Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Small Things

Esme takes it in turns with being irritated with the puppies and then wanting to play with them. There doesn't seem to be any consistency when she will allow them to engage in play or will roar at them in irritation. Kind of like all the rest of us. She is now outweighed by about 10 pounds compared to Zayi who is the 'smallest' puppy so she needs to do some pretty serious roaring to get any respect.

A common Puli joke is to ask which end is the head. Zayi knows it's the end with the little pink tongue.

It's also the end with the teeth. If you try to smack Esme on the head with your naughty white foot it will end up getting gnawed on by one irritated Puli.

And if you persist in being annoying your ear gets chomped and there is a lot of growling, snarling and fur flying. If you're Zayi you tend to just ignore this display of ferocity and treat it as some silly game Esme is playing. It must be hard to be a little black Puli all full of ideas about how tough you are and to be bowled over 100 times a day by an annoying 16 week old Ridgeback puppy. No doubt Esme is counting the days until she only has one to deal with too.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Run Lola Run

In three weeks the RR Club of Eastern Canada is holding a lure coursing event in Nova Scotia. I think this is the first time this has been arranged in this province, or the Maritimes. It's a pretty exciting opportunity for east coast Ridgebacks since in Canada they are not considered a coursing breed. What is lure coursing? Essentially it mimics the flight of a rabbit across a field with the dogs being encouraged to chase it as is their natural inclination. The 'rabbit' is actually a plastic bag which is attached to a closed line that loops so the lure is dragged across the ground. The dogs have a great time and although they are not allowed to compete in Canada, lure coursing for Ridgebacks in the USA is a quite a big deal.

This video from the most recent RRCEC event in Becancour, Quebec is pretty much exactly what we expect to see from the dogs. Some are true to the lure, as in they follow it quite religiously, some are distracted, some can run in a pack and some aren't even Ridgebacks! Thanks to Sarah Lebrun for this video and our viewing pleasure.

Of my dogs I anticipate both Raimi and Leeloo will chase the lure pretty consistently although I expect Leeloo to be more intense about it. If they prove successful in being true to the course and follow it without getting distracted I might try to pop down to the US to attempt a lure coursing title on them. I certainly appreciate the chance to test their skill before making the trip!

The event is being held in Malagash on the North Shore of Nova Scotia - that's just under 2 hours from Halifax. It's near Tatamagouche and is my parent's property. If you've seen any of the dozens of photos I've posted of their land you'll know there is a very large cleared flat field behind their property that is great for this kind of activity. So far I think we are anticipating at least 12 -15 Ridgebacks to attend but we'd love to see more!

If you can make it out on Ocotober 15 and 16 we plan to have lure coursing on Saturday and a walk at a beach on the Sunday. The cost to non-members of the RRCEC is $10 per dog and that gives them 3 chances at the lure.  Everyone must sign a waiver and lame or unfit and fat dogs will not be allowed to run. Dogs should be social and friendly and should have a solid recall since the area is not fenced in.  All are welcome and it should be a fun day as long as the weather holds out! Contact me at invictushounds @ gmail.com for directions and more details! Hope to see you there!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Two Weeks Notice

It's less than two weeks until both Zayi and Gotham go to their new homes. Sometimes I think 'It's only two weeks' and other times I think 'It's still two weeks'. I tend to harp on this a bit, probably to the point where people are sick of hearing about me having these puppies. It's through no fault of the puppies or their owners, it is what it is, but what it is keeps peeing on my floors, barking incessantly at each other and I live in constant fear one of the ones I don't own is going to get hurt while in my care. 

Their expression say's "We'd never do that!" but life's lessons have instructed me otherwise and the sooner they are under someone else's purview the better. Once they are on their respective flights, instead of my couch, the happier everyone will be; their owners, the puppies, their parents and me.

Speakign of ... their parents have had ENOUGH. One at a time is okay but all three with Raimi and Leeloo and things get ugly. Leeloo's patience is at an all time ebb which means much of the time they have to be separated, even when I'm present to supervise. There is not much to my life at this point except chasing puppies and trying to monitor pee breaks and I'm just plain tired. Gotham understands and willing listener to my troubles ... he's all ears.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Good Genes

It's incredibly uncanny how the puppies look and act like their parents but in different ways and for different reasons. Zayi is the little white footed girl who is long on leg and too clever for her own good, just like her Mommy. She doesn't really have a lot in common with her Dad except being very sweet and kissy.

She sure looks like Leeloo! She has those sweet eyes and great intelligent expression, I just love that face.

She is also really good at manipulating you so her new owner Pierre better keep one step ahead of this girl. Behind those sweet puppy-dog eyes is a little brain aiming to get whatever she wants.

Who me? Never! I would never do anything bad ... it's just impossible.

