Friday, December 31, 2010

Beauceron National Specialty 2010

For your viewing pleasure, you can link to the photos from the first ever Beauceron National Specialty here.  My mom and all our friends at Grand Paws and Mes Yeux Vigilants are there.  Since I'm sure every Beauceron looks the same to the untrained eye, you can find our photos by looking for Mom.  She is wearing a burgundy t-shirt in the Journee pics and a green dress in the Specialty.  For any newcomers, I won Reserve Winners Dog (!) in the Specialty and was rated Select (along with my bro, En Theos!) in the more informal Journee.  The good people at Equilibrio Studios took the photos and Mom has contacted them for prices so that we may add to my Wall of Fame:)
I can hardly believe that today is the last day of 2010!  We planned a celebratory hike before Mom went to work but were stopped by thunder and lightning just as we headed out to the car.  All dressed up and no place to go, we decided to train instead.  We worked on our basics--stays, finishes, targeting.  Then Mom put me through my paces with some newer stuff--backing up in heel position and our new, sure-to-please trick: Where's My Dog?  In this trick, Mom wanders around looking for me under and behind things, only to have me run up from behind and stick my head and shoulders between her legs.  We can even walk a ways like this as Mom continues to fret, "Where did my dog go?  I just can't find him!"   We think the kids at Petco will like this!
I also learned how to shut cabinet doors today, generalizing it to the refrigerator door and the front door as well.  I wanted to learn how to open the doors too, but Mom refused.  I don't think she trusts me, mes chers!
Well, Jax and I must get gloriously muddy in the backyard of Faurot before we are subjected to baths at Petco!  A demain!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Busy Beauceron Hits Facebook! (And Twitter)

The time has come, mes chers!  The Busy Beauceron now has a Facebook page and I have my own profile page.  Jax wants one, too--we shall see.  Anywho, please Like me on Facebook...
You may also follow my candid thoughts on Twitter --  I am @BusyBeauceron  !!!
My favorite chew, employee has returned to Petco--Sean!  He did not know that I have grown wily in the months since his departure and have learned how to guess which aisle the prey/person will run down when they turn a corner and can therefore cut them off quite easily.  It was with great glee on my part and a little surprise on his when he turned the corner to find me barreling towards him!
I have been practicing my obedience at Petco (as has Jax) and have impressed many a passerby.  I can Down/Stay all the way at the end of the main aisle until Mom calls me and she had both Ira and Sean walk very closely around me and even step over me several times while she looked on about 10 feet away.  I finished Left and Right, did my jumping touches, struck a moment of melancholy in my Play Dead--I was on fire today, mes chers!  The compliments poured in and so did the petting:)  I know how to work a crowd.
One of my biggest fans was a family with a very active 2 year old boy.  I stopped the little rascal in his tracks with a huge kiss across the face.  Huge, amazed smile!  They ended up taking pics of me with their kid--me kissing him, him hanging on me, etc.  I was more than happy to pose and the kid genuinely liked me.  Mom was very proud how calm I was as he laughed and screeched, touched my ears and dewclaws, and all that jazz.
Christmas clearance has finally hit Petco.  Mom bought Jaxson and I the most embarrassing matching jackets.  I mean, they're cute on Jaxson--he looks like Little Red Riding Hood--but me in snowflake polarfleece with a TEENY hood that cannot fit over my huge hears?  I have my dignity!  But I wear it, for Mom says I must.  She laughs at me the entire time, too...  We also got Santa hats and Jax got a tiny pair of antlers to take home with him for next year.  And cookies.  Lots of cookies:)  The cookie jars at home were filled with mere crumbs and that, mes chers, is unacceptable!
Well, I must go for now--dinner time!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Quick Christmas Update!

