Monday, June 30, 2008

Nox and Shugah Get Edu-ma-cated

This past Saturday we took Nox and Shugah to handling class in Garland. David (who handles Solo on occasion when Jill isn't available) has discontinued classes, and it was so difficult for us to get to them anyway since they were on a weeknight and over an hour away :( So we tried another class for the first time since we're in town more often thanks to less trips out of town to show.

We were a bit apprehensive since we hadn't done much with the girls other than take them to visit at occasional field trials, and Shugah had only gone once! So neither really had show-level leashbreaking. Thought it might be nice for them to get some class experience since they are entered in their first show on July 4th!

When we arrived an earlier class was still in progress - full of plenty of interesting new breeds that the girls had never been exposed to. Borzoi can be notoriously "breedist" - recognizing the sighthound type and being wary of the others. At the first show of this year, we had a heckuva time walking Buster and Wulfie through a group of Bulldogs awaiting at ringside! They did not want to be anywhere near the "alien doggies"! Nox and Shugah didn't even look twice (and even touched nosies with some) at the Pug, Bulldog, Dachshunds, Irish Setter, BIG Irish Wolfhound, or even the Husky. So within 5 minutes of our arrival we were already doing better than expected .

Both girls were a bit hesitant about the rubber mat flooring. They behaved better on lead than expected, especially since it was a bit more restrained than the "walk about on a long, loose lead in the middle of the field" method that they were familiar with. They both behaved excellent on the stacked exam, although both tend to post slightly out of fussiness about being made to stand still a certain way. A stranger's approach didn't bother them in the least, and they didn't break their stack either. Woohoo!

We might just survive the Dallas shows!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Out Into the Big World (Kinda)

With the almost oppressive heat that has descended upon North Texas, Ginger's pups that remain here have been kept inside longer than our personal preference for optimum growth (much less, life experiences). We settled for a compromise and a few days ago started putting the rowdy trio into the puppy pen in the evening and they stay out the night with adopted brother Goth and surrogate sis Qiqi, along with Missi. Pryss, Darkun and Perry get to raise some cain throughout the night with their new buds and after we bring them in in the morning, they're a bit too tired to trash their kitchen area while we're away at work for the day. Perry will head to his new home (with half-sister GoGo) in Florida at the end of August!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bend Over, Dallas Dog Owners

Received today from the RPOA (Responsible Pet Owners' Alliance):

Martin Kralik has given RPOA permission to forward his message below to our subscribers. Dallas Democracy in action -- NOT! Those of you who've experienced the same treatment elsewhere can empathize. Permission to crosspost.

What was supposed to happen:

* 144 speakers - some for and some opposed - were supposed to be given 3 minutes each to speak to the city council before the vote on the new animal ordinances. Also, a majority of 19 more speakers, listed regarding the animal ordinance, were supposed to be given 3 minutes each to speak after the vote. I have the lists.

What actually happened:

* Upon seeing the council chambers full of passionate people, Mayor Leppert
decided to limit each side to 15 minutes total (that's five 3-minute speeches) and said those 'against' should go first. He gave us 2 minutes to organize since the agenda-sequence-of-speakers, at that point, was thrown out. This gave the other side 'for the ordinances' 15+ minutes to organize. Speakers who had worked long and hard to shoehorn their speeches into 2-3 minutes in reality only got 30 seconds to one minute to make their point. Then, any others who had not spoken were given 30 seconds to say something limited to one point. Those speaking for the ordinance were routinely given more time before they were cut off.

* Then each council member spoke:

1. Elba Garcia, of course nattered on the longest about how all were in agreement that they had to do something now and they must pass the ordinances.

2. Rasansky -he's totally for the ordinances - saying the 'Breeders' had to step up and pay.

3. Leppert blindly followed Elba

4. Neumann said he was for it but asked the city Secretary to define the plan of implementation i.e., pass the ordinance and then define the plan. yeah that makes sense???

5. Kadane pointed out they had no plan and didn't know the cost - they should continue the nite raids and get the loose dogs off the street but hold off and re-analyze/define a better set of ordinances after more research.

