Sunday, November 30, 2008


Another show weekend ... another Sunday night of exhaustion. Karma stayed the weekend with her owner Adine and Raimi was beside himself.

We were trying to decide what he most resembled and it's a toss up between the jock in high school that tries to impress the cheerleader with "I benched 200 today" ... or he's the super annoying drunk guy at the bar who just won't quit hitting on you. Either way ... it got old fast.

Poor Karma got hardly any rest which isn't good because ...

... she does not enjoy the show ring. She did so well at her first show but has derailed since then - we are not sure why but think it has something to do with separation from her family while with being with a handler. We have come up with a formula that will gradually teach her that shows are not awful, do not involve being put in a handler's set up and is always positive.

I will show her until Adine is comfortable doing so herself - the best case scenario because of Karma's attachment to her. Until then I will take her in and Adine will be right outside the ring and every time she comes out lots of praise and treats from Mom.

Karma is like Halo. The more pressure you put on her the more she shuts down. The second Halo gets corrected, instead of taking the correction and altering the behaviour, you get the opposite reaction. You get flipped the dewclaw. No. Screw you. Won't. And now that I'm annoyed ... I'm going to make you look stupid.

Karma - unlike Halo - needs familiar things around her. Some dogs don't, Halo will settle into any situation in stride and still show perfectly, but Karma, who is obviously still young, definitely does not appreciate being left with a handler and kept away from her family. She wilts, gets depressed, and makes backward strides.

So today was a huge leap forward for her. She got reserve which she was not able to do the previous two days, she looked happier, and hopefully she has started thinking maybe this isn't so bad after all. Her next show is in February so there is a lot of time to mature, practice and prepare for a new year of showing.

Friday, November 28, 2008


I *think* Leeloo is getting bigger. She's taking up more room it seems. She's definitely gained weight ... she eats like a pig. All limbs and no body - it's a wonder she can coordinate all those pieces.

At night we have yet to finalize our sleep arrangements. Seriously, this dog takes her damn time about getting comfortable. And the noises she makes ... well ... they are half frustration and half satisfaction and always annoying.

She likes to sleep ... close. Real close. Like, under my neck or on my head. Raimi also likes to sleep near my shoulders, I'm pretty sure it's because the pillows are super duper cozy and the fold of the comforter sort of envelopes his head. It can get a bit crowded. If I want to turn over it's a bit of an ordeal.

I've started call Leeloo 'Peck'. She's so small compared to Raimi it reminds me of the movie Willow. Madmartigan calls Willow a 'peck' which is a derogatory term for the little people - Leeloo is so naughty anything derogatory will do at this point. Although ... I can't think of an especially naughty thing in the last 24 hours so I suspect she is improving.

Currently Peck/Leeloo is chewing on her hind leg and moaning in annoyance. I can't imagine what is going through her brain but for some reason having legs is annoying her. Raimi is tired after our walk and was trying to relax on the couch but all the noise and kicking over here has driven him to the loveseat. Poor Boy.

We took a walk tonight and Leeloo is much improved. Although she has now decided that when she is sick of walking she makes her way up someone else's front path. It does take some convincing that we are only a block from home. She has stopped trying to head into the immediate neighbour's yards now and knows which is ours. She pulls ahead and starts her bounce when she knows we're close.

What a cute Peck.

Sisterhood of the Travelling ... Dogs

Halo has settled into life in the Coogan household in Utah very well. Like I expected anything different. I remember when Erin got Halo to show her to her American championship; Halo had last seen Erin's house when she was 9 weeks old but she still remembered, 2 years later, where to go to get outside.

Here she is on the couch with her niece London and her son Zero. To me it looks like someone made Curled Sleeping Ridgeback molds, painted them different colors and put them on a shelf. Big blowout sale on Ridgebacks! Buy one get one free! Mix and match! You break you buy ...

And here with London(right). Family resemblance anyone? That's Halo's "With the camera AGAIN?" look. Halo has had her picture taken a lot ... it's old hat for her. I can tell London would excel at the penitent ear clamming and apologetic looks that Halo has perfected.

Halo is just on the cusp of coming into heat and really ... what is better than a moody, sulky, sensitive and conniving bitch coming into heat? One that is 1000 miles away.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gun Shy

MOOoooOOOoooM ... you're so embarrassing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Get Smart

Leeloo is one smart cookie. I haven't really given her due credit since she's a puppy and puppies don't know anything. There is always a disconnect between what you want them to know and what they actually know and you can only hope to eventually meet somewhere in the middle.