Reclining like the little princess that could do no wrong. Zayi certainly know how to get her way!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


As much as I might want the puppies to head to their new homes I am still very fond of each of them and their individual personalities. It's hard not to love Gotham since he is so much his Daddy it's uncanny. This is a photo of The Boy when he was just about Gotham's age.

And this is Gotham. See any resemblance? It's easy to predict the future for this Boy-in-Training.

Gotham also has another similarity to The Boy. He's made more adorable because he is large and goofy. 

Nope ... no similarities here! The only difference is age and item. This was Raimi's third birthday and he was being given a marshmallow bunny.

It's not hard to like dogs like Gotham and Boy. They may not be exacting to the Ridgeback standard but they are exacting to great temperaments and easily invite adoration where ever they go. Sometimes being perfect has nothing to do with appearance.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fly Away Home

October 7 will be a banner day here at Invictus. It's the day I get to wake up at some undoGly hour and drive to the airport so that Gotham and Zayi can fly out to their new homes. Gotham is headed to Calgary where his Uncle Rory eagerly awaits his arrival. For the past few months Gotham's new home has been in a flurry of activity preparing for his arrival ... new floors, new kitchen, new almost everything. What a lucky guy. I understand he will get to meet the kitchen counter installers and a few other trades but most of the work will be done by the time he gets there. I've never had someone renovate for a puppy but I guess there is always a first time (I'm kidding - renovations were well underway long before Gotham was a twinkle in his parent's eyes). If you want to see the incredible job Kathryn has been doing on what I suspect was already a pretty nice house, check out Rory's Ramblings (which morphed into a reno blog) and see what all the fuss is about. Gotham won't need a hard hat to enter the site but he will need to turn on his charm to win over Rory who is not accustomed to sharing his sunbeams. It's a good thing Gotham is going soon, he's already outgrown two crates ...

Zayi is headed to France or rather French owned islands off the coast of Newfoundland. I was hoping she could go sooner because although she is a delight, she is not my dog and needs her own people. The fly in the ointment to shipping her when I initially thought she could go was the airline, Air St Pierre, will not ship puppies younger than 16 weeks. According to French import regulatrions she could actually ship 10 days sooner but because of the airline she has to wait. In a way it's good because it saves me a drive to the airport, it's a 4 hour round trip, and both puppies can now go on the same day.

Cora, for her part, is not going to know what happened. Her whole life has been in the company of her siblings. One day she wakes up with two little buddies and the next she is alone. I'm sure she'll get over it soon what with squirrel hunting season upon us.

Keeping puppies a little longer is okay if there's just one extra or even two if you are not keeping one yourself. But three makes it difficult to house train, they have a hard time learning their names and it's just a gong show most of the time. I can't wait for them to fly to where they really belong and can pee on someone else's floor! They deserve their own people and I know for a fact that their people can't wait to get them!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Big Country

Today was Zayi's turn to come out on a walk with us. We headed out to a couple of cleared acres that are for sale since I wanted to take a look at it. I am still undecided whether I want to buy a piece of property and put a house on it or buy a property with a house on it that might not have ideal location, house and land size. Anyway, I let the dogs out to see for themselves if the land was suitable and if the drive to its location, while I plan the house that would eventually sit there, was acceptable. I like it quite a bit but I won't be actually looking to buy until next year so all my ideas of having a place to walk my dogs (that is completely within my control) will have to dance in my head for a little longer.

Zayi thought being on this walk was a little over-whelming since her parents kept bolting off across the field with no regard to where their baby was. Fortunately Esme and I are pretty good babysitters.

She spent quite a lot of time looking at whatever Raimi and Leeloo were doing - possibly thinking about joining them but not quite getting up the courage to bound through the grass to follow their lead. 

Esme is pretty reliable about wanting to keep everyone in check so she'd often race back to Zayi to encourage her to play. Esme is the sort of dog who wants everyone to have a good time, just as long as the best time being had is by her.

This isn't the sort of activity Zayi could effectively participate in anyway. Boy and Leeloo smashing through grass and weeds is something you want to get out of the way of, not join, when you weigh a fraction what they do. Unless you're Esme of course.

Leeloo was showing off her fast skills. Perhaps warming up for the lure coursing she's going to be doing in a few weeks.

Zayi did attempt to keep up momentarily, just on the fringes of the fun, but sensibly avoided being in the line of fire.

There is just no way you want to be in the path of this bullet.  Raimi is easily 110 pounds right now and colliding with him would seem like you'd been hit by a car. Injuries sustained by large dogs colliding with people and other animals is no joke, they can cause some serious damage. I tend to brace myself when he does a run by.

Zayi however usually does no more than trip me when she's underfoot. It's just less than three weeks before she will get on a plane and have to learn French - fortunately NO! and NON! sound pretty much the same so I'm sure she'll be fine. Apparently St Pierre et Miquelon is beautiful but since I know the places I walk the dogs are also pretty darn nice, her expectations are pretty high.

