Saturday, July 31, 2010

Storm Cell

We are currently hunkered down waiting for the storm to pass. I think there's probably only another 24 hours or so before we can officially announce sunny skies and smooth sailing. And what, pray tell, kind of storm is this?

Why, a shit storm, that's what. The kind that has you stumbling around in the middle of the night doing laundry, uses up all your papertowel, involves liberal use of Lysol Wipes and bathing of dog bottoms. Oh yes ... it's the dreaded run of diarrhea.

What causes this incredibly infuriating event is usually a mystery but this time I think I have a handle on it. A few days ago Leeloo discovered Something Wonderful in the grass on our walks. Wonderful enough to remember it three days in a row. It wasn't the 'I need to roll in this' kind of wonderful, it was the eating kind. Normally I'd assume it was deer poop but because of the effect on her gastric system it was probably something more potent. My imagination has been on lockdown to prevent it from exploring the possibilities but let's just say no one eats anything else while on a walk if I can prevent it.

My first clue to this impending doom was coming home Thursday night to discover Leeloo attempting to climb out of the expen, something she has never ever done before. Her expression said "Get me out of here! Quick!" Once the smell hit my nose I knew why but what I was not prepared for was Boy's tragic condition.

He had been pooped on. And not just that, Leeloo's explosive diarrhea must have been a shock to them both because it was everywhere, all over the blankets and bedding, splattered up Raimi's side and even (gasp!) on the end of his nose. To say he was mortified is an understatement. I believe the common expression is "Just kill me now." He was drooling, cowering against the side of the pen, standing on three legs to avoid stepping in anything and looking at me for all the world as though life itself was ending. To say "Poor Boy!" is inadequate to how badly I felt for him.

Once everyone was outside I immediately grabbed papertowel, water, and Lysol Wipes and set to cleaning up Raimi first.  He seemed most grateful for the removal of the pooh from his nose. Leeloo stood for her cleaning and fortunately the other two didn't get caught in the crossfire. Everything in the pen went into the wash and Leeloo got a tiny bit of oatmeal for dinner.

Bedtime at about 10:30pm with Leeloo and Raimi on the bed. At about 11pm Leeloo started the Worry Walk. You know the one. Increasing levels of consternation and worry because they need to go out NOW and are concerned you won't notice in time. So I launched myself out of bed and Leeloo almost made out to the door in time - she leaked a little on exit - poor Leeloo. I shoved her out to take care of the worst of the issue. Back in again a few minutes later.

An hour later, without warning, she is off the bed and my carpet is covered in Leeloo diarrhea. It's ... tragic. So there I am pulling out the rug, rolling it up and tossing it outside to deal with at a later time. Leeloo spent the rest of the night in what I presume was a fitful sleep. Friday morning her poop was improving and I think we are out of the woods.

Not so. Because on Friday night I see that Esme is not eating her dinner. Huh. An hour later I find a very runny poop in my hall. It's Esme sized. Uh oh. We head off to bed and I think, but do not act upon the thought, that perhaps I should remove the freshly washed dog bed from my room just in case Esme's issue follows the same course as Leeloo's.

At about 2am Raimi is standing next to my bed and I can feel the waves of concern washing over me. I don't know what he wants but he won't walk around to the other side of the bed to lie down. I insist he climbs over me and we sleep. A short time later I wake up and think 'I know that smell'. Sure enough when I turn on the light there is runny poop everywhere. Not on the bed thankfully but all over the floor and the dog bed. More paper towel, more Lysol Wipes, more baggies to package them, and laundry in the middle of the night. I stuff Esme into her crate and crawl back into bed. Fifteen minutes later I am out of bed again cleaning up the vomit from inside her crate. Back into the crate she goes.

Morning brings a beautiful day and more diarrhea. Fortunately it has been contained this time in the crate but on the dog as well. The hairy dog. Outside she goes. Coaxing Raimi out of my bedroom was a bit of a struggle because he didn't believe I had cleaned up the mess from the night before. He finally tiptoed his way to the door and stood drooling outside in a distraught state. He won't eat his breakfast, I presume he's lost his appetite due to the never-ending run of poop he has had to deal with for the last 2 days. Esme got a bath this morning at 7:30am ... so not what 7:30am is designed for.

