Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I'm trying very hard to maintain updates to the blog but it's been difficult with the work that I want to get done before winter sets in. It seems like there's lots of time before the first snow might hit but the motivation to complete the long list of things I have to do is strong. Next year I want to sit back and enjoy the maintenance of the place and not have to do more than cut grass, decide on where I want some flowers and bushes, and mount a counter attack on the mosquitoes, something I was not able to do this year because I moved in halfway through their season (after they were well established). Still, no matter what I have to accomplish in the course of the day, I always include a walk and a wander with the dogs.

Often these days I let them run down to the creek without me for a few minutes until I call them back, or at least ahead of me as we head down on our usual route, but on Sunday, after just a few hours of hard rain over night, I was working on some fencing and realized Cora was nowhere to be seen. I started to call her and eventually walked to the edge of my lawn which overlooks the creek. On a normal day you can't see the creek because it curves back on itself and is about 100 feet away from the base of the slope but on Sunday I could see the water from where I stood. It was a flash flood and I was terrified.

I could not find Cora and she wasn't coming when called (fairly typical for her) but my completely rational and all consuming fear of water took over and I ran into the woods calling her. For a few moments the vision of her jumping a log to get to what she thinks is a path left me totally paralyzed. I haven't posted these photos before because I was going to make more signs and post them all together but I thought today would be a good day to use it as a reference.

This is Cora's Corner, it's the nearest corner of the property in the woods and there is a little island of sorts that is sort of squared off - the dogs like jumping over the tributaries of the creek because they often still have a little water in them. Cora shows off her corner ...

And this was her corner when I couldn't find her. It's hard to see because I couldn't get any closer but the water is at about where Cora's head would be, it's risen almost 3 feet from the base of the tree but from the normal water level of the creek it had risen about 5 or 6 feet. This was from rain that started at about 4am and ended before 7am. Imagine how much water came out of the sky for that to happen to the creek in only 3 hours. This was, in the truest sense, a flash flood.

Just the day before this event I had taken the dogs out and photographed them in the woods, simply doing what they do, and looking back I marvel at what power water has. Leeloo is standing next to the creek, it's right behind her, safe, contained, about 12 inches deep, maybe 18 in some places. Leeloo makes this creek look good.

 It swelled from the little babbling brook to a swollen, seething, writhing torrent in minutes. I am so glad we were safe in our beds when this happened. This is looking across to where Leeloo is standing in the above photo. Can't tell where she'd be? I can't either really, except I know that she'd be under water. The distance from where I'm standing and the other side of the 'creek' is about 150 feet.

Happy Cora and Esme posing by a grass covered log, aren't they darling? I love how much Cora still looks like a puppy and how happy Esme is with her pink tongue poking out and her shiny little nose. You can better see the creek behind them when it's at its normal flow rate (which isn't quite accurate because at this time it was still recovering from the massive flooding that occurred a week prior, it was still dropping about 6 inches every day until Saturday night's rain.)

The Boy. So handsome. He's watching a leaf float past on the brook. All very serene. Less than 12 hours later the water would be above his head too ... and he's quite tall!

I've taken a lot of photos of the dogs at the far corner of the property close to where the trucks are located, the creek peters out quite a bit there and drops to about 2 or 3 feet wide. I think I posted this photo of Cora before. This is what it is normally.

And Sunday morning I was met with this. I couldn't get to where Cora was actually standing, she would be around the tree to the left and about 10 feet down. And under 4 feet of water.

And what of Cora anyway? I ran down to the water and called her and called her until eventually she scooted through the bushes past me. I called her again, she stopped, realized she was in trouble and turned tail. Well, not one of my proudest moments you can rest assured. I was completely terrified she was going to run into the water so I ran up past where I thought she'd gone, and screamed at her to get to the house. She did, in her own time, but I didn't know that and ran back up the hill to find her staring down at me like "What is your PROBLEM?" I chased her back to the house, dragged her in, shut her in her crate and screamed obscenities at her for a few minutes. Then I took the camera and stormed out of the house with "I'm LEAVING! Without you morons! I am so tired of you all trying to get yourselves KILLED! Stay here and ROT!" (But with liberal F-bombs and other obscenities - I may have also called Cora an stupid effing bitch but I digress). And I stomped down the slope again to take photos of the reason I was so furious at Cora.

