Monday, November 30, 2009

Puppy Visits and Bo

Yesterday was the day for puppy visits. I try to get most of my visitors in on the same day as while very fun, it does tend to be a long one. The best part of it though is watching the wee ones weave their spells over the visitors. Several took pictures which I will post here once I get them. The puppies seem to pick their people most of the time. Java for instance crawled into David's lap and after that there was no persuading him he wanted to be anywhere else. I may be in trouble as Latte spent most of the day in my arms. I always have a weakness for the little ones and Latte is the tiny one out of this bunch. I'll end up having to change names though as I really want to use the name Beans for mine lol

I got a great picture of Bo today so I'm going to include it here along with a bit about Bo. Bo is Nuthatch's Casablanca. Apart from the fact that he has a great family and is very sweet, Bo holds a special place in my heart. He is one of only three Cupid kids out there. Stella is in Australia and Comet is in Idaho with Betty and Jay. I still miss Cupid dearly and Bo is the only Cupid kid I get to see often. His head reminds me a bit of his mother. It has the same elegance. He has her personality as well. I keep telling myself one of these days I'll get him in a ring. Maybe 2010 will be that year.
Mind you I've been slacking this year due to my leg so there are several dogs I need to get out and finish - Buffy, Frost, Lucy, Bella, Dublin, maybe Cello and maybe Limerick. I guess there's no rest for the wicked...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Illustrated Standards...

I promise - puppy pictures soon. Families are coming to see them tomorrow so hopefully I'll get some decent photos. A litter that has nothing but solid liver puppies poses a different problem than a ticked litter. With ticked puppies by this time I know everyone's name and can point them out from across the room. With solids they, for the most part, look identical from across the room. You find yourself picking them up at looking at the white markings on their bellies and the occasional bit of white toe to help you identify who is who. I've heard many different suggestions but their mother eats anything you put on them to help identify them and the nail polish just doesn't seem to stay on. Still hey're at that ultra cute stage where they crawl all over you, kissing and tumbling.

A few weeks back I attended a judging conference in Ottawa. One of the guest speakers was Carmen Battaglia, a very well known German Shepherd breeder who has been very involved with military dogs as well as research and judging. While I can't say I agreed with everything he had to say there were lots of things that really made you think. One of the things he talked about was that we often ignore signs in young pups of what they will become because it "is not time to look". So with these guys I've been making a serious effort to watch them and note different behaviours, agility, etc even though they're only five weeks old (tomorrow) as opposed to the standard eight weeks. I'd like to think that I normally do this anyway but I'm really trying to focus and make sure I do it this time. I'm pleased with what I'm seeing.

Now, on to illustrated standards...

I got a beautiful illustrated standard from the Saint Bernard Club of America the other day. Saints are not one of the breeds I judge at this time but I appreciated it none the less. It is full of pictures and diagrams in full colour with lots of explanations. It would be nice if more clubs could do this although I'm guessing that the expense falls beyond the budget of many clubs. Certainly it is way beyond the budget of the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Canada (GSPCC). What is not necessarily beyond budget is powerpoint presentations on the breed. These can be put together by volunteers and offered to judges for the price of a CD. The German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America (GSPCA) has one of these and it is used for breed seminars/presentations as well as being available to anyone interested in it - from new breeders and fanciers to longtime judges of the breed. The GSPCC will hopefully have one soon as the prototype is currently being reviewed by the board of directors.

Fanciers who show their dogs invariably devote a large chunk of time to complaining about the poor quality of judging in their breed (this is true of all breeds). I love to moan and bitch just like everyone else but I don't think you should get to moan unless you make an honest effort to assist in furthering education in your breed. There are many ways to do this - do seminars for local judging groups, assist in ringside mentoring, be on the education committee for your club, etc, etc.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cross-selling..and free advertising

For those of you looking for the more humdrum and less canine aspects of life as part of the Nuthatch Gang you can follow my personal dramas at


I'm a lousy photographer. I admit it freely. (I'm equally lousy at being photographed but that is another story.) I keeo meaning to get some new pics of the dogs taken as I have been remiss in updating Karen and Courtney with pictures of Dublin and Willow respectively.

Having said all that, I still need to take pictures of them but the weather has been so lousy and I'd like to get some on a nice sunny day if possible. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Puppy owners have no such issues. They send me tons and tons of photos which is something I absolutely love. Some of the photos are simply fantastic and I am deeply envious of the talent (and patience) the photographer must possess. I find myself wondering why my dogs never pose so beautifully for long enough for me to grab the camera, point and shoot.

Each year I take some of my favourites and put them into a calendar for family and friends. This year's cover girl is Penny. Penny has a wonderful family who helped me name our last litter (Becca x Dundee - the coffee litter - Beans, Mocha, Latte, Cappucino, Espresso, Java and Machiatto). They sent me the following picture from a fall walk and it is simply too good not to share.

