Friday, March 15, 2019

In Fond Memory

Champion Joyslyn's Secrets of the Heart ROM
August 21, 2002 - March 15, 2019

Today Lynn and I mourn the passing of our beautiful "old lady", Secret. Secret was the daughter of our Champion Joyslyn's Rebel At Heart and Champion Joyslyn's My One N Only. She is the mother, grandmother, and great grandmother of many of our Lhasas.

Secret was one of three puppies (Piper, Secret, and Walker) we kept from three different litters, all born within a few months of each other, and all shown together until each finished. She was the second of the trio to earn her championship. She became a champion in May 2004.

Here are a few photos of her through the years.

9 weeks old
First major age 8 months

Taking Reserve Winners Bitch during National Specialty Week
A Head Study
In the show ring
Clipped down in her later years
Thanks for the love you gave, Secret. We'll see you at the Rainbow Bridge. Say hi to Walker and Piper for us.

An Essay By Ernest Montague:


"Some of you, particularly those who think they have recently lost a dog to 'death', don’t really understand this. I’ve had no desire to explain, but won’t be around forever and must.

Dogs never die. They don’t know how to. They get tired, and very old, and their bones hurt. Of course they don’t die. If they did they would not want to always go for a walk, even long after their old bones say: 'No, no, not a good idea. Let's not go for a walk.' Nope, dogs always want to go for a walk. They might get one step before their aging tendons collapse them into a heap on the floor, but that's what dogs are. They walk.

It’s not that they dislike your company. On the contrary, a walk with you is all there is. Their boss, and the cacophonic symphony of odor that the world is. Cat poop, another dog’s mark, a rotting chicken bone (exultation), and you. That’s what makes their world perfect, and in a perfect world death has no place.

However, dogs get very very sleepy. That’s the thing, you see. They don't teach you that at the fancy university where they explain about quarks, gluons, and Keynesian economics. They know so much they forget that dogs never die. It’s a shame, really. Dogs have so much to offer and people just talk a lot.

When you think your dog has died, it has just fallen asleep in your heart. And by the way, it is wagging its tail madly, you see, and that’s why your chest hurts so much and you cry all the time. Who would not cry with a happy dog wagging its tail in their chest. Ouch! Wap wap wap wap, that hurts. But they only wag when they wake up. That’s when they say: 'Thanks Boss! Thanks for a warm place to sleep and always next to your heart, the best place.'

When they first fall asleep, they wake up all the time, and that’s why, of course, you cry all the time. Wap, wap, wap. After a while they sleep more. (remember, a dog while is not a human while). You take your dog for walk, it’s a day full of adventure in an hour. Then you come home and it's a week, well one of your days, but a week, really, before the dog gets another walk. No WONDER they love walks.)

Anyway, like I was saying, they fall asleep in your heart, and when they wake up, they wag their tail. After a few dog years, they sleep for longer naps, and you would too. They were a GOOD DOG all their life, and you both know it. It gets tiring being a good dog all the time, particularly when you get old and your bones hurt and you fall on your face and don’t want to go outside to pee when it is raining but do anyway, because you are a good dog. So understand, after they have been sleeping in your heart, they will sleep longer and longer.

But don’t get fooled. They are not 'dead.' There’s no such thing, really. They are sleeping in your heart, and they will wake up, usually when you’re not expecting it. It’s just who they are.

I feel sorry for people who don’t have dogs sleeping in their heart. You’ve missed so much. Excuse me, I have to go cry now."

Me too...



Friday, March 1, 2019

A Trip Down Memory Lane

"March is the month God created to show people who don't drink what a hangover is like." ~ Garrison Keillor

Happy March. We keep getting closer to spring...

It's weird to say, but this morning when I walked out the door to go to work, I thought, "Hmmm, it doesn't feel too bad out here this morning." The temp was 22 degrees - a veritable heat wave after the strong, cold winds we had earlier in the week!! The "in like a lion" wind came in late February for us and it was crazy for a few days. I kept hoping that the trees would stay rooted!

A few days ago I did something I had been intending to do for a long time. I purchased binders and sheet protectors and organized 20 years worth of monthly articles that I wrote for Dog World Magazine between August 1976 (appeared in the November 1976 issue) and August 1996. My goal then as now was to inform people about the Lhasa. At the time, Lhasas were fairly new to the scene but becoming more popular. The general public was attracted to them--although most could not correctly pronounce the name--and very few resources were available to teach people about the breed, especially about how to groom them. Since I was basically in the middle of nowhere in a small Nebraska town, I learned by trial and error (a lot of error!!). I eventually had some great mentors, even though they were "long distance" in Iowa, New York, and Missouri. I decided to share what I had learned with others. Among the topics I wrote about were grooming; ALAC activities; evaluating puppies; breeding practices; "miracle" recipes for growing coat and putting weight on a dog; training; new resources; Lhasa size; Lhasa Standard in general; particulars about size, topline, movement; co-ownership pros and cons; what to include in a letter of inquiry, and so on.

I would have liked to have taken time to read through all of them again, but I was in a rush to get the binders filled and cross the chore off my to-do list. A few articles did catch my eye.

One article was written as a result of a Futurity I judged. It included a critique of the entry and what I liked about the dogs that were my winners. Boy, did that bring back memories. I recall being so nervous about judging a Futurity. I had been in the ring many times as an exhibitor, but to be asked to judge was an honor and I wanted to do it right. I did! My Futurity winner went on to finish that day in the regular judging! Whew!

