Saturday, January 30, 2010

New Articles and An Important Decision

I've posted abbreviated versions of some of my grooming articles on
ezine. Here is the link if you want to check them out. A couple new ones should appear by mid-February. I also wrote and recently posted two new articles under the "Articles About Grooming" category of my website. They are "Keep It Clean! The Key to a Long, Healthy Show Coat" and "Preparing for a Show: Finishing Touches—Tips on Trimming Pads, Feet, and Coat."

A major afternoon activity today was evaluating the puppies. I have two males that I really really like and I was having problems deciding which to keep. I thought it was Zeke, but the more I watched them, the more I thought perhaps I should keep Zach instead. Decisions, decisions! So this afternoon, I shampooed both puppies, plastered their coats down with the shampoo so we could really see the structure, and then stacked them on the table to go over them. Lynn took pictures of fronts and profiles. The "plaster-the-fluffy-coat-down-with-shampoo" method is one I have used for years. It gives me a chance to see a puppy's structure under his coat and is basically a way for my eyes to acknowledge what my hands have been telling me!

The decision has been made. I will be keeping Zach. Zeke is a great puppy, and I'll now be able to look for a home for him. I'm very glad to have that decision over with. I want to keep the "best" for the show ring and my breeding program, and I had to get quite nit-picky when it came to deciding between the two. But now it's done. I am happy with my decision. No more second guessing!

Now comes the next tough decision…what will the puppy's registered name be??? I'd like to use "Heart" in his name. His mom is "Secrets of the Heart." His grandfather is "Rebel at Heart." He has two half brothers who are "Heartbreaker" and "Heartthrob." I welcome suggestions. You can email me at or just post ideas in the comments section of this blog.

Next weekend I'll be traveling to WI to meet Karen to pick up Alvin. He'll be spending some time here with us while we wait for Dancer to come in season. If nature cooperates, she'll be bred in late February or early March. This was a breeding we tried in August that did not "take," so we are looking forward to having better luck this time by breeding Dancer here at home.

I hope to post some of today's puppy pictures later this week.

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


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Time for a Bit of News

Hi Happy Monday! (Although it is now Sunday night, I assume you will not be reading this until tomorrow!)

I know. I know. I haven't posted anything in ages! I understand your frustration because I am following a blog called "The Dirty Western" in which some anonymous folks at the university where I work dig up all the dirt and then let the rest of the world know about it! If they don't put up a new post at least weekly, I start to fret.

My excuse? Lack of good ideas!

So, an update. We have three puppies left from the Twist x Secret litter. Their pictures appear at the top of this entry. They were 10 weeks old on Friday. I call them Desi, Zeke, and Zach. Why? Because my granddaughter came over to play with them and wanted to know their names and that was all I could come up with for the boys. Desi has been named Desi for a while now! I hope to show her. Her name will be Joyslyn MLS Dakota Heart's Desire. Right now Zeke is the "keeper" as far as the boys are concerned. I'd keep Zach too, but two are quite enough for me to keep and train right now.

My weekend was a good one. My Shiba friends and I attended our first dog show of 2010 in Des Moines, Iowa. I showed Walker, who is now old enough for veterans classes and needed to get back in the ring to remember what it's all about. He hasn't been in a ring since August when he took a Group I and Group III at the Burlington, IA shows. The good news is that, although we lost the breed on Saturday, we won on Sunday (Thanks, judge Dr. Smith!) and went on to take a Group 4 (Thanks judge Mr. Fredrickson). In addition to the ribbon, Walker won a lovely microfiber throw – soft and cuddly. I did a quick calculation on the drive home and figured that that throw cost me about $150. (Never, never add up how much it costs to go to dog shows!) LOL

I took Belle, in a last ditch effort to get her comfortable walking on a lead. She was not being shown. She just went along for a training opportunity. I was ready to give up on her. She is so darn stubborn. She drags a lead around the family room (under careful supervision) each evening for at least an hour. If I try to pick it up, she freezes and refuses to move! I am pleased to say that this weekend she turned a corner. She decided to walk! She got lots of attention from other exhibitors as well as the general public visiting the show. The little girls especially fell in love with her -- and with her name. "Oh -- just like the Princess Belle!" She is very, very cute! She learned she liked liver and that hot dogs were not too bad either. So now I guess I need to find a show and enter her and see if she'll be as showy inside the ring as she was outside it!

Have a good week!

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


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Puppy Pictures

The puppies were 8 weeks old on January 8th. I've posted their latest pictures. Cute, aren't they?

They are a happy crew that follows me everywhere, evidently hoping either to trip me or be stepped on! I've certainly learned to watch where I'm putting my feet. They will forgo even the most attractive stuffed doggy toy for the opportunity to untie my shoe laces and tug on them. Every day brings a new discovery.

Hope you enjoy the pictures!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Pictures and Miscellaneous Thoughts

Hi! The purpose of today's entry is mainly to show you some new pictures. We had quite an exciting weekend when Katina, Breaker's new owner, and her daughters make a long drive in frigid weather to come to Macomb to pick him up.

Naturally, Lynn and I had show pictures of Breaker, but we also wanted to get other photos of him. We set up our "studio," which consists of a black sheet duct-taped to the back side of the flat screen TV, draped over the front of the TV and then over a grooming table that is placed beneath the TV. It makes a nice background for the light colored dogs. (We'll have to come up with a different color sheet when it's Mira's turn!) We took about 35 pictures of Breaker, some much better than others. Here are a couple of them.

