Monday, May 31, 2010

Show Results

Where do I begin...?

The 4-day Memorial weekend shows in Bloomington, IL are now history. The weekend started for me on Thursday when I took an afternoon off work to drive to Bloomington (slightly over 2 hours from here) to snag a space for a grooming set up for myself, 2 Lhasa friends, and 3 Shiba Inu friends. Two hours to get there, a half hour to haul grooming tables and wire crates in and set them up, then 2 hours back home. Once home I had to exercise and feed the dogs then bathe and dry Belle. (Zach and Desi had been bathed before I left for Bloomington.) Friday night when I got home, it was Walker's turn for a bath. That was another late night.

Friday I showed Zach and Belle. Desi went along for the ride that day. Saturday was the busy day: I showed Zach, Desi, Belle, and Walker. All went smoothly thanks to much-appreciated help from Rebecca, my Shiba Inu friend, who showed Desi for me, and Sandy, my Kuvasz friend, who kept Walker groomed at ringside while I was in the ring. Sunday and Monday Zach stayed home. Desi, Belle, and Walker were shown. Again, I realize how very much I depend on friends and how very lucky I am to have such good ones who are willing to help me. So Jane, Rebecca, and Leslie...if you are reading this, know that I feel very fortunate to have your support and friendship. You do so much for me.

So, you may be wondering, "What happened. How did those Lhasas do?" It was the debut weekend for the pups, who turned 6 months old on the 13th. In a nutshell: Zach walked. He was not 'showy.' He was tentative, not too sure what was going on or what was expected, but he walked and held his tail up, even wagging it for the judge when he was being examined on the table. Rebecca took on the burden of showing Desi the 3 days she was entered. Desi walked on Saturday and Sunday (but Rebecca had to walk backwards coaxing Desi around the ring with liver bait). On Monday Desi had had enough, thank you very much. She stood still and that was that. The judge was upset and excused her. Rebecca had to listen to the judge's lecture about training a dog to walk. I felt so guilty! As far as placements go, Zach took 2nd out of 2 both days he was shown. Desi was the only one in her class.

Belle actually walked all three days. Now that was close to a miracle. We've been working at home and had some serious training sessions. So...she is walking but requires a very loose lead or she stops and lies down. The problem with the loose lead is that she doesn't hold her head up as she should, so she looks rather dumpy going around the ring. We'll be working on getting that head up now that she is cooperating about walking. With Belle, it is one step at at time. Belle was the only dog in her class all three days.

The most exciting part of the weekend was showing Walker. Actually I entered him because I knew the puppies and Belle would be reluctant to walk, so at least with Walker I'd be showing a dog that moved out and loved to show. He did not disappoint! He was not entered Friday. He won Best of Breed the three days he was entered. Group competition was tough. On Saturday he placed third in the Group under Dawn Hansen. On Sunday under Ed Bivin he made the cut in Group but did not get a placement. On Monday, the Group judge was Kent Delaney. No placement Monday either.

Jan and Karen came from WI. Karen's puppy dog won a point; Jan's Open Bitch took a major on Sunday. The Open Bitch Karen was showing for our friend LaVonne won the major on Monday. Marilyn came from OH and her Open Bitch finished (i.e., got the final points for her championship) on Friday. A lovely puppy dog from the 6-9 Month class won the major Friday and Sunday. Those were nice wins for him. His handlers were excited, and I am sure Sherry his breeder and Linda his owner were also thrilled when they heard the news!

The pictures at the top are of Belle (the light colored dog standing on the grooming table) and of Walker, the red sable dog that is moving. That picture was taken during Group judging on Sunday.

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you. (But it's better and much less stressful if they SHOW when you take them to a show!)


Wednesday, May 26, 2010


My to-do list keeps getting longer and longer. We're headed to the Bloomington show this weekend, so tonight is set aside for grooming, grooming, grooming. I also have to make liver bait. The house is going to smell yucky to everyone but the dogs! Liver and garlic….not my idea of an enticing aroma!

The Lhasa entry in Bloomington is a GREAT one! There are major points in dogs the first three days and in bitches all four days.

Tomorrow involves an afternoon drive to Bloomington to meet friends from WI and to nab a grooming space for 6 of us. Then home again to bathe and blow dry the two puppies and Belle. Walker's bath is scheduled for Friday night.

I entered Zach and Belle on Friday. Desi is going along for the ride. Saturday is the big, busy day because Zach, Desi, Belle, and Walker are all entered that day. Thank goodness for friends who have offered to help me at ringside! Desi, Belle, and Walker are entered Sunday and Monday. Zach will stay home Sunday so there is room in the car to take Alvin back to Karen. He is going to be so happy to see her again! Before he leaves I want to get a picture of him and Dancer together. They look so much alike that they could be littermates, so it's easy to predict what their puppies will look like.

