Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Part 4: Bess

After Taylor went back to the breeder, Adam and I were kind of in limbo. We had gone from having two great danes with the plan to add a third in a year, to having only one dane and not really knowing what to do from there. After talking with some people I decided that it was best to kind of get out of the harlequin color family. My original plan was to get a black puppy. We found a very reputable breeder and got on the waiting list for a puppy. While we were waiting for the breeding to take place, we did some more thinking. Did we really want to go through dealing with a puppy right now? And not just any puppy, but a cropped show prospect puppy from a breeder that was an inconvenient distance away? Ultimately we decided not to get the puppy. We had tossed around the idea of going through Dane Outreach and adopting a dane, but unfortunately Trinity kind of burned us both on the idea of taking on an adult dane with potential baggage. Not to say that all rescue dogs have baggage, but you do need to be prepared for that possibility when you take in a dog that someone else decided they didn't want for whatever reason.

After throwing around all sorts of ideas, we were pretty much back to the drawing board and not really knowing what to do. At the time I had some friends who knew that we were looking for another dane and that I also wanted a conformation dog. It just so happens that they passed my name along to Georgia, who just so happened to have a dane that pretty much fit exactly what we were looking for. We didn't want a puppy, we wanted a conformation dog, and we also wanted a dane that had some energy. While Heffner has mellowed some, at that point he was quite high energy for a dane. We did some emailing and talking on the phone and decided that Bess was the right fit for everyone!

The back story on Bess was that she had been originally placed in a pet with a family who had small children. Unfortunately, she ended up being way more dog than they were able to handle. Her energy level was something that they just couldn't manage. After some discussion with Georgia, Bess went back to the Daynakin ranch. I didn't realize until more recently just how long Georgia and Jