Monday, May 31, 2010

Walking Tall

I'm going to do a short blog today because it was my first day back at full time work in a year and 6 weeks ... I am exhausted. I was up at 6:30am walking the dogs so at least they'd be tired during the morning and then after work they got a second walk with Raimi and Archer's brother Mungo. If you don't know who Mungo is you haven't been following Mungo Eats LA - how he and his family got from Argentina to Pictou County is a tale best told by his own blog. I'll explain a little more later but for now I will let you delight in this photo of me and Leeloo and Raimi on the beach on Sunday. I met with Sara Logan and her two Ridgebacks Kiki and Po, you may remember them from a couple walks last fall, and Rhonda who is a director for the RRCEC. Rhonda has a cabin near Pictou so we all met up to take the Ridgebacks for a run. Sara took some really great photos of the dogs and I'll post some of those later too. In the meantime you can finally see how tall I am ... or rather, how tall Leeloo is ...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Follow the Sun

Last weekend I was at my parent's house for the show in Amherst, remember all those frogs I took photos of and the jumping hopping dogs? I also took other photos of the dogs and I wanted to post them before I forget.

There is something about the light at the beginning and the end of the day that gives the illusion you are on the brink of something special. No wonder it's called "The Magic Hour'.

I have always had a love of the gilded by sunlight and silhouette photo, especially on dogs who sometimes seem to be made up of rays of sunshine themselves. Aquiring a balance to allow shadow detail without blowing out the highlights or background is tricky business.

Something in this photo speaks to me of a powerful but quiet strength. The Boy's constant and unwavering presence is a comfort at all times.

Made more precious by how darn cute he can be sometimes. "I am pointing Mommy!"  

And then there's Leeloo. 'Posing is for sissy's' says the Bubbalicious. But just look at those darling big browns - tomboy or not a bitch should look like a bitch. I think the reason I am so amused by her tomboy nature is because she looks so girlie! I just want to reach into the photo and kiss her silly head!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

What a beautiful day. Made more beautiful by the news that snow is falling in Calgary ... on the third to last day of May. We celebrated by going for a leisurely walk along the service road to stick to the shade since it's so hot. Fortunately there is a nice breeze to keep things a little more cool and to blow the black flies away. I forgot the camera but here are some photos from the other day I hadn't had a chance to post ...

Super Archer to the rescue!

Just try walking past runny deer poop and not rolling in it. Betcha can't resist.

Boy always like to give a little tongue, I know it's awfully forward of him but who could resist that face?

Leeloo isn't sure about a peck on the cheek, let alone some tongue. Archer is a polite kid though ... I raised him right.

Um, never mind. This is not the cheek we are referring to Archer. Teenagers; always thinking they know everything. Run Leeloo run!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Green Grow the Rushes

I managed to get a nice group shot of all the dogs. I'm not in love with the photo but Raimi just would *not* cooperate. I took about 10 photos and only 3 were acceptable to me - in most of them Raimi looked bored bored bored. Can't say I blame him, he was having a lovely time exploring the bushes when I called him over and made him stand for a whole 10 minutes while I took their photo. Poor guy. You can understand what a hardship this might be for him. Plus he's squinting which is just so annoying.

And then it was extreme playtime Ridgeback style.

Raimi rarely engages in such shenanigans anymore so he spent his time sniffing the wind and exploring the other part of the old orchard. He so grown up.

Esme had a gas through the trees as well and I think I managed to capture her glee pretty well. What a cutie pie. You should see her on the walks, all spastic energy keeping up with the big dogs. So cute.  

Nothing beats a good gallop through the bushes and trees though. Archer and Leeloo love to leap!

Archer is practicing to take over the regal pose from The Boy. He isn't quite there yet but one day he'll have the 'look' perfected. I think he's doing pretty well for a funny puppy!

Leeloo just can't stop that silly tail from doing silly tail things. Especially when she gets the scent of Something Interesting.

And those ears ... forever Leeloo ears will be a point of humour for me ... they are just so ridiculous!

Esme's sharp little eye doesn't miss much ... as long as it's above the grass height of 18 inches. She is forever 'losing' the Ridgebacks. Eventually they make a noise or come crashing past her and she's off on their trail until they lose her in the undergrowth again. Bloody Ridgebacks and their long damn legs.

Now, if only The Boy would pose like this under the apple tree. Just infuriating to see him put on his Really Big Show when he's not where I want him to be. Typical boy.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


For me, an Alberta grown prairie gal, seeing apple trees in bloom is a real kick. I am just in heaven walking along the green paths, brushing blooms and branches out of my way, seeing the ground littered with petals, being surprised by a burst of white fluttering as the wind grabs at delicate blossoms and smelling the sweet aroma of the flowers in fresh bloom. I didn't discover the winding paths of this abandoned orchard until the fall of last year so I missed the first glimpses of the apple blossoms that dot the countryside where we now walk on a regular basis. I aim to take full advantage of the experience this year.

The Boy's favorite activity is stomping about in the bushes and stopping in a regal pose. He pulls it off quite well in my opinion.

Like so ... The apple tree is right on the path we walk most often. It is just loaded with blossoms and the petals litter the ground. It really is the perfect spot for photo ops.

Archer was happy to oblige and stand for several photographs. I had to pose him carefully because he had rolled in some deer poop about 20 minutes before and it was smeared all up his neck.

Leeloo's apple bottom between two trees. Thank goodness there are no apples, she'd have a hard time choosing between deer poop and apples ... although I strongly suspect deer poop would win out in the end.

Even when I try to pose her properly under the blossoming trees she just doesn't look quite like herself. In person she looks so great but because she's such a tomboy she doesn't ever seem to photograph like the gorgeous girl she is. She too has deer poop smeared across her shoulders - that's my girl!

The only way to photograph Esme is on the paths that have short grass. I didn't get her photo under the pretty apple tree because by the time we got to it she was looking a little worse for wear since the grass was so wet. This is the beginning of the walk when she is still relatively dry.  

However, being shorter than the grass, and it being wet, makes staying nice and fluffy an impossibility. Photos are hard too because she just kind of ... disappears.  

I did manage a good posed photo under the tree with all of them but it didn't turn out because of the way I'd arranged them, they make the photo look crooked. Tomorrow, or possibly when the grass isn't as wet, I'll try to get a nice photo of them all under this tree before it loses all its blooms. For now thought we can count this as their practice photo!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Anniversary

Ever miss an anniversary and have to send extra flowers to apologize? Well, I should send them to myself. I missed my one year anniversary in Nova Scotia! Exactly one year and two days ago I arrived at my parent's house with all the beasts in tow. Look at how SMALL Archer is! He was exactly 8 weeks old in this photo. My Dad is all set with his coffee and we are just heading out to make the final 70km drive to my house in Pictou.

And one year ago yesterday I arrived at my new home. I cannot believe it's been a year. I feel like it was just a moment ago I was driving across Canada. The dogs trapped on their new deck are probably glad the fence went in reasonably fast!  

It's been a year of 'vacation' with beaches, forests, fields and frolick. All that ends next week when I return to full time work but I know the beaches, forests and fields will still be waiting after work and on weekends. The below photo is the dog's very first beach run ... they took it in stride, just like everything else.  

I have absolutely zero regrets about moving out here. I can't believe how lucky I am. The dogs, I think, feel pretty privileged too. Beating up Raimi in the grass, gilded by sunshine and smiles all around ... yup ... I think I made a pretty good decision!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jumpin' Jack Flash

Over the weekend I stayed at my parent's place and as usual I took the dogs for a walk. The property has two ponds on it, one is picturesque and one is ... not. They both, however, have frogs. I remember frogs from my childhood, about the size of a loonie, and very cute. The frogs here are like Super Frogs (but apparently they are just plain Green Frogs common to Nova Scotia). I took some photos and then backed away very slowly.

This frog is actually only about 2 inches away from my hand. It's got to be at least 6 inches from head to uh, tail. It even stayed where it was while Archer stood in the water a foot away and took a drink. The dogs never ever saw the frogs, Kermit's cousins would hop so fast into the water the dogs could never spot them - all they'd see was a splash.  
And here are the frogs nests. Or whatever they are called. Spawn? Eggs? There were at least 2 dozen 'pods' under water filled with hundreds of tiny little green eyeballs. It was so neat. See the frog in the upper right hand corner 'guarding' the nests?

The dogs must have been inspired by the frogs because they did some hopping of their own. Archer started them out jumping across a cut in the woods next to the pond.

Leeloo quickly followed. She was totally showing off for Archer and putting those long legs to good use.

Even Raimi was compelled to hop back and forth a couple times. He was not so into it as the other two so the half hearted look on his face is for my benefit.

Esme *really* wanted to make the jump but could not bring herself to attempt it. It showed good judgement on her part as it was a bit far for her little legs to carry her. Maybe one day she'll be Big.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Winner Takes All

I forgot yesterday to thank my mom for showing Leeloo for me during the Breed class. She did a very good job of not trying too hard although I'm not sure how much different 'trying hard' would have looked considering she has never shown a Ridgeback before! She did mention that making Leeloo look bad while gaiting was a near impossibility since she moves so well but she did a good job of only free stacking. Also thanks to my Dad for videoing me and my dogs - once I figure out how to get videos onto either Youtube or Facebook I'll post the link. Thanks to both for putting me and the hounds up for the weekend - it was a great little getaway as always!

Anyway ... yes, I'm that cheesy dog owner who takes photos of their dog with the most mundane ribbons. They are not big rosettes, don't come with  fancy prizes or win us any money but for me, a 5 point weekend with Archer is something to seriously celebrate. Here's me pointing at all his ribbons and there's him pointing back. He's so cute! Do I say that enough? Probably not.

He wanted to suck on the ribbons so the photo session was quite short. Those purple and yellow ones are three Best of Winners ribbons and the green and white is his Best of Opposite Sex ribbon - that ribbon gives him an extra point for beating a Special.

His response to all this is still "I got points, Mommy? Can I eat them?" which is pretty typical for this little guy. So instead of eating points he tried to eat the ribbons which in a way is the same thing. Did I already mention how cute he is?

Sunday, May 23, 2010


On the show weekends you expect to win you don't and when you don't expect to win you do. Such was the case this weekend. My goal, to be honest, was to get Archer's 2 point win and maybe pad it with another point or two, making the least I wanted to leave with being 6 points total for Archer after this weekend. Well, he did that and more.

In the morning show Leeloo lost like she was supposed to (Pearl did not make the drive today) and Archer won another point so we were now successfully on the 6 point goal. In the afternoon show we had to work for our winnings that's for sure! Our judge was Robert Whitney, a well known All Breed Judge. I'd never shown under him before and had no idea what he'd do. Well, he liked my little guy that's for sure. He made us move again, and again, and again and eventually he awarded Archer Best of Winners and Best of Opposite over a group winning special! Yay Archer!

So now I have a dilemma of sorts. He is currently on 8 points. The next show we intend to enter is in Canning in 5 weeks but it's a limited entry show and I already entered Raimi and Esme. Cost of show entries aside, I cannot show both boys and they are not really good dogs to hand off to any one else - they are too Mommy focussed. So Canning for Archer is out.  We were going to go to a show on PEI in July except that is the weekend some friends from Alberta are visiting. There are another couple shows in New Brunswick but I am starting a new full time job and I can't get the time off required (looks bad don't you know?) So that puts us to Cape Breton at the end of August but again, I would prefer to show Raimi, not Archer as the only class entry (a very good chance of that).  Halifax is the following weekend and after just doing two show weekends in a row ... I'm not super keen on that especially since both shows are 'away' (it's truly exhausting and I don't know how handlers do it). Then the PCKC show in Trenton, another 4 shows in 2 days ... Archer or Raimi? Tough call. Our last show of the season (or rather: that I intend to enter) is Truro in October and then after that it would be another 6 months at least before he is shown again! 

