Monday, May 31, 2010

Another Adventure in the Books

I am kind of sick of traveling for the time being -- left HOT, HUMID Iowa yesterday afternoon and just got back to Utah. I stopped at a couple of rest stops for naps when I got tired during the night but really just wanted to get the trip over so I drove and drove...

The heat/humidity was very stressful for the dogs -- it was 90 and about 300000% humidity -- and both Zoey and Asia got diarrhea yesterday; unfortunately Asia got it on the freight haul in an otherwise passing brace performance. Oh well -- it happens and what can you do but feel badly for the dog???

Cadi and Marshall passed open brace yesterday, earning Marshall's Master Open Brace title so that was very exciting. Cadi was not herself -- maybe it was the heat and/or maybe the ear infection that caused us to find a vet in Cheyenne, WY on Thursday night -- but they did get that difficult title done for Marshall and now Cadi has three legs herself; five are needed for the title so Cadi needs two more.

I had fun being an apprentice judge, and seeing friends -- but am REALLY glad to be back in Utah and out of that sticky, suffocating heat/humidity. Here are a couple of pictures -- first one of Cadi and Marshall, and then one of just Cadi...

Tomorrow we head back up to Montana and then I am not driving anywhere for quite a while! The girls are all doing well now -- I think they also prefer the cooler, dryer mountain air :)

Hope you are enjoying the long weekend...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Farewell Sweet Boy

Riley, CH Kaibab's Above Suspicion CDX, RAE, NDD, left this world today after a very short bout with probable osteosarcoma; he would have been ten in July. Riley lived with Kay, Sue, Dillon (from the C Litter) and Glitterati Ruben in Phoenix. Riley was a paid model and was featured in various ads, including several for PetSmart, but his greatest gift was his wonderful, sweet temperament.

Riley was Kim's favorite puppy from our "A" Litter, and we both have been so proud of all that Riley has accomplished. But the greatest joy is that he lived with Kay and Sue, whose devotion and care for their boys is really a breeder's dream. We do not have words to express our gratitude to Kay and Sue for giving that sweet boy truly "A Life of Riley".

There are no words that can make this easier or better -- we are so glad he was here and we grieve that he has left...

Random Fun Pictures from Right Now...


Asia is trying to chew a bone but little sister just has to occupy the same space -- Asia has the patience of a saint...

To really "get" this picture, double-click on it to enlarge it and see what Zoey is doing to her beloved ball with feet...

Back to Sun

No more snow here so Zoey enjoyed a game of fetch!

Cute Syd

Have a lovely day!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Utah in May

Greetings from Utah -- more on that in a minute!
We arrived without incident, and headed out to a family dinner last night at one of our usual places -- Sweet Tomatoes. We had quite a crew as Nicole and Doug (Nicole's husband) came from Logan, and Kimmer and his girlfriend are here from California; the usual Utah kids were there -- Jake (with wife, Cassie), Tanner, and Galen. I am not sure why the restaurant does not give us a private room as we have quite a good time and typically overstay our welcome.

Tanner experimented with hair extensions he borrowed from Cassie...

Nicole and Jake argued about who was really the Most Beloved Child -- apparently nobody else feels in the running ;)

And the finale -- the tradition is that Tanner and Galen walk out with little squares of jello that they first throw way up in the air and try to catch in their mouths (Galen 1, Tanner 0 yesterday) and then they typically throw them at someone and/or put on someone's windshield. Did I mention they will both be 22 soon?!

So that was fun and now it is today -- in honor of my May 24th birthday, it is snowing here in Utah as evidenced by these pictures of Zoey!

Hope the start of your week is a very good one, even if it is snowing :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another Adventure Brewing

Look at these pictures...

Do you know what they mean? Well, besides how good Halo and Asia are at distractions, and how cute they are together, and how Asia definitely does not look like a boy? The fact that I am practicing draft with the girls can only mean one thing -- a test is coming up.

