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A Rattie Saturday

September 22, 2014

We had a fun day on Saturday at the FPOS Barnhunt trial in Cumming, GA.  We haven’t had any barnhunt practice since July so I wasn’t sure what the girls would do at the trial but they were super girls!

I entered Bailey in Open and Lindy in Novice. This was Lindy’s second try at Barnhunting and Bailey’s first real attempt at Open.  I moved her up the day she finished her Novice but she was not ready for the next level.

Bailey was the star, she earned a 1st and 2nd place for her 1st two Open legs.  Lindy sadly had a great hunt in both trials but didn’t make the bale climb before time ran out so she failed to Qualify but had a fun time none the less.
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I can’t say enough how much fun it is to watch the dogs work.  I don’t care if they Q or not as long as they are having fun but the ribbons feel good to the human member of the team.

Are you prepared?

September 18, 2014

Fires, floods, hurricanes, blizzards, long term power outages. Natural and man made disasters can spell trouble for you and your dogs.

The key to surviving these traumatic events is preparation. Everyone should have an emergency kit available in case they have to evacuate their home. This kit should always be on hand either in place that is easily accessible or in a vehicle. Put it together now so that during times of stress it is one thing less to worry about. Everyone should have a kit for their family and one for the dogs. The following is a suggestion for your dog emergency kit.

Your Dog emergency kit should contain the following items:

Your emergency contact list, this information should be kept current at all times, make sure you include:

Your own contact information, cell phone numbers, email addresses
A friend or relative who lives outside of your area, preferably some one who knows your dogs
A Local contact
Veterinarian’s contact information
A local boarding facility
The local Animal control facility
A contact with your local or regional or All breed club.

Dog ID information:

Each dog should have a folder, notebook or file, which contains a copy of:
Copy of the dog’s identification records
AKC registration
Microchip number
DNA profile
Local licenses and copy of current vaccinations
Current photo and physical description and a premade poster for missing animals to attach current photos to if needed.

Emergency items:

You should be able to quickly locate crates for all dogs being evacuated. Folding wire works best since they can be more easily stored.
A collar for each dog with an ID tag attached with your emergency contact information
Leashes short and long
Food and Water bowls
Dog rug or blanket
Muzzle
A tie out stake
Waste bags/pooperscooper/deodorizer for accidents
Familiar toys/treats/rawhide or hoof to fight off boredom
Vitamins and/or nutrition supplement (helps with stress)
Food and water, recommended minimum 7 day supply and water with a 5 year shelf life.

First Aid kit

Most of us travel with a First aid kit, you may want to have an emergency kit that includes eye wash, Betadine, Peroxide, scissors, gauze and tape, quikstop, tweezers, anti diarrhea medicine, antibiotic cream, Epsom salts, baby wipes, vetwrap, Flea and tick treatments, 7 days worth of prescription meds or normal supplements. Check with your veterinarian for more suggestions.

Now that you have your Emergency kit prepared take a moment and think about how you would get your dogs loaded and evacuated with less than 1 hours notice. How would you leave your property, what are the routes you would need to use to evacuate? Hopefully your emergency kit will never be needed but being prepared can help make an emergency safer and less stressful.

Weekend update

September 14, 2014
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Miss Bailey bug had a pretty nice weekend at the Chattanooga KC shows. She was Best of Breed and Best Owner Handler both days. She also was awarded a Group 3 Owner Handler today under judge Fred Bassett. I believe that leaves her just 2 points shy of her Grand Championship. She showed great this weekend, even with being in standing season.

Always proud to show my first daughter.

I’m afraid of Rescue and it makes me sad

September 11, 2014

A couple of weeks ago I attended a book fair author panel featuring one of my favorites, Spencer Quinn of Chet and Bernie fame. It seems that part of his agreement to come speak was for the event to invite a local rescue organization to set up an adoption booth at the venue.   On leaving the panel discussion sure enough there was a pop up tent with a group of 10 or 12 big friendly mixed breed dogs who were clearly they’re looking for their homes of their own.   That makes me sad.

Of course as dog lover to my core my first instinct was to go over to visit my furry obsessions only to pause and then pass by only later realizing I was afraid of rescue. And that made me very sad.

As a legacy breeder of purpose bred dogs I will no longer stand in the shadows and apologize for my love of creating wonderful dogs and because of that I am more likely to avoid all things rescue.   My expectation is not one of a common goal to find loving and responsible homes for dogs but I expect vitriol and loathing and that makes me sad.

In polite company you shouldn’t speak about religion or politics and I have begun to add rescue to that list as well. Most people are well-meaning and have a great desire to help but the most vocal are like reformed smokers or religion zealots or “winged” politicians.   Whose view is “my way or the highway” and the rest of you are off to some parts very, very south and hot of here. I can’t tell from a glance which are which so I just avoid them all. There are good people out there but I am now suspicion of all of them and that makes me sad.

I wish more people would take the time to educate themselves. There are many great dogs that need homes both mixed breeds and purpose bred dogs. I wish people would work on choosing the right dog for them and if they want something that has certain characteristics, size, coat, temperament etc. then buy a dog from an ethical, responsible breeder or breed rescue and be OK with it. If you just are looking for a good companion then find an ethical rescue and get a new friend and be OK with that too.  Because it is not OK for people to be bullied for their choice in finding a dog by “the other side” when instead we should all be rejoicing that a good dog has a good home.

I really don’t want to be afraid of rescue, I want to support them but the divide between responsible, ethical breeders and rescue seems to be wider than ever before and that is what is truly sad because I don’t know how to fix it.  Sad indeed.

Stewarding – Why should you do it?

