Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Tale of Two Dogs

It's been some time since I last posted, being busy with the puppies, who are now leaving for their new homes. Two weeks ago, when the first puppy left, it was on the same day that a wonderful little rescue dog that I was fostering left for her "forever" home. I got to thinking about the different paths that each of these dogs lives took on the way to their new homes.

It was extremely hard, letting the first puppy go to her new home. Sending the puppies of to their homes is always bittersweet. By the time they start leaving, we've had them for ten weeks. From watching their birth, seeing their eyes open, those first steps. Then it's on to learning about the grooming table, walking on a leash, and getting along with others. Then it's time for them to move on to their permanent homes, where their arrival has been highly anticipated.

While driving home from the airport, after dropping off the new owner and her puppy for their flight home, I got to thinking how different these two dogs lives have been. The puppy, who was ten weeks old at the time she left, had never known anything except her mother, a clean area to sleep in and play, patience while the "humans" taught her how to stand on the groomng table, get a bath, walk on the leash, and play with toys. She, like the rest of the littermates were always told how wonderful they were, and encouraged when they took their first tentative steps down the deck to the yard, had their first "scary" bath, etc. They were cherished puppies, and I'm sure they know it.

In contrast. I thought about the little rescue girl. I received a call one evening from the rescue coordinator for our breed. An older dog needed to be fostered immediately, since the owner was moving into an apartment that did not allow dogs. The dog needed to be picked up the following day. The next evening, I went to pick this little girl up. She's 8 1/2 years old, and due to a lack of dental care, had lost all her teeth. No, not most of her teeth, ALL of her teeth. The owner explained that she "just didn't have time for the dog" anymore, and she had spent a lot of time in her crate.

I could only imagine how frightened this little dog must have been when I took her and placed her in the car. Here she was, 8+ years old, being taken from the only home she has known, because, basically she wasn't convenient anymore. She was such a stoic little dog though. She sat on the front seat, peeking at me every so often, I'm sure wondering what was going on. She fit in quickly with my other dogs, never causing a problem. I couldn't imagine someone not appreciating her, she's quiet, clean, and never caused any problems. Despite her lack of teeth, and age, our wonderful rescue coordinator found her a home quite quickly, in Texas. The problem became, how to get her to Texas, since the temperatures were so high in August, that she couldn't fly, and I was less than enthusiastic about flying an eight year old dog to her new home. In October, we found a ride for her from Denver to Texas, and she couldn't be doing better. I receive updates from her new owner who can't say enough about how wonderful and loving this little dog is. How sad that it took this little dog so long to find a home that would truly appreciate her, and love her for who she is.

So, as I drove home that night from the airport and dropping off the owner with her new puppy, I had to think about the very different paths each took to get to their homes; and wonder when did the rescue dog go from being that cute bundle of joy as a puppy, to an unwanted burden on her owners?

As a breeder, in the end, the only thing I can do is screen potential owners as well as possible before placing puppies in homes where they will ALWAYS be a true part of the family. It didn't take much more than looking at the rescue dog and her plight to hope I never make a mistake.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Denver Specialty, and the Puppies are Growing!

well, the Denver Bedlington Terrier specialty is over for another year. Like most small clubs, it seems a minority of the people do a majority of the work. I guess it's not much different than anything else in life.

The trophy table was absolutely gorgeous, with artwork that was made by Regina Mays. It was all Bedlington themed, and made of marble.

Freddie decided that this was his day to behave! I couldn't have asked for a better-behaved dog. He was a real little trooper in his Sweepstakes class. He won the 12-18 month old dog class, then won Best in Sweepstakes! We were off to a good start. He then went back in for his regular class, Bred-by-Exhibitor. Again, he was a perfect gentleman, showing his heart out but behaving. He went on to win the Bred-By class and go Winners Dog.

By Best of Breed, Freddie was getting tired. Michael showed him in the breed, since I had Skylar to show. He's not as confident a dog with Michael, perhaps because I always show him, but he was fine, once he knew "mom" was only a few dogs ahead of him. He went on to go Best of Winners for a 4-point major, finishing his championship with all majors, and all from the Bred-by classes.

The puppies are growing by leaps and bounds. Each received their new piece of jewelry last night; their collars. As usual, there was lots of scratching, while they tried to figure out exactly what was around their necks, but by this morning, they're all but oblivious to the collars. I'll start grooming them this weekend, getting them accustomed to the grooming table, a nice soft pin brush, and a small pair of clippers. The Andis finishing clippers work great for them at this age, since the blade is only about 2/3 the width of a regular clipper blade.