Walker will be competing for the first time since a February show in Des Moines. He loves to go to shows, and now that AKC is offering Grand Championship points, I decided to enter him. Otherwise, what is the use of grooming his coat every week? Besides, after showing the 2 six month old puppies for the first time and then taking recalcitrant Belle into the ring, I think I deserve to show a dog I can rely on to sail around the ring like the multiple group winning champion he is!

I'll let you know how it goes. The weather is supposed to be dry (what a miracle) and sunny, with temps in the low 80's. I hope that forecast holds.

And, while we are on the topic of dog shows, here is a link to a great article you just have to read (you may have to copy and paste this URL into your browser):

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


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Clipping Your Lhasa

I hope it is quite a while before I have to get in the car and make another long drive! Last Saturday I left Macomb to head to Nebraska to attend my niece's high school graduation and graduation party, both held on Sunday. The drive took about 7.5 hours. I admit to speeding! Monday morning found me on the road to Illinois at 6:00. I did not get home until 5:00 PM. I admit to speeding but also to stopping at a couple shopping malls! Tuesday morning I was in the driver's seat once again, taking myself and three co-workers to a meeting in Rock Island. By 4:15 I was home and at 5:15, Desi, Zach and I were back on the highway to Peoria for their training class. I was so very glad to get home last night and so very thankful that I did not doze off while driving.

Both puppies did well at class, but Zach outperformed Desi. She is still more interested in socializing and sniffing the floor! He is such a pretty Lhasa and a great mover too! Memorial Day weekend will be their show ring debut.

Commenting on the previous entry where I'd posted before and after pictures of Mira, Sarah asked about clipping and getting some pointers so she could start clipping her Lhasa Tashi. Here goes:

First of all, invest in a good, reliable clipper and blades. I bought my ConAir Pro clipper and blades from PetEdge years ago. I noticed when I checked the company's website that it currently is selling an Andis clipper set that looks like a good deal. The set includes the clipper, blades, and combs PLUS a DVD to teach you how to use it all. (I wish I'd have had one of those.) In addition to clipper and blades you also need blade wash and a blade lubricant/cooler (e.g., "Kool Lube").

The thing to remember about clipper blades is that the higher the number, the closer the cut will be. Thus a #10 blade will cut closer than a #7 and so on. I've never used combs but have heard that attaching them leaves the hair a little longer than it would be if a comb was not used. (Combs won't work if the dog is matted.)

I use a #7F on the dog's body and a #10 on the belly area.

It is easier to clip a dog that is not matted, but many people resort to clipping their dog because he IS matted. Either way works, but you'll have an easier time if you can comb or brush through the dog before you start clipping. If you are clipping a matted dog, don't push hard to force the clipper blade through the mat. Use a scissors to cut through the mat first and to give the blade something to grab onto.

As you can see by looking at the picture I posted of Mira clipped down, when I clip, my intent is not to do anything cute or fancy. That is so beyond my knowledge and skills! So if you are looking for directions for a "Puppy Cut" or "Teddy Bear Cut," etc. I am definitely not the person to go to for information! You can probably find directions somewhere on the internet for those cuter clips.

Using a #7F blade, I start at the back of the dog's head and run the clipper over his neck and back to the base of the tail. Next I clip both sides in the direction the hair grows; then I then do the chest and rear, followed by the legs and feet. I also clip the tail. Some people like to leave the tail and ear hair long. It's just a matter of preference.

Remember that the blade will get hot after it has been in use for a while, so every once in a while, check it by putting it on your forearm or feeling it with the palm of your hand. If it is getting hot, spray it with Kool Lube before you continue clipping the dog.

The head, ears, and face come next. Often I will do the face with a smaller clipper, like a Wahl mustache trimmer, and do some finishing work with scissors. Again, you can leave the Lhasa's ears and mustache longer if you like that look.

If the dog will lie down, have him do so while you do his underside. When clipping my Lhasas that will not lie down (who trained these dogs anyway?), I ask my husband for a hand and he holds them upright on their back legs while I clip the chest, arm pits, and belly areas, generally using a #10 blade. However, I've been known just to keep using the #7F and it works fine.

When the clipping is done, I trim toenails and use the Wahl clipper to trim between the pads of the dog's feet. Then I give the dog a nice refreshing bath.

Ta-Da … a perfect pet: A Lhasa Apso that does not shed and that doesn't have to be groomed for a while!

The unclipped Lhasa at the top of the page is Multiple Group Winning American Canadian Ch. Joyslyn's Piece of the Rock. The photo was taken at a show in Kansas City in 1976 or 1977 by a Hallmark photographer. It later appeared on one of the company's dog calendars. Rocky was our very first champion. (I have ABSOLUTELY no idea why the font size suddenly changed for this paragraph and why I cannot fix it!)

