Friday, February 13, 2009

Where the Deer and the Antelope Play

I was on the phone this afternoon with a friend, and I'm looking out the living room windows. Our house is up on a hill so there’s a really nice view, we have no neighbours. It slopes down to 2 ½ acres out back, all fenced for the dogs. At the very back, I see something near the fence and realize it’s a deer. Not that unusual. Then I see another and another. I count eight of them going by. I can see them really clearly because there are no leaves on the trees and the long grasses are all flattened to the ground. So I'm telling her about all these deer and then one rears up on its back legs, but doesn’t actually hit any of the others, it does this a couple times and charges off. I tell her about this and she says, maybe it’s mating season. Well, I’m pretty sure it’s not and besides, they’re all females. Then some of them start charging around, running in a circle and stopping short. They take turns at these short bursts of speed and then back to the group. Fake-charging each other. I’m giving her a description of all this and she says, "they’re playing!". What?? She says to me "dogs play, horses play, why not deer?". And of course, I instantly know that she’s right. As I watch them play I feel privy to something most people never get to see. She says "put me down and try to get a picture". So I do. (I need a better camera with a proper zoom).

We’ve had a real break in the winter weather for about a week, much of the snow has melted and exposed their food for them. The sun was out today, all day. Why not celebrate!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Sugar! - Ch. Whitegates Icing On The Cake

Another birthday! I had decided to feature each one of our current dogs on their birthdays, not really realizing that more than half of them have birthdays within a 5 week period! This is it for the birthdays for a while...

"Sugar", Ch. Whitegates Icing On The Cake, is four years old today. Sired by Ch. Imperial Aberdale Bold Image and out of our Ch. Whitegates Icy Hot, she represents the fourth of 4 generations we have living here. Her registered name came from her mother's name and also because she is from our last AOC litter. I was delighted when these five puppies arrived, ALL GIRLS!, 3 blues and 2 tris. Both parents are bi-factored but none of the puppies were bi-colour. As they grew it became apparent that the pick was, yet again, a blue merle girl!

Terry had started living in Colorado for a 6 month rotation just before the litter was born, so he had a unique perspective seeing them only every two or three weeks. Even though he was gone much of the early part of her growing up, Sugar is very attached to him and vice versa. In fact, she gravitates to all men and will push herself under the hand/arm of any male visitors for her share of attention.

She has had a super show career, finishing quickly with many Puppy Groups, Breed wins and adult Group placements in Canada. Shown as a Special just a couple of times, she added to that including a Group 1st. She was shown just two days in the States and earned herself a 4 pt. major. Then at the 2006 Va. Beach National she was 3rd in 12-18 months Futurity. We had decided ahead of time that that show would be kind of "it" for us, and sure enough, although I have shown here and there since, I haven't shown Sugar again. I think about finishing her American Championship but just haven't felt up to the effort as yet. You have to be motivated to owner-handle to a U.S. Championship when you're based in Canada, there aren't any local shows! Yes, I've done it a few times before, which means I really do know the commitment it takes. I also kind of think, what's the point if we're not going to breed her. But, never say never and I may still get her out again one of these days. I enjoy showing her but I'd have to spend some time just beforehand reinforcing her table training, as she really doesn't like the table (a depth perception problem). Other than that, she likes to show and is a really good mover.

Sugar is as sweet as her name and loves everyone. She is cuddly, confident, loves to play and doesn't let herself be pushed around. She's a lot like her grandmother Holly.

Happy birthday little Shugie....still a baby.

Sugar - 3 months old

9 months old

At ASSA - 15 months old

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cover Girl

I decided it was time to "pretty up" my blog a bit, so I've started by doing something about the header.

Of course I'd use a dog picture, and what better way to represent Whitegates than with a blue bitch? Seems we've always been fortunate enough to be blue bitch rich. Certainly nothing to complain about, but several equally nice blacks would've come in handy too!

My blog banner girl is Ch. Whitegates Danielle Steel (July 24, 1994 - July 14, 2007). "Dani" was sired by Ch. Bonnyville Fairfax Nighthawk ROM/ROMC and out of our Ch. Whitegates Deja Vu.

Dani had many memorable wins, including multiple Best Puppy in Show awards and was a fun show dog. Dani helped her sire win Best Stud Dog at at least two Specialties, including the CSSA National in 1998 in Toronto.

Dani represented us well and was loved and is missed by us and by Anne Macintosh, with whom she spent her retirement years. Beautiful, bouncy and fun, easy to love and to look at, a perfect choice for a cover girl!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Happy 10th Birthday Mason!

Mason came for what was supposed to be a temporary visit, and found his permanent home here.

I had driven Netta to Ohio to be bred to Am. Ch. Willow Cove's Bluesman. While I was at Willow Cove, I noticed a *very* handsome, plain as dirt, tri male. I was really impressed by his beautiful headpiece and front. I found out he was by Am. Ch. Willow Cove's Wild Card ROM and his dam (also Wild Card's grandam) was Am. Ch. Willow Cove's Outrageous, aka "Eve". Eve was Sue's house dog and what a beautiful little tri girl with an exceptional headpiece. I also saw Eve's lovely daughter "Kendra" aka Willow Cove's Revelation. Kendra is the dam of both Wild Card, ROM and Bluesman. An impressive family!

I thought about that plain tri dog all week. So, when I returned to Willow Cove to pick Netta up, thanks to Sue's generosity, I brought Mason home. He was 5 years old.

Mason's Dam - Am. Ch. Willow Cove's Outrageous - "Eve"

Mason has produced as well as I thought he might. In very limited use he has 6 Champions, 1 American (also a BISS winner) and 5 Canadian. There are others with points, including a 5 pt. Specialty major and an ASSA class win. We're also proud that he has a daughter who earned her Am. U.D. at age 3.

It didn't take Mason long to worm his way into our hearts and earn himself a spot here. He's a very sweet, very content dog. He loves to cuddle, but never kisses, only wags and sometimes sings! He gets along with all other dogs including other males. He's every inch a gentleman. Every evening in the summer he does a slow perimeter "trot" around the two fenced acres in the back. We sit on the porch and watch him do what Terry calls his "tour de force". Every summer he digs out a big hole to lie in underneath two trees in the yard, nice and shady. He spends a lot of time in what Terry refers to as "Mason's B-hole". Every fall, we'd fill up the hole, and every summer, we'd see dirt flying 4 feet in the air as Mason dug out the hole once more and settled in. It took him a while, but he finally got us trained - we didn't bother to fill up his B-hole this year!

Mason - Dug In

Hard to believe he's 10 (he doesn't look it) and we've had him for five years already. Hopefully there will be more to add to his story through his kids.

With Mason's birthday today we now have 5 dogs that are 10 years old or older! More seniors than not, we're officially a retirement home.