As I looked back and reflected on the year, I was amazed at how successful it had been for Acadia. I hadn't realized it until I began compiling, and then I was surprised to see that some of the fun and "eventful" things I had done had not even made the blog!
Merrylee called with very exciting news today. Nicky has completed the AXJ (Agility Excellent Jumpers title). Nicky is working on becoming a Champion/VCX. In order to accomplish this goal, he needed to have a herding title (he has the Herding Tested - or HT- title), he needed a higher level title in either obedience, agility, or tracking (and he LOVES agility), and of course he needs to complete the AKC breed Championship. He is pointed and hopes to complete that goal next year.
One thing I love about Christmas time is the cards with news from "the puppies". Every day I look forward to getting the mail. I like to hear from my friends and family, but the cards I look forward to the most are those that contain news from the families with the dogs.
I spent some time putting together a collage of the pictures that were sent, but I couldn't save it as a jpeg, only as a PDF, and blogspot won't accept PDF files. I guess I will be the only one who gets to enjoy my "Sheltie family collage". I will just include some of the fun news (and pictures that were sent as email attachments. Taylor- if you send a digital picture of Sara- I will post it). Most of the notes were much more detailed than this (and I love to read every bit of them), but I have just included bits and pieces.
"This is your 2008 update from Sara's family. She is just so smart she most probably could have written this note herself if the keyboard was a bit more dog user friendly :-) " - The McDuffee family.
-I find this really funny- MacDuff is the name of Sara's litter brother. MacDuff was named by his new owner before Sara went to live with the McDuffee family.
"Here are some photos of MacDuff taken today. He just had a bath. Some of the pictures are with his "bathrobe" still on.
His senses are extraordinary. His nose, eyes and hearing are all among the most keen we have ever noted in an animal. He can tell instantly upon going out the door whether there is a deer or a cat in the proximate area. We have never had a dog that immediately scans the trees for activity when he goes outside. " - The Loveless Family
Noreen used to call and ask me about Kelsey's eye sight. He also has an extraordinary sense of sight and scans the woods for any activity.
Kelsey has completed the Therapy Training and is now certified as a TDI.- From Noreen
"Jenna is such a great dog, we all love her very much!"- The Hartwell family
"Stevie is the sweetest, lovable dog. She is one of a kind!"- The Crosson family.
"It is so weird for me to be working with a dog that has no fear issues (thank you thank you thank you!!!). She is such a joy to work with."- Heidi
Heidi sent the CUTEST calendar of Piper. Piper is so photogenic and it is such fun to see all of the pretty, goofy, serious, pictures of her. Thank you Heidi.
"It just occurred to me that I should send you this photo; we used it on our Christmas card this year. I took it about a week after Lilly's first birthday. She is doing so well! Having her join our family was definitely the biggest highlight of our year."- The Law Family
"Snickers is doing well and is good company for me while everyone is gone."- Mr. Macri
My parents drove down from Connecticut. They left the snow. Everyone is congregating in Philly at my other sister's house- no snow there.
In central PA- we have ice.
I wish we had snow. It is a lot nicer than ice.
I went to Philly yesterday to see everyone, but I am back home now waiting for my Christmas presents to arrive. I think they will even be on time. I am waiting for puppies and we are getting very close.
I had emailed Penny to ask her a question about Show Low, and she mentioned that Gracie had been such a star this summer. I asked what Gracie did this summer that was so special- and this is what she said.
"Gracie is certified through Delta Society as a therapy dog. We regularly visit at Loyola Medical Center rehab floor, burn unit, pediatrics floor, and other hospitals and nursing homes. She helps with physical therapy at some hospitals, and also participates in children's reading programs at libraries and schools. Thanks to Cadie's breeding for exceptional temperament, she is a completely bomb proof and confident therapy dog, certified for any kind of situation, no matter how challenging. (Thanks Penny!- that is nice)
Summer of 2008 we were contacted by a school for special needs kids (they specialize in speech therapy, behavioral and social skills programs). They were looking for a therapy dog for an eight week program to work with a boy who was terrified of dogs. They needed a smaller dog who was not overwhelming. It involved playing with kids, going for walks and eating treats. Gracie said "sign me up"!
