Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why a Lhasa Apso?

Many of us who belong to the American Lhasa Apso Club have become concerned lately when AKC statistics demonstrate that Lhasa Apso popularity is declining.

I think there are a lot of myths or untruths "out there" about the breed. For example, I recently read an article on one of those "find the right breed for you" sites that told people a Lhasa had to be brushed DAILY. UGH! Tell me that is not a turn off for anyone interested in the breed? I can tell you all -- I have never brushed the same dog every day, even my specials -- about twice, three times a week at the most is all they need. Grooming is not difficult and it has to be done if you don't want the dog to mat, but EVERYDAY... ??? I don't think so!

And, as I've been telling people for years, most Lhasa owners buy the breed because they love its personality and most don't care about having a dog dripping in coat. Heck, even those of us who show our dogs almost always clip the coat once the dog has its championship! I always say, "A clipped Lhasa is a perfect pet. You can have a short-coated dog that doesn't shed! How can you beat that?"

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


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Nature Reminds Us Who is in Charge

I'd planned to go to a dog show today. As I wrote in my last post, the weather at this show is usually rainy, making parking, unloading and loading equipment, and getting dogs from grooming building to show ring difficult. Well, today the weather is ugly again, but this time we have snow and icy roads. I decided to stay home. My dogs look gorgeous and I want so much to show them off. Today I think it's better to be safe than sorry. There will be other shows.

What weighs on my mind more heavily than missing a show is the plight of those intrepid people who live along the Red River which is rising steadily and threatening so many homes and lives. I have a dear friend who lives 2 miles from the Red River in Fargo. Through Friday, she was in touch by phone and email, sounding positive about the situation and the hard work and attitude of the people in the area who were fighting nature for their town. She shows Lhasas also and at one point had a plan for evacuating herself and the dogs. That plan fell apart on Friday and I have not heard from her since Friday evening regarding evacuation. She said she would not leave if she could not take the dogs. My heart aches as I imagine what she and others with pets are going through. Thankfully, as result of the lessons Hurricane Katrina taught us, most cities prepare a place where pet owners can safely evacuate with their pets, saving lives of many who would have stayed behind with their animals.

Those of us who are not enduring the hardships of freezing weather, snow, and impending flood can only worry and pray. I'll be doing a lot of both until I hear from my friend again. If you are reading this, please join me.

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


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where's the Glamour?

I'm preparing for a dog show this weekend and, in one sense, am reluctant to go. Why? It always rains the weekend of this show! And since the show is at a fairgrounds, you can imagine the problems.

Dog showing does not always have elements of the glamour associated with the shows you see on television. The judges don't wear tuxedos and evening gowns. The floors are not carpeted, the walls not draped. The venues rank anywhere between 1 and 10. At the smaller fairground sites, it is not uncommon to groom in a stall in a barn that generally houses pigs, sheep, or cattle during the fair. At the particular show this weekend, for example, we'll set up our grooming in a dirt-floor building that sometimes leaks when it rains, a far cry from the facilities at Madison Square Garden. However, there is always the chance that the day will be bright and sunny, the parking will be ample, and the building will have plenty of room to set up a grooming table.

One thing that does not change, no matter where the show is held, is the excitement of showing your dog and perhaps winning points toward his/her championship. For that, exhibitors all over the country will gather at shows this weekend, no matter the weather. Best of luck to everyone!

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


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Memory Lane

The first dog I tried to show was our second Lhasa, Joyslyn's Miss Buffy Jo. Please note that I said "tried." Buffy was beautiful and had high opinions of herself. Her self image did not include being paraded around the ring on a lead! It was not long before she won the battle -- and the war.

The first dog we bought specifically as a show dog didn't work out so well either. He was Lutzmor's Dolsa Bo Jangles. He had a lovely pedigree, a ton of red-gold coat, and a sweet personality, but he was not a show dog. I took him to training classes and he actually walked around the ring and did what he was supposed to. Alas, Bo never earned more than one point. He did not have the "right stuff!"

