Sunday, December 27, 2009

Zoey's Christmas Miracle

Zoey is The Dog Who Loved Too Much. We have been up for an hour and already there have been two episodes of this, which is manifested by loud growling from the dog that is the target of Zoey's affection. Her favorite is Asia, and so she finds her big sister and gets as close as she can and starts her snuggle routine.

Asia can growl pretty loudly and so this is kind of annoying, and I also worry about Asia letting her poor little sister have it and so I intervene. Luckily Zoey is not too particular and getting to lean on me and be petted is also a favored activity so she is easy to distract.

I know it is a little late but today Zoey got her Christmas Miracle!!!!!!! For once her big sister not only did not growl and snarl, but gave in and reciprocated the affection :) Look at Zoey's blissful expression...

Zoey is not unlike a lot of humans who love too much. You can just see it coming like a train wreck -- the one who loves thinks, "if I just do this a little more, I will be loved". And the recipient of the affections -- like Asia -- just wants some space. The harder the one tries, the faster the other runs and so the chase begins.

All of us who have dogs know well how to stop this really pointless game -- stop chasing! Trying hard to make someone care about us when the other person is clearly giving "back off" messages is counterproductive and it is disrespectful. Both people in a relationship get to decide the nature of that relationship -- relationships, by definition, should never be unilateral.

And so if you are the Zoey and find yourself trying hard to ingratiate yourself to your Chosen One, go find a more receptive leg to lean on. And if you are Asia, whose snarling and growling is just really ineffective -- remove yourself from the situation or if that is not possible, be nice about it but you might need to bite a bit.

And for goodness sakes -- don't reinforce someone you want to leave you alone!!!! Zoey hit the jackpot with this Christmas Miracle and now she will keep putting in the quarters, taking the losses while hoping for that big jackpot again... Sigh... that means lots more growling and snarling at our house...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Some of the Family!

This isn't all of us but it is a critical mass -- and we match! And we answer the question, "where will the Bowmans be for Christmas 2010?"

The back row is Kim Jr., Galen, and Tanner. The front row is Kim Sr., me, Jake, and Cassie. We took this at my brother-in-law's house, which explains why there are no dogs in it :)

I hope your day included lots of togetherness :) Am I the only one who is glad that Christmas is coming to a close???

Sharing and Quiz

Happy Christmas to you! I wanted to share this painting that my daughter-in-law, Cassie, did for me as a gift:

Can you tell which dogs and where it is?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snow and Cookies

I hope your week is going well :) We have had lots of snow since I arrived, and will definitely have a white Christmas. Here are some pictures from yesterday -- first is Zoey...


Sydney and her mom, Cadi

Just Syd

Tonight we are watching football (Cal vs. U of Evil -- I mean Utah ;) and Tanner is baking cookies. He wonders why they are not called bakies since you bake them and not cook them :) The girls were the assistants...

Happy Holidays!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pictures from the Passage

Once again we traveled south to Utah, stopping in Idaho at the usual spot for a dog romp. Here is Sydney stretching her legs...

Zoey stretching her ears!

Syd and Zoey


Mrs. Maize

We brought the cats with us but only had one cat crate so Karma got to ride with a dog -- I decided Zoey was the best choice since she enjoys being in close quarters with others :)

Thanks for the comments on the squirrel formerly known as Chippy the chipmunk. Susan sent a picture of a Red Squirrel that is clearly what the former Chippy is -- so I think his/her new name is Rocky, which seems more appropriate for a squirrel.

And now -- let the baking commence!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I got him or her!!! So, here is my chipmunk or is s/he a squirrel?! Can anyone identify what Chippy really is?

Empty Nest

Galen (aka The Puppy Nanny) left two days ago for a new life back in Utah. At age 21, I know it was his time but it is sad and I miss him. I have never been an adult without children. I was pregnant with my daughter at 18, had her at 19, and started at a community college when I was seven months pregnant with my second child at age 20.

I transferred to UC Berkeley with two toddlers in tow and plugged along -- year after year -- for a long time. We lived in the same university family housing that my parents did when I was born, and the kids had a rich, multi-cultural environment in that community. I remember Nicole coming home as a first grader and telling me that there was a new girl in her class, but she wasn't sure if she was Korean, Chinese, or Japanese; when I was six I had not known there was a difference!

