Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas

"My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?"
~ Bob Hope

As Christmas draws near, I want to wish all those who read my blog a wonderful day, no matter where or how you spend it. At our house, we'll have nearly all our family (which isn't that large to begin with). We'll be missing Erikka and Chris who live in Miami and were unable to make the trip back to Illinois this year. Our youngest is coming home from college. Our oldest, his wife, and daughter live here in Macomb but will be staying overnight on Christmas Eve. Our granddaughter is 3 years old, so Christmas morning will be especially joyful for her when she FINALLY gets to open all those presents she has been patiently eying for the past couple weeks. To be honest, I have admired her restraint.

The puppies will be 6 weeks old on Christmas Day. Puppy pictures (taken at age 5 weeks and 3 days) are posted with this narrative. The single puppy is the tiny female. She is the light of our granddaughter's heart because she is so tiny and obviously easy to tell apart from her littermates. Too bad her parents won't let her have a dog! Imagine, my son being raised with dogs his whole life and now preferring a cat! She has to get her "dog fix" when she visits our house.

The picture of the two puppies is of the other females. The one of 4 puppies is of the males. Everyone is happy and active. Their mom has decided that if I'm going to feed them that I should also have the privilege of cleaning up after them! Oh boy…

Merry Christmas to you all, and in the words of Charles Dickens' Tiny Tim, "God Bless Us, Every One."

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you … and the warmth and love of family and friends at Christmas.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Puppy Update and Other Things

Christmas has definitely "hit" our house. The tree finally managed to get up and decorated. The presents made it from shopping bags and delivery boxes into "piles by person" on the bed and floor of one of the bedrooms, then into wrapping paper or gift bags and finally under the tree. The office Christmas party—complete with white elephant gift exchange, an annual event that all of us at my office look forward to, is now a fond memory. We have a bunch of great cooks around here who outdid themselves again this year.

Boris, our Russian Blue cat, is confused by all the changes in our routine and in his house. He dislikes change to his environment and routine so he is upset a lot lately. Being a cat, he is interested in the tree and packages and evidently fancies himself a present because we often see him nestled among the gifts napping. He leaves the tree and ornaments alone, thank goodness. He leaves the majority of gifts alone except for the ones in gift bags. He is fascinated by the tissue paper and has managed to "fringe" the edges of all the tissue paper he can sink his teeth into. I decided it was a losing battle, so wrapped most gifts instead of going the easy route and sticking them in gift bags. As a friend at the office is fond of saying, "That ain't the hill I'm dyin' on."

So, this has been a crazy week. Getting information about puppies posted kept getting pushed to the bottom of the list! The most recent pictures are posted at the top of this narrative. The puppies were 4 weeks and 3 days when the picture was taken on Monday.

So here is what's new with the babies: First, they've been moved from the 3x3 puppy pen into a 3x6 puppy pen. Now those of you who know about such things might be raising eyebrows and asking, "3x6?? Never heard of it." Well, I had not either until I had a wild idea in the middle of the night. (That happens to me frequently as my subconscious ponders a problem). Anyway, I decided to see if I could put two 3x3's together into a 3x6 by removing a side panel from each 3x3 then attaching the two pens back together. Note that I say "I" but really it was a "we" thing as my husband did the heavy work while I mostly watched and directed!

Cutting lumber as center reinforcements for the floor grates was necessary, as was a bag of large zip ties.

Now the puppies have a large area to play in. Their piddle pads are at one end and blankets for sleeping at the other. Best of all, they are off the floor, which in spite of the efforts of our furnace, seemed way too cold for puppies, no matter how many layers of newspapers and blankets we used. If anyone who reads this wants to try it with a couple of 3x3's, let me know and I'll send a picture and a description of what we did.

I started weaning the puppies today. It's sooner than I generally begin weaning, but Secret is getting tired of them. They are getting curious about the food in her bowl, and she is getting protective of her food and not wanting to share, so... today she got a break and the pups got some mushy looking stuff that evidently tasted great because they dug in and ate with a passion! They were still excited to see mom when she came back to spend the day with them! They mauled poor Secret and she gave me a look that said, "And this will be over when???"

As Christmas approaches, so does Belle's first birthday! She and her litter mates were born on Christmas morning last year. Oh my, what a mess that was as we prepared for company and took turns delivering puppies. What beautiful little gifts Flame gave us that day. The girls: Holly, Spirit, and Belle. The boys: Nicky and Decker. Holly and Belle are the only two whose owners kept their Christmas-y names. I know all 5 of these puppies continue to be blessings to their people.

As 2009 nears its end and we get ready to greet 2010, I wish you all the best. In case I don't get back to you until after Christmas (in spite of my good intentions), I'll share a New Year sentiment that a friend sent me this morning in an email message:
"May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts. 


May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills. 


May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!


May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be those of joy.


May the problems you had forget your home address.
May 2010 be the best year ever!"

And if I don't get back to you next week, have a joyous Christmas with friends and family!

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


Monday, December 7, 2009

Show Results, Puppy Update

Mira and I attended the shows in Belleville, IL this past weekend and came home with no points. She took a third and a fourth place in her class. It was disappointing of course. I was hoping to come home with a new champion, but then, so were a lot of other Lhasa owners. The competition was keen. Many lovely Lhasas were entered.

We had a great time though, for a number of reasons. First, it was the first time Mira has ever gotten to go to a show with me by herself and she enjoyed having all my attention. When Mira started showing last January, I was still trying to show Dancer (who was so scared on the table that I finally had to give up on her. Showing her was just not worth her going into panic.) Then, of course, Breaker was ready to show, and then I was taking Breaker, Mira, and Belle in May. This was a nice change for Mira who loved being the center of my attention for the entire weekend. I liked it too. She is a neat little dog!

Secondly, I was thrilled to see so many Lhasa friends. People came from MO, OH, WI, TN, KY, and IL (I may even be missing some states). We had our own impromptu "specialty." This was the second year for a great turnout at the Belleville shows, so it may become a habit. I hope so. We had a lot of fun. Ronnie Crowder finished his male, taking majors on both Friday and Saturday. Sandy Copeland's bitch finished, taking majors on Saturday and Sunday. It was a wonderful early present for Sandy, whose birthday is this week. Jeannie Cleary's puppy bitch took a major on Friday and Jeannie's male won the major on Sunday.

Third, my Shiba Inu friend Jane showed Mira. I am still in the surgical shoe and limping around so thought it best that I not go into the ring and be a klutz. Jane agreed to show Mira -- as long as I groomed her! Jane did a fantastic job showing her and Mira looked great with and responded well to Jane. I enjoyed the opportunity to watch Mira from ringside and evaluate her performance. She looked great and showed well.

Speaking of Jane, I have to add that we had a thrilling time on Sunday first when her male Shiba puppy took WD for 2 points, and then a few minutes later when he won Best of Breed over five Shiba specials for a 5 point major! He'd also won 2 points on Saturday. Not bad for it being only his second weekend of showing.

We also managed to squeeze in a couple hours of Christmas shopping Saturday night. It needed to be done! The holiday is sneaking up on me. Our tree is not even up yet!

