Saturday, December 27, 2008

End of the Holiday

Well, here we are on the last night of a 4-day family visit - his and mine!  I think this has gone well.  Everyone has gotten along, and things have been mostly relaxing.  This is partly due to our having decided that something had to give (as I said to my mom: "it was the dusting!"), so that even though things weren't perfect, we were able to enjoy ourselves anyway.

Gibson has been a little more low-key this weekend than when we visited Mom & Dad in MI over Thanksgiving.  Of course, it helps that he is in familiar surroundings.  Also, my brother made it a personal mission to wear Gibson out - took him for at least 3, maybe 4 good walks on Thursday and Friday, plus lots of indoor play, usually involving 2 tennis balls.  Little bro likes dogs but has never been really crazy about the Clumbers (mostly because they slobber, I think).  I guess this is why God invented cats.  

He loves Gibson, though - I think the little Field spaniel reminds him more of our childhood Cocker, Candy, who he adored.  She was much-loved as our family pet, despite being a bit temperamental (my brother would probably tell you all of my run-ins with her teeth were purely my fault, though - probably shouldn't make a Cocker try to pull a sled!).

(Of course, Gibson isn't really cocker-y (and Candy was an ASCOB, not a black, Cocker), but there is somewhat more of a resemblance than with the Clumbers, even though he has a sunnier temperament than Candy.  Also, he doesn't slobber like a Clumber!)

I think Gibson really had fun with his "uncle" too!

Watson re-discovered the pond today during the thaw.  Luckily he was willing to come out without my having to wade in after him!  I have a feeling it is going to be an "attractive nuisance" any time the weather turns a bit warm.  Any amount of slush in the pond is enough to interest the dogs, and especially Watson, who we are really trying to keep CLEAN.  We really need to work on that recall...!  I don't really want the freezing temps back, but it will certainly help in keeping Watson out of the pond! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Recent Events and Random Holiday Thoughts

Thought I'd finally post a small brag from the Rosemont shows, 2 weekends ago in mid-December, where Watson was BOB on Sunday. We had a good time - winning at least one day does make the weekend more fun (even when the entry is small, as here)! I think Watson had a good time except for one thing - the booster baths at the show site had just about the iciest, coldest water I've ever felt. He was not a happy camper at bath time!! We also stocked up on his newest fashion accessory - bibs! Knocking on wood here, I think he may finally be past the stage where he looks at bibs as our thoughtful way of attaching the chew toy to him. Hope springs eternal....

While I've been lazy about posting lately, time has marched on and the holidays are upon us again. I had been feeling a bit scroogy, as I always do, about spending time getting ready for the holiday. Last night we finally got the tree up and, again as usual, that really started to get me in the holiday spirit. I hung up some of the cards we've gotten - mostly with photos of peoples' dogs and children. We also wrapped some presents! We could've spent the night cleaning in anticipation of the arrival of family, but I obviously needed some Christmas cheer, and wrapping is a whole lot more fun than cleaning! Guess that means we will be cleaning tonight...

We got a smaller tree this year and raised it off the floor on a table. (Actually, we used our nifty adjustable-height grooming table - covered with a sheet so it doesn't look so much like a grooming table. One we get the tree skirt on, no one will know the difference.) We're hoping this will make it less interesting to the dogs. I don't think Wooster would bother a tree on the floor, but Watson might decide to mark it as "his" and Gibson would probably attempt to drag it around as he does with any illicit object (random shoes, clothing, boxes, etc.) when he is looking for extra attention! Since this would result in a smelly house and/or broken ornaments, we are trying something different. It looks good, even though we haven't put lights or ornaments on yet.

I also broke down and bought stockings for the dogs. Well, Becki had sent one for Gibson (he likes it so much, he tried to eat it...several times!), then I felt bad the other dogs didn't have them. (Usually, we are at the folks' and they improvise stockings for the dogs.) Anyway, I bought a couple at Lands' End at a good price since they are monogrammed catalog returns. I "simply" removed the monogramming (well, it took several hours of painstaking ripping to get the machine embroidery out even though I picked the ones with the shortest names!!) and - voila! - new stockings for the Clumbers. They don't have names on, but I figure it is unlikely the dogs will notice. Now to keep Gibson from eating these as well...

Michael is home today, hopefully relaxing but getting a few things done, as well. All the folks & my bro arrive tomorrow for a whirlwind Christmas Eve (dinner, church, dessert and decorating - not necessarily in that order - all after 6 pm). The rest of the weekend should be more relaxing (at least for me), although I do have plans for much cooking and baking while the family is here - nothing says love like LOTS of homemade goodies at Christmas time, right?

