Monday, April 27, 2009

A New Pavey

Terry's brother Gord with his hours-old first grandchild

Matthew and Stephanie have given Joan her 5th great-grandchild. Caleb was born on Friday, April 24th, 2009. At 9 lbs. 14 oz. and 22.5" long, he just might be headed to join some of his relatives in the 6'5" and up Pavey club!

Joan, who will be turning 90 in 3 months, has 4 sons of which Terry is the youngest, six grandchildren (5 boys and 1 girl), and 5 great-grandchildren (4 boys and 1 girl).

Happy belated zero birthday, Caleb!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

ASSA National '09 - Perry, GA

I arrived in Atlanta after a nice quick two hour flight on Tuesday afternoon. The drive from the airport to the show was almost as long as the flight, but having no dogs with me made it much less of a big deal than it might have been.

Visiting Hours

After unpacking we went to the show site for visiting hours, which was very well attended and I found there were more dogs put out than in the past. The grooming building was across the parking lot from the show building, but people seemed to get used to that. It made it impossible for people grooming to take quick peeks at the judging, but I didn't hear too many complaints about it. There was plenty of space for all.

The Ring

The show building was really poorly lit (the picture here is fairly accurate re the dimness of the ring area). It was also very cold much of the time, people were wrapped in jackets, sweaters, quilts, scarves! and sweaters. I can still feel the cold air blowing on my neck! We weren't sure whether quick trips to the warmth outside made it better or worse. The building was clean, modern and very spacious. There was no problem getting somewhere to sit, even during Breed judging, although it was more full then. The number of people attending the show is definitely far less than in the past. I would love to see the padded chair style bleachers done for the whole thing instead of just one side. I only sat on the steel bleachers one day, and it was all I could take. Everyone is getting older as well, and they aren't easy to negotiate getting up and down them.

It was a huge disappointment to many attendees that catalogues sold out before regular class judging even started on Wednesday. I had heard the rumour on Tuesday when I arrived that they were running low, and purposely got up early just to get one of the last catalogues. How very disappointing for people to travel so far and spend the money to attend, only to be unable to buy a catalogue to follow the judging. That was a real shame, not sure how that happened. I never used my catalogue to hold my seat as they were "walking off" if they were set down anywhere.

It was probably the most inexpensive National I've ever attended, with the exception of the food concession at the show site, everything was extremely inexpensive, from the room rates to food and gas, etc. I drove 300 miles on $20 worth of gas! Even so, you can't use a gas pump, even in broad daylight, without paying first. As usual, the people working the show worked really, really hard and that is very much appreciated by all. I had some great meals and of course the oh-so-decadent peach cobbler at the show site was sampled at least once by almost everyone, including me! It was delicious.

The very best part of the show for me was being able to relax (no dogs) and see so many friends I haven't seen in a long time. It was really nice to catch up! And of course, seeing some really lovely dogs!

The last ASSA National I had attended was the 2006 National in Virginia Beach. I was curious to see if there had been changes since then, besides the smaller entries, and I have to say I did see some changes. There are still some very beautiful, top quality dogs, but I found the quality in many classes to be spread more thinly than in the past. There were more than a few classes that finding four placements (to me) was a bit of an effort, which should be rare at a National. However, the good ones are still very, very good, as good or better than ever. I found the quality to be overwhelmingly in the AOC Shelties. While this has been somewhat the case for a while, it was very pronounced, to me, this year. There were many, many AOC Shelties ahead of the nicest in sable, in my mind. Also, there are more than a few lovely, producing, black dogs available in the breed right now, just so typical of my luck not to be breeding when there are so many options and flexibility! On the other hand, I honestly wouldn't know where to start with anything sable. Except maybe to cross the colour line, which I noticed a (very) few people were doing with very good results, breeding their sable girls to black dogs.

As far as the judging goes, well, when someone judges, it is like being asked to paint their own picture. Like art, this "picture painting" can range from the very abstract ink blot type art, all the way across the spectrum to photo-like realism, and everything in between. I watched every class. For me, the judging for the most part wasn't inspirational. I definitely got some of it, I didn't get other parts at all. And yes, I looked at most of the dogs I really liked, that got walked, up close. But, it wasn't my picture to paint. Just my personal opinion.

Overall, I had a great time, everything went smoothly, I loved spending time with my friends and I saw some gorgeous dogs!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Never Judge a Book by its Cover

For anyone who hasn't already seen it, I just couldn't resist sharing this. The link will take you to You Tube as embedding is disabled.

We are all guilty of judging by appearance sometimes. Just a reminder of what may very well lie within.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Enough, Already!

