Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sad News to end 2008

We received some sad news this evening from Sue Coutts that her Whitegates Diva CD CGC St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog, passed away today at 13 1/2 years of age. Diva was born June 8, 1995 to our Ch. Whitegates Deja Vu ("Bunny") by Am./Can. Ch. Trevanne's Windswept ROM/ROMC. She was one of a litter of just two, in Bunny's typical small litter style. Her litter brother was Ch. Whitegates Windfall ("Rocky"). "Diva" was originally retained by us in co-ownership with friends out West, where she was shown to 8 or 9 points in one weekend, later going over. Sue and Dave added Diva to their family of Shepherds and their other blue Sheltie from us, Ch. Storm. We were very sad to hear that Dave and Sue had also lost one of their rescue Shepherds "Bear" at age 12 1/2 just this past Saturday. With Diva's passing today, they have lost four dogs this year. Hopefully next year will be an easier one for them. It's so difficult to lose the older ones in rapid succession and I dread going through that yet again ourselves.

Diva had the very best life possible, as do all Sue & Dave's lucky dogs, which, since Diva joined them, came to also include several rescue German Shepherds and a blue rescue Sheltie. Diva had a lively and fun personality and she will be missed.

Diva as a youngster winning a Puppy Group, BW & BOS.

Diva at home with her buddies Bear, Jewel and Spook.

Diva's only littermate, Ch. Whitegates Windfall - "Rocky"

Diva's dam, our beloved "Bunny", Ch. Whitegates Deja Vu - July 29, 1992 to November 23, 2003. By Am. Ch. Tall Timber Far Out Frisco ROM/ROMC ex Calabar Opening Night ROMC

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Holidays/New Year!!

We've had a busy Christmas holiday, I'm back to the computer now, it seems that's the first thing to go when life speeds up! We had Joan here for four days, and we also had Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner here. On Christmas Eve we had Sandra, Paul, Jamie and Andrew as well as Mum, Dad and Joan for Mum's delicious tourtière dinner. Tourtière is a meat pie originating from Quebec, usually made with ground pork and/or veal, or beef. It's a traditional part of the Christmas and/or Christmas Eve réveillon. This is our way of celebrating our Quebec French Canadian roots. We'd just had our new handmade dining room (and bedroom) sets delivered that we had ordered in August, so it was a real treat to have the whole family group at one table for our holiday meal. No more "kid's" table....good thing, as the "kids" are both over 6 feet tall now!! On Christmas day, we opened our toys and later had the traditional complete turkey dinner with Joan, Mum and Dad.

I've included a picture of our tree, I did try to get one or more of the Sheltie girls to sit in front of it but they wandered off in disgust...

We had all manner of weather over the holidays, from snowstorms, freezing rain, regular rain, fog, windstorm, complete with power failure and a big melt. Now the snow is coming back. Yes, the weather widget you see on the right is accurate. When I first put it up there I would watch it. It would say "snow" and I'd think HA!! no it's NOT snowing....then I'd look out the window three minutes later and it is snowing... I've learned to trust it! On the right is a picture showing a bit of our kennel building and runs in the snowfall just before Christmas. Yes, we had the entire kennel painted this summer and did a lot of other work on it including a new roof and new doors.

Lots of birthdays coming up in January, our "birthday month"! In the meantime, all the very best for 2009 (wasn't it just 2000 yesterday??) to all our friends and family!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Talented Girls

This a.m. I received some pictures from Lori Leslie and her girls! I am so proud of all of them! I met Lori at the vet clinic I used to go to, she's on staff there. At the time she owned a much-loved, elderly Toy Poodle. Lori really liked the Shelties, and got to know our Sheltie family well. When her beloved dog passed away and it was time for another, Lori decided to get a Sheltie from us! I knew Lori was the ideal home so I was quite anxious for her to get a nice puppy. We sent our "Sizzle" - Ch. Whitegates Icy Hot, off to be bred to BIS/BISS Am./Can./Jap. Ch. Pop Star SS Of Northern Farm C.D. Unfortunately, Sizzle only had one puppy, a blue girl. But WHAT a girl she is! (pictured here at 7 weeks). Lori had an excruciating wait to see if she could have her or if we would be keeping her ourselves, but as luck would have it all around, Lacie went to live with Lori at 8 weeks of age. Lacie was a really special personality from day one. A smart, smart, sensible puppy. The entire staff of the clinic was waiting the day I brought her in for her first exam/shots, as Lori already knew she was hers if she decided she wanted her. I put her little six week self down and she ran right to Lori and covered her with kisses. The deal was sealed!

