Friday, February 26, 2010

Snow Dogs

So far this winter we've had very little snow here, it seems to have snowed all around us but we've been pretty much spared. Until this week. Each day it has snowed a little and everything looks clean and pretty again. If you have to do winter, you might as well do it with snow, as long as it's not too much! Besides, the dogs love it and stay so much cleaner, almost like a self-rinse every time they go out.

It looked so inviting outside, I pried myself away from the Olympics, grabbed the camera and took the dogs for a walk around. They don't need me out with them as everything is fenced, but I know they enjoy it a lot more when I go with them.

I took candid pictures of all the dogs during our walk, but probably because of the lighting (dull and grey), only Mason's pictures looked decent. Maybe this is the right light for a very black dog? In any case, I think the old man looks pretty good for 11 years old, a little greyer around the muzzle, but that's about it.

Snow moustache.

Surveying his snowy domain.

Mason at 11.

Back of the house from the tree grove.

House from the big yard, it's really starting to snow.

The gang returning to home base. Tiffany in the foreground, Sizzle telling Tiffany what she thinks of her, Holly sitting in the snow, Mason coming down the steps.

It snowed all night and has been snowing all morning....okay, that's enough!

Thanks to my dearest hubby who puts the feeders out every morning...the snow is still really coming down and it's blowing. The birds and squirrels are thick at the feeders on days like today.

A full size black squirrel looking for breakfast under the feeders in the ever-deepening snow.

Time to hunker in my bunker!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Proud Papa - New American Champion

We are proud and pleased to hear that Mason has a new American Champion!! Cheryl Pike's new Am./Can. Ch. Maclaren's Courtesan finished in style with a 5 point major on the very competitive Florida circuit in an entry of 33 bitches. She had a previous 5 pt. Specialty major, plus a Best of Breed and an ASSA class win to her credit. "Trixie" is Mason's second American Champion.

Am./Can. Ch. Maclaren's Courtesan and Cheryl Pike of Maclaren Shelties.

Trixie pictured when she finished her Canadian Championship. She is truly a bitch of exceptional quality and what makes her that much more special is her ability to produce. In this breed there are the quality girls and the producing girls and they rarely come together in the same dog. Trixie has had just one litter and if the objective is to always improve, things are on the right track.

Trixie's stunning daughter from her only litter, Ch. Maclaren Prima Donna. Mariska's quality just makes my breath catch in my throat every time I see her! Huge credit goes to Cheryl for taking the road less travelled and coming up with such exceptional Shelties in just a handful of litters. I'm anxious to see what lies ahead!

We couldn't be more proud!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Some Days Are Diamonds

I had a very special day on Sunday, not only winning the Sheltie Specialty with Tiffany, but then going right back in the ring with a friend's Smooth Collie Specials bitch and winning the breed at their Specialty with her! What an honour to win this Specialty held the day after the Canadian Collie National and under a Canadian icon of the Smooth Collie, breeder-judge Maureen Burrell. The competition was stiff and it was a thrilling win!

Both Terry and I went to watch the Collie National on the Saturday, and I even got him to come out again on Sunday, which really made my weekend even better. The whole weekend was so pleasant, lots of reminiscing and visiting with old friends and even meeting some new people in our breed for the first time. I don't get out to the shows that much anymore so it sure was a bit of a blast from the past for me! To venture into the ring just twice and do so well was the icing on the cake. The shows were relaxed and pleasant, lots of nice dogs, great people and just overall a day to remember. I'm still smiling!

BISS Ch. Thistlebrae Little Ms. Sunshine

I took some candid shots of some of the Collies over the weekend and have included some of them here for fun. I still need to work on this and I think I really need a different camera to get the shots I want.

Smooth WD and Best Puppy winner both days, 1/2 brother (dam) to the one I showed.

Rough BOS at the second show

Rough breed winner at the National

Rough National BB winner

Rough National BB winner

Rough National WD and Best Puppy, also National Best in Sweeps

Merle Dog Smooth Special

Smooth National BB winner

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Number 9, Number 9, Number 9 (to quote the Beatles!)

Today we were thrilled to win the CC&SSA Specialty from the Veterans Class with our 11 year old girl "Tiffany". This gives her Best In Specialty win Number 9. (6 Canadian and 3 American). What a special girl she is! We cherish every day with her.

9 x BISS/BIS Am./Can. Ch. Laureate Fifth Avenue, ASSA AOM '06. Judge H. Barry Hastings. Very proudly owner-handled, as always.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hello Kitty

While we were in Egypt, I didn't want our dogsitter/housesitter to have to bother with filling up and taking all the bird feeders in and out each day, so the birds were on their own. It took me more than two weeks to get them all coming back, but back they are! I enjoy watching them and since the feeders are all over the front yard, when I pull into the driveway my eyes go immediately to see what kinds of birds are at the feeders. There's always birds there and lots of zipping back and forth going on and usually squirrels as well, busy, busy.

Well, I pulled into the driveway and everything was quiet, not a bird to be seen anywhere, no squirrels, no nothing. That's strange!?

Then as I walked towards the house I noticed something in a tree:

Feral or not, I don't want to be "baiting" his dinner for him! Luckily there were no telltale feathers around.