They also ventured outside for the first time last weekend. We set up the exercise pen on the lawn for them, put up the shade tarp, and added a few toys to their pen. At first they weren't sure of the new footing underneath them, but soon they were back to playing.

On a sadder note, my last Afghan Hound, Corrina, had to be put to sleep on Tuesday. She's been extremely frail for some time now, but was eating well, and other than her incontinence, and the fact that she got around slowly, she enjoyed every day. Tuesday morning I went outside, and she couldn't get up. She just had that look that said "it's time". So I made an appointment for her that morning. She was never a great show dog, but an extremely fun-loving dog that enjoyed each day. The fact that she lived to 15 was amazing for a breed that generally doesn't have a lifespan nearly that long. I look at the Bedlington puppies, and I can remember Corrina being in the whelping box, she was from a litter of two that I had bred. It's hard to believe that was fifteen years ago.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Stork has arrived!!

Well, the stork arrived this morning! I was certain Tori would have her puppies last night, but she had other ideas. While I was busy putting the other dogs outside this morning, Tori was busy having her first puppy.

Several hours later, Tori had finished. The final count is 6 girls, 2 boys, and they're all blue. Mom is being extremely attentive to their needs at this time, and we're busy trying to make sure everyone gets their turn at the "milk bar". No small task when there are eight to keep track of.

The puppies look wonderful, and as always, there are expectations on each litter. I guess as breeders always looking to improve our dogs, and in search of the "perfect" dog, we must be eternal optimists. I'm very excited about this litter, Tori has always been one of my all-time favorite show dogs, she was showy enough to compete and beat the boys, and was a group winner in addition to numerous group placements. My last litter with her resulted in one puppy, Freddie, whom I dearly love, but I really wanted a Tori daughter. It looks like I'll get a daughter of hers this time! The sire is Ch. Bonnybrooks Talkn' About Me, a lovely dog that finished a while ago, and wasn't shown again until the National Floating Specialty in Omaha last month, where he won Best of Breed. I'm extremely excited about this litter, and hope they live up to the potential that they should have.

Monday, July 13, 2009

BTCA Floating National - Omaha

We just got back from the Bedlington Terrier Club of America floating national specialty in Omaha.

The shows were held at the Qwest Center in Omaha, and it was a wonderful venue for a dog show; organized unloading, parking, and lots of grooming space, so necessary for Bedlingtons!

I believe this was one of the more pleasant specialties I've attended in recent memory.

Friday was our specialty; there were seven youngsters entered in Sweepstakes, xx class dogs, xx class bitches, and xx specials.

My 12-18 month youngster, "Freddie", decided to make a complete and total fool out of himself in Sweepstakes, grabbing the leash, pulling out of the leash, and generally having a grand old time. Needless to say, he did NOT win the sweeps class.

A lovely dog that travelled with us, Ch. Bonnybrook's Talkin' About Me, won BOB at the specialty, to the surprise of many. This is a dog that finished approximately 2 years ago, and hasn't been out since he finished. He's a lovely dog, and I'm sure we'll be seeing more of him in the near future. It's a shame that several other Bedlington owners, that were not even present at the show, felt it necessary to make disparaging remarks regarding this dog. Perhaps if those people spent more time studying the breed and trying to breed a better dog, rather than spending the majority of their time spreading vicious rumors and gossip to try and "better" themselves, they might find themselves in the winners circle more often.

Friday night, there was a surprise Birthday Party for one of our members, Laurie Friesen, held at the hospitality room. As hard as it is to keep a secret from Laurie, I do believe her husband Wayne succeeded! Laurie looked totally shocked when she walked in the room. This was a great get together for everyone after a long day of showing.

Freddie decided to behave better on Saturday, going Winners Dog, and Best of Winners for a 4 point major. He's now up to 14 points; all majors, so he only needs one point to finish his Championship. He's now 13 months old, so we're extremely proud of this boy, even though he's naughty in the ring, more often than he behaves. He is just extremely full of himself, and will be a dynamic specials dog once he grows up.

We did not stay for the Sunday shows, opting to leave Saturday after showing so that we could arrive home on Saturday night and have a day to rest up.

All in all, this was a wonderful weekend of showing, and a great opportunity to catch up with fellow exhibitors and friends that I don't get to see that often.