Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bittersweet Symphony

This will be my 1187th blog - my first posting was on October 12, 2007 and started much like you'd start a Dear Diary. Can you believe it? For over 4 and a half years I've been posting photos and commentary on my life with Ridgebacks, Pulis, breeding, showing and all the trauma and drama that goes along with it. It hasn't always been easy, it hasn't always been fun, sometimes it's been downright exasperating, but it's always for the sake of the dogs and the truth of what it's like to live with them.

The so-called 'D Litter' was bittersweet for many reasons but now that everyone is settled in their homes, the shade can be drawn on the last Invictus litter for some time to come. With Cora still a puppy and no plans to breed Leeloo again (because I promised her) I have decided that although the dogs are a huge part of my life, I feel like they, and this blog, have come to define me. I want to talk about other things, maybe even stuff people might want to read about, but my subject base will extend beyond just the dogs. I have another blog, in case you hadn't noticed, and it's more appropriate to where I want to take a blog than just this one about the dogs. This blog will always be here and if you want to stroll down my memory lane, you are more than welcome. I may pick it up again after a hiatus, the future is untold.

A fitting end to this chapter in our lives is The Boy being neutered. I decided some time ago I wasn't going to show him any more, at least not to his American Championship. With both Cora and Leeloo to show the entries would get very expensive if I added in The Boy as well. He is over 5 years old now and with Cora up and coming, and Leeloo turning 4 this year, I had to prioritise. He doesn't need his berries and the more I thought about it the better I knew it would be for him. He's going to be living with three intact bitches who will each come into heat about every 6 to 8 months. Because I don't have a kennel this isn't fair to him and the decision, once made, was easy. Sometimes you have to know when enough is enough, the dogs can't tell you and they trust us to make the right decisions for them. The Boy spent a couple days moping, not because he knew his testicles were missing, but because he was sore and didn't understand why. The Boy never bothered much about the berries, he was always more interested in his twig, I think that's the case a lot of the time! We may do some additional work, perhaps look into agility and a couple other titles, but we can all rest easy now that he has several puppies on the ground, five of whom are going to at least try to show to their championships and many more who are the lights of their family's lives. So here endeth The Boy's professional career and thus begins his life of focusing solely on me with his adoration.

As for those bitches ... Cora thinks I am just the absolute end when it comes to being annoying about not eating cat food, whining at the door, jumping on me, demanding to be fed at all hours, waking up at 5:30am, not coming when called, attempting to get into the barbecue and not stealing treats from other dogs. She just rolls her eyes and gives me the "Geez, Mom, you're so lame" look which often gets her a stern talking to. Like she listens. Our first show is coming up and I'm looking forward to it with a little bit of curiosity and a little bit of dread. I'm less worried about whether she wins and more worried about how badly she embarrasses me. Cora is maturing into a lovely girl and is showing as much promise as one can expect from an 11 month old Ridgeback bee-yotch.

Leeloo is beyond thrilled the puppies are no longer her responsibility and more importantly no longer in her house. Although she'd prefer to chase squirrels and cats all day, her actual responsibilities will include trying to start her American Championship next year. By then she will be lean, svelt and ready for the ring. The only thing about showing that interests Leeloo is being fed, so as long as the steak and liver supplies never run out she will oblige by trying not to look too bored in the ring. For the time being she is going to enjoy rolling in the grass, beating up Cora and Boy and absolutely insisting on always sleeping with her head touching me (to the point she wakes me up if there's no space along my side for her to rest her head).

Esme, when not running on the beach and being annoying, is being prepped for the next two years to be a Special. We are hitting a few shows this year to keep her sharp but in the meantime she is also expected to have a litter of puppies. That will be all my mom's doing and she will likely whelp the litter at their house since they are retired people and I am not! She is busy growing a lovely show coat which she systemically disassembles whenever it gets wet. My dismay at coming home to find 3 or 4 entire cords strewn about the floor knows no bounds. We are working on getting a suit for her but these things take time and although I know it will be here one day, it can't come soon enough! It takes up to 5 years for a full show coat to grow on a Puli, I can't have her putting us back a year every time she has a bath or runs through wet grass!

We are almost halfway through this year now and I have so many more things I intend to do with 2012. Some of those things do involve the dogs but not exclusively. I feel as though the dogs, and this blog, have somehow defined me but I am so much more than what these posts can portray. The dogs are a huge part of my life, and always will be, but I need to stretch outside of this box and explore the contents of a few more. I have a potential house sale and other exciting plans coming up and there are so many things about Nova Scotia, and this place that I live, that I want to talk about. Those things are not appropriate to this blog which is dedicated to the dogs and although my dedication has not waned, it's time for something new. In the last year I've seen and heard things that have profoundly disappointed me - things that made me question my own decision making process when it comes to where I place puppies. There is only one person to thank for my stricter contract and it's the only home, out of 43 successful placements, that I've ever regretted. I suppose I am profoundly lucky in that. In turning away, for now, from the unstable crazies in the breed, I am not giving up entirely - timing has allowed me a couple of years of reflection and getting back to what I truly love; showing the dogs and just spending time with them. Fortunately there really are other ethical, moral, responsible, and reputable breeders out there who pick up the slack and do damage control in the wake of the balance. I count them among my friends and, I hope, I always will.  

So if you want to read about living and breathing in Nova Scotia, sometimes showing dogs, selling and buying a house, travelling to far off destinations, and having a laugh about the town I live in and the people who populate it, make the jump to Wee Bonny New Scotland, you won't regret the move to East Coast Canada.