Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Catching Up...

OK, I think catching up is the title of at least half of my personal posts. It's been a very up and down month so far. My much anticipated knee repalcement has been indefinitely postponed by my surgeon while he waits to get me in to consult a third surgeon - this one specializing in osteotomies who is in London (Ontario). I'm beyond frustrated and having a lot of days where I just want to stick my head in the sand and say go away and leave me alone. On the plus side the iron transfusion does seem to have helped a bit with the exhaustion. I'm wondering how long the effect will last?

The music man is spoiling me rotten which I must admit is very very nice. I am thoroughly enjoying it. I'm not sure I deserve it but I'm definitely liking it lol

You can see our great dog show info over on the dog blog. We had a pretty spectacular weekend. I can't wait to be able to show my own dogs again. I've been putting off showing Dublin because I wanbted to do it myself but now it's looking like that may be a long while off so I may yet bite the bullet and let someone else show him.

I'm whipping through Rick O'Riordan's Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. Very enjoyable. I'm reading about one per night. So, it's a fast read but fun. I've discovered that there are a lot of great kids books out there right now. I suppose it indicates something simple about me, but I do love reading them anyway. They're a nice break as I wait before plunging into Kim Harrison's latest which will definitely not be for kids.

I watched American Idol last night. I'm not a regular American Idol watcher but I do tend to watch if I'm around once they get down to the last bunches. This week's theme was the Rolling Stones and frankly, most of them sucked it big. The Stones should be about passionate energy that leaves you hot, sweaty and satisfied. Most of them tried to slow it down and had little energy. Yech.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I came home planning on writing all about our adventures in New York. Then we lost Chance yesterday and everything went to the wayside. I will put out a post about our adventures once I'm up to getting the pictures uploaded, etc. We did have a wonderful time and the dogs did very well.

I also wanted to write about the Olympics which are being held in my old hometown (like when I was 6-9 years old, so a long long time ago now) as I type.

I love the Olympics. It is the only time I become an avid armchair athlete. Normally, while I enjoy attending sporting events live, I watch very little sports on tv. I do watch the Stanley Cup and the NHL finals as a general rule (sorry, I'm Canadian, I have to watch hockey) but that's about it.

One of the many things I like about the Olympics is watching all the sports you so rarely hear about otherwise - snowboard cross, bobsleigh, luge, skeleton, aerial skiing, figure skating, etc. I'm particularly big on figure skating (blame Kurt Browning) and snowboard cross although I also like the half-pipe snowboard events. Many of them are sports that I'd love to try some day - especially bobsleigh (I love speed). Chances are I never will and that may be safer for all concerned but it is nice to dream about it. Maybe someday I'll get to visit the facilities used for the Olympics and try a mini-run or something like that :)

I'm an equally big fan of the summer Olympics - where I love diving (who doesn't like watching Alexandre Despaties?) and equestrian events in particular.

It's also really nice to see these athletes who work really hard all year round and do not make the big bucks that NFL, NHL, NBA. and other professional athletes make get the attention they deserve. It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice to make it as far as they have and they deserve our support as they represent our country at the games. So, here's to all the Canadian Olympians be they medal winners or not, they are all winners in my eyes.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Vale Chance - Nuthatch's The Negotiator

Suddenly, yesterday afternoon. Chance had slowed down dramatically over the last year, particularly after the passing of his mother and best friend, Holly, last year. He will be dearly missed.

I Did Not Die

Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow;

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain;

I am the gentle Autumn’s rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush.

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft star that shines at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.

I am not there;

I did not die.

- Anon -

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Pirate Project and Blogs That Make You Cry...

I'm almost finished the Pirate Project. I fell behind after becoming addicted to finishing Kushiel's Justice and Kushiel's Mercy. Then both True & Jeannie went and had puppies (there are photos up on the dog blog). It's been a distracting few weeks but I'm back on track and hope to have it finished in the next week or so.

Now that the Pirates themselves have seen it (the prototype was unveiled at the Pirate Christmas Gathering), I can tell you a bit more about it. As per usual, I bit off a bit more than I could chew and decided upon a project that ended up taking on a life of its own. I greatly underestimated how long it would take me to finish it or how often I would change my mind about the placement of different things.

In the end, it is intended to be (and hopefully succeeds on at least some level) a 50 page scrapbook ode to over twenty years of friendship between the Pirates. It contains pictures both new and old of the Pirates and their families. I tried (with varying degrees of success) to incorporate their likes, hobbies, profession, passions, etc through choice in paper, embellishments and text although I kept text to a minimum. I will take some pictures of my favourite layouts from the book and post them here.