Joyeux Noel, mes chers!  I trust you all had a safe and enjoyable holiday.  I hadn't been very hungry on Christmas Eve and so awoke Mom at 4 on Christmas morning with a VERY GROWLY stomach.  I was sleeping in her bed, on my back, with my derriere on her pillow and my head mashed into a nook in the blankets by her hip.  Sleeping peacefully, I might add.  The terrible noises emanating from my stomach convinced Mom, however, that I was going to sick up on the bed and so she dragged me outside into the cold, wet snow.  Once outside, I stood there and looked at her with a most pitiable expression--why had she dragged me from our warm bed and dumped me in the snow?  I finally did my business and we trudged back inside where I abruptly congealed to the bed once again while Mom rustled up some breakfast.  Mes chers, I don't get up until 7 am at least and I don't eat until after 9 on most days so I don't know what this poor woman was thinking as she tried to handfeed me kibble at 4:20 am.  When I refused for the umpteenth time, she sat back to look at me and, correctly determining that I was not in any real danger or pain, let me weave into the bathmat while she took a shower.  I claimed the second bathmat for my own and spread out over the two of them on my back once again, attempting to continue my long winter's nap.  My stomach was still gurgling to like two warring opossums when she stepped out of the shower, so Mom pulled out the big guns--canned food!!!!  I was awake and at the counter like a shot, watching with rapt anticipation.  Once I ate my breakfast, mes chers, we dragged a bleary-eyed Jaxson from his kennel and piled into the car.
Once at Faurot, we were released into the backyard to visit Brittany while Mom carried our things inside.  Santa was very good to us this year:)  I got a laser toy and a new Alligator!  Jax got an Orbee Lightbulb treat dispenser and we got to share a rope wreath.  I have proudly carried Alligator all over the house and Jax has been very entertained by the lightbub.  Between the three of us, we managed to put away an entire bag of Christmas treats from Treats Unleashed:)  And so we spent the day frolicking and chasing Anatole, coming inside for hugs and to warm up every now and again.  All in all, a very good way to spend Christmas:)

Friday, December 24, 2010

All right, Mr. DeMille...

Yes, we got our pictures done professionally AGAIN.  Mom loves to torture us...

The final stage of my dramatic interpretation of "Play Dead"


Don't we look so well-behaved? 

I really do like having Jaxson around!

I am, however, not as fond of the antlers...

Sorry, Adrienne!  Jax looks much better when you groom him.  We were short on time, so we plopped him in the sink at Petco for a quick bath and then toweled him as best we could et viola! 

We have an 8x10 of this and the previous photo waiting for you, Adrienne:)

Jax took to the photography process very quickly:)

Sir Action Jaxson

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I didn't get to meet Santa last year because I hadn't gone home to Mom yet, so this year we made a special effort to go see the Man in Red himself.  After all, I need to convince him that I really was a good boy this year.  Mom says I might need a day or two to explain myself onto the "Good" list...

Jax, of course, is already on the Good Dog list...overachiever!

See?  Look how good I'm being!

I even did all my tricks for Santa!  Surely that gets me a Good List Honorable Mention, right?


Enough said, mes chers:)  Videos will soon be posted on my YouTube channel!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Busy Beauceron Goes to YouTube!

I'm on YouTube!  Mom posted videos from my puppyhood on my very own channel, named after this blog.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


