Friday, September 30, 2011


Tomorrow the countdown begins as the passing days take me ever closer to October 7 when three friends from Wisconsin and I head for New Mexico and the American Lhasa Apso Club (ALAC) National Specialty. Three of us are taking two dogs each. The other has three. (We are renting a BIG van for our trip.) Walker and Raven are going with me. Walker is entered in the Top 20 Competition, a Veterans Sweepstakes, and the Veteran's classes at the two ALAC specialty shows. Raven is being shown in the 9-12 puppy class in three shows.

To be honest, I have not packed a single item yet. However, I have multiple to-do and to-take lists lying around. Guess what I'll be doing this weekend?

Speaking of Walker. His 9th birthday was September 22. He is doing just great and looking as beautiful as ever.
Walker, May 2011

I appreciated the September 25 blog entry at this address:
The post was written in response to an article that described various celebrities jumping on the "mandatory" spay/neuter bandwagon and calling for federal regulation supporting it. I also found some interesting information not only in the article but also in the comments that followed that gave me food for thought on the spay/neuter issue. The ALAC Code of Ethics states, "ALAC strongly supports the practice of accompanying the sale of all puppies or adults sold as pet quality with a 'spay/neuter contract' stating that no AKC registration papers will be transferred to the buyer until the seller has received veterinary certification that surgery has been performed." So for years and years, that has been my practice and, frankly, the vast majority of puppy buyers expect it. Most comment, "Oh sure, we planned to do that anyway." But new data about health issues is giving many breeders pause for thought about what is best for our puppies. Like so many health-related issues in our lives, the key is obtaining good information through research and reading and honest discussions with your dog's veterinarian. Read the blog post and comment with your thoughts if you desire to do so.

At the beginning of the week, I attended Illinois' Sharing a Vision Conference. What a great three days of listening to early childhood professionals discuss issues related to children. I came away excited, educated, and revived! I was especially fortunate to once again meet Hedda Sharapan, a woman who worked with Mr. Rogers from the time he began the Mr. Roger's Neighborhood program. I was glad to learn that various episodes are available online at and at and look forward to sharing them with our granddaughter. If you have young children or grandchildren and have fond memories of Mr. Rogers, then visit the websites with them. Mr. Rogers is timeless!

Great news awaited me at home when I looked at Facebook and discovered our son's metal band, Black Fast, had been named "Best Metal Band 2011" in the St. Louis area. The four band members are working hard practicing and writing music, making occasional appearances, and trying to promote themselves while at the same time holding down a couple of jobs and/or attending classes to finish degree work. An article in the St. Louis River Front Times said, "Black Fast's take on the genre is authentic but not elitist, referencing Iron Maiden's endless sweeps, Megadeth's hook-laden riffs and Mastodon's stoner-friendly structures. We'd be hard pressed to find a more purified source of metal in St. Louis, even if we melted down the Arch and sold it for scrap." Yep, I'm a proud mom!

Finally, Belle has been bred and we await the results, keeping fingers crossed that puppies will be born in mid-November.

I doubt I'll be posting again until after the specialty, so wish us safety as we drive to and from Albuquerque, as well as lots of fun, good times, and good fortune in the show ring that week!

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


Thursday, September 15, 2011

2011 American Lhasa Apso Club National Specialty

Oh my goodness, the majority of us Lhasa people will be in an uproar for the next few weeks as we make travel plans and write list after list of items we simply must pack for the week-long events that constitute the American Lhasa Apso Club's National Specialty week.

This year's ALAC Specialty is being held at the Albuquerque Hilton in Albuquerque, NM. Events run from Monday, October 10 through Friday, October 14. The five days are packed with things to do. Here's a look at the schedule:

Monday evening is ALAC's first Top Twenty Competition. The twenty Lhasas with breed points earning them rankings from #1-#20 as of June 30, 2011, were invited to enter the competition. Each dog will be scored by three judges, yet to be named. One is an AKC judge, another a handler, and another a Lhasa breeder. The event includes a cocktail party and requires semi-formal attire (although I, for one, will be wearing practical shoes in the ring!). Spectators will also be voting for their favorites, with the winner of that ballot receiving the "People's Choice" award. I was thrilled when Walker received his invitation to attend. It sounds like fun!

On Tuesday, the Lhasa Apso Club of Central Colorado is hosting its specialty. Larry Bruton will judge the Puppy Sweepstakes and the Veteran Sweepstakes. I entered Walker in the Veteran Sweeps in the 7-10 year class. (His birthday is September 22nd. He'll be 9 years old!) Mr. Bill Lee will judge the LACCC Specialty. Raven is entered in the regular classes (Puppy Bitch 9-12). She will be not quite a year old at specialty time. Following the Junior Showmanship judging by Mary Schroeder, evening events begin. These include a reception, the rescue parade, and the Lhasa games, which are always good for fun, relaxation, and lots of laughs.