Hello, kitty. I think they can see you!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cairo Critters

I haven't written yet about the animals I saw in Egypt, especially the dogs which I always like to watch for when in another country. So I thought I would put them all together in one post.

One of the first things I noticed was the congregation of interesting looking crow-like birds hanging around on the building opposite our hotel in Cairo. They looked and sounded just like Crows but were bi-colour, gray and black. I found out that these are Hooded Crows that are common in Europe and the Middle East but not seen here. I liked the more exotic look of them.

Hooded Crows twelve stories up in Cairo.

At all the temples we saw, there were always birds, sparrows and pigeons and such, making their homes in nooks and crannies. Their presence and sounds were somehow peaceful and comforting in these ancient structures.

Sand everywhere as far as the eye can see in many of these places, I wonder what they find to eat.

Overall the domestic animals seemed in fairly good shape, some of the horses and burros/donkeys were thin and didn't look so great. Some looked pretty good though. I saw a couple of dogs that seemed to have mange, but just a couple. One puppy had an injury to it's face. Most of the dogs I saw didn't seem to belong to anyone and were of two distinct types. The only purebreds I saw were the German Shepherds at the hotel that sniffed out all incoming vehicles (there were at least three different dogs that I noticed). I also saw a blue merle Great Dane of all things, and in Cairo, of all places (extremely densely populated). It was at night and we went by it quite quickly, so I didn't get to note more about it than that. There were two people sitting with it on a grassy median. Despite the population I hardly saw any dogs in Cairo, and just one dog on it's own, eating garbage on the sidewalk. I saw lots of cats and kittens in Cairo though. I guess they fare better in the congested city than dogs do.

However, as soon as we ventured out to all the various tourist sites outside of Cairo, there were the dogs! Always at least a half dozen dogs at every site. They didn't appear to belong to anyone and I soon realized they were living on handouts from the tourists! Once people realized the dogs would be there, they would often bring something for them from their breakfast buffet. Most all of the dogs we saw at the sites were in very good shape!

One of the dogs at the pyramids. I'd say she looks pretty good.

I took a few pictures of this dog because I thought it looked so much like an Israeli Canaan Dog. And who knows, with Israel right next door, maybe this type of dog developed the breed. The brown dog above is also of this same type.

The dogs pretty much kept to themselves even though they were in crowded tourist areas. I tried making noises for them to look at the camera but they didn't really respond. It seemed like they were trying to keep a low profile.

These two dogs (the lighter coloured one is a puppy, about 4 months old, perhaps the other is it's mother?) are sleeping on a very steep, approaching vertical, surface in the full sun. This was at the High Dam. The puppy had almost a Golden Retriever look to it, complete with longish hair. I saw quite a few of this type, even hundreds of miles apart. Some were golden colour, some black. This type and the Canaan dog type were the two distinct types.

This puppy was at the top of the wall, in the shade. A littermate?

Outside of the actual tourist sites, and the couple of dogs we saw in Cairo, we didn't see any dogs at all, despite all the travelling around that we did. It was kind of odd.

At our hotel in Sharm, we had a patio and were sitting out when the friendliest little cat came by. She was all purring and rubbing up against us, and making little bbrrrtttt bbrrrttt noises. She was really cute and looked in really good shape. I didn't have a thing to offer her but I did go in and bring her out some ice cubes, thinking she might appreciate some water. WELL. How stupid am I? She ran over, leaned down to sniff the melting ice and just kept on going, she left in complete disgust, around the corner and gone. I saw her later the next day in the general area, apparently these were her buildings to work and she does a LOT better than ice cubes with most guests, thank you very much!

Our little cat, sucking up to us before my faux pas!

I had watched a really beat up tom cat, ripped ear, scratches all over his nose, working the tourists at one temple. He was also very friendly, but not near as clean looking. He too wasted no time, the minute he heard any kind of package opening he was off on the run to rub up against another leg. I watched him for a while, he was really, really smart and had quite the system.

The dogs and cats truly live by their wits and it's all about survival of the fittest, smartest and maybe a bit of luck. Nothing else matters.

When I got home I reminded my own critters just how lucky they are to live where they do! (And us too, for that matter!) I was so glad to see them, I always worry when we leave them but everything was uneventful while we were gone, which is exactly what I want to hear!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Birthday Boy

Another double digit dog birthday to celebrate! Today Mason is 11 years old! Hard to believe, time goes by just too quickly. He is very much a young-at-heart senior though, lots of energy and in great shape. A sweeter guy would be hard to find. He's so easy to live with and a pleasure to have around. We are very proud of him and all of his beautiful kids!

I searched around hoping to find a picture of him to post that we haven't used before, and I was successful! I am wanting to take some video of him when the weather is better and he is back in coat. Our gang all lost coat late this year and also shed more than usual, all of them. Strange how that seems to happen every few years.

Willow Cove's Prize Patrol - Mason. (Am. Ch. Willow Cove's Wild Card ROM/ROMC ex Am. Ch. Willow Cove's Outrageous). For other pictures and info, click on his name or Mason Kids in the sidebar under Post Index.

Happy Birthday buddy!