Monday, November 23, 2009

Not REALITY TV!

I confess to watching a lot of CSI, Law and Order, and NCIS reruns during my recuperation. A CSI NY episode last week had me both laughing at and chewing out the writers for their stupidity and lack of research.

One of the murders took place in the grooming area at a dog show. When one CSI asked another about witnesses, he was told there were no witnesses because when the show events began, the grooming area totally emptied out. What!!!???

It seems the murderer added a drug of some kind to the dog's water bottle, not to kill the dog but to goof up its performance that day so her dog could win. Instead, the dog's handler took a drink from the dog's water bottle and that drug interacted with her prescription meds and killed her. Okay. Plausible. BUT…the dog's water bottle, as depicted on the show, was a baby bottle!! Seriously. It showed the handler sucking on the bottle's nipple first, then offering it to her dog to suck! What!!!???

My dogs might enjoy chewing on a baby bottle nipple but I can't think of one of them who would SUCK the darn thing!

At the end of the show, two of the main characters were in the bleachers of what I assumed to be Madison Square Garden, watching the results of Best in Show and betting each other on the winner. The scene looked like the usual Westminster layout, with drapes and carpet and boxes with the breed names on them. HOWEVER, the winner was not revealed by the judge presenting the handler a huge ribbon and trophy. Oh no! Instead, a representative from some accounting firm presented an envelope containing the tabulations. Accounting firm? Envelope? The envelope was opened, and the Best in Show winner announced. WHAT!!!???

That was quite enough crime FICTION for me. Good heavens…I know the sport of showing dogs is a mystery to many people, but these writers were clueless. I turned off the TV, snuggled down with Belle by my side, and went back to reading a novel!

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you!

Joyce

Friday, November 13, 2009

They Have Arrived!

The puppies are here!

Yesterday morning Secret's temp was 98.3, a sure sign that puppies should arrive within the next 24 hours. She was quiet all day yesterday so I assumed I'd be up all night as she whelped her puppies. I was up all night with her, as she was very restless and did not want me out of her sight, but no puppies arrived.

I watched a lot of movies on STARZ!

Finally, the first puppy was born at 8AM. The last came at 10:45, so once Secret started, things went rapidly. We have 7 gold puppies, 4 males and 3 females. So far everyone seems to be doing well. I pray that continues.

Which of those little girls will be my next show girl?? Time will tell!

I'll be posting pictures on the website as the puppies grow.

As for me, I am exhausted. It's time for a nap!

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you! Seven little bundles of love are going to make seven families feel very special in a few months!

Joyce

Monday, November 9, 2009

Musings

Hi Everyone!

This post has nothing to do with dogs (until you get to the end). I'm cooped up at home and my life with dogs is relegated to grooming, bathing, playing, and waiting for Secret to have puppies. In many ways, I am bored. I am generally an active person, used to going to work, being involved with co-workers, and facing challenges work has to offer. I miss it. I also miss going to training classes.

One thing I have been doing since I've been home babying my foot is thinking about work. Now you might think a few weeks away from the office would be a joy and, at first, I did like the time to rest, read, watch tv, etc. Besides, the doctor told me I was NOT SUPPOSED to do anything but lay around with my foot up. But, when that becomes your "job," the day stretches out forever sometimes. So, I've been thinking about work and young children and a topic of recent interest. To be brief, I am the Associate Director at the Center for Best Practices in Early Childhood at Western Illinois University. A great deal of the Center's work involves providing teachers with professional development opportunities to familiarize them with early childhood research-based practices and to encourage them to implement those practices. One topic I have recently become interested in involves Becky Bailey's "Conscious Discipline" and Jane Nelson's "Positive Discipline" approaches.

One recurring question Nelson asks is why do adults think they have to make children feel bad in order to get them to behave well? Good question! But think about it. We often expect children to be mind readers and automatically know what is expected of them. When they fall short of our expectations, we tend to yell, punish, or humiliate. As adults, if someone gives us a dressing down and tells us how terrible we are, what's our reaction? I don't know about you, but I shut down, get angry, sulk, and become the opposite of cooperative.

Bailey brings up a great point about how adults are experts at giving children precise information about what they do wrong, but little information about positive behavior. We just expect them to know what's "good." For example, let's say your 3-year old sits at the table and you serve her milk and cereal, saying "Be careful not to spill." When she does spill, as 3-year olds are known to do, you yell, "Oh my God, look what you've done. You spilled the milk1 I told you not to spill the milk! Now it's all over the clean floor and I'm going to have to waste time cleaning it up. You are so careless and clumsy!"

Notice…during that little tirade, you have (1) told your child what she has done, (2) described what the result was, and (3) and described her as "careless" and "clumsy" (bad). That seems to be the formula we use when we yell at kids.

What happens when children do something positive? What do we say? "Good job!" What meaning does that have? Not much when you hear it over and over. It becomes rather like hearing "How are you?" or "Have a good day!" — excellent sentiments but so overused they've become trite and meaningless.