Wednesday may be a "day-off" for the ALAC's confirmation members, but it will start early in the morning for those involved in companion events. The day for Agility participants begins with an early morning drive to Los Lunas, NM, where the Agility Trial will be held, judged by Rene Fitch.  That afternoon, Janice Anthes will be scoring the performances of the Obedience and Rally participants back in the hotel's ballroom. Later that afternoon, Dr. Donny McGougal, will present the Anatomy seminar sponsored by the Breeder Education Committee.

Another new event for Wednesday of specialty week is ALAC's "Cut Down Sweepstakes." As the title implies, dogs entered in this sweeps must be clipped down, giving judge and spectators alike a look at the dogs' structures without the "interference" of the usual heavy show coat. Annette Rathbun will judge.

Wednesday's finale will be the much-anticipated Futurity, judged by Debbie Burke. The Futurity showcases recently whelped Lhasas (ages 6 – 18 months). The road to the Futurity begins shortly following the birth of a litter when the breeder nominates the litter for the Futurity within 90 days of birth. This year's participants were born between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011. The judge will award a Best Puppy in Futurity, chosen from the winners of four classes: Puppy Dog 6-9 months, Puppy Dog 9-12 months, Puppy Bitch 6-9 months, and Puppy Bitch 9-12 months.  Best Adult in Futurity is chosen from among the winners of four classes: Adult Dog 12-15 months, Adult Dog 15-18 months, Adult Bitch 12-15 months, Adult Bitch 15-18 months. Once the two "Bests" are chosen, those two compete against each other for the title "Best in Futurity."

On Thursday, Barbara (Bobbie) Wood judges the ALAC Midwestern Regional Specialty. Again, I have Raven entered in the 9-12 puppy class and Walker entered as a Veteran. Following judging, ALAC will hold its annual business meeting. The Awards Banquet follows. A highlight of the banquet is the video showing the Lhasas who have earned titles in 2010. I sent in photos of both Mira and Zach. Mira finished in March 2010 and Zach in December. After the banquet, ALAC will hold an auction of donated items.

Friday! (Are we tired yet?? – remember that somehow amidst all these meetings and events, dogs must be fed, pottied, groomed, bathed, dried, and prepared for the ring – oh and so do the people!!). Friday begins with the Judges Education Committee presenting the Judges' Seminar as well as the educational seminar for ALAC members who wish to be on the list of approved mentors for judges. Prior to the National Specialty judging, which begins later that morning, there will be a Parade of Titleholders. Betty Leininger will judge the National Specialty. Raven and Walker are entered. The conclusion of the judging marks the official end of specialty week, but much work is left for the (I'm sure by now) exhausted show committee members, other ALAC volunteers, as well as attendees—and their dogs!

Friday night is for relaxing, packing, loading the car, biding good-bye to people we get to see only once a year, and getting some sleep before dawn breaks on Saturday when we'll be loading the dogs and the last of the "stuff" into the van and heading back to the midwest for the 2-day trip home!

It'll be a great time. If you love Lhasas and need a vacation in the southwest, you should pack a bag and join us. Only at the National Specialty will you get to see so many Lhasas from all over the country gathered in one place. You can meet breeders, attend the events, and join the fun. It's always a great time. All Lhasa lovers are welcome!

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


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

At Last...

"I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together."— Marilyn Monroe

First, I owe all you regular readers an apology for such a belated post. So much has happened! Those of you who are FB friends already know most of what I'll be writing about today, so you can probably skip reading this post.

The past two weeks have been a combination of highs and lows. In the last post, I told you about the dog's hair dryer's heating element going bad and the water heater leaking. I was able to order a new part for the dryer and we coaxed the old one through drying the three dogs for the weekend shows by using only the medium and cool settings and letting it rest quite a while between each dog's bath. The water heater did not get replaced until Friday so we had 4 days of water covering the utility room floor. I have mixed feeling about the way Sears handled the replacement, mostly because "we'll get someone right out there" doesn't mean "four days later" to me!

Early in the AM on August 24, Raven, Maggie, Breaker, and I escaped to Lake Elmo, MN, to attend the Twin Cities Lhasa Apso Club specialties, leaving Lynn behind to deal with the water problem.  I entered Raven the first two days, Maggie on Saturday, and Breaker all three days. The weekend was fun and successful for us.

Raven took Reserve Winners Bitch to the 4-point major under judge Chris Levy on Thursday. Breaker took Select Dog for 4 points, just what he needed to earn his Grand Championship title. The TCLAC hospitality was great, and I enjoyed seeing everyone again, as last year I did not attend the specialties, opting instead for the shows in St. Charles, IL, that are much closer than the 8-hour trip to MN.

