Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Musings

Lucy waiting at ringside, May 2004.
Here are just some random thoughts I've been pondering today.

The declining interest in Lhasa Apsos is troubling.
I was looking through AKC's website, trying to find some information that I absolutely could not find. Frustrated, I emailed someone at the address given on the AKC website. I received a quick reply that contained not the information I requested but the following statistics about AKC breed rankings that really are quite alarming as far as Lhasas are concerned. In 2000, Lhasas ranked 33rd, a ranking which declined to 39 in 2005, 54 in 2009, and 62 in 2010.

Often people looking for AKC Lhasa Apso puppies will contact me and wonder why they cannot easily find puppies. "There just do not seem to be any available in our area," is a common complaint.

Why? Well, because (for whatever reason) demand for puppies is down, Lhasa breeders are not breeding as many litters as they did in the past. Fewer litters means fewer puppies. Many of us who have been involved in breeding and showing for 30 years or longer are getting to the point where we have to start thinking about how many dogs we currently have, their ages and life expectancy, as well as our own ages, health, and expectations for the next 10-15 years of our lives.

Being a reputable breeder means you take care of the puppies you cannot sell. That is why I have "the three girls!" It's definitely not because I needed or wanted to raise three puppies from the same litter. I love them all to pieces—they are all so cute and have great personalities—but I really just planned to keep one. When a breeder finds herself in that situation, it becomes necessary to put some future breeding plans on hold. I've said many times "you can't keep them all" – and now I can add "unless you have to!" Raven and Whisper are still available should the right home come along.

What is this world coming to?
Unless you have had your head in the sand, you know that more than a few things about life in the U.S. lately are raising eyebrows and causing a lot of us to wonder how the lack of civility and common sense has achieved the levels it has nowadays. You know organizations like PETA and HSUS are promoting anti-breeding, breed specific, and other legislation that makes purebred dog ownership difficult. And while the lack of civility problem is pervasive in our society and certainly not just related to dogs, this is my dog blog, so my focus is dogs.

A recent example: Cafepress, an online company that sells clothing and other items—including some Lhasa Apso items that at one time were sold to support the efforts of our ALAC Rescue Network (and may still be for all I know)—was selling items with the slogan "Save A Pit Bull – Euthanize A Breeder."  As I did some online research about the subject, I found out that the slogan originally said, "Save a Dog – Euthanize A Breeder." To me, the breed or even the species (dog, cat, whatever) makes no difference. "Euthanize" is a euphemism for "kill." The companies that produce and sell the items, as well as the people who purchase them, are advocating "death to breeders." I don't think it is funny, nor do I think its promoters intended it as a joke.

Cafepress was asked to stop selling items with the "Euthanize A Breeder" slogan and originally refused. Finally, bowing to pressure from many dog breeders who took issue with the slogan and bombarded the company with letters, the slogan was removed.

Even so, I continue to wonder, "Why have those of us who retain a sense of right, of civility, and of common sense in this crazy world of ours allowed the nut jobs to take over?"

I love my Lhasas!
I have to end on a more positive note. My dogs are an important part of my life. They love me and I love them. Showing them is fun. Well, okay, it is also hard work, expensive, and aggravating at times too, but I would not do it if I did not enjoy it. Breeding dogs—and doing it right—is rewarding, but it also is expensive, difficult, and at times frustrating and heartbreaking.

Our little ones are now five weeks old. They are growing, getting cuter everyday, and learning something new each day. They engage in short-lived puppy battles, think the piddle pad is a toy to shake and drag around the family room, investigate places where I never dreamed they'd go, then suddenly decide they are tired and end up in a big puppy nap pile. We've come up with temporary call names so we are able to distinguish them from each other. The girls are Tempe, Callie, Dreamer, and Penny. The boy is Jake. Of course, new owners will give them their own names but for now, that's how we'll distinguish them. We'll get new pictures posted soon, hopefully by the end of this week or early next week.

Breaker and Whisper are headed for class tomorrow night unless I decide to take Walker instead. Walker has a show this coming weekend and has not been in the ring since October. He's an old pro at it though so I am not too concerned with him needing a lot of practice. I know he'll love being back in the ring. I'm sure people wonder why I keep showing him and are thinking, "Why doesn't she just retire that dog already!?"

