Welcome to The OBay Shelties blog! Our blog is an honest diary of our life with our dogs along with news from Obay shelties around the world.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Update and Christmas 2011

So Olympia 2011 has come and gone. Zaz and I were paired with Helen and Piaf in the morning pairs event. That was fun and we won the pairs! Zaz copes well with the large crowds and noise; maybe too well as she is slightly out of her mind with excitement!! Very similar to momma Zen at the same event!

Our evening final did not quite go to plan. As the winners of the semi-final in August, Zaz and I ran last. Our run was over at the first jump when Zaz knocked the first bar. At that point I would have liked to have left the ring but at Olympia we have to keep going. The run went from bad to worse and let's say it was not our best run ever! Never mind; I took the best dog home anyway.

I do slightly lose the will to live having to wait around for 6 hours between events. There is only so much shopping I can do in the Olympia village and I hate leaving Zaz alone in her crate. Maybe I am just getting jaded; Olympia does not excite me anymore. Or maybe I am just bah-humbug.

There is only one thing that can bring some Christmas spirit to me and that is Christmas Giz-mo! Damn he is cute!

So what is in store for OBay Shelties for the New year? I seem to continually find beautiful potential litters of puppies only to have missed pregnancies, litters of boys and oversized girls. Maybe 2012 will be my turn for a girl? I am not even choosy anymore; I will take any colour as long as she is small, pretty, smart and feisty with perfect ears. You know, basically Giz-mo without the boy bits.

In the meantime I have finally gotten my chickens! It is a new experience and I am enjoying learning about something new. So far we have gotten ONE egg from the girls and so it is one expensive egg! But the pleasure I get from looking out and seeing them pecking around is priceless. Right now we only have two but when our pen is complete I hope to get a few more. I am thinking 5 would be nice number.

This photo makes me laugh. Dennis bought me this tee-shirt when he went back to NY because I love marshmallow peeps! It is also appropriate considering my new love of chickens! This photo was taken on my birthday just chillin in front of the fire with my pups.

Happy Holidays to all!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Giz-mo The Dude

So Giz-mo is still here with us at nearly 15 weeks old. He may be 10 years old before I decide if he is truly staying with us. I know some people do not understand why I would "not" keep Giz-mo but I really do think carefully about each and every dog I keep. I do not want to get into the situation where I have too many dogs; I have seen it done too many times.

If Giz-mo was a girl he would definitely be staying. He is adorable, smart and funny. So for now he is staying and I am treating him the same as all my other pups. The question will be whether I can handle keeping an intact dog along with intact bitches. Time will tell.

For now he gets along great with all three girls; they love him one minute and just tolerate him the next.

Giz-mo has been learning his little party tricks as well as just being socialized. I try to take him everywhere with me. A few week ago he took a ride with me on the train into London. I carried him in a little bag onto the train and he took it all in his stride. I am glad he was in the bag as the trains were so crowded and I would have been worried about any dog just on a lead.

The day before I did some training to get him used to the little bag. He is such a neat dog to clicker train; he can be so serious about his jobs!

I hope to get some videos of his training to date up. For some reason I am having difficulty being motivated to video him; I think have been fed up with how people are charging money to watch You-tube videos of them training their own dogs! Sigh...

Monday, November 14, 2011

FCI World Agility Championships Wrap-up

So I had lots of emotions building up while waiting to learn if we won a medal. Once the realization hit, I ran down to get Zaz for our lap of honour. Now I wished I had brushed my hair ect as I look a little frazzled! Important things took preference; I needed to change the label on Zaz's harness to her special victory label! You can just about see it here in the photo; it is her name in gold with a gold union jack. Now I am wondering if it looks more bronze and maybe that is why we didn't win the gold! Also I have no idea who wrapped the flag about me but we must have a chat about their bow making abilities; that darn bow kept hitting me in the face when we jogged around. LOL

Then I worried about the lap of honour. Would I fall down or step on Zaz? Would I run too slow? Yes really these are the things going through my head! I got lots of hugs and congratulations from people I did not even know and that felt great. And it was so nice to have the team and other supporters down on the floor with us to celebrate. It made it special. I felt strange being the center of attention. Other than when I am running my dogs I really don't like being the center of attention and my shyness comes out. Thank goodness I had Zaz with me!