Tomorrow we (Dear Husband, me, girls) leave for Utah where I will spend a few days before leaving on Thursday for a state that includes Culvers Frozen Custard -- Iowa. On Saturday I am serving as an apprentice draft judge at a test near Des Moines, and then on Sunday I will compete with Halo and Asia as a brace (hence the sudden practicing). Cadi is going along as well because she has a daddy-daughter date with Marshall on Sunday -- they will once again team up for open brace with Val.

Congratulations to our friend, Elizabethanne, who did a great job in a triathalon today!!!! I think she was riding her new pink bike -- I am envious!

Hope you are having an excellent weekend!

Friday, May 21, 2010

VST Training

I think the picture of Asia ringed by the flowers should put to rest any accusations of being a manly kind of girl :) Not that we hold grudges, of course!!!

I wanted to share a training video we did of the girl-who-is-not-a-boy. Asia is working on VST -- Variable Surface Tracking. Here is the description of a VST track from the AKC: "The track will have a minimum of three (3) different surfaces, which will include vegetation and two (2) areas devoid of vegetation, such as concrete, asphalt, gravel, sand, hard pan, or mulch. The areas devoid of vegetation will comprise at least one-third (1/3) but not more than two-thirds (2/3) of the total length of the track" (AKC Tracking Rules).

This is a very difficult test to pass, with a passing rate of about 4% (yes -- FOUR percent); just one berner has ever done it and Asia plans to be #2 -- well, I plan it but she agrees as it involves Sausage McMuffins from the Dollar Menu. Anyway, I thought you might enjoy seeing some of her track today -- thanks to Kim for taping and my tracking partner, Teressa, for laying the great track...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Portraits of the Kaibab Girls

Halo (7.5 years)

Asia (Halo's daughter)

Zoey (Halo's younger daughter)

Mrs. Maize (will be ten in July)

Cadi (Maize's daughter)

Sydney (Cadi's daughter, Maize's granddaughter)

Let Summer Begin!

Good Morning Friends! Welcome to summer vacation -- at least for me and I am sorry to rub that in for those who do not get a summer vacation. Of course, I will be working all summer on various projects but it is still a vacation to me because I actually love the work I do, and because I get to work on my schedule and primarily from home. So with the Spring Semester grades completed, Summer Vacation has officially started -- yippee!

We have recovered from our Specialty and the 50 hours of total driving time that it entailed. All year I look forward to that Specialty and then it is over in a flash -- it would be really sad if we were not already planning the next Specialty, which is April 4 - 9, 2011 in San Diego, California :) Thankfully it is the week of my Spring Break so no work conflicts!!

Something that occurred to me this morning is that as silly as all those weekly training schedules might seem, they seriously work. Consider all the success that we had at the Specialty and in the weeks before with Asia's TDX and also Syd's TD -- those things do not happen because we click our heels and make a wish! No, accomplishments happen because we prepare for them, and because each day we do the little things that need doing to help us achieve our goals.

Two things that seem worth saying about all this. First, if we look ahead at some distant goal it is very easy to get overwhelmed and just give up. Instead, we need to "chunk it down" -- breaking the goal into smaller pieces that can be accomplished today or this week or whatever short-term time frame feels manageable. These little baby steps will indeed help us get to where we want to go, even though it is tempting to view them as small and insignificant.

As we drove across the country, Dear Husband and I discussed the pioneers who did not have the advantage of a car to get them from Point A to Point B. Can you imagine facing a 1500 mile journey without a car or plane? But in the end, those brave souls did what we all have to do if we want to accomplish something -- they took one step at a time, and in doing that were able to accomplish what really seems unimaginable.

The second point I want to make is about how critical it is to have a proper foundation. At the Specialty I watched owners who clearly had the vision of a goal, but who obviously did not take the time to lay a proper foundation to achieve that goal. It is hard for me to understand why people rush a dog into events that clearly they are only ready for in class or the backyard -- what a waste of money and more importantly, how demotivating for handler and dog!