All in all I think The Boy liked the property we looked at. Potentially one day it could be all his ... I mean mine. For him.

Friday, September 16, 2011

National Security

Big day for American's Ridgebacks yesterday as it was their National Specialty. Actually, it has been going on all week since there were about 400 dogs entered and each sex and class division takes hours to judge. Yesterday was the Specials class which is comprised of the dogs who have their American Championships - the Best of Breed dog is usually out of this class. Zero was entered and although I was at work while the judging was being completed I got home to discover that he won one of only a few Awards of Merit! I think he was the only Canadian Bred dog to be awarded one of the top prizes of the day. His brother Raimi and his niece Cora here in Nova Scotia are so proud of their family! Leeloo would be proud if she cared at all about showing; if he was the Champion Squirrel Hunter of the USA she'd be interested ...

Zero continues to exceed expectations in almost every way this year. The highlight being, obviously, Westminster Kennel Club in New York City because I was there to witness his big win but being recognized out of an entry of over 400 dogs at a National ranks a pretty close second. Currently he is the #1 Ridgeback All Breed and #2 Breed Ridgeback (based on dogs defeated) and is still going strong.

As always I can't thank his owner Erin or his handler Juliet enough for all the hard work they've put into Zero. I can't do much more to help than to cheer him on from afar and hope he manages to finish the year on top of the podium. It's pretty safe to say I'll never own or have bred another Ridgeback who is able to accomplish all that Zero has but perhaps little Cora will be able to follow her uncle's footsteps in some small way one day!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Batman Begins

Still taking the puppies out individually on the walks - Cora goes the most but Gotham and Zayi do get their turns. I took Gotham yesterday and he had to borrow Cora's collar - I was sure she wouldn't mind. Gotham is like his Daddy in so many ways it's uncanny. He will clearly be a big ol' boy and when he leaves I'll miss his silly little ways. He is pretty smart though being the first puppy to ask to go out when he needed to - it was a break through day let me tell you. It's not easy house training 3 puppies at once.

He channels his inner Mommy sometimes too with those ears. The set of his ears seems to be resolving into mostly his Daddy Boy's but when he's 'thinking' he gets his Mommy ears on. I guess that makes sense since his Daddy isn't exactly known for his thinking ability and his Mommy uses her brains rather too much in my opinion.

Now channelling Daddy - this is because he's doing nothing more diffifult than trotting through the grass, something The Boy is an expert at since it requires little to no brain cells.

I love this photo because it's so damn Leeloo. Look at her totally gorgeous head, lovely planes, fill in the cheek, perfect underjaw, soft, dark, round eye, smooth neck and gorgeous pigment ... and the ear. I know I go on a bit about her ears but it really is the one thing that can ruin a beautiful head. I love them on *her* because she is Leeloo ... that is all. Gotham loves them too.

I didn't order a Pointer but I got one I guess. Puppies being Serious are always so cute, Gotham thought he spotted something worth stalking, it was probably just Esme.

All puppies love to hide in the grass. Gotham in particular loved to roll in it, then jump up and leap about, get tangled in the tufts and then race about like he meant to do that.

There is a huge blackberry patch on our walk and I look forward to exploring it every Autumn. The blackberries are almost ripe now, they are mostly a deep maroon color so just a few more days and it will be a bumper crop. I have strange ideas of making blackberry jelly this year but like last year I suspect it will remain an idea. Gotham thinks it's cool to explore because the canes make tunnels.

Eating grass and weeds is fun I guess, if you're a puppy. I love the 'quiet moment' photos where the puppies are just doing what they do and I can sneak a photo of them just Being.

Caught in the act. He is certainly a handsome little fellow and I am more inclined to think so because he is so like his Dad at the same age. Frankly, any dog that has the potential to turn out like The Boy has nothing but a good future in store.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hot Under the Collar

I got new collars for Esme and Cora a few weeks ago. Cora's came already but Esme's is still in transit. Cora's, if I do say so myself, is just gorgeous. I love this collar on her. I had to 'borrow' it for Leeloo this past weekend and for some reason it doesn't look as good on Leeloo as it does on Cora. Cora's new collar is purple because she was Miss Purple when she was born. There are lots of purple collars out there but it had to be a martingale style and the design on it had to be pretty because she's a girl. When it arrived I realised it's also the colors of Westminster Kennel Club ... maybe one day she will go to New York!

I got this one on Ebay because my usual collar supplier, where I got Raimi and Leeloo's, didn't have quite what I was looking for. This one I wasn't even really sure about when I saw it online but I got it anyway because the price was right. I love it. It suits her perfectly and on the smallest sizing it actually fits her quite well. In the 10 days I've had it she's grown enough that I had to enlarge it already. Or maybe it's just those ears that grew.

