Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chelsea Flower Show!

The highlight of the UK vacation for me so far (excepting quality time with The Husband and The Child, of course) has been going to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with my sister-in-law.  This show highlights the best of English gardening, and is held at this same time every year.  The past couple of years we've been here when the show is on, but tickets sell out early so I haven't been able to go.  This year I had my act at least a little bit together, so my sister-in-law was able to get us tickets. 

I LOVED the show.  Lovely flowers, lovely "show" gardens, and great vendors.  Here's a bit of what we saw...

Some well-tended boxwoods
in one of the gold-medal winning gardens

One of the smaller gardens.
I love the layering of flowers.

I LOVED this water feature.
Three small springs bubbling up through the hard path...

And rolling into a lovely swimming pool.
Perfectly sized for Cardi swimming, no?

This was one of my favorite gardens.
The colors were gorgeous, the water serene...

This booth smelled GORGEOUS!!
I never knew there were so many colors of hyacinth.

And I found some stuff I wanted to buy. 
Thankfully none of them would fit in my carry-on.

A thatch-roofed hut for the garden.

Giant, stone Irish Wolfhounds to flank the drive.
Ok, I need a bigger house/property to pull this one off.

Lovely, bronze dog garden sculptures.

When I win the lottery, I'm getting one of these
custom-made rocking horses.  
They'll even do one to match your horse's coloring.  
I LOVE them.... 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Insert hold music here

I'm off with The Child today for our yearly trip to the UK.  The Husband is already there, and we're staying for two weeks.  A good break from work, but that's a LOT of time away from my furry family.

We have a nice lady who stays in our house and watches the pack while we're gone.  I wanted to take a moment to apologize in advance to her.

Lovely house-sitter, I apologize for:

  1. Rip's wildness.  Yes, he's always energetic, but he seems to be on an extra wild kick right now.  Even after a walk he's wild.  I can't explain.
  2. All the pet hair.  I did vacuum, I promise.  But with Maggie and Ziggy both losing their winter coats, the hair tumbleweeds re-form almost immediately.
  3. All the barking.  The Trio are on a bark-a-thon lately.  Inside?  Barking!  Outside?  Barking and running!
  4. The fast-growing lawn.  It's spring in Iowa.  Which means mowing nearly 2x a week.  We'll be gone for 2 weeks. That's 4 missed mowings.  I hope The Trio doesn't get lost in the long grass.  I hope our neighbors don't hate us.
  5. The things I inevitably forgot to do and/or tell you.  I did my best.

House-sitter THANK YOU for staying in the wildness that is our house.  You are a saint (which means you're in good shape on May 21st)!

PS:  I don't know if I'll be able to post anything from across the pond, so things might be on "hold" for a while

Monday, May 16, 2011

That was one expensive show and go!

I just learned that my recent obedience show and go cost me $75 more than I thought it would.

Has inflation caught up with the Iowa dog obedience community?

Just what kind of extortion is going on here?

This kind:

Look quickly - there we go!

Yes, I got caught by a dreaded speed camera on the way to a show and go a couple of weeks ago.  They even caught it on video which, I must admit, is kind of fun to watch.

This is my first ever speeding ticket.  Apparently, I was going 62 in a 45 speed zone.  Yikes!  Thankfully, it's a camera, so no mar on my record - just some $$ to the city of Muscatine.  Maybe they'll use it to put up a bigger sign to alert unsuspecting drivers like me that the speed limit went down.

Ziggy, Rip, and I were in the van together.  They didn't get a shot of the driver, so Ziggy and I are blaming it on Rip.  After all, isn't he the most likely one of the 3 of us to be zooming around?!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dog Show weekend - SCKC

This weekend was my local Kennel Club's yearly show.  As a club member, I'm not allowed to show in conformation, and I'm required to volunteer at least one day.  Meanwhile, the Cardi folks were trying to build a major, so I decided to enter Rip and have someone else show him.  It's a really busy, noisy show so if nothing else I thought it would be a good experience for him.