Galen attempted to be born early, requiring bed rest at the end of my last semester as a masters' student. I had to take Incompletes that semester, and I missed both my own graduation and my sister's graduation from law school. A few years later I was able to wear my grandfather's academic robes (he was a professor at Berkeley) when I was awarded my Ph.D. from Berkeley -- I earned a degree for each of my three children :)

I was 33 years old when I finally finished the academic journey I had started at the local community college as a pregnant 20 year old high school drop-out. The kids and I grew up together, which is not really the best way to do it for anyone involved. Isn't hindsight great?! It can be if we let it be a teacher -- it is not helpful when we use it to beat ourselves up.

And then -- eleven years ago -- Kim and I began the process of blending our families. My older two were already out of the house and so it was just me and Galen -- but with Kim, I also got his three boys. Galen went from having me all to himself to getting a bit lost in the crowd, and I know that was hard for him but he is such a good sport (most of the time :).

And so this time we have spent in Montana -- by ourselves -- feels like the completion. Galen got the time he needed with just me -- the time he didn't get because we both opened our hearts to a new family that needed us -- and I got to have a really special time with my "baby".

Galen is a really amazing young man and I know I will continue to miss him (as will the dogs). I appreciate all that each of my children (all six!) have taught me, and will always treasure the time that we had together. But now I guess it is my turn -- I am still their mom but in a different way, and one I have never experienced before. This should be an interesting time in my life...

So until Kim moves up in May/June, it is just me here in the big Montana house -- well, me and six dogs, two cats and my herd of deer and one really cute chipmunk that I feed unsalted peanuts and have named Chippy; I hope to have pictures of Chippy at some point -- s/he is adorable but a little skittish! Here are some of the deer...

Mrs. Maize enjoying a nap...

The only reason Sydney plays with toys is to upset Zoey -- typical little sister.

Zoey and Cadi both love toys, and here is one they can enjoy together :)

And so ends a happy, special time with Galen -- Puppy Nanny and Great Son. I want to thank him for helping me transition to Montana, for letting me beat him at Scrabble, and for all his wonderful help with the dogs. I know he is going to miss them a lot...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Karma and Zoey the Almost SuperModel

First of all, I got an email asking about Karma -- the cat I found in Barstow, California a year ago. Karma is doing great! I am not sure why I find all these dog loving cats but she is another one. She likes to cuddle up with Zoey on the bed, which is great because Zoey loves to cuddle but none of the other dogs feel quite the same way :) Here is a picture of cute Karma surveying her kingdom and her subjects from the loft...

Zoey is appearing all over these days -- well, maybe not all over but it sounds good! First, here she is on a fleece pullover that Kris O. sent to me...

Zoey is following in her Uncle Riley's pawprints, although she is still an unpaid model unlike her uncle who is a paid professional. This ad will be appearing in the February Alpenhorn and it is Zoey's second time appearing in a Berner-Garde ad -- isn't it pretty? (double click to make the ad bigger)

The person who did the ad is Daniel Sernicola, and he has a relatively new business called Best in Show Marketing. Daniel is a very active Berner-Garde volunteer, and handles their ads and other media-type stuff. I send him random pictures that I like because I know he is always looking for pictures to use in his work. A picture that I took of one of the E Litter puppies (Jemie, owned by Sharon in St. Louis) is featured on the cover of the Berner-Garde brochure -- you can find it at:

Anyway, I started using Daniel to do ads for my dogs and have been extremely pleased. He has created an amazing ad for me that will go in the February Alpenhorn (the berner magazine) -- it blew me away when I saw it. You will get to see it on the Blog but not until February after the Alpenhorn goes out -- it is crazy good.

Ads in the Alpenhorn are not all that expensive and are a fun way to share about a dog's accomplishments, and create a lasting memory. Daniel's prices are very reasonable, and using him to do the ad is a nice way to support someone who not only does excellent design work, but who helps our breed so much and is just a super great person. You can contact Daniel at -- and this is a completely unsolicited plug for Daniel and his work!

Holiday plans -- Galen takes his last final exam tomorrow and heads for Utah in the van. The van will be filled with his stuff since he is deserting me -- I mean, moving back to Utah. Nicole, my only daughter and clearly the most loyal child, will drive the van back to Montana on Saturday so we can load dogs and etc. and head to Utah on Sunday. Did you follow all that?!