What is strange but good is that this bug has not affected either dog's activity level or their personalities. Both are happy, cheerful, and apparently unaffected by this issue except when they are suddenly struck by a dire need to 'go'. Leeloo's appetite was not affected at all and while Esme is not eager to eat she is drinking and as naughty as ever. This is not the first time this has struck my household and while I hope it is the last I am sure it won't be given the girl's propensity for finding things to eat on our walks.

Things like this happen. I don't get mad at the dogs, it's not their fault they eat garbage and end up with gut rot. They are dogs. Dogs do things like this and there is almost nothing you can do to prevent it other than not walk them - an option I am unwilling to explore at this time. I do need to learn to follow my instincts though. If I think they are done their explosive stage, they never are and should really be in a contained space in order to minimise the impact on my house and possessions.

I am hoping that Raimi and Archer are free and clear of this particular issue because they didn't eat whatever it was that Esme and Leeloo did. Honestly, if there is trouble in the henhouse, ask the bitches. People often want boys because they think they are tough - own a bitch once and you'll change your tune. They each get into more trouble than both my boys combined.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Leap of Faith

Never rush headlong into things, it can only get you into trouble. Look before you leap. Don't make assumptions. I can't recall ever meeting a dog who believed in any of the preceding philosophies. It never fails that Leeloo is the instigator of the inexplicable mad dash down the path. She disappears around a corner and the boys are rarely far behind. I don't often worry about her since her usual haunts are well known and I can get a handle on her location by the smashing and crashing noises coming from the bushes. However, it never fails to uplift my heart to see her embrace the unknown and throw herself into adventure without a backward glance. It's not a doctrine I particularly follow myself (although I have been known to be reckless) but apparently when you're a dog, it's the only way to fly.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Life Less Ordinary

There something remarkably peaceful about a lone dog on a path that leads into the wilderness. He trots along with absolute certainty toward an enigmatic future. Living in the moment and never knowing anything other that what is right here and now. An utterly uncomplicated life which believes that every breath and every heart beat is the only one that has ever occurred. A life less ordinary and yet more extraordinary than any life a human has ever known. His far reaching gaze sees beyond the every-day and accepts that his existence simply 'is what it is'. He judges nothing, challenges no one, loves unconditionally, gives selflessly, sleeps soundly, and lives completely.

Of course, on this journey through life, everyone must pause for a moment to take care of business.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

All in the Family

Family portraits are always so interesting. You don't often get everyone smiling or looking in the right direction at the same time or someone insists on wearing something that doesn't match anyone else or two siblings just had a fight and don't want to stand next to each other or you just had your hair done for the portrait and it looks awful or a kid lost a tooth or a teen has a zit or someone gets sick. You know the drill. My family portraits don't have any of those problems ... wouldn't you agree? And yes, everyone is in this photo, even the little black hurricane. Now now children, don't wrestle in the studio ...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Over the Hedge

It was a Manson/Zombie/NIN drive home today which means it was not a good day at work. I came home to discover yet another screw up which is completely out of my control and just drives home the utter lack of control I have over other people and their actions. Therefore it's going to be a short post today so I can get to True Blood and The United States of Tara. Watching other people's messed up lives always makes me feel better - even if they aren't real people. So here's a cute photo of a cute couple of dogs to brighten your day and mine. That right there is a Leeloo bum (note the absence of testicles) and way in the bushes right under Legs Herself is a little black fluffy bottom. Something Very Interesting must have been hiding in the bushes ...

Monday, July 26, 2010


Going to a show, winnings points and getting a new champion photo is all well and good but until you get that official certificate in the mail a championship is just your word against the CKC.  I live in fear of a letter telling me that one of my entries was incorrect, I miscounted the points, I didn't track it properly ... anything that means I have to dust off Leeloo and take her back into the ring. Fortunately that has never happened to me and hopefully never will. All Leeloo's hard work has come to fruition with the arrival of her New Championship certificate in the mail today. Yay Leeloo!

