Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring + Snow = Montana

Spring in Montana appears to be rather white! Well, until it melts and then it is brown and muddy -- all we need is some black and we will have berner colors!

Last weekend Zoey earned her certification to enter a tracking test. This means that she completed a full-length track laid by a judge, and the judge has certified that she is ready to enter a “real” test. However, we observed something that needs work – Zoey gets distracted by people when she is tracking. This makes sense since we never see anyone up here, but at a test she will be watched by two judges and probably a small audience so we have to get her used to that.

Our Specialty training, as evidenced by Zoey’s successful certification, is going very well. I have made the difficult decision to not bring all the dogs to the Specialty, and so Halo is staying home. She is working on Utility (highest level of obedience) and this is something we can do anywhere; she does not need to spend a week in a hotel just to do that. Halo has also been getting ready for TDX work, but she is an insane tracker and pulls too hard to be safe on the hills around here so she is taking a break from that. And so given limitations of space in the van and the hotel, and the amount of work involved in having multiple dogs at such a big show, I have decided to let Halo stay behind and keep Galen and Faith company. It is surprisingly sad to imagine not having the whole family there, but it is the right decision.

So here are our Specialty entries, already sent in:
Maize – veterans conformation, veterans sweeps, veterans versatility, novice brace draft (with Cadi), rally, agility, and the veterans parade.
Cadi – TDX, versatility, rally, obedience, novice brace draft, agility, and Best of Breed if she gets any coat back by then (she is BALD).
Asia – TDX and Best of Breed.
Zoey – TD, futurity, puppy sweeps, and regular puppy conformation.
Sydney – she is going but is too young to enter anything.

The plan is that as soon as we get back from the Specialty we will be closing on the house – fingers and paws crossed that everything continues to move forward. The house is in Stevensville, Montana and is a 3,000 sq. ft. cedar home on 2.7 acres. It is very private and lovely, with big pines and a wetland area next to the property. One of the two garages will be my training building and there is a large agility area – I am very, very excited but won’t believe it is true until I am using the key to open the door.

I thought you might enjoy some pictures from this morning and also a couple from the potential new home (fingers crossed)…

We start off with three pictures of Sydney, now four months old and 34 pounds. I truly cannot convey how friendly this puppy is -- she literally pulls and whines to meet every person she sees. Cadi (her mom) is very friendly but Sydney takes friendliness to some new level -- every person she meets is her new BFF (Best Friend Forever).

This is a fun picture of Cadi, Asia, Faith and Zoey that I took on our morning hike.

Do you remember when Zoey (Rosebud) was little and I shared how she liked to leap and fly? There was even a picture on the Blog of "Super Rosebud" in which she was air born. Well, take a look at this...

But here is Zoey with her feet firmly on the ground, and also a close-up of her. Zoey continues to need work on meeting strangers as she is not 100% comfortable with everyone. Today I took her to a Rugby Club function -- no, I am not in Rugby Club but I was driving by and saw it as an excellent opportunity to socialize Zoey :) A woman with a big hat and a shopping cart came over to see Zoey. She (the woman) clearly had mental health issues and she was all over Zoey, picking up feet and touching every part of her body, while leaning over her. I fed Zoey some cheese and answered the woman's repeated questions, all the while being quite amazed at Zoey's patience for what was so clearly unusual behavior from a stranger. I know Zoey will be just fine but I am making the extra effort to get her out and about -- not easy when one lives miles outside of civilization!

Sydney went over to the new house and could not believe her luck -- a whole herd of new BFF's right across the fence!!!! Galen took this picture with his phone, and what you cannot see is that Syd's tail was wagging a mile a minute and she licked the nose of any of the very curious BFF's that got close enough.

And here is the house -- it needs updating (who cares?!) but is in excellent shape. I hope it all works out but I also have faith that if it doesn't, it is because something even more wonderful is supposed to happen (but I hope it is this house :).

I am on spring break and sure wish the weather was better for training and traveling. On Wednesday I head to Utah for four days, and between now and then I will be catching up on stuff and also meeting with the local hospice -- I have taken a very, very part-time position with them so that I can stay in practice and not become one of those professors who is detached from what really happens in his/her profession.

I hope that you are enjoying spring. It is such a good reminder that all things do come to an end, and that the darkest and coldest of winters is always followed by a period of renewal. In spite of the mud and the snow, I feel renewed and hopeful -- do you? I hope so!


  1. What a great house! I love the pictures of the dogs running together.

  2. First, the house is wonderful. By this time, there are so many crossed fingers that they make a basket to carry all your hopes in.

    Second, that's one great shot of Zoey flying (where's her cape?) I, too have a dog who only knows BFFs. People are always amazed when, on first sighting them, Djinn turns around, sits on their feet, and LEANS.

    It sure feels like Spring and new beginnings here: I get to visit with my now 9-month old grandson(!) next week, I've almost finished restoring my loom, and I just got another one that I'll pick up on my way back from the Specialty. And then there's the Specialty, of course. Mary-Ann, HOW are you going to fit all those entries into one week?

    Susan and Djinn