Some time later, Lori decided to get a second Sheltie. We had just bred Lacie's dam Sizzle again, to Ch. Imperial Aberdale Bold Image. This time there was a litter of 5, all girls, three blues and two tris. Lori and Chris had their pick of the available puppies and while tempted by the blues, wisely decided on the larger tri girl, who would match Lacie better in size. "Jovi" went home with Lori, Chris and her half-sister Lacie at 8 weeks old. Our own Ch. Whitegates Icing On The Cake, "Sugar" is from that same litter.

Lori has been doing agility and other things with the girls all along, they also often accompany her to work. She had told me about Lacie's skateboarding, but I really didn't give it a whole lot of thought until I got these pictures of Lacie skateboarding at KidzFest in downtown Toronto!!! Lori has been doing demos with a group with her girls, and Lacie's skill at skateboarding is a real hit! Jovi is learning to skateboard, Lori tells me it's hard for them to understand the "pushing" they need to do to start and keep going. These are pictures of the girls at the demo for KidzFest at Yonge Dundas Square! Note Lacie's form on the board and how she sets herself up perfectly on it. How great is this that these girls are showing the public what well-bred, well trained, predictable purebred dogs can do! AND I do have to say they are also great PR for blue and black Shelties! I could NOT be more proud!


Okay Lacie...Ready...set....


GO!



Jovi learning...




Jovi & Chris, Yonge Dundas Square, in front of the Eaton Centre

A perfect recall

Lori tells me that Lacie loves her skateboarding so much, that when she sees kids skateboarding out on her walks, she gets beside herself with excitement. So much so that Lori often asks if Lacie can ride a board and Lacie does a few zooms around on her borrowed board, dropping a few jaws! I've asked Lori if she could video her, and when she does, I'll be posting it here!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Last One Out, Turn Off The Lights

Dog Shows. For so very long, such a big part of my life. However, what I loved, what I sometimes miss and always think of fondly, doesn't exist anymore.

Today I went to the Credit Valley Dog Show. For many years, the largest show in Canada. They even used to have it in the Skydome! In those days, in that huge venue, the crowds were so thick, if you didn't elbow your way to ringside early, you couldn't get there in time. Entries of 60-70 Shelties and close to 300 in the Herding Group. Now I know today was Friday, and yes, the entry is bigger the next two days, but it's still a completely changed show and atmosphere. At first, I thought I had my days confused and maybe it was really Thursday (set-up day), not Friday. But no, this was the show. Here are pictures of the grooming area at 11:00 a.m. No problem finding a space!

The Groups kind of look like Sanction Matches did in the old days, more than a bit thin. There are still some very nice dogs being shown, usually Specials with handlers. It's the end of the year though, and some of them are looking pretty tired. Not much in the classes in any breed. There was supposed to be 10 Shelties entered, six were shown. But at 10 dogs, that was the second biggest breed entry in the show!! Too many class dogs in many breeds had no business being in the show ring and are extremely unlikely to contribute to the advancement of their breeds. It was actually really very sad. How depressing it must be to judge these shows.


Here are pictures of the ring area taken at 1:30 in the afternoon!! Unbelievably empty. I was at this same show last year on the same day and the difference is MARKED. The judging panel was really quite good!


I did enjoy talking to people I haven't seen in a really long time. Best In Show was just about to go in but I decided to leave and get home to the dogs (who I must say, looked pretty good to me!) instead of staying to watch BIS. I had planned on going again on Sunday, which has the "biggest" Sheltie entry at 13, but I'm not going to bother going back.

At this rate, how long can it last?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Disappointed....again

Tonight I found out that the CKC member-proposed amendment to the Canadian Kennel Club By-laws, voted on by the CKC membership, did not pass. I was one of the proposers of this by-law and helped to wordsmith the amendment with the principal proposer. A very interesting process that started well over a year ago. Among the proposing CKC members were many CKC Life Members, judges, a former CKC Chair of the Board of Directors, and the current Honourary Chair of the CKC Board of Directors. A blue chip group, not a bunch of fanatics.

This was an amendment to prevent mixed breed dogs from competing at CKC events, or in any way being "registered" by the CKC. It would keep Canadian Kennel Club events and the registry for PUREBRED dogs only. And the members of the CKC voted against it. I'm stunned.