Bailey suggests we use the same 3-step "formula" to reinforce children's good behavior. First, describe the deed…."Oh you put the dirty dishes in the sink." Then the result of the action…"Now the table is all cleaned up." Finish by describing the behavior…"You were so helpful! You made my job easier." You can see how this is more effective than "good job."

You've heard about affirmations? They are positive (or negative) things we tell ourselves over and over. Our brain believes them and responds accordingly. "I can't do *** (fill in the blank)." "I am never going to be *** (fill in the blank)" are examples of negative affirmations. Once when I said, "I don't know why I spend money on raffle tickets, I never win anything," a friend responded with, "And with an attitude like that, you never will." Hmmm… On the positive side, when we believe that we are helpful, honest, courageous, loving, easy to get along with, etc….our brain, our behavior supports those powerful beliefs and responds accordingly.

So, if we constantly use the negative formula to tell children they are bad, clumsy, stupid, dumb, careless…how do they grow up feeling positive about themselves? What if the mom whose child spilled the milk said, "Oh-oh. We need to clean that up!" and asked the child to help, then said, "Look, you and I wiped up the milk! The floor is clean again. You are such a good helper! We make a good team!" and follow it with a high five or a hug.

Again, this doesn't have much to do with dogs but it's where I am with my thoughts today.

By the way, I just finished reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, a wonderful book that I'd recommend to people who like novels that feature dogs. The main character is a young boy whose family breeds and trains dogs. It's a great read! I'd also recommend Gwen Cooper's nonfiction book, Homer's Odyssey, about her life with 3 cats, one of which has no eyes. For those of you who know me well, do not despair…I'm also reading mystery and romance novels! LOL

Oh…and the good news today is that Secret went to the vet for her x-ray. She is carrying 7 puppies! Wow!! We'll be busy very soon!

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you!

Joyce

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sharing a Poem

As some of you know, I am home from work for a few weeks while I recover from foot surgery. The surgery (on October 28) went well, and so far, the healing has gone well also. I am chaffing at the bit to be more active, but every time I try, the foot reminds me that I need to slow down.

So…in a week I have read 7 novels, completed 37 crossword puzzles and 31 sudokus, watched countless reruns of CSI, Law and Order, and NCIS, and taken quite a few naps. Oh…and yesterday I groomed dogs! Today I decided to take a trip down memory lane and look at some of the old photo albums of 36 years of dog show photos.

One thing I ran across tucked into an early album made me laugh. It is a great poem that I had totally forgotten about, called "Lament of A Lady Who's Gone to the Dogs." I have to share it with you!

LAMENT OF A LADY WHO'S GONE TO THE DOGS

There was a time, there really was, when I was sweet and tender;
When SHOW DOG meant a Disney Star, and Bitch was not a gender.

I went to bed at half past ten; I went to church on Sunday;
On Saturday I baked the beans and did the wash on Monday.

But then I got a certain pup, and an erstwhile friend said, "SHOW",
And so I did and so I do, OH! What I didn't know.

I used to dress with flair and style. That was the life; don't knock it.
But now each dress from bed to ball must have a good bait pocket.

I used to have a certain air, I wallowed in perfume,
I used to smell of Nuit D' Amour; now I smell like Mr. Groom.

My furniture was haut d├ęcor' my pets a tank of guppies.
Now I've furniture unstuffed and well-adjusted puppies.

Once I spoke in pristine prose, in dulcet tones and frail,
But now I'm using language that would turn a sailor pale.

I was taught to be well-groomed no matter where I went.
Now all the grooming that I do is in the handler's tent.

I used to long for furs and jewels and a figure classed as super,
Now the thing I yearn for most is a nice new Pooper-Scooper.

I adored a man who murmured verse through intimate little dinners,
But now the words I thrill to hear are just three: "Best of Winners."

I really love this doggy life I wouldn't care to change it.
But when I get that BEST IN SHOW. I plan to rearrange it!

When my time on earth is done, I'll go without much nudging
Just give me three weeks closing date and let me know who's judging.

~Author Unknown~

Now, those of you who don't show dogs might not know what all of that means, but I think you'll get the gist of it!

Showing dogs is NOT for everyone. It does mean getting up early, getting the van loaded just right, driving for hours, grooming for hours, hurrying up and waiting for those few precious moments in the ring and the judge's evaluation of your dog. After 36 years of doing it, I cannot help but wonder what my life would have been like had my husband not said, "Maybe we should show Buffy…" and if we'd never been bitten by the dog show bug. I know I would have missed knowing some great people, loving some wonderful dogs, crying many tears of frustration, sorrow, and joy. I've worked hard. I've learned much. I have a long way to go...

I know that some day, I'll have to quit and rest on whatever laurels I've earned. In the meantime, I'll laugh at this little poem. I am truly a lady who's gone to the dogs!

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you.

Joyce