Okay, I have a third point -- stop blaming the dog! I watched a Novice B obedience handler twist her dog's ear outside the ring because the dog broke the stay and heard more than one person complain about a dog not listening/being naughty/whatever. Come on folks -- quit whining and recognize the truth -- your dog wasn't ready and whose fault is that?! Do you think the dog sent in the entry form?!

This is all related -- can you tell? Success is not about showing up with lucky socks and crossed fingers -- it is about weeks and months and even years of little baby steps (and yes, lucky socks ;). Success happens because we position ourselves for it -- not because we wish it. And success demands that we both dream and be realistic, and perhaps it is the ability to balance these two things that allows the greatest accomplishments.

How about some pictures? After an early breakfast, the girls all settle in for a nap -- here are some sleepy girls...




Asia -- does that even look comfortable to have your face all squished?



We all know that Zoey LOVES her big sister, and thinks they should inhabit one spot at all times; here is Asia giving up trying to get some personal space and using Zoey's paw as a pillow...

I took this yesterday -- it is Asia on the deck and Karma practicing her agility skills. You can really see how green everything is getting :) If you look through the trees, you can see the training yard.

Finally, I took this from the deck this morning -- the Eds (PaintEd, BrownEd, and GoldEd -- I named them all myself :) enjoying the early morning...

I look forward to a summer of baby steps and accomplishments and Camp Berner and lots of other fun things -- hope you also have wonderful things to look forward to!

Friday, May 14, 2010

We made it back to Montana in 25 hours of straight driving -- we are all glad to be home!!!!! I have some pictures to share and a final report :)

It takes a lot of people working together to put on a Specialty, and although it may not go as smoothly as everyone hopes, all efforts are so appreciated and we recognize that everyone has the best of intentions -- any glitches are just lessons for the next Specialty Committee to learn from :)

Here are a couple of overlapping views of the obedience rings -- Kay -- are you taking notes for next year's Specialty??

Here is a cute picture of Zaida, one of the Glitterati...

This was the only Maize and Milo (D Litter) picture that did not have red eye -- aren't they cute??

Marti came without her dogs and so she had fun with Maize -- they did a massage class, worked at registration, went shopping, and Marti also handled Maize in Rally yesterday -- they qualified in both Excellent and Advanced!

Halo and Cadi also qualified in Rally, and we left before Asia could do her class but I am sure she would have done just fine :)

Yesterday was the first day I actually was able to take any pictures -- here is one of Marti and Sue -- sorry Marti, but we all know you normally have your eyes open (except when sleeping or praying for patience when dealing with your teenagers ;)

Kim, Carol, and Maize

So, the Final Report:

Maize made the cut in a huge Veterans Sweeps class, was fourth in Veteran Bitches 9 - 11 years, and qualified in Rally Excellent and Advanced

Halo won the Utility A class, was on the first place Team in obedience, was last in Veterans obedience (!), got an award for being Oldest Obedience Qualifier, and qualified in Rally Excellent

Cadi won an agility class, was second in Novice B obedience (49 dogs entered) with an excellent score of 197, passed the open brace draft test with her daddy (twice), qualified in Rally Advanced, won awards for Highest Scoring Obedience Dog with an Agility Title and Highest Scoring Obedience Versatility Dog -- and she earned the Specialty Triathlete award! WOW Cadi :)

Asia earned her first Novice obedience leg with an excellent score of 195.5 and looked beautiful doing it (see video)

Sydney was just in one class (Futurity 15 - 18 mos) and she placed third in the large class

Zoey was a friendly pest to all, and she and Syd passed their cardiac exams so it is confirmed that they have hearts!

This picture is before the rally ribbons but you can get the idea -- this is what we came home with:

And if the video worked -- it is Asia's on leash heeling at the Specialty... And yes Cali -- we are discussing Cadi's second and last litter!

An addition: Halo's utility run is on YouTube --

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More News!

Yesterday was Upside Down Day, as things went a bit opposite of what I expected. I expected Halo to flunk utility and do well in veterans obedience -- well, she had other plans and instead got that utility leg and forgot how to heel in Veterans!