The teacher had devised a special program of desensitization - the first visit we had to sneak in a back door and stay in a separate room, the boy was too scared to be in the same room with a dog. By the end of the program, the boy was brushing, feeding and walking Gracie. She just waited for him to realize how wonderful she is! It was very rewarding for everyone involved."
Gracie is a daughter of Ch. Acadia Rock Solid x Ch. Zion Acadia Town Heroine, CDX, PT, VCX
Rumor completed his Novice Agility Cert. (NAC), Novice Chances Cert. (NCC), and Novice Jumpers Cert. (NJC) this weekend. This is added to his Outstanding Novice Tunnelers (O-TN-N) and Novice Hoopers (HP-N). Rumor is doing awesome weaves now got his first Q in Novice Weavers.
Both boys would qualify more if my brain worked as fast as their feet. Also, if Rumor would bark and jump up and down less, we could make our way through the course better. No dog enjoys agility more than Rumor." - Phyllis
Responsible breeders cringe when people call and say they would like a puppy for Christmas. Pets are a huge responsibility and so much goes into choosing the right puppy, the right breed, and establishing who is responsible for what activities (feeding, walking, poop scooping! etc) and attempting to "surprise" someone with a puppy precludes these conversations.
Even if these conversations have already taken place and it is established who is responsible for what- Christmas time is very busy with family, company, cooking, decorating- and potty training the puppy or making sure the puppy is not chewing on the Christmas lights is not usually the highest priority. For these reasons, bringing a new puppy home AFTER Christmas is the best option.
Here are my recommendations for how to give pets as Christmas presents.
- Accessories make GREAT gifts. They need to be purchased anyway, so you can accomplish two things at once. Crate, collar, leash, bowls, toys, beds, brushes, nail trimmers, treats, baby gate (not in picture) all provide endless unwrapping opportunities for everyone in the family and make it clear that the new pet will be everyone's responsibility.
- The Anticipation that unwrapping the accessories creates is even more exciting than "unwrapping" a pet anyway.
- shopping for pet supplies is fun.
- It is very clear what the "Real" gift will be-
- A picture of a dog (or cat) with a note saying, "this gift card is good for one..... (puppy, dog, cat, whatever) can be the "final clue".
- If the conversation of "what breed, what color, what sex" has not taken place, the picture will foster this conversation and good choices will result. Everyone will win.
When the hustle and bustle of the Holiday is over- then the puppy can come home and be the center of attention.
President-Elect Obama has a website where we can all share our vision for what America can be. It asks the question, "Where should we start together?"
This is my vision--
My Vision for this County is one where ALL diversity is embraced. Cultural, social, and ideological diversity is allowed to co-exist. For our Country to remain truly diverse, special interest groups seeking to limit the rights of others must not be allowed to prevail.
For me, the Special Interest group, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), is a real threat to my way of life. HSUS is seeking to limit animal ownership, use, breeding, consumption, and over-all, any life that involves animal-husbandry as its core. My dream was never to “Grow up to be the President”- but rather, to “grow up and raise animals”. I have been very fortunate that up until recently, this dream was not a stretch. Currently the special interest group, HSUS, is successfully promoting unreasonable limits on dog breeding, dog ownership, farming, and hunting. Groups such as this, which imposes their values onto others through laws, makes criminals out of many, otherwise good people. They must not be allowed to run (ruin) our Country.
To share your vision- go to http://change.gov/page/s/yourvision
I remember a high school teacher once saying to me, "don't wish your life away." Funny what quotes we remember. This past week I was excited all week long. Chip needs one major to finish his championship. He minored out in July and then I spent lots of money on entry fees for shows that didn't get enough entries for a major. In August there was 1 major- and he won it! None of the shows he was entered in since August were majors.
Yesterday was finally a major. He had the opportunity to finish in this calendar year! This was not a two show weekend- there was only 1 show (Saturday) and oddly, the entry was enough for a major in both dogs and bitches.
I was excited all week long. I kept thinking about "the big day". I was anticipating the call to my sister to say, Chip is now a Champion!!! I knew that there would be 15 other males (it takes 16 males for a major) whose owners were feeling the same way I was- excited for the opportunity! I tried not to think too much about them because I wanted to remain focused.
I think it is VERY important to be excited and happy for who ever wins. We all work hard at this, we all have the same goals, and we all love our dogs. Still, I think that it is important to stay focused up until you need to be happy for someone else. Well, that time came yesterday for me and Chip. We were Reserve Winners Dog- 2nd best-not good enough to finish. I congratulated the winner, but still I felt disappointment. No new Championship for Chip this year. Bummer.