I love this photo of me and Zaz with Lesley and Dennis. I couldn't have done it without them! Zaz looked so cute in this photo as if she were trying to hide.

Wow I even got a hug from Greg but he ruined it by saying I shouldn't get used to it.

After the excitement we settled down to watch the large dog individual final. Unfortunately none of our large dogs went clear but it was an exciting final. Then, unbelievably, it was time to pack up and get ready for the closing ceremony and getting on the podium!

Our small team had expected to get a trophy for our 2nd place in team jumping and we thought they would be doing those presentations first. As it turned out they never presented them! It was so disappointing and our KC rep actually had to go up after the ceremony and ask for our trophy. We were handed an ugly trophy that did not even have any engraving on it; it could have been a trophy for anything no less for 2nd place at our World Championships!

So instead, after the boring gift exchange between countries and the even more boring Dog Dancing routine, they started right in with the individual placings. Guess who was called first? Yikes I was not ready and never even had a chance to close my jacket. You could see me in the photo and my mind is racing thinking how can I zip my jacket while holding this trophy and not lose Zaz as well?

Or maybe I was wondering why we didn't actually get a "MEDAL"? I love my trophy (well love is a strong world but if you knew what we got for winning the Silver team in Norway you would understand why this year was a little better) but really wanted a medal around my neck! I know that sounds silly but I loved receiving the medals when we won at the WAO. There is just something about having it put around your neck that makes it feel real.

I also wanted a good podium photo but I am cursed in that respect! In almost all the photos I appear to have a third arm! I have no idea why Dave hid behind the flag or why both managers did not come up to the podium. It felt lonely up there!

And then it was over! The closing ceremony is always anticlimactic and, well yes, boring. Do we not all look excited?

So we achieved this year's World Champ goal of an individual medal....now to decide what to do next year!

Monday, November 07, 2011

FCI World Agility Championships Individual Bronze Medal!

I am finally sitting down to put together my thoughts on winning my first FCI Individual World Championship Medal. So many emotions go through your head on the day. I could not believe I had won an individual medal yet I knew Zaz would win. Does that makes sense?

The day started with the medium dogs running their individual agility run. Unfortunately we had only one dog that was in contention for a medal and that was Natasha and Dizzy. I watched all our medium dogs run but I cannot say that my mind was totally focused. All I could think about was getting our small individual course plan and getting out there! Sadly none of our medium dogs medaled but they all looked good. Luckily they had their team medal from yesterday to celebrate!

After the medium dogs ran we went back to the crating area to wait for our course to come out. I felt like jumping out of my skin while waiting and I think I asked our managers a hundred times "where was the course?"! Getting the course on paper, studying it and then watching the course being built is essential for me to feel confident once I get out to walk the course. Walking the course at the World Champs is like nothing else most of us have experienced. We have 8 minutes along with about 150 other people (handlers and coaches) to walk 20 obstacles. Most of the time you cannot see the next obstacle and you certainly cannot stop in one place as you will get knocked down by some enthusiastic European! If you do not have the course and your strategy in place before you go out there you are in trouble!

So we studied the course on paper, watched it being built from all angles and then realized that two numbers were in the wrong place according to the course plan on paper. The judge was told and he went out onto the course again to look at the two jumps in question. We watched as he kept moving the #6 to each side of the jump deciding what to do! Each time he changed it we starting walking it in our heads and then he would change it back again. Just a little excitement to get our Adrenalin going! The jump #11 was also changed to the other side of the jump from the original course design. This one he left changed. So from this course plan both #6 and #11 are on taken from the other sides.

Luckily, when it was finally decided, the change of direction for obstacle #6 was to my benefit. Originally my plan (in my head) was dogwalk, go-around #4, pivot, #5, go-around #6, pivot to #7. Pivots are the hardest maneuver for me as I can lose my perspective and two pivots in a row are definitely not ideal! Now, with the change, my plan was dogwalk, go-around #4 to #5, front cross #6, front cross #7. Although this required two front crosses the spacing was tight and I felt I could do them.

