Thursday, February 14, 2008

Westminster KC - 2008

I have attended the Westminster Kennel Club every year for the last 15 or so years, missing only the year my son was born. I am a country girl through and through, but I LOVE to go to the Big Apple. Probably cause I don't drive, the train is the way to go. This year my niece Melissa, her friend Dana and my friend Pat came too.

Anyway, Melissa, Dana and I got to the Garden on Monday morning around 8:00 am and drug my luggage up to the 17th floor of the Pennsylvania Hotel. Pat wasn't arriving until around 10:30 am. My friend Debbie, her friend Nikki (and my new friend too), and her handler Reggie were already camped out in the room. We got Debbie's dogs, Aerly and Trent, ready for the walk over to the Garden and headed out. Aerly's ring time was 11:30 am and Trent 12:30 pm. We all found a good place in the stands to sit and watch the action take place in the Border Collie ring. There were 17 BC's entered and we screamed and clapped for the one we liked, which was Debbies of course, and the one standing in the end at the Best of Breed spot was Debbie's boy Aerly along with his handler Reggie. What a great thrill it was to watch a young up and coming dog win the Breed over seasoned winners, and Debbie was teary-eyed and elated to say the least.

There wasn't much time for celebration cause Debbie needed to get Trent ready for his ring time. Melissa, Dana, Pat and I headed up to the stands to watch our beloved Whippets in the ring. Trent has been in semi-retirement and comes out at a few select shows. He was the #1 Whippet in 2004, and he's been taking it easy the last few years. There was a total of 20 Whippets ranging in age from 2 - 7 years entered for judge Lou Guerrero. He narrowed the field down to about 8 whippets, and when he finally chose his winner, he went over took hold of Debbie's hand, pulled her out into the center of the ring and said "thank you, you're Best of Breed". It was chaos and bedlam where we were sitting as our screaming and whistling was immense. We were thrilled to watch the 7 year old Veteran, Trent, being chosen BOB over all the current winning dogs. This time tears came to my eyes. I was so happy for Debbie and Dan and Bruno. It is a dream come true to win the Breed at the Garden, but to have two breed winners the same year was beyond real. The rest of the day was a whirlwind, lunch with friends and talking to other whippet people back at the bench while waiting for the groups that night. Trent did make the cut in the Hound Group, but didn't place, and Aerly was not a very good boy in the Herding Group ring, so he didn't make the cut, but I'm sure we'll see more of Aerly in the next few years winning the breed at the Garden once again.

Tuesday was lots of fun with Pat, everyone else went home. We watched some breeds we knew nothing about, and actually Pat picked a lot of the same winners the judges did, I was impressed. We walked 11 blocks to go to dinner at Carmine's (44th Street between 7th & 8th Ave), had a few drinks, bought a bottle of wine on the snowy walk back to the Hotel Penn, drank some wine and headed over to watch the groups and Best In Show. The Beagle ended up winning Best In Show and is a very nice dog, but I was routing for the Australian Shepherd to win it all.

If you've never been to the Westminster Kennel Club, it is something you must do once in your life. I'm already anxious to go next year, but that is a long way away. But for now, I have these memories, and memories from "Westminster Past", I'll tell you about them sometime.

Watching Aerly Win BOB - PRICELESS
Watching Trent Win BOB - PRICELESS
Just Being at Westminster - PRICELESS

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Room 220 - Trenton, NJ

When it was decided to once again go to the Westminster Kennel Club show in NYC, my niece Melissa, her friend Dana and I decided we didn't want to get up at 3:00 am on Monday morning to get the 6:00 am train in Trenton, so we had the great idea to get a hotel room near the train station on Sunday night. So I researched the area online and found a hotel about a mile from the train station. Now I've stayed in a lot of hotels in my day, some good, some bad, but I knew we were in trouble when I went to check in and there was a sign stating "TV Remote Control $5.00". I thought to myself this must be a rough place, but paid for the room anyway.

The winds were howling outside and the temp was around 15 degrees with a wind chill of -10 degrees, very cold to say the least. We were all looking forward to getting inside, locking the door and being nice and cozy warm. Upon entering the room we turned up the heat and had a look around. We waited for the room to get warm, and we waited, and we waited, and we waited. The heat finally turned on, blew through the vent for about 2 minutes then shut off and all that blew out was cold air. We just about froze off our tuckus' that night, but we stayed bundled up in the blankets for warmth, even though we weren't sure what may have been lurking in that room.

The room looked like it went through WW2 with all the repair spots on the walls. The bathroom toilet had cigarette burns on it. I did take a shower before bed and was surprised to find there was actually HOT water. Off we drifted to sleep and in the middle of the night someone decided to blow their horn, over and over and over and over again...bout scared me to death!!! Then there was a pounding on a door down the corridor about 15 times. Lord knows what that was all about. Needless to say, I won't be staying in that hotel anymore.

Trip To Trenton - NICE BUT WINDY
Stay In Hotel - AWFUL & COLD
Getting On The 6 am Train - PRICELESS

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Almighty Vanna

I really didn't have any intentions of buying a show dog from anyone else, as I have a bunch of my own that need showing, but when I saw the pics of the "Roux 12", my eye was immediately drawn to Puppy #12, the last pup in a very large litter. As the breeders kept posting stacked pics since around 5 weeks old, I watched this puppy get better and better each week. Upon meeting P-12 (as she was called for a very long time) I saw this beautiful dark eyed girl who was just the sweetest looking thing. Sitting down in the kitchen with Kari, she told me all about P-12.

