Acadia Infinite Spirit, aka- Finn , and Kathy earned the CGC (Canine Good Citizen) award today. Congratulations! Finn was born in Februrary 2010. He is one of the "future stars" and I am already enjoying reporting on his and his sister, Xena's successes.
Toltec, our Rhodesian Ridgeback, is only 11 months old- and still a puppy. He is a powerful chewer and quickly consumes anything "sheltie sized".
The Buster Cube is a great toy that dispenses treats as the dog rolls it around. The one pictured on the right is "sheltie size". Notice the teeth marks. Toltec can pick this whole cube up- and- as you can see- do serious damage. Today I got him a "Ridgeback" size Buster Cube. He can't pick this one up- perfect! He loves this game. He uses his feet a lot- and this cube is perfect for the "kicker" . I have found that shelties don't like the "cube" shape as they are not "kickers". They like to use their noses to "roll" and the cube is just not that good for "rolling". I have a ball that is the same concept. They prefer that. I didn't get it out as I thought that Toltec would find it too easy.
The C-ATCH is the CPE (Canine Preformance Events) Agility Trial championship. Nicky is owned by Merrylee and trained in agility by Arlene. Congratualtions!!!!
Phyllis reported that Rain got her first Qualifying agility score- in NADC Tunnelers.
Glory was WB again on Monday for another 2 points bringing her total to 9. I am keeping my fingers crossed that she will finish her championship this calendar year.
I love to breed dogs, but it is the Great Owners that make breeding dogs so much fun. YOU- are my extended family! I LOVE to see and hear about your successes and disappointments (but mostly successes :-0 )
Linda Hall called on Sunday to tell me about Xena. Xena is one of the Rincon x Faith puppies and this week she will be 9 months old. If you click on Xena's Label to the right- you will get to see a few videos of her as a young puppy. Linda has been training Xena from the moment she got off the plane- but this past weekend Xena really showed her accelerated training.
Linda went to a NADAC agility trial to compete with her two older dogs. Xena went along for the socialization and experience. One of the nice things about NADAC is there are LOTS of classes to compete in and each one is very different. In AKC there are only 2 classes- Standard, which is jumps, weave poles, tunnels and 3 "contact obstacles", or Jumpers which is just jumps, weave poles and tunnels (no contact obstacles).
At the trail that Linda was at, a class called "Tunnelers"- (because every obstacle is a tunnel) was the last class of the day. Linda stayed to help the club clean up, and when most everyone was gone, she asked if it would be OK to run the course with Xena. They said yes and Xena ran a 15 obstacle course under course time!!!!!!! How GREAT IS THAT!
Linda had to send her from one tunnel to the next, making sure she took the correct entrance, making sure she took the correct TUNNEL! It is not easy to do a course where all obstacles are the same- but it is even harder when the dog can not see you most of the time (because she is inside a TUNNEL!). Changes of course, become more difficult and your signals must be clear and the dog must understand, or they "pop back out" the same way they went into the tunnel. Linda was amazed at the maturity level and work ethic of Xena. True- Xena has work ethic and drive- but it is Linda who is developing the mental mind of this dog and making Xena the working partner she is becoming. Congratulations Linda and Xena- I KNOW we will continue to be reporting GREAT THINGS about you two.
Show Low is WIT's father.
CONGRATULATIONS Penny and Show Low
In order to obtain the Herding Championship, a dog must earn 15 total points, win at least two 1st place wins, and win a major (between 3-5 pts). Remember, majors are a reflection of the number of dogs defeated that day.
WIT placed first, and was also High In Trial, at the ASSA National Specialty Herding trial this past spring. That was his first 1st place win. There were only enough shelties for him to earn 2 pts towards the championship- but it was a necessary 1st place (and- being the National- they were the best shelties from around the country!)
Today WIT competed at an "all breed" (well- all herding breed) Trial and again he placed 1st in the Advanced Class. This time the entry was large enough that he won 4pts towards his Herding Championship. He has now gotten all of the hard parts out of the way and he just needs "points" to get to 15.
Shelties are not known around the Herding circles as being a "power breed" and it can be very difficult for them to win 1st place when competing against Boarder Collies- but WIT has not been told such tales. He IS a powerhouse and he can keep up with the best of them. He will do Whatever It Takes!
Payson has a little bit of a tooth-ache and he is being treated for it. I just love this picture because despite the fact that you can see where his tooth is bothering him, it depicts his beautiful head. He has the smoothest, cleanest head I have felt on a sable. (by the way- for you non-show people, "smooth" and "clean" do not refer to coat length or non-dirtiness- they are what we "show" people say when talking about the bone structure of the skull).
The trip to Costa Rica was an organized tour through a company called EF (Education First). They bill themselves as “helping students and teachers with International Travel”. My friend Joan Stone is the Spanish Teacher at Lewistown High School and every other year she takes Spanish students on a trip. She invited me along because she knew I would really enjoy the ecological diversity of Costa Rica. One of my roles on this trip was that of “friend”.