I was very lucky to have my friend and team-mate Nicky and my friend and trainer Lesley Olden to help me walk the course. I could not ask for better knowledge and experience. I specifically asked for Lesley to come in to help me rather than our team coach as she knows Zaz and I. I really appreciated our team coach allowing this, for although I value his opinion, he has never trained Zaz or I. Lesley knows how I handle and she knows our strengths and weaknesses. There were a few times that weekend when I could not decide how to handle a particular sequence. If it had been a normal everyday show I would have had no issue but it is so different when you are on "stage" and the result matters so much to you. It is amazing how little things what can make the difference in our decisions. On one course I was vacillating on how to handle the start and got many different options and suggestions from people I spoke to about it. Finally one guy said what I really knew: "Just go with your first thought". In that case he was correct and my first thought was right for Zaz and I.

Now in this Small Individual Agility course I had an area of concern before the see-saw. After some deliberation I thought I was sure about how to handle the sequence #8tunnel to #10 see-saw. I knew I wanted to be on the left side of the see-saw but was not sure which option to get there was best. I originally walked it as doing a front cross between the tunnel and the jump. I also considered a front cross after the #9 jump. The first way seemed to open up the back of #18 if I could not get my cross in correctly and be able to start moving off the cross. I thought I could do it and that was how I eventually walked the course. Lesley helped me with the possibilities but I know she was unsure with my decision.

After we walked the course and the first few small dogs started running Lesley came up to me and said "I don't think you should do that front cross and you should rear cross the see-saw". Now I had a few choices at that moment: panic and pull my hair out as I had not really walked that option, say thanks but I will stick to my original thought or trust Lesley's opinion and re-walk the course in my head. I decided to go with Lesley's opinion as I knew she wouldn't have said this to me this late in the game if she did not truly think it was the best option. She took a risk as well because if her idea failed she would feel awful for potentially losing us a chance at a medal. So this time I did NOT go with my first thoughts but changed my mind at a late stage.

As I was waiting for my turn to go I spent some time listening to my World Champ Agility playlist. I had a group of songs that meant something to me, made me smile or just gave me a boost. Some were songs that I associated with Zaz, some were old songs that cheered me up and some were picked up from other people's blogs. Three songs I picked up from other blogs were: "You Make my Dreams Come True" by Hall and Oates (from Christine), "Better Things" by the Kinks (from Dawn) and "This Pretty Face" by Amy Macdonald (from Karen). Songs that made me smile: "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer as it was our song for the World Champs in Norway when Zen won a Silver Team medal and "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley because we are pretty crazy to do this agility stuff! Finally Zaz's song is "Hey, Soul Sister" by Train because, well, just because...

So here I am listening to my songs, doing my crazy warm-up routine and running this course over and over in my head. Jump Jump run like crazy, dog walk, out around, pivot jump front cross, front cross, send, hold back, run, rear cross see saw, front cross don't block the tunnel, front cross wall left left left up up up out around send and run, tunnel, push to jump, front cross weave, leave her and run to finish and celebrate. And this is what goes on in my head the entire time. If anyone spoke to me I cannot remember nor can I tell you how we got into the collecting ring!

Zaz ran the course exactly how I told her. She was a little star and for all she knew it was any normal run; naughty start-line and all.

I was only in 15th place going into this run so I knew there had to be some luck involved if we were to place in the top 3. I played with Zaz, gave her a big hug and kiss (although she hates that) and sadly needed to hand her over to Dennis to cool down so that I could watch my team-mate Dawn run. As I stood in the tunnel and watched Dawn I realized that we were still in the top 3. After watching Dawn I was unsure whether I should keep watching the last 8 dogs or if I should just walk away. My decision was made simply, when as I was watching Dawn, someone started talking to me and made a comment about "coming in 4th". This was something my brain did not need at that moment so I walked up into the stands to be with my team-mates and supporters.