So ... 2 points is so close ... and yet so far away! I never expected him to be this far along this soon so I am a bit lost as to what I want to do. It's a really nice problem to have though!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Point Break

It's always nice when things go according to plan. Pity that doesn't always pan out. The intent this weekend was to get Archer's two point win out of the way. A two point win is required by the CKC because otherwise you could single point your way there and be done without ever having to really beat more than one dog and let's face it, you could put out a sway back old gaffer and point your young hot shot off it and voila ... Championship. As it stands each point Archer has earned has been hard fought and not an easy road.

He's a nice boy, you've see the pictures, but Mr. Fancy Pants is about 20 pounds lighter than his competition, not as well trained(whaaaaaat?), and on occasion his little brain suffers minor overloads while in the ring. All things that will correct with time but for now he is not really what a real show person might call 'competitive'.

However, despite all that he won 2 points today! Of course he was delighted and strutting about like he owned the place; teenagers, can't live with 'em ... well, you could live without them but then who would we laugh at? Leeloo won the bitch points which neither she nor Pearl needed (HUGE thanks to Doralee for making the drive!) and then Archer went on to win Best of Winners. Phew.

For the afternoon show I suspected that our judge, Mr. James Reynolds, would like Leeloo. I know Leeloo's movement is just like watching a ballerina float across the floor but hoped he would be swayed by the white. Not so ... Leeloo won Best of Winners which she didn't need leaving Archer with nothing. My Dad, who was watching, was convinced Leeloo was in line for the Breed win but since I'd given my mother explicit instructions to not try and beat me with Leeloo (that included Breed!) she was simply put up over Archer. Drat!

Ah well, I will file away information on these judges for next time and perhaps one day when the time is right I will bring Leeloo out for a fun game of Specials! For now though I am chipping away at Baby Archer ... he's just so darn cute!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Another dog show this weekend, just like last weekend only Leeloo is also entered. We'll see how Archer gets on, I know he's a beautiful little boy and will get there eventually, he's just got to grow into himself - we here at Invictus love him anyway despite his naughty behaviour!

I like to get the dogs out for a nice walk prior to a show weekend to remind them they are dogs and this is what they're really about.

Then we spend 8 hours inside a hockey arena running around a ring and subjecting them to examinations from people they've never met before and pound across rubber mats set on concrete.  

They tolerate this complete nonsense because we ask them to and rarely do we find them complaining about such goings-on.

When really, all they want to be doing is exploring the woods, chasing each other in the fields, flushing pheasants and eating deer poop.

After the show I'll take them out again so they can return to that natural state which made me fall in love with them all in the first place. A nice win is a nice win, but at the end of the day my dogs enjoying the freedom of the moment is something no ribbon can replace. It may sound trite and cheesy but it's the doG's honest truth. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bedtime Stories

When I headed to bed last night the dog were all missing. Usually I spend a bit of time on the computer before bedtime and the dogs hang out in the livingroom with me. Not so last night.  I didn't think anything of it because I knew they were in the house somewhere and it's not that big a house!

After logging off and preparing for bed I entered my bedroom to find Raimi and Archer in a compromising position. I believe Raimi to be the innocent party here and Archer is simply taking advantage of him.

It wasn't so much the spooning that had me giggling, it was this:

Gosh, I hope you're comfortable Archer.

My bed was completely overrun with dogs. Fortunately one of them is Very Small and takes up no space at all. Once I was ready for bed and got the night time dog cookies ready Archer put himself in his crate like a good little boy. You can see the rope bone toy Esme brought to bed and slept with the night before last too, she is now sleeping at the foot of the bed all night because two nights ago she balked at going into her crate and hopped onto the bed to be with everyone else. I caved and so far she is sticking to the 'stay on the bed all night and don't do anything naughty while I'm unconscious' protocol.