Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don't quite know how to put our love into words.
It's been fun to get Christmas notes, cards, photos, and emails from previous puppy buyers who take time to update me on their Lhasas. I'll share some of the latest. Mary sent a Jib Jab video of Belle and her other two Lhasas that was really cute. John writes a quick note in a card every year. He is quite elderly now. I think his Lhasa, Sparky, must be getting close to 15 years old. This year all he wrote was "Sparky is still living." I was glad to hear it. He makes good company for John. Tom and Penny wrote that their Griffin "is a very wonderful boy…" On the left is a photo they sent of him.
Judy wrote about Ty and Izzy: "The lhasa family is all doing well. Ty will hopefully be ready to enter 'jumpers and weaves' in February. Three weeks ago he decided he did not like the sound of the teeter, even if it was from another dog in class. He quickly rebounded when I brought steak the next week and dropped it like manna from heaven when the teeter made any noise. He's back on track for now. Izzy is still my doctor…She still checks me every morning, and can find the area where it hurts. What an amazing dog!"
Each year I look forward to getting an update from Joe and Sharon about their Lhasa Giza. I think Giza is or soon will be 8 years old. Her sire is our Ch. San-Dhi Joyslyn's Icon and her dam is our Ch. Joyslyn's Secrets of the Heart. Sharon wrote, "It's been another year for our Giza and she is soooo cute. She is a very good friend. Always with one of us. Giza is still very puppy like which we love...Giza loves everyone. She just needs a chew bone and soft stuffed animals to cuddle with. Don't know what we would do without her."
We received a huge bundle of photos of Davy (aka Ch. Joyslyn's Heartthrob) from his owner, Ken, as well as a 10-page handwritten letter full of information about Davy and his exploits throughout the year. Here are two photos of Davy, one with his pile of toys (obviously the dog has nothing to play with!) and the other of him looking very beautiful and stoic. Ken loves Davy's long coat and takes great pains to keep it long, in spite of getting a lot of grief from his vet about it. Evidently, she sees no need for Davy to have long hair. Whose dog is it anyway???
Result, he is very handsome. I'm sending one of the funny shots from our Christmas card photo shoot. He is way too cute. Zeus as usual is not into the photo scene. Zora is so photogenic and always ready for more pictures of her (in her crown this time!). I think the Lhasas have a sense of humor. Even Zeus seemed to tolerate us this time. I'm also including a few pictures from our July visit. Zora and Rafe, you with Zeus, and a face shot of Lila. Zeus clearly remembered you. Zora and Rafe make me chuckle with the similar coloring…Miss Lila will enjoy the picture of her."
|From the left: Zeus, Hunter, and Zora|
|Brother and sister, Rafe and Zora|
|Zeus on my lap. He enjoyed the visit but did not want to stay!|
What Lila looked like in July! She has grown a lot since then!
A Repeat Post (because I just can't help myself!)By now most people know that Carrie Underwood made a TV special based on "The Sound Of Music," which happens to be one of my favorite musicals. I was on my way to a dog show when it aired on December 5th, so I asked my husband to record it for watching later. I was able to see it this past weekend. It had way too many commercials! However, I enjoyed the singing.
One of my favorite songs is "My Favorite Things." And, as I sang along with Carrie Underwood, I recalled that I'd once written a blog post based on my favorite, wouldn't-want-to-be-without, items for the dogs and shows.
So, I dug through the archives and, here it is again folks…my list of favorites as written in March 2010. (I've made a few additions and revisions to it since then, realizing I'd omitted some important items!)
Here, in no special order, are some items that I definitely am glad I have to help me train, raise, and show the dogs. In some cases, I've described why. In others, I think the reasons are self-explanatory.
1. Exercise Pens! Oh dear, I wish people who owned pets would discover what wonderful things exercise pens are. Raining cats and dogs?? Set up an ex-pen in your garage and avoid getting yourself and your dog soaked! Want to take the dog on the family picnic in the park? Take along the ex-pen and set it up so you can keep an eye on him. No fenced in yard and no time to walk the dog before you leave for work? Set up an ex-pen in the yard, on your deck or patio!
Ex-pens are sold in many different sizes to accommodate different size dogs. I have five ex-pens. four of my ex-pens are 24" tall and each panel is 24" wide. Each pen has 8 panels. The pens fold up into compact 2'x2' squares that are about 2"tall when laid flat. The 24" size works well for me because my dogs are not jumpers and because I can easily lean over and pick the dog up out of the pen. I had a 36" one once that had a door in it. I didn't care much for it; getting the dog out was darn inconvenient. However, I can understand how it'd be great for a dog that was a jumper. I asked my husband to take it apart, lay the panels on their sides and create a pen that is 24" wide with 36" panels. We took out a couple panels, making it 3' wide and 6' long. It doesn't fold up anymore but that is fine since it is the one we use permanently in the garage. Two ex-pens stay in the trunk of my car and always go to shows with me, one for use at the hotel and one for use at the show site. Another is always set up in my garage. The other two are extras, folded up and carefully tucked away should I ever need them. Walker won one of them as a prize for taking a Group 1. The other, which is 30" high, was given to me when a friend passed away.