Vanna, as she is now called certainly does have a mind of her own. If she wants to come to you when you call her she will, if she doesn't then good luck trying to get her. If you forget to close the bathroom door, she'll come up with devious plan to get the toilet paper off the roll, or used tissues from the bathroom trash. If you go out of the room for a split second, she'll find one of Tyler's toy figures or a pen or pencil to chew up. She will play with the squeaky toys for a while, then decide to kill it, and we have fluffy stuffing all over the floor. She is learning to catch bits of food that I throw to her, cause if she don't catch it, Paco will most likely get it. She once snapped a martingale hound collar that was made with mountain climbing strength plastic parts, she wanted that bunny BAD, that's how she got the name "The Almighty Vanna".

All in all, she is a wonderful dog who loves to be under the covers at night, just wish she'd stay there instead of in and out, in and out, in and out.....well you get the picture. I wouldn't trade her for the world. I thank her breeders Linda, Kari & Erin Day for all the love and care they put into this litter of 12.

I'm looking forward to getting Vanna out to the shows and races this spring and summer. Hope she'll kick some butt!!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Tyler in Scouts

This past year Tyler joined the local Cub Scout Pack. This year he is in the Tiger Den which is the first level of scouting. Next year he'll move up to the Wolf Den. Anyway, a few weeks ago each Den did a little talent show for the Pack. Here's Tyler with his Tiger Denmates (there is only 3 of them) doing a little song. You can see who the microphone hog is. This Wednesday we'll be heading to the Karate Academy for a Den Go-See-It.

Tyler's Birthday Party

My son Tyler had his 7th birthday party at a bowling ally yesterday with his classmates and friends. He got lots of Star Wars gifts (he's so into Star Wars), and a real bowling pin the people at the bowling lane gave him that all the kids signed and he could take home for a keepsake/remembrance. The kids all bowled 2 games, had a hotdog & soda then cake. Of course they put the bumpers up for the kids, and one tiny little girl bowled a 114. I think all the kids had a good time, and I know Tyler will remember this birthday.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Paco's Story

I don't know Paco's story for about the first 8 months of her life, but I can tell you from when we found her. My son and I were heading up to my sister-in-laws to get our hair cuts, and as we were getting to the end of our road Tyler says, "mommy there's a dog running in that field". Knowing the house there was abandoned for a while, I stopped and turned around. This little dog was running scared, tail between her legs up the road, so I followed her in the van pushing her away from the busy road. She trotted up the road and hesitated near the neighbors driveway, so I figured she belonged there. She turned and started up around the corner, I got out and called her in that cutesy puppy, puppy voice, but she just kept on running as she looked behind her. Back into the van I went, and started up the road again.

There were people working at the next farm property with big equipment and she came up short when she saw them. I stopped the van again, got out, knealt down and called her in that cutesy puppy, puppy voice again. This time she turned right around, ran toward the van, went underneath the van on the other side and I thought she would just keep on running the way we just came from, but to my surprise, she came out from under the van on my side, and sat right down beside me. I gently petted her and talked to her while I picked her up. I put her in the van and she jumped right up on the back seat next to Tyler's car seat, gave him a quick kiss and laid there until we took the short 3/4 mile trip home.

I took her into the house, gave her some soft blankets to lay on in a crate, gave her some food and water and headed back out the house for our hair cut appointments. Upon getting back, I called all the animal shelters and veterinary hospitals within a 50 mile radius, and placed ads in the local newspapers for anyone looking for a lost dog. I kept on telling Tyler not to get attached to her cause someone is probably looking for her, and I didn't want him to be hurt when they came to get her. Well no one called so we ended up keeping her and she is a very good dog.

Tyler named her Paco, and she is a very energetic dog that needs things to do all the time, she must be part Border Collie I think. Her favorite place to nap is on the back of the sofa when the sun shines in, but at night Paco sleeps on Tyler's bed every night since she's been with us. Although Tyler beats up on her (rough play), she adores him and goes crazy when he comes home from school. I don't think I could have found a better first dog for Tyler, and I really believe the doggy gods had something to do with this.

Orphie's Story

Orphie is a German Box Dog (Shepherd/Boxer). She was from an accidental breeding when I lived in Perkasie many years ago. Orphie is the best dog in the world. Throughout her life, she was an excellent guard dog (often stopping the PP&L guy from even stepping foot on our property), puppy raiser extrordinaire, and all around great companion. Orphie is never leashed or confined in anyway, as she knows our property boundries and won't step foot over them and her bark is definitely worse than her bite (but don't tell the PP&L guy). She comes down to the end of the driveway with my son Tyler and I to wait for the bus in the morning, and she mosies on down the driveway in the afternoon to wait with me for the bus to bring our boy home. She is one of the best dogs I've ever owned.

Orphie is now only a few months shy of 13 years old, and is totally deaf, but in great health overall (knock on wood to the doggie gods). I know for a big dog like her, 13 is quite old, and I dread the day she won't be lying in the sun on the front porch anymore. I know there will never be another dog as good as Orphie, so I pray her health stays good for another 10 years, but I know that will never be.

Zane's New Home

Well today the last of the available Sorrie/Lilo puppies went to his new home in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was very sad to see him go, as he is just the sweetest thing. He loved to sit on the couch and watch the others play. He oversaw what everyone else was doing, and he loved to lay under the covers and watch TV.

I will miss Zane, as I do his sisters ZaZa, Zora and brother Zeke.....aka Tyson, but I still have sister Zaria and brother Zachary. Zaria is also very sweet and usually ends up in my lap as soon as I sit down, and Zachary, well he is the wild child. He will be one that has never met a stranger, is very outgoing, and will be a handful in the show ring. But Zaria & Zachary are two Whippets I am looking forward to showing in the future.