Friday, April 30, 2010


The Horde and I returned home from the 2010 CWCCA National Specialty yesterday afternoon.  The national is something of a double-edged sword.  You plan and prepare for it for months, you leave for it with you and your dogs looking really good, but when you get home you are all trashed out.  That's why you start planning for the next one almost as soon as you are home - you need that much time to recover :)

Monday and Tuesday were agility.  The weather was less than spectacular on Monday - rain, wind and chilly temps.  Of course, most Cardigans like that kind of weather - even if their owners don't.  Neither Moira or Conner's runs were successful that day but we had fun and it gave us all a chance to sort of settle into a routine and get to know the show site.  Tuesday the weather improved.  The storms of the previous day blew through and we were graced with sunshine and slightly warmer temps.  The wind remained though.  Both dogs had very nice runs - again without Q'ing - but I was really pleased with the improvement I saw; especially in Moira's runs. As I predicted, she's much happier running in outdoor venues.  We also got to spend time with Becky Dean and Moira's half-sister, Drew.  That will be another post though let's just say that Pu Head has company in the "Strange Dog" department :)

Wednesday morning we were all up early so Sam could get ready to go into the conformation ring as an 11-year-old plus veteran in sweepstakes.  Handled by our good friend Mandy Bossi, Sam snagged the 3rd place ribbon in that class from breeder judge Doris Slaboda.  The two dogs ahead of him are heavy hitters in the breed - having been specialed in their day and even garnering group placements - so I was really pleased and surprised by Sam being in the ribbons.  I took Sam back to the photographer for his win picture - something I don't typically do because I am AWFUL at hand-stacking him.  Fortunately, the judge and some other exhibitors helped me get him stacked.  When it comes in, if neither of us looks too awful, I'll post it.  I will say that Sam was his usual self in that he tried to destroy the greenery set up around the photo station with his wagging tail.  We're lucky there were any flowers left on the lily plant that was closest to his tail.

Wednesday night Understanding House Mate and I had dinner in Gettysburg at a wonderful restaurant called Dobbin House Tavern.  If you ever find yourself in Gettysburg, I highly recommend it.  I know it was good because at that point I was so tired it's a miracle I even remember eating.

Thursday was another early morning and, thankfully, our last in Gettysburg.  Sam was again entered in the 11-year-old plus veteran dogs regular class.  By this time we were all looking a little rough around the edges but Sam showed well (handled this time by Karen Lyons) and pulled off another 3rd place finish - behind the same two dogs from sweeps.  The judge this morning was Marieann Gladstone - another breeder judge and the chair of the Judges' Education committee.   Judges' Education is the group that is responsible for producing materials to help licensed judges and prospective judges learn about our breed.  They also mentor prospective judges ringside at shows.  A National Specialty draws a lot of prospective judges because they have to attend a specialty within a set period of time prior to applying for a license to judge the breed.

You might have noticed that I indicated the two judges who gave Sam placements are breeder judges.  For those not familiar with the dog show world, getting placements under breeder judges is highly desirable because they are expected to be experts on the standard for the breed since it is their breed of choice.  You also might have wondered about Sam being entered in what sounds like the same class twice.  Wednesday was sweepstakes.  In dog shows, you have can have "sweeps" and regular classes.  Sweeps are only held at supported or specialty shows.  They are typically judged by a breeder judge but, the judge does not have to be licensed and winning sweeps doesn't earn the dog any points toward a breed championship.  Regular classes either earn points toward a breed championship or, get you a ticket into the best of breed class.  One of these days I'll try to write a coherent post on how all that works.  It can get a little convoluted.

So today we are all home and still on vacation.  There's a Dawg Yacht to unload, laundry to be done, blogs to be remodeled and launched (more later), an agility trial tomorrow to prepare for and I might even find some time to nap in the sun today.  It's good to be home.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Moira's Hot New 'Do

I'm almost ready to leave.  The laundry is nearly done, I'll finish packing as soon as the load that is in the dryer finishes.  Still need to pack the dogs' things though.

This morning I spent about 15 minutes giving Moira a special hairstyle for the National.  What do you all think?  It's a hot pink star!  I think it came out pretty well given that I was using a make-shift stencil.  In hindsight I should have placed it a little further up and out on her ear but, since it's semi-permanent, I can't change it now.