Make no bones about it, she was in real danger. I can't possibly express this enough. Floods are serious business, the eddies, undertow, debris, and things you can get caught on underwater are innumerable. A dog stuck in that, much less a dog that isn't a happy swimmer, has almost no chance. Where they think the path is, where they assume is somewhere safe to put a foot, is often not. All it would have taken was for Cora to attempt to jump to where she thought it was safe and unless I saw her go, she may have little chance of extracting herself and for me to find a brown dog in that roiling mass of water and logs would have been difficult at best. It's not like they'd know to call out for help. A brook that goes from 4 feet wide to at least 150' in some places in such a short amount of time is not something to be taken lightly.

Thankfully I think Cora has forgiven me and she does listen a little better. The creek is almost back to normal but all the roads that were washed away and need repairing will be a while yet. This is my road, it's about a half mile from my driveway and it's where a small culvert allows the creek to flow under the road - there is no bridge. The brook did this to the road in less than 3 hours. It is my understanding this does not happen a lot. I have spoken to some older people who have lived here their wholes lives and they have never seen anything like the rain we got Saturday night. I wondered on Sunday why the traffic was so light going past my house ... this is why.

And finally, three naughty bums, alive and well and watching the rain fall in the back yard - Esme was lying at my feet. The bottom in the middle got smacked a couple times for not listening but as I have said before "I yell because I am afraid" and that day I was terrified my pretty little Cora would drown. Can't have that. Admittedly I didn't initially realize the normally harmless creek was in such a state, the rain barely woke me up and it didn't occur to me so much had fallen. My harmless creek has taught me to respect the power of water and its insatiable need to get to the ocean by any means possible. We mean to never get in its way.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Phone Booth

Last Spring I acquired an iPhone, which is a silly name for the thing because I almost never use it as a phone, it's more accurately a little pocket computer that has a phone function. I have made good use of its camera feature and captured some surprisingly nice photos of the dogs. I was surprised to see that the size of the files is over a MG which means I need to be deleting them from my phone a lot more often! It's not perfect but it's certainly much better quality than I expected and since I've seen what other people's phones take I had rather thought all camera phone photos were poor quality. Not so with my Magic iPhone - I love this thing and yes, I do take it in the woods with me in case a tree falls on me ... my dogs aren't Lassie and none of them are going to go for help!

Leeloo demonstrates her remarkable nose which is excellent at sniffing out squirrels, voles, and finding 3 month old show bait forgotten in a skirt pocket. Who could deny those eyes anything they ever wanted?

The Boy on the 'wrong' side of the creek again. He is perpetually trying to increase my property borders but is out of luck. Fortunately the property behind me is acres and acres of woods that will never be developed but since there are reports of bears in the area and I heard coyotes the other night, I'd prefer him to stay where I can see him. He is lit from below by the creek and above from the sky and although he looks like an angel ... heaven can't have him quite yet.

Cora may often look like a serene princess but in actual fact she is a Goon of the First Order. She has the most ridiculous sense of humour I've ever seen in a Ridgeback, or any dog really, and she delights in being a clown and making not only me but everyone else in the house laugh. Those crazy ears are sometimes perfect, sometimes 'Leeloo', sometimes both and always show her mood. She is never very far away from whatever fun is to be had.
Esme is determined that I never manage to capture a decent photo of her, she seems to be very uncomfortable having the camera pointed at her, I'm not sure if she gets self-conscious or doesn't like being stared at so directly (probably that one) but it's rare for me to be able to take a decent photo of her, no matter what is taking the photo! Here she was guarding a bone she'd hidden in the folds of this dog bed - it is necessary to hide things from the Ridgebacks ... they are shameless thieves.

One of the things I really like about the iPhone is the 'real time' aspect of it. I took this photo while in the woods and posted it immediately to Facebook: 'Leeloo owning the woods' and she does. Just for perspective, where she is standing right now has the creek up around her shoulders because of all the rain we've gotten in the last week, so no standing in the creek bed for us for the next few days.

Before we moved Shelley, who I work with, was kind enough to let me walk the dogs on her property so I was not constantly 'breaking the law' and they loved it there. We will have to go back and visit her sometime in the Fall but this photo was taken in the Spring when the frogs were being most frog-like and causing the dogs no small consternation. The Boy could not figure out that weird noise they were making and would not approach the pond water to find out since whenever he did there was lots of little splashes of frogs leaping into the water and that deep, throaty ribbet they'd make. He's so cute when he's trying to think.