6. Caraway and his constituents want the loose dogs off the streets now.

7. Ron Natinsky - Questioned Forest Turner (Animal Control) at length about how did they arrive at 360,000+/- dogs in Dallas, 50,000+/- of which are licensed now, leaving how many of the roughly 310,000 are loose roaming dogs?, and how many are pets? They have no idea. Specifically if Dallas covers roughly 385 square miles, distributing the 310,000 across 385 square miles would be roughly 800 - almost 1000 dogs per square mile (simple math). He asked Forest whether he saw anything close to 800 animals when they recently went on their nite raid to catch loose dogs. They caught 22 and 40 or so got away - No where near 800 seen. GOOD ARGUMENT! Ron suggested since they don't know what they are doing, that they pass the 'tether/vicious' dog amendments and throw out the mandatory sterilization/limits/breeder registration till later. After Ron passed out an adjusted ordinance to the members with these changes made, Elba complained about being given only 3 minutes to consider the changes and refused to even look at it - so much for working together as a real council.

8. The adjusted ordinance from Natinsky was quickly rejected by a majority vote.

9. Back to the new ordinances(whatever version they had today) - final vote was Kadane, Natinsky and Angela Hunt voted against, and the rest voted to pass the new ordinances.

I am outraged at how easily the mayor, knowing full well how passionate people were about this, threw us under the bus and went on with his agenda.

My speech - 2 minutes long - which I did not get a chance to make, follows -
* My name is Martin Kralik and I've lived in Preston Hollow in north Dallas for 23 years. I'm a law abiding citizen. I have been a responsible pet owner all my life, and I'm involved in rescue.

* I'm trying to stay in Dallas but you will drive me out with these new ordinances, for which I was given NO representation on the Shelter Committee.

* Why have there been NO REAL public hearings on this? Why are there NO responsible pet owners on the animal commission? The entire Dallas community of some of the most reputable breeders in the nation, and very knowledgeable fanciers and members of dog owners' organizations who call Dallas home, has been shut out and ignored by your animal commission.

* The proposed ordinances ignore the main problems (as stated by several council members) of roaming aggressive loose animals, and an underfunded Animal Control Department i.e. 8 trucks to cover 385 square miles and many unfilled staff vacancies???

* Beside ignoring the main problem of loose animals, the new ordinances mandate that I be subjected to UNCONSTITUTIONAL SEARCHES AND SEIZURES in my home.

* I think it is outrageous that Dallas wants to TAX/PUNISH me with fees/taxes/fines/procedures because the city is not willing to enforce existing laws on the relatively few irresponsible people who actually cause the loose dog problems.

* Many City Council members and your animal committee chairman admit all these mandatory sterilization/limits/registration/micro chipping procedures will NOT correct the Dallas loose animal problem.

* Regarding the problem of Dallas' overcrowded animal shelters, many states including New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin and Connecticut have a huge pet shortage and are importing thousands of dogs from many states to supply adoptable pets. You could empty the Dallas shelter and start over! Has anyone even checked this out??? The answer is no, and it reflects the mismanagement of the shelter program.

* I urge you to reject these ordinances and give representation to the vast community of responsible pet owners in creating equitable solutions to Dallas' animal problems.

I still go back to there have been NO REAL public hearings on this.

I think a large part of the Dallas dog/cat community has no idea that now if they want an intact animal for any reason, the registration/breeders license they are required by law to buy, authorizes the city to conduct unannounced unconstitutional searches and seizures IN YOUR HOME. (How will this work with the Castle Doctrine?)

Where can we go from here?
I'm ready to fight.
Martin Kralik
Dallas resident

Time to Follow That Thought

Hmmmmm....taking the advice from the post just previous to this, I guess it's time to lift a leg on the Dallas City Council. Three of them would be exempt from the yellow stream - those being Sheffie Kadane, Ron Natinsky (who even offered an alternative ordinance that contained some common sense!), and Angela Hunt. The rest of the council can drown in it - accepting the propaganda of the whacked-out animal rights movement (whose goal is to eliminate pets from the earth) which was spewed forth from the opposition, including those that had been appointed to the Animal Shelter Committee. heard right, they have put card-carrying PeTA members on the shelter committee as opposed to folks with animal husbandry experience who really do care about animals. We all know what the PeTA faction preaches..."better dead than fed"...witnessed by their 97% euthanization rate. This is their first step towards the elimination of animal ownership in Dallas. They've already managed to criminalize it. What a sad, sad day.