To celebrate she was awarded with an empty pea pod to crunch on. Doesn't she look thrilled to be an official Champion of Record? Those are her "Gimme the pea pod and nobody gets hurt" eyes. Her little white moustache is kissably cute. If you try to wrangle her for a cuddle or a kiss when she is concentrating on F.O.O.D. you get the evil eye and the "MoooOOOoooOOOm!" expression as she tries to shrug you off while never losing sight of the treat. One thing is for sure, this dog is focussed.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunrise Trail

There are points along the trail we walk on that the dogs know are extra fun. These are the places where they go all silly and stupid with running and leaping and wrestling. They have done it so many times that the grass has paths in it and sections are mashed down from where they throw themselves in a fit of happiness.

Archer likes to BOING his way through the grass and show off his leaping skills. That little dark patch of flowers/weeds/grass that Leeloo is cornering around is where they play ring around the rosie most often. You can just see Esme behind Archer, she is doing her level best Herding Dog attempt at keeping everyone together. Good luck with that Esme.

It tickles me to see Raimi have his moment of puppyhood. He plows through the tangled weeds as though they weren't there and the longer the grass is the sillier he gets. The other dogs always catch him because while he strong arms his way through the weeds they are leaping over and therefore are moving faster. When he senses they are close to tackling him, he throws himself onto his back and rolls around for a few minutes in sheer bliss while they bounce around him with exclamations of GOTCHA!

Leeloo is funny to watch. She doesn't appear to be trying very hard but Leeloo is of the 'work smart, not hard' school of thought. When the boys take off into the long grass she holds back and ambushes them when they come out. Here she is putting on the brakes while the boys race headlong into the brush. Those girls ... too smart for their own good.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Take the Lead

From where I park the truck I now have to leash the dogs because Leeloo got into the habit of taking off to annoy a dog down the lane and I'm quite sure barking at 7am is not high on the list of something neighbours love. We spent a few mornings getting used to being walked (insert swearing and dire threats of "behave or else" here) since they were so accustomed to bolting out of the truck. Now though they are rather good at walking on lead and behaving until we get to where the paths diverge and I can let them off lead. Esme is that little dot way ahead because she is not in the habit of taking off to annoy neighbourhood dogs.

Once we are into the woods though it's time to roar in and out of the bushes. Archer and Esme came barreling down the path - chances are if I can't see Esme she is with a Ridgeback. Fortunately if she loses track of them she finds me and waits for one of them to return - which they inevitably do.

There's Archer looking all swagger. The temperature has dropped to the low 20's so it's a much more comfortable walk these days. The deer flies are not as bad as they have been so I think their season is almost up ... not soon enough let me tell you.

It's a little depressing sometimes to take photos of gorgeous Leeloo and have them come out with her looking ridiculous almost every time. I guess it's part of her charm but that doesn't make it any less annoying. See that piece of grass? Only in a photo of Leeloo would that happen. Plus the expression on her face is ludicrous.    

Oh wait. Here's one that's not so bad. A rare moment of her waiting for me to catch up, usually she is off stomping in the brush. Fortunately stealth is not part of her repertoire so raccoons, skunks, porcupines, squirrels, rabbits, cats, chipmunks, pheasants, and deer all have plenty of warning. It doesn't stop her trying though.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Back to the Future

Well I'm heavenly blessed and worldly wise ...

I'm a peeping-tom techie with x-ray eyes ...

Things are going great, and they're only getting better ...

My future's so bright ... I gotta wear shades.

(Recorded by Timbuk3(1989) Lyrics by Pat McDonald)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Same Time Next Year

In the USA it's a big deal to have one of your dogs show well against their own breed. In Canada the Ridgeback entries are not very high so mostly we compete against other breeds - our statistics and breed rankings operate a little differently as a result. Although a winning record against other breeds is really nice it is said, by some, that winning against your own breed carries more merit. Comparing like to like can be harder than comparing apples to oranges. It can also be easier depending on how confident in type and structure you are and how familiar with a particular breed you have become.

I guess the arguement is that showing against your own breed makes it harder to stand out and forces the judges to look more closely at the dogs. However, with large entries it is very hard not to fault judge and it can be too easy to dismiss an exemplary dog if it's in the ring with several mediocre dogs.  Then again, showing against other breeds forces the judges to know their standards to be able to decide if this Ridgeback is a better Ridgeback than that Basenji is a Basenji. However, you run the risk of them choosing the 'generic show dog' because they do not have the skill or experience to know a correct dog when they see it. I think both levels of competition have their own merit and one does not necessarily trump the other.

