backside as I was collecting food bowls.  I jumped around to see Treasure looking innocent, with a "oh, that's not an acceptable game"? expression on her face.  Gibson, who now watches and imitates the behavior of the other dogs, had a grin on his face that clearly said "I didn't know we could do that"!  I had to quickly squelch that notion!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'm in Trouble

  My husband is in love.  It's my own fault, really.  I frequently have this girl in our home, working on some beauty issues--hair, nails, etc.  I didn't notice David's interest until I suggested we take her with us to Gibson's last agility session.  They were shameless!  And right in front of me!  I didn't realize she was such a hussy until I saw her wiggle her cute backside as she locked eyes with David.  They made a beeline for each other!  Since that night, she's all he talks about.  He wants to take her with us to any activity we've done lately.  Last night he started talking about her career and how great she'll be.  So, it looks like I need to face reality--and take Bijou off the Available page on the website.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Crotchety Dogs

  Old dogs and heat do not mix!  Ben and Sophie have been sniping at each other over every little thing since these heat waves started last week.  It hasn't helped that we have girls in season, which has irritated Sophie as her brother is mooning over them instead of spending time with her.
  Sophie has also been irked by the puppies playing and this morning objected to Lauren walking by her kennel.  This made Sophie start to snarl and bark.  Lauren, who always enjoys a fence fight, obliged Sophie by barking back.  Ben wisely stayed away from the fuss but was not so lucky last week.  Ben has been as quick as Sophie to express displeasure over something.  Although Sophie generally acquiesces to his short temper tantrums, sometimes she just lets him know she's had enough.  I came home from a show to find him with scrape marks along his muzzle and eye.  He made the scrapes worse by  rubbing his face along the fence and having flies bite where he made the scratches bleed.  Needless to say, Ben's been spending a lot of time in the house, getting TLC!  He enjoys the extra attention, but both he and Sophie prefer to be outside.  They come inside during the heat of the day, going outside in the cooler evenings.  They seem to enjoy being part of the gang even if they do find their habits annoying!
  While the cuts were shallow and healed quickly, it's been hard to watch Ben visibly age these last few months.  His muzzle is mainly white, sometimes his balance is unsteady and he doesn't always feel like eating.  I wish I could tell him to stop acting like a young dog, expending too much energy on silly fights, which are really for show and their entertainment! But, on good days, Ben still has a spring to his step, wags his tail and enjoys a good brushing on the grooming table.  Best of all, he still leans against my leg and looks at me as if I'm the only person for him!  That makes me feel like the luckiest person in the world!

Sadie's New Home

  Last month, Sadie went to her new home in Lyndhurst.  It was hard to part with our sweet, funny girl and it had to be the perfect home before we would give her up.  We couldn't have asked for anything better than for Sadie to live with Don and Katherine!  She is their constant companion, brushed daily, spoiled with toys and attention.
  Sadie took a little bit of time to adjust to her new home.  She is the only dog, but does have a great friend in Buddy, the cat.  They hit it off instantly!  She also has horses, but prefers to keep her distance from them!
  Here she is, settling in:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Way Behind!

I haven't posted for over a month!  Gardens and dog shows have been taking up all my free time but now I'm in a lull (especially with a forecast of high 90-100 temps this week).  I'll do lots of posts to catch up on what has been happening here at Hillcroft!  Except, right now, I hear Claire demanding her breakfast.  Dogs always come first!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pool's Open!

  The weather this past week-end was exactly as it should be for Memorial Day--HOT!  I pulled out the kiddie pool for the dogs, washed out the stink bugs (the bane of my existence) and gave the dogs a chance to play and cool down.
  The puppies and Dixie got the pool first.  Or, I should say, Jackson got the pool.  He was in there as soon as I started to fill it.  The other dogs hardly got a chance!  He was drinking the water, splashing, grabbing the toys.  The others cautiously checked out the new yard addition, but weren't as enthusiastic as Jackson, or maybe they didn't want to be in the water that Jackson had quickly muddied.  Treasure was more adventurous, but quickly abandoned the pool for a game of chase with Dixie.  Gemma put her muzzle in the water and all of the dogs put their feet in for a few minutes.  Dixie mainly wanted the toys that I had put in to float.
  Then it was the adults' turn.  Sadie, surprisingly, didn't want to be in the water at all!  She was our "bathing beauty" as a puppy and was featured in a YouTube video.  On Monday, Sadie would only put her muzzle in the water and blow bubbles.  Lauren put one foot in the water, then jerked it out as if the water was scalding.  No more pool time for her!  Gibson enjoyed himself.  With the new confidence he has developed since taking agility, he couldn't wait to see what the big blue thing was I threw over the fence.  Then, he tried to bite the water coming out of the hose as I filled the pool.  He was the first one to try out the water, splashing and snuffling.  I think we should buy him a snorkel set!