On the subject of puppies, the "kids" are growing and looking great. The most recent photos are at the top of this post. The picture with 4 puppies is of the boys; the one with three is of the girls. They get cuter each week! The little girl is growing. The supplemental feedings are doing the trick. When I pick her up now, she immediately starts sucking. Talk about "conditioned response!" LOL! One of my friends at the show recommended Tomlyn's Puppy Vitamins for the puppy, saying she had had great luck using them when she had a situation similar to mine. The vitamins must be tasty because the puppy was smacking her lips after the first dose!

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


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Puppy Update

My website has an article on it that refers to Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten and applies his list to showing and breeding dogs. Since the puppies were born I've especially been aware of the item "Be Aware of Wonder."

Here is what my article says under that item: "As a breeder, you are a god -- your decisions on which dog and bitch to breed affect not only one particular litter of puppies but also the lives of the people who purchase your puppies, not to mention the future of the breed itself. Be conscious of the wonder of it all. Too many breeders see puppies as little dollar signs, rather than as individuals that may have a profound effect on the future. Who's to say that that tiny 5 oz. puppy won't someday become the breed's top winner or top-producing champion? Be aware of the possibilities and the wonder of life."

On November 13, I helped Secret bring seven new lives into the world and since that time I have worried over them as I watched each new step in their development. I have been in awe of the miracle of it all, from removing each puppy from its sac and cleaning it to making sure it was nursing and now to watching as they grow and take on individual personalities.

I've especially been amazed by the "runt" puppy, a little girl that I have come to respect and admire a great deal. She is as cute as can be, quite small compared to all her siblings and a few days behind in her development compared to them (e.g., her eyes opened three days later than everyone else's). She is also very determined! I started supplementing her with puppy formula and a bottle when she was three days old. She loves her bottle and goes after it with a passion. She also nurses when the bigger puppies are not pushing her out of their way and off the nipple. The big lugs! She is not above pushing back, not realizing her pushing has absolutely no effect. She does not give up.

The most recent pictures are posted at the top of this post. The picture with 4 puppies is of the boys. The picture with 3 is of the girls. The tiny one is on the right.

With each litter I am aware that not only will these dogs impact my life but also the lives of the families with whom they will live for the next 10-15 years. It's a huge responsibility and one that hits me at the oddest times. You'd think after 36 years it would be like second nature. I do each breeding for myself, hoping of course that the result will be at least one dog I can keep to show and later add to the breeding program, yet also knowing that I cannot keep them all and I am raising puppies for others to love and care for.

The puppies are now nearly 3 weeks old. They are cute, cute, cute and so much fun to watch as they grow. Most are now trying to get up on their feet and walk rather than crawl. They are an active, yet quiet litter (thank goodness). Secret is a good mom, but I'm sure she is counting the days until I start weaning them so her duties will be over. Seven is a lot to take care of and the bigger they get, the more "mobbed" she'll be feeling at dinner time!

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


Monday, November 23, 2009


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!


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!


Monday, November 9, 2009


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!


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!


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.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Pictured: Ch.Joyslyn's The Charmed One (Piper)

It's Official! Breaker is now known to AKC as CHAMPION Joyslyn's Heartbreaker! Yes, it is true…his championship certificate arrived on Friday. He finished with 16 points, at the age of 13 months. He won two four-point majors, two three-point majors, and two single points. Positive comments from judges focused on Breaker's head, mouth and expression, coat texture, and movement.

He is going to be very unhappy when he figures out that being a champion means he has to stay home while Mira goes to shows! Eventually, I'd like to special Breaker but he is still very immature in appearance. Plus he needs to get his act together and that is going to take some maturing also. We'll be going to class every now and then to remind him what he is supposed to do in the show ring.

Also in the "good news" column:

1. Breaker's championship means that his mother, Ch. Joyslyn Secrets of the Heart, has produced enough champions to earn her American Lhasa Apso Club ROM (Register of Merit) Dam award. When you look at a pedigree and see the ROM behind a dog's name, it means that the dog has sufficient offspring that have earned their championship to be awarded ALAC's Register of Merit. According to ALAC rules, a sire must have at least 5 champion offspring and a dam must have at least 3 to earn the award. Secret's other two are Ch. Joyslyn Winds of Fire (Flame) and Ch. Joyslyn's Heartthrob (Davy).

2. Secret must be pregnant. If she is not, she has strange bulges on her belly and sides! Due date is November 14. Time will tell! I am so excited at the prospect of raising a litter again. The whelping area is set up in anticipation of the event. My brain is busy trying to think of puppy names. The last litter was easy since they were born on Christmas Day. This one will arrive too early to be a bunch of turkeys! LOL

3. I received lovely letters from Piper and Davy's new owners this past week. Both brought tears to my eyes, and I want to share snippets of the letters with you:

Ch. Joyslyn The Charmed One (Piper) went to her new home almost a year ago. Her owner wrote that Piper "… is an amazing little dog and has fit my lifestyle perfectly. It has been a joy to watch her “grow up” as a single dog. She now has the freedom of the house. Actually she now “owns” the house. I don’t have to close the crate door anymore. She comes and goes as she pleases and makes “decisions” about where she wants to sleep, when she wants to eat and what she wants to play with…I’ve been amazed by her fixation with TV! She will watch for the longest time and is sometimes annoyed when I turn TV off. I get wonderful greetings when I get home from work. She is full of energy since she has slept all day and spends the evenings squeaking toys, watching TV and laying beside my chair…She loves it when family company comes over but is most excited when my neighbor (her Auntie Vicki) comes over. She gazes out of the patio door waiting for her Auntie Vicki. I love her a lot and am so very happy to have her. I read your blog about “giving up” your adult dogs and I am so grateful that you raise these wonderful Lhasas…"

And I am grateful to have been blessed with wonderful Lhasas and people who are willing to open their hearts and homes to older dogs – and to continue to contact me to let me know how the dogs are doing. Puppies are so cute and sweet, but people who have adopted the retired champions have discovered plenty of love, devotion, and joy. Piper's latest picture is at the top of the page.

As you know, Davy left for his new home at the end of August. (See blog posting dated 8/31/09). His new owner wrote me a 6-page letter full of Davy's antic, saying that that Davy has made the adjustment well and that he is absolutely thrilled that Davy is doing so well. He wrote, "In a nutshell, Davy has proven to be one of the best, if not the best, dogs I have ever had…He loves to play with the dozens and dozens of toys he has. He'll grab and shake them, often growling at them simultaneously. He should have been called 'Joyslyn's Rugs A Flying' because the rugs really do fly once he gets started...His wonderful demeanor and likeable traits are the results of your efforts."

Life is Good When You Have a Lhasa to Love You!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

There and Back Again!

What a week! On the 11th Marsha Susag (from Fargo) and I drove from Macomb to Carlisle, PA, for the American Lhasa Apso Club's national specialty. Understand that this was not just any old annual specialty; this was ALAC's 50th Anniversary specialty! The week was packed with activities that had each day filled. A wonderful exhibit of the club's history, including many pictures of all of us looking much much younger, was available throughout the week. Meetings, awards presentations, seminars, dinners, to say nothing of 4 specialty shows, a Futurity, a fun match, and performance events (obedience, rally, and agility) all combined to make a fun-filled and busy week. A company videostreamed the Thursday and Friday shows in addition to taping them. DVDs will be available, a nice keepsake of the 50th.

