Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cali & Co.

After a long wait Cali's puppies finally arrived the evening of Thursday the 21st. Her temperature dropped on Wednesday and she started to nest a little and show a few signs of discomfort so I stayed up with her all night and watched her as she slept peacefully beside my bed, blissfully unaware. By the next afternoon when there were still no puppies I was starting to get a little stressed but Cali was calm, cool, and collected so I waited. Around 7pm, almost 24 hours from the initial temperature drop, her water broke and minutes later we had our first puppy, a colorful little girl. The next one came 16 minutes later, a little boy with a half mask and a small spot on his bum. Cali was thrilled with them and continued to feed, clean, and dote on them for the next hour until the next one arrived at 8:06pm, another colorful little girl. We knew there was one more puppy to be had as we had done xrays and after waiting almost an hour and a half with no signs of any further contraction I was once again getting anxious. Cali however had a handle on the situation and gave birth to a beautiful, large, girl at 9:39pm. She was breech and had a slight purple tint to her back legs, a tell tale sign that she had been waiting a little too long to come, but she pinked up quickly and went right to nursing so I knew she would be fine. The final count was 3 girls and 1 boy, all healthy, happy and thriving, and Cali is in her glory being a mother. I am not sure I have ever seen her this content or at peace, it is like she was born to this job and I am sure she will enjoy these puppies even more once they get a little older and can play with her the way Sadie's last litter did. I myself can not wait to watch them grow and see what they blossom into as I think they are just beautiful but I am, after all, a little biased as I think their mother is just about the cutest litter terrors I have ever seen.

Fun from another angle

This past weekend our dog sport club was proud to be host to the first disc (frisbee) seminar in Saskatoon. This has become my new addiction and while I still adore playing flyball with the Inseguire gang disc offers some new and exciting challenges for both the dogs and myself. It was a hot, hot, weekend and we spent the better part of Saturday working on our throwing skills without the dogs. Most dogs will catch a frisbee quite readily once they turn on to it, but they can only be successful if the disc is thrown correctly to them and that is what Saturday was all about. We threw hundreds of discs with different spin, angles, and grips, and only once we felt confident we could offer our dogs "nice" throws did we pull them out into the heat. All the morning work paid off when we did a mock "Distance and Accuracy" event where longest, successful, catch wins. The dogs were running out and for the most part able to catch at least a few of our throws.  Sadie has always really enjoyed this aspect of the game and happily tracks the discs wherever I throw them. Once I can reliably hit a target Kiwi's speed should be an asset to her but she lacks the tracking skills of her mother so I will really need to up my game for her to be successful. We took a short brake for an early pot-luck BBQ dinner and then were back out in the field, again without the dogs for our own "D&A" event which consisted of throwing a disc between the standards of a flyball jump at 10 and 20 meters then running to the other side and throwing it back, into the wind, between a jump placed at 10 meters. It was a lot harder than it sounds as it is a very small target to hit but our group did well and we could really start to see the progress we were all making especially in the areas of disc control.

Thankfully Sunday was a little cooler and we switched gears to freestyle tricks for the second day. This is where my real interest lies. I love the flashy freestyle routines performed at disc events and demos and the girls love working on their aerials and tricks. Up to this point Sadie had not been too keen on jumping up for discs, she has always been quite content to track them and snatch them up as the reach eye level but she has left the flashier leaps to the younger dogs. I was more than a little surprised, but quite pleased, when she readily vaulted off my leg and left 5+ feet into the air after a disc. After that there was no slowing her down, she worked on back stalls, foot stalls (standing on my feet) and vaulting with an enthusiasm I have not seen in her in years. It was really wonderful to see her turn back the clock half a decade and out jump her much younger daughter on multiple occasions. Now Kiwi is no slouch, her vaulting is impressive and her back stalls are really improving but she has always been a careful and thoughtful terrier and add to that the fact that she is still easily distracted and she is much more of a challenge to work. I have to constantly keep her moving - catching, tugging, jumping - and I need to make sure she is successful as nothing disengages her more than too many missed throws in a row. Like everything else at this point, all she needs is a little more time in the sport and a little more maturity and I think she will have a bright future.
Tov attended the seminar as well as she has been showing a keen interest in discs and a natural ability to catch them from all angles. This little girl never ceases to amaze me and wowed everyone with her drive and athleticism all weekend excelling in not only D&A but also in the freestyle tricks as well. She is such a fun little dog.
All in all it was a fun weekend. We learnt a ton, spent 2 beautiful days outside with friends, and I got to enjoy a weekend doing something new and different with my girls. Now to sit at home for the next week and watch Cali as she gets ready to whelp, I did however promise her that once the puppies were out mommy had some great new games to play with her - hopefully that speeds along the process!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Inseguire Keepsake and Ruffwinds Riddock
Reserve Open Terrier and Open Terrier Champion Respectively

Once again the Inseguire gang headed down to Nebraska at the end of June for the MAWTA Trial. The two-day trip is always well worth it as this is a fantastic trial in a beautiful location. The surrounding areas are rich with quarry and the dogs and I spent the Friday before the trial and the Monday after hunting with friends. Unfortunately we did not get into anything exciting on either excursion but I suppose that is why they call it "hunting" and not "finding". The trial that happened in between turned out to be the highlight of the weekend. Saturday started off well with Kiwi coming in second in flat racing and winning the hurdles in her division (over females). She was in serious contention in the final against some large, fast, older males when she misjudged the height of the last hurdle and nicked it with her back legs. How she did not crash into a somersault I will never fully understand but her athleticism and determination helped her do a hand-walk for a few strides and get right back into the race. Unfortunately for her it happened so near the finish she did not have a chance to place competitively. Thankfully though she did not injure herself and went on to help her mom win the family class later that day.