I think I would rather go back to the excitement, anticipation, hope, of last week- so I am looking forward to Christmas when my whole family will be together!
Acadia I Hope Ewe Can, NAC, NJC O-TN-O, TG-N, HP-N had a great weekend! Sharon reports that her friend Phyllis (who also has 2 Acadia shelties) took Hope to a NADAC agility trial this past weekend. Poor Sharon had to go to work- so Phyllis had the enjoyment of playing with the dogs. Well, they had a VERY successful weekend. Hope had 8!! Qualifying runs and finished her Regular title, her hoopers title, and her Outstanding Tunnelers title. That is a great weekend!
Sharon also owns Hannah (Acadia Paint the Town) who only needs 5 Qualifying scores in Chances for her NADAC agility championship (the NATCH). This is a huge accomplishment and I really look forward to reporting her continued successes.
Pet dogs versus show dogs...
Pet dogs shed ............ ...... Show dogs blow coat.
Pet dogs are in heat ......... Show dogs come into season.
Pet dogs trot ............ ........ Show dogs gait or move.
Pet dogs stand ............ .... Show dogs stack.
Pet dogs get a bath ......... Show dogs are groomed.
Pet dogs beg for treats .... Show dogs bait.
Pet dogs poop ............ .... Show dogs toilet or eliminate.
Pet dogs bark at other dogs ..... Show dogs spar.
Yup- it's true, this is the language we use. Here it is "decoded" for the rest of the world.
I have had a very good week with a number of "puppy check-ins" as I sometimes refer to them. I LOVE to hear from "the puppies". Here are bits of some of the messages sent. Anything in italics is a comment from me.
From Deb about Belle
"Belle is as close to perfect as a dog can be…
We absolutely love her…
She is sweet and kind to everyone.
She hangs out with us and sleeps on or near the bed.
She loves to play and she loves to get pets.
She is a princess at bath time and has never offered to chew anything…. (Cameron- did you read that? )
The only time she has ever growled was at a campaign worker for Barack Obama when he came to the door.
He was actually afraid of her.
We decided she was clearly a republican! (Well she did spend a summer in Alaska)
The girls are planning to start Canine Good Citizen and then Therapy Dog training with Belle in January. The local hospital has a pet visitation program and she and the girls will do that when she has her certification. I am sure that will be a slam dunk. My cousin is confined to a wheelchair and has cerebral palsy, she can only make sounds and swing her hands.
Belle went to her and sat next to her wheelchair and let her pet/thump her (not hard) on the head. She never moved away from the wheelchair.
We can’t thank you enough for sharing this wonderful dog with us.
From Cindy about Briar Rose
I think I may have told you I lost the man I was dating to cancer ........
I just cannot tell you what it means to have her here. I had taken a photo of Bob (my friend) and Susie (Cindy's 1st sheltie) right before she was put down in April. I had given a copy of that photo to Bob's brother who used the face portion to put in the obituary when Bob died. I looked at it the other day & could not believe I lost two treasured friends within months of each other. It just doesn't seem possible. Then.....I look at the beautiful little girl that gives me the look of adoration and my heart just takes a leap......it's almost like God knew I would need her. In fact, in a card a neighbor gave me she wrote "I think God sent you Briar Rose as a blessing...." She's right!! He did!!!!
Take care......know that this little bundle is hugged & kissed so much!!!! I can't get enough of her!!!
Thanks again for letting me adopt her.......she is my heartbeat!!!!!
Sometimes the messages are not so sweet.
This was sent from Pat about Cameron
Hope you are enjoying the beautiful Fall weather. I just love this time of year...pumpkins and falling leaves and just all the beautiful colors. Still warm enough to be outside, too. Need to ask you about a problem with chewing we are having with Cameron. He is fascinated with our couch and has destroyed one pillow and chewed the skirt on it several times. No amount of Bitter Apple or Bitter Cherry or telling him "no" seems to work. ..............
Pat and I emailed back and forth a number of times discussing Cameron's chewing behavior. As I told Pat- often chewing is about the inherited behaviors of chewing and which behavior is being satisfied. Anyway- here is a message Pat sent today.