I was now starting to be convinced that we would not place. It is amazing how easily someones comment can upset you at that important moment. For me it has hopefully made me a better person when I need to support someone else at an adrenalin charged event. A comment that would normally roll off your back or make you chuckle at any other time can really upset you at that moment.

I sat in the stands not wanting to watch yet wanting to watch. Amanda and Zoe kept trying to explain the scoring to me. I kept telling them "no no you are wrong I am 2 seconds behind and can't make that up". Bless them they kept trying and when the last dog ran they tried to congratulate me and I still didn't believe them! Look at my face in this photo; it makes me cry just seeing it again.

I will write more about our celebrations and the closing ceremony but will leave you with this: my happy photo!

Monday, October 31, 2011

FCI World Agility Championships Saturday

Zaz and I would have only one run on Saturday: Small Team Jumping. The team jumping looked pretty straight forward which was not great for us being in the 10th position we were after team agility. We needed a difficult course that would knock some higher placed teams out. This is where luck plays a great part at the World Championships. The Large and Medium teams were placing in the top 3 even with faults but the small teams were needing to get all clears in order to place. I guess us small dogs are just too darn good!

The only real difficulty was the sequence #7-#8. If I had been running Zen I would have been in a panic that she would turn away from me into the #9 tunnel after #7. With Zaz I was more confident but still did alot of calling to be sure!

What a happy bunch we are waving to our supporters after our team jumping. I appreciated everyone who was there in the stands cheering us on. It meant so much to us that when we stepped into the arena and when we finished our run we could hear the cheering. You knew that everyone was running the course with you!

Our combined runs placed us 2nd in the Small Team Jumping. Even this only improved our placement from 10th to 8th overall. Compare this to the medium and large teams who had faults in all the top 3 placings; we would have been 2nd overall if we were medium or large! I know it is difficult to compare but I think it shows the strength of our small team. I felt slightly better when we were told that we would get a trophy and podium "time" for this 2nd place in jumping but that never materialized...That was very disappointing. Luckily our large team had also placed 2nd in their team jumping received trophies, rosettes and a visit to the podium.

At the end of the day on Saturday it was our Medium team who took a medal! It felt strange to me not being part of the medium team; a few times people forgot and kept asking me why I was not walking the medium courses. And poor Zaz was getting a complex from being called Zen all weekend! I did my part for the medium team by helping Amanda warm up and I ran each course with them from up in the stands! Oh and I tried to get in the photos; that is my hand in the top right holding the flag! LOL

I was so happy for the medium team but especially for Amanda. Both of us were previously on the Medium team and together won a Silver team medal in Norway. This year we were both running our young dogs for the first time but now in different heights. It felt strange not being on the team with her!

It was another long day and our big day was tomorrow. The tough thing about being at the World Champs is that we get there early and stay to the end to support all the team members no matter what height. This makes for a long day for both human and dog. This is why your support network is so important. Like having Dennis there to take the stress for me and to keep me calm and fed! Like having good teammates to be able to go over courses with. Like having Lesley there to help me walk courses knowing she knew our strengths and weaknesses.

This year the issues with the flooring caused the dogs to slip and fall; so we were very lucky this to have both human and dog chiropractor and physiotherapists. They were invaluable in keeping us all feeling good after walking on the cement floors and sitting in hard chairs all day. They even warmed up the dogs for us before we ran so that we could know they were ready. Thanks everyone!

Our supporters were great! Yet I would really like to see some of them work on their dress code. LOL Look at one of the Japanese supporters.

Even Ant and Lee wanted to recruit him to become a British supporter. Either that or they were looking for another seminar booking....

The Dutch were pretty cool also.

More to come!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

FCI World Agility Championships 2011 Friday

Friday was our first day of competition. I liked that the small dogs had two runs on the first day; it helped me get into the swing of the competition. First up for us was small individual jumping. We were not on first thing; we were second in the ring after the Large individual jumping. This was great as it gave us time to settle in on Friday morning.