When she arrived she already knew the word 'no' - something she obviously committed to memory since she responds to that word best of any command. A handy little thing I didn't have to teach her.

She is pretty well house broken except when I'm not paying attention. Last night she trotted up and down the hallway a couple times before I caught on and popped her out - it was a huge step in the right direction.

She is learning to stack for showing and caught onto that very quickly: stand still = get a treat.

She now waits for her food knowing it comes faster if you are not bouncing around impatiently.

She is pretty well lead trained except we've never walked without Raimi. Treats will come in handy when that needs to happen. If she balks I don't drag her - she seems to find that an insulting indignity - but if I stop, loosen the lead and allow her the choice she always walks forward without hesitation.

And for the last few walks she's done something that I initially dismissed as unlikely. Today I was proven wrong ... and right. We always take the same route to and from our walk around the neighbourhood. On our way back she has been turning up the path to the house two doors down and when I hit the end of the lead(because I keep walking knowing it's not our house) she digs her heels in. This one. I have to convince her it's not our house. Then we got to the house right next door to mine. Stop. This one. More encouragement. Then our house and she stops. Today she proved my initial impression correct. THIS ONE! And she pulled the lead out of my hand and ran all the way to the front step with glee. It was freakin' cute. She is teaching herself which is our house. Impressive.

I tell you - it's quite a change from Boy. Boy who I will always love for his adoring eyes and steady presence ... but Leeloo ... scary smart.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Over the weekend I had an epiphany about where to safely walk the dogs without fear of rabbits, roads, other dogs or anything else equally unpleasant.

Tennis court.

Fully enclosed, gated, level, large, open, and close by. Legal ... we'll just plead ignorance TFN.

I was walking them on Friday and for the second time a suicidal rabbit shot past and wouldn't you know it, straight into the school yard where I was planning on letting Raimi having a bit of a run. Thank gawd Halo wasn't with us or I'd have been faceplanted in the pavement after Leeloo tangled my legs and Raimi and Halo hit the end of the lead. It seems too that Raimi hasn't forgotten that a rabbit was there doing evil rabbity deeds so I had to think of another place that would serve our purpose.

I'm not sure why I didn't think of it before - no one uses the courts in the winter, too dark, not cleared and frankly I'm not even sure people use them much in the summer. They are a bare two blocks from my house and are right next to a garbage can so clean up is a breeze.
So for the first time we went to a tennis court to run and play. I took a toy for Leeloo to chase which Raimi promptly stole, squashing Leeloo in the process. Raimi ran back and forth kicking up the snow and half melted ice and Leeloo chased blowsy leaves across the court. I played with them for about 15 minutes until they waned toward boredom and then we headed for home.

Until something happens to stop the tennis court runs we'll be heading there - safe, secure, and probably against some sort of bylaw, but at least I'll know there is no chance I'll lose a dog to a rabbit dash.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Safe Passage

What I like best about The Boy.

Leeloo plugged in for a recharge.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

See No Evil, Hear No Evil

The face that looks innocent but this is simply a moment of calm - like the eye of the storm. Shortly after this I got on the phone and was competing with the wookie, yowling, whining play noises. They very accurately time it to interrupt me needing to hear.

They also alter the pitch depending on how important it is that I can hear. This is the sort of play that requires the wookie noises. Raimi is going for the jugular while Leeloo is trying to rip off his ear.

Doesn't he look innocent? She still has his ear but I'd wager the loss of her leg would slow her down more than his loss of ear. It's not like he listens well to begin with. At least with her leg in his mouth he is less likely to make those gawdawful noises.

A smug cat. I can safely assume that if I were to ask her about the puppy she'd say "What puppy?"

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lord of War

Raimi and Leeloo now play very well together - despite the ridiculous noise they make. Raimi lies on the couch and entices Leeloo with his manly love nibbles.

Then there's the typical stand off with them eyeballing each other with lips slightly raised and wrinkles in full force. A fake out lunge usually occurs after this sort of display and then the real fun begins.

It's not like she didn't know he was there. I like the crazy ear flap and the open mouth of surprise but the white of her eye is a nice touch. Adds to the drama of the moment.

She got her own back. Thwap! Right in the kisser. Not that Raimi noticed. What is it with Ridgebacks and foot waving?

More eye white and some baby teeth action. Raimi, you may notice, is holding onto her leg, not that it makes any difference considering he outweighs her by about 70 pounds.

Here's the Big Tough Boy demonstrating his big tough show. Her head could easily fit in that great maw ...

