Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

At Thanksgiving we are especially reminded to be thankful for the people, animals, and "things" that make up and have blessed our lives. Many of us may also look back over the year(s) and be thankful for the trials and tribulations that came our way, horrible at the time yet something we learned and grew from having experienced, something perhaps that made us better or stronger or more determined.

While I think it is nice to set aside a day to reflect on our blessings, I also think that reflection is something we should do daily.

I recall a hymn from my youth:
When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

The problem with counting our blessings, once we really get down and determined to do it, is that the counting takes time. If we do it right, we find that there are many things, some large but most small, that make up the tapestry of our lives and that we are grateful for having or experiencing. When I cannot sleep at night, or when I wake up in the wee hours, thinking it is morning, only to discover there's a couple hours before the alarm will sound (oh, don't you hate when that happens?), I count my blessings instead of counting sheep!

Of course, next to family and friends, good health, my job, etc., etc., I am very thankful for the Lhasas and for what they have brought to my life over the past 40 years. 2013 brought us Lhasa blessings: Raven's litter of Duncan and Jimmy; our successes in the show ring; Rafe's grand championship, his ranking in the Top 20; Mira's litter that produced our Lila and her siblings; Duncan and Jimmy's wins from the puppy class; Windy, our newest champion; the many old and new friends we have because of the dogs; the photos, letters, and emails I get from people who have Joyslyn's dogs and want to keep in touch...the list can go on and on.

 Today, November 27, 2013, Rafe and his siblings are two years old. That litter was amazing and I wish we could have repeated the breeding. However, Dancer had such a difficult labor and delivery that I promised her "never again," and I kept my promise.

So, here, celebrating their second birthday are two of dogs from that litter:
Here is the latest picture of Rafe, taken last weekend.
And, just this AM, I received a birthday photo of one of Rafe's brothers, Griffin, owned by Tom and Penny.
 Here is a photo of brother Gabe.

 Beautiful boys, all.

Our photo shoot last weekend was not just for Rafe. We also took pictures of Windy, our newest champion, Ch. MLS Dakota Dancing in the Wind at Joyslyn. Here is one of her pictures.

While we were at it (ever gluttons for punishment), we decided to take new pictures of Breaker, GCh. Ch. Joyslyn's Heartbreaker. He was antsy all the way through the session. OMG...I thought we'd never get decent pictures. However, we did manage a couple good ones of him. The others were disasters! (I might add that I am thankful for digital cameras!)

I'll use this space to announce that Windy was recently bred to Breaker and that, if all goes as planned, puppies will be born around January 20th. I am very excited about this breeding.

Duncan and Lila went to our training class in Peoria last night. Sometimes, ya know, you just have to laugh. Duncan decided he didn't care for the lead, so he shook his head until I dug around in my bag and found another one that he liked better. The Standard Poodle in line behind us fell in love with Duncan and was all over herself trying to get him to play with her. He looked at her, like, "seriously??" Little Lila is in her first season, so she was uncooperative and flipping her tail around. She walked but refused to get her head up. Her nose found interesting aromas on the mat, and she was determined to take them all in. My Lhasas keep me humble.

I kept thinking, "For this I left home at 5:00 and won't get back until after 10:00? For this I'm making a 150+ mile round trip after working all day, risking bodily injury and car damage because the darn deer along this road are brainless and suicidal?"

Yep, because if you have not yet discovered it -- dog people are crazy.

Last night was our final class of the year. With our last dog show of the year being next weekend and the two young ones both entered, I was hoping for better behavior from both. I'll let you know how it goes.

Once again, Happy Thanksgiving!

Among all the things we have to be thankful for in this life, let us count among them our Lhasas who give us so much and ask for so little in return. Life is indeed better when you have a Lhasa to love you.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Just Sharing Some New Pictures

"How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly
Until they nearly reach the sky.
Twisting, turning through the air
Till all the trees stand stark and bare.
Exhausted, drop to earth below
To wait, like children, for the snow."