Here's a summary of the weekend:

I got to be Table Steward for 
8.5 hours of Obedience on Saturday and
4 hours of Rally on Sunday

Now for Rip's view:

The Summit/Foggybottom crew were a well-oiled grooming machine.
Grooming isn't my favorite, but my tail is still wagging.

Here I am meeting some of the many Cardis around. 
Hi, Summit/Foggybottom gang!

Here's me and Alec in the ring.  
Don't we look happy?

More chicken, please.  I know you've got it.

Hi, nice judge lady.  Pay attention, I'm flirting with you!
She didn't give me a ribbon in this class, despite my flirting.
Next time I'll jump up and lick her.

Here's the stuff I won for mom.
Both days I took first in my class.
Yesterday I was Best Cardigan Puppy.
And 4th place in the puppy group!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spring is good for....

..... Lounging on a beautiful day

..... Chasing birds away!

..... Keeping vermin at bay

..... Flowers (hooray!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Of course it is......

Quiz question for today.  What is this??

A UFO in the dark night's sky?

A paint splotch on a dark background?

The light at the end of the tunnel?


It's my "show" dog's left ear.

And guess what we were supposed to be going this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday?  
Yep.  To a 3 day dog show in Wisconsin.

Needless to say, we won't be going.  I was luke-warm about making the 3.5 hour trek North anyway.  Life has been crazy, etc.  But this sealed the deal.

We also have a 2 day show next weekend.  It's local, though, so I'll probably take him anyway.  That also allows nearly 2 weeks for some hair to grow back.

You may be wondering what happened.  Well, remember a week or so ago when I posted about an unsettled pack?  Remember that Maggie bit his ear?  I said something cavalier like "it's nothing but a flesh wound."  

Well, it was nothing but a flesh wound - on the inside of his ear.  But that little flesh wound started to get a bit infected.  So 2-3 times a day I was using a warm washcloth as a poultice, followed by a gentle cleaning, then some neosporin.  It cleared up in a few days, and the wound is now all healed.  

Then last night I was rubbing Rip's ears as we sat on the sofa, and I started to get some hair.  I figured he was finally starting to shed.  Then I got some more hair.  After a few minutes a 50-cent sized piece of hair was missing.  On the outside of the ear - just opposite where the scrape was on the inside.  Yikes!

I'm telling myself that I can already see re-growth, and the hair will be back faster than you can say Chia Pet.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What I learned about handling at the National Specialty

As you know by now, I'm a newbie at conformation handling.  That's why I jumped at the chance to attend the handling seminar that Sherri Hurst.  She's one of the top Cardigan handlers, and handled Chase for a while, too.  It turns out that this was a hands-on seminar, so Carolyn & Mandy prodded me into getting Rip to practice.

What were some of the great things that I learned?

  • Pick up the your dog and have them ready to get on the table as soon as the dog ahead of you is off the table
  • Place them on the table nicely - don't just "dump" them there and have to pull them out of heap to get them positioned
  • When Rip's on the table, hold the collar like I'm picking up a pencil.  This looks much better than what I was doing (trust me)
  • Keep Rip's head up while on the table.  I think I'll try to clicker-train this one...
  • Keep the collar right under the jawbone, and make sure that the skin and fur is smooth underneath
I also learned that I'm not a terrible handler.  Sherri complimented me on my handling, and asked if I'd been handling the breed for a while :-)  I said yes, in obedience and agility...  And no, she wasn't drunk when she said that.

After watching lots of Cardi conformation during the Specialty I've also been working on:
  • Allowing Rip to move on a looser leash, and move out in front of me more
  • Stand stay
  • Back-up
Clearly I have lots to learn for conformation handling, the days at the Specialty made me feel at least a bit more confident, and more importantly, helped me learn what to work on.

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