This photo was taken the same day the blog's cover photo was taken, Leeloo gazing out across the bay in Caribou, she is listening to a dog bark across the water. It was a lovely evening and I had only owned the iPhone for a few days but taking these photos clinched it for me as a pocket computer 'camera' being capable of more than I expected. The depth in the photo is what impresses me most - the detail in the clouds is remarkable.

I took a cute photo of me and Cora almost on the very first day of owning the phone and used Instagram to make some changes to it. For those well versed in Raimi's registered name, this caption will speak volumes. Needless to say, I love my iPhone and what it allows me to do and how it helps me capture even the most simple moments of my and the dog's lives.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Circle of Friends

While we wait for the creek to subside into something a little more suitable for strolling along, we stay up near the house and the dogs romp in the grass. Esme thinks this is just fine since she prefers to be able to see them and keep an eye on what they're doing. When we're in the woods Esme tends to stick quite close to me because she loses the Ridgebacks in the trees, my legs are much slower and easier to follow and I usually go where she can go, whereas sometimes the Ridgebacks take short cuts that she cannot take. So when Esme has the chance to race around chasing Ridgebacks on the lawn, she takes full advantage. What, pray tell, is this? Why, it's Esme!

Only someone familiar with the Puli would be able to tell which way Esme is headed and which end is, in fact, her head. I won't make you think too hard, her hind feet are on the ground and her front feet are in the air while she gallops away.

And takes on Cora who is more than happy to attack this little bundle of energy. Esme was away for 2 weeks and she has a lot of energy to spend and lots of tackling to make up for! Those teeth are gnashing and there is a lot of noise when they play. Esme doesn't back down and Cora knows just what buttons to push.

It's not like Cora listens well. She certainly doesn't listen that well to me and there is no reason to expect her to listen to Esme, although Esme is a little sharper at one end than I am and she is not afraid to use it! I love to see the dogs playing like this, it means they are good friends who respect each other enough to play differently depending on who they are interacting with. If Cora pushes too hard Esme tells her to back off, it's a delicate balance because Cora is so much bigger.

It's not every day you can get photos of Esme and Cora just being themselves and enjoying each other's company, often Leeloo and Cora are adventuring together and leave Esme and Boy to their own devices. Those Ridgeback bitches can be so ... bitchy. Thankfully Cora is game for a romp at almost any time and when Esme needs to burn off a little steam, there is only one dog she turns to.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Time Share

I'm a bit late with my show update because the creek was a little more pressing and/or exciting. It's still raining and plans to for the next 24 hours or so but since we are in no danger from flooding here I can back-track to results of the show this past weekend.

Luke's mom and dad arrived on Friday and of course Luke was pretty thrilled that they were here and he could stop using me as a surrogate mom. Boy was pretty happy about it too until Luke decided he needed to show off for his Mommy and began hassling Boy again. We let them sort it out until we got tired of Luke acting like a tool and I pulled out the spray bottle. I just had to show it to Luke and he quit whatever he was doing and settled down. I think he may have seen it before!

Saturday at the show dawned as a beautiful day, I left to take care of the prizes and Stephanie and Kyle followed later with Luke. Both 'kids' showed well except in the afternoon I could tell Cora was simply exhausted. Luke actually showed better in the afternoon, maybe he thought if he moved faster he'd get to relax sooner. Either way Luke took the point at both shows so he was on 6 points and Cora told me later she let him win.

On Sunday it was a bit of a blustery day, quite humid though and running around the ring made you sweat. I over-dressed of course and was dying of heat the whole day but not for nothing since Cora took the point in the morning. As a reward for getting a point I popped into town and bought her a new leather couch. It arrives in 3 weeks.

Anyway, in the last show of the weekend the Specials Bitch was absent which was fine since it didn't affect our points and I was hoping, just a little, that Cora wouldn't win because she'd then have to go into group. She did win and our first group experience was great, almost perfect really (a surprise since she was so tired) until the last dog was moving and the judge was making his final placings. A big gust of wind came up and threw a lawn chair into the ring and blew it directly at Cora. She didn't panic but she did back away rather fast. It stopped next to her and I made her go up to look at it until someone outside the ring came to get it. She didn't want to settle after that - and let's face it, she was unlikely to place anyway - but for the rest of the time in the ring she looked suspiciously back at the Whippet like it threw the chair at her. I'm sure she won't associate having chairs fly at her in the ring in the future, this is really the only outdoor show of the year here, but I'll be sure to reinforce a positive experience at our next show.