~  Elsie N. Brady, Leaves
Leaves, leaves, everywhere leaves! Our Lhasas have been vacuuming leaves into their coats and bringing them indoors, where neither the leaves nor the tasks of removing them from coats are appreciated. The dogs are enjoying the brisk weather though.

On one side of our house is a beautiful red maple tree. It belongs to our neighbor. Our neighbor to the north has a huge oak tree in her front yard. Please tell me why that, no matter which way the wind blows, our yard ends up with all their oak and maple leaves? Our neighbor across the street has a lawn service, so last Saturday he got rid of all the maples leaves from our lawn. Two days later, we had rain, some snow, and wind. Then the oak tree decided to shed its leaves. We can no longer see our grass!
I've received (and taken) some Lhasa pictures I want to share this week.
First, Sarah sent me a picture of Mira enjoying the first snow.
Mira playing in the first snow at her new home
I also received a photo from Laurie, who has three Joyslyn's Lhasas. Zora looks gorgeous wearing her blue hair bow! (She thinks so too!)
From left to right: Zora (Rafe's sister), Hunter (Lila's brother) and Zeus (Secret's son)
I finally decided that I needed some recent photos of Lila, now 6 months old. She is a sweetheart and can be a little dickens. She watched the cat bound up the stairs, learned by observation, and every chance she gets, up she goes -- usually chasing the cat, who is now quite perturbed that he can no longer get away from her. She'll be going to her first shows in 3 weeks. That should be an experience! I know all these pictures look much the same, but she is so darn cute, I just could not help it!

I received the two show photos of Windy.

Windy after winning major #2, shown by Karen Schlais

Windy's picture the day she earned the last point for her championship
Then this picture of Windy was posted on Facebook. It was taken the day she got her 2nd major.

And that is it for photos and updates!

My next big challenges are the Thanksgiving menu, grocery shopping, and badgering my family for their Christmas wish lists!

Life is better when you have a Lhasa to love you! Cuddle up with yours and stay warm and cozy during these chilly fall nights!


Friday, November 8, 2013

Celebrating Good Friends and A New Champion!

I have a lot to celebrate and am pleased to report that the shows in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, were an overwhelming success for us! I also want to acknowledge the efforts of three of my good friends on my behalf. Without their help, I would not be celebrating that show's successes. Thanks Karen, Jan, and LaVonne!

...Supportive, Never Leave You Hanging, Make You Look Good, and Are Always Close to Your Heart.

I had never been to the the 5-day show in Ft. Wayne (October 30 - November 3), but since none of us were able to attend this year's ALAC National Specialty in CA, we decided we'd find shows closer to home. Ft. Wayne was the choice. We needed the 3 of our bitches plus one other to make the major. Marilyn entered her puppy bitch and the major was built! However, due to my family coming earlier in October, I had taken enough vacation days that month and was unable to attend all 5 days. Then Karen, Jan, and LaVonne had an idea. What if they took Windy to the shows without me and I showed up for the weekend shows. All we needed to do was find a way to get Windy from Illinois to Wisconsin!

On October 22nd I drove my daughter and her husband to the Moline airport to catch their flight home to FL. From there I traveled northward (in the snow!) to Maquoketa, Iowa, where LaVonne met me. We transferred Windy to her car; she took her back to WI, and the following day she and Windy drove north so LaVonne could give her to Karen, who would be showing her for me.

All four of us had dogs that just needed a win or two to finish. There were 4 bitches entered each day Wednesday - Friday, and five entered on the weekend, making each day a major. Wednesday, Karen and Jan's Secret took WB for the major. Wednesday, Jan's male, Carson, got the final points he needed for his championship. Things were off to a good start.

I set off for Ft. Wayne Thursday morning in driving rain. The rain persisted the entire trip but was especially bad when I arrived in Indianapolis. In addition to slowing me down, the rain decreased visibility and made the drive more than a little nerve racking. Once I noticed the Lhasa ring time had come and gone, I kept checking my phone expectantly, hoping one of the ladies would call me with results. No such luck. Did Secret win again and finish? Did LaVonne's Toffee win and finish? Did by some miracle of God Windy win and get her second major? I remained in suspense for the entire 7 and a half hour trip.