I need to fully concentrate on the competition days. I have difficulty even going outside or going for something to eat. It is like I need to focus 110% on agility during those days and put myself into a little agility "bubble". Luckily Dennis is there to do the important things like take Zaz for a walk or get us something to eat. I even sit in the stands and watch the classes that I am not in and try and figure out how I would handle the course. Poor Nicky (my small team mate)had to listen to me as I would constantly babble on about "how would you handle this?" and "I would have trouble with that sequence" ect ect. And she would say "but you are not running this course"! LOL But for me it helped me focus on agility and trying to make quick decisions as we only get 8 minutes to walk a fairly complicated course.

Do I look confused about how to handle this course?

Our small jumping was a tight course. I was concerned about getting Zaz through the gap into the first rigid tunnel. As with most people I was also concerned about the weave poles running up to the side of the collapsed tunnel. To make matters worse the collapsed tunnel side was mirror-like shiny and I think this was the downfall of many great teams.

Before our run I had help from Amanda (my previous medium team-mate)in warming up. It looks silly but it really helps to focus and warm up and have a little laugh while doing it. I like this photo because the Chinese handlers look so happy next to us! It was China's first time competing at the World Champs and they did fantastic.

It was a strange set up at this sport arena. We had no team "room" to relax in and crate the dogs. We were all assigned spots in the hallway around the arena. Once it was near our turn we had to walk around to the other side of the arena where there was a small practice area where you can warm your dog up over a few jumps. When it is about 4 dogs before your turn you are escorted through this office area, down a corridor that ran under the main floor of the arena, up some stairs and then you popped up in the collecting area! It was slightly surreal coming up the stairs into the middle of the floor surrounded by people. It did add to the excitement and I couldn't help but getting more and more excited as I walked up those stairs!

The team coach was great as I just handed him Zaz, my water bottle and coat and was able to concentrate on remembering the course. Zaz, like momma Zen, likes to bark while in the collecting ring and in this situation it helps me to hand her to someone else for a few moments. Once we came up the stairs there was only one dog before us and one completing the course. There is not alot of time to watch and it is amazing how different the course looks from down at that level.

In this photo you can see the next team after us coming up through the stairs.

I know I look calm while waiting to run. What is really going on in my head is not so calm! First and foremost I am going over the course in my head. I try and remember the course based on turns and tight spots and I run through those turns in my head. Then I simply try to take in the whole experience; you will often see me bring my wrist up to adjust my bracelet. That bracelet says "Live in the Moment". I may never be there again and I want to keep that experience in me forever. The only way I can do that is by being there 100% with my dog. I am not one to chat with the coach because once I have Zaz by my side it is all about me and her. Once we get onto the floor I clap for Zaz and tell her how amazing she is and then laugh to myself knowing that our startline will be fairly fluid. LOL

I was happy with how we ran this course. I know Zaz was not running at her full speed but that was partly due to my over controlling her in those tight spots. We had a bobble before the weaves which cost us some time but overall I felt positive about the run. This run put us in 15th place which was a tough place to be in and I could only hope for a very difficult agility course on Sunday to help us move up in the placings.

I found this video on you-tube! Thanks to whoever posted it as I have yet to watch the official videos.

At the end of the first day we had our first team run. We had an amazing team as both Nicky and Indy and Dawn and Puzzle are so consistent AND fast; I couldn't have asked for a better team. I was disappointed to have made the only mistake out of all our 6 team runs over the weekend but that is agility for you. Anything can happen!

Here is our team in the collecting ring. Notice Dave,the team coach,is holding Zaz again. Bless him!

Again I found this video on youtube; music and all! It is obviously from someone in the UK but I don't know who!

So the first day of our World Champ 2011 experience was over. I knew there were things we could have done better but this was not the time to think about them. It was important to stay positive and focused. I was drained and all I could think about doing was getting Zaz out into the fresh air to stretch her legs, getting something to eat and getting myself to bed! I think we had fancy French Mc-Donalds that night to eat as we could walk there from the hotel. Ahhh nothing but the best for us athletes!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

FCI World Agility Championships 2011 Part 2

We arrived in France in no time and the most difficult part of the journey was finding the hotel! The hotel, while not fancy, was clean with good grass areas to walk the dogs.

