Thursday, February 24, 2011

News and "Stuff"

Where has the week gone – or the month for that matter? So much has happened! We had the big snowstorm on February 1st that closed campus for two days and kept most of us house-bound at least a day while the wind howled and the snow blew into big drifts. From the sound of the forecast another storm to rival the first is on its way tonight. What a way to end the month. 

We've watched as Egyptians protested successfully, then as people in Libya rose up against their dictator, then as the folks from Wisconsin peacefully protested plans from a governor who sounds like he wants to be a dictator. I'm just sayin'....

And  those darn gas prices keep going up and up! Darn it!

I attended my first 2-day all breed agility trial (see the February 16th post). Ty and Jet left for new homes. At work I've been focused on writing a grant proposal that has a budget of $978,500. That's been a little stressful—making sure all the i's are dotted and all the t's are crossed—and all the paperwork is signed and dated correctly! It's all done but the photocopying and mailing, both jobs for Monday. I even gave a short presentation to members of Macomb's Rotary Club about the work of the Center for Best Practices in Early Childhood, where I work. Then Sunday I was up all night nervously awaiting Secret's new arrivals.

Secret and her puppies, one day old.
Secret had her first puppy, a girl, at 6:30 Sunday evening. Two hours later, she had the second girl. Two hours later, the third. Two hours later…(are you getting the picture here?) To make a long story shorter, by 2:30 AM we had six puppies: five girls and a boy. Everyone was nursing well. Lynn and I were exhausted and once we were sure Secret and the babies were doing fine, we went to bed. When the alarm went off at 5:20 as it usually does, I shut it off and rolled back over. Needless to say, when we finally woke up, got the dogs fed and pottied, and ourselves showed and dressed, we were both late for work by about an hour. Oh well. That's what vacation time is for!

Tuesday night was the first confirmation training class of this year. Unfortunately, we have to drive about an hour and 45 minutes each way to participate. Nonetheless, Breaker, Maggie, and I took off for Peoria by way of Cuba where we met Jane and two of her Shibas for the remainder of the trip. We went to Breaker's first class since he finished in 2009 and the first class of Maggie's life. Breaker was a goof, but then he always is. He was excited to be at class and had problems settling down, but basically I was pleased that he remembered what showing was all about. He was happy to have a lead around his neck and to be running around the "ring." I was proud of Maggie too. She sat in her crate for about 45 minutes to get used to sights, sounds, and smells while I worked Breaker. Then I took her out, let her walk around with a lead on, let her meet people and their dogs, and put her up on the table a couple of times so the trainer could go over her. She did just fine! Next week I think I'll take Walker and Whisper or Raven so everyone eventually will have a turn. Just to keep myself humble I may also take Belle again one of these days. She'll put me in my place!

Secret's puppies, 4 days old.
When I returned Tuesday night from class, I noticed one of the puppies was not doing well. She was lying apart from the others and her little body was cold. I stayed up quite late trying to get her warmed up and fed but to no avail. It is so hard to lose a puppy. All I can tell myself is that nature must know what she is doing and that it is better to lose one at two days old than it is to lose one that is 7 weeks old. Those of you who have been following this blog for a while may recall the heartache of losing Cutie. I hand fed her until she was able to lap milk on her own and then eat softened dog food. We lost her anyway when she was almost 8 weeks old, and believe me,  that was much harder than losing her at 2 days old would have been.

Anyway, that basically sums up my February activities. I am taking a vacation day tomorrow unless the snow is so deep that WIU cancels classes and closes offices again! Either way, I'll still be home and relaxing! 

I hope to get Maggie, Raven, and Whisper bathed tomorrow (some vacation, right?) so we can get pictures taken of them again. Their coats are growing and all three girls are beautiful, so I want you to see them.

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


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A New Experience

An all-breed agility trial was a brand new experience for me! Last weekend I drove to Manhattan, Illinois, to "help" with the all-breed agility trial sponsored by the American Lhasa Apso Club (ALAC). I say "help" in quotation marks because I did very little helping! However, I did learn how to set jump bars and got to sit inside the ring (is that what they call it??) to replace jump bars that had been knocked down. It allowed me to view the activities from a totally different perspective.