It's because he loves the ring (especially that big Group ring) and I love showing him. 

The photo on this page is of one of our girls named Lucy (Joyslyn's Lucy in the Sky). Isn't she a beauty? She now lives in CA. I ran across the photo when I was going through some files and thought I'd share it with you. Lucy was so funny. She wasn't fond of showing and in the show ring would jump the tape holding down the corners of the mat. She was a little bit of a dog. A judge told me I needed to get some weight on her so a friend shared a recipe called the "Fat Diet," which was supposed to put weight on a dog quickly. The only problem was that Lucy was allergic to the wheat germ in the mixture (I did not find that out until after the catastrophe!) and she scratched out her coat on one side of her head. Such a mess!  

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


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sharing Pictures: "The Three Girls"

The news is slim around here, so without further adieu, here are the latest pictures of Mira's puppies. They are now 5 months old. All are beautiful and have sweet personalities to match.

One of them (I have not yet decided which one) will soon be entered in a dog show, so I had to register them with AKC last week to ensure that they would be registered by the time I filled out the entry forms. What delayed the process was the fact that I couldn't decide on their names! Now, I realize that I have had 5 months to make the decisions; nevertheless, my list was a full page, two columns of possible names for girls.

Here are my final choices and the names by which AKC will know the girls: Maggie is Joyslyn's Moonlight Magic; Raven is Joyslyn's Midnight Enchantment; Whisper is Joyslyn's Midnight Confessions.

The girls send their greetings and hope you all like the names I chose. If not, oh well. It's done.




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


Monday, March 21, 2011

The Promised Pictures

Hi everybody!

These pictures of the puppies were taken yesterday. I guess they speak for themselves. The puppies are playing and growling at each other. So cute! They are interested in exploring the family room. Of course, in the midst of their meanderings, they often stop to take a little nap. To their mom's dismay, each day they become more curious about her food. (She does not want to share it.)
This little girl is the lead explorer.

This group seems most anxious to eat "real" food, so my intent is to wean them earlier than usual. Their mom will appreciate that for sure.


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

Little miss curious!

Yes, she's a "punk!"

The boy. "Help, I'm outnumbered!"
The tiny girl. Small but mighty!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Is It Spring Yet?

It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  ~Mark Twain

As I look at today's calendar, I realize that I had originally planned to take the day off, and yet I went to work, which perhaps explains why I so so badly wanted to leave as soon as I unlocked my office door!

I've received some great emails this month from people I have not heard from in a while, all of them writing about the Lhasas they got from us. Kathy wrote to say that Casey had recently turned 16 and to give me an update on his health. Cheryl did the same about Libby, who had her 15th birthday. Kristi wrote to me on Facebook about Autumn who had her 4th birthday. It is so great to hear from people about their Lhasas. Notes and pictures are always appreciated.
Connor jumping for joy! It's spring!

 I also heard from Judy, Ty's new owner, saying he is full of energy and that one of her dogs tolerates him, another ignores him, and the third has adopted him and mothers him. Raquel wrote that the puppy formerly known on this blog as Socks is dealing her fits because he hates to have his eyes cleaned or his face combed.

I also received a nice email message from a man in Australia who wrote that they were buying their first Lhasa. He told me how much the information on my website had helped them. What a nice note! I always wonder if anyone reads the information on the website.

The new puppies are doing just fine. No pictures yet, but they are coming I promise. I don't know where the time goes, but each morning I remind Lynn, "We need to take pictures of the puppies tonight" and somehow we never get to it. The female puppies are all petite. The male evidently eats more than his share! I keep calling him Bruiser and need to stop before it sticks! I'll try to get pictures posted over the weekend.

The "three girls" have been officially named. Their AKC papers indicate that Maggie is officially "Joyslyn's Moonlight Magic." Whisper is "Joyslyn's Midnight Confessions." Raven is "Joyslyn's Midnight Enchantment." Maggie seems to be the 3rd wheel in this trio and gets picked on by the other two. She's learning to hold her own, and the others get to hear me say "knock it off" quite often! They always look at me like "what?" — pretending they have no clue why I would chastise them.