Now, before all the oodles and oodles of doodles and poo mixes appeared on the scene, I would have been somewhat open to mixed breed dogs in CKC performance events...MAYBE. I would have to consider the fact that people WOULD and DO put breeds together just to get the fastest flyball dog or the best agility dog or whatever. Border/Borders, Border/Jacks etc. are nothing new to flyball. Maybe it isn't "wrong" to breed JUST for faster/higher/stronger and nothing else.


But the proliferation of "designer dogs" .... two usually POOR specimens of a breed put together and labelled with a cutesy name and a big price tag, is just irresponsible and indiscriminate. Usually touted as "non-shedding" and healthier than purebred, they are often neither. But they sure are popular with JQP! Apparently, the majority of voting CKC members are okay with them also.

All the pictures with this post are apparently Sheltipoos/Sheltidoodles OR what we used to call them, MUTTS. The "breeder" (designer?) of these Sheltidoodles used to breed Shelties, but now sticks to these, 'cause ya know, they sell.

One more slide down the slippery slope for the purebred dog.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oh.....Canada...

I've never thought of myself as a particularly political person. With what's going on everywhere though, who can really help it. Last week I received several e-mails from people, urging me to sign a petition "Our Right to Vote on the Coalition Government". Um, WHAT? We *DID* vote for all those people that would form the Coalition Government. At least the dismal few of us that voted at all! Then I was told but look, they have SEPARATISTS in there! No, the Bloc Quebecois is supporting the Coalition, they aren't part of it. Not everyone who votes for the Bloc is a separatist. That our PM uses FEAR (hate?) by calling them Separatists (in English, at least, he called them Sovereigntists in French...BIG difference), that the PM would rip open the almost healed wound of National unity to save his own job (while tens of thousands of Canadians are losing theirs) is at the very least, IRRESPONSIBLE. He *KNOWS* the Bloc aren't part of the Coalition, they're supporting them. His radio ads make me clench my teeth every time I hear them. Am I the only one who is totally insulted by how stupid he assumes all of us are??

It's been a LONG time since whatever grade we studied parliamentary government in school. Like most people, "prorogue" wasn't in my vocabulary. So, I've spent a lot of time this week reading and watching so I can decide for myself what's really going on and how I feel about it. I hope everyone does the same, because whatever side you might find yourself on, you need to know why you're there.

Mr. Harper makes the Coalition out to be some sort of "coup d'etat". IT'S NOT. It's exactly what happens in a parliamentary democracy. Perfectly legal. Not only merely legal, but considering we had an election just six WEEKS ago, it's also the most (only) responsible way to handle the current situation the government finds itself in. Minority governments have fallen on non-confidence votes before. Many times. That usually means an election. Well, just weeks ago we had an election that put the same minority Conservative government back in power, at a cost of $300,000,000. That very same election put the *majority* of SEATS in the House in the hands of *other* parties...the Coalition. Since we are in an economic CRISIS, at a time when our government needs to co-operate and get things DONE, it's NOT the time for an election or frankly, for prorogation of government. The Coalition was (is) a way to make things work in this very CRITICAL time for our Country and the world, until such time as it's prudent to spend another $300,000,000 and have another election.

I understand that people don't want Stephane Dion as PM. I agree with that, no argument. I think the man is smart, but he's lacking image. (Yes, he's a geeky nerd). But, he's the leader of the opposition so he's the one (or maybe not, if he steps down before the end of January). I can live with him on a temporary basis. I really do believe he has the interests of the country at heart. I *KNOW* that Stephen Harper does not. He has forgotten his words "I promise not to govern as though I have a majority." To shut down Parliament at this critical time for six weeks is grossly irresponsible. As Justin Trudeau said, it's like "pulling the fire alarm when you're about to write an exam you know you will fail". He is putting the importance of his own job ahead of the welfare of the Country and the people of Canada. He has completely alienated any support he had or will ever have in Quebec.

There is no-one out there that is pointing the finger of blame for all of this anywhere but squarely at Stephen Harper. Listen to what the elder statesman Ed Broadbent had to say. People like Mr. Broadbent have been in politics their entire lives, I found them to be worth listening to. I didn't just read and listen to left wing politicians either, I read and listened to some of the bluest material I could find (and realized I am firmly on the left side of the line).

It's important, it's historical. The election in October had the lowest voter turnout in Canadian history (I hope those who sat at home and didn't vote aren't the same ones who now want a "vote" on the Coalition!). There is a global economic crisis going on, we owe it to ourselves to get it right. Mr. Harper has at the very least been firmly warned that his bullying is not going to work. I can only hope he will radically change his tune. We need a stable government that can work together, now more than ever.