Saturday, April 26, 2008

New Site

Just went live with the new site for BCOA's 2009 National Specialty Show, with the 2008 Nats having just concluded last weekend in California. I was disappointed that I was unable to attend this year thanks to my disagreeable wallet. I really really hope that I will be able to make the MI national next May - I will certainly have plenty of youngsters to get out and show off. Guess it's time to start saving now and pray that no [more] unfortunate expenses come up.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Some Happier Tidings

I received word that our "golden boy" that we placed with a couple in California has finished his requirements for both a Rarities and an ISWS Championship this past weekend! He won Winners Dog at the Rarities show that had an ISWS Specialty in conjunction with the classes, as well as another WD win. He had gone in with 5 Rarities points - so the newly earned 10 finished him up! He is also an SRC (Silken Racing Champion) - so he now has dual champion status (the 4th Silken to do so)! So BIG congrats to Rick and Ann Steele on Brewer's accomplishments!

ISWS NAKC/Rarities IABCA UCICB International Champion Gryffyn's Strange Brew, SRC

It was a difficult decision for us to place Brewer - but after chatting with the Steele's online and realizing that he would have the best chance at something of a racing career out west where there are many participating - we decided it was a great match. And it has been!!

Brewer's sister Kandi has been leased to our friend (and Peepers' breeder) Mary Childs for a breeding, and I got an email yesterday letting me know that her pregnancy is confirmed! Kandi and Brewer are siblings of Ginger (and Tyler) from the repeat breeding of the first litter. I look forward to more news on Kandi, seeing her puppies, and also Kandi's return home! I've missed her so much!

Gryffyns Under the Milky Way

Perci - Saying Goodbye

my favorite picture of him, taken by Sally Papin

Yesterday morning I had to say goodbye to one of our boys. A son of my beloved Nikki, he wasn't known to many, and he didn't do anything all that grand when it came to showing - matter of fact, he didn't much care for it, although he did finish his championship. He would come up occasionally in conversation on the lists when the subject had turned to ticking markings. He was affectionately called the "Blue Belton Borzoi". He wasn't much for strangers although he did make friends with some folks outside our home, notably our petsitters who had a soft spot in their hearts for the old man. He was also the first dog that Jill, who currently shows Solo in the specials ring, handled for me.

Perci turned 10 just last month. He and his brother Arthur would tear out the back door looking half their age every day. They were partners in crime. Perci was introduced to straight racing when he was 5-6 years of age. He raced a few months ago and looked pretty darned good for a Borzoi of his age. Recently he began to be hard to keep weight on, especially in comparison to his sibs here, Arthur and Danu (fatty fatty). But he kept eating and running around and being very active.

Sunday he looked less active than usual. He gobbled down a can of A/D food after I noticed he wasn't too terribly interested in the kibble. We figured he was just having an off day. Monday morning he was a bit less active but still ate a bit - Monday evening he looked like he had shrunk. He had soiled his pen as well. He ate a bit after I had added some gravy from our Boston Market take-out.

This morning I took him to the vet and I got the bad news a couple hours later. Perci was in renal failure, his prostate was inflamed (possibly infected - and he had just had a prostate exam in December with no issues noted), and x-rays showed 2 large masses in his lungs. Based on past experiences with lung cancer and renal failure, we opted to let him go, so I went back down to the clinic to be with him.

What a ghastly week it's been :(

I will miss my sweet old freckled fellow.

CH Gryffyn's The Road to Avalon
March 20, 1998 - April 22, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mourning - Ginger Gone Too Soon

No matter the age, it always seems too soon to say good-bye to our loved ones. Friday morning we experienced a loss so unexpected that I couldn't have even begun to imagine it. The previous day I had to go the dentist for an emergency tooth repair (an uncrowned tooth with a root canal had broken the night before) and was experiencing the mother of all nitrous hangovers when Victor awoke me to tell me that he had found Ginger semi-conscious in the backyard, not far from the outer corner of the cross-fenced area that several Silkens are in. She was gasping and her tongue was blue. I stuck my hand down her throat as far past the tongue as I could reach and found no obstruction. I didn't see her flanks moving with breath but her heart was still beating. I was frantic - it looked so similar to the time that Astyn just dropped and began gasping for air, that I thought it was an aneurysm or cardiac episode or a thrown clot (the 3 scenarios offered by our vet upon Astyn's passing). I felt her heart slip away. Our gorgeous silver girl was gone forever.

We took her to the vet clinic for a necropsy and also asked for an x-ray to determine if perhaps her neck had been broken, as she was not far from the corner of one of the yards. When we let that group out in the morning they run hellbent for leather around and around - so we thought perhaps she had grazed the fence at speed. The x-ray did solve the mystery - although not what we had imagined. Apparently Ginger had picked something up that interested her, and choked on it. It was very far down her trachea
- the vet assured me there was no way I would have been able to reach it - she didn't even think it could have been reached with calipers.