I follow a number of blogs. Most are dog blogs featuring tons of pictures and stories, most happy and funny. I was following links when I happened upon a blog called Remembering Josh ( ). At first it caught my eye because the boy in the picture made me think of Jacob. So, I started reading. I only managed to read a few entries as I was at work and I started crying. It reflects a family's grief after losing their teenage son to suicide. It is well worth reading, just keep the box of tissues close. It reminds you of the imporatnce of treasuring each and every day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Odd Notes

Well, it's been kind of busy as you'll know by the following:

I finally bought myself a laptop and picked it up on Sunday afternoon. Last night (Monday) was the first time I got to turn it on and try it out. I quite like it although it will take me awhile to get used to using my finger to control the mouse.

I will be going to New Jersey in the spring to judge Weimaraners.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Crufts - An Affair of the Hound...

Not surprisingly, I have always had a weakness for hounds - both sighthounds and scenthounds. In Europe there are many different continental hounds that we never see here in Canada. One of my favourite parts of Crufts was wandering around and seeing all the breeds I had never seen before. With the exception of the HPR (Hunt Point Retrieve - ie versatile hunting dogs like our GSPs and GWPs), I've included several of them here. With a few exceptions, most are hounds. I'll do the HPRs separately.


This is by far my favourite hound. I had seen a few photos of them before but had never seen one live in the flesh. A medium sized hound, they have a beautiful elegance while still being all scenthound. I would love to import one of these. (Now you know why Dad shakes his head everytime I see a breed I like lol)


Basset Fauve de Bretagne

These were cute little guys.

Bleu Gascogne Basset

Bleu Gascogne Grand

As with these last two breeds, it is a common thing for many hounds, particularly french ones, to have a small (Basset) size and a large (Grand) size.

Bavarian Mountain Hound

Cirneca d'ell Etna



Lagotto Romagnolo

Lancashire Heeler

A typical feisty heeler - one of the few non-hounds in this list. This is a breed native to England.

Portuguese Podengo Rough

Portuguese Podengo Smooth

The Podengos were just adorable. As their notes said - why tango when you can podengo?


Segugio Italiano

And for those who asked my favourite part of heathrow...

More Crufts Photos

The Golden Retriever Demo Team

The Friends for Life

International Juniors Competition

The Sporting Group

The Cut for the Sporting Group

(for those non-exhibitors, these are the judge's preferred dogs from the group, he will choose his winners from the cut)

The Sporting Group Winner

This Vizsla (Sh Ch/Aust Ch Hungargunn Bear It'n Mind) from Australia but not competing in the UK was extremely impressive. Any of the dogs in the cut could have won; it was a stunning lineup. I still favoured the Bracco Italiano, the GSP and the GWP but I couldn't fault the Vizsla.

The Working Group Cut

The Working Group Winner

My Friend Elaine Competing in the Working Group with a Bouvier des Flandres of her breeding.

The Non-Crufts Part of the Trip

Although most of the trip was taken up at Crufts there are a few other excursions and particularly people that I want to mention.
I stayed with a wonderful lady named Anne and her husband. The bred english setters and currently have two field spaniels. Field spaniels are fairly rare in Canada and up until then I had only seen a few in my lifetime. Robbie, the field spaniel they had at the time (the new puppy hadn't arrived yet), is a gorgeous dog and beyond sweet. If I could deal with the grooming I'd have one of these too. (Face it, there are few breeds I wouldn't like to try at least once with the possible exception of terriers and toy breeds which are just not my bag of tea). They also had an old English Setter, Evie, who passed after my visit.


Robbie & Ann

My host, Karen, is Dublin's breeder. We did some sight seeing together, going out to see Skipton castle and wander a bit. It was quite amazing to see. Very different from the castles I saw in Spain which owed much to a hot climate and the Moors. In Skipton the importance of keeping warm became obvious along with the various strategies of defence. Here's some pictures of Karen and the castle:

Although the whole trip was great, the highlights were definitely Dublin and all the great people I met. I firmly think I'll just have to go back just to visit again and do some more sightseeing.