I took Breaker with me and he thoroughly enjoyed being my "only" dog and romping with Marsha's dog in the hotel room. All that extra attention spoiled him quickly. He was shown four times in the 12-18 month class. On Monday he took first place, on Tuesday and Thursday he took second, and on Friday third! I was disappointed that he did not show better than he did. I was not concerned about the placements, but was annoyed because at least one of his seconds and the third place were due to his skittish behavior, especially on the table. And of course, it was all captured on video! I received nice compliments about him, as well as some ribbing about how naughty he was in the ring.

We returned to Macomb late on the 17th after a long day's drive from PA. Except for church, I spent all day Sunday unpacking, doing laundry, and greeting the dogs who had to stay home.

Some kind of bug swept through the dogs while I was gone, so poor Lynn (God bless him) had to deal with vomiting and diarrhea for at least 5 of the 8 days I was away. Everyone is fine, including Lynn, but all that clean up and worry is hard to face alone. Not all women who have show dogs have a husband who is as helpful and supportive as mine is. He helps with everything, from whelping puppies, to daily feeding, cleaning, training, and grooming! I am so thankful!

Life and work are back to normal, if there is such a thing. Belle and I are going to training class tonight. She is my continuing project! I'm beginning to think that not only her attitude on lead but also her small size (less than 9 inches and about 8 lbs.) will be detrimental to her winning a championship. She'll be "on hold" for a while. She is just 9 months old so could easily have a growth spurt. There is plenty of time to make a decision.

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


Friday, October 9, 2009


As you know, we have not had puppies since the Christmas litter last year when Belle was born. Dancer went to the vet for an x-ray today, and I found out what I've been suspecting for a few weeks – Dancer is NOT PREGNANT. Now all my eggs are indeed in one basket: Secret was bred in mid September. I'm hoping she will have puppies so I will have something to show next year. They'll be due around November 16.

In the meantime, tomorrow AM my ND Lhasa friend Marsha and I are taking off to travel to PA to the national specialty. As a person who tries to find a silver lining to every cloud (it's hard sometimes!), I'm thinking that at least I don't have to worry about puppies being born while I am gone. Lynn is extremely good at assisting our girls, but I like to be there.

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


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What's Been Happening

Friday night began a flurry of activity at our house that probably will not end until the 10th. First, we have been remodeling our kitchen. Actually, to be more accurate LYNN has been remodeling our kitchen. He has done all the work himself while I urge him on and complain about the mess. As anyone who has ever been involved in such a project knows, things never go the way you expect them to and they always cost way more than you planned to spend. Our kitchen is no different.

One of the last things to be done was the tiled backsplash. The tile we ordered was backordered for 5 weeks. It arrived last week so Lynn and our son Aaron began the tiling job on Saturday morning. Lynn finished it Sunday and the grouting will be done tonight. Thank goodness.

The nice thing is that I haven't had to cook much these past 5 days. That is a good thing, since cooking is low on my list of enjoyable activities!

The dogs had a show on Sunday in Morris. Breaker took Best of Winners. Mira took 4th out of 4, and the reason for that remains a mystery since she showed like a dream and looked so good out there. Friends at ringside were flabbergasted, but that's what friends are for, right? Belle refused to walk, and the judge was quite irked with me and ready to excuse us. I finally got her to walk on the "down" but she then refused to budge to come back. Perhaps Mira's placement was my punishment??? As I said, the judge was ticked. I am not sure if she was disgusted with me because Belle wouldn't walk or upset that I got her to walk and then she could not excuse her! Whatever the reason, it is what it is. There's always another show.

That experience has led me to question whether I should even try to show Belle. She is so cute but if she won't walk I am simply wasting my money. She is 9 months old now. The other problem is that, unless she has an amazing growth spurt, I think she is going to be too small. You should see how adorable she is—but she is not even 9 inches tall and she weighs not quite 8 pounds. I think I have a miniature Lhasa at my house! She certainly inherited her grandfather Walker's coat. So, time will tell. After the national specialty I do not plan on entering any more shows this year so we'll let her grow up a bit and see how she develops.

Last night I started packing for the specialty! We leave the morning of the 11th! I cannot believe the "stuff" that I have to take—not only for myself but also for the dog (Breaker) and for the club. I am beginning to wonder if it is all going to fit in Marsha's van. I know she's bringing almost as much "stuff" as I am. The neighbors will probably be amazed Friday night and Saturday morning when they see us loading the van.

Although I hate the preparation for the trip to Carlisle, PA, where the specialty will be held, once we are on the way, I know I'm going to enjoy seeing everyone again and participating in the activities planned for this special week. The American Lhasa Apso Club (ALAC) is celebrating its 50th anniversary so celebratory events have been added to the usual activities of the week. Lhasa exhibitors come from all over the country to attend the event. We generally have visitors from outside the country also. Many Canadians belong to ALAC and are quite supportive of our specialty. It's not uncommon to have folks show up from the UK, Denmark, Germany, or Australia.

If I have time this Friday when I get back from the vet, I'll let you all know what we find out about Dancer. She certainly does not look pregnant to me! I'm prepared to be disappointed (but secretly holding on to the hope that she is carrying at least a couple puppies). It's been nearly a year since we've had puppies, and I miss them so much!

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


Sunday, September 27, 2009

What's Been Going On

It has been a while since I've posted. I apologize for that, but life has a habit of getting in the way of my good intentions. So today's post will be one to catch you up on what's been going on.

The primary focus this past week has been family. My mom's 77th birthday was Tuesday so I traveled to Nebraska to help her celebrate. The trip generally takes 8.5 hours or so but the above-speed-limit traffic on Iowa's stretch of I-80 reduced the trip time by quite a bit. Hey...I was just keeping up with traffic!!

We had a surprise lined up for Mom and it went as planned. In June of 2008, my daughter and her boyfriend moved to Miami. She's a labor and delivery nurse. He is a resident (ear-nose-throat). They decided to come to Nebraska as a surprise and, even though everyone except Mom knew about it, nobody let anything slip. Mom was totally shocked and so very happy to see the kids! I was also...even though I visited them in Miami in July. I miss my daughter so much and it was great to see her again.

I totally blew my diet. Mom's great home cooking and all the desserts laying around whispering my name created havoc with my eating habits. I decided to go with the flow, yield to temptation, and get back on track this week.

On Friday, we drove from my hometown to David City, Nebraska, where we'd lived for 16 years. I taught English at Aquinas High School in David City and had been back for short visits only a couple times in the past 20 years since we moved to Macomb. On our way to Omaha to the airport, we stopped in David City to visit friends. Among them was our next door neighbor who was not only a wonderful friend but also the daycare provider for all three of my kids, as well as the godmother of my youngest. We also met my daughter's godmother, who was a close friend and colleague when I was teaching at Aquinas and now is principal of the grade school. She took us to the high school so I could meet the few people whom I taught with who are still there as well as see some former students who are now teachers there. One of them grabbed my hand and looked at my fingernails. She wanted to make sure that I'd kept them long as she remembered them. She said she recalled my habit of rolling a pen or piece of chalk between my hands as I lectured and the clicking sound it made against my rings. She said she catches herself doing that sometimes! Oh dear. I had no idea I did that! My classroom is now a computer lab and the school building has 3 new additions. The school has a really cool construction program. The students actually build a house that is then auctioned off. They build all the cabinets and everything. I was impressed. The instructor told us that for the last few years the house has been purchased before the students started building so no auction was necessary. The students involved in that project are learning great skills!