December is a wonderful month, mes chers!  Snow, Christmas and the Blessed Day of Acquisition all happen in December!!  Mom taunts us with the knowledge that she has already purchased all our Christmas presents and has locked them away in the toy box.  When she is occupied with other things, Jax and I sometimes sneak off to the bedroom for yet another attempt to open the darn box but the lack of opposable thumbs has foiled us time and again.  We must simply wait patiently...a task at which neither of us excel.  *sigh*
We don't have our tree yet, but Mom hopes this Sunday to remedy that.  She checked first to see if we had any doggie repellent left from last year--to keep me from eating the tree and its many ornaments and to prevent Jaxson from marking the tree as his new pee post.  I like our Christmas decorations--lots of lights, a big old-fashioned candle, and a little ceramic tree among many other awesome things.  I even have my own ornament from last year and Mom plans to get one for this year too.  She also purchased special frames for our Christmas pictures--with Santa at Petco this weekend and with the professional photographer later in the month. 
As for classes, Jax and I are doing so well!  Mom plans to enter me in my first Rally trial at the St. Charles show near the end of January.  Our instructor Jamie had s design courses for the last class and Mom made a very complicated X-shaped one with my hardest signs!  But I did quite well, if I do say so myself:)
As for agility, Jax now bravely runs the A-frame and the dog walk and masters tunnels and chutes.  The only thing he's not too fond of is the weave poles but he really got up to a nice speed last night.  He's a very sure-footed little guy.
Mom blames me for teaching Jax to sit, something show dogs often don't learn until after they finish their championship.  Mom taught him to sit on the couch but he wouldn't sit anywhere else, which she thought very good.  But Jax loves treats and when he saw Cricket, Kai, and I getting treats for sitting, he began experimenting.  Sure enough, he learned that sitting = treats and he's getting really good at Stay, too.  He just learned Down today and Mom reports good progress.
Well, must go fetch Anatole for awhile!  Ta ta, mes chers!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hyperbole and A Half

My Mom absolutely loves to read this blog and begged me to post this for all you doggie parents out there.  Enjoy!

Dogs Don't Understand Moving

In Which Jaxson Pretends He Is Evil Knievel

Oh my goodness.  Cricket, Kai, and I took Jax took The Field today for the first time and had a grand time running about, chasing one another in turns.  Tongues long, we three regular attenders bounded down to the creek in our usual spot and Jax padded along behind.  We skittered down a huge fallen tree just above the water line and made it to the sandbar in the middle of the creek.  Becky, Kai's mom, climbed up on this fallen tree that arches 6-7 feet above the creek.  Kai and Cricket love to climb trees and have followed her up there several times.  She readjusted the Ziploc bag in which her treats were kept and all our ears pricked.  Cricket ran up and I tried to follow but Jaxson ran under my legs and knocked us both off into the water.  I pulled myself out of the creek just in time to see a blue merle flash charge up the tree past Cricket to claim a prize.  Jaxson!  Mom called him back down with a treat in hopes of getting him away from the tree but he would not hear of it.  He ran up and down the tree several times, collecting treats at each end, even after Becky climbed down.  

Jaxson the Wonder Dog
I also have other photos that haven't been posted yet, so I guess I'll do that now...

Duppin Bridge

My first backpacking excursion, at Three Creeks.  My pack was filled with towels, so when I took a dip in the creek on the way back, my load suddenly became much heavier!

In the Branches at Gans Creek

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One Collar to Rule Them All

Jax and I are watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy and so tomorrow we are resolved to play Frodo Bigguns and Samwise Sheltie on a quest to save our Grindstone "Shire!" 