Unfortunately, we have not been able to get to class this month as planned. So far we've had to miss two classes, and next week there is another conflict. I'm really hoping March 29 is a "go!" In the meantime, we have been practicing at home. All three of the girls are doing well with the lead training and walking down the street with ease. Last night they met their first bicycle riders pedaling by and that caused a bit of trauma for a few seconds. Maggie is the most stubborn about being on a lead (shades of Belle I fear!). I plan to enter them in shows in May. They'll have to take turns because there is no way I can afford to enter all three in every upcoming show. Raven is by far the most showy of the three.

Walker had his teeth cleaned yesterday and while he was "under," I asked our vet to flush his tear ducts. As a puppy (he is now 8), Walker had terrible problems with a wet face. I'd wash him, dry him, get him ready for a show and, the next thing you know, his face would be all wet and stinky. Come to find out, his tear ducts were so clogged that to clear them took six consecutive days of flushing. After that, he had no more wet face problems, but I still ask to have the tear ducts flushed every time he goes in for a teeth cleaning, just to make sure the ducts stay clear.

Speaking of clean teeth: another Lhasa breeder recently recommended to me a product called Tropiclean Clean Teeth Gel that is supposed to work great for getting rid of plaque without brushing. PetEdge and KV Vet Supply carry it, as do other online pet supply companies. I ordered some but have not tried it yet. I noticed Tropiclean also carries a teeth cleaning product that can be added to the dog's drinking water.

News that recently came from the American Lhasa Apso Club (ALAC) was that the petition submitted by ALAC's Native Stock Committee (NSC) to open AKC's stud book for Lhasa Apsos was approved by 2/3rds of the ALAC membership. The petition encompassed two issues: (1) To allow the current breeding stock within the Gompa Lhasa Apso Preservation Program with intact United Kennel Club pedigrees full AKC registration and (2) To allow use of the AKC Foundation Stock Service ® (FSS) to record region-of-origin Lhasa Apsos.  My February 1st blog goes into more detail about the two issues.

Finally, something to add to your calendar in case you don't have vacation plans and would like to spend a week with Lhasa Apsos: ALAC's 2011 National Specialty week is October 10-14. This year we will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the Albuquerque Hilton. Monday is judging for the Top 20 Lhasas. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday are confirmation judging days. Wednesday is the agility, obedience, and rally day.

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


Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Bit of History (Not About Lhasas!)

I've always been interested in the Iditarod, Alaska's harrowing dogsled race. This year is no exception. I found this bit of history regarding the Iditarod. The article brought tears to my eyes and I wanted to share it with you. The post came from the Mudflats March 9, 2011, blog; however, the article was originally published in 2009 on Stonekettle Station.

Iditarod 2009

By Jim Wright
The following story of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race first appeared on Stonekettle Station in 2009.
With this week’s kickoff of the Last Great Race, and my well known passion for it, a number of folks have asked about the origins of the event. Here’s the story:
Those lines were part of a message sent by Curtis Welch, MD, on January 22nd, 1925 via radio telegram from Nome to all towns in the Alaskan Territory.

That desperate message was intended for the Territorial Governor in Juneau, and the public health service in Washington D.C. and it sounded an emergency of almost unimaginable horror. Dr. Welch was facing a disaster the likes of which are rarely seen outside of fiction.

At the turn of the century, during the boom town glory days of the Klondike gold rush, more than 20,000 people lived in Nome – in January of 1925, long after the gold and gold miners had run out, Nome boasted a population of around 1400, about 975 white settlers and 450 Alaskan Natives. The last ship of the season, the steamship Alameda, had left Nome harbor two months before, tracking south ahead of the encroaching winter ice. The sun had followed the steamship, disappearing below the southern horizon and leaving Nome locked in the grip of –50F temperatures and the endless Arctic night.

During the Alaskan winter, Nome’s only contact with the outside world was unreliable HF radio – and the more reliable dog sled mushers and their teams who carried the mail and what light cargo they could via the old Iditarod trail.