Some of the dogs were amazing. They were fast and zipped through the course with no problems. The heartbreakers were the ones that knocked down a jump bar at the end of an otherwise perfect (to me anyway) run. There were dogs who barked their way through the course and spent a lot of excess energy beside themselves with joy at getting to run the course. Then there were the clowns who decided they'd run anywhere or jump anything they wanted to! I noticed that none of them who decided to do their own thing opted for the weave poles! LOL  Those weave poles were the downfall for many dogs who had done quite well prior to coming to them. 

The two days that I and four other members of ALAC spent watching (and "helping") at the trial were educational and inspiring. (They were also cold and sometimes boring.) I came away amazed at the dedication of the people who train their dogs for agility. I was awed by the relationship and communication between the dogs and their people.

I took Ty and Raven with me for a couple reasons: I wanted to give Lynn a reprieve from having so many puppies to take care of while I was gone; I wanted an opportunity to socialize the puppies, and I just couldn't see myself at a dog-related activity without a dog! Ty was happy and excited. The trip and the new experience did not bother him at all. Raven was timid and not sure she wanted to be there. When she was held by various people on Saturday,  she responded by burrowing inside their jackets and falling asleep. By Sunday, she was more sure of herself and enjoyed the attention and the activity. We just passed her around. Ty was eager to see it all. His tail never stopped wagging except when he fell asleep. Ty went home with Judy, a Lhasa person from Indiana. She will be training him to be an agility dog. I think he'll be a good one!

The worst part of the trip was the 45 minutes on I-80 when the setting sun blinded me for miles as I drove west. I've never been so glad to see a sun finally set! Even sunglasses provided little protection against the glare, but thank heavens I had them. I would have hated to experience that bright sun without them.

Speaking of bright suns…our weather has taken a turn toward "warm," and the snow is melting. What a relief! I suppose it is too much to hope winter is over, but this reprieve from snow and freezing temps has been great, even if  the dogs come inside with wet soggy coat from the slushy snow.

Monday and Tuesday evenings were spent watching the Westminster Group judging while grooming my own dogs. Of course, we were cheering for Susan and Lulu and were happy to see them take the Group 3.

Jet left for his new home today. The three girls do not seem to miss the boys at all. One or two of the girls will go to training class with me next week. My sincere hope is that I do not have another Belle who refuses to walk on a lead.Time will tell. The girls will be old enough to show by the end of April so, besides training, my next big chore will be naming them and registering them with AKC so they can be entered in the May shows.

As I sit here at the computer, piles of laundry that did not get done on the weekend are reminding me I have some work to do before I go to bed.

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


Friday, February 4, 2011

Puppy Pictures

Jet. Such a regal looking boy!
The puppies are now 3.5 months old. They are quite a group and, really, I could not ask for better behaved puppies. Oh, they like to rough-house and involve themselves in puppy battles, usually over a bone. Mind you, I have plenty of bones to go around. They just all want the same one! Just like children: What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine! Raven and Whisper like to hoard the bones. They steal them from others, make a pile of bones (or toys) and lay on top of it, like a dragon guarding its treasures.

However, for the most part the puppies are calm and well-behaved. The crate training is progressing nicely, and they will use either the exercise pen in the garage, newspapers or piddle pads on the floor, or the snowy outdoors. That trait came in handy during the recent snow storm when putting them outside was impossible.
Raven looking unhappy!

Raven all wet for her evaluation. I'm soaked too!

Whisper. So serious!

Last week we gave them baths. I wanted to take a closer look at Raven's structure, so I soaped her up and posed her for some pictures. She is looking as good as I expected and would make a nice show girl. She has a lovely outline. Look at the profile of her in the photo where she is wet. Nice length of neck. Great rear and shoulder angulation. Nice front legs too, although you can't see them well in this picture.
The sweetheart named Ty
I tried the same "let's wet you down and take a look at you" with Maggie, but she is uncooperative right now, and evidently she hates having her picture taken because we never did get a decent picture of her. For a sweet "please hold me first and let me lick your face forever" little girl, she definitely has a stubborn streak! Ditto when it comes time for us to practice her letting me see her teeth!

Ty, much like his sire Breaker, is one of the happiest dogs we have. He enjoys life to the fullest, loves to play and be held, and is smart too. (He did not get that trait from Breaker, who is just happy! Hey beauty and happy...who needs brains? LOL!) Ty has the morning and evening routine down pat and enjoys teaching the other puppies what to do.