She didn't think being on lead was the coolest thing ever but has come along great with some guerrilla training. However, she, like any other dog I know, prefers to be out sniffing the grass, unsullied and unhindered by the tethers of ownership. She still sticks close by on walks because she's a little insecure but once her totally adorable tag arrives she'll be set to explore the wilds of Nova Scotia. Check out those eyebrow whiskers ... all set for detecting squirrels.

Esme's collar is a lovely green with a paisley pattern but it hasn't arrived yet. Right now she is stuck with a default collar that I can't even remember where I got. Her collar needed to be bright so hopefully the green will easy to spot in all that black. Raimi and Leeloo's collars are looking a little worse for wear. Leeloo isn't exactly easy on her collars, the one she has was totally gorgeous but it's been through the washer a few times due to her rolling shoulder first in something unmentionable in the woods. I got them a couple years ago and hers at least is probably going to be replaced this Christmas. She can still rock the red silk brocade though!

The Boy is easier on his collars than Leeloo but general wear and tear will see it replaced in the next year or so. I hate to throw away collars so these two will be relegated to the truck once they are demoted to second string. You never know when you need a spare collar. Cora will also do her best to help Raimi wear down his collar; once she's approaching her 'teenage years' she won't want to be seen with her Dad unless he's looking cooler than cool ... and that includes a shiny new collar. For now though she's not above giving him a kiss on the cheek; hang onto these moments Boy, they grow up so fast.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Show Must Go On

This weekend I am at a show in Pictou - it's going to be one of the hardest shows I've ever had to attend because last weekend, at a show in Halifax, the dog world and Pictou County Kennel Club lost Anita, our club Secretary and fellow dog lover. We tend to joke about dying while doing what we love but unless you are Evil Kneivel or a bullrider it's not really something we mean. It's been a rough week preparing for the upcoming show without Anita who was almost the lifeblood of the club. She put her heart and soul into her dogs, the club and was passionately involved individual. She knew everyone, understood what needed to get done and was a driving force when it came to getting things organized. I will miss her great stories, her unsullied opinions and her pure honesty - there are precious few people in the world with whom you know exactly where you stand. The show will go on in the memory of Anita and we will strive to ensure its success. My heartfelt condolences to Anita's family and friends - she will be greatly missed at the shows and the Pictou County Kennel Club will never be the same.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Stand

As a show dog person whenever I'm out on walks I'm always looking for  the show stack photo - the one where the dogs are standing four square looking marvelous. With puppies it can be a very rare occurence partly because they are too busy being busy and also they tend to stop facing away from me and if they're facing me and I crouch to take a photo they come running. The only puppy I was able to successfully capture in a natural pose from the side was Cora and this one is crooked because I was in a hurry to catch it, in fact the second after I took it she was off on some bouncing adventure. She's still crazy beautiful even with a slight downward tilt.

I never did get Zayi from the side although this one shows her pretty profile and her cute little bum. I think this was in fact the only moment she stood still the entire walk.

And after sorting through 130 photos I didn't find a single one of Gotham not in some sort of superhero activity. Ah well, when you're fighting crime in the fields of Malagash there isn't really time to stop and smell the roses. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Esme joined us on our walk, as if she'd allow it any other way. She loves to race around in the grass and attempts to keep the Ridgebacks in order. It's not an easy job you know. Zayi was happy she was with us because Esme is funt o chase.

However Esme prefers chasing since it's in her blood. Raimi gives her a run for her money but she is totally game. Nothing deters this little black bullet. I love the 'vapour trail' she leaves behind her in the grass (Raimi doesn't leave one because he's got longer legs).

Occassionally she stops for a break to catch her breath and let it all hang out. That's a tongue that says "Life is grand and I'm loving every minute." 

And showing off why she's such a kick ass Puli; every time she stopped she'd free stack like this ... perfection.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Growing Pains

The puppies think they can run really fast. If I'm chasing them after doing something naughty they sure can but out in the fields where the ground isn't level, there is grass to trip on and their own feet to coordinate, running often turns into stumbling and ending up in a tumbled heap. Sometimes though, things come together and they demonstrate the lythe athlete they will one day become. Zayi is all rippling ears and wrinkles.

Gotham, although a little on the slower side given his bulk, makes a good effort at being fast. He will grow like his Daddy and be completely uncoordinated until he's about 2 and then suddenly everything will work like it's supposed to and he will be really really fast.

Cora looks like she has managed to avoid her mother's gazelle gene and seems to be growing reasonably in proportion to herself. She will likely be quite in control of her moving parts for much of her growth although she won't be able to avoid the big feet and big ears common to the adolecence of the breed.

Ears: case in point. I just had to add this one ... bunny hop gives you bunny ears.