Saturday the kids flew back to Miami, and I drove home with a couple stops along the way for shopping at malls in Iowa. I seldom get out of town except for a dog show and then shopping is not possible because the weather is always too hot or too cold to leave the dogs in the car for long, and the hotels generally do not want dogs left alone in the room, even if they are crated. I hit some good sales and came home with a bunch of clothes that will be fun to wear.

On the home front, Lynn was busy while I was away. He and our oldest son tiled the floor of the dogs' room. It looks great! I really appreciated all their hard work! To tell the truth, I'd been doing a lot of nagging about it lately!! In July 2008, we had a contractor pour a new concrete floor for the dogs' room. The next month we bought the tiles, which have been SITTING in those boxes since then! It was time to get the job done!

This week's challenge will be getting the dogs ready for a show on Sunday. All three (Breaker, Mira, and Belle) are entered. There is a major so we could come home with a new champion if things go well. Keep your fingers crossed for us!!

I've also got to start getting things packed and ready for the trip to the Lhasa specialty in PA. We'll be leaving on October 11. As fast as the days are flying by, it will be here before I know it. I organize by list...and my list is getting very very long!

I'm also setting up the whelping pen for Dancer. I want her to get used to being in it so it becomes "home" for her while she is waiting for the puppies to be born. I admit that I'm having serious doubts about a pregnancy. She just is not "showing" as much as I think she should be for as far along as she is. Perhaps the litter will be a small one. I'll be so disappointed if we don't have puppies. I've waited so long for this litter! But I'm not giving up...time will tell!

Life is good when you have a Lhasa (and a great family) to love you!



Monday, September 21, 2009

Updates and Pictures

Breaker's pictures from the Twin Cities Lhasa Apso Club specialty and the St. Croix Valley Kennel Club shows have arrived. I'm so proud of him.

The training classes for Breaker seem to be working. He has not been shying away from the trainers and has actually been wagging his tail when he sees them coming. The big test of course will be at the show on October 4. If the planets line up correctly, he'll be perfect on the table and sail around the ring like a true showman. I also have to say, "If I am not so nervous that I make the dog crazy..." Whatever...it'll be what it is, and we'll go from there.

Mira's been getting a workout too. I've changed her lead and she is learning NOT to toss her head back and look straight at the ceiling when I have her stacked on the floor! I just hope she remembers her lessons on October 4! I want to bring home a new champion!

We will not talk about Belle, who is in season and miserable. She would not walk before and she is not about to do it now. So there, thank you very much. Enough said!

In the meantime, we are hoping that in mid-October there will be babies in the litter basket! Dancer feels "full" so I'm hoping she has puppies. I guess I could have an ultrasound done to see for sure, but since there is no huge need to know at this point, I'll just wait. We generally have an x-ray done a few days before the due date so we can count puppies and know what to expect. I can wait until then. Sadly, I'll miss the whelping. Dancer's due date is smack in the middle of ALAC's national specialty week, and I'll be in PA. Thank goodness Lynn is accustomed to whelping puppies. He stays calm and cool. I totally trust him to do a good job helping Dancer bring her babies into the world.

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


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Miscellaneous…some updates

Walker's photos came this weekend and I am happy to share them with you! It was nice to see the photos and re-live the fun and excitement of those wins!

It seems the only person Belle wants to walk with is our 3-year-old granddaughter! Belle is now 8.5 months old, and I am at my wit's end with her. Nothing I try seems to work and the Klara option is out at shows!! I guess Belle will come around in her own time – or not. Lately you hear me moaning, "Why can't things be easy?" (Hear the tiny violins playing in the background.) She is looking cute. She has a lot of coat, like her mom and her grandpa Walker. See the photo.

Mira and Breaker are headed to class tonight. They have a show coming up in early October and, after his less-than-stellar performance on the table and her antics at the last show (except she is good on the table!), it's time for class. We have three classes we can attend, one in Peoria on Tuesdays, one in Moline on Wednesdays, and one in Davenport on Thursdays. The only problem is that each is at least 1.5 hours away! It's nice to have options so the dogs experience different environments and different "judges" to examine them.

Presently, we are waiting to determine if our Dancer is pregnant. We have not had puppies since Belle was born in December last year, and Dancer's breeding to Ch. Karlyn's How Do You Like Me Now ("Alvin") has been long anticipated. She was due in season in March and did not come in until August 1. My dogs have a habit of doing things when they feel like it I guess!

I received a call Sunday from Davy's new owner who said things were going great and that Davy was such a loving and playful dog. They are having a lot of fun getting to know each other. I'm so glad Davy is happy … oh, and the new owner too!

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


Monday, August 31, 2009

How Can You Give Them Up?

"How can you do it?" people ask me. And often I ask myself, "How can I do it? How can I give her up?"

What I am talking about of course is giving up for adoption our retired champions. It is not easy. It is not fun. It is necessary.

Nearly every dog in my house was born here. I touched them as they were born; I tore open the sac that held them; I wiped their faces and dried their bodies – sometimes even before their mothers touched them. I fussed and fretted over them as they grew. I watched them with careful eyes to make sure they were eating, that their development was normal, that they were not getting ill. I proudly watched eyes open. "Welcome to the world little one," I always say. I proudly watched first steps, first tail wags, first bites of food, first attempts at playing with toys, first puppy battles. I evaluated as I watched. Which one will it be? Who's going to be the next Joyslyn's show prospect?

I learned very early that "you can't keep them all." You absolutely cannot keep them all, no matter how much you love them, no matter how precious they seem. I've seen what happens to people who try. They become overwhelmed. They cannot care for all the dogs. They feel guilty. The dogs feel ignored. The show prospects that just HAD to be kept end up sitting around in a kennel, clipped down because the breeder is simply out of time and over her head. The numbers grow and grow. You can't keep them all. Because I'd witnessed many of my acquaintances who ended up keeping too many dogs, I determined early in my dog showing/breeding career that I could not be one of them.

So we let them go, starting with the puppies. Many a show prospect has left my home because I can't keep them all. I've met many wonderful people who have come into my home to buy puppies over the years. Some kept in touch for a year or so. Others still do after many, many years. I am so grateful for the stories they write me about their Lhasa, his/her antics and personality. I am so grateful for the "thank you" they write, even after many years.

As hard as it might be to let the puppies go, the heartbreakers are the adults, the champions I have slaved over to train, to groom, to take to shows. I've sat with them as they whelped puppies and calmed them far into the night as they labored to bring me my next champion.

And thus a bond is forged. It's a bond that is different from the bond between pet and owner. Not a better bond, just a different one.

My females generally have two or three litters and then I place them for adoption. That means their ages tend to be 5 or 6 years old. How can I let them go? Do I love them less for letting them go? No! I let them go because I love them. I let them go so they can experience being an only dog or one of two dogs in a home where they will get more attention than they get being one of many at my house. I let them go because after I steeled myself in the early years to give up the first few, and after I saw how well they adjusted and how they continued to flourish in their new home environments, and how much their new owners loved and appreciated them, I knew that, as hard as it was to let them go, it was best for them.

So yesterday I experienced one of those heart-wrenching bittersweet moments when my 2-year old Davy, Ch. Joyslyn's Heartthrob, left our house with his new owner. (Note: Davy is pictured at the top of this entry.)