One thing I love about Breaker (besides his appearance, structure, movement....) is his great attitude. He has an amazing zest for life. He is a clown. He is always happy, and his cheerful attitude and love of life always make me smile. Dogs like Breaker can teach us a lot about how our attitudes affect our lives.

One of my favorite "Food for Thought" quotations comes from Charles R. Swindoll, who said: “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

It's not always easy to maintain a positive attitude, to see the cup as half full, or to see the silver lining, but you have to admit that things go better when you do!

P.S. I'll post the new puppy pictures tomorrow.

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


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Goodbye Cutie

Cutie passed away last night. She was fine yesterday AM ... alert, happy and digging into her food like crazy. At noon when I came home she was up and using her piddle pad, happy to see me. By evening, she was lethargic and refused to eat. She just stayed curled up with her toy under her blanket, and that is how I found her this morning.

I blame myself of course. I needed to take her to the vet for an exam when I took the others for their shots. I wanted to find out if the vet could discern a reason for her being so small. We discovered that at 7 weeks and 4 days she weighed less than a pound! In spite of her size, she was active and eating and her heart sounded fine.

I just think the trip to the clinic took a lot out of her, in spite of my precautions of wrapping the crate in heavy blankets and heating the car well before we left. Perhaps she caught a chill or, with her depressed immune system, picked up some fast acting bug at the clinic. Or maybe it was simply her time to go.

I'm terribly sad. Even after all these years and litters, the loss of a puppy affects me. I dropper and bottle fed her since she was 3 days old until she was able to eat by herself. In my heart I knew she was probably not destined for a long life, but never ever did I expect her to go so quickly and without warning.

I know there are some breeders who might simply let a tiny, struggling 3-day old puppy die. I could not bring myself to do that. I had to try and actually thought I'd succeeded. I'll miss the little thing whose intrepid spirit inspired me and whose cute little toddling across the floor always made me smile.

Don't even ask me what I will tell my granddaughter. Cutie was "her" puppy since the day I let her help me give Cutie the bottle!

Life is sad when you lose a Lhasa you love...


Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

Let this coming year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you've always wanted to do but couldn't find the time. Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. Vow not to make a promise you don't think you can keep. Walk tall, and smile more. You'll look ten years younger. Don't be afraid to say, 'I love you'. Say it again. They are the sweetest words in the world. ~ Ann Landers

Happy New Year, Everyone! My hope for each of you who take time to read this post is that you will find peace, happiness, and prosperity in 2010. (Actually I hope that for everyone I know, whether they read this post or not!)

I've posted the latest pictures of the puppies and find it hard to believe they are already 7 weeks old! On Christmas Day our 3 year old granddaughter decided to name the small puppy, "Cutie." (She is pictured by herself.) So far, she is the only one with a name. Since I am not sure which puppy I want to keep, I have been hesitant about naming them. Names have a way of sticking and generally it takes me a long time to decide what to call a puppy I plan to keep, so I don't want him/her to get stuck with some random name! It's easy to have "nameless" puppies now that the kids are away from home. When they were young and lived at home, the puppies always had names – and not necessarily clever ones. Trevor especially came up with some odd names for the pups and I had to quickly come up with something else so his odd name would not "stick!"

One of our black dogs, Bert, was born when we lived in Nebraska and the kids were 10, 5, and 2. Bert was a chubby little guy, definitely adorable but I certainly had no plans to keep him. The kids started calling him "Fat Albert," after one of the characters on the Bill Cosby cartoons they frequently watched. Fate intervened and "Bert" became a keeper. His registered name became Ch. Joyslyn's Masquerade, but we all knew and loved him for many many years as plain ol' "Bert!"

Last year when we had Christmas puppies, the names came easily (Holly, Spirit, Bell, Decker, and Nick). This year we are back to referring to the pups as the "little puppy (now Cutie)" or the "light girl" etc. Of the 4 boys, we had so much trouble telling 3 apart that one got red nail polish on his right ear, another got it on his left, and the third remains unmarked! The fourth male is darker than the others so he is easy to spot!

I thoroughly enjoyed our Christmas break. One really nice thing about working at the university is the lengthy Christmas break we get. The weather was cold and snowy so it was nice to have time to stay inside, play with the dogs and puppies, watch some TV, and curl up with a blanket and good book. I admit to being ready for it to end though. I was becoming a slug!

One interesting thing that happened was visitors from Mexico! I received a phone call late one afternoon from someone in Macomb who told me he had relatives visiting from Mexico who owned a Lhasa and who had seen my website and wanted to come to visit and see the puppies. We ended up with 11 people in our family room and had a great time talking about Lhasas and playing with puppies!

A memorable moment came early New Year's Eve morning when I happened to look out a bedroom window and see four deer curled up sleeping in our backyard! I watched them bed down in the same spots that night and on New Year's Day watched them walk leisurely across our lawn, across the street, into the neighbor's yard and disappear behind the neighbor's house. We have not seen them since. I guess they found a better place to sleep. Not being a person who is fond of deer, mostly because the tend to jump in front of cars around here, I was still a little awed by the sight of them in the backyard. They are pretty when they are not standing on the shoulder of the road threatening to bound across the highway!

If you don't already have a Lhasa to love, may you find one in the New Year! Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you!