Jackson commandeers the pool

And has a great time splashing!

The puppies try it just to get to the toys

Treasure finds a prize!

Dixie isn't sure she wants the toy that badly.

Even though the water is rather muddy, Gemma enjoyed dipping her face in it

Sadie snuffles while Lauren cautiously checks out the pool

Sadie tries dipping her toes in.

Gibson enjoyed splashing!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dog Days

  The last two weeks have been very busy times for the dogs.  We hosted an Ice Cream Social and Fun Match for the Northern Virginia Collie club last week-end, and almost every spare minute was spent getting the property, the kennel and the dogs ready for the event.
  We did take a break for some fun, and took Jackson with us to the Reston Pet Fiesta on May 7.  It was very crowded and a bit hot.  We did get some nice samples of dog products, one of which was a treat that Jackson really liked and would put him into "show mode".  After the Pet Fiesta, we went to Casanel Winery to relax and have an early dinner.  They now occasionally offer meals, prepared by a chef from a great restaurant.  We enjoyed individual pizzas, good cheese and a pate.

This Newfie knew where to spend the day at the Reston Pet Fiesta!

Jackson meets an admirer at the Pet Fiesta

Jackson at Casanel

  The next week was spent intensely preparing for the Ice Cream Social.  I was in charge of the raffle and had contacted dog companies for prizes.  The generous donations started to arrive that week--it was like Christmas!  Our UPS driver is now on a first name basis with me.
  All of our preparations were going along quite smoothly, but there was one key element we couldn't control--the weather.  The forecast called for rain and thunderstorms for all of Sunday.  We decided to make the call on postponing the Social a last minute decision.  The day started cloudy, then cleared and the sun came out.  The Social was a go!  The turnout was about what we expected and the day was a blast!
  I entered Gibson in two of the Match classes--Best Muzzle and Best Expression.  He was second in Best Muzzle!  It was a good dry run for him getting back into the show ring as it was very much a show atmosphere, just very relaxed.
  Lauren even got to show again.  A neighbor's granddaughter wanted to try Junior Handling but didn't have a dog.  I threw a show collar and lead on Lauren and off they went.  Even though it's been over three years since Lauren has shown, she knew exactly what to do and loved every second of it!
Just a few of the raffle prizes.

Gibson, back in the ring!

Lauren, happy to be showing.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The New Gibson

  I enrolled Gibson in a Basic Agility class in March through the Dulles Gateway Obedience Training Club and now we're taking a Just for Fun Agility Class.  What a difference this has made in him!  He's much more confident and is overall a happier dog.  He plays more with the dogs at home, has a twinkle in his eye and is mischievous like he was as a pup.  He's more relaxed when we take him to public places and is interested in the activity around him instead of being nervous.  We're hoping this new confidence will transfer to the show ring and have entered him at the Mattaponi Kennel Club shows in two weeks to see what will happen.
  Our Just for Fun Agility class just started this past week.  There's only five dogs in the class, Gibson had lots of run throughs in an hour!  He was pretty tired by the end of class and I had lots of exercise, too!  David was on vacation last week so he came along to watch and take pictures.  We ended a fun evening with dinner at Doener Bistro.  Gibson got his share of my doener and fries, of course!
  There's more pictures of Gibson on the Hillcroft Collies Facebook page.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Treasure at the Races