Sunday came early and we were back at the track, fresh and ready for another shot at the boys. Kiwi had her game face on and won both the flat and hurdle legs of her division handily. Being her first trial over high hurdles (puppies jump lower) she had to learn to adjust her stride and jump a little higher. You could tell in the steeplechase race she was jumping very deliberately and paying close attention to her take offs and landings and it paid off. She ran hard in the championship race and just got nosed out by a more experienced dog, but she beat everyone else so she won the Reserve Championship! We had a little time before conformation started so I ran Sadie through the barn hunt and she found her mark in less than twenty seconds, good enough for 3rd when all was said and done. I also took Robert over to run the lure and burn off a little energy. He loved it and placed 4th overall. By this time conformation was starting and with so many dogs in open conformation this year things were a little hectic for me. I asked one of the young terrier men, Ross, if he would be so kind as to pull out Kiwi for me and hold her the ring gate as there were no classes between her's and Cali's. As I walked out the ring with Cali and was about to exchange dogs Patti, the trial organizer and his mother suggested I let Ross take her in as they had been warming up really nicely together and he has loved Kiwi since he first saw her as a 6 month old puppy. I agreed as Kiwi obviously enjoyed his company as well and I would have the novel experience of getting to watch once of my dogs compete.  They were a dynamic pair and won their class and then went on to win the Open Bitch Championship! Unbeknownst to me Ross ran out of bait at this point but kept his cool and showed her like a pro as the judge spent 20 minutes going over her and the winner of the Males class. Now Kiwi is not an easy dog to show, she does not like to stand still and she gets distracted very easily. Part of it is her youth and inexperience and part of it is who she is and what makes her so irresistibly charming so Ross did an amazing job keeping her on task and semi-still all that time to win the Reserve Open Terrier Championship. Not to shabby when the dog in front of her is the reigning 2010 National Champion! I could not have been more proud of my little hooligan, and the young man at the end of her leash.

Patton and Sadie did not disappoint either with Patton taking the Reserve Colored Terrier Championship both days to a striking red Fell, and Sadie once again winning the family championship with Kiwi and Cali at her side. Even though Cali ballooned up in the car on the way down and really started to show her pregnancy I put her in the ring anyway and she did quite well never missing the ribbons even though she was getting a little thick around the middle.

All in all it was a great weekend of sunshine, terriers, and good friends. The hunting was a great time to catch up with some people I don't see nearly often enough and I learnt a lot from one of the UK judges who is a professional terrierman on how to dig a better hole and how to keep after a groundhog as they dig away. This weekend marks the end of our terrier trial season until Nationals as I will now be home with Cali and her puppies and just enjoying the next generation of Inseguire Terriers.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Matter of Trust

We just got home from a week-long trip to Nebraska and while I have many highlights and stories to share I wanted take a minute to first address one particular event before I sort my thoughts on the rest of the weekend. It was Sunday night after the trial, the car was packed to come home complete with dogs and it was a cool evening so I made the choice to leave them crated in their familiar car rather than bring them back to the hotel and crate the in a strange place. Everyone was quiet and tired from a long day so I rolled down the windows a little and left them sleeping peacefully. A little while later as we were ordering dinner I lifted my head in reflex to visually confirm my car was still there and nothing looked amiss. I could see nothing. Literally nothing beyond the window of the restaurant for the rain that was sheeting down from the sky. I then heard the siren, the signal that a questionable storm was on it's way. Not thinking much beyond needing to see my dogs and rolling up the windows of my car which I was sure would be flooded at this point I ran out the door and was soaked instantly. When I got to the car, a mere 15 feet from the door, the dogs were howling, Sadie was hiding under some gear in the back and everyone was generally uneasy. I started the car, rolled up the windows, and turned on the radio to damper the sounds of the insistent siren. I then let my dogs loose and they instantly piled on my lap. A few soft kisses, a wary look or two outside, and they fell asleep content, feeling nothing but secure and completely safe now that "mommy" was here. It was one of those moments in life that really made me realize the bond that is shared between us. My dogs and I have always been close and have shared an eerie kinship that not many people can understand but in that moment it was made clear to me just how deep that bond goes. When I sat down in that car and they heard my voice the whole atmosphere changed. They went from stressed and scared to relaxed and secure, in an instant they believed with every fiber of their being that when I am present nothing bad could ever happen to them. I sat there with them for twenty minutes as 80mph winds rocked the vehicle. I watched the sky for signs of a funnel cloud and prepared myself for a potential mad-dash to the restaurant door with 5 dogs in tow. Thankfully the sky cleared and all went back to as it was withing the span of a half hour but the whole experience for me was deeply moving. It once again served to reminded me of the awesome responsibility we assume when we accept guardianship of an animal, and that true love is a matter of trust, a trust that is beyond merely taking a leap of faith, or doing something despite initial hesitation. Trust in a deeper, purified sense. A trust that does not waiver, or question, but truly believes that no matter the circumstance and no matter the cause that which you value most deeply will be protected and endure. This is the kind of trust we, regrettably, find so rarely in our human world. It is a trust that must be earned through our actions and fortified over time through reliability and dependence. It requires a benefactor free of misgiving and a recipient who will recognize and respect that which has been bestowed upon them. While I know beyond question that I am a better person for having my dogs it is nice to once and a while be reminded that their lives are better for having me as well.