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


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sharing Mira Photos

We finally took a picture of Mira last night. Since I have been planning to show you how she looks now, compared to her former long-coated self, here you go. She enjoys her short cut, doesn't look as gorgeous as she did in the past, but the upside is that she really did not enjoy lying on her side to be groomed and now she doesn't have to put up with what she considered an "indignity!" Now she can splash through the puddles all this rain has left behind!

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


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Show Results

The dogs in our lives, the dogs we come to love and who (we fervently believe) love us in return, offer more than fidelity, consolation, and companionship. They offer comedy, irony, wit, and a wealth of anecdotes, the "shaggy dog stories" and "stupid pet tricks" that are commonplace pleasures of life. They offer, if we are wise enough or simple enough to take it, a model for what it means to give your heart with little thought of return.
~Marjorie Garber

Mothers should get to do what they want on Mother's Day, and my choice was to enter a dog show. May 8-9 were the first shows we'd been to since the Saturday before Easter. Belle and I went to the Dairyland shows in WI. Results were disappointing, not because we took second place both days (Saturday second out of two and Sunday second out of three), but because Belle once again decided she was not going to walk. She would take a few steps then suddenly, for reasons known only to her, would stop and lie down. Liver helped coax her back to her feet and a few more steps until she would again stop, lie down, and wait. Saturday she did a nice job on the down and back. Not so much on Sunday – plus Sunday's judge was an impatient man who seemed to want to be somewhere besides in the ring judging dogs—so that added some extra stress.

If Belle were not already entered in her next shows, I believe those would have been her last. As those of you who read this blog regularly well know, she has been telling me in her own way since she was a baby that she does not want to walk on a lead. It is time I listened. Not every dog enjoys the show ring. She is obviously one of them. She'll go to the next shows because the major will break without her there. Then I guess we'll hang up her show lead for good. (Actually make that "show leads" since I have tried at least 8 different ones with her, hoping to find one she will respond to!) Something different about these upcoming shows is that the majority of the rings are carpeted. I'm wondering if Belle will be more inclined to show on that surface rather than on mats. Or not.

Desi got to go to the show with us. It occurred to me that Belle had never once gone to a show by herself so I thought she should travel with a companion. Desi gets car sick so she wore a little snood that my daughter knitted for her. It held back ears and mustache enough that she did not slime them. I also put a baby bib around her neck to cover her chest hair. She looked cute but didn't seem thrilled with her new look! (I should get a picture to show you!) By the end of the weekend, she was no longer drooling so the long trip and the car rides to and from the show site each day may have "cured" her.

Back at home, Zach, who I predicted would deal Lynn fits because he would be lonely without Belle and Desi, had a great time playing with Boris, our Russian Blue cat, and did not seem to miss any of us in the least. He always seems to rely on Desi for direction, so I thought it would be good for both to have some "away time."

Bob and Lynne, if you are reading this, thanks for coming to the show to meet us and for not laughing at me in the ring with Belle! Desi appreciated the extra attention! It was good to meet you at last.

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


Monday, May 3, 2010

More Updates

In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony. ~ Eva Burrows

What a wonderful month April was – especially the week of April 21- 28 for that was the week we welcomed my mom who drove here from Nebraska, our daughter who flew in from Miami, and our son who drove home from college. They came to celebrate our granddaughter's 4th birthday.

Family is so important. As I go through the routines of each day, and get caught up in the tasks and frenzy of deadlines and to-do lists, it is easy sometimes to forget that simple fact. Then there is sort of a loneliness that creeps in and a wish to be able to just hug my mom or one of the kids who live away from "home." With two of them away now, I understand how Mom felt when we left Nebraska and moved to Illinois.

Anyway, being apart makes coming back together even more special. We had a great time. Now that our children are all "grown," they feel a little freer to expound on some of the secrets of their childhoods and deeds that, at the time they were committed, I am certainly glad that I was unaware of what was going on! The stories, the reminiscing, the laughter, the traditions, the making and sharing of meals, the celebrations—these are the heart of family.

On another topic – Some news that people have been waiting for: we may be having puppies in late June! It's way too early to tell yet, of course, but the breeding has been done. Now we wait.

Mira's beautiful coat was clipped over the weekend. Lynn had to do it. I couldn't face the task. I'll get a picture of her and post it one of these days. I think she is enjoying the freedom a short coat brings.

Belle and I are leaving for a dog show in Wisconsin this coming Friday. The entry is low, but we are looking forward to the trip and seeing some of our favorite Wisconsin Lhasa people and meeting some people I've been corresponding with about a puppy. At the end of May, Zach and Desi will be old enough to go to the four Bloomington, IL shows over Memorial Day weekend. I have the entries for them, Belle, and Walker made out and ready to mail…but when I calculated the cost, I couldn't bear to write the check last night. Yikes! (All I could think of was "I sure hope they'll all walk or this is so going to be a waste!") So I'll face that task this evening!

I'll give you an update on Belle and the Wisconsin shows the next time!

Life is good when you have a Lhasa – and family – to love you!