And the rawhide bone they are constantly vying for. I don't know what the obsession is with this bone but I'll be glad to see the end of it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bring It On

The temperature here is hovering around -5 Celcius which is a bit too chilly for Leeloo and long walks - even being out for a few minutes had Leeloo shivering. I decided that since we couldn't go outside we'd head indoors for socializing.

Those large chain pet supply chains are a blessing because they are huge, have lots of good smells, people freely approach your dogs, are relatively safe, and your dog can meet and greet to their heart's content. A few unobservant people asked if Raimi and Leeloo were the same breed, I got the typical "Is he, uh, large for a Ridgeback?" and everyone always fawns over the puppy. A few treats bought and we were on our way home.

They have established a pretty relaxed relationship now and are very tolerant of each other - well, it's mostly Raimi's tolerance. Leeloo has figured out that Raimi can't reach her if she stands under him and so when they play she is between his front legs grabbing his neck a lot.

This is his annoyed but tolerant face. This was Night One and he was not sure he wanted this ... thing ... lying on him. He seems to have realized she is as much, if not more, fun than Halo because Leeloo will play any time you goad her. Halo won't.

Leeloo blends in with my decor very well indeed. She matches my cabinets almost perfectly - if she stood very still in the kitchen(unlikely) I practically wouldn't see her.

This is her looking adorable. See those big round browns? Her duct taped ear was replaced with purple hockey tape (I ran out of duct), I think it's very pretty. Her cock-eyed ear, which is only cock-eyed sometimes, is being trained to behave itself, much like Herself.

More bone chewing. This particular bone is pressed rawhide, a clear winner in the toy department. Halo can get through almost an entire pressed bone in about 2 hours which is why she is only ever given them supervised. Leelo's teeth and jaw are not strong enough to remove large strips so she mostly sucks on it. It has been interchanged between dogs ad nauseum and the bark bark bark of frustration when Raimi has it and Leeloo doesn't is usually during my favorite shows.

This seems to be a particularly favorite mode of sleep for Ridgebacks. Like fallen dominoes. Puppies amaze me with their ability to fall asleep in almost any position. They are so elastic that they look like they should be incredibly uncomfortable and yet they are comatose. Even Raimi all squished up doesn't look like he would be that cosy but he'll sleep like that for hours.
Tomorrow, assuming my computer is powered again, I will regale the epic battle for the rawhide bone. It was something to behold, and hear, for about 2 hours last night. You can only turn the volume on the TV up so far.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Dark Knight

Chalk up one almost successful trip to the almost quiet dog park and we are back to walking around the block. Needless to say I am so SICK of other people’s bullying anti-social dogs. People seem to view a roaring snarling approach to Raimi as ’just playing’ and I see it as bad etiquette. A dog approached Raimi, scared him, chased him, I called him in, and as he passed me I roared toward the chasing dogs and headed them off. Meanwhile poor Leeloo’s like WTH? (she’s too young to use big swears yet). I told off their owner and we headed home.

My dog is in danger all the time at the park. He is always under threat because of his testicles. Raimi is generally submissive but recently I’ve seen his behaviour and approach to dogs change because he gets challenged by most males he encounters. I realise he is growing up and into an adult intact male Ridgeback which makes me more concerned because one day, if he gets pushed too far, he may use his considerable strength and size and challenge back. It also concerns me that my big sweet boy’s personality is being altered by external circumstances.

Can’t have that.

So, back to the school yard, the walks around the block and the pull pull pull of him wanting more. He’s not the actual problem but he’s the one who has to pay. The bullies get to do whatever they want. I hate that more than anything. I guess I have a choice – I could neuter him right? Oh that’s right … can’t because he’s a show dog and his ‘job’ requires him to have testicles. He has just as much right as any other dog to go to the park; he is well behaved, listens to me, is social, friendly, generally submissive, and non-threatening … but we are segregated.

Since it’s getting so cold and it’s so damn dark it’s not much fun at the park anyway and if it were summer we’d just head to the lower park where there are very few dogs. Right now that area isn’t lit at all so no way I’m going there. Leeloo can only go for short trips because she gets cold and tires fast so the combination of circumstances has us grounded. This weekend we’ll head out for a big romp and hopefully my inner banshee will not be required.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sleepless in Seattle

Last night - night two of hurricane Leeloo - was interesting. We had our first walk on lead which, in retrospect, was maybe not such a hot idea considering the freezing rain/mist/snow thing we had going on. With a non-lead trained puppy and a pulling sniffing Raimi it was a recipe for slippage and broken bones.