In all the kids managed to share quite nicely and split the points 2 and 2 for the weekend. A nice fair run, a great experience for the dogs, and it was lovely to finally meet Stephanie and Kyle.  I look forward to cracking open the bottle of Screech they brought me - the dogs have already put paid to the bones - and we'll have to do this again sometime. Perhaps I'll be making the trip to Newfoundland ...

Monday, September 10, 2012

The River

It started raining yesterday afternoon and since I live on the crest of the slope down to the creek/brook I knew where all the water coming out of the sky was headed. So when I took the dogs down to the creek yesterday I figured it would be raised quite a bit, enough for me to keep an eye on Esme near the water in case she took a wrong step. It was a little higher than usual, had filled its normally empty tributaries and instead of babbling it was rushing.

It started to rain in earnest last evening and overnight it absolutely poured. In the morning it was still raining - solid, heavy, and constant. I knew the creek was going to be full. Just how full was something I'd have to investigate when I got home from work. It rained straight for at least 16 hours - I believe we can thank a hurricane off the coast - and when I took the dogs out I didn't know what to expect. Well, it wasn't this ...

Where the creek is normally 4 feet wide it's now over-flowing to at least 40 feet, possibly more. The danger here is that the tributaries of the creek that allow it to overflow are now invisible. They are (usually) empty creek beds about 2 or 3 feet deep twisting along the forest floor and what with being twisty and turny and currently full of raging water I was more than a little worried about the dogs. The Boy confirmed his simple minded foolishness and followed of his regular path which was under about a foot of water. He eventually reached the point where some logs obscured his way and he tried to go around them, forgetting that the creek bed was now about 4 or 5 feet below the surface of the rushing water and full of years of accumulated debris. Nothing quite like seeing your dog stranded on a few logs in the middle of a rushing, overflowing now-river. When he tried to step across a log and fell into the water, kicking and sputtering his way back up I went into Mommy overdrive, dropped the camera (somewhere dry) and carefully navigated the path he'd followed to help him find his way back. Fortunately he was smart enough to wait for me to come get him.

Thankfully Cora wants nothing to do with the water, most especially since it's moving, and stays far away from it. Leeloo was extremely busy looking for the squirrel and was up the slope and Esme, who I was most concerned about considering her size, was told to stay back which she did because she is not a huge fan of water either. We had to move to higher ground because even our regular path, which is normally about 50 feet away from the creek, was now 12 inches under water. Exactly where the water is in this photo is where I usually walk and it just occurred to me now that the log closest to the camera isn't normally there, it's been shifted about 10 feet since it used to lie along the side of the path.

I wanted to see what the other end of the creek looked like, the part where I would normally take nice serene photos of Cora and The Boy standing in the creek bed. You know, something cute like this(taken about a week ago).

Now that area is under about 5 feet of water and you can't see the banks anymore, the water is overflowing and has extended the width of this creek - about 6 or 8 feet on the creek bed - to about 25 feet. Leeloo is about 10 feet away from and looking almost directly at where Cora was in the previous photo. The water hits a corner, which I was standing next to, gains momentum from the turn and since the landscape also drops slightly the water picks up even more speed in the straightaway. Leeloo knew very well to stay back, with reminders from me. At one point I lost sight of Cora and spent a minute or so calling her in a panic only to have her come down the hill behind me like "What? You think I'm going anywhere near THAT? Mommy, you're so silly."

We back tracked a bit away from the water and came out again at Cora's favorite spot to stand. Except it was also under several feet of rushing, drowning death. Just ahead there is where we often stop to allow the dogs a little sniffy time and some photo ops. Not today. We took one look at the flooded banks and turned back. From where Cora is standing it's still another 20 feet to the creek bank ... but not today. It's certainly not safe to be at the creek, especially considering I took note of a fresh collection of branches and leaves at the base of a tree which were at least another 12 inches above the current level of the water. We won't be going back down until the rain stops and the water recedes to something a little safer. Thankfully my house is at least 40 feet above the creek so unless there is some kind of apocalypse we are in no danger of getting washed away..

