Saturday, August 28, 2010


Mom received this photo of me just the other day from Adrienne, who owns my mom dog, Chaumette.  Adrienne admitted on a recent show trip that she sent out--indeed, even had in her possession--few photos of me as a pup for fear that someone unworthy (i.e. - not my mom) would see my good looks and lay claim on me in advance.  Apparently I've always been quite a stud;)

How It All Began...

My doggie mom, Chaumette, with all of us pups at Week One
I was not my mother's first pick, mes chers.  She was afraid, mostly.  The thought of having a show-quality puppy made her slightly queasy--she hadn't the first clue when it came to showing in conformation.  And since so many MYV dogs did well at the biggest shows in the nation, it would be a tough act to follow.  So she opted initially for Blue Collar puppy, the one advertised as "willing to please."  She didn't feel she deserved me, Green Collar, described in one line by Adrienne: "His head is a thing of beauty."

Blue Collar Puppy...and I am Green Collar:)

Here I am again (the puppy sleeping on its back)
But Susan informed her that she could not pick until the Blessed Day of Acquisition...and that she had second pick for male puppies.  A lady who had turned down a puppy from the previous litter (the pup Elias, who would become the first male AKC Grand Champion) reserved the right for first pick.  Mom was worried, especially when said lady could give no solid indication of when she would come and claim her right.  Mom had a limited number of days in which to pick me up and acclimate both of us to our new living arrangements and couldn't afford to lose a day.  The final agreement was that Susan and company would pick the lady's pup for her and that Mom would get to pick between the two males left on the day she had originally planned to drive to the kennel.
The 13th of December was cold and crisp.  True to form, Mom and her friend Alexa arrived way too early at the kennel and were greeted by more Beaucerons than they had ever seen in their lives--most notably, Sig.  But no people.  Sig's imposing bark kept them in the car for what seemed like forever, and then--Earl!  Earl emerged from the garage to put his two Beaucerons, Cyrano and Sonata, into the car, before he disappeared back into the garage.  Mom skittered off in pursuit, gingerly knocking on the door to tender admittance.  Susan was there, with Earl and Sandy--all watching as a couple went over and over my sisters, trying to figure out which one they would take with them.  Mom and Alexa waited again with their green bag, this waiting even more interminable.  FINALLY, Mom told me, it was her turn and she followed Susan back outside to help collect the boys.  Susan went down the gravel road and Mom stood at the top of the hill, shifting from one foot to the other.  She was very nervous, she confessed later, unsure if she even deserved such a good dog as these pups were rumored to be.  In fact, her journal attests to doubts such as these a good month before she met me.
So lost in her anxiety was she that she was almost bowled over by me (a harbinger of things to come!) and my roly-poly brothers.  I was the first puppy that reached her, mes chers--yet she would not allow herself to be so easily won.  We muddy rapscallion pups were hauled into the garage and set loose.  We commenced our shenanigans, tumbling and barking with admirable ferocity.  The first (Blue Collar, I believe) was plopped onto the table for examination.  I was shoved into a VariKennel with Red Collar.  Between Earl and Susan, Blue Collar puppy was given a pet rating as well as a quick hug and kiss before being returned to the kennel.  Red Collar was released and through the wire door of the kennel, I could see him being offered a multi-colored plush jack by the new lady.  Red Collar frolicked about, tugging and playing.  Mom was impressed, even more so when Red Collar was put up on the table and Earl and Susan evaluated his conformation.  Red was very drivey, Mom said admiringly. 
And then my turn.  When I first saw Mom's green bag, I had no idea that it was like the magical hat in Harry Potter that chooses to which house a new student shall belong.  Mom had brought the Green Bag of Choosing, full of magical toys that she hoped would divine which pup would be best at doggy sports like agility and obedience.  I remember playing a little, licking her a lot...and then getting distracted by dust bunnies.  Mom frowned, wondering about my play drive.  Just as I was hunting down the fattest dust bunny the world had ever seen, I was scooped into the air and came to rest on a high table under a bright light.  Like my brothers, I was a little afraid and kept trying to hunch down instead of sit.  I wish I could say that her hands were magic and that I instantly calmed to her touch, but it was not so.  Earl and Susan examined me and then brought out Red Collar again to compare.  "I think I know which one she wants," Sandy said, nodding towards Mom--whose hands were on Red Collar.  And it was true.  But for Earl's decision that Red Collar would do better as a special, the pup known as En Theos would have been Eperon.  Susan liked me better but deferred to Earl with a laugh, citing that he had a better track record at these things.  Mom felt a crushing blow at the news--that Red Collar would not be hers--but tried not to dwell on it. 
This story sounds rather depressing and not at all like the fairytale anyone supposed, eh?  But it is.  The good we would pick for ourselves is rarely the best good for us, mes chers, and seemingly random events often fall into patterns we can only perceive as destiny later on.  When she reaches this part in my bedtime story, Mom always says, "The moment they wrapped your freshly-bathed backside in a towel and handed you to me, I never looked back.  Once you were in my arms, you were The One.  I never even glanced over my shoulder at the other pups ever again."