Whisper's coat is growing fast and, as I predicted, the shorter ear is much less noticeable now. She and Jet are nearly the same size and have the same coat texture. I used to be able to tell them apart by looking at her ear. Now it is not that easy. Jet is more laid back than the others, except when it comes to eating. He goes after his food with gusto!

Enjoy the photos!

Remember, life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

We Survived the Snow!

The view from our front door as the storm began.
The big blizzard hit Macomb! I am unsure if we got more snow or less snow than other areas that were hit in the huge swathe of the snowstorm, but I know we got more than enough!

The wind howled, the snow blew...our power did not go out. We and the Lhasas were nice and toasty warm. By Wednesday AM, it was over and time to dig out. Lynn managed to contact a crew to clear the driveway. The snow was deep, nearly up to the bottom of the cars' windows. The cleanup cost us $75, but that's better than a heart attack!  Some poor fellow in a neighboring town died while shoveling snow. He was only 52!

Our driveway once it was cleared.
The dogs, of course, love the snow. I kept the puppies inside Tuesday night, and they were wondering why they did not get their usual romp outside! By Wednesday AM they were thrilled to be out playing in the snow again. However, the temps were below zero so I let them stay out only a very short time.

Western Illinois University was closed for two days! I've worked there for 22 years and that has never happened before. Lynn and I enjoyed the time off. I can't say we did much besides play with the dogs, read, eat, and watch TV but it was a nice change from going to work. Actually, I did work a few hours both days. We are in the midst of writing a grant proposal so it was important to keep plugging away at the narrative. I worked on our taxes a bit too. So the days were not entirely spent sitting around in sweat pants and relaxing!

We have new pictures of the puppies. I posted them on Facebook and will post them here by the weekend. They are getting so cute.

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you (and to cuddle with when a blizzard is howling outside!)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Expanding the Lhasa Apso Gene Pool

This month is an exciting (and perhaps even nail-biting) month for members of the American Lhasa Apso Club (ALAC) who feel passion toward one side or the other on an issue that is now up for vote: The plan submitted by ALAC's Native Stock Committee (NSC) to open AKC's stud book for Lhasa Apsos. If ALAC members approve the proposal, we will have the opportunity to expand the Lhasa Apso gene pool in the U.S. by incorporating dogs from region of origin.

Two issues are up for vote:
(1) To allow the current breeding stock within the Gompa Lhasa Apso Preservation Program with intact United Kennel Club pedigrees full AKC registration. If passed, 12 Gompa dogs would enter the AKC Stud Book: four males and eight females, representing at least four generations of breeding from the original western imports. Information about the Gompa Lhasa Apso Preservation Program can be found at The ALAC website also contains slide shows of the Gompa dogs at
(2) To allow use of the AKC Foundation Stock Service ® (FSS) to record region-of-origin Lhasa Apsos, whether the dogs come from the actual geographical area in which the breed originated or from another country that does not have a reciprocal registry with the AKC. The process for AKC registration (simplified for this article) includes an FSS application; a series of photos; and copies of import/export documentation, DNA profile, microchip identification, the pedigree to the extent it is known, and any background documentation that can be compiled to prove the dog is a purebred Lhasa Apso. Critiquing by a panel composed of an AKC judge, an AKC breeder-judge, and a long-time Lhasa Apso breeder is the next step.

Approval by two-thirds of the club's members is necessary for the proposal to pass.

The NSC has been working toward this effort for quite a few years. For example, the culminating experience of ALAC's national specialty 2004 presentation, "Tibet—Revisiting Our Past," was the presentation of five Gompa Lhasas who entered the room in the arms of ALAC members garbed in Tibetan costumes. We were provided opportunities to meet and greet the dogs. In 2009 and 2010, ALAC's Breeder Education Committee and Native Stock Committees co-sponsored seminars, "Expanding Our Gene Pool…Is It Possible?" (2009) and "Preserving the Future, Enlisting the Past" (2010). In addition, articles regarding the NSC work and proposal have been printed in AKC's Gazette and ALAC's Bulletin.

As a result of the educational opportunities the NSC provided, my mind was made up long before the ballots were mailed to the membership.  I have no qualms about letting you all know that I voted to approve!

Ballots need to be postmarked by March 5. I'll let you all know the results once they are announced.