Hope to leave in about an hour to an hour and a half.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dog Tired and Ready to Bite

First, let me say how much admiration and respect I have for the clubs and individuals who plan and execute agility trials.  It's no small task and, typically, it is carried out by a very small and dedicated group.  Second, let me say that I bear some responsibility for today's debacle by thinking that the day before I leave for a National is  an ok day to enter an agility trial.  Now for the rant.....

I arrived at the trial site around 11am this morning, knowing that I was probably early but figuring Novice would start running by 2pm.  When I arrived, they had completed all 3 levels of Fast but were less than halfway through Exc Standard.  I left at quarter after 4 - without having stepped foot in a ring - since Open standard hadn't even started.  Judging was supposed to start at 8am so I did a little math and given the entries, I calculated an average of 34 runs an hour.  At that rate, it was going to be at least another hour, possibly more, before Novice would even think about starting.  Assuming a 5:30 start for Novice and padding a little for other things(equipment issues, waiting for results, etc.), I wouldn't have left the trial until 7pm or later.  This was a 2 ring trial but just one judge.

I can appreciate having to pay my dues in Novice and that it means usually running last.  Although it seems rather unfair that the dogs with the least experience have to wait the longest.  And I can understand equipment issues (apparently there were problems w/the electronic timers) but this is a bit ridiculous.  And yes, I know, the trial committee and the judge had been there since 7am or earlier - a very, very long day for them as well.

Yes, I can arrive later to the trial but then I can't really volunteer to work at the trial.  Almost every trial I've ever been to has been desperate for workers.  And what about the many Excellent-level competitors who burn the wind getting out of there as soon as their dog(s) are done running?  Remember when you were a Novice and had to stay there for hours?  Trials can go faster if there are enough people to work and the trial committee isn't scrambling to find a gate steward or ring crew.

I do have to say that the trial committee member I spoke to before I left was very kind and understanding.  I loved the trial site - although it would be miserable in hot weather as there is absolutely no shade to be had.  But please, I beg those of you who are on trial committees; consider hiring a 2nd judge, have back up plans if the timers aren't working and give the Novice competitors a break and mix up the run order periodically.  If you can, offer an incentive for people to work trials - and not lunch or a raffle.  I know of one trial secretary in New England who offers credits for every class worked toward entry fees for later trials.  If you work enough classes, you can trial for a whole weekend with no out of pocket entry fees paid.

Moira is now bathed and I'll start on the laundry shortly.  Guess I won't leave for PA until after noon tomorrow since I lost all of today.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Panic Sets In

It's Friday!

I have to run to Target.
I have to bathe dogs.
I have to do laundry.
I have to pack.
Moira and I have a trial on Saturday.
Sam has acupuncture on Sunday morning and then we leave!

I thought we just got back from last year's National.....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Yacht is Ready for Castoff

I spent the better part of today doing spring cleaning on the Dawg Yacht.  For most folks, detailing the interior of a car is fairly simple - shake out, vacuum and shampoo car mats, vacuum interior, wipe down interior, wash windows and you are done.  With the Dawg Yacht, it's a little different.

First, all accumulated trash must be removed from vehicle.  Then all crates must be removed.  Did I mention I have a vehicle that is intended to seat 7 passengers but only has enough seating for 1?  All but the front seat has been folded down or removed to make room for crates.  I typically have 4 crates in the car at all times; a 400 and 3, 300s.  The canvas drop cloth that lines the cargo area is removed, shaken out and then thrown in the washer.  Then I can get down to the business of a regular detailing.

When all the detailing is done, you'd think I could pour myself a beverage and relax on the deck.  No, because all those crates I mentioned in the previous paragraph need to be cleaned out as well.  So those get vacuumed and wiped out.  Then the canvas drop cloth goes back in the now clean and vacuumed cargo area and all the crates get loaded in again too.

The pre-National cleaning is a little different though.  There's almost always some sort of cargo area reconfiguration that must take place.  Last year, I had to install one of the back seats again because I was going to have an additional 2-legged passenger.  This year, I need to bring an extra crate to the National because Conner will be visiting me.