We have fun plans for our time in Utah. The most fun will be spending time with Dear Husband and the rest of the family (and friends) but I am also going to track a lot on my familiar fields down there, Elizabethanne is going to teach Cadi how to dance and yes, we hope to have a video of that to share, and I am going to bake a lot of cookies and other things that will require a New Year's resolution when I come back to Montana after 10 - 11 days in Utah :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Serious Snow

I woke up to about ten inches of snow!!!! Holy White Stuff!!!! Good thing we do not have to go anywhere today! So, if you live in the country -- what do you shovel?! I figured I needed to shovel something but with a LONG driveway, I decided that was out and so I made some cute little paths to the garage and got the two decks relatively cleared. I guess we just drive Trusty Rusty (the big 4x4 truck) right through the snow -- unless the Snow Plow Fairy pays a visit.

I actually LOVE snow!!! It is so pretty :) And so I put on my pink snow boots and the parka I bought last spring for $19.95 (I am so proud of that, even though Galen says it makes me look like a homeless person), did the shoveling, and then got my camera to capture my favorite subjects -- well, really the only subjects I have available, to be honest. No matter -- they are good subjects and quite willing to be cute for my camera.

Maize and Halo preferred to stay inside, and so the four young ones were out with me. Asia, Cadi, and Sydney mostly wanted to chew on the bushes, which was not all that interesting but Zoey was a great subject. She will chase her toy for as long as someone will throw it, and so I threw the funny yellow ball with legs and she had fun finding it in the snow.

The Pounce

The Search

Got it!

Sometimes Syd left her bush pruning to be a pestering little sister

Asia and Cadi

I am mindful that all Zoey's white does not always help her look great in pictures -- when Cindy saw her in CA a couple of months ago, she noted that Zoey's pictures do not do her justice and I think that is true. I do like these two of her though...

Here we have profiles of mother-daughter Cadi and Sydney -- don't they look alike?!

Finally, this is a special one from Syd to her friend, and Syd wanted me to say: "Dear Lisa, If I had a Facebook page I would make you my friend and never unfriend you. Love, Sydney"

Now that I think about it, this could be all Lisa's fault as I just got a lovely card from her that says, "Let It Snow" -- I thought it was nice but now I am wondering if maybe it was a curse??? Too bad I like snow so only an effective curse when I have to drive -- like tomorrow...sigh...

Quick -- someone send a card that says, "Let It Be Warm and Sunny"!

Have a happy weekend -- no matter what your weather.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rattlesnakes and Dogs and Snow and Perspective

Reading this Blog, you might assume that the most important thing in my life is my dogs; this would not be accurate. You might assume that my whole life revolves around the dogs, and showing, and so on; again, not accurate. But does one really need to have some kind of rank order in life? Must I really list the dimensions of my life in some artificial priority list? I don't think so.

I have thoughtfully and carefully constructed a life that includes things I value. Is it a perfect life? Of course not. But working closely with death makes one acutely aware that the candle burns brightly only for a limited time, and so I am mindful of the need to make the most of this time I have on earth.

My dogs are very important to me. They represent a childhood dream, a connection with other (different) living creatures, a way to better know myself, an opportunity to have competence and even excellence, and my private sanctuary where I work hard to become a better person. It is okay that it doesn't make sense to most, and that people think it is about the dogs when really -- it is about me.

My family and friends are important to me, even though the limitations of time and my aversion to talking on the @#$% phone means I do not stay as connected as I might. I suppose I could not have my dogs or my career, and instead tend to all the relationships I have -- sending all the birthday cards I forget now, buying and actually sending cute, thoughtful presents, traveling around to visit various family and friends scattered all over the place, and so on. But that is not who I am, and I figure if I am required to be someone other than who I am to have a relationship with someone -- well, I don't want that relationship anyway.

And that is the beauty of getting older -- perspective. You realize that you really don't have to do and be it all, and everything actually still proceeds somehow. Sure, some people drop out of the picture when you stop doing all the work or when you refuse to play the silly games anymore, but perspective means you just really don't care because you don't want people like that around anyway.

Today I am reminded that a rattlesnake always bites when you hug it, and that you cannot be mad or surprised about that because that is just the nature of a rattlesnake. It is sad when the rattlesnake is someone you love, but love does not make a rattlesnake less venomous -- darn it. So don't hug a rattlesnake -- you don't have to kill it because it isn't something more cuddly, but just keep your distance as you learn to admire what is special about a rattlesnake. However, I must say that I seriously prefer the company of my dogs to cold-blooded reptiles who have a tendency to bite!