He has been happily playing with a cardboard box all day yesterday and part of today. Thanks again for all your diligent help.
Forget about "What Breed should the Obama's get" for a moment. Lets focus on "where should the dog come from".
We have an opportunity- Lets not Waste it!
All eyes are on the issue of “where will President Elect Obama get the family dog”. This is a GREAT opportunity for all of us (yes, even HSUS) to plead our cases. Lets not WASTE IT.
Here is what I am doing, and I am encouraging you to do something similar.
1. Write to your CONGRESSMEN/WOMAN. These are the people who will be proposing new legislation to limit breeding. Tell them the following:
A. Buying from a breed specific “hobby” breeder provides lifelong support. Hobby breeders are interested in making sure the dogs they produce are loved and cared for. This means that when a purchaser has questions about care, behavior, needs, etc, they have a person to ask.
b. Buying a purebred dog from a “hobby” breeder means that you are more likely to be able to “see” the expected temperament, size, look, etc. of your dog. Most hobby breeders are selecting for certain traits that are greater than just “the resulting dog is such-and-such a breed”. We know that behavior is genetic. We know that certain characteristics are genetic and we select for these.
c. Remind them that Purebred Dog clubs sponsor RESCUE and relocation programs because we CARE about our breeds and we UNDERSTAND the physical and behavioral characteristics of these breeds. If someone is interested in “providing a home for a dog in need” they can still get a purebred.
2. Once you have written your thoughts down in a logical manner that you are going to send to your Congressmen/women- then POST them ON LINE.
a. This is a GREAT way to increase your audience.
b. Add it to a facebook page, a blog, a website, anything to get the information OUT THERE.
We need to work EXTRA hard to promote ourselves as people who LOVE DOGS and CARE about the puppies we produce. HSUS is targeting “breeders” and proposing anti-dog legislation right and left.
With the national spotlight on the President-elect’s choice for a dog- LETS WORK HARD to get a positive message out there. Once he has made his choice- our opportunity has been reduced (but not lost).
I big question for sure. Contrary to what many believe, there is no such thing as a Non-allergenic dog, but breeds of dogs that are single-coated have a decreased tendency to cause allergies and are often refered to as Hypoallergenic breeds. Of course poodles are the most popular, but my choice for the Obama family is the Portuguese Water Dog. These dogs are good with children, medium size, fun, obedient, loyal and protective. This family appears active (and intellegent) and the PWD is too. If the Obama family prefers to resuce a dog, they can still get a purbred. Breed clubs always have rescue and relocation programs for their breed. He can achieve the goal of geting a breed with known traits (such as hypoallergenic) and also provide a home to a dog in need.
My vote for 1st Dog- The Portuguese Water Dog
(and you all thought I was going to suggest a sheltie
Show Low, Belle's father, was at a herding trial this weekend too. He placed 3rd in Started B Course Ducks (HSBd). I think that was his first of three legs, so no new title yet- but a successful start!
The B course is much larger than the A course. The extra space can really mess a lot of dogs up and we don't usually see shelties running on the B course. Congratulations Show Low!
Belle's son, Acadia Sweet Home Arizona (Rincon), completed the PT herding title. Pictured is Rincon waiting his turn to herd, and then the final step - putting his sheep away. He did a wonderful job. Woo Hoo Rincon!
Amy emailed me to report that this past weekend she and Quill completed the Rally Excellent title (RE). Congratulations! Amy reports that the Vallejo Dog Training Club had two rally trials in one day. At the morning trial, Quill placed 1st out of 21 dogs that qualified. In the afternoon trial, Amy and her other dog, Sophie, were 1st in the Advanced class. Way to Go Amy!
I also got to meet Pam's daughter, Jessica, for the first time. I feel like I have known her for a long time because I have known Pam for almost 9 years now. I always see Pam at dog related events, and Jessica has not attended those events, so on very last day of my trip, I finally met her. I spent the last night at Pam's house. The three of us went out for Sushi and Coldstone Creamery ice cream. YUMMMMM. Then in the morning, Pam took me to the airport to come home. It was a VERY fun trip. It wouldn't have been Nearly as much fun if it wasn't for my friend Pam making so many arrangements for me- Thank you to Pam, Jessica, Amy, Lorrie, Donna, Ingrid, Sharon, and Yvonne for having me out to Calf.