So the Yacht is now clean on both the inside and the outside (thank you Understanding Housemate).  It contains the usual contingent of dog paraphernalia (collars, bowls, leashes, etc), an extra crate (the count is now 2, 400s and 3, 300s) and enough room for all my National luggage.  Now to keep it clean and organized for another week.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Countdown to the National

Arghhh!  The 2010 CWCCA National is only 7 days away - 9 for me and Moira since we don't start showing until Monday, April 26th.

This is my last weekend to get chores done.  Next Saturday Moira and I are driving to Richmond for an agility trial.  It will be her first outdoor trial and I am hopeful she will do better in an outdoor venue than an indoor one.  Sunday our favorite vet, Dr. Hillary, will make a house call to do acupuncture on both Sam and Moira.  Then I'll load those two into the Dawg Yacht and it's off to Pennsylvania.

This will be my busiest National since 2006.  Monday and Tuesday will be agility with Moira and Conner.  Tuesday night, Conner is entered in a match called The Megan.  The Megan is a "fun" match for champions only, named after Ch Megan; the first American Champion Cardigan.  It is the only time Cardigans are judged by color.  Red/Sable dogs & bitches, Brindle dogs & bitches, Black dogs & bitches and Blue dogs & bitches.  The winners of those 8 classes go back in to compete for Best Cardigan Welsh Corgi.  Sam, Conner's dad, won Best Red dog in 2006.  Conner's half brothers, Siren and Romeo (littermates to Ginny) have competed in the Megan too.  Siren won Best Red dog in both 2002 and 2003.  Romeo was Runner Up Red dog in 2004.  It's something of a family dynasty to do well in the red dog class.

On Wednesday, Sam returns to the show ring in the 11 year old plus Veterans Sweepstake class.  Our good friend, Karen L., will be showing him for me.  I don't expect Sam to do anything in terms of winning.  This is just about letting the old man be in the spotlight again.  He has so much fun at shows and being in the ring and the veteran classes always draw lots of spectators who applaud for the elder statesmen and women of Cardidom.  We know how much Sam LOVES to hear applause.  He's also entered Thursday in the regular veteran classes.

So today I am making lists, doing laundry, cleaning out the Yacht and mentally preparing for everything that needs to be done in the next two weeks.  I'm also thinking about remodeling the blog and starting a new blog - details to come....

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Recipe for a Perfect Easter Weekend

Day 1 - Good Friday 
Order and get AMAZING weather.  Temps in the upper 70s and low humidity.
Leave work early.
Get superb pedicure - first of season and first professional pedicure in many years.
Have cocktails and dinner with 6 smart, funny girlfriends.

Day 2 - Saturday
Order and get AMAZING weather, again.
Bathe and groom youngest dog.
Go to neighbors' house for dinner.  Eat terrific food and laugh.
Dye Easter eggs.

Day 3 - Easter Sunday
Order and get more AMAZING weather.
Have Fat Girls' Breakfast ( Bacon and Grits w/Parmesan cheese, YUM!).
Bathe and groom 3 dogs.
Drink Co-cola w/lime (I gave up soda for Lent).
Get first sunburn of the year.
Have delicious dinner of smoked turkey breast, sweet potatoes and beets.
Go to bed on fresh sheets with clean, wonderful smelling dogs.

Of course, this recipe can be used for any weekend!  Hope you all had a wonderful time as well.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I'm Not a Professional Groomer

and I don't play one on TV.  I've mentioned before that Mr. B has copious amounts of coat.  Today, as temps soared into the upper 70s, I decided it was time to remedy that.  I've been planning this for a week.  I bought a Mars Coat King and everything.  What, you ask, is a Mars Coat King.  It is a grooming tool that essentially strips out excess undercoat, without damaging the top coat.  The one I bought has 23 blades to do this.  It is not for the faint of heart or unsteady of hand.

So we popped Mr. B up on the table - a place he does not enjoy being - and I set to work.  Below are Before and After photos.  It's hard to see a big difference in those photos but, believe me, I stripped 2-3 puppies-worth of hair out of the boy.  I went a little overboard at the top of his tail and he is now lacking undercoat there but, overall, I was really pleased with how he turned out.

Now that I have this little grooming adventure under my belt, I am planning something special and WILD for the National.  Nope, not going to tell you what it is.  You'll just have to wait for the photos.

Mr. B - Before, a hairy mess.

Mr. B - After, somewhat less hair.  He got a bath after his haircut.