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.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The end of an Era: Good-bye to Dasher

Last week we lost a very special little sheltie called Dasher. He was one of those special four pups out of my first ever sheltie litter. Dash was litter brother to Joy, Bell and Brandi and the last of the four to pass onto the Rainbow Bridge. It is so hard to believe that those 4 shelties are gone; I am so lucky to have had a litter as special as that first one.

Here is a photo of Joy and Dash with their mother Holly. They were only around 6 months old. Joy is on the left, Holly in the middle and Dash on the right.

Here is later photo of Joy and Dasher from an agility trial in 1997. They must have both won first prizes but it is not the prizes that matter now. When I think of that day now I remember the amazing feeling I had running Joy on the day. What great memories! It was so nice trialing the littermates together and watching them each develop their own unique personalities.

Dash was not only a link to my special girl Joy but also a link to my amazing rescue German shorthaired Pointer Tess. Tess brought Eleanor and I together when Eleanor was fostering Tess for Eastern GSP Rescue. I not only adopted Tess and but also made a great friend in Eleanor. Because of our friendship; I was so happy when Eleanor asked me for a sheltie as I knew what a special home Dash would have with her. Dasher starting a love of shelties for Eleanor and I am proud to say that she is almost as much of a "sheltie person" as she is a "German Shorthair Person"!

I do not think that Eleanor would mind me posting her words about Dash.

O'Bay Dunstanburgh Dasher
May 4, 1992 – June 23, 2008

I said goodbye to my faithful Dash today. He could no longer keep anything down and he was not drinking either. He had become confused, too. I took him to the vet’s this afternoon and he seemed to know that it was time to go see his pal, Sage, and his siblings. He was not nervous at my vet’s and he lay on the table quietly and slipped away peacefully and easily.

He was 16-years, one month and 19 days old, the oldest dog I have ever owned. He arrived at my house almost exactly 16-years ago, my first Sheltie, three lbs of adorable fluff. He grew to weigh 17 lbs, a calm, determined soul, master of all he surveyed, at least in his own mind! He was never sick in his life and he lived happily and contentedly until he could not live anymore.

Dash never liked competing as much as he enjoyed meeting people. That being said, he was my first MXJ agility dog and only my 2nd CDX dog. He was the first dog I took to an obedience tournament. He traveled with me to the Bahamas and Canada for dog shows and to Illinois and New Hampshire for dog camp. He loved going to Maine, to Cambridge and to Sherborn and would sit up in his crate in the car miles and miles before we arrived and start to bark and whine. He had the most incredible sense of where he was. He never met a person he did not like. I have many snapshots of him sitting with various friends and relatives.

He was a devoted dog, following me from room to room, upstairs and downstairs. He would bark nonstop if I left him alone anywhere but in his own house or car. (This habit drove my brother crazy! He loved my late Sage and they were great buddies. He never really bonded with another dog after she died, although he would play with Presto on occasion. He had a terrific life. I knew this weekend that his time was running out. Presto ran his heart out all weekend and someone even asked me if Presto were Dash.

Thanks to all who helped make his life so special – those of you who were and our my friends, his admirers, those who comforted me as he aged, those who were his teachers and his babysitters when I was away. And to Bernadette who, all those years ago, told me Shelties and Shorthairs would be a perfect mix and she was right! I am pretty sad right now, but I know I was lucky to have him for so long. My dogs make my life complete and along with the joy comes the sorrow, but I would not have it any other way. He lives on in his two cousins, Presto and Ozma.


Eleanor sent me some photo of Dash in his later years. I love this photo of him on a sailboat with Eleanor's sister and niece. He was such a family dog; the perfect companion as shelties should be. Dash will always have a special place in my heart as the one puppy who, no matter how long in between our visits (even years!), would remember me with such enthusiasm and joy! Good-bye Dash, you will be missed.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Off to the Lake District

We leave tomorrow at early o'clock to head off with the dogs and the caravan to the Lake District. The same time last year we headed off to Scotland only to encounter 7 days of rain and mud! Hopefully this trip will be less wet! I bathed and groomed the 4 dogs today; hoping that since they will live in the caravan with us for 10 days that they will smell nice and clean. Let us hope they stay that way!