Link to Dallas Morning News article

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thought for the Day

Saw this on one of the lists I belong to. Hmmmmmm...

Handle every stressful situation like a dog.
If you can't eat it or play with it,
Pee on it and walk away.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Little Rock, AR Shows

We had a super nice surprise at the shows this past weekend! Not only did Solo take the breed win both days, he received a Group One!! Jill thought it would count for over 100 ranking-points. I guess we'll see! The judge was Jerry Watson, who happened to award Solo's finishing win at the Cen-Tex KC shows a couple years ago. Solo will leave with Jill for the OKC shows in a few days. I hear they've got some nice prizes available, so hope the UberGoober brings back a little bling .

the World is a Little Less Funny Today

What a lousy way to wake up on a Monday - to the news that one of the most intuitive, albeit at times cranky, comedians has passed. George Carlin was a wordsmith and a marvel, and one of the first stand-up comics that I had ever seen. I remember a rare night ages ago when I was allowed to stay up late and watch Carson, and Carlin performed his Football vs. Baseball routine. He became an instant favorite. Back in the 80s I did get to see him live at a show in Houston. He had to be one of the funniest curmudgeons I've ever seen. I had a daily calendar with snippets of his outlook on the world - and I still have a pile of my favorite bits of daily wisdom clipped together and tucked away.

A few weeks ago I DVR'd his latest special on HBO. I think I will raise a glass tonight and watch it.

"Just when I discovered the meaning of life, it changed."
~ George Carlin

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Some Networking

Someone on one of the lists I'm on had posted some networking sites I went ahead and got myself listed on them. and

Here are the links to my profiles, if you're feeling bored or curious, or bored to the point of curiousity.

At work, they decided to offer a trial program in terms of the schedule - and I took them up on it. Working 8-6 Mon. - Thu., 8-5 Fri. with every other Friday off. The pilot program ends in mid-August, but I hope they make it permanent! Considering that my daily drive is about 57 miles round-trip in the Astro-van...a day off the road would be a GOOD thing, because it's really sad when gas is becoming too expensive to get to your job to even pay your gas bill, much less the rest!

So my weekend starts tomorrow! I've got plenty to do with some web updates on several sites, as well as getting some dogs bathed - and hoping I can find information on a handling class for Saturday so I can take Shugah and Nox. Since I entered them in the Dallas shows July 4th weekend, it might be nice if they had a *little* training!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lil' Googlepage

my little googlepage

Kind of a "web design update"...I played with the free online Google-page designer today and posted what amounts to a doorway to my main Gryffyn's Aeyrie site. Been trying to make use of several of Google's webmaster tools and other gadgets there to improve and highlight my well as have a bit of fun!

You can view the page online HERE.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Road to (and From) Silkenfest

This year, the ISWS rented a dude ranch for our national specialty show (aka 'Silkenfest') - located in Granby, Colorado. Now...I'm all about trips to CO - always looking for an excuse. And this time was no exception!

Also no exception was the obstacles that kept getting tossed in our way! First off was the cost of staying for 2 people - $100 per day per person, including food. Well...that would have been super for one person, but not the two of us, considering we don't really splurge when going to shows (sleeping in the van on the way, eating gas station "food" or various junk). Since I would be footing the entire bill, including gas, there was just no way. I still haven't finished paying for the gas to Westminster (much less the hotel)! We also would not be guaranteed a room since we wouldn't be there for the entire time (4-5 days) - which just wouldn't wash since I need a ground floor room thanks to my lousy back and knees.

So I found a cabin to stay at about 20 miles away, which also had a little fenced yard which would be super-convenient for getting the dogs ex'ed. Vickie, who has Sylvi from us also planned to go, along with her husband. We were thrilled at the prospect of seeing one of our guys at the show that we didn't own!