Of course, when you have a Ridgeback currently standing in the top ten of the breed in the USA you can afford to be blase right? Not that I did more than whelp his litter and raise them - the bulk of the work has been done by his US owner Erin and his handler Juliet - but I can still boast a bit and promote the heck out of him. I am speaking, obviously, of Zero who as of June 30 was the #7 Ridgeback in Breed Standings. For every dog beaten he earns one point and so far he is winning breed at least once every weekend he is out. He is already multi-group placing as well and we are barely halfway through the year.

Here's to continued success for him and his amazing handler Juliet and for Erin who has gone above and beyond in promoting this fabulous dog.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Circle of Friends

Not really a dog post today because I just got some amazing news and just had to expound on the subject before I burst.

There is nothing like hearing the voice of an old friend to bring back the memories of yester year. One of my long time friends, Deena, just called to tell me that she is moving from Scotland to Boston, a mere 10 or 11 hour drive away. I know the visits we make may still be few and far between but distance and time mean nothing to some friendships. She is the kind of friend who, even if you haven't talked for months, simply picks up the friendship exactly where it was left months ago as if no time had passed. You dust off a few details, catch up on old and current events and fall into comfortable habits. It goes without saying that she will always have my back, can tell me like it is, knows me better than I know myself, and understands my strangeness and habits. It's part and parcel in a relationship with someone you have known for 19 years.

You choose friends and I know I have been utterly blessed with people in my life who decided to stay though thick and thin. Deena and I met in high school and although we were not immediately great friends through our early teens we became quite close in our grade 12 year. From there we maintained an intimate friendship despite long distance moves(mine), marriage(hers), another long distance move(hers), children(hers), dogs(mine) and another long distance move(mine). Some things you can't quantify and her friendship cannot be pinned down with mere font.

There are other influential friends who deserve mention, namely Tanja who I have now known through many many hard times and ups and downs for us both. We don't talk as often as I like and I'm still waiting for the day she announces she is moving to Prince Edward Island! It would be a dream for me to have my two best friends in the world on the east coast - selfish I know but dreams have been known to come true. Tanja is indescribably generous of spirit, puts up with much more in me than I deserve and she and I have plans to be sitting on a porch swing in our 80's and talking about the good old days.

An honorable mention, which may raise a few eyebrows, is Philip. He and I dated for years before finally allowing the relationship to breathe it's last gasp several years ago. Philip is almost certainly the person I have learned the most from in as far as character growth. He is the person I think of when I need advice that is uncolored by emotion. He is rational, logical and realistic but his advice is almost always spot on. Knowing him for the past 13 years has definitely improved my life and I am sure I added a little color, for at least a short while, to his.

Each of these people has managed in large part to shape the person I am today. If I'm doing something goofy that I probably shouldn't, blame Deena. If I seem strangely patient and understanding, thank Tanja. If I seem cold and indifferent blame Philip. It's a credit to these people for putting up with me for so many years. Here's to many more.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Miracle of Morgan's Creek

It always surprises me when people are surprised my dogs do not like water. Most people think all dogs love to swim but that is not true at all. Some dogs, like Pugs and Bulldogs, should never be near water deep enough to drown in. The Ridgeback's aversion to water is instinct based ... would you swim in the water on the veldt of Africa? Well, neither would your Ridgeback.

I know it seems incredibly mean of me to make the dogs swim but in fact I am teaching them a skill which does not come naturally to most of the breed. If you introduce a Ridgeback to water at an early age often you can teach them to like water and learn about it's cooling properties(particularly if you live somewhere hot) but usually even then they do not willing choose to go in it.

After seeing my friend Tanja's 5 month old Golden Retriever take to water like a duck in spring of 2009, I can see that although people might believe their Ridgeback is an awesome water dog, they just do not compare to a natural water dog. Learning to swim, for better or worse, is an important skill when you live near water and it is an excellent way to cool down in the heat wave we've been having. I also don't want them, under whatever circumstances might dictate, to end up in water and be blinded by panic. Raimi willingly almost floated in this photo and then changed his mind!