EF offers packaged trips and they lump all of the individual groups from various places in the country together thereby making it possible for small groups such as the 6 of us from Lewistown, and the 3 from Alabama to all have the same complete experience as that of a larger group. Our tour group (of 50 people) ended up with students, teachers, parents (and me) from 5 different schools and 3 different states. We had an assigned tour guide and an assigned bus driver. One of the schools we were traveling with was from State College, PA- which is only ½ hour from Lewistown. That group did a daily blog of the trip http://sc2costarica.blogspot.com/ click on that link to go see more about the adventures of the trip (from a non-dog perspective
During the first days of the trip when all of the people were getting to know each other, people would ask me, “are you a teacher?”- when I would reply, “no”- they would say, “oh, you are a parent.”- to which I would say, “no- I am part of the village, and I hope I am not the village idiot.” Of course this led to additional conversation. Personally, I do subscribe to “it takes a village to raise a child” and my secondary role on this trip was that of “non-parent, non-teacher adult”. The role of this person in a society is varied and wide, but on this trip it was one in which the authority is not defined, therefore is considered “safe”, and yet, as an adult, is still respected and opinions and permissions are sought. As an adult, there is a small amount of “authority”- and thankfully, our society has not changed so much that even in 2010, this is still true to some degree. My secondary role on this trip was that of “watchful adult”.
In Costa Rica dogs are also still part of the village. A preface:
When I was growing up we had “neighborhood dogs”. These were dogs that belonged to families in our neighborhood, but who were not fenced in or tied up. Two of them stick out in my mind. Pepper, a pure-bred German Shepherd and Zack, a large mix-breed. These two lived across the street from one another and were best friends. They were very friendly, both with people and with other dogs. They would frequently be at the bus stop, or show up while we kids were outside playing (and in those days kids actually had “unscheduled play” where our parents would say, “go outside and play”- and we did). I always gravitated to the dogs of our neighborhood. I would call them over to come play. I would greet them on the street. Kids, dogs-all enjoying the “community” of a neighborhood and a town; for me, those were the “good ol’ days” and something that I genuinely miss today. In keeping with my post titled, “Part of the Village”- I think that dogs and other animals have a lot to teach people. I think that it is very important to have a variety of species as “Part of the village”.
Today, in American Societies, loose dogs are seen as “dangerous”- and people make the assumption that they are “strays” and immediately call the “dog catcher”. Dogs are no longer part of our communities and one of the consequences is that dogs are not properly socialized- to people or other dogs. It is a vicious cycle- dogs are not allowed to be part of the “community” because they might be dangerous, so they are not socialized and learn appropriate behavior, so they respond inappropriately, and are labeled “dangerous”.
“Wild dogs” live in packs – a social group that has an established “territory” within which other packs are not welcome! During the “good ol’ days, when dogs were loose in the neighborhood, they didn’t exhibit the strong “territorial behavior” and their social circle was wide and deep. Of course there were exceptions- not every dog was as rosy as I portray, but those dogs were considered “anti-social” and everyone in the neighborhood knew who they were and gave them a wide birth. This included the “social” dogs of the neighborhood who also gave the “anti-social” dogs space.
In Costa Rica dogs also still part of the village.
I love dogs. I think that is obvious, but on my trip to Costa Rica I was reminded of how much American Society has changed when it comes to attitudes towards dogs, and community,-and in my opinion- for the worse. In every town we went to in Costa Rica, there were loose dogs. I wish I had begun photographing them when we were in La Fortuna. La Fortuna is a very pretty town with a large center square. This square is a park like place (may actually even be a park). There were gardens, and benches, and a bandstand. It was in the center of town with the business on the edges facing this town square.
Our tour guide told us this was a “safe town” and that our teenage students could be allowed to explore without adult supervision. All of the adults agreed that the kids needed to stay in groups of 4 or more. During our explorations, Joan and I bumped into students from our bus on many occasions as the town was a fairly small one.
We visited a school outside of Monteverde. The school was grades K-5th grade and only had 26 students. There were also 4 dogs. When we arrived the kids were getting ready for our visit- 10 of the students were preparing for the traditional dance they were going to perform for us, and the other kids were playing on a swing and a jungle gym. The dogs were just snoozing. When we got off of the bus, and took our seats to watch the dance, only one of the dogs came to greet us- the others could have cared less that we were there. Dogs at school- just part of society.
Modern American Attitudes towards Dogs in Society
I began photographing the dogs in Monteverde. Again, they were just “there”, and again, it was the Americans who were the ones who seemed to notice.
It was in Monteverde that I really became aware of the “young Americans” view of loose dogs. Many of the students were concerned that these were “stray dogs” and needed to be “saved.” I did have one conversation with a student that REALLY concerned me about the state of our (American) society. The white dog in the picture had followed a group of our students from the ice cream shop to the bus- a distance of about 400 yards, but around a corner, so not in view of the store from which they came. The student with whom I spoke actually told me that he knew this dog was a stray because it was “covered in feces and mats”- WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!
Another student piped in that this dog was thin. I felt the dog (he felt very good) and then felt the ribs of the teenager who made the comment – he was thinner than the dog. I asked him if he was a stray? Seriously though, every dog the American commented on, it was “oh poor dog- I wish we could take him home. “ I think that people today are missing out on the value role that “village dogs” offer. I think the role of dogs in society is also varied and wide, but mostly they teach us tolerance. In a society that increasing claims to be “more tolerant”- when it comes to animals, it seems to be less tollerant to me.