I am still going through photos from Thames last week. Here are some funny ones from when Nancy ran Zen. As you can see Nancy had a discussion with Zen (or did Zen have a discussion with Nancy?) which was a good thing. Zen held most of her start-lines for me the rest of that weekend. Good Nancy and Good Zen!

Sometimes photos show even more detail than video. I like this series of photos of Zen out of the chute. This is actually the spot where Zen went off course and you can see how she came out of the chute expecting to go left and by the time she corrected to go right she was already past the next jump.

I thought these two photos (although not in perfect focus) were funny as they showed the Nancy pointy finger (for which I think I deserve royalties); although it didn't quite work here as you can see Zen is in full extension over this jump! I think Nancy did not actually wag the finger quite enough. Just pointing is no good; there must be some severe wagging of the finger also.

Nancy did well with Zen considering Zen has been running on extra jet fuel since she has gotten back from maternity leave. I think the stream-lined no hair Zen is a little extra fast! Unfortunately there was a little family pride riding on this run as last year at the same show Andy ran Zen and won the class with her. Oh Nancy you must do better in order to preserve the pride of girl-power!

Here are some photos of the pups from Thames.

This is handsome Zev.

Ziga (who is a spitting image of Oz)

And this photo of Zeki I found so cute; she has Zen's extra long tongue!

And here are two funny photos. The first is a very bad dog; I am not saying who owns this very bad dog!

And I don't know why Dennis took this photos but he laughs everytime he looks at it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Very Special English Agility Championship Tradition

Well in the good ole' USA when someone finishes their MACH they are showered with gifts from their admiring friends. There is much celebration and dancing. Sometimes there are parties that go WAY overboard that involve singing and poems. I won't get into that here....but some people know what I am talking about (terry and annmarie!?)

In Merry Old England there is a very ancient tradition (in case you didn't know: England is much older than the USA) that involves cabbage. I could tell you why you get cabbage when you finish your dog's agility championship but then I would have to kill you. You will have to figure it out yourself.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thames photos

I wanted Dennis to get this photo of Hex, Zen and Henry (Helen's JRT) because they all train with Lesley Olden. But Helen, we really need to train YOU to take photos. Dennis must have taken at least 30 photos of this and in most of them YOU were talking! Between Zen barking and Helen talking; 90% of the photos were bad! hahahaha

This one ain't great but it was the best of the worst. I will look for a better one later to give to Lesley. I thought it was pretty cool that both medium and small championship tickets AND the reserve small championship ticket were won by handlers and dogs that train with the "famous" Lesley Olden. :-) Lesley doesn't give her self enough credit as being a really great instructor.

I have more photos from Thames to post later; including evidence of Nancy severely (yes severely!) pointing at Zen and MAKING her stay on the start line! Will miracles ever cease?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

One of the best Agility weekends evah!

Off we went on Friday to the Thames Agility Show. We had a great camping spot thanks to Nandy and that always makes the weekend better! I am such a grump if I have to walk miles to the rings; as I am sure most people are. The forecast was looking good and it was another championship show. What could be better? Oh and I got to see three of Zen's young pups; Ziga, Zev and Zeki. They had a nice play together and I was so happy to see Ziga as I had not seen him for a few weeks.

On Saturday night I wanted to celebrate Hex's Agility Championship; so we had cake (decorated by Dennis!), Champagne and Pimms. The lovely tablecloth is actually a fleece blanket that Johanna gave to me for Hex's Championship. (Yes the wicked Hex's personal logo is skull and crossbones!) Hex helped me cut the cake and sampled a bit for herself.