The next day was our chance to practice on the equipment and on the surface at the venue. It was real eye opener as all the dogs were slipping on the "carpet". This was a surprise as it was a nice springy astroturf and the dogs do not usually slip this badly. Zaz was running well but I could see her slipping and then trying to slow down to compensate. She is a smart dog that has good self-preservation so I just let her run at whatever speed she was happy. We had 19 minutes and 30 seconds for our practice. Such a funny amount of time! It always seems like it will be too short but in reality it is a tremendous amount of time. I had planned to not do too much with Zaz and to concentrate on her self-control. Best laid plans and all that! I lost a little self-control when I realized she needed more time on the surface and did alot more than I had planned. Zaz came out of the practice session happy but tired with her tongue hanging out!

After the vet checks and measuring we all gathered for group photos. No matter how hard we try the GB team will never be organized for photos! Dennis had to yell at them and tell them "no talking, no looking at your dog" but to no avail! LOL Still one of our better attempts; here is the team with some of the supporters and management.

That afternoon we took a trip into the beautiful town of Arras for a nice French lunch followed by yummy french pastries.
Arras France

Checking out the Arras Chocolate shop!

I was feeling positive about our World Champ experience. All the issues with Zaz beforehand were forgotten and she was happy and sound after her practice. Now it was just up to our training and a little bit of luck.

I have debated with myself about whether to write on my blog about the one negative experience that happened to me while at the World Champs. I figure by putting it at the end of this post only so many people will bother to read this far. LOL Like I said in Part 1 I think that we are responsible for our own positive mental attitude. We cannot rely on others to say the right things for us all the time. Yet when you are in a team situation you really need to have and feel positive vibes from your team. I always loved that about the World Champs; we all put aside any personal issues and cheered and supported each other. Everyone on the team understands the pressure we all feel being on center stage and wanting to do well for ourselves, our dogs, our team and, yes, our country.

I struggle sometimes because I know I do not run fast enough or cannot move as quick as some of the young fit European handlers. At the World Champs that is really magnified as some of these handlers are crazy fit and fast! The night before our first day of competition someone made the statement in front of the entire team that I was "the oldest" on the team ha-ha-ha. This came out of the blue, and although it was meant in a light-hearted way, it really hit me hard. I just wanted to crawl away and go home at that point. What was supposed to be a fun relaxing night before our competition now felt like torture and I couldn't wait to leave and tried not to cry.

I got back to the hotel room and received this video message. Nothing could have cheered me up better; remembering I had Zen and Itz at home along with a gorgeous group of puppies. No matter what happened this weekend I knew I was blessed with a fantastic husband, amazing dogs and great friends cheering me on. Bring it on!

Monday, October 24, 2011

FCI World Championships 2011 Part 1

It takes me awhile to get my thoughts together after a big event. There is a combination of euphoria and depression; I don't even watch the videos of our runs for a long time. The focus and energy taken up preparing both mentally and physically takes over your life on the run up to the event.

I have been exposed to the idea of "positive mental attitude" for most of my previous career (Chiropractor) and for most of my time in the dog world in obedience and then agility. I think it comes naturally to me now; to the level that when I hear people talking themselves down I need to stop myself from trying to help them. Everyone deals with pressure differently and some people actually feel better if they say negative things and then do better than they thought. This is not what I think is best but it is what helps them. That is all that matters, having something that works for you.

When I competed in the USA I would actually get tired of hearing the constant "positive mental attitude" banter. If,God forbid, you said something negative you were told off! Hmmm a kind of a backwards way of working on positivity I think. It became almost like a religious cult of positivity! So because of this I tend to keep my goals and mental preparation work to myself; it is how I deal with things and what works for me is personal.

For the first time before a major competition I had to actually work on "mental imagery". Imagining Zaz and I running courses: what I would do and how she would react, how we would approach the start line and how we would celebrate after finishing the last jump. I ran this over and over in my head because for the month before we went to France I could not train Zaz.....