And they lived happily ever after.  But you already knew that, mes chers:)

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Since it's been so hot lately, I've not been allowed to sleep on the bed with Mom:(  She says that my panting shakes the bed too much...  Anyway, I still have my nice and cushy Molly Mutt Robot Bed and Mom drags it over by the big bed so I don't feel too left out.  She sets out the fan each night so that it blows on both of us.  Each morning, however, we awake to find my bed moved over towards the closet...and the fan turned to face my bed.  Mom, certain that she doesn't sleepwalk, is blaming me for moving it!  Three days in a row now!  She cites my problem-solving capability exemplified during our trip to Burlington with Adrienne.  My nylon crate lay at the foot of the bed Mom and I were sharing.  My water bucket hung from a strap in the doorway of the crate on the inside.  Thirsty from tugging and playing, Mom watched as I reached down and took the handle of the bucket in my mouth.  I lifted it out of the crate and set it on the foot of the bed, getting a good drink before accidentally tipping it off the edge.  Mom was quite impressed...not so impressed with my alleged fan-moving abilities.  I have received strict instructions concerning tonight's accommodations.  I have my alibi in place.  I'm blaming the dust bunnies.

Field Days

Lately Mom has been taking me to a nearby soccer field so that I can play with our neighbor Becky and her two dogs: Kai and Cricket.  These "playdates" as Mom calls them have been the highlight of my week!  I finally get to hang out with the guys and do some serious tackling!  Cricket, the heeler/beagle, is really fast, though, so it's a bit of a challenge.  Sometimes I let him get far enough ahead so I can see where he's headed and cut him off and then BAM!  Ambush!  He always springs right back up and goes after me so I guess it's pretty fair.  Kai is a little older than us so he keeps to himself mostly.  Every now and again he does a drive-by, er--drive-through--and sends me high-tailing it.  It is AWESOME.  Mom says I'm looking nice and fit for Nationals in September.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chinese Tug Torture

You will never believe me when I tell you this, mes chers, but my mother has devised a method of torture especially for me!  I heard her talking to some friends at CCSC about a "drive toy"--what it is and how to make one.  And what is it, pray tell?  A toy so awesome and so magnificent that it renders a dog powerless to the all-consuming obsession to get said toy and TUUUGGG, willingly performing whatever parlor tricks requested and ignoring all other delights just for the chance to have that toy in one's jaws.  I scoffed at the idea at first, considering myself too clever and liberal in my toy choices to become enamored with one above all...until IT arrived.  IT is covered in rabbit fur.  IT has green bungee handles.  IT has four squeakers.  IT is the perfect size and shape to nestle against my pearly white teeth in that game above all games, Tug.  And IT lives in a drawer in the kitchen that my clumsy paws cannot pry or wedge open, for IT, apparently, belongs only to my mother.
I first noticed her acting strangely on Sunday, when we arrived home from the Burlington shows.  She kept flitting about, opening a previously unused drawer in our kitchen and snickering gleefully to herself for a few moments before closing the drawer again.  I, sweet and interested pup that I am, padded over to investigate.  Within a foot or two, my nose quivered, picking up a familiar smell.  Rabbit.  I leaned closer and a brown and green flash tore from the drawer and rocketed skywards, its handles spinning like propellers.  I gazed upon perfection for the briefest of instants, mes chers, and then nirvana was cruelly snatched from my sight--by my own mother.  Mom cavorted about the house, hugging and swinging IT just out of my reach and singing silly songs in a voice reserved once for my pointy ears alone.  Flabbergasted, I simply stared for longer than I will admit, overwhelmed by the desire to get IT.  My feeble attempts to snatch IT from her were easily thwarted and so I was forced to try another tack.  I grabbed my relatively new stuffed football toy and ran around in circles, trying vainly to catch her eye and offer to trade.  She ignored me, all her attention and care lavished on that furry usurper.  Bristling, I decided to take things to the next level.  I began to dance and cavort, flipping the football and squeaking it to show her that I was capable of my own one-dog party.  But Mom was having her own party.  I raced to find another, better toy...and another and another.  Nothing worked!  And then IT was gone, whisked back into the drawer.  And Mom walked away like nothing had happened.  I sat in the kitchen amidst a pile of second-rate toys for several minutes, stunned.  What had just happened?  How could I get IT?
And then she had the nerve to perform the whole crazy ritual not once more, but twice!  This time I became physical, bouncing and pouncing as I tried to steal IT from her.  Not a chance.  "Not for a week!" she grinned, tapping me playfully on the nose as she slid IT back into the drawer...
Mes amis, I may not survive the week.  This might be my last post, for I do not know how I shall carry on under the unbearable weight of anticipation!  I see IT in my dreams, I catch the musky scent of IT when I pass by.  My happiness--my very life, mes chers--hinges on getting IT.  I have no dignity left.  Name the trick and I shall perform the action.  But I simply must have IT.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Jefferson City and Sedalia Shows