Archer is by far the best and most willing swimmer, something that actually surprises me since I thought Boy would be the 'anywhere you go I go' dog. Anywhere stops at about 2 feet of water. For Leeloo it's one foot. The expression on her face in this picture just slays me. "Mommy, this is by far the stupidest thing we have ever done."

They gazed suspiciously at the water and refused to go in further than this for the bulk of the day. You can see the swimming hole being fed by the creek under the bridge.

This is where the creek empties out of the hole. On days when it's too cool to swim but too hot not to want to wade in the water perhaps we'll take a walk down this creek.  We left the swimming hole refreshed, satisfied and tired and would have stayed longer but the horse flies were getting bad and with the dogs not going into the water there was no escape for them. Despite Leeloo's pouting I know she had a good time and next time we'll walk in the fields a little longer just for her. Just because she's Leeloo.

Monday, July 19, 2010


The point of a swimming hole is to swim. The hole drops sharply off about 8 or 10 feet in and the dogs would only walk into about their elbows, once they started to get buoyant they would back off. At the beginning I got Raimi and Archer swimming briefly but I had to hold their collars and they would panic a bit as their bodies sank into the water. It really is an amazingly effective way to cool them down and considering the 30 degree heat(in the shade) it was a blessing. Esme ended up swimming on her own for a bit but then stayed mostly in the shallows where she felt more secure.

However, getting them in to swim is a chore. If they dunk themselves by accident though, that is totally not my fault. Archer had crossed the shallow part up creek under the bridge and then waded toward me without realizing that there was an almost immediate drop off, he swam toward me and I pushed him toward shore. I was so proud of him for not panicking. Raimi, as you might be able to tell, stuck to the very narrow ledge along the bridge support and made it to 'safety' without actually swimming.

I'm sure Leeloo will never speak to me again after this little event. She came in close enough for me to get hold of her collar. Archer and Esme watch - I'm pretty sure they were trying not to giggle. I was standing on a rock ledge that ended in a drop off about a foot behind me.  

Leeloo found out about the drop off when she was buoyant enough for me to guide her over it and start swimming. I held onto her collar and put my hand under her tummy so she'd feel more secure(I'm sure she didn't) and told her it was okay and she was a good girl. When I let go she swam like a pro for about 2 feet and hit the bottom running. She stuck to the shallows from then on and was deeply suspicious of me calling her the rest of the time. Can't blame her! Doesn't Archer look like he's laughing? Poor Leeloo.

Raimi always came in close enough to check out my floating head.

But if I reached for him it was brakes on! I did get him swimming here, although there was no photo, but he is so much stronger than Leeloo or Archer I couldn't keep him in the deep water for very long.

I love this photo. Raimi was always so concerned for my safety. Not concerned enough to actually swim but concerned enough to get wet to the elbows. At least I know if I'm drowning in 2 feet of water The Boy has my back.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sink or Swim

I knew it was going to be a 30 degree day so I made plans with my friend Carrie to head to a swimming hole near her house. The dog's well known distaste for water was over ruled by the cooling effects of splashing around in the water and swimming. The pool is creek fed, about 8 or 9 feet deep and empties on the other side creating a winding creek which is absolutely beautiful. There is a hay field cleared nearby and frankly, if I had the money, I'd offer to buy the whole area. There is a farm house on the other side of the bridge from the pool but I don't know if they own the pool or the fields but apparently even if they do they don't mind people using it.

I'll start today with the photos of the dogs getting their feet wet and getting accustomed to seeing me in the water. Although, I don't think they ever thought my floating head made any sense.

Everyone had to taste the water and cool down with a drink. Raimi kept a close eye on me while he took a refreshing slurp. Raimi rarely, if ever, took his eyes off me the whole time we were there.

Esme accidentally swam when we first got there and spent the entire time trying to keep up with the Ridgebacks. She was whining and barking every time they went somewhere she didn't think she could. Usually it had to do with water depth!

Leeloo's tirade of 'This is stupid" began shortly after we arrived. I think she had fun but she made it clear it would have been more fun if she had been playing in the long grass of the hay field.

Raimi's cute worried face as he stares hard at Carrie ande her son Kyle while they swim. He just could not wrap his brain around their floating heads.