Dublin & Ann

Friday, January 22, 2010

Crufts - Part 2

The next day was spent shopping – there were tons (by which I mean literally hundreds) of booths to see. They also have a huge section called “Discover Dogs”. This area features booths manned by breeders/fanciers and at least one dog for each and every breed recognized in England. This is where I was really able to get up close to many of the gundog breeds we don’t have here as well as many other breeds, particularly the continental European hounds. I'll do a separate post on them too.
That evening we attended Best in Show. As with the previous evening, they started out with a variety of dog sports demonstrations and competitions. These were followed by something called “Friends for Life”. The latter features approximately six pairs of composed of a person and a dog. Often the dog and person are work partners such as police officers or service partners such as a disabled person and their service dog. The stories of each pair are broadcast throughout the four day shown and the audience votes for their favourite via cell phone and online voting. The evening of Best In Show the award is presented to the winning pair. This year it went to a search and rescue dog that focuses on searching for Alzheimer’s patients and his handler.
They then did the two groups from the day – Working and Pastoral. After that they had a brief break and then there was Mary Read’s performance of musical heelwork to the music of Riverdance. I’m not normally a big fan of musical heelwork but this was truly exceptional. Apparently she has been doing this each and every year for the last twelve years of Crufts.
Finally, Best in Show. Of course there were lights and music and excitement in the audience, just like at Westminster. In the end I felt totally justified when a Canadian bred dog – the Sealyham Terrier Am/Can/Swedish/World Ch Efbe’s Hidalgo at Goodspice – went Best in Show. Runner-up BIS was the Standard Poodle.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip and one I would recommend to any dog lover.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Crufts - Part 1

When the opportunity to attend Crufts last year came up, I was beyond excited. After all, the world’s largest dog show, what conformation enthusiast wouldn’t be? While in England, I would be visiting friends and visiting some English GSP kennels that had dogs related to my new puppy, Dublin aka Gamebourne King’s Ransom. My hosts had arranged for us to spend two days at Crufts as well.

Whenever people talk about Crufts they always mention the sheer size of it. When we first got there I was completely overwhelmed. It dwarfed any show I had ever been to and the whole day was devoted to nothing but gundogs. Gundogs represented the largest group at Crufts this year with an entry of over 5600 gundogs. It is a benched show so all the dogs must be present and on their benches except when in the ring. So, you can wander to your hearts content and see as many sporting breeds as you’d like. The UK recognizes many more breeds than we do so it was an opportunity to see a number of breeds I had heard of and many that I hadn’t even heard of before. I’m hoping to do a separate article for Maria in the future featuring photos and descriptions of the gundogs I saw that are not recognized in Canada or are very rare here as there were quite a few.

With an entry of over 260 GSPs, we spent most of Saturday watching GSP judging. The rings were of an average specialty size but judging there is quite different in terms of classes. The younger dogs are broken down by age. Champions compete in the open class with the class dogs. A Dog CC (basically Winners Dog) and a Bitch CC (Winners Bitch) are awarded. Best of Breed is chosen from the two of them. This makes earning CCs very challenging for a young dog. I took several pictures of the dogs in competition but unfortunately the lighting was not bright enough for my little digital camera so I have none to share from GSP judging. Dog CC went to MacGregor Pyzartyst With Moregin JW. I quite liked this dog, enough that I've toyed with making further inquiries occasionally. Bitch CC and Best of Breed went to Sh Ch Barleyarch Pickpocket. Pickpocket is the breed record holder for CCs. She is owned and bred by Sue & Mike Harris of Barleyarch GSPs, and handled by Sue. She went on to make the cut in the group in the evening. Now, I've long been a fan of the Barleyarch dogs so it was a real treat to see so many of them in the ring and later to spend an evening with them.
In the late afternoon we went and found spots to watch the group and other entertainment in the main arena (there are five halls plus the arena – all devoted to the show). The evening show demonstrates how much more rounded Crufts is as compared to most other big shows. Westminster and our Show of Shows tend to focus almost strictly on conformation. At Crufts there was obedience, agility (both of them having individual and team events), as well as demonstrations on everything from dog/child safety to health care to therapy work. In the evening the winners of such events put on demonstrations for the public. One of the highlights was a team of Golden Retrievers (see photo) that did group obedience displays together to music much like the horse displays that are found at higher levels at equine events.

Another class that was done in the evening that I found very interesting was the gameskeeper class. All dogs competing must work a minimum number of hours on a working game farm each year to be eligible to compete in the class. Many of the dogs were shown by the gameskeepers themselves. A lovely young lady and her German Wirehaired Pointer won. She is a fourth generation gameskeeper.

The group itself featured some truly stunning gundogs. Some breeds look quite different from their North American counterparts, particularly the coated breeds like the setters and the spaniels. Others, including the GSPs, would be right at home and do well in any North American ring. A few breeds, including Vizslas and German Wirehaired Pointers, stood out for the extreme quality of the entries as compared to the average seen here. (I’m sure that comment will get me in loads of trouble here :) In the end the Vizsla went on to win the group.Personally I liked several of them but the GWP - Freddy and the Bracco Italiano (ie Italian Pointer) Axel really stood out to me. I'm thinking there may be a bracco here one of these days as I was totally taken with the breed.

Freddy - Freddy von Kapellenhof at Bareve

Axel - Axel del Monte Alagro