Davy and I had an interesting history. My pick of the litter was his sister, Flame, Ch. Joyslyn Winds of Fire. She was what I had hoped for when we did the breeding. I never intended to keep a boy. Davy was purchased by a family when he was about 10 weeks old, but he never saw the inside of their home. I was uncomfortable with letting him go to them. The husband was so nice, as were the two young boys. The wife was a different story – and it's too long a story to tell here. The woman was wacko. But, I let the family take Davy. About an hour after they left, the doorbell rang. The husband handed me the dog with an apology and I handed him his money. His wife just couldn't bring herself to take the dog home. I was so relieved! Saved from being raised by a wacko! No other buyers came along who wanted a male, so Davy stayed. Never happy about having a lead on (Yes, he is related to Belle! She's his niece!!!), Davy nevertheless won frequently. He took a Non-Sporting Puppy Group 1. He even took Best of Breed over a special before he was 11 months old. And then he sort of quit on me.

According to the animal communicator I met at a show in Des Moines, IA in September 2008, when Davy was totally shutting down on me in the ring and I was ready to throw in the towel, Davy "just wanted to be a dog." He saw no reason to go to shows, and he was upset because he knew he was disappointing me. Davy was to the point of just needing his majors, so I promised him if he'd just cooperate and stick with it a while longer I'd find a way to let him be "just a dog!" He finished in December 2008 after my friend Jane took over from me as his handler and put both majors on him. Bless her for that.

Champion or not, I decided Davy did not need to sit around as one of many dogs. I have his sire and did not need another male. About that time, a man who'd purchased a dog from us 13 years ago, wrote to let us know the dog died. He was lonesome without a Lhasa and wanted to know when we were going to have puppies. We had none available and only had plans for a future breeding, so I mentioned that Davy was available and sent him pictures of Davy. He responded that he wanted to adopt Davy! However, he'd fallen and damaged his rotator cuff. Surgery was a few weeks away and recovery would take months. Yesterday, happy day for him, he came to pick up his Lhasa at last.

As for Davy, he took to the man immediately, wagging his tail, rubbing against him, licking his hand, laying beside him on our sofa within a couple minutes of meeting him. (Davy had not read the standard to know he was supposed to be "chary of strangers.") When the two drove away in the car, I wanted to cry. I'll miss Davy but I know I made the best decision for him.

About 9:00 last night, Davy's new owner called to tell me they'd made it home just fine and that Davy was as happy as could be, playing with his toys and investigating his new home.

How can I be sad when a dog I love is so happy? I am though. I'll miss him. But I'm glad his wish to be "just a dog" will come true.

For those of you thinking about buying a Lhasa, never be afraid to ask a breeder if she has a retired champion available. Puppies are wonderful of course, no one will deny that. But don't discount one of the older dogs. They have much love to offer – as those of you who have adopted Tessa, Piper, Paisley, and Ahna from us over the past 3 years can confirm. I know you are grateful for them, and I am grateful to you for loving them and caring for them as you do.

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


Friday, August 28, 2009

I Found A Treasure!

Last night I pulled a great many of my old Lhasa magazines off the shelf of the bookcase. I was on a hunt for some information and intended to dig through the stacks of history to find what I was looking for. Someday when I retire and have a lot of time on my hands I intend to read through all those past issues of ALAC Bulletins, Lhasa Apso Reporters, Lhasa Tales, and Lhasa Unlimiteds. The photos alone are wonderful.

But I was on a quest last night and had no time for reminiscing.

Luckily, I found the information that I needed right away – just where I thought it was. That in itself is a miracle! Then, as I was organizing the piles of periodicals to put back on the shelf, I unearthed The National Geographic Magazine from January 1954. "Now why do I have this?" I asked myself. So I started to flip through the pages and noticed some dog pictures. Okay…dogs. Makes sense since that entire section of the bookcase is devoted to books and magazines about dogs. But why would I have such an old copy of a National Geographic?

Tucked among articles about the "Mighty Walls of Zion," the "Friendly Atom," and the discovery of a 2,200 year old Greek ship, I found the article by John W. Cross, Jr. containing the dog photos: "Westminster, World Series of Dogdom." Then I found the treasure. The bottom right hand corner of page 101 contains a color photo of a Lhasa! The caption read, "Hamilton Pehma once trailed the Dalai Lama in his palace. House guard to Tibetan aristocracy for nearly 800 years, the Lhasa Apso is rarely sentimental about man. Champion Pehma, one of a few hundred 'lion dogs' outside Tibet, came to America as a gift from the Dalai Lama to explorer C. Suydam Cutting."

The National Geographic color picture shows Pehma in full coat, a gold Lhasa without dark tippings, looking rather unkempt, as Lhasas tended to look 55 years ago before grooming became so crucial for show dogs.

The article is a good read too! It contains 38 photos of people and dogs that I am sure would also be historical treasures to people involved in the breeds pictured.

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


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Twin Cities Lhasa Apso Club Specialty

Eleven or twelve years ago I started driving the 7-8 hour trip to the Twin Cities Lhasa Apso Club August specialty. My good friend JoAnne Hays (see photo) lived in the Twin Cities area and encouraged me to join the fun at specialty time. She loved that weekend, with the TCLAC specialty associated with the St. Croix Valley all breed shows. We had three and eventually 4 days of shows once the TCLAC decided to have specialty shows on both Thursday and Friday. JoAnne would invite her out-of-state friends to stay at her house. Her hubby took off for a golf outing that weekend and we "girls" had the house to ourselves. Lhasa friends from the Twin Cities area would join us in the evenings at JoAnne's where we'd have some pizza and margaritas, play with and evaluate puppies, and watch videos of previous national specialties. Good times. Good memories.

JoAnne died in December 2008 and, in the 3 years prior to her death, lived in Texas so she could be near her daughters and grandchildren after her husband died. The TCLAC specialties lost some of their "spark" for me after she left. She loved those specialties and was always so excited about them and the people who attended from nearby states and sometimes from as far away as Texas and California. As fun as the specialties still are and as welcoming and hospitable as the club members remain, each time I go, I miss my friend JoAnne.

I returned home about 9:00 tonight from the annual trek to the TCLAC Specialties and St. Croix Valley all breed show. It was a fun weekend! It was great to see friends that I hadn't seen for months, especially Marsha from ND who has been hospitalized recently and whose health I've been very concerned about. She drove down to see every one. It was her first trip since she got home from the hospital. As is our habit since JoAnne left the area, we stayed together at the Red Roof Inn. Not quite the "party time" we once had at JoAnne's but a good way to reconnect after not seeing each other since last October!

My weekend was exciting! Breaker took Best of Winners on Thursday under judge Gary Dunlop for a 4 point major, upping his point total to 10, including both major wins he needs. Friday he took 2nd place in the Bred By Exhibitor class under Carolyn Herbel. Saturday he took Winners Dog for a 3 point major (Hurray!!) under William Bergum. Today he placed 4th in his class (4th out of 4 – ouch!!!) under Wanda Spediacci. Too bad…I hate to be greedy but I was hoping he would win again today so I could bring home a new champion. Still…it was a super weekend for him. He only needs 2 points to finish. The problem is that I have no shows scheduled for the rest of the year. I was not planning to take him to the national specialty but may have to change my mind.