And speaking of cold and the company of dogs, let me share some pictures from today of dogs in the snow....

Lovely, sweet natured Asia -- built like a Mack truck. She is amazingly devoted to me, and I love patting her "big, boy head".

Our little Sydee-Lou -- dainty, cute, independent but what a great obedience dog she is looking to be! Her attention is scary intense.

Zo-Bean -- my little energizer bunny/retriever. I just love this puppy -- she is so much fun to train and play fetch or anything. She is always "on" and is just a brilliant girl -- and beautiful to look at.

The Mrs. -- Maize. How blessed we are to have her at 9 years and 5 months. This morning I took the Mrs. and Halo on a two mile walk -- I call it our Old Ladies walk. You would never know how old Maize is -- she races around, barks at the puppies when they have the nerve to play, and just continues to be as perfect as she has always been. I am so lucky to have her.

My sweet and very different puppies!

Given that I do not breed young girls, having this three generation photo is especially unique. Syd is one year, Cadi is almost 4.5 years and Maize is almost 9.5 years. See the family resemblance (besides the big ears ;)?

FINALLY!!! The puppies have learned to stay (sort of) and so here is the first ever picture of all six of our girls -- in age order.

Maize, Halo, Cadi, Asia, Zoey, Sydney

Some advice -- don't hug a rattlesnake but more importantly, don't BE a rattlesnake -- hurting people is not nice.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


We have some congratulations to offer to Kaibab dogs. First, Maddie (from the F Litter) recently earned her Rally Novice title, and her mom sent me this nice picture:

Congratulations to Barb and Maddie :)

And yesterday, Marti and Maverick (from the C Litter) finished a long training journey in which Marti showed humor, patience, and persistence and Maverick showed even more humor and some patience of his own -- they earned Maverick's first obedience title, and with a first place! So BIG congratulations to Marti on the CD and even more so, on the adventure to getting it. We will look forward to pictures :)

Titles are not the only measure of success, but they certainly represent a tangible outcome to hard work, commitment, and a relationship and so we celebrate them. But we are proud of Kaibab dogs whose owners do not choose to pursue titles, and let me introduce you to one -- Bessie.

Bessie is from our first litter, and therefore is a Mace/Abra daughter and a littermate to Maize. She is almost 9.5 years old now and lives in Boulder, Colorado with Nancy and her family. Nancy shares, "she is absolutely the perfect dog and she is always getting lots of attention wherever we go. She's great with the kids, especially at the playground." So congratulations to Bessie on being old, being kind, and being perfect :)

And don't forget to look for Bessie and Maize's famous model brother at PetSmart -- he can be found on the bag of Authority dog food and sometimes in other flyers and ads for that store. Riley lives in Arizona with Kay and Sue, and his nephews Dillon (C Litter) and Ruben (Glitterati). Congratulations to Riley for being old -- and extremely handsome :)

And congratulations to you as well -- for whatever you are proud of being!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Safe and Sound

Once again I endured the painful process of saying good-bye to Dear Husband and headed back to Montana -- only a few more months until he moves up here, thank goodness.

Can you believe it -- the personal, private Idaho dog park was occupied -- by a giant herd of antelope! What nerve!! I did not want to be in a new song about where the berners and the antelope play, and so I found a spot on the gravel road where the antelopes were not visible and therefore could safely co-exist with the six berners. You have to look close to see them -- or double click the picture to make it bigger.

It was a stunning day yesterday, with clear blue skies and snow covered mountains.

This is Maize and Cadi enjoying the break from the drive.

And Asia...

Galen does not appreciate being on the Blog but this time it is his own fault. This picture captures his news -- he is going to return to Salt Lake City and go to school there. He will move back in to our Utah house after this semester (in three weeks). Sigh. I suspected having Tanner come home would be a big pull on Galen, and I was right -- it is pulling him right out of Montana and back to Utah. You know what this means??? No more Dog Nanny -- sigh... I know it is time and will be good for him, but how inconvenient for me!!! ;)

That is Sydney running towards me, and Zoey is also in the picture.

Happy December -- can you believe it? The last month of 2009! Make it a good one :)