With all the snow here in South Central Wisconsin, there's no chance we won't have a white Christmas - we just have to hope Santa can find our house through a possible white-out! Hope everyone else has a wonderful, safe and warm holiday, too!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sibling Rivalry

Just had to brag about my wonderful boy, Watson.  Tonight I gave him and Baby Gibson each a tennis ball.  (They can have them only so long we supervise - never unattended!)  Watson chewed on his for quite some time (but didn't destroy it).  Gibson, naturally, chewed his only until he realized there might be an opening to steal Watson's!

Watson, bless his little furry heart, let Gibson take the tennis ball - literally - right from under his nose!  Then he fixed his gaze on the ball Gibson had dropped in order to steal that one.  And watched it - for close to 30 seconds until I picked it up and gave it to him.  I think he was afraid to retaliate!!  I think he's getting the hang of it, though.  Gibson later left his ball unattended, and Watson snuck up - carefully looking both ways! - and grabbed it up while Gibson wasn't looking.  Shades of our Kipper, who is the only dog I've ever seen steal something from Wooster and get away with it!  He used to sneak up just when Woo put a toy down and turned his head!  It was always fun to watch him getting the better of the younger, stronger, faster dog! :)

Watson's been so sweet the whole night, letting Gibson take his tennis ball basically at will.  I'm told Watson may become less tolerant when Baby Gibson grows up.  I certainly hope not, but I somehow doubt it anyway...Good Boy, Watson!

Lansing, MI

This was the weekend of the long-awaited Lansing, MI shows.  I say long-awaited because they were connected to the Thanksgiving holiday - we entered mainly because we were going to be in the area over the holiday weekend.  Over the last week, I have been pondering my blessings and am thankful for my wonderful husband & dogs, a terrific family and many friends.  I am especially grateful for good friends who believe in helping out the dogs as much as Michael & I do!  (Thanks, Sue!!)

I had spent Tuesday evening at a conformation run near Milwaukee in preparation for the weekend.  Michael prepped the truck w/ the car topper while I was gone.

Wednesday evening, after a very long day, we spent dealing with some last-minute issues getting a rescue dog settled before the holiday.  

So it was Thursday - VERY early - before we got on the road.  Luckily, there was no Chicago traffic.  I think I set a new record going through the City: less than half an hour from the Des Plaines toll plaza to the Skyway toll plaza!  This was a pleasant surprise.  We picked up Michael's mom in good time to make it to my folks' in Lansing for the big turkey dinner.  I think we were all a bit surprised my parents hadn't invited any friends to join us this year - much quieter than I'm used to for the holiday, but also relaxing.

We enjoyed a quiet day on Friday, until it was time to head to the puppy match.  First, there was the drama of getting directions to the show site.  Once we made it there, we had to find grooming space.  Since there wasn't any, we ended up "borrowing" someone's reserved space.  (He showed up just as I put Gibson up on the table to comb him out but let us use the space until we went ringside...then he move our table to the side & set up his gear. )  

Then there was much waiting...This was a large puppy match because it was attached to the 3-day weekend, and they judged in alpha order, so "Spaniel, field" was near the end of a good-sized sporting group.  Poor Mom & Patti waited like troopers (at least they had chairs!).  I thought Gibson showed really well, especially for such a little guy who had been waiting at ringside for so long!  He was the only Field spaniel, so he took the Breed, but unfortunately, the judge put up mostly retrievers in her sporting group.  Well, good learning experience for Baby Gibson!

Friday night and Saturday morning were long as we got Watson prepped for the ring, only to be broadsided by a substitute judge who has recently put the competition up for a BIS (not that we had a warm & fuzzy feeling about the scheduled judge, but still...).  We had a good time anyway, though.  I enjoyed showing Roe's girl Tess.  Didn't win in the classes either but really enjoyed the opportunity to show!

Saturday afternoon we toured the Van Andel Research Institute with the family and with Roe and Gordie.  What a fascinating opportunity!  They are doing exciting work that hopefully will benefit the dogs as well as people!! 

Getting dumped again on Sunday provided the chance to get an early start for home.  We would have loved to stay around and enjoy a meal with some friends - it was fun seeing Roe & Gordie, Nancy, Jim & Shirley, Kassie and Monica - but the weather in Lansing presaged an unpleasant drive back to Madison.  Fortunately, it wasn't as bad as it might have been, but it was still good we started out when we did!

We enjoyed our weekend in Lansing and would have loved to stay longer to enjoy more time with family but are also glad to be home.  Madison greeted us with a fresh coat of snow on the ground - and more today.  Hopefully not the start of another winter like last year...