The following day, judge Donald Schwartz awarded Raven Winners Bitch for a 3-point major and Breaker Best Opposite Sex. On Saturday Maggie won Reserve Winners Bitch under judge Debbie Campbell. Breaker was Best Opposite Sex again. I was happy with Maggie's performance. She had not been in the ring for almost 2 months and did a great job of showing.

I stayed over Saturday night, wanting to enjoy a relaxing evening with friends, then took off for home Sunday morning. The ride home was pleasant, fast, and uneventful until I was just north of Cedar Rapids, IA, when the "low tire pressure" message appeared. I found a filling station, paid my 50¢, and filled the left front tire. I knew I was in trouble when I had to stop again an hour later. I had a goal in mind about where I could pull over next for more air to hobble home. I had a can of Fix A Flat in the trunk, as well as one of those air pumps to plug into the car's cigarette lighter, so I was not worried.

About 40 minutes from home I had to pull over again with no filling station in sight. I knew I was in trouble when the Fix A Flat liquid came out of the tire as fast as it was going in! Long story short…I called Lynn who drove to my location, changed the flat tire for the spare, and we were soon home again. The bad tire was repaired on Monday. I was cautioned that I would need new tires before winter and sent on my way. However, the next day's pouring rain found me in the parking lot after work with a tire so flat it had come off the rim. Hundreds of dollars later, I have four new tires and less money in my bank account, but I certainly feel more secure about driving again!

The hardest part of the past two weeks has been getting through the turmoil of my daughter's Affenpinscher (Penny) being dropped and breaking both front legs. Penny recently turned a year old and, while playing in the exercise area of Erikka's apartment building, ran toward the entrance to the building. A guy coming out of the building to exercise his dog scooped her up. His dog lunged, and the guy lost his grip on Penny and dropped her. Fortunately, both breaks were clean ones, so Erikka worked with her vet to plan Penny's recovery, deciding to have the legs set, splinted, and wrapped. All was well until Penny's breeder started putting pressure on Erikka to have surgery done on both Penny's legs and accusing her of not caring for her dog's health, being selfish, and killing her dog if surgery was not done immediately. The breeder even went to far as to make a surgical appointment for the dog in a city 5 hours from Erikka, telling her she expected her to be there the next day.

Erikka was beside herself, second-guessing her decisions, and believing she was a bad pet owner, despite my advice, the okay from her vet, and the messages from many, many of my FB friends regarding the situation. Emails such as the following were what she received from her breeder:
"Erikka - you were not at fault for breaking every bone in Penny's leg Someone else is responsible for that. You have loved her trained her and protected her for quite a while.
Please continue to do so.
If you don't allow us to take Penny back and give her the correct, necessary health care then you will become much much worse than the person who accidentally harmed her.
You will be deliberately harming her - or causing her to die.
How can you justify this? Is this how your mother deals with her dogs? Where did you learn that your selfishness coupled with your admitted inability to properly care for another living thing makes it okay for that little life to suffer because you'd rather see her maimed, mutilated or dead than , god forbid, you have to have "feel sad".
I never thought you were this kind of person. I am offering to come to you and pick her up. She will be well taken care of and will live a long healthy happy life - wanting for nothing. Erikka -the depth and width of your selfishness astounds me. How do you think we feel? We created that little Penny. We are directly responsible for bringing her into the world. We helped to whelp, nurture and train her for the very first months of her life here on Earth. In spite of numerous offers we thought we had correctly chosen the perfect save haven for her.
I cannot let this little dog suffer and simply stand by. As you seem to be able to do so quite easily. It only makes me wonder seriously about Henri also. You can't seem to afford any dogs at this time.
Just think long and hard about the one who is in trouble here and seriously ask yourself if you want to continue to deprive her of what we can give her - a life! Stop taking a chance on her rate of success because you "feel guilty". Feeling guilty has nothing to do with saving her life - just your own feelings.
Please please please let me come and get her.
I look forward to hearing from you today.

Penny's breeder, Jude, was kind, so very, very kind to Erikka when my daughter was looking for a puppy and a big sale was on the horizon. She even sought her out to let her know a puppy was available. Being raised in a dog showing family as she was, Erikka maintained a relationship with her dogs' breeders. All was friendly until Jude found out Erikka opted against surgery for the two clean breaks in Penny's legs. Following Penny's injury the tide turned. This is only one example indicative of the kinds of pressure and vitriol Jude  subjected my daughter to, both by phone and by email. In the end Erikka was beaten down and gave up. At Jude's insistence, Penny is now back with Jude. You and I might disagree with her decision but you have to understand that she is alone in FL and despite the support and advice I gave her via phone, no one was there to help her stand up to the venomous treatment she received. Hindsight is 20/20. I should have been there.

Labor Day weekend was uneventful. Yesterday, I had oral surgery. Today I am resting, hurting, and taking pain meds that I wish had more codine in them!

Dog-wise, we have a girl in season, and we are planning a breeding. If all goes well, we will have puppies again in mid-November.

So that is the news from here.