I still feel like I failed. And I'm heartbroken that I won't get to see Ginger's smile again. She was such a joyous girl - never had a bad day in her life. Always happy - sometimes irritatingly so - and never an ugly word to another dog. I am thankful that some of her progeny remain here - Gabe, Siren and Radar. We also have her pups born this past March that we will soon be evaluating seriously.

But nothing will ever replace our glorious, silver beauty.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

the A/R Shadow Falls on Dallas

Permission given to cross post.
This article is written by Joyce Miller of Dallas, Texas.

Be sure to read the last line a second time.

Right now, animal rights people have fanned out across the country to make what got tabled in California happen city by city, town by town, state by state. The approach is to local animal services organization; the agenda is new animal laws that will have a startling effect on our ability to enjoy our dogs.

The AR volunteers work within the animal services in city after city, town after town, to get a proposed law put together that is extreme to say the least, and they can do all of this within animal services without worrying about open meeting laws. After all, the AR people are simply volunteers helping the staff. By the time a community gets any inkling that these laws are about to hit the stage, it's just about too late to stop them.

At the most, people try to get some of the most severe terms relaxed. Right now, there is a law proposed in Florida to make collecting animal semen illegal.

Now that I have your attention, let me share with you what is currently being recommended in Dallas, what Animal Services and the City Council are assuming will be law by the end of the month, and to date, nothing in the local newspapers, the local news programs, or even a copy of the actual proposed law.

Unlike San Antonio, the previous last city to fall to these tactics, the AKC kennel club registered in Dallas, the Texas Kennel Club, has hired an animal lawyer to help them fight this legislation. But to date, without any news coverage, very few residents know what is about to happen and how it will affect their enjoyment of their dogs.

1. Pet limits. Dallas has never had limits on the number of pets a resident may own. As with most communities, there are plenty of laws on the books that can handle households that have too many pets that are creating a neighborhood nuisance or constituting cruelty to animals. Under the proposed new laws, the limit will be either five or six pets (no one seems able to get a consistent reading on the number). That is dogs, cats or combination in a single family home.

2. Mandatory spay neuter by four months of age. Owner of unspayed or unneutered dogs and cats over 4 months of age commits an offense if the owner does not have a Breeder Permit issued annually for each individual animal. (Only dog and cat show breeders qualify for this permit). Owner cannot have a say in their dog being put under anesthesia, being made a perennial puppy by losing the hormones needed for balanced growth of body and mind, etc.

3. Breeder permits/licenses (and the only article that has mentioned anything about this law was a quote by the acting director of animal services, a man who has won an award of some kind of merit from PeTA: in that article, this man stated that he would not allow any breeder permits in residential neighborhoods). So what will a breeder license look like in Dallas if the law is passed without changes. It appears that there will be:

A. Breeder permit/license to keep an intact dog or cat. Breeders can apply to Animal Services for a breeder permit/license. Such applications must be approved by the director of Animal Services.

B. Each dog or cat approved for a permit must be registered with a national registry (approved by the animal services director) AND whose owner is a member of a purebred dog or cat club (also approved by the animal services director). The club must have a code of ethics restricting breeding dogs and cats with genetic defects and life threatening health problems for approval.

C.The breeder permit will be $500 annually for EACH intact animal; the animal's license will be an additional fee.

D. This permit will not be available to any other pet owner. And as mentioned above, it is unlikely that the current Animal Services administration will allow any of these permits/licenses in residential neighborhoods. This means that sports people, performance people, SAR people, hunting people will have to have their animals neutered.

E. Anyone who gets a breeder permit agrees that Animal Services has the right to send in someone to make unannounced inspections of their premises at any time and the breeders must admit them.

F.. No one else can legally breed animals in Dallas.

4. No tethering of any dogs if the owner is not present.

5. Confined dogs must have crates or runs or pens that meet confinement requirements of 150 feet pen size per dog

6. Foster Care Providers must obtain a form from the director to apply for a permit (notarized by the legal owner and one occupant of the dwelling unit) to keep up to 10 dogs, cats or any combination which authorizes unannounced inspections of premises and this permit must be approved by the director.

When I first read these proposed ideas, I thought that they were making them so outrageous so they would have wiggle room in order to reduce things like the permit fee for breeders etc. But given the fact that hearings are going into their second week (only on Wednesdays), there has been no media coverage, and proponents are saying that they expect these to be law by the end of the month, I suspect that the final law could be quite close to what is outlined above.

The first that I heard about it was in March, and I heard about it from two people who are very involved with the kennel club and with getting people to attend hearings. No cost assessments/analyses have been done. Animal Services is currently underfunded, and the mayor has made it clear that there will be no increase in their funding for these laws.