I'll end off today's post with the best photo capture of the day ... Archer coming in for a "Thank you Mommy!" lick. No problem Archer, I had fun too.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cool Runnings

I still walk the dogs in the heat and the humidity(plus the bugs) because they really need to get out. Even if it's just for 15 minutes at least it takes the edge off. I have noticed, however, it takes them a lot longer to 'cool down' and it makes me loathe to take them out at all. It's been a struggle between my responsibility to exercise them and concern for their welfare.

Raimi lay like this for about 30 minutes just cooling down. He is the dog I worry about most since he tends to over heat the fastest of the three.

Leeloo cooled down much faster and made herself comfortable on my bed under the ceiling fan. She wasn't necessarily over heated but she was certainly self satisfied. She is te dog who gets most annoying if I don't take them out.

Esme and Archer didn't let me take a photo of them lounging since the second I started clicking they got up to see what I was doing. Esme cools down pretty fast as does Archer so they don't concern me too much but still, I think I'll be cutting the walks back even more while the heat is on.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Gone with the Wind

The problem, as I see it, is that the dogs are now air-scenting more than they are sighting. This poses two problems for me. One, I don't know what they are smelling and two I can't smell it so can't anticipate it. If they see something chances are good I can see it too, usually before they do because I am on the look out  for things that will send them on a hunt. With this new found epiphany of theirs to air scent their 'prey' I have to keep a very watchful eye on them *and* the horizon to forestall any bolting.

Although it's hard to tell, in this photo Raimi is scenting the wind. His ears are flapping back and he is thinking about the smell before moving toward it. I use the word 'thinking' quite loosely here.

Archer is less inclined to air scent since he is young and most things that interest him are right in front of his nose. He has been caught with on occasion snatching smells on the breeze as has Esme although she is even less inclined to do so.

Leeloo is becoming quite the culprit at this air scenting thing. I have had to start watching her very carefully and have come to the conclusion that if she is standing like this with her nose twitching not only is there a 100% chance there is something of interest upwind, there is also a 100% chance she will bolt toward it unless I intervene.

Raimi is less reliable about the bolting, he tends to just stand and absorb. However, he is not above alerting Leeloo to the scent and if she goes, he goes. Well, they all go but usually Leeloo is the instigator of movement. She is the original shit disturber that one. I have to admit though, when I see them doing this and I know we are in a safe zone (no where near roads or houses) I marvel every time at what I perceive as a magical ability.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sleepy Hollow

You would be surprised at what a breeder discovers as hereditary traits in the generations they produce. Here's Halo demonstrating her "I'm so tired I could drool" face. This was at about one week after her litter of 12 was born. I'm sure you can understand why she'd be making this sleep face. So, is there any reason to suspect this trait ended with Halo?

Apparently not. This is Tikka in BC. She is demonstrating the classic snooze pose that many of Halo's kids are famous for. I know Archer does it, I have a photo of Karma doing it, even Leeloo does it and she is related to Halo. Don't you just want to reach into the photo and kiss her giant schnoz?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Lake House

More updates on extended family today - this is Ella who is Archer's litter sister. I felt kind of bad sending Ella to Yellowknife, NWT because of the winters she'd have to endure. Fortunately the summers seem to be making up for it. I guess when you're hot you're hot and even a Ridgeback will go in the water to cool off. She is that tiny dot in the middle there.

The fun has to end sometime and dragging your butt out of the water to drip on your mom and dad's towels and in their car is always good for a laugh too.

And, at the end of a long and satisfying day at the lake, a soft bed and good friends are all you need. Lovely Ella is obviously enjoying the good life in the Great White North.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Walk the Line

I don't have any new photos to post, nor any news other than it is ridiculously hot and humid and we continue to fight the bug battle. Since I don't have any new photos of my own to post I thought I'd steal some and post them instead. Thanks in advance to Lulu's mom Melissa for these great photos of her teaching Lulu agility. Lulu lives in Manitoba with her pal Gibson, who is also taking agility and it would seem they are doing quite well. Lulu is sister to Zero, a fact which is easily recognized by her incredible side movement ... even when on the dog walk obstacle!

