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!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Good Day Out

  Gemma had a long, solo day with us.  Right after breakfast, she was plopped into the tub for a scrub down for the big day.  She is still not crazy about the forced air dryer, is better about having her nails filed and is easily appeased with treats!
  She didn't like traveling alone and expressed her displeasure both vocally and getting car sick.  Our first stop was to Pat and Rich's house.  They donated a tent to our collie club, along with some other items for the upcoming Ice Cream Social.  They live with Duncan and Gemma's aunt, Fiona,  two dogs from our breeding who have the most wonderful home!  We had a very nice visit and Gemma had some time to play, explore and chase the birds.
  Then, we went to the Super Pet Expo to spend the rest of the afternoon.  The Dulles Expo Center was packed with vendors, people and dogs.  We wanted to talk to as many vendors as possible to solicit donations for the raffle at the club's Ice Cream Social.  Our first vendor was Natura, which makes the food our dogs eat.  The vendor exclaimed over Gemma's coat and when I said, she only eats Innova puppy food and her adult relatives only eat Evo, he was more than happy to tell me who to contact to get a donation!
  Gemma was very excited, of course, over all the smells, new dogs and people.  She learned at the Natura booth that samples were on the table.  After that, she jumped up on every table to look for more goodies!  She was very good about the new experiences, wasn't startled at anything, not even strange dogs suddenly appearing from behind to sniff her out.  I did find Gemma hard to control when we first arrived, she wanted to go to every booth RIGHT NOW!  She pulled on her leash, wouldn't walk in a straight line and would suddenly dart in front of me to see if the item on the floor was a discarded treat.  Then, we stopped at the Intracell booth.  He was promoting a product called The Stick, with versions for both people and dogs.  We had a massage with the people version, then Gemma had her own with the dog version.  She stopped hopping around and really enjoyed it!  After that, she was much calmer and walked like a perfect puppy!  This is definitely on our shopping list for the dogs.
  Gemma tried out a toy, the Physipet and enjoyed it, so that goes on the wish list, too.
  We bought two new toys for the yard, ones I think Dixie especially will enjoy.  We didn't get home in time for everyone to get time in the play yards so the new toys will have to wait until tomorrow.
  Gemma slept almost all the way home!  She must have recognized when we turned onto our road as she suddenly sat up in her crate and started fussing.  Back in the kennel, she acted like she wanted to tell everyone about her adventures!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Such Help!

  It's a beautiful, early, spring day!  After a couple days of rain and clouds, it's been sunny and warm.  It's also made us see all the chores that need to be done in the kennel after the winter!
  We still need to cut up and haul the remainder of the wood left over from taking down the trees in the fall.  David couldn't get the chain saw to start--after a winter of hard use, it must need a service treatment!  So instead of cutting wood, we worked on the vines and weeds that have already started growing around the one play yard.
  Even though the ground is pretty saturated, everyone's out in the yards today.  The warm sunshine made their energy levels spike!  We worked next to the yard that the five puppies (Jackson, Treasure, Ref, Bijou and Gemma) were in.  In between bouts of wrestling, the puppies were very helpful with our chores!  As we clipped the vines from the fence, they were right there, inspecting our work, pulling the vines and pointing out spots we had missed!   Treasure, who is quite vocal, frequently had an opinion on the quality of the work, along with her displeasure of her siblings taking naps.  Jackson was very good natured about being the chew toy of choice for his cousins, as well as being the chief vine puller.  Gemma was more of a supervisor than a laborer and spent much of her time chewing on the water bucket and making it roll across the slope of the yard.  Ref thought the best place for him to be was right where we were working--despite the snips of clippers and debris falling from the tree above him!  Bijou found the whole project exhausting--she slept so soundly that she didn't even rouse from being poked by the other pups.
  The seniors slept most of the day in the wonderful sunshine.  A day like this brings out a lot of foot traffic on our road, plus more cars on the way to the neighborhood winery. The rest of the dogs spent their time notifying us of the increased traffic and discovering the toys that had been neglected during their absence from the play yard.  I don't think Dixie knew what to do first--play with her frisbee or race with Sadie!
  This upcoming week promises more days for play.  I know the dogs will appreciate it!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Protector???

  Nothing has been as motivating to inspire me to lose my (many) winters' pounds as the prospect of becoming a grandmother followed by the wedding of our younger son.  I wasn't that motivated when our older son got married but for some reason this time I really want to shed those extra pounds.  We started hiking at Ball's Bluff, thinking it would be a great conditioning program for Jackson, but it's been very good for me, too!
  I recently saw a big dip in the scale and decided I didn't want to wait for the week-end to hike through the park again (the only time David can go with me).  We discussed whether it would be safe for me to go solo during the week.  The park abuts a neighborhood but once deep in the woods, civilization seems far, far away.  David thought it would be perfectly fine for me to hike alone.  I thought I should be cautious and call him as I was starting my hike, tell him which colored trail I was taking and then call when I was back in the car.  He thought I was overly cautious--actually, I think the word he used was paranoid!
  I decided today was a good day for a hike and took Gibson along for added protection.  Jackson is in pretty good condition now and is such a happy go lucky guy that he would try to make friends with any potential boogey-men!  Gibson is big and muscular.  Most people are wary of approaching him, especially if he starts to bark.
  I called David shortly before I got to the park, told him which trail I had decided on and about what time I thought I'd be finished.  He told me to enjoy my outing and not worry.  Imagine his surprise when I called him after the hike to say I encountered a van full of "bad men"!  Of course, I was startled too, to come around a curve in the path and find several men in striped jumpsuits--a Work Release crew from the Sheriff's Department!  They were hauling the debris from the downed trees into a trailer.  Gibson was fine with the inmates but not with the trailer!  He tried to bolt when they passed us on their way back to the parking lot.  They were off-loading the trailer by the time we got back to the car.  I thought Gibson was ready for a drink and I was certainly ready to sit a bit.  I opened the back of the Sequoia to perch myself and Gibson immediately jumped up beside me.  He plastered himself against me, shaking, as the men finished dumping the limbs.  Once the trailer rattled past us once again, Gibson relaxed, then started to look around as if to say "Yep, all secure, she's safe.  I've done my job"!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Treasure's Turn

  Today's nice weather had us heading to Ball's Bluff again for a hike.  We took Jackson and Treasure on our outing and had a much longer hike than last time (much to Treasure's dismay).  It was a good work out for Jackson but perhaps a bit too much for Treasure.  Her tail stopped wagging shortly after we hit the trail!  But, she was a trooper and persevered, even though it was apparent she'd rather be napping.  She did find some good scents to investigate and there were a few people on the trails to pet her.  We finished our trip to Leesburg with a stop at Home Depot where she got lots and lots of attention, plus a treat from the cashier.  It was a great day out for her!

Jackson on the trail


Jump over the log!  You can do it, Treasure!

Hmmm, something smells mighty good!

My babies!

I seem to be having quite a serious conversation with Treasure!

Exhausted Treasure

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Back to Work

  One of the many lunch topics Ellen and I chatted about yesterday was shows for the puppies.  We decided to let the younger babies stay home a bit longer and just take Jackson out.  He's going to go to a set of shows in NJ in late March and then be closer to home in April.
  I've been concentrating on Treasure, Gemma and Ref but now it's time for Jackson to get back into the more intensive groove.  Long walks as often as the weather allows, some hikes at Balls Bluff, lots of time on the grooming table...I feel like I should have a whistle and clipboard when we're in training mode!