This news is a bit late, but the photo arrived only last week and I thought it appropriate to blog about now.  Mes amis, I was awarded Best of Opposite Sex and my first two points at the Jefferson City Kennel Club Show, my second show ever!  My friend Domincia (Cia) took Best of Breed.  I got so excited that I was a little too bouncy and chewed on my lead during my other trips in the ring so this was the best that I did all weekend but I received many, many compliments from judges--one even called me a "knockout" puppy!  Mom was very proud of me, ribbons or no.
We would like to thank Judge Mrs. Kathleen Steen for this great honor!  And, of course, my breeders and our friends Susan and Adrienne for helping us newcomers to the sport.  Also to Liz, our conformation class instructor who helped me to learn to stand still!  We could not have done it without you all!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Funny Faces

Another Day in Paradise

Most of my days are good ones, mes amis.  Mais aujourd'hui, c'etait magnifique!  I performed my alarm clock duties as usual: hop halfway onto the bed to lick Mom's face until she takes me out to potty at around 6, then back to bed until 7:30ish when I pop back up and let her revel in my morning breath.  She usually puts me in 'snooze' setting a few times with a muffled but firm "off" and I sit back down to rest my chin on the edge of the mattress and gaze plaintively at her for a minute or two before jumping up to lick her again.  Eventually, this works and I am invited onto the bed for my morning bellyrub.  I cannot comprehend how you humans begin your days without one...
Anyway, she finally got up and tottered about to collect her hiking clothes, for we were perform that most glorious of dog and owner rituals: the morning walk.  And I have the most excellent luck to live just next to Grindstone Park--the off-leash paradise of fields, woods...and WATER!  And I know where all the the stinkiest waterholes are, trust me.  Mom always checks the car doors twice to make sure that they're locked because I lean as far as my seatbelt will allow out the window to feel the rush of morning breeze on face, my tongue flapping in the is enough to make a dog howl for joy at the mere thought.  My paws hit the parking lot pavement and we are off!  To pee on the first tree I can find and then rrrruuuunnnnn to the next tree and repeat.  Mom swears she's going to leave me behind one of these days because it takes so long to get across the bridge into the off-leash area.  We go nearly every day and I love it every time, but today was especially excellent because I got to play with lots of other dogs.  I swam with Cammie and Willie in my favorite water hole, hopped and howled with Lucy, chased Kimber the Speedy Beagle, roughhoused with Cooper, and got treats from Duke and Lulu's owner.  And I only jumped on a human once.  Mom was so proud she could have kissed me, as wet and stinky as I was.
I was so exhausted that I could barely drag myself into my car hammock.  Back at home, I slumped into the bathtub for a quick rinse and then and guarded the shower mats to make sure they didn't wander off while Mom got cleaned up. Breakfast and then I lounged on the couch with my favorite bone while Mom cleaned for what seemed like forever.  I will just shed more black fur everywhere, so I really don't understand why she takes the trouble every other day to sweep and wipe off everything in the house.  But oh well.  I taste-tested the new carton of yogurt to make sure it was safe and then settled back down to nap--er, watch more cleaning...until 3:30 and then off to Treats Unleashed!
Now you have to understand that while I love my PETCO and have stayed there since I was a young pup, I love Treats Unleashed more than any other store in the world, simply because therein are fashioned my delectable, beloved Crab Cakes.  And a host of other heavenly handmade treats.  I bounded in, announcing the return of their favorite customer with a few excited barks, and made a beeline for the Flossies.  Mom selected a suitably thick one for me while I waited in a quivering Down/Stay.  I proceeded to carry my prize around the store while Mom dragged a bag of Orijen Large Breed Puppy food to the counter and then went to the open treat bar and picked out my favorite cookies.  I confess I drooled more than a little as the mini bundt cake with carob and vanilla icing was slipped into a bag...
Anatole and I
Then off to the grandparents and Auntie Brit, the family's older yellow Lab.  Auntie Brit was about as enthused to see me as she usually is and then settled back into a nap while I ran around in search of my favorite toy in the world: Anatole.  For those of you unacquainted with him, you'd better hurry, as there grows increasingly less and less of him after each visit.  Anatole may seem like a simple soccer ball to the untrained eye, but he is a creature of considerable cunning and speed when it comes to my all-time favorite game: Yard Soccer.  Mom kicks or throws him and I rush pell-mell after him over branches, into bushes and sometimes even leaping up in the air to catch him on the bounce.  Anatole wears his battle wounds with pride, etched all the way over with tooth holes and cracks in his tough exterior.  He is dauntless in the jaws of death and gives as good as he gets time and time again.  I do not know where I shall ever find so skilled an opponent again.  Hopefully we shall have many more battles together and end many more perfect days!