I was really really surprised by this present! Karen made me a "Mach Bar"!!! As most people read in my previous posts, in the US they take the last bar of the course after they finish their Agility Championship (aka MACH) and then do a victory lap around the course. Then people sign the bar as a memento. Karen was so so sweet and took one of her own jump bars and painted and decorated it for me! She had people sign it for me and they all were a little puzzled as no one had heard of it before! I am so touched and will treasure it always! I finally have a Mach bar! Thank you to everyone for making Hex's championship something special.

The only thing I didn't get to do was run around a course while holding it. And I didn't have enough champagne or Pimms to risk running around the courses Saturday night. Hmmmm maybe I should bring it to another show? :-)

The weekend only got better on Sunday. It was the champ day for smalls and mediums. I was very relaxed about running since Hex finished her championship at Hinkley and Zen won the ticket at Nottingham. This championship day was just a bonus. Well the girls did what I was really wanting: THEY BOTH WON THE CHAMP TICKET! Hex won her small Champ final and Zen won the medium champ final! I do not know if anyone else in the UK has ever won two champ tickets on the same day; but I felt very proud of both girls. GIRLPOWER!

I have pulled them out of the Champ classes for the next few shows as I do not feel the need to collect tickets. 8 tickets to date for Zen and 4 for Hex is pretty darn good for now! I will just enjoy watching the champs for the time being.

And here is some video from the Thames show 2008.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Ahhh the Mouse has grown up!

After a great weekend of agility; I arrive home to find an email with this photo! What a great way to end a perfect weekend! Life is good.

Isn't she cute?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Terry and Mach Keeper

Most of you will now know Terry as the new owner of the Lil'Mouse now known as Zinna. Well she is also a very active agility competitor in the USA and has now finished her 2nd MACH (Master Agility Champion). Terry and Keeper finished their Mach a few weekends ago in the rain and mud. I have yet to see the video; but have heard that it was pretty dire conditions. So it was lucky they got around both courses clean (or not really clean!) I think you can see the state of dress on that day which give you an idea of the weather that day! How the heck did Terry run in that outfit??

In the US when a dog finished their Mach everyone around the ring claps and cheers as the owner grabs the last bar and runs around with the dog doing a victory lap. It is nice this as there is a little excitement! The bar is kept by the person and everyone at the show (and later) signs the bar with their congratulations. This is nice momento to keep.

Here you can see Terry's friends with a sign they had made up in advance; I guess hoping that Terry would finish that day. Or did they carry the sign around for weeks? :-) To get a Mach the dog must have completed 20 QQs(double qualifying runs or running clear in both agility and jumping on the same dog). So once the dog completes it's 19th QQ, at the next show people hang around the ring to see if it runs it's 20 QQ. This could go on for weeks depending how consistent the dog is! I imagine it gets very stressful waiting for that 20th QQ if they keep messing up! How long can you carry a bottle of champagne around without wanting to drink it?? (ps Dennis didn't even have a bottle ready last week for Hex as he didn't want to jinx us; or that was his excuse anyway!)

You can see the bar in this photo on the table waiting to be signed and the huge rosettes hanging on the tent.

Keeper is a rescue from Long Island Shetland Sheepdog Rescue; a group that I helped found back around 9 years ago (is it that long??). So it is an extra special Championship. I believe that Keeper is the second MACH for Long Island Sheltie Rescue.

SO big belated congratulations to Terry and Mach Keeper. And promises to Johanna to get the latest info up on One if she sends me good photos! :-)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Agility Champion Hex!

I am so proud of my little girl Hex who is now officially the Champion I always knew she was. Thanks again to Dennis for videoing and putting together this video. He is handy to bring along as he had the video downloaded and put together by the next day at the show!

I always feel a bit down after completing a major goal and I don't know why. But I just love the journey that Hex and I have taken. We have so much more to accomplish; she has only just turned 3 years old. How I adore this wicked little dog!

Hopefully the weather at Thames next weekend will be good and we can celebrate with cake and champagne. Please stop by if you are there on Friday night.

Here she is: AGILITY CHAMPION OBay Truly Wicked