Now, as I look back, I wonder why I just didn't give it all up then. I was so inexperienced about showing; I was spending money we couldn't really afford to spend on entry fees, travel, and equipment; I was a novice at grooming. I have no clue why I continued. I just know my life would have been very different if I had given up.

Next step...breed your own show dog Joyce! So I did. We took Buffy to Virginia Knoche, a grand lady who lived in Warsaw, IL. Buffy was bred to Virginia's BIS Ch. Arborhill's Rah-Kieh. From that breeding came our first two Joyslyn's champions, Ch. Joyslyn's Piece of the Rock and Ch. Joyslyn's Raggedy Rebel -- both very beautiful Lhasas.

Rocky won his first point when he was 7 months old, and by then I was hooked on showing for sure.

I think the lesson here is that if you have a goal, you can't let a few setbacks discourage you to the point of giving up. Each experience teaches a "what to do" or "what not to do" lesson. And what we do with the lessons we learn makes us who we are.

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


Friday, March 20, 2009

Why Do You Show Dogs?

One of the first questions people ask me when they find out I show my Lhasas is, "Do you win money?" The answer is "no." "Then why do you do it?" they respond.

Showing dogs is a sport -- and a passion. Why do people do anything they love to do? Is it because money is the reward? Do you win money because you have a passion for playing golf, or spending weekends skiing or boating, or running marathons, or playing on a weekend basketball or hockey team? Sure, some people make their sport their life's work, get sponsors, and go professional. The same is true with professionals who show dogs. They do it to earn a living -- and they have to be good at it to do so.

For the rest of us, commonly called "owner-handlers," we do it for the intrinsic rewards. For me those rewards are satisfaction and enjoyment. Those of us who show dogs enjoy the affinity that grows between dog and handler as we travel together, train and prepare for shows, take our 2 minutes in front of the judge, and get that ribbon (please Lord, let it be purple!) that means our efforts were worth while (or perhaps not!) that day. Those are the real rewards, and those of us who have been "bitten by the dog showing bug" keep coming back for more.

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


Monday, March 16, 2009

About Showing Dogs

Someone once remarked that showing dogs is a lot like gambling. We win just enough to keep us coming back! That may be true.

I always say that dog show people are some of the most hope-filled people I know. Most have the attitude that "there is always next weekend," and indeed that is true. On the other hand, I've meet some very negative people also. For example, when I first started showing, I traveled with a couple other novice exhibitors to the shows. One person in particular was always a complainer. From the moment we got in the car, she'd start: "I don't know why I even bother bathing and grooming this dog. She's not going to win today." and on and on in the same vein. Even if she did win, there was always something to complain about all the way home!

Needless to say, traveling with her was not much fun, especially if she lost and I won! She never celebrated any one else's wins. It was easier just to wallow in misery of her own making.

Fortunately, that exhibitor didn't last long. (Gee wonder why??) I was able to make new friends who showed me that, win or lose, you do your best, you love your dog, you laugh at your mistakes -- and learn from them -- and you try again next week.

Come to think of it. That's a pretty positive lesson for just about anything we do in life!

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


Sunday, March 15, 2009


Hi! I'm Joyce. Welcome to my Lhasa Apso blog. Our Lhasas are known as 'Joyslyn's Lhasa Apsos.' We've loved and enjoyed the breed since 1973 when our first Lhasa, Pheebe, joined us and started our adventure into owning then later showing and breeding Lhasas. We've never even considered another breed -- that is how taken we were with Joyslyn's Pheebe and, only a month later, our second Lhasa Joyslyn's Miss Buffy Jo.

I am so new to blogging that I am not sure what to do, how to do it, or even why I decided to try it, but for weeks now, "something" has been telling me I need to blog about the Lhasas, so here I am.

What do I hope for? Well...I guess to share some of my knowledge, experiences, and enthusiasm about the breed with others. I don't claim to know it all, but I do know some helpful things. I also think that after 36 years of Lhasa Apsos I'm ready for a trip down memory lane. Perhaps you might like to travel with me as I remember some of the dogs from my past and retell favorite stories.

So, welcome to my blog.

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