Shortly after the departure of the Alameda, a native child fell sick and died. At first Dr. Welch was unsure of the cause, but as more and more children sickened over the next few weeks he began to suspect diphtheria – an upper respiratory tract infection caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae. In the early stages, diphtheria mimics the symptoms of tonsillitis, the flu, or the common cold – which is why Welch, with the primitive diagnostic tools available to him at the time, was slow to recognize the impending disaster. Left untreated, diphtheria destroys the nervous system, leading to a loss of motor control and sensation, and very quickly, death. Diphtheria is highly contagious, with fatality rates up to 10% in the general population and as high as 20% in young children and adults over 40. Among the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, the fatality rate is much higher. More than likely, crewmen from one of the visiting ships had unknowingly brought the disease north at the end of the shipping season, leaving behind a deadly time bomb. As Welch noted in his radio message, by January an epidemic was almost inevitable. Nome’s only doctor was staring straight into the specter of at least 300 immediate deaths – all of which would be his family and friends.

But the pending disaster was far, far worse and far more horrifying. Nome was the hub of the surrounding area, the native population around the town numbered well over 10,000. Those natives had no resistance to the disease at all.

Their expected mortality rate was nearly 100%.

Nowadays, diphtheria would be treated with antibiotics, Erythromycin or even the big gun, Procaine Penicillin G. But antibiotics didn’t exist in 1925, and the best treatment was diphtheria antitoxin. The antitoxin didn’t cure the disease but rather neutralized the toxins released by the diphtheria bacillus into the victim’s bloodstream – giving the body’s own immune system a chance to combat the infection without having to deal with being poisoned at the same time. Unfortunately, even today the antitoxin doesn’t neutralize toxins already bonded to tissues and does nothing itself to kill the bacteria. For the antitoxin to work, it has to be administered as early as possible, usually immediately as soon as a doctor makes the clinical diagnosis of diphtheria infection and without waiting for laboratory confirmation.

One other thing to note: the antitoxin is perishable. Dr. Welch had antitoxin on hand, all of which had expired.

And so he radioed for help.

No ship could reach them, and in fact couldn’t get within 500 miles of Nome by then. No plane, not even the most advanced aircraft in the Alaskan Territory at the time, the Postal Service’s DeHavilland DH-4, could fly under the winter conditions – their open cockpits and liquid cooled engines made that utterly impossible.

The only solution was dogsled...

To finish the article and discover how the brave dogs and their owners traveled through blinding snow, high winds, and temps of 70 degrees below zero, covering 674 miles in 127.5 hours to save the residents of Nome,  go to

Just amazing!

And, although the Lhasas we love are not sled dogs, please remember...

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you. I wish you all "Lhasa Love!"


Tuesday, March 8, 2011


It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:  when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. -  Charles Dickens 

March is such an indecisive month. It wants to be spring, yet—like the dieter who cannot resist the allure of rich desserts or the alcoholic who pines for one more drink—March waivers. Its chill winds remind us that winter has not yet gone. Its warm days promise sunlight and spring. One never knows how to dress—somber colors and warm clothing or something cheery to lighten the doldrums? A winter coat or a spring jacket? Around here, at the first hint of warm weather the university students appear in shorts and flip flops, as if clothing alone will hasten spring, as if wishing will make it happen. I haven't seen shorts and flip flops on anyone, so no one is being overly optimistic about the weather yet.

Sunday was a fairly warm (relatively speaking) and sunny day, so in the mid afternoon, I decided to take the three girls for a stroll (one at a time, of course). Would they walk. Nope. Did they think a nice liver treat was worth walking a few steps. Nope. Did we all eventually make it down the street (no sidewalks in our neighborhood – no streetlights either. I have no idea why and it's bugged me for years!) Yep. If the neighbors would have peered out of their windows, they would have seen me on hands and knees in our driveway encouraging and enticing the puppies to "Come on, let's go." It would not be the first time. One said to me a few years ago, "We know it's spring when we see you walking the winter puppies." Imagine, like a robin and a crocus, I am a harbinger of spring in our neighborhood.