Friday, September 7, 2012

Girl Model

Cora Cora Cora. It's hard to believe how much I like Cora's personality. She is a strange little goofball sometimes and she makes me smile for one hundred different reasons every day. She reminds me of her mother at the same age, an odd enigma that a person was drawn to no matter who she met. People love Cora as they loved Leeloo and it has nothing to do with her quality or even her breed for that matter. She is just easy to like. Some dogs are difficult to like, they don't have an open or earnest expression that invites you to approach them. Some Ridgebacks have what I call a 'hard eye' as opposed to the soft eye that I get from my dog's pedigrees. Ridgebacks with a hard eye tend to stare at you, it makes a person uncomfortable, whereas Leeloo and Cora look at you, sometimes into your very brain, and it doesn't take long before you are giving them whatever they want. A dog with a hard eye doesn't compell you to stay, it encourages you to leave and I don't want anything like that in my house. This is why it's a good idea to go to shows and see the different types that breeders offer. I have been told on more than on occasion that although someone may love the puppy or dog they got, once they saw other dogs of the same breed, they realized they preferred a different type and their next dog would be from a different breeder.

When at the show last weekend Sandra, who is Raylan and Archer's Mommy, took some nice photos of Cora while she was showing. This is from the first day and Cora is a little anxious but slowly relaxed the longer she was in the ring.

This is the first show she's been to where she has been in the ring a little longer than usual. She definitely needed the time to be in there with the other dogs and see that it wasn't so bad. She hardly paced at all - something she does when she's anxious - and she will one day be a lovely happy show dog.

As I've said, I'm in no hurry with Cora. She will finish when she finishes and I am determined not to be pressured or swayed by any deadlines. Some people think there is a certain number of weekends your dog should finish in but I think that's horse hockey. If you are going to show after show with a mature dog and never winning, never getting reserve against actual competition or never getting encouragement from judges then perhaps you do need to look at whether you should be showing that dog. But, if you have a young dog who just needs to mature, be it in mind or body, then keep at it, don't stress and let the wins come to you.

I did ask myself leading up to the Halifax show what was the point in going. I had no bitch competition and did I really want to spend $150 in gas for Cora to get experience. I can think of a lot cheaper ways for her to do that! In the end I went to support Luke and his owner Stephanie, and to just see what Cora could do. She rewarded me with leaps and bounds of improvement - although the day she won was her worst behaved day - and I do recall spending more money on a single point at a Prince Edward Island show for her mother!

Since this coming weekend may be her last show of the year I am hoping for a couple more points and then we can let her mature over the winter and see what 2013 has to offer. We may hit one more show in November but it will depend on the timing of a trip to the Caribbean for me. I don't mind waiting, I don't need the 'winningest' young Ridgeback in Canada, I need a nice stable solid start for a young dog and that is exactly what I'm getting.

Showing is not the be all, end all of dog-dom. Some things are more important than a show record. Ninety percent of my quality time with Cora is not spent in the ring, it's right here ...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

As is obvious, I am missing a dog. That dog is Esme who was down in the US being shown by her co-owners ... my parents. The system in the US is very similar to Canada but does differ in a couple of significant ways. The dogs must get 15 points for a Championship and they must also earn 2 majors - a win of 3, 4 or 5 points - and those majors are awarded based on how many dogs are entered which is based on what state or AKC region in which you are showing. Easy right?

In Canada the point system is the same for the whole country and to get points from the classes you have to get Winners Dog or Winners Bitch. Those two dogs then compete in the Breed class for Best of Winners and whoever wins gets the points based on the combined number of both sexes of class entries. Complicated? Sounds to be but it's not really. See, this past weekend, when Cora was showing, she got no points for getting Winners Bitch because she was the only bitch, I had very little faith we'd come out of the weekend with any points because she had to beat 3 male dogs. In boys there was a 2 point win because there were 3 entries so the dog who got Winners Dog automatically earned 2 points. Without the judge awarding Cora Best of Winners she would get nothing. If she did win it wouldn't take away any point from the boys, that winner would still get their 2 points, but Cora would also get 2 because she would have beaten 3 dogs. So what the judge needed to do was a cross-over, which is what Sunday's judge did to award Cora 2 points.