Pack of Four

Cricket and Courtney are back!  So now Jax can run with a dog his size;)  All handlers and dogs have ventured out on the new trail that Longtail Patrol, Division 3 had discovered earlier this week, along the High Ridge and over Duppin Bridge.  It's the best trail ever, secluded and varied in terrain and animal life.  We see lots of birds at particular junction where forest,marsh, and creek meet--often a blue heron in the morning and once a kingfisher.  I have several favorite swimming holes (even in this colder weather) and run swiftly through the creek, lapping water as I go.  Mom fancies me a noble dog of Bretagne legend or Rosemary Sutcliffe novel when she sees me do this.
Today, our pack of four climbed a fallen tree.  I was even able to do it since it was a much wider tree than the one we'd previously tried.  Mom was exceedingly proud of me, and of Jaxson--he had no reservations about leaping onto and off a tree 2-4 feet from the ground in places.  Jax must have been feeling his oats after this, for he led the charge onto the sandy beach and led us on several merry trips through the brush before Kai took the lead.  To top it all off, Jax even went into the water of his own accord to get a drink for the first time ever!
Crossing the creek again in between the Capen and Quarry bridges, we had a beach party!  I initiated a game of Chase the Dog (me!) Who Has the Stick and everyone joined in for quite some time.  All in all, a most enjoyable outing:)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Jax here!  Spur and I just realized that we have yet to post in November, so here I am.  We will be in our third week of classes--he in Rally and I in agility.  Spur's class is after mine so I get to watch.  He and Kate have been working diligently on their finishes and turns and I must say that they have much improved.  The left 270 is still rocky sometimes--Spur often finishes the turn first  and tries to spin in a 360 before Kate is done:)  Enthusiasm!
Anywho, my agility class...Kate was very worried about me at first.  Hand targeting, I see now, is one of the basic agility concepts but I just didn't get the point of it for about a week.  It was not until I began to follow her hand to the tunnel that I finally got it and now I'm a pro!  I can also target off a lid, too.  Our first class was overwhelming--there are 6-7 dogs!  My best friend is Pocket, a Soft-Coated Wheaton Terrier puppy and fellow show dog.  We talk and exchange sniffs in between runs.  Kate says that we have seen that kennel at shows before. 
My second class went much more smoothly:)  I was actually excited!  I trotted through the tunnel and folded-up chute with my tail high.  I chatted with Pocket and tried my best to calm a VERY bouncy Samoyed puppy named Nala.  Vicki, our instructor, was pleased with us.  Mom told her about my little frog toy with the pocket for treats and Vicki recommended that she put it on a string and let me chase it.  Since Mom has been sick, we haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but I think I will like it.  
We've also had some new toys recently.  Howl-O-Ween toys are on clearance at Petco and Kate saved back for us the last of a plush pumpkin tug toy.  It's AWESOME!!  Spur and I wrestle over it and since it's four feet long, its tail perfect for pouncing on as the other dog runs off with it.  We also got a new jack with squeakers in all 6 ends!  Kate just pulled that out of the toy box today and we have had quite a run-around with it.
Since Kate has been sick, we have been hiking infrequently.  She has a nasty cough and Spur is quite concerned.  He keeps an eye on her at all times and checks each times she coughs to see that she is all right, resting his head on her pillow and looking up at her with big brown eyes to make her smile.  It's worked fairly well thus far and Kate is feeling mostly better now.
I went to a place called Grindstone for the first time today.  Spur says that he and Kate went there all the time when he was little and that there are other dogs there sometimes.  I like it because there are no burrs!  No burrs mean no combing for me afterwards:)  We took the left trail--Spur's favorite.  I must agree that it is the prettiest trail we've traveled.  Kate says that it runs along the creek through a "riparian border zone"--hence the variety of trees.  There is also a small marsh and in it we found a large grey bird with long legs and a big yellow beak.  Kate calls it a blue heron and says that she's seen it there many times before.  The trail runs just along the edge of the creek, sometimes crumbling into it.  Spur says that Kate saved his life along one particularly treacherous cliff when the water was very high in spring.  Two creeks meet and swirl below a eight foot bank, close to the bridge at the other entrance.  When Spur was small, he mistook her looking out over the water for the new direction of their hike.  He ran out and slipped down the muddy slope onto a tiny patch of bank at the edge of the swollen creek.  Kate laid on her stomach and reached over but could not reach him.  Spur began to panic and whine, jumping at the bank and trying to climb but to no avail.  Each of his attempts only served to erode the bank he was on and bring the water closer and closer.  Kate was starting to panic too since the water was moving so quickly and would pull him into a huge bank of dead brush, where he would certainly be trapped and drowned.  She kept trying and trying, praying.  She tied his dog leash to a tree and leaned over as far as she could, calling to him and encouraging him to jump.  Spur gave it one last go and Kate managed to slip her fingers under his collar and haul him up the bank and on top of her.  She held him and cried before they continued the two mile walk home.
I confess that my fur was standing on end by the end of this story.  Spur assured me that they never take this trail after rain and they have also discovered a detour around the perilous place they take every time just in case.  Our hike, however, was splendid and we ran into four other dogs with whom we exchanged pleasantries and played.  I'm glad Kate and Spur know all the trails; we zigged and zagged all over the place until I had no idea which direction we were headed.  Spur took us to the Chimney Tree, where he says he shall play the role of Macbeth's dog when Kate and her sister want to make a film of the Scottish play.  Spur says that there is a very special place Kate and Maggie go to, a place they call Scotland.  Spur says that he has only been there twice, once as a puppy and the other time early this summer.  Brit is the real expert, he says, and so when we visited Faurot this afternoon I took the liberty of inquiring further.  Brit says that Scotland is not very far away and full of great landmarks.  It has its very only Lightning Tree and a windy creek full of fish and frogs and cast-off treasures: a shopping cart, tires, feed sacks, a pink flamingo, etc.  A tangle of branches along the creek serves as the Weird Sister's shelter and their is a hollow tree on Flamingo Cove in which all three of us could fit.  Dunsinane and the Iron Gate stand at one side of the valley and the Two Trees of Meeting on the other ridge and all manner of trails run in between.  Brit also says that there is a ghost hound that runs there at night!  Her name is Kris, Brit says, and she belonged to Kate before Spur.  Scotland was Kris' favorite place in the world and she and Kate hiked there right up till the end.  Sometimes at night you can hear her bay on the trail of a rabbit and she leaves tracks by the creek...  Spur and I can't wait to check it out!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