Well, it's 4:00 now and it's been snowing all day. Hasn't let up for a minute, we had a power failure, the whole nine yards.

Mason and Max in their run.

A lot of the softer trees are totally bent over. On the far right is a large Japanese Yew, totally overloaded with snow. I hope it doesn't get damaged. Those branches usually stick straight out. Guess I'll have to wade out there with a broom and try to help things along.

On the front lawn, a robin peers out from the only small patch of green anywhere. As confused as the rest of us!

Cruel and Unusual

This is what we woke up to this morning, and it's still snowing. I should have known better than to use the "S" word three weeks ago.

Oh well, it's Canada, eh? At least the dogs won't be trailing in all kinds of leaves, twigs and other debris for a few days. Pull the boots back out, put the vacuum away.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Little Sister is 50 Today

Wow. My little sister and only sibling Sandra is 50 years old how does that make me feel?! Glad that she's finally joining me in this decade, for one thing. Amazed at how time has just flown by. Thinking of all the things we've done, and continue to do, together.

My sister, one of the smartest people I've ever known, and so talented. She's good at anything she tries. I used to be jealous (kids, ya know), now I'm just proud. A physiotherapist specializing in pediatrics, a wife, mother of two of my favourite guys, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, friend.

All the memories......and many more to come, I hope!

Just a pair of thumbsuckers

Early talent

Four and two years old

Fishing. To grow up Heath means to learn to fish and swim as soon as you can hold yourself upright. Don't all little girls know all the fish species and the bait and/or lures to use for each? Lots of happy times on and in the lake.

Yes, even back then. We found a litter of four newborn kittens thrown into a field. We brought them home and all four survived. We had the one we kept for ourselves for 14 years.

We were both into the dogs pretty equally when we were young. Sandra pictured winning Best Junior Handler in a huge entry at a big show in Montreal. Showing, of all breeds, a Harrier - Ch. & O.T. Ch. Breezewood's Faithful. In Canada, Juniors can show any entered dog, as they don't need to have ownership. Great experience. Sandra was 15 years old. This was in March 1975 and the judge was Mrs. Hazel Slaughter of Meridian Shelties.

Sandra with our two childhood Shelties. Duffy on the right, who we got in 1970 and Robbie on the left who we got just over a year later. Sandra trained and campaigned Robbie (Ch. & O.T. Ch. Summit's Laird of Heath, Can. U.D., Am. C.D.X., Bda. C.D.) and I trained and campaigned Duffy (O.T. Ch. Grayfield MacDuff, Can. U.D., Am. C.D.X., Bda. C.D.). Something else we did together. We were also both active on the executive and as trainers for our obedience club, Lakeshore Dog Training Association (LTDA) on the West Island of Montreal.

At the cottage. Must still be the 70's, going by the painted on jeans!

Heading into the 80's

Sandra at the house we shared in the mid 80's in Willowdale (Toronto) with a puppy I was growing out from one of my early litters. She called him Sleeves because the colour on his front legs went right down to his feet.

Sandra in Montreal in 1987 for her Physiotherapy reunion at McGill University

Sandra with her Sheltie Colby in 2006, at the Welsman family cottage on Lake Joseph in Muskoka. Colby is Whitegates Torchlight and he turned 8 years old on March 31st, 2009

The Welsmans. Sandra, James (13), Andrew (11) and Paul

My nephews, Sandra's boys. Andrew (14) and Jamie (16). Her best accomplishment.

From making up our own language and our own games, from close to more distant to close again, who knows what the next decades will hold? Happy 50th. "Let's Build".

Happy 13th Birthday Netta! - Ch. Shadypines Viennetta

Ch. Shadypines Viennetta at 13 months of age
(Am. Ch. Shadypines Donizetti ex Am. Ch. Shadypines Scheherazade)

At 13, Netta is the oldest Sheltie here. It doesn't seem that long ago that I travelled to Colorado and saw the prettiest 9 month old bi-black Sheltie while I was visiting Shadypines to look at stud dogs (and anything else that caught my eye obviously!). Who's that one? I asked. I found out she was a daughter of one of my favourite girls, Am. Ch. Shadypines Scheherazade, who we had watched winning Best In Futurity at the 1992 National under Steve Barger. Could I go over her? What a lovely, moderate girl, under 15", wonderful compact body, chest, bone and pretty head. Wow, she moves really well too. When I saw her pedigree, particularly the tail female line, I knew I had to have her. Would you consider selling her? We could sure use a nice black girl! That night I phoned Terry at home, yes, I'd found some nice dogs to consider breeding to, and by the way, we now own a lovely bi-black "Sher" daughter! I had been following her tail female line for years and couldn't have been more impressed with her pedigree. Her great-great grandmother was Am. Ch. Banchory Silver Shadows who I had seen at the 1987 National, her great-grandmother was Am. Ch. Tall Timber Queen Anne's Lace who was RWB at the National in 1987 and won an Award of Merit in 1988, one of my favourite Shelties.