So what of Esme and why does the above paragraph matter? Well, going into the show Esme had 2 points and no majors, so she needed to bring home at least one major to be seriously on her way to her US Championship. Unfortunately for her there was no major in girls, only boys. Just like Cora, Esme had to beat the boys for her major wins. She also had some girls to compete against but that would only earn her one or two points, not the 3 we need for a major.

The difference with the US shows is that they don't combine the sexes for Best of Winners, you *must* beat the sex that has the major in order to get it. Say there are 5 entries for a 3 point major in boys and only 3 bitches, which is not a major - Best of Winners doesn't combine all the entries to 8 for a major, the bitch has to beat the male for the 3 points so they both get 3 points. Crazy right? The bitch will clearly have beaten 7 other dogs and should get more points for it but she doesn't, she only gets the same as the boy who won. I don't think that's a fair system since sometimes there is no major in either sex but combined there usually is - it would make some people who find it hard to get majors in their breeds a lot happier if the sexes were combined for majors in Best of Winners.

But still, Esme did it! My mom said she showed great and the judges really liked her. She took Best of Winners at 2 of the shows and Winners Bitch as well so Esme brings home 9 additional points which puts her on 11 total. She only needs 4 single points to go. It's such an improvement over the last show she attended in the US when my mom said she behaved so badly the judges couldn't see her movement. I rather wondered if they'd taken the right dog in the ring!

Anyway, hooray for little Esme and thanks to my parents for showing her when I couldn't. It was a great weekend for my class girls and I am pretty proud of them both for beating the boys!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Yes Man

With Luke staying with me for a few days the play is constant with Cora but Raimi and Leeloo are mortified a kid has come home. They will be delighted when he leaves but Cora will not know what to do with herself. In previous years I have puppy-sat dogs I've sold and while they were all well behaved, living with a dog that you didn't raise and train can be a challenge because they don't know your routine and you don't know their habits. This can be irritating sometimes when there is a failure to communicate and the dog doesn't know or understand the rules.

Fortunately, in Luke's case, this doesn't seem to happen. He is respectful, quiet, listens to me, comes when called off leash, relaxes when he's told to and we have had very few issues with him and The Boy. Raimi 'talks Luke down' and if I need to I back up The Boy. In the end, I decide who is running the show. Even the food issue that his Mommy warned me about hasn't come up - Luke can be food possessive - but when there were some rogue kibbles on the floor I said "Hold it!" and everyone got their own piece in a respectful manner. Even licking the remnants out of a bowl with his sister was a calm affair. As he plays quietly on the floor with Cora I am thankful that he is a nice stable dog, can accept this strange situation easily and I am grateful that his Mommy and Daddy gave him a solid start in life.

I took a chance yesterday and we set off into the woods off leash and went looking for some squirrels. We didn't find any but the dogs had a good sniff and I managed to get some nice photos of Luke. Cora showed him how to get to a part of the creek that will eventually be fenced off (sorry Cora) although it does offer a nice vantage point from which to photograph the dogs. Luke stopped to pose for me in 'Cora's spot' and I took advantage because like his mother as a young dog, Luke doesn't seem to ever stand still long enough to take 'posing' photos.

I did manage to get a couple nice ones of his pretty expression, and it just brings home to me how much of a baby he still is. The softness in his eye will never go but only time and tides will bring maturity to this lovely soft face.

So what was he looking at in the photos of him at the creek? What on earth could captivate his interest so completely? Not a squirrel, he hasn't spotted those yet ... it was Cora stalking him through the woods, and there she is, ready to tackle him from above. (Plus 2 to Cora for higher ground).

Even if only for a little while it's nice to have one of my babies back - I haven't done it in years, especially considering that I moved. I can take the time to look at him closely, to see how he behaves, what his temperament is like, what he lost and gained from his parents and how he is likely to mature. I don't always look to the dogs I produce with a critical eye but I can't stop myself from evaluating them - even if only on a cursory level. Each generation teaches you something else, something new, and shows you what to try and keep and what to avoid. This family has taught me which direction to go in possible future generations, but that is years away yet, and just now they think it's time to head for home.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cool Hand Luke

Today is Leeloo's 4th birthday. When I found out about the breeding between Tailor and Bing 4 years ago it was a snap decision to want one of the puppies. I hoped there would be a nice bitch in the litter that I could bring home and sure enough Leeloo fit the bill. She had those kissable white feet and once she was in my house Boy and I were under her spell, lost forever to her charm and Bubbaliciousness. So happy birthday to my Booble and all the other silly names I call her, she is my darling enigma and I love every inch of her.