  Our spring family tradition is to go to the Point to Point races held at the historic Oatlands Plantation.  We usually take a dog with us, and this year, it was Treasure's turn.  
  Treasure is our out-going, super confident puppy.  She's also very opinionated, often very determined to do as she wishes.  The races were an excellent experience for her, meeting other dogs and learning she couldn't go just where she pleased--the food table, especially!  
  Treasure was unusually interested in the actual races, it seemed she was watching the horses come down the stretch in front of us and knew when each race was finished.  She had one especially close encounter with a horse.  The race official was visiting the group next to us, getting some refreshments, and walked his horse right up to our row of chairs.  He allowed his horse to get closer and closer to us (we were wondering if she was a "lap" horse!).  Treasure definitely had to introduce herself!  She bounced about the mare, tail wagging, then went into play bows, trying to entice the horse to play. Treasure was especially fascinated with the horse eating grass.  She must have thought it was some type of game!  She acted like the horse had a tug in her mouth, then she searched through the grass, hoping to find a toy of her own.   By this time, the horse was definitely too close to us.  I realized the rider's "refreshments" may have been impairing his common sense a bit, and pulled Treasure by my side after the horse started tossing her head and raised a hoof in our direction.  The rider assured me his horse loved dogs, but I wasn't taking any chances!

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's April 18!

  Which means, Lauren's puppies--which is why this blog started--are now three!  Happy Birthday Gibson and Sadie!!!  And of course, also to Fiona, Jewel, Twister, Macallan and John Paul!
  Gibson and Sadie were very excited to hear that today is their birthday.  It was my tone of voice that caused the excitement and not the date, but still we had to commemorate the day.  Gibson and Sadie got extra play time in the yard before being joined by Lauren and Dixie.  They also got extra belly rubs and nose kisses.  They should have had birthday baths but with the amount of rain we've had and coming up this week, that would be a waste of time!
Whatever the occasion, Sadie loves to run!

Gibson tries out a Pointer stance

Play with the ball or jump over the branch?  He didn't do either one!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's Good to Be Home!

  Jackson had his first trip away from home.  He was in northern NJ last week with Ellen for four shows. Jackson didn't come home with points, but it wasn't a bad trip.  I was afraid he might get mopey, as he's very much my baby.  But for most of the trip, he ate well, interacted nicely with Ellen (except for a couple grooming issues) and showed for her in the ring.  Jackson didn't show on Saturday as he had had a bout of diarrhea, then wouldn't eat for a day.  It might have been a touch of something, ring nerves, a small bout of homesickness or a combination of all three, but within 24 hours he was eating again.
  Ellen said he never acted like he felt bad, his tail was always wagging.  But, as a growing boy and a bit on the thin side anyway, the episode stripped off the weight gain we had managed to put on him since January.  Sunday's judge said he was "horribly thin".  We had tried increasing his puppy food during the winter to put on some pounds, but that caused an upset to his system.  As soon as Jackson came home, we tried mixing his puppy food with a cup of adult Evo.  That seems to be working.  He's had some minor digestive upset with the new food, but he's gaining weight already.
  We drove to New Jersey on Sunday to watch Jackson show and bring him home.  We were so pleased with how he showed for Ellen!  I think they'll have fun together during his championship journey.  I was afraid I could distract Jackson by sitting ringside, but he was (almost) all business in the ring.  He certainly enjoyed himself--most of the pictures I took had a blurred spot on his tail as it moved non-stop!
  I kept Jackson with me until we knew if he would be back in the ring for Winners.  He was so excited to be with me again.  He put his front paws on my lap, laid his head against by chest, then buried it under my arm, wanting a hug.  When I took him outside to our car, he surveyed the parking lot, seemed to recognize the Sequoia, then jumped up against me, wrapping his front paws around my waist.  He wouldn't let go--just kept hugging me and jumping up and down!
  On Tuesday, Jackson and the puppies were reunited in the yard for a day of play.  They seemed to miss their cousin over the week-end.  As soon as they were together, all four started wrestling with Jackson, pulling on his fur and tackling him to the ground.  He was good, as always, about being their chew toy but also led them on a game of chase.  I made their afternoon by working in the kennels, moving gravel, then trimming the bushes outside their fence.  We all slept well that night!

New Toy Joy

Hmmm, which one to choose?

This one looks like fun...

...but this one smells nice.

The giraffe won out!

It's perfect for playing fetch!

Oops, it almost got away!

Happy Dixie!