The obedience ring environment was dreadful -- usually everything possible is done to ensure success for our obedience dogs and it was almost like the opposite was done at this Specialty. They used rings that had just been used for conformation, which meant that there was lots of interesting smells (girls in season and food) and even though they cleaned, some dogs struggled. Also, they had the obedience rings in a building with VENDORS! So there were shoppers and noise and etc. Finally, they had chairs set up two feet from the rings! We got some moved but not all. So any green dog or intact male was going to be at a disadvantage.

Cadi and Asia were both in Novice B -- as was Milo from the D Litter. I expected that Asia could do very well and that Cadi would get by. I have hardly trained Cadi for the past months because remember -- hers was to be a "Git 'er Done" obedience title and she just needed one more leg for the title.

Milo and Sue from the D Litter went early in the class and oh my -- they were LOVELY to watch!!!!!! Milo got a lovely score and a leg towards his CD :) A Big Shout Out to Sue who looked as relaxed and happy as her dog did -- GREAT JOB TEAM NOWAK!

After a long day it was finally Asia's turn -- remember that the Novice B class had 49 dogs entered! I am reminded that both the dog and handler have to get used to working together in a new environment as what I thought was not a great performance was actually good. I gave a double command, which costs us three points but Asia's final score was still 195.5 -- in other words, she seriously kicked butt and especially given the environment and the reality that it was her first time in the obedience ring.

And then it was Cadi's turn and she was her usual happy self but managed not to bark. Both girls sailed through the group stays, and in the middle of all this we had Marti and Val coordinating to get Maize shown in Veterans conformation where she took a fourth place! Oh -- and in the morning we were also coordinating to get Cadi over to do Open Brace again with her daddy, Marshall -- they passed again!

Okay back to obedience (can you get a sense of the hectic day?!) -- awards time. I just really hoped to get a placement but I suspected that extra command was going to really hurt us and when the fourth place was announced, it was a score of 196 (out of 200) and clearly was not us -- I was a little disappointed but a 196 is a high score and I knew we had likely lost three points with that extra command so knew Asia would not place -- oh well :)

Third place was 196.5 and then they announced second and it was a lovely score of 197 -- and when they said #72 with that lovely score nobody moved and then it began to dawn on me and I asked her to repeat the number and suddenly realized -- it was CADI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes indeed, Cadi finished her "Git 'er Done" CD with a 197 and second place in a class of 49! WOW!!!!! Upside Down Day indeed!!!!!!

And then it was on to team obedience where Halo did remember how to heel -- apparently it is only during the midday that she cannot heel :) Team is pretty whacky with costumes and music and so on. Milo and Sue from the D Litter (second dog) were on a most entertaining team...

And then we had the nuns...

and the Little Red Riding Hoods...

Our team honored Harley Davidson, which is headquartered near here...

The nuns thought our team was in need of some redemption and so called a prayer circle after the group stays...

But they should have prayed harder for themselves because we may be going to hell -- but will be taking our first place ribbons :)

And then more awards and then the big obedience awards -- Halo earned a prize for being Oldest Dog with a Qualifying Score, and Cadi finished her excellent day by getting the awards for Highest Scoring Dog with an Agility Title and Highest Scoring Versatility Dog!

Okay -- so Cadi is clearly trying to make up for last year! She has earned her Brace Draft Dog title (twice), finished her CD in great style -- and in doing that she earned the AKC honor of Versatile Companion Dog 1 (VCD1), which is awarded to a dog that has titles in agility, tracking, and obedience; she is a third generation VCD dog :) Very cool! She won an agility class, and by qualifying in three different performance events (draft, obedience, agility -- so far) she has earned the Specialty Triathlete award!!!! Yea Cadi :) And she still has Rally today!

So Obedience Day was a huge success all around even if it was a bit opposite of what I expected; I attribute most of the success to my new Lucky Socks and having Kim, Marti, and Val to help out -- and Carol and others to cheer us on :)

Rally today, although we may not get to all the classes we entered. It is pouring again but thankfully Rally is indoors. We also leave today...

Hope your week is an excellent one!