Poor Maggie had the worst time. She was actually the one most eager to walk and we started down the street with some coaxing and hesitation but with tail up and her thinking, "Hey, I have mom all to myself for a change. This isn't too bad." And then…disaster. Up the street about a half block came a man struggling with two big Labs. One look at Maggie and me and his dogs went nuts barking and lunging. The guy was struggling with them to begin with and had even a worse time as he passed us (on the opposite side of the street). I remained calm thinking if I was calm Maggie would be. Maggie took one look and pancaked and started screaming! Finally they got past us, she recovered, and we began our walk again.  This time her tail was down—but she was walking! We walked a half block to the neighbor's driveway, turned around and, with tail still down, headed back. Tail went up, went down, came back up. Yea, Maggie! We made it back to our driveway where Maggie got lots of praise for pulling herself back together.

One training tip I might pass along. Don't treat your dog like a baby. Think about how we treat upset babies. We cuddle them. We hold them tight. We pat them and say, "Now, now. You are fine. You are all right. Everything is okay." etc. Don't do that with your dog. Encourage him instead. Say, "You can do this. You are a big brave boy. You can do this." It's hard to change our "people" ways when dealing with dogs, but think about the message the dog receives from a cooing owner. "You are fine." (The way you are behaving is fine.) "Everything is okay." (What you are doing is okay.)—mixed messages indeed. If you enjoy having a cowering, recalcitrant pup, then keep that up and that's what you'll have.

The darker-colored girls
The boy
The two lighter-colored girls

Finally, here are pictures of the babies, taken on Sunday when they were 2 weeks old. Eyes on a few of them opened Sunday, the others on Monday. They are not too photogenic at this point but they are sweet. They seem pretty content but are getting more active. Secret is a good mom. She doesn't hover or seem overly concerned about anything—unless one of the three girls manages to sneak past me and into the room where she and her puppies are!
Spring really is on the way, right?

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


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March Already??

Wow, it's already March! I do not know where February went but am hoping that March will bring warmer weather. Friends tell me the almanac says March will bring more snow, lots of it. I've got a couple of foolish plants that are peaking up out of the ground. Last night a friend told me he'd seen a Robin, and this morning as I got in the car to go to work, I saw some geese flying north. Perhaps spring is on its way after all.

Maggie, 4 months
Among the many things I did last weekend, one task involved bathing the "3 girls," as the Raven-Whisper-Maggie trio is often referred to at our house. Their coats were blown dry and prettied up for a photo shoot. The girls were 4 months old on February 21. We have only 2 months to go before they are eligible to be entered in an AKC show. Unfortunately, that hits on Easter weekend so we won't be going anywhere until May. In the meantime as the weather warms up we'll do some lead breaking and try to get to the training classes in Peoria. With the high price of gas, I'm thinking we may not be able to get there as often as I'd like.

Raven, 4 months
A quick update on the new puppies: Secret is an excellent mom. The puppies are content and are eating well. Their eyes should open this weekend, and that is always a welcome milestone. We'll take and post more pictures of them once they are a little more photogenic.
Whisper, 4 months

Check out the website of the Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners at Click the "Legislation 2011" link on the menu (on the right) to see the types of dog legislation coming before Illinois legislators. You can see whether IFDCO supports or opposes the legislation and why. Notice that individual dog owners can join IFDCO as a way to support the Federation's efforts in Illinois to "provide information and education to kennel clubs in Illinois and their members, dog owners, rescue community, and elected officials so that legislation and regulation will promote the health and well-being, appropriate care of all dogs, protect the rights and responsibilities of dog owners and breeders, and support responsible dog ownership." In other words, you don't have to show dogs or breed dogs to support this group! Its work is valuable to protect the rights of all dog owners. If you own a dog and want to protect your rights as a dog owner, for $25 you can join IFDCO and support its efforts. That amounts to a bit over $2.00 a month, an excellent value if you ask me!

If you are not from Illinois and are reading this, check your own state for a similar federation or go to the AKC's legislation page to find out what anti-dog legislation is cooking in your state. Go to and click "Government Relations" on the menu on the left or "Legislative Alerts" in the blue box in the upper right corner. Reading about anti-dog legislation gets scary sometimes and seems so off base that you wonder, "How can this be happening?" Unfortunately, in today's political climate, we've all been asking ourselves that question about a lot of craziness.

In the meantime, you know what I always say…

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