I had taken a little week break with Zaz after our last Championship show. I expected to start training on the complicated European courses during the month before we left just to get our heads into those types of courses again. I thank God that I had spent the week in Denmark in July competing over European courses because that was one thing that made me feel confident and prepared.

To keep a long story short, I found Zaz mysteriously lame one day and assumed it was a soft tissue injury even though she had not had anything happen. I thought our World Champ experience was over before it began. But after all the worrying it turns out Zaz had a cut pad and I had missed it! How I missed it I will never know but thank God for Dennis who found it and the canine osteopath who went over Zaz thoroughly and convinced me that Zaz was OK to run. This is what her pad looked like 2 weeks after the start of her lameness. How deep the cut was when it occurred I will never know. I hope this will help others to make sure you check your dog's feet thoroughly! I really had to stop kicking myself for missing this one.

To make matters more "exciting" two nights before we left for France Zaz came back into the house after being let out for her last toilet and was carrying her back leg up! WTF? I just lay down with her crying thinking this is it; I am never doing agility again. Then we watched as her rear foot swelled up and realized she must have stepped on a wasp! Popped a anti-histamine in her mouth, carried her up onto the bed with us and fell asleep. She woke up at 1 am jumped off the bed sound as ever. OK now, I was thinking, this is all just to make me stronger!

We happened to watch the movie "Secretariat" (a true story about a racehorse that exceeded all expectations and won the triple crown of racing in the USA) that week and I kept saying to myself Zaz is like Secretariat and she will surprise us all!

On Wednesday we left the pups in the capable hands of Johanna and we off through the Eurotunnel for our French adventure. I was so excited because the last time I was at the FCI Worlds in France I was just a spectator and remember being AMAZED by Sylvia Trkman and La. Now I was there myself competing with Zaz at only 2 years of age; how fantastic is that?

Thanks to Dennis for driving us to France. How nice to take a trip to the World Championships that is only a 3 hour drive!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Boyz: 8 weeks old and off to new adventures

I am often asked if I get teary when the pups leave and people wonder how I can let them go. I find the most difficult part of raising pups is finding the right owners and, if I can get that right, the easy part is letting them go.

I like to watch people with their dogs; how they treat them when things go right and, more importantly, how they treat them when things go wrong. I like to feel that potential new owners don't think of the dogs as a means to an end but rather a team-mate to enjoy the journey with. I do NOT care if the potential owner is a world class handler or frequent winner; that means nothing to me. If a person has had success because they know how to motivate a dog and enjoy competing that is just a nice bonus.

I do worry about giving the right dog to the right person. I want the new owners to have a dog that they can enjoy. Thankfully most of the time it works out perfectly. I think this time it worked out well and I wish all my pups long and healthy lives with families that love them for who they are as individuals.

Meet the new members of Team OBay:

"Ezke" OBay Boyz Will Be Boyz

"Fuze" OBay The Boyz High Voltage

"Zanee" OBay The Boyz Magic

"Giz-Mo" OBay Boyz Toyz

Yes that is me in the photo! For now, Giz-mo will stay here. I am reserving the right to make my final decision in time as I should not really keep him. Unfortunately he is so freaking adorable that it will be hard to let him go. I have to be sensible as I am still waiting for a little girl to join the family.

Here is Giz-mo in his first official training session. Feel free to turn off the volume and just enjoy his little elephant! I wasn't expecting him to get it so quickly so just grabbed my I-phone to take this little video clip. I couldn't click and video so you have to hear my constant annoying "goooood boy". LOL

So we spend the next few days getting our house back in order. Cleaning floors, putting away the puppy pen, boxing up the gazillion puppy toys and generally just taking a breath and relaxing. Zen, Zaz and Itzy will now get more attention and I can enjoy Giz-mo's antics. He is a amazingly funny boy and he can make you laugh just by looking at you. So far he seems very bold and outgoing but I don't take that for granted and socialization is our focus for him over the next few weeks.

I miss the Boyz more than I thought I would and look forward to seeing them all again soon. In the meantime their new owners are already helping by sending photos and emails. This is greatly appreciated!