So Much for Batman and Robin

Mom's original Halloween costume plan for me and Jax was to make us Batman and Robin.  While at Target getting boy t-shirts to fit us, however, she happened upon the clearance pet costume section and came home with four total.  Here's how that went...

Brit in her charioteer costume

The Yellow Labmarine
Me with the Headless Horseman (minus my hat...see later pictures)

The dude tried to stab me with his sword!

Jaxson as the White Rabbit from Alice In Wonderland

And then they remembered the hat...

As I've told them before, I really...



Oh wait--is that a Crab Cake?  I'm sitting!

You know you're one of us when...

...we take you hiking at least once a day:)  Jaxson has put some serious miles on those little white paws of his this past week!  We went hiking TWICE on Sunday.  We were driving Mom crazy by wrestling all over the couch and throwing all the pillows and cushions on the floor, so she whisked us into the BeauceMobile and drove us to Gans Creek.  Lovely morning hike!  Once we reached the open forest, I caught a strange scent and charged of to investigate.  Two HUGE black birds exploded from the brush.  I didn't get a good look at first I admit, mes amis, because I was high-tailing back the way I'd come for a good twenty yards...until my curiosity got the better of me.  They kind of smelled like chicken and I really like chicken and I hadn't eaten breakfast yet.  I skidded to a stop and bolted after them.  They took flight briefly and I heard Mom's call.  I stopped, twitching to go after them but ran back for a treat and then took off until Mom called me again.  I came, watching wistfully as the two birds descended on the other side of the fence.  Mom was very proud of me, however, and gave me lots of treats so it wasn't a total loss.
On the way back, the ground began to rumble.  Jaxson and I milled about uneasily, sniffing.  Mom was the one who saw the beasts first--a whole line of them with two heads: one human with a strange black cover on top and one head was long with huge nostrils on one end and tall pointy ears at the other.  And there were at least six of them.  "Oh," Mom said.  She pulled us off to the side and the beasts ambled by.  Jax and I let loose a volley of furious threats concerning the imminent violence that should occur if they should come near OUR person.  Mom, for her part, seemed very unconcerned and kept telling me to just look.  I tried to do my best and finally succeeded when we ran into the next group of them further down the trail.  Jax hasn't learned the Look At That! game yet so he was still pretty freaked out.
The second hike was with Becky and Kai at the Grasslands.  We found an entire deer leg but weren't allowed to eat it:( 
Hiked Monday in lots of wind and many birds and Mom let Jax drag his leash.  He really enjoyed the extra freedom, he said, and I was happy too--bounding around in circles.  Mom said I was a banshee and Jaxson a wood sprite.
On Tuesday, we were legit lost for one hour of our 2.5 hour hike.  Mom's first detour was spot on--we walked about a mile and a half down a dry creek bed and joined back up with our old familiar trail.  The second, well, it was a nice try.  We ended up on a huge bluff in a campground we've never even heard of before.  Mom was proud that I could always find a trail, if not THE trail, so we just had to double back the way we'd come.  Jax had received off-leash status had a great time, except for the two times he had to ford a creek on his own.  The water was only 6 inches deep so I did tease him a little:)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Exchange Student