Other favourites for this year include this one of Mojo retrieving two geese from the water - courtesy of Betty & Jay

This one of Bella on the beach. Bella is a foster dog, who lives with a great family in eastern Ontario and her best buddy, Puck

These two of Pixie, another eastern Ontario girl

Cocotte and her less than enthused feline friend...

and this one of Willow, the GSP in her new home up north...

A Tale of Two Pies...

Sunday was one of those days where you plan on doing a lot. I got the dogs taken care of and then started cooking. I made a casserole for Monday evening's meal and then started in on Sundays food. I planned out a nice dinner - steaks, salad, etc and for dessert I would take out one of the frozen pies picked up from a friend's daughter's school fundraiser. So, a few hours later the house smelled of freshly baked blueberry pie and my burst of energy was over. I left it at the back of the stove. The microwave held the softening kibble for the puppies' afternoon meal. It was in the microwave as Delceg firmly feels that he is still a puppy and that the dish belongs on the floor where he too can help himself. I curled up on the couch - intent on finishing off the last season of Bones.

Dad let the dogs - Delceg, Chanel, Spirit, Becca, and Emily - in from the pee pen. I don't think Delceg hit the kitchen more than a minute before I did at a dead run. He'd grabbed the pie and generously dumped it on the floor so he could share it with his shorter friends who cannot get their heads to the back of the stove. So much for blueberry pie.

After they'd cleaned the floor completely and it looked much cleaner than the rest of the kitchen I returned to my show for a bit while they grabbed various spots on the floor and the couch to curl up and digest their little snack and clean blueberries off their neighbours noses. After awhile I put them in their crates so others could get out.

Up and on my feet again I decided that I would try again and make the apple pie sitting the freezer. After all, I didn't want Mom to get back from BC and accuse me of starving her husband in her absence. So I baked the apple pie. This time I left it at the back of the stove confident that the chief thief (ie Delceg) wasn't going to be out anytime soon as he doesn't get along with Chance.

We had a great dinner with a slice of pie for dessert. This still left a fair amount of pie but no one else had dared try to steal it and I was feeling confident. I was being extraordinarily naive. Chance and Ziggy came in after a pee break outside and Chance immediately offered to share the pie with Ziggy. At least we got a slice of this one.

Lesson learned - while gsps are extremely generous and willing to share pie, they are not good at leaving food alone no matter how far back on the stove it is.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My First Entry...

will borrow from my regular blog somewhat. The two will probably overlap to a certain degree. The idea behind this one is to concentrate on dog related items so it excludes my non-doggy adventures but has all the day to day drool you've come to expect. So, I'll copy over a few pertinent items from today's regular entry and promise to do better tomorrow.

Becca's puppies came upstairs this past Sunday. They're very cute, fat little bundles. I'm already seeing a few I really like which is always bad news as far as Dad is concerned. Maybe I can find a nice foster home for one of the girls. They're eating softened kibble already and can clean a dish faster than their mother which is saying something.

I'm looking forward to the specialties in Boston. It looks like Charlie is only one of two veterans so his chances are good even if you ignore how great he looks for an old fart. Buffy is really starting to mature so I'm hoping she'll be in the hunt for points as well. Sarah has her heart set on Lucy but I don't think Lucy's mature enough yet to compete for the points so I'm thinking that after this we'll pull Lucy from competition for a bit and concentrate on Buffy. I'm just looking forward to a break. I'm really stressed lately between the music man, my leg and just being overtired so I'm hoping that a few days away will help me kickstart myself back into gear. Besides, I've never been to Boston or Rhode Island before and I love exploring. I'm trying to talk the music man into coming with me but I'm doubting he'll be able to get away from work.

There's a GWP rescue at the local pound. I'm worried about him. Apparently he is not doing well. GWPs and GSPs often don't do great in pounds. They need to be with people and they need to have their exercise needs met. Too little of either one and you can get a hyper animal that loses social skills and withdraws from people, focussing more on toys and romps by his/herself. Klaus is in such a situation. He is not doing well and they have removed him from the adoption floor temporarily. I'm worried he'll become unadoptable if things continue like this. I would love to take him here and find him a home but that means another mouth to feed in the meantime. This would not necessarily bother me so much but I'm not the main billpayer so I do have to respect others opinions on the matter. I just get upset when I can't help them.

I got a great picture of Sonnet from Nancy in Texas the other day. She recently finished her IABC championship. I think she's singled out in her pursuit of her American championship and needs only majors now. I know she's got at least one leg towards her Juniors Hunter title as well. I'm invariably evious of how Nancy accomplishes with her dogs. They all get shown, hunt, obedience, agility. It's very impressive. I'm lazy by comparison lol I'm hoping she'll have her at the Nationals in Florida this year. I'm planning on going and hopefully meeting some of my southern friends as well as seeing the ones I get to see more routinely.