Now, Mira is another story. She flopped this weekend. Oh my. First, she is in season – full bloom and swollen like an egg. Every few steps, she would spin around once or twice and chase her tail trying to "get" whatever that "thing" was on her rear end that was bugging her. The crowd and the judges, especially Mrs. Herbel, seemed amused by it all. The best Mira did all weekend was a 4th place, but with the way she was behaving in the ring, I really was not expecting anything. As a matter of fact, I was sort of wishing I'd left her at home!

Dancer came back home with us. She was in Wisconsin at my friend Karen's house being bred to Karen's champion Alvin. Is she pregnant? Only time will tell. I'm thinking positive thoughts!

The only thing to mar the weekend was my disappointment that the Twin Cities Lhasa Apso Club failed to dedicate this specialty show to JoAnne Hays. JoAnne was friend to all and an eager, hard working TCLAC member. Many of the dogs being shown by club members have her MiToya dogs in their ancestry. How the members could forget her so soon after her death wounds me deeply. When I asked a couple members about it, they got shocked looks on their faces. They had indeed forgotten. JoAnne would have been so proud to have had a specialty dedicated to her memory. I wish just one of them would have thought to do it.

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


Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Great Birthday Surprise!

I want to begin by saying that my birthday has always been a special day – thanks to my parents and grandparents. I always knew I was well-loved, but that love was especially obvious at birthday time. I am sure there were gifts, but more importantly, there were stories of the night I was born and recollections of incidents from my infancy. The keeping and telling of those memories were great gifts and I treasure those stories still. As old as I am getting, my birthday began in a similar way this year with a call from Mom that included a description of my first steps and a competition between her and friend as to which of them would be first to deliver their babies. (Mom beat her by a few hours!)

This birthday was no different. It was a very special birthday. I went to a dog show in Burlington, IA, about 55 minutes from here. I'd debated about entering the show, mostly because Lhasa entries have been very low in this area recently. Like others in this stressed economy, my account is hurting and I did not want to waste entry money if there was no hope for points. I knew I could not enter Mira. She just needs a major win. No one I emailed responded that they would enter. I hated not to support that show. It’s a nice venue and the club members are hard workers and always pleasant and welcoming. What to do?

I finally decided to enter one of my Champions – Ch. Joyslyn MiToya Wind Walker. Walker will be 7 years old in another month, but I keep him in full show coat since he is so easy to take care of.) He loves to go to shows and I’d take him more often if he was not such a PITA when it comes to staying in a hotel. He fusses all night and no one gets any sleep. Yest he is always so disappointed when I leave for shows with the younger dogs. I can clearly see the "Why not me?" look on his face.

So, Walker was entered. He was very excited to be going – and to be the only one! For once he had all of my attention for a whole day!

The entry was small, as expected. Two male specials, one bitch special were entered. The bitch did not show up. Walker took the Breed under Mrs. Muthard. On to the Group – where he took a Group 1 under Mrs. Herbel. (This was his third group 1 win.) He showed like the champion he is and got his full share of the crowd's applause! On to Best in Show…. I wish I could say he won. He did not. But we had a great time in that ring and got oh so many compliments afterwards from people I did not even know.

It was a great day -- Walker and I in the ring together again after a year's hiatus and a nice big blue rosette to add to his many other group placement ribbons. What a nice birthday gift!

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


Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Trip to Southern Illinois

The first weekend in August my Shiba Inu friends and I trekked to Marion, located in southern Illinois. All in all it was a successful weekend, although I think we go to Marion as much for the hotel (the Drury Inn) as we do for the dog show. As dog show hotels go, the Drury Inn ranks way up there!

The trip home was a happy one because we all won. Each of my friends had a Shiba bitch special. One won Saturday, the other won Sunday. Mira, of course, was absent since she just needs a three point major to finish. It was nice to have only two dogs to take care of on this trip!

Breaker was the only male Lhasa so, in order to get points, he had to take Best of Winners each day, which (I am pleased to tell you) he did. So now he has 6 points toward his championship, including one of those important majors.

Belle went also and surprised the heck out of me on Saturday by walking around the ring and totally behaving herself. Of course, the danger in that was my thinking her "I'm not doing this" problem had ended. Not so. These Lhasas keep me humble. On Sunday she pulled her "I'm not doing this" antics again. Maybe someday...

Mira's picture from the Waukesha weekend arrived Saturday. UGH. That one is going back to the photographer -- and I am NOT a person who normally sends back photos. Her coat looks gorgeous, long and shiny black. For once, even I took a decent picture! But she had her head forward and down and looked totally dumpy. UGH. That is something that photographer should have seen and had me correct!

I am home this weekend for the first weekend in what seems like AGES! How nice to be able to get chores done and even relax a bit and watch a couple of movies on STARS. Lynn was in Louisville at the Street Rod Nationals so I had no one to worry about but myself....and all the dogs of course!

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


Friday, July 31, 2009

The Lhasa Apso Standard

As a mentor for our breed, I had the opportunity at the Waukesha show to talk to a prospective Lhasa Apso judge. Like others before her, one point she tried to make with me was that she thought our breed standard was too vague. I countered with the fact that the Lhasa standard emphasizes the features that set the breed apart and if the standard doesn't mention a trait, then a judge should take that to mean "normal canine [movement, structure…whatever]" is expected. I could see the light bulb going on in her head. "Oh," she said, "then for front movement one would expect them to converge toward center." Yes.

Those of you interested in reading about the Lhasa Apso standard can find resources at the web site of the American Lhasa Apso Club. At the top menu, click "Education" and select "Judges Education." When that information comes up, go to the menu on the left and select "Breed Standard," which will give you the official AKC Standard for the Lhasa Apso, "Annotated Guide," which will give you a written explanation of the Standard, or "Illustrated Guide," which provides the written explanation along with illustrations and photos. You might also want to watch the AKC video about the Lhasa Apso. Note that this video is divided into 6 chapters, so be sure to watch them all!

One of the activities at the American Lhasa Apso Club's national specialty will be a judges' education seminar. This will include the official ALAC Judges Education Committee presentation, opportunities for hands-on examination of Lhasas, and ringside mentoring. The specialty will be held October 14 -16, at the Hotel Carlisle and Embers Convention Center, Carlisle, PA.

Speaking of the specialty, if you want a week of Lhasas, Lhasas, Lhasas, you should plan to attend. The week includes 2 local specialties, a futurity, the ALAC regional specialty, and the ALAC national specialty PLUS seminars, banquets, games, and a fun match! People and their Lhasas from all over the U.S. will attend. Find more information on the American Lhasa Apso Club website.

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


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Wow…talk about a hectic two weeks! Two weeks ago I was frantically trying to get ready for vacation: dog grooming & bathing; laundry & packing; instructions repeated ad nauseam for my husband (poor man!) I left Illinois in the wee morning hours of the 16th to catch a flight to Ft. Lauderdale. I returned home on the 20th, after spending a delightful time in Miami with our daughter who moved there a year ago. Back home, I played catch up at work and at home, especially since I was preparing to leave again for a 3-day dog show in Waukesha, WI! (You guessed it: more grooming, bathing, laundry, packing, and repeated instructions. My husband is a saint to put up with me!)

Friday I left home at midnight and my friend and I, along with 7 dogs (Lhasas and Shibas) made it safely to Waukesha early enough to find a place to set up our grooming area. Since the show is an outdoor show, we were lucky the weather for the weekend was the mildest at that show in 30 years – something that dogs and handlers (and I'm sure spectators) all appreciated. Because I was showing Mira, who is black, I was very glad for the lower than usual temperatures.