Hello!  My name is Jaxson.  Spur tells me that I can dictate my message to Kate since I've never typed with my paws before, so here goes.  As I've said, I'm Jaxson--Action Jaxson to my family back at Grand Paws.  I live at the wonderful kennel where Spur was born and where his doggie mom and two siblings still reside.  Since we shelties lose a good bit of our luxurious coat this time of year, I'm not on the show circuit and I get to stay with Spur and Kate for three months or so and be trained in the Way of Agility.  The other shelties have told me about it and Spur speaks of it quite highly, so I'm sure that I shall enjoy it.  I start class in a little over a week at the Columbia Canine Sports Center!!
It's been quite adjustment since I arrived on Thursday.  I felt more than a little hesitant to leave my mom Adrienne and climb into a strange car for a three hour car ride.  My nerves (and something I ate before--some fur?) got the better of me and I did lose my lunch about 20 minutes out from Columbia.  Kate put Spur in her bedroom and let me get used to the house for a few minutes.  When he did come out to say hi, he was a wild crazy thing!  I do enjoy playing with him, but I have to tell him to be gentle every now and again.  Luckily, I know how to deal with Beaucerons--I rock back on my hindpaws and grab their face in my paws and give a small but eloquent growl: "STOP."  I have had to remind Spur several times now that my esteemed person is not to be used as a chew toy.  He can be a slow learner.  Kate helps by timing him out every now and again and now he's pretty good at backing off with just a voice command.
Seeing that we were both quite wired from confinement, Kate whisked us back into the car to go hiking.  And here, dear readers, came one of the strangest but coolest things ever: a seatbelt harness.  When Kate first put it on, I was not entirely convinced that I could still move.  Some treats and coaxing later, I managed to walk stiffly down the front steps but still had to be picked up to get in the the front seat!  Kate says that I am the perfect size to ride SHOTGUN!!!  I curled into a ball of anxious fur at first, but now I LOVE IT!  The comfy seat, the sturdy harness, the breeze in my fur--bliss!  And that was before the hike...

Me and Spur on our first hike
So much for being freshly bathed...I looked like something blown in from the Scottish moors within the first mile.  Kate kept me on leash while Spur ran loose like a wild banshee back and forth through the woods, chasing squirrels and bringing sticks.  I stayed on Kate's heels like a shadow at first, wondering to where we would be wandering.  Apparently it's one of those journey-not-a-destination things.  When Spur would breeze by, I would pluck up my courage and sally forth ahead for a few steps--until the scenery changed and then I would stop and let Kate go ahead.  It was all so new!  I peed on everything vertical object I could find and accepted treats with Spur when he responded to Kate's recall.  A high-pitched "PUPPUPPUP" will turn me on a dime now:)  We finally left the brush and reached a bigger forest with a relatively open area below.  Spur jumped over every log in sight and I tried to follow--it usually takes me two hops to his one jump.  But I was beginning to get the hang of this hiking thing and ventured out in front more, trying to follow my speedy Beauce friend.  We turned around after romping in the forest for awhile and ran part of the way back in short bursts.  My little sheltie legs were working overtime--good thing I have a nice extended trot!  It was all I could do to climb back in the car.  Kate says that both Spur and I were completely passed out on the way back home.  
That night, Kate left Spur at Faurot and took me to Petco while she taught a puppy class.  I behaved quite well if I do say so myself--was very quiet (too tired to be otherwise!).  And so I was awarded Petco mascot status and allowed to come to work with Kate and Spur when they work.  I love the adoring crowds and how they have flocked to me when I trot down the aisle to a potty break--it never fails!
I think that I shall like this new hike/Petco/riding shotgun routine:)

