Wednesday, October 31, 2007


OK. I've allowed myself to be sucked in. (Thanks, Kim!) Join me as I attempt to blog every day for the month of November during NaBloPoMo (see for details). Here's hoping the dogs will provide lots of material; otherwise, I may have to resort to blogging about other, less interesting topics.

I'm sure comments would help me stay motivated during this adventure...

C'mon...don't you want to know if I make it?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Countersurfing and Other Clumber Pastimes...

Well, in Kim's recent comment, she asks whether "Mr. Woo" is leaving the cords alone. The short answer is...yes. We have not lost any cords to Wooster in the 4.5 years he's lived with us. This is a good thing. That being said, however, although Wooster did not introduce us to that Clumber spaniel phenomenon called "countersurfing," he does elevate the sport to new heights!

I distinctly recall Jenni telling us, upon transferring Wooster to our care, that countersurfing was "not his first love." Perhaps not, in a land (such as I imagine Jenni's kitchen) with clean and empty counters. However, in the land of Jennifer & Michael, not so much. In this land, Wooster takes every opportunity to explore the great expanse of my countertops. I do notice a decided drop in such visitations during phases where the countertops are emptier (thus less tempting), presumably since there are fewer rewards awaiting during those times.

Since Wooster's arrival, we have lost innumerable sticks of butter and loaves of bread along with various utensils (one of which we later pieced together CSI-style to make sure no pieces were inside the dog).

Then there were Wooster's other food-related exploits. Like the time I hid a bag of ground coffee in my briefcase, since it would have given away the imminent arrival of guests for an upcoming surprise birthday party for Michael (we don't drink coffee). We arrived home from the party to find most of the coffee spread over the dining room floor and Wooster high as a kite. Fortunately, we determined he had not ingested enough of it to harm himself. I'm also fond of recounting (in retrospect-- though quite terrified at the time) the time Wooster opened the lazy susan cabinet to find the large canisters of flour that I had stored there. Who knew that flour mixed with Clumber drool makes quite a sticky dough that can coat any surface, including Clumber whiskers and laminate flooring? Well, we do now. Needless to say, the flour now lives above the counters, out of reach of Clumber paws (even though Woo likes to extend his paw and then hop, thus extending his reach all the way to the back of the counter-- he's both determined and industrious!).

Wooster at least mostly-- though not entirely-- confines his tastes to food and food-related articles. (Underwear fetish? Yes, this is the dog that has to buy me new underwear every year for Christmas. If only he could actually pay for them himself, we'd be all set.) Unfortunately, Watson is not so choosy. (More on this some other time.) And why does he (Watson, that is) never seem to chew these objects before swallowing?

(Anyone with the answer to that question should feel free to comment...I could sure use the insight.)

Wooster's surfing activities have been severely curtailed since the arrival of Watson, since both dogs are now crated during the day. No doubt he's sad about this, but it is a relief to us. My new mantra is: A supervised Clumber is a healthy Clumber! Nonetheless, as Kim's comment shows, Wooster's exploits continue to be the stuff of legend among those who know him.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Happy Birthday, Wooster!

A belated but very happy birthday to Wooster, CH Clussexx Shining Star JH, SH!

We celebrated Wooster's 7th birthday yesterday. It's easy to remember his birthday, as it is only 1 day before our wedding anniversary. I think Michael was happy to have finished Woo's senior hunter title before his 7th birthday. I've been looking forward to this birthday myself, since 7 years is the minimum age to show in veteran classes at conformation shows. That is the only class Wooster is eligible for in AKC shows as a neutered dog (and only in specialty shows, at that!). There won't be many shows we can do, given the restrictions, but there will be a couple a year. We may also be doing some UKC or international shows, too, just for the fun of it (and assuming they don't involve large travel expenses, at least until we move the condo!).

Wooster is not your average dog. He's extremely smart-- you can always see the wheels turning in his head. Our vet says he is a "fire sign." (Kipper was an "earth sign," according to her, and I think Watson is an earth, too.) Wooster is also very busy and extremely athletic. All this means he needs a job like nobody's business, which is why it's great that Michael has done so much with him in the field!

We love you, Wooster! Looking forward to many great years together!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Return of the...

Well, last Saturday was to have been our triumphant return to the show ring, and I was hoping t0 get our last point and finish Watson's championship. (2 bitches were entered, so if Watson had gone BW, he could have had a crossover point.) Instead, it just goes to prove that old saying about "best laid plans."

We awoke early on Saturday to bathe Watson and finish our grooming. Michael washed the dog, then took a nap while I did the blowdrying and grooming. This is our usual division of labor. Washing the dog is one of Michael's contributions to our conformation showing (an activity that is more to my liking-- he'd rather be hunting), and I might add that it is much appreciated, since the washing is not an activity that I especially enjoy.

We then set off for Freeport, IL. This was, ostensibly, a trip of about an hour and three-quarters, according to the Internets. Unfortunately, the Internets did not account for us accidentally exiting early and going through downtown Rockford, adding at least half an hour to the trip. We arrived just in time for Watson and I to exit the vehicle and find out our ring had been moved. Thankfully, the new ring was not far away and they were running a bit behind schedule. I located one of the other Clumber exhibitors who told me that the other bitch was also her dog and would not be competing. So much for our point.

In retrospect, I should have realized that Watson was quiet while waiting to go in the ring-- too quiet. Michael said later that Watson wasn't wagging his tail when the judge came over to examine him-- a dead giveaway. Although I thought he was moving rather well in spite of his obvious (in hindsight) , the judge liked the girl better on Saturday. Watson went BOS (he was the obvious-- well, only-- choice) but made a complete mess of himself not 5 minutes later when I took him out to head back to the truck. Good timing, my poor boy!

So, between the beating, lack of points, sick dog and 8 am ring time on Sunday, we decided to skip the 2 hour drive the next day. I was not at all sad about this, under the circumstances. Add to that that it was the first weekend day that we had had, at home, to ourselves, in more than a month, and it added up to an OK decision.

No shows anywhere in Wisconsin for some time, though, unfortunately. Anyone for Michigan or Indiana?