From yesterday at the Halifax show we bring tidings of great joy. Well, joy to me, not to Cora's point tally. For the first time in the ring Cora misbehaved in a silly happy puppy way and I was thrilled. She is finally getting relaxed enough to goof off and I couldn't be more pleased with how she's improved show to show. I think she is a bit of a throwback to the old style temperament in her lines and she has blossomed by leaps and bounds in recent months. I can only see her experiences improving since this weekend we have an outdoor show and I think she will much prefer that over an indoor show.

Luke was also showing and although he didn't get any points either, he was rewarded with some very nice compliments from the judge who saw a lovely dog that just needed to mature. Luke has the unfortunate luck to be seriously out of coordination with, well, everything. That 'awkward teenage' stage lasts a long time with dogs from the Aegis/Rivercity lines (one day, a few years from now, when I've earned it, I can call it the 'Invictus line'), and we just need to allow the youngsters time to grow up. All the gangly bits will one day even out although I think there is a slight chance he may have inherited Leeloo's leg!

Luke also came home with me for a few days vacation while his Mommy Stephanie and Daddy Kyle take in a little bit of Nova Scotia. I know how hard it is to travel with dogs so it was no problem for me to offer to take Luke for a few days until the Pictou shows. After all, I did just gain 4 acres.

It's pretty safe to say that Cora and Luke are hitting it off in the best way possible. They wear each other out and tumble and chase and play for ages until they finally come inside to crash. It's going to be hard for Cora to say goodbye to Luke and I'm sure the reverse is true.

Cora's signature move these days is the bail out roll. She can be playing like mad and then suddenly she's on the ground in a roll, sometimes all the way over and back up again in a flash and sometimes she stops on her back and wrestles from that position. It's amazing to watch, she is so fast and seems to love to fight from the ground up.

I know Luke's Mommy is missing him but rest assured, lots of texts and photos will have you sleeping soundly. He is being very good although there is some question right now about whose Mommy I am, The Boy or Luke's! They both think I am and that has resulted in some 'testing' which gets squashed in a hurry. They can share. I still make sure though, that The Boy knows he is the ultimate in special ... so Luke will just have to concentrate on keeping Cora in line! Somebody has to ...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hope Springs

Right after I said I wasn't taking photos of the dogs on walks, I got up and took them out and made sure to bring the camera. I was a glorious morning, the kind that makes you think that the day ahead holds boundless opportunities. So down to the creek we went and as usual the forest never fails to deliver peace of mind and nourishment for the soul. Not that Raimi needs much peace of mind, no matter how 'thinky' he looks, he's not really.

Cora delights, in that simple puppy way, in watching the little skimmer bugs skate across the surface of the water. She also likes to watch in curiosity as bubbles pop on the surface of the water. You can clearly see the wonder in her expression and it never fails to amuse me when she does it. Although I have tried, it's hard to photograph the bugs and her at the same time since the bugs are the same color as the bottom of the creek.

Leeloo cannot help but be on alert all the time. It's her job to make sure there are no rogue squirrels attempting to infiltrate her domain. She blends very well and if you can't hear her bell, chances are very good that she is standing just like this, waiting for a squirrel to make its move. Boy does it too and I often call him over and over before I realize he has been standing about 20 feet from me, in the bushes, staring up at the trees and lying in wait for a squirrel to drop into his mouth. Leeloo does the same thing only she is usually much much farther away!

 After our walk I completed a couple of household chores and Cora and I were off to Halifax again for a Sunday drive and some more experience in the ring. This time, however, she didn't just experience the ring, she won! Over several class males Cora took Best of Winners for her first two points and the judge was very patient and kind with her which I thought was incredibly nice since he was rather brusque and quick with the boys. I anticipated that he would rush Cora so I tried to have her ready but I needn't have worried, he waited for me to stack her, examined her calmly, allowed us to do the down and back twice and then offered some advice on Cora's nervous pacing. I will certainly try that his suggestion tomorrow. In any case she has started her point count but she doesn't care, in Cora's mind all she would rather be doing is this ...