Action Jaxson signing off for the night!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Today was the first annual Spur Day, mes chers.  I woke up this morning to singing and a ear rub, then off to Gans Creek for a hike.  It was a gloriously crisp morning and Mom was surprised that I still took my customary dip in the creek.  Back at home, Mom introduced me to Mr. Greedy Goblin--a plush goblin (complete with armpit hair) from one of her co-workers.  I flipped him about and rolled around on the bed with him in my jaws for a good long while, completely content.  It was all Mom could do to try to pack Mr. Greedy in my bag and get us out the door.
A trip to Treats Unleashed garnered me a Flossie and a new Molly Mutt duvet!  I still bark like a maniac when I walk in that door--the only place I do that!  It is my all-time favorite place in the whole wide world and I just can't help myself...

My new bed
I spent the afternoon napping on my new bed in between bouts of chasing Anatole, who is in very sad shape.  Most of his outer foam has come away to reveal drool-stained canvas--and even that is starting to become a bit thin.  You might be hearing about a soccer ball funeral soon:(
When Mom returned from teaching at CCSC, she and the rest of the Faurot clan surprised me with a stack of treats!  Oddly enough, they put a little green stick in the treats and lit the thing on fire.  I was flabbergasted.  Why on earth would they burn perfectly good treats?!  I leaned as far as I could over the side of my pen, trying in vain to rescue said confections as the humans all just stood around and smiled, singing the same repetitive song with which Mom had awakened me this morning.  Just as I was about to lose it completely and jump ship for an emergency rescue, Mom blew the fire out and handed me the plate...yes, Grandpa--I licked off one of your white plates--but it's washable!!  I gulped down the morsels, all the while keeping an eye on the big red lighter in Grandma's hands...

Oh--the celebration actually started yesterday, mes chers.  Mom invited my doggie friends to meet us at Grindstone Park for a party!
The Party Table with a view of the Egg and Spoon Race in the background

Those lucky enough to attend were:
Riley the Irish Setter
McCartney the Corgi Mix
Charlemagne the Terrier Mix
Colt the Heeler
Teddy the Shepherd Mix
Finnegan the Border Collie
Rusty the Heeler Mix
Introductions were a bit rough since we were all so hyped but we got straight into the games.  We bobbed for hot dogs first...or tried, rather.  Colt was the only one who figured out to just hold his breath as he stuck his snout into the water to snatch up the bits of hot dog!  The rest of us had a little help...

Colt--the undisputed winner

McCartney the eager beaver






The Egg and Spoon Race came next--with fake eggs.  Mom apparently didn't trust us with real eggs:)  A quick practice round favored Ira and Colt but in the end it was Riley that prevailed in the end across a long field with Katie and Finn a close second.
Finally, we threw our mats down for a rousing and competitive game of Musical Mats (Mom says that all you humans use chairs for this game, but she thought it a hazard with dogs).  I was out at Round 3 but Teddy claimed victory in the end.  And then...
Mom made me do tricks for little bits of cake.  As a side note, I can do lots of stuff on hand signal when a piece of liver and peanut butter cake is on the line...
Me and my Mom:)