At shows the ex-pens are set up outside with a plastic mat under them, protecting the dogs' coats from whatever surface is under the mat. (There have been some yucky ones, especially if we had to set up in a stall at a fairgrounds!) The woven plastic allows urine to flow through so the dogs don't trail their long coats in it. In hotel rooms, when the weather is rainy, windy, or snowy and I don't want to get show coats (or myself) all wet or messy, I set up the ex-pen with a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth under it, flannel side up. I generally put in some newspapers or piddle pads too. The flannel fabric absorbs the urine and the vinyl protects the hotel's floor. The pen can also be used as a barrier if the room is cramped and you want to allow your dog to use the hotel bathroom (cover the floor with a flannel backed table cloth, newspaper, or piddle pads to protect it). Put the partially opened ex-pen in front of the bathroom door so you can keep an eye on the dog.
The ex-pen in my garage used to be a fold-up pen but has now become a permanent fixture. We used zip ties to attach pieces of ¾" PVC pipe cut the length of each side. The pipe is attached across the middle of each side to provide the necessary stability. The sides are now rigid. They don't move or collapse. Again…it's a time saver and coat saver on inclement weather days. We bought a horse stall mat to cover the garage floor. Atop it, we put the exercise pen and thick layers of newspapers. Puppies are paper trained in that pen and have no problem understanding at shows what the pen is used for! The mats can easily be washed with soapy water and a hose, as can the tablecloths. I've also been known to put the tablecloths in the washer, set on delicate, and clean them that way. Buy the tablecloths at WalMart or Kmart after a holiday season and you can usually get a pretty good deal on them once they hit the clearance aisle! The ex-pens and mats can be ordered from any pet supply catalog. I got mine from PetEdge and KV Vet Supply. The list continues:
2. Piddle pads. Need I say more??
3. Wire-bottomed 3' x 3' puppy play pens! We use a 3' x 3' for whelping puppies and have done so since the late 70's.
4. Curved-blade scissors, used for trimming around feet.
5. Small electric (or battery operated) clippers for trimming between the pads of the feet.
6. My Chi hair iron. Excellent product for sealing the hair cuticle, adding shine to the dogs' hair, and giving the coats a lovely finished look!
7. Face combs!!! About 4 inches long. Great for mustaches! Great for training puppies to let you comb their faces and not nearly as threatening for them as a regular-size comb coming toward them.
8. Kenic Dry Pet Shampoo. It is not really "dry." It's a liquid. It just doesn't have to be rinsed out of the dogs' coat. There are many, many brands of rinse-less shampoos, but I like this one best. Rinse-less shampoos are timesavers both at home and at shows. They are not used for general bathing but just for emergency use on a soiled face, butt, or feet.
9. Latex bands for topknots, pony tails, and braids.
10. My Rubbermaid tub in which I pack my dog show "stuff," including grooming tools, grooming sprays, leads, ringside basket, treats, my Chi hair iron, my grooming smock, and sundry other essentials.
11. Water bottle adapters. These are drip-less, easy to transport, and so very handy since they keep dogs from plunging their faces into water bowls and thus keep faces dry.
12. "The Wheels," the name we've given to the wheeled cart on which we stack all the show equipment to be taken into the grooming building to our grooming spot. The exercise pens, the grooming tables, the ringside tables, wire crates, plastic storage tubs, tack boxes, etc., etc. It all goes on "the wheels" and is taken to the set up. Then we go back and load the dogs in their crates on "the wheels." Without them, showing dogs would be a lot heavier work and a lot more complicated. Bungee cords are also a "must" for use with wheels.
13. Pin brushes. They are wonderful for grooming long-coated dogs.
14. Ringside tables. In the "old" days, we used to take our dogs to ringside and sit by them on the floor. Thank goodness those days are over, especially now that we are older and it is harder to get up off the floor. We now have ringside tables. These are small, fold-up tables that are easily carried and set up at ringside. The dogs rest on them while waiting their turn in the ring, keeping them up and off the floor, away from other exhibitors' and spectators' feet. They also save the exhibitor a lot of leg and back pain!
15. Ringside baskets. These small totes are perfect for carrying essential grooming tools to ringside – a spray bottle, a Greyhound comb, a pin brush.
16. My bait bag which comes in soooo handy when my outfit doesn't have pockets!
17. My Edemco stand hair dryer which I have had since 1978 and which is still going strong! I don't know if Edemco still "makes 'em like they used to" but I hope I never have to find out!
18. Martingale leads.
And folks, here goes...you had to know it was coming! The Song! (to the tune of 'My Favorite Things" -- what else!)
Exercise pens atop plastic matting
Wide piddle pads with lots of thick padding
Wire-bottomed pens in which puppies play
These are some dog things that help make my day
My Chi hair iron and small electric clippers
Face combs and latex bands and curve-bladed snippers
Rubbermaid tubs and rinse-less shampoo
Without these dog things don't know what I'd do
The wheels that cart all my show stuff so gladly
Without which I know I would hurt my back badly
Bottle adapters that keep faces dry
Without these things I might break down and cry
A nice ringside table that stands oh so steady
Helping to keep my show Lhasas ready
Small ringside baskets with brushes and spray
These are some show things that help make my day
The black velcro bait bag that pins on so clever
My Edemco stand dryer that I've had forever
Martingale leads to show dogs round the rings
These are a few of my favorite dog things
Ribbons of purple, a color so pretty
Winning the points can make me quite giddy
The judges' opinions when they go my way
Sure go a long way toward making my day!
And, I guess you might also consider my favorite things as a helpful list for those of you who are looking to add more dog/show dog items to your belongings! If you're just starting out, it might make shopping easier.
Have a wonderful Christmas everyone. I wish all of you happiness, health, prosperity and Lhasa love for the coming year.
More to come in 2014! Until then, remember...
Life is better when you have a Lhasa to love you!