Then...we couldn't get a petsitter. So Victor had to stay at the house while I went on the excursion. NOW it would be cheaper to stay at the ranch - and I was informed that there was a ground room available. was too late to cancel the cabin without great pains to my wallet (what's left of it). Sooooooo....on we go. Then I got an email from Vickie - something had come up at her husband's job, and they couldn't go. But then, she asked if she could ride along with me - that sounds good to me! All a bit last minute - but that tends to be how we roll anyway!

We started out after work on Wednesday evening and reached Amarillo at 3 in the morning after painstakingly driving the Zoibus at the posted speed limit (a VERY hard thing for me to do - but I wanted to see if it would help the mileage. It did...a little bit.) We bunked down for about 5 hours at a local motel and then left Amarillo, after a vital Starbuck's visit, around 9:30. I had opted for the flatland trip to CO - down Highway 287 all the way to Limon, as opposed to the Raton Pass route. A bit less scenic ( least as the pass is concerned...87 is pretty darned boring too, and the last time had too many construction areas with 40 mph limits and well as "Safety Zones", whatever the heck those are) but it would allow us to bypass CO Springs and/or Denver during rush hours.

We hit some threatening clouds near Springfield, although we didn't get much in the way of heavy rain. Just after the windmill farm we saw one heck of a lightshow. When we gassed up in Lamar, we learned that a tornado had gone over Springfield, which explained all the siren-blaring emergency vehicles we had seen in the middle of seeming nowhere.

Our next trip highlight was coming to Berthoud Pass - we watched the temperature drop as we climbed ever upward! We came to just below the treeline. The Zoibus handled it all pretty well too - which was a great relief, although I am not a fan of driving near ledges with big drop-offs. Little did I know...

It had been a long day, and hardly anyone had participated in potty-time that morning, so we opted to check-in to the cabin I had reserved and let the dogs take care of business in the little yard and then I would take Vickie on up to KMR (King Mountain Ranch) where all the festivities were. The drive from Grand Lake down to Granby then out to the ranch was a pretty easy stretch...until....we got to the "driveway" of the ranch. In all the posts about the location, this particular "road" (I use the term loosely at this point) was not mentioned! It was a 4 1/2 mile twisty dirt "road" that had recently had a barrage of rain (and before that, snow) and was apparently consisting of a good bit of clay. For the highest and longest-size Sprinter was a Slip-n-Slide. For a road weary traveler with a fear of heights at the end of a long was terrifying. We felt the Zoibus lose traction on several occasions after we had to zip through the big mud wallow just after turning off the pavement - heard later that some folks got stuck in the pit there.

the "road of near-death" to KMR

It took longer for me to travel up their "driveway" than it did for me to drive the almost 20 miles from my cabin. Nothing like a white-knuckle ride. Vickie had spotted a bald eagle flying low over the lake - I would have loved to have seen it, but was too busy trying to keep from plummeting into the lake itself in a poor impression of flight. As she checked into the ranch, I spent my time having a pure panic attack at the prospect of navigating the way down. I've got to hand some BIG credit to one of their wranglers/employees (Dave?) who graciously drove me back down to the civilized road and dealt with the crazy and nervously chatty flatlander.

The next day I allowed myself plenty of time to make the trip and have some time to settle before the show began. A bit unsuccessful as I had to get the manager/owner of the cabin to come pull out my van as it would not reverse (I had parked close enough to the cabin to not allow me to go forward) up a small incline. I later learned that diesel + high altitude + a touch of cool does not make for much in the way of power. I also learned that despite knowing more of what to expect on the ranch "driveway", I was still terrified, and this time managed to get the Zoibus sideways as it slid, which I thankfully managed to steer out of, despite the nose being pointed towards the ledge. At that very moment - I lost any notion of happy thoughts.

I did soak up as much of the cooler weather as I could though! The rings were outside and on occasion it was a bit too nippy - but knowing what awaited me back home (heat indexes upwards of 100 degrees), I enjoyed the occasional shiver.