In the foreground, Netta's great-great-grandam, Am. Ch. Banchory Silver Shadows (appears on her sire's side as well). Photo taken at the 1987 ASSA National in Orlando by my sister Sandra. Am. Ch. Tall Timber Constant Comment is in the background, she's also in Netta's pedigree (Frisco's grandmother). We were in love with this family a decade before Netta was born.

Netta's great-grandam, Am. Ch. Tall Timber Queen Anne's Lace. RWB ASSA 1987, Award of Merit, 1988. Another favourite.

Netta's sire, Am. Ch. Shadypines Donizetti (Am. Ch. Shadypines The Elizabethian ROM ex Tall Timber Capture The Moment)

We had to wait almost two months for Netta to arrive because of weather embargos. I wondered if I would still like her, would Terry like her? She stepped out of her crate, a beautiful 11 month old in full bloom, and we were thrilled.

Netta is a very dignified, self sufficient dog. She's one of those that's a real barometer as far as people go. Some people she instantly likes. Some she is good with, some she tolerates and others....well, not so much. She shares her April 2nd birthday with one of her favourite people, my sister Sandra. We call Netta "the huntress" because she fends for herself extremely well. When she was young, I was letting the dogs in at night and she shows up, her whole front covered in blood. I start looking through her coat, my heart pounding. But the blood is on top of the coat, not under it. She's fine. Oh no. The next morning, I went looking and found the rabbit she had caught and killed. Every winter she would hunt and kill moles in the big field just like foxes do, stand stock still, staring at the snow, pounce, shake, done. We always said she'd be fatter as a feral dog than on what we feed her at home! She has treed racoons, and can manage to get herself halfway up a tree to get at anything. Squirrels and chipmunks can barely finish their alarm calls and she's there. I can still picture Terry coming into the house with a very pregnant Netta under his arm, porcupine quills in her face and feet!

She was a fantastic mother too, one of the best ever. She's the only one I ever had who would mother toys when she was young, before she was ever bred and had her own litters. She would gather small toys, lie down around them like they were puppies, gather them all in towards her stomach area, cry softly, nuzzle and re-arrange them! She could have had her puppies under the porch in winter, emerged with them 8 weeks later, and everything would have been just fine. Of course, she didn't have to do that! Netta is the dam of Am./Can. Ch. Whitegates Tinsel Town, Ch. Whitegates Just One Look and Ch. Whitegates Return Engagement. All bi-blue girls, all sired by BISS Am./Can. Ch. Akirene's Aramis Bi Barkley, ROM/ROMC in two different litters. We have three generations down from Netta living here, her daughter Am./Can. Ch. Whitegates Tinsel Town, her daughter Ch. Whitegates Icy Hot and her daughter Ch. Whitegates Icing On The Cake (all blues). Doing this post made me realize the 8 generations of quality girls that we are voluntarily shutting down, wow, not good.

As far as a show career, we finished Netta's Canadian Championship with some very nice wins under judges whose opinions we respect. She won a Specialty Best In Sweeps and had two large Specialty Reserve WB wins. It's true, it is harder with a bi-black. We didn't special her that I recall, nor did we try showing her in the U.S. We bred her and showed her kids. We did get to show her twice as a Veteran and she looked great, and moved like the wind. We felt she could have won a Specialty from Veterans, but having to have some lower teeth pulled killed that idea. No matter.

Netta and me after her first Specialty as a Veteran. Photo taken by my sister Sandra.

Now that Netta is (getting) old she doesn't hunt anymore (that's okay, we're happy to feed her!) and she is going deaf. Well, she's pretty much very deaf. This is hard on a dog with the kind of dignity Netta has, because it humiliates her to be startled or caught off guard. We take that into consideration and try very hard to wake her or get her attention without compromising her dignity or embarrassing her. We aren't always successful.

Happy Birthday, Netty-Betty-Boo-Boo! And many more!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys

Sometimes you look out the window at just the right time! From my kitchen window this morning...they're back! Looking pretty good after the long hard winter, and definitely dressed to impress!

The Toms

Just ahead of them, the objects of their desire.....

The girls. Playing a little hard to get...but not too much

Glad to have them back!