September 2, 2014

This is an article I wrote in 2000 about stewarding.  I think it still holds true.  I know that stewarding prior to actually entering a show ring helped me tremendously.   I honestly love stewarding and have learned so much from the job.  Although I no longer live in the Southwest and as of last year no longer belong to the NMSA I know the NMSA members continue to bring a high quality experience to stewarding through the southwest.

I wrote this such a long time ago, I bet most of the people quoted don’t remember this article.

 

Stewarding…… What is it and Why should I do it?

 

 

The Dog, we can all agree is the most important component of a dog show but one of the most undervalued components of a dog show is the Ring Steward. Aside from being undervalued for their actual work on the day of the show, the job of a Ring Steward is an undervalued teaching tool.

Ring Stewarding give the Owner Handler an opportunity to observe dogs from the judge’s point of view, often a different one than ringside. It also gives the O/H an opportunity to see different breeds and compare movement and structure, something Professional Handlers get the opportunity to do by handling multiple breeds.   “Another benefit is to help de-mystify ‘The Judge'”states Lucretia Coonrod, a breeder/owner/handler of German Shorthaired Pointers. She goes on to say that “it is also very beneficial to be an inside ring steward and get a chance to see exactly what the judge sees…you find out that the judge can only judge what they can see! Presentation is so important.”

Owner handlers normally handle one or two breeds, they are their passion but ring stewarding gives the O/H a chance to see breeds up close and personal. You also get to talk to the judges and some of them will tell you why and how they make their choices. That proximity to the judge often gives people the mistaken idea that judges will remember them and put them up later. Most judges remember that you were a great steward. AKC Judge Janet Robinson says “My advise would be to anyone interested in stewarding is to go to the club and be trained to do the job correctly as it can be very rewarding and a well run ring by a good steward is, for a judge a GREAT DAY”.

There are different ways to learn stewarding; the AKC has instructional material available and many show giving Kennel Clubs run classes for stewarding. Mary Jacobs of Wildrose Irish Wolfhounds recommends “A professional group is a great way to learn the craft and get paid also. It paid my show expenses for years. It is also required for prospective judges as you learn how a ring runs, etc., so folks who do steward need to document everything down to whom they stewarded for and what breeds.”

A job at a dog show that pays money? How is that? Stewarding clubs such as the New Mexico Stewards Association and the Stewards Club of New England contract with Kennel Clubs to provide stewards for their shows. The Association then is paid and the proceeds are split with the members who worked the show.   Stewarding associations or clubs provides the training and the work up the schedule around members show schedule allowing exhibitors to exhibit and steward. Most associations are quite strict about allowing members to steward for the judge they will be showing to at a cluster.   These professional groups work very hard to make dog shows run smoothly. Helen Turin of the Stewards Club of New England says, “I would like it if stewards were accorded the respect that they deserve, you couldn’t run a show with them.”

With all the advantages to stewarding Owner Handlers are missing a great chance to increase their knowledge about dogs and dog shows and if that isn’t enough you could as exhibitor Andi Owens puts it (with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek) ” have a good excuse for not showing and you get to drive the other exhibitors crazy worrying about whether you’re schmoozing up to the judges”!

 

Jinnie Strickland, Owner handler

Solstice Kennels

Member, New Mexico Stewards Association

 

This article first appeared in the Spring 2000 issue of the American Canine Exhibitor.

 

 

 

Weekend at the dog show

August 26, 2014
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Really, it is so odd to me to roll out of bed, give my dog a groom, jump in the car and run over to the dog show just prior to my ring time, show, hang out with friends for a while and then head home. But that is just what I did this past weekend at the Cherokee Rose Cluster. I entered PJ on Saturday and Sunday of the 4 day cluster. My main man PJ just needs a few single points earn his Grand Championship so off we went.

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Thursday and Friday our breed’s top winner the lovely Coco was awarded Best in Show so we knew going in it would be working for the Grand Champion points that would be awarded for Best of Opposite and Select Dog. Mr. PJ did both, on Saturday he was awarded Select Dog and on Sunday he was Best of Opposite behind lovely Coco. So he earned a couple of single points leaving him just 4 to go.

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PJ is always fun to take to the shows, he is fun to hang out with, always happy to make new friends especially new friends with benefits (also know as FOOD). He takes everything in stride and makes me look good by being so cute. What more could you want from a day a the dog show.

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Being a show dog is hard work, you can tell he missed his doggy nap time.  But who can blame him, he did what I ask of him and he deserved his nap time.

Why dogs?

August 21, 2014

In my professional life I train adult learners and I always say in my intro that I show and train dogs and if I give them a cookie, I promise it will be a people cookie.   That always leads to questions about the dogs during the 6 to 10 weeks of training.  Most think it is cool but it there is often a question of why?

So I thought I would think about the why?  What is my why?  What motivates me to get out of bed at zero dark thirty to drive to a fairground or expo center to spend under an hour trotting around a ring with my dog to win a scrap of ribbon and “points” and pay $30 for the privilege?

I am a competitive person but not so much so that my identity is tied into winning.  I hope I am a graceful loser and seen as a good sport.  So my why isn’t about WINNING.   I think my why really is about the dogs.

I find dogs to be highly entertaining.  Their joy at life never fails to bring joy to my life.  Of course I could just have pets and be joyfully entertained.   I think showing for me is a visual art form.  Beauty come to life, a masterpiece on four paws.  I think it is the celebration of dogs that draws me in, the events themselves, the circus atmosphere, the gypsy lifestyle of the people.

I have had lots of hobbies where I shared experiences with other like-minded people and enjoyed them fully but with dogs and their people it is like joining a tribe.  To quote a favorite author it makes me happy to be in “a nation within”

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