The Good: Mira showed two of the three days and took Winners Bitch both days. She earned 3 more points toward her championship and now has all the single points she needs, plus one of the two required majors. I pulled her entry on Sunday since there was no possibility of a major win that day. Now she sits at home for a few weeks while we wait for a chance at majors at an upcoming 4-day specialty and all-breed show in MN.

The Bad: Belle was entered only on Saturday and she was her usual stubborn self. When I finally coaxed her into walking a few steps, the ringside crowd clapped for us. These Lhasas keep me humble.

The Ugly: My male, Joyslyn's Heart Breaker, certainly lived up to his name on Friday! He loves to go to shows; it is just that lately he has decided the shows are fine – except for the going in the ring and showing part! That attitude was not helped on Friday when, just as he was about to enter the ring, an older woman with an unattractive voice and a faulty sound system chose that moment to announce the class placements in the Great Dane ring next to ours. Oh my… many Lhasas at ringside totally lost it then, including Breaker. He freaked out. He was skittish as he went around the ring, tail down, looking behind him, weaving from side to side, just sure "something" was going to get him. On the table, he hesitatedd to stand for examination and was shaking and pulling away. I was mortified and, of course, so concerned that the entire weekend was going to be a repeat performance.

While others had the opportunity to settle their dogs down, I did not as Breaker was the only dog in his class and we were in the ring when it happened. It was not pretty, and neither he nor I had any fun in the ring that day. Saturday and Sunday were better days for him so I'm hopeful he'll bounce back. He took 2nd out of 3 both days and on Sunday took Reserve. He is going to be a challenge that I hope I am up to meeting. I'll keep you posted.

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


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Getting Ready for Meet the Breeds

This weekend, in addition to preparing for a trip to Miami to visit my daughter, I'm getting Walker (Ch. Joyslyn MiToya Wind Walker) ready for the Meet the Breeds event at the fair in Peoria. I chose to take Walker because (1) he is a beautiful Lhasa; (2) he loves to show and now that he is "retired" he seldom gets to go to a show; (3) I love to show him; and (4) I groom his long, lovely show coat a couple times a week and I want to show it off!

At this particular Meet the Breeds, the dogs will get to go into the ring and walk around it while information about the dog, the owner, and the breed is being read. Walker will enjoy being in the ring again and it will also be a good 'practice' session for a couple shows I plan to take him to in August. As I said, he enjoys the show ring and I enjoy showing him, so each year we go to a show that is nearby and strut our stuff. Sometimes we even place in the Group! Walker is not a good traveler, as far as staying in hotels is concerned. He fusses and whines all night, and unless I stick him in bed with me (which I have been known to do when I get frustrated with his noise), neither of us spends a very restful night. Thus, the area show is "it" for him. We can drive back and forth and be rested for each day.

Walker will be 7 years old at the end of October. He will then officially be a "veteran" and can be entered in the Veteran classes at the dog shows that feature those classes. His coat is easy to maintain so I'll probably keep it long and take him to some of those shows – as long as we don't have a lot of overnight trips!

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


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mystery Solved!

Will she walk? Won't she walk? How will Belle respond to her first experience in the show ring? The mystery is solved!

Today our little beauty made her debut in the show ring at the Blackhawk Kennel Club show in Amboy, IL, under judge Luc Boileau. Let me first say, that that man is definitely a judge you want to show under if you are showing a puppy. He is gentle with them on the table and very patient with an apprehensive puppy.

We did not show until after 2:00 so Belle had a lot of time to get used to her surroundings since we arrived at the show at 9:00 so Jane, the friend I travel with, could show a Sammy for another friend. Belle went to ringside to watch and we took a little walk around the rings that were less crowded. She had her tail up and was happy to greet people and other dogs. Ditto outside the Shiba Inu ring where Belle and I watched our friends Jane and Rebecca show their Shibas. We heard lots of "what an adorable puppy," "what a cute face," etc.

When it was Belle's turn to enter the Lhasa ring, I carried her in. Both judge and steward said, "What a cute puppy!." When Mr. Boileau asked me to "take her around," I informed him that this was her first show and going around might take some time! He told me to take my time and let her go where she wanted to go. With some coaxing and baby talk and help from a fuzzy "flat rat" toy, Belle took off, stopping occasionally to investigate the shiny green tape at the corners of the matting, a crack in the floor, and some bait another handler had dropped. She did fine on the table and the down and back. The only one in her class, she came home with her first (of many I hope) blue ribbon. Her first experience was a satisfactory one for both of us.

The same cannot be said of Breaker. He was the only dog entered in 9-12 puppy. Some noises from people scraping chairs and moving equipment spooked him and he was a handful. Back to class for Breaker!

I guess there always has to be something to fret about!

Mira took Winners Bitch and Best of Winners. She earned 2 points and now has 10. She needs one more major and some singles.

I owe many thanks to friends Jane, Rebecca, and Jill who helped at ringside.

That was my 4th of July! Up at 3:45; potty and feed the dogs; get myself groomed and dressed; load the car; leave at 6:00; drive; spend time at the show; drive; get home at 7:15 and unload dogs; potty and feed the dogs; throw some dog laundry in the washer; change clothes, feed myself, sit down at the computer and type this note. It is now 8:45 and I'm proud of my day's accomplishments! I hope your 4th was as satisfactory for you.

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


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Trimming a Lhasa's Feet

On my to-do list for this evening is "Trim Mira/Breaker/Belle's feet for show next weekend."

I have to admit that one grooming job I hate is trimming the show dogs' feet! It has to be done, but I put it off all the time and then, of course, the task only becomes more difficult.

Why do we trim the hair on the show dogs' feet?

Shaggy feet make even the most neatly groomed Lhasa look "unfinished." The unkempt appearance of those feet can be improved by trimming and rounding the coat around the feet. It makes a prettier picture in the show ring.

Here's what you can do to trim feet:

Stack your Lhasa on a grooming table and keep him still(this is the hard part!). If you are lucky enough to have a willing spouse or friend handy, he/she can hold the dog steady (you need to keep the dog from leaning or you'll trim shorter than you should). You can also use a grooming noose. (I've had limited success with that because the dog can still manage to lean.)

If your dog has heavy furnishings on his legs and feet, push the hair up and away from the foot itself and hold it there. Brush or comb a layer of hair over the foot and trim it all the way around fairly close to the foot. Then brush a second layer over the foot, this time trimming it so it's slightly longer than the first layer. Depending on how heavily coated your dog's foot is, repeat this until the foot has a neat, rounded appearance. Do all four feet in the same way.

If your Lhasa doesn't have heavily-coated feet, you may be able to get by with just combing all the hair over the foot and cutting it. I've seen a lot of Lhasas' feet look chopped up when their owners or groomers do this though. I prefer the layering strategy, but do whatever works best for you.

One thing that has helped me tremendously when it comes time to trim feet is raising the height of my grooming table so I do not have to "walk" around the grooming table on my knees to see what I am doing. If you are interested in reading how you can increase the height of your grooming table, read my grooming table transformation article. The article contains a picture of the table so you can see what it looks like when it is "transformed!"

I think the main reason I dislike trimming my show dogs' feet is that it is so easy to make a mistake and cut too much off or cut crookedly or take a chunk out when the dog decides to move unexpectedly.