Arriving at the hotel, the suspense continued. I wondered why no one was forthcoming with the show results. Since they were not volunteering information, I assumed the news was bad for me so I finally asked if we had a new champion Secret or a new champion Toffee in the room. I received no direct answer. Someone pulled out a cell phone and pointed it my way. One look at the screen and I was in shock. It was a photo of Windy and a display of ribbons, including the Purple Winners Bitch ribbon! Windy had her second major! All she needed was one more point!

Friday, Karen and Jan's Secret took WB and we had a new champion in our hotel room!

Saturday, I showed Duncan, who took first place in his class then totally went bonkers in the Winners Dog class when I put him behind the Open Dog. Duncan wanted to play. He was fidgeting, lunging, and basically making an idiot of himself. Oh well...Linda's Open Dog won and that gave him his Championship. So far, so good...two males and one of the girls had earned their championships.

Saturday, the 5th bitch, belonging to Cindy, who had not been there the previous 3 days, took the major.

Sunday, Duncan decided to behave. He took Winners Dog for a point. Unbeknownst to the rest of us until it was too late, Cindy pulled her bitch, which broke the major, which meant that LaVonne had no chance of finishing Toffee. By the time we had that figured out, LaVonne and Toffee were in the ring. I had some moments of panic, thinking how ironic it would be if after all week Toffee finally took WB only to have it do her no good since she needed three points and not two to finish. Fortunately, the judge declared Windy Winners Bitch, giving her the final point she needed for her championship (plus one extra besides!) Oh boy, was I ecstatic! I could not stop smiling! I still smile at the memory.

A quick switch of armbands and Ronnie had Windy, I had Duncan, and we were back in the ring for Best of Breed. Secret took Best Opposite, giving her her first major points toward her Grand Championship, and Duncan took Best of Winners, upping his points for the day from one to two! He now has 4 points.

Here are some pictures commemorating the week! Some of these photos were taken by Jan Graunke and others by Ronnie Crowder.

Brothers Jimmy and Duncan with me
Thursday WB class: Karen with Windy, LaVonne with Toffee, Marilyn with Cinnamon
Karen with Windy in the grooming area
Windy moving with Karen
Windy with me outside the ring. That's LaVonne behind the ribbons!

Of course, we had to eat, so Friday evening seven of us had dinner at the Granite City restaurant where the food was good, the waitstaff inattentive, and the fun and laughter brilliant! We were celebrating the week's good fortune so far. Daryl had finished Jan's dog Carson and his Select placements earned him some Grand Champion points. Secret had just finished that day, making her the 3rd from her litter to earn her championship. Windy had won a major the day before.

Daryl, Jan, Ronnie, and Marilyn
Karen, me, and LaVonne


One of the best parts of the weekend was letting Marsha, Windy's breeder, know that Windy was now a champion. Her championship gives Marsha 10 champions, earning her the American Lhasa Apso Club's ROM (Register of Merit) breeder designation. Congrats, Marsha!

Now my focus turns to the two puppies, Duncan (now 9 months) and Lila (now 6 months). Their next shows (actually Lila's first shows) will be in Edwardsville, IL, the first weekend in December. I took both to class earlier this week. Duncan did fine but Lila wanted her nose to the floor and was not happy at my constant "head up" reminders! There always has to be a challenge.

I know that many of you are waiting for me to announce a litter on the way. Nature has not been too cooperative with my plans lately, so all I can say is that we are hoping to do a breeding later this month, with puppies due at the end of January. If you are on our notification list, I'll send you an email when puppies are born.

Although here in Macomb Halloween was sort of a bust due to the rain, Ella's family in Des Moines was in the spirit of the holiday.  Here's a photo they sent of Ella at Halloween:
Ella and a giant Jack o'Lantern

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


P.S. I thought it might be fun to show you a picture of Duncan and Jimmy when they were babies. They are 4 weeks old in this picture.