I gather from Melissa's comments that Lulu is treating agility much like Halo did. If asked her to repeat an obstacle Halo would do it, albeit begrudgingly. If you asked her again she would give you a look like "Mommy. I did it once and I know I did it right. I did it again to make you happy. Now you are just pushing your luck." Aded to which, Halo also took everything very seriously and given the expression on Lulu's face, it is yet another trait which she has passed on. Lulu Tire!

Tomorrow I will start featuring some more of Halo's puppies so if you have any please send them on ...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Reality Bites

No new photos for this blog. It's hard to take photos when you are running for your life. So far, in Nova Scotia I have encountered some pretty bloodthirsty insects. Many more than grace the Alberta Prairies. Alberta does have mosquitoes and as annoying as those little suckers can be they are nothing compared to what this province had in store.

For the last few mornings walking the dogs has become a nightmare. It's to the point where I am not even sure I *should* walk to dogs in concern for them getting swarmed and suffering anaphylactic shock from too many bites. It's like a war zone where we are being dive bombed from every direction by tiny fighter planes.

There are mosquitoes but at this point I'd welcome their relatively harmless attacks. They have a harder time getting to the dogs, are easily discouraged by OFF! and they are carried away by a nice breeze.

There are black flies which are not the same as house flies, these are much more irritating. Think gnat only slightly larger and inflicting a far more painful bite. The black fly bites I've gotten always swell at least two to three times the size of a mosquito bite, itch 10 times more and stay itchy and swollen a lot longer.  As with mosquitoes though they are quickly carried off in a good breeze. They not are, however, repelled for long by bug spray, a fact OFF! seems to have overlooked.

Horse flies are large, scary and fast. They will not quit. Fortunately I have only seen these at the beach on really hot days so since we haven't been going to the beach I haven't seen any this year. That can only be a good thing because when they bite they take actual chunks out of you and it *hurts*. They too scoff at OFF!

The most recent, and most irritating, fly I have come across is the deer fly. They are BRUTAL. One or two show up and then they seem to send out an ABP because within moments you are being dived bombed by the cloud circling above your head. I have seen Esme, who is basically immune to their attacks, clouded over by 10 at a time. These are not small flies either, they are the size of house flies and 100 times meaner. They bite and how. The dogs end up with them buried in their coat and I am constantly brushing them away. Bug spray has little effect and the only thing that will rid us of them is time.

My main concern, as mentioned, is the number of bites these things can inflict in a short period of time and the fact that the dogs are not coated. Esme is fine but the Ridgebacks spend so much time trying to avoid the insects that their walk is effectively ruined. I am hoping the deer fly season isn't very long and we can enjoy our walks again soon, because right now, it is very difficult to drag myself out there knowing we are going to be massacred.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

You've Got Mail

My Outlook is kapooey. I can't even open it anymore and the only reason I want to get in there, at this point, is to retrieve all my puppy inquiries from the last year. I know you're in there! I was able to retrieve one email address before the whole thing imploded.


If you had emailed me in the last year about the planned litter for 2011 between Raimi and Leeloo please contact me so I can save you in a new place that cannot crash unless my house burns down. My gmail account is Invictushounds and I encourage you to contact me as soon as possible since my list, as I have recently discovered, is longer than I realized.

I know, I know, I should not have waited so long to compile the list and get things organized but with the litter still at least 10 months away I thought I had lots of time. Good thing I discovered this blip before Leeloo was actually in whelp! And no, this photo is not of puppies she had, this is Archer's litter at 4 weeks with 9 month old Leeloo playing Nanny. Isn't she darling? I can't wait for her to have her own ... I hope my guess is right that she will be an awesome mom!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Where the Wild Things Are

As I've mentioned, despite the heat the dogs insist on the walk and walk we do. Well, I walk, they run sometimes but mostly they stomp around in the grass enjoying the cool dew of the morning. I managed to catch Raimi on one of his rare bursts of puppyhood. Now that he is 'all grown up' he is like a child who has left behind childish things. Once in a while though he remembers ...

I caught the three of them in a singular moment of glory bounding over the now three to four foot tall weeds, grass and bushes that populate our walking space. I'm sorry it's hard to see them through the foliage, never mind Esme, who knows where she was!

This is what Raimi spends most of his time doing; snorting through the undergrowth smashing down the greens and filling his little brain with Things That Once Were There. We should all be so lucky.