To make matters worse, Mira is black, which makes trimming difficult. My husband helped by rigging up one of his shop lights so I can see what and where I am cutting when I trim her! Mira's coat is long and gorgeous. No way do I want to mess that up!

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


Friday, June 26, 2009

Show Dogs Die Tragic Deaths from Heatstroke

This post is not about Lhasa Apsos but relates to any breed or mixed breed dog. I'll catch you up on the antics of Belle, Mira, and Breaker, as well as my weekend at the class reunion another day.

By now, most of you will have heard about or read about the AKC handler from Missouri who returned late from a dog show and left the dogs overnight in her van, only to find them dead or dying when she checked them in the morning. This tragedy makes all dog lovers sick at heart. If you have not read the story, here is a link.


Seven beautiful show dogs (an Akita, a Dalmation, a Malamute, 3 Golden Retrievers, and a Siberian Husky) died horrific deaths because the handler their owners entrusted them to had poor judgment.

This is not a news flash! Animals should not be left in a vehicle when the weather is hot. Common sense and multiple print and radio/TV public service announcements warn us consistently about the dangers. Yet each year, pets die because their loving owners decided to leave them in the car while they ran into the store for "just a few minutes!"

Anyone who has ever gotten into a closed car on a hot summer day realizes how hot a car can get – and how fast it can happen. Heatstroke can also happen to dogs housed outdoors, dogs accompanying their owners on walks, trail hikes, or to parks and carnivals. Most people are unaware that dogs are more susceptible to heatstroke than people are.

The American Kennel Club offers information regarding heatstroke:
Early Stages:
• Heavy panting
• Rapid breathing
• Excessive drooling
• Bright red gums and tongue
• Standing 4-square, posting or spreading out in an attempt to maintain balance

Advanced Stages:
• White or blue gums
• Lethargy, unwillingness to move
• Uncontrollable urination or defecation
• Labored, noisy breathing
• Shock

Actions to take if your dog begins to exhibit signs of heatstroke:
Immediately try to cool the dog down by
• Applying rubbing alcohol to the dog's paw pads.
• Applying ice packs to the groin area.
• Hosing down with water.
• Allowing the dog to lick ice chips or drink a small amount of water.
• Offering Pedialyte to restore electrolytes.

Interested readers may want to read "Heat Stroke and Malignant Hyperthermia in Dogs and Cats" for more information.

Many people think it is no big deal to leave the dog in the car if they roll the window down slightly. The sight is not uncommon. You can drive into any WalMart parking lot and see dogs locked in cars in all kinds of weather.

Many people think it is no big deal to leave the dog in the car because they are just going to "run right into the store and back." After all, what can happen in 10 minutes? Good question. Illness and death if the conditions are right.

If you leave your dog in the car, you should read the results of a small three-day study on outside temperatures versus temperatures inside cars, found at MyDogIsCool.com. You may decide not to leave your dog in the car the next time you are tempted to do so! Remember, he is at the mercy of the owner he loves and trusts to take care of him. You betray that trust every time you close the car door and leave him inside the car on a hot day.

Understand that a dog's entire body is covered with hair and that the normal body temperature for a dog is 101-102 degrees. Because dogs do not sweat, their temps rise quickly, much faster than a person's temperature rises because we sweat and our sweat helps to cool our bodies. Dogs pant – and their panting adds heat and humidity inside the closed vehicle. Once a dog's temperature exceeds 104 degrees, evidence of heatstroke occurs. Three degrees higher and you have a dog that will probably die unless quick, heroic actions are taken.

With the hot humid summer we are already experiencing in the Midwest, a good thing that can come of the tragic deaths of these seven show dogs is that the publicity and resulting wake up call may prevent other dogs' deaths at the hands of loving but careless owners.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Our Belle

Apologies to readers who have been checking for a new entry for a couple of weeks now. We've had company and I've been so busy at work that I just have not had time to write.

Tonight I want to tell you about Belle, our five month old female puppy that was born on Christmas morning. She was one of five puppies from the Connor x Flame litter. Her call name "Belle" was given her because shortly after birth, all the puppies were given Christmas names. There was a Nicky (for St. Nicholas), a Christmas Spirit, a Decker (Deck the Halls), a Holly (Happy Holidays), and Christmas Bells (Belle). You can see her photo at age 3 months at the top of the page.

"Belle" is also fitting because she is a very pretty puppy. She is a red sable color and has the cutest face.

So, now Belle is nearly 6 months old and it's time to enter her in her first show. I decided I did not like the name Christmas Bells for her AKC registered name. What to do? Oh my, the brainstorming and the tossing back and forth of suggestions ... all rejected for one reason or another. This is hard!

One great resource for names is the Jockey Club Registry website. https://www.registry.jockeyclub.com/registry.cfm?page=namesrch&rand=813&init=&CFID=3773956&CFTOKEN=54018630
There you will find many many names of horses. Hopefully you'll find something to inspire you, especially at the last minute when your own creative juices have dried up. I am so angry at myself. After all, I put off naming her until the last minute and it was so unnecessary. I've had MONTHS to do it! I just know that as soon as I mail that registration paperwork to AKC, I'm going to have a flash of inspiration and come up with something unique and just perfect.

Belle is also the epitome of "stubborn." She could be the icon for "stubborn" next to that word in the dictionary. She refuses to walk on the lead! At home (under supervision) she runs and plays in the family room wearing a lead. No problem. The cat often picks it up and tugs it. No problem. But if a person picks it up, the brakes go on, and she sits sweetly and just looks at the person as if to say, "Nice try!"

Outside she does not budge. No amount of coaxing works. However, if I pick her up and walk up the street to one of the neighbors' driveways, she will hightail back to our own driveway as fast as those Lhasa legs will travel. Then she sits down and refuses to budge. As I said: "stubborn!"

Training has been a frustrating experience, to say the least. I finally started taking her to a training class in Peoria on Tuesday nights. Peoria is a 90 minute trip each way, so I have to leave by 5:30 to make the 7:00 class. It lasts an hour but generally I don't make it home until close to 10:00. The sacrifices I make!!! LOL

The first two nights of class Belle did what she always does when someone is holding her lead. She either sits and freezes to the spot, or she puts herself in a pretty stack and stands there. Lovely...but not what I'm going for at the moment. So she stood (or sat), watched the activity and processed what was going on. On the third night, she came out of her crate excited to be there. A breakthrough! She actually walked on the lead, with lots of coaxing with treats and a flat rat. Last night she was so-so, but we seem to be making progress.

So, I'll try to keep you updated on Belle's progress. Her mother, Flame, was so easy to train and show. She was the perfect show dog. She did what I wanted and did it well. She showed herself off and was finished before I knew it. Not Belle. She seems to be a throwback to her Grandma Secret (Ch. Joyslyn's Secrets of the Heart), who also refused to walk on the lead. What I hope is that Belle repeats Secret's performance, because Secret saved it for the show ring. At her first show, I put her on the floor, said, "Let's go." And she did! She took Best Puppy that day and a 2nd place in Puppy Group. The next day, she won a 3 point major! Maybe Belle is saving it up for the "real deal." I can only hope!

By the way, since she is such a pretty puppy and because her call name is indicative of a beautiful woman and in honor of her similarity to her grandma, her name is going to be Joyslyn's Beauty Secret. It'll sound great with the word "champion" in front of it one day!

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