Saturday after the show concluded, we opted to head back to the cabin and vegetate and prepare for the trip home the next morning. I allowed all the dogs to come hang out in the little yard, with the back door half open so that they could come and go. Most opted for a nap in the streaming sunlight on the deck, although luxury lover Tyler felt his place was beside me on the futon as I semi-consciously watched the little tv and attempted to once again find my happy (fail!). We munched on the food I had brought with me for the trip (chicken salad with grapes, marinated tomatoes, and wasabi slaw, and a few other items), failing to find a pizza delivery option after a mouth-watering commercial. The folks next to us were intrigued by the dogs and we had a nice visit - sounds like they may be interested in getting a Silken someday! Such irresistible little dogs!

the back deck and its beautiful view

Morning came too soon, and we got everyone pottied, loaded and packed and did some tidy-up (inside and out) before dropping the key off at the office. I had opted for the interstate route home in the hopes of knocking off an hour or two...if we didn't doze off from boredome - it's not the most exciting of drives. While nearing Salina, KS we could see the threatening skies to the south. We didn't get rain until near Wichita, but in Oklahoma the skies burst and the winds really kicked in. It got to be too difficult to handle the Sprinter with the wind blowing the rain sideways - and the wipers could hardly keep up with the deluge. Near the exit for Enid (or some town beginning with an 'E'!) we pulled off into one of the truck parking areas, with some other cars coming in behind us. After about 30 minutes or so, we continued on our way, and we hit more heavy rain in Perry but the wind was much more manageable. Once we hit Oklahoma City, the roads were dry. Vickie took over the wheel again about 30 minutes from the state line as I was starting to completely fade. We got to her house about 4:30 that morning, and I arrived in McKinney 30 minutes later, just in time for Victor to wake up to begin the morning dog routine. After waking up the dogs from "road mode" and getting them out to do their business, I promptly passed out.

Another year's specialty trip come to an end.

always a winner in my eyes - Tyler

Here are some related links:

My online gallery for the trip - LOTS of pictures of the scenery. Vickie learned the art of "drive-by photography" while I navigated Berthoud pass, as well as witnessing my snapping of pictures at 70 mph

Mountain Lakes Lodge - the place where I stayed. I want to go back, it was so beautiful and comfy!

King Mountain Ranch - the beautiful dude ranch where Silkenfest was held. The staff were wonderful and the scenery breathtaking

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Post-Silkenfest Brief

Well....I guess it's what happens when a terrier man from another country judges sighthounds! C'est la vie! Or whatever "that's life" is in Spanish!

No "three-peat" for Tyler (aka "Wee-man") - actually he was completely shut out, without even an Award of Merit. But we still had fun seeing everyone again and meeting some new folk. The scenery was gorgeous (even if it did try to kill me - see future posts for that) to boot - both at the ranch and at the little cabin I had rented 20 miles away (pictures forthcoming).

Despite my dismay at some of the judging, some dogs I admired came away with honors - notably Dita (Talisman Maia Mudita Kumbaya). Tyler's pups from Cinder's breeding did well in their classes, with his daughter Ilsa earning Best Opp Puppy honors. Our color of the day seemed to be white (4th), with the exception of Luna, who earned 3rd in the Bred-by class, and Isaak and Trouble, who walked.

I also got to get an eyeful of prospective 'husbands' for some of the girls - always nice to see what else is out there that may complement our breeding goals.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

New Design

OK - not very exciting stuff....but it IS a new design. This one's for the regular 9 to 5 grind, and the content's certainly dry unless you are a prospective student to the University.

It is a totally CSS-driven layout - no tables to clog up the HTML. This is something I've been trying to learn more and more about, and this site is one of the stepping stones of learning before I once again tackle a redesign of the Gryffyn's Aeyrie website.

Some of my other work has CSS layouts, with the occasional table for items within the main content area on some of them (Glacier Kennels, Kyrov Borzoi, Double-0 Shar Pei, Lone Star Borzoi Club, Borzoi Club of America, plus some others).

Also working on learning more about Adobe Photoshop and its Brushes pre-sets. I've got some graphics ideas that I need more and more work translating into the new layout for our site...oh how my head starts throbbing. But it's fun to see how it all turns out!