In another article I commented on people saying to me that I must have a lot of puppy sales as a result of my being a columnist. That was not true, as I pointed out in the article. No one really paid attention to the by-line as evidenced by a phone call I took one evening during which the caller kept quoting from a couple of my articles and explaining that the author obviously knew more about Lhasas than I did. So I asked him the name of the columnist. He responded, "Joyce Johanson," so then I asked him if he recalled to whom he was speaking. He started to say something and basically ended up with "oh."

Social media has, if nothing else, been a good vehicle for getting information from others quickly. (Whether or not they know what they are talking about, everyone has an opinion.) Back in the days when I was writing the columns, readers would mail letters or call me with questions about an article's topic or about anything they were concerned about regarding Lhasas. In the next article (usually published a couple months later), I would ask readers if anyone had advice on the subject of the call. More waiting for mail and phone calls, then another article would be written and submitted, then published a couple months later. It was the norm. We would not be able to be that patient for answers nowadays!

One funny thing -- I once received in the mail a plastic bag containing a huge amount of hair that someone had groomed out of their Lhasa during his coat change. She wanted me to look at the amount of hair and let her know if it was normal or not. I wrote back assuring her it was. I can't blame her for being concerned when I still get nervous when I see the mounds of undercoat coming out of some of my Lhasas when they are going through a coat change. 

Here is an interesting article from June 1987, titled "Life After Death:"

Remember crying when you watched "Lassie, Come Home?" Remember the tears while you read Incredible Journey?  How brave those animals were! What devotion they felt toward their owners!

Well, except for the fact that there was no one to chronicle her adventure, nine-month-old Lhasa Apso Chelsey, belonging to Bruce and Nancy Ritchie of Vinton, IA, has an equally amazing story. If only Chelsey could talk.

On December 16, Chelsey died. Nancy let her outside for a quick run and Chelsey ran right into the path of a pickup. The truck struck her and its wheels ran over her midsection, killing her instantly.

As Chelsey lay motionless in the street, Nancy examined her carefully for signs of life. Chelsey neither breathed nor moved. There was no doubt--the little dog was dead. Distraught, Nancy wondered how she'd explain to her five-year-old son Bobby that his puppy was dead, and when the truck driver offered to take Chelsey's body, Nancy agreed.

Bobby got a new puppy -- a Shih Tzu.

Bruce, Nancy, and Bobby Ritchie now own two dogs. Chelsey came home!

No one knows how or why, but somehow the little Lhasa survived the injuries to her mid-section, survived being "disposed of" (Nancy surmises Chelsey was thrown into a ditch.), survived the December/January temperatures, and returned to her home in Vinton exactly four weeks after her "death." She was dirty, somewhat underweight, but obviously alive and glad to be home.

Nancy, who had worked six years on an ambulance crew, has had to take some good-nature teasing from townspeople about declaring a live dog dead. Her husband also has remarked that if he drops dead, he'd like a second opinion!

The mystery remains. Where were you for 30 days, Chelsey? What did you have to go through to get back home?

If only Chelsey could talk. 

Judge's Critique

I mentioned that I wrote a critique about the Futurity I judged. A critique is not required of judges so I was both surprised and pleased when I was looking through the American Lhasa Apso Club's website a couple weeks ago and ran across the critique the 2018 National Specialty Judge wrote about her Specialty winners since my Autumn was included in the critique. Here it is:

A Few Notes and Photos from Others

Lynn wrote about Stone, "Here’s a few photos so you can see Stone’s coloring. The gold is mostly around his nose and you can see he’s getting more white, as well. He’s got two spots of white on his right ear and on his legs, they’re starting to get white and “lighter than black” hairs. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t eventually end up with gold on his legs, as well, as they’re starting to change, just like his face. Although it’s not showing up very good in the photo."

How interesting! As a puppy (and he still is just 8 months old) Stone was black-black! We generally do not see what is called "silvering out" until the dog is older. I told Lynn that even for myself I preferred the term "silvering out" to "getting gray!" 


Judy shared news about Ty and Izzy, her two Joyslyn's dogs: "Hi Joyce."WOO HOO!  Ty finally completed an entire agility course at the Lhasa Apso trial I was in charge of  Feb. 8,9,10. On Friday the temperature high was Zero!! Many of the dogs did not show up. Saturday Ty jumped 7 jumps and then decided to quit.  Now on Sunday he completed 15 jumps, refused the 6th weave pole, but finished up with the tunnel..He did not make time, but I was on cloud 9.  We drove home in the snowstorm, but I was so happy. We  finally reached our goal of finishing a course.  Since he was the only Lhasa running he received a standing ovation. Lots of good memories…Izzy is my forever student. Three years of agility training and then 3 off courses. She does what she wants to do. Two years of rally and I don't think I will ever put her in another trial. She ran all over the course and then sat down!  She enjoys training with Winny so she will continue going to class."

Izzy, Izzy...definitely a Lhasa with a will of her own!

From Lisa: "I hope all is well with you! What a brutal winter!  Of course, my sweet puppy doesn't care. She loves the snow… I named her Tilliebelle. She is spunky, sassy, and cuddly when she wants to be, and everything I could have ever hoped for. She has become my shadow, and has gone a long way to fill the empty shoes left by my senior Lhasa."

Sally wrote, "Ginger finally got a bath and out of that dumb blue cone around her neck. She doesn't like the hair dryer but that will come along.We are starting to get some longer walks in and she loves being outside…She weighs 11 pounds. I'm glad you like her AKC name. She is so sweet and so good. I'm so happy to have her."

Violet sent a photo of her Shadow and his favorite sleeping position.


We should have puppies during the first week of April and the last week of April, if all goes as planned.

Also, if you are interested in being on the list for a retired adult female, we will have two of our girls available by fall.

That's it for now!

Stay warm!