So, here we are discussing different ways of training, recognizing the work that goes into having an obedience or agility champion, knowing what the dogs need maturity to participate in any serious sport or work, and all the while, across the country, more and more of these laws are becoming law with little or no fanfare.

Here in Dallas, the proponents are saying that this will solve the problem of loose dogs breeding randomly, but the only people that will be caught up are the residential breeders whose dogs never run loose and never breed randomly. With the requirement that a breeder belong to a breed club approved by animal services, this is also meant to do away with mixed breeds.

Do, please, check out what may be happening in your city or town, and be ready to fight for your right to decide when and if your dog will be neutered, the right of careful breeders to breed to their breed standards, etc. Dallas breeders and animal lovers are making a valiant effort, and they are grateful for the help of the Texas Kennel Club, but this is very, very serious. And it sounds like it will come to a city or town near you.

Joyce Miller of Dallas, Texas

New AKC Dual Champion

Victor hauled some dogs over to Cleburne for a local Ridgeback club's AKC lure trials while I made my way over to Stephenville for a LSBC meeting at the shows. Just *love* 8 am ringtimes (NOT) - and then to find out that it was just myself and one other member due to some emergencies by other expected folks. Sara and I made the best of it and added to our respective to-do lists, and then I drove to Cleburne to finish out the day.

I missed the Prelim run of Solo-Jane-Magik. I was walking out to the field for Doodle and Sassi's dissappointing performance. Doodle started out well made a turn and a half - and then you could almost see the lightbulb over her head - SNACKS!! She was insistent that the cattle that had been on the field had left her some tasty delicacies for her dining pleasure. Sassi managed a turn or so more - but then declined to participate further without her partner - so stood and watched Doodle snack away, occasionally looking off at the lure and trying to decide if it was worth the effort to play. Doodle at least went over to "kill" the lure at the end after it passed by her again - as if that would prevent me from noticing her al fresco dining experience [sigh]. They both received NQ scores.

Doodle relaxes (after her "hard" work) sprawled atop her granddaughter Faina

It's heartbreaking for me that Sassi no longer shows the desire she once had for playing lure games. There were times we could see glimpses of her former field self when she was running with housemates (she became a weenie about running with other dogs) - but now it looks as though she has completely quit the sport. It is apparently much more satisfying for the little diva to decorate the couch with her presence - or go out and play with her pups that remain here.

I was told that Magik disagreed HEAVILY with the course plan as laid out on the field, and had also presented something of a distraction to Jane (if not a possible danger to both dogs). She was pulled after Prelims. Jane and Solo had a nice finals run - trading back and forth. They both initially cut at the start and Solo ended up on his belly after he landed in a 2-3 foot deep circular impression in the ground (not sure of its diameter) - his next stride looked like a belly crawl and I thought he would go down, but then he was back to normal and straight to the lure. He hit the far right corners nicely too and he and Jane raced to the middle of the course and did some switching until the end.

Solo and Jane tied for their Finals run, but the extra point Solo had earned in Prelims put him on top for the day to finish his AKC Field Championship, making him an AKC Dual Champion (DC). For his trouble, he was allowed to pick out a toy at a vendor there - he was perfectly happy with that! Daughter Faina had a practice run at the end of the day - first time to learn about turns! She did pretty well - although at the furthest point from the start (naturally) she became entranced with a pulley. Some other dogs had expressed an interest in it earlier as well - must have needed a bit of grease or something. Then something caught her eye back in the treeline and she watched and watched for a while, sometimes stepping closer. She finally turned her attention back to the lure and finished up (at least to the point where she saw me standing, as I had walked onto the course trying to call her away from the trees).

We celebrated by picking up an order at the local Mexican restaurant we frequent and gorging at the house.

On Sunday we headed to WindyGlen in Boswell, OK for the NOTRA meet. We had a total entry of 8, and Solo tied for third with our visitor Boudie (a nephew of Arthur's sired by Merlyn) - so they had to split a quarter of a point, leaving Solo with 3/4 of a point to finish his ORC. Ugh.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Some Sad News

I received word this morning that the last of the dogs from my first litter has passed from this world. Kodi lived with a physics professor from a local university who at the time had several girls - so Kodi had his own personal "harem", although no one was ever bred. Kodi had an open, compound fracture of the femur as a 4-5 week old pup, and wore an external fixator device for several weeks. He healed well and no perceptible limp once grown. I chose to go on with his brother Freddi and placed Kodi with Richard after receiving glowing references from friends of ours.

He had a wonderful life, occasionally attending class and he and the girls traveling to a beautiful cabin in Colorado surrounded by pines. Daily walks with his harem in tow. Pictures can be found HERE.

I remember ages ago hearing from Richard that an April Fools' article was written about him naming a comet for the fawn colored fellow. And now today, he has gone. He was 12 years 9 months and one week old

Rest well Kodi. You had a wonderful life, and thanks to Richard for giving you such a fine home. You will be missed.