Leeloo was very good. I had treats to lure her but I only needed to employ that a couple times. What is it with puppies and their inexplicable need to put the 'absolutely no damn way' brakes on when you're crossing the street? She followed Raimi happily most of the time but a couple blocks from home she got a bit cold and tired and was braking pretty often. Fortunately she responds to treats in almost every scenario.

She is the very first puppy who has happily gone down the flight of stairs into my suite. I carried her the first night home however yesterday she trailed behind Raimi like she'd been doing it for years. The entrance to my suite is a flight down to what would look like a dead end to a dog but down she went and into the house no problem.

It sure is simpler with Raimi for her to follow and learn from. She cues off Raimi for most things like going out to pee, waiting for food, relaxing on the couch. I have never owned a puppy without another dog to learn from ... ever in my life. There has always been an established dog to teach the rules of the road to a puppy.

Bedtime was a bit interesting. She seems to be unsure of what she wants. She dug around by the pillow for a few minutes so I pushed her underneath and she lay down and went straight to sleep.(Yes - I did blog some time ago how I just could not have a dog under the covers but ... she's a baybeeeeee ... we'll have to see how it goes.) I could tell she was hot but she stayed there, gradually working her way down to my feet and then through the night she moved back up the bed to the pillow.

That's when things took a turn. For whatever reason in her puppy brain she could not get comfy. Again with the moan groans and shifting every couple seconds, then a huge sigh, then more whiney moans, then shifting again, then sighing ... then ... I sat up and took stock.

Problem: she loves the pillows. Love them. When I sat up she threw herself down onto the pillows the second I was out of the way. I get it ... okay I get it. They are down pillows, the good fluffy awesome warm kind. I can understand why they would have a lot of appeal to a little baby seeking ultimate comfort. However, I can't have her sleeping on my pillows because she will quadruple in size so I picked her up and popped her next to Raimi and miracle ... she fell straight to sleep again.

She has the same lack of contrite expression that Raimi does when she's being told off for something except hers is more "Why?" and his is more "Guh?" Although, Christina, with Leeloo's sister Boo, commented that her other Ridgeback Arwen gets upset when Boo is disciplined and Boo just goes "What?" Raimi is the same way ... his expression is a mix of "But but but but ..." and "You like her more than me." I am trying very hard to give him big loves since he sees her as a bit of a usurper.

Leeloo thinks he's the greatest ... so we are in agreement on that point anyway.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Well, shortly after I posted the previous blog about Leeloo the power cord to my laptop was severed by puppy teeth and now I have no access to anything stored locally on my computer such as photos, downloads and unopened emails. (So if you sent me an email I haven’t replied to be patient … it’s coming).

Leeloo was playing with the velcro attached to the power cord to wrap it all nice and tidy when not in use. She bit into the cord while I was shoving her away and saying “No!” which she of course ignored. The battery indicator came on the screen and then when I was shoving the puppy away yet again I noticed the cable was unusually hot. I assume it had shorted and a fire was imminent. Anyway, once the replacement cable gets dropped off by my super awesome geek squad friend Phil I’ll be up and running again.

The laptop is on it’s last legs anyway and needs to be replaced. It has a large amount of crumbs, dog drool, and animal hair under the keys, is missing the ‘Pg Dn’ and ‘CapsLock’ keys and doesn’t have enough memory anymore for the amount of crap I pile onto it. I was hoping it would last past Christmas and get replaced in the new year. As long as one naughty puppy stays away from it I think we’ll get through the next 7 weeks.

Leeloo is like a hurricane on Speed. There is little in her path that goes untouched. Cats, chairs, coffee tables, slippers, Raimi legs, bath mats, socks, couch, kitchen towels, live power cords … it’s all fair game. I was so tired last night I couldn’t think but wanted to give her time to wear herself out before bed. She, unlike Halo, never looks contrite, when you tell her off for something she looks at you like"Are you SURE?" and then tries it again just for good measure. Raimi was losing patience so eventually I said “Enough” and off we went to bed.

I was a little concerned because while she sleeps through the night in a crate without peeing I wasn’t sure about how she’d hold it for her first night on a bed. I needn’t have worried. I got settled in bed, sat her down, had a few words with her, made her lie down, had a few more words and it’s like the light just went out. She curled up in the crook of my legs and was asleep in seconds. It’s like when you’re running all day and you don’t realize how tired you are til you sit and can’t get back up.

She was so good all night, she woke up once to climb up really close to my head and … lie on it. We shifted positions so that she was not actually smothering me and was back asleep in moments. She makes the same moany groany noises that Raimi makes when he settling to sleep … sort of low rumblings and sighs and then contented sleep.

Basically I’ve owned Leeloo for about 24 hours and she’s already taken over the joint. Tonight is going to be our first official walk on lead and I’m sure she is going to embarrass me … good thing it will be dark out.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Incredible Journey

Leeloo is currently sleeping on Raimi after creating hurricane force winds through my house for the last hour. Halo, Raimi and I drove to Helena to meet Erin and pick up Leeloo, it was an uneventful ride as usual and Erin and her friend Betty made it safely with Leeloo and a few other dogs in tow, including Zero who is looking like a 15 year old boy(All limbs and no brains ...) The hotel was not aware of the numberof dogs we had but ... it wasn't exactly The Ritz ...

Introducing herself to Raimi with deference.

Feigned dis-interest in the bone.

Raimi trying to steal her bone 'on the sly'.

He manages the theft and she uses her wiles to get it back.

We headed back to Calgary and after 6 hours driving we arrived to 3 inches of snow and cold. I don't think Leeloo has ever seen snow but she doesn't seem to care much about it - for now.

It didn't take Leeloo long to figure out how the roll-a-treat ball works.

Raimi watches her antics with a baleful eye ... "What have you done?"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The New World

We are two days away from going to pick up Leeloo and drop off Halo. Both girls are in for a surprise!

Erin told me that Leeloo likes her food. She was a chubby little chicken because the litter was group fed and she clearly knew how to get more than her fair share. Now it's easier to monitor her food so controlling her gluttony should be simpler.

I can't show up with a fat puppy at the park because I've been hassling a couple puppy people about getting the weight off their dogs! Hypocrisy abounds!

The evidence of a chunky monkey - take a good look - she'll never look like this again! White toes! So cute! I just want to squeeze them!

She has an itch. Raimi is a pretty good nibbler and I'm sure he'll be so in love he will do that for her.

When you're this chubby it's easy to roll around. That's her sire Bing in the background trying to ignore his daughter's silliness.

What up Leeloo? Get used to having your picture taken.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

As Boys Grow

Looking through photos of Rosie yesterday got me thinking about The Boy. I didn't have the blog at the time I had that litter and so there aren't many pictures of him as he grew. Seatbelts everyone -there is no speed limit on memory lane ...
Here he is at about 15 days old - look at that fat head ...
Getting beaten up by little Kenya at about 3 weeks old - he has spent much of his life getting schooled by girls.

Here he is at about 4 weeks perfecting his Mr. Incredible routine.

By 5 weeks he was already taking on cows - this is all that was left when I found him.

Oh look - doing something silly - hindsight is 20/20.

By 7.5 weeks he was all charm.

He sure loved his sisters but that transferred to his mom and me readily enough.

At four months I was worried he'd get caught in a strong wind and fly away.

At five months I figured he was big enough he'd stay earthbound despite the ears.

You always forget the details of when they were small - it's hard to reconcile with what is in front of you now. What I remember most clearly about Raimi's puppyhood was that just looking at him made my heart melt. Still does.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Rose

Ah, from such sweet beginnings ... once again Rosie does well in stiff California competition and wins the Open Bitch class of 11 entries and takes home a Reserve Winners Bitch. She continues to improve everytime she is shown and starting next year she will hit the ring in serious contention to get her championship. It's taken her a few outings to 'get' this show thing but she seems to have picked it up really quickly ... just like her Momma Halo.

Rosie was the little spitfire in the litter and stood out like a firecracker. Naughty naughty naughty. She was personality plus and if Rosie was about there was never a dull moment. If there was something amiss she was probably the culprit. If there was something happening and she wasn't involved she soon would be. She stands out in my mind as the singular reason I thought I'd never have another litter!

I just knew this little trouble maker needed a home where she'd get the stimulation and 'Ridgeback understanding' from her owners. She is adored and spoiled by Virginia and Jon in California and they are continually proving my good judgement in picking great homes!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Splendour in the Grass

It's that time again - fewer attendees this time which is actually nice because its easier to keep track of the dogs!

Five month old siblings Kika and Emma will sleep like the dead.

Levi 'stole' a frisbee and played keep away from Rory.

Raimi doing what he does best: looking like a dolt.

Halo was naughty but what else is new?

Raimi and Rory well ... uh ... guys? Really.

The 4 boys had a rowdy ol' bachelor time.
Rory, Raimi, Tucker and Levi.

Kika and Emma going.
Tucker - Raimi' s only litter brother - taking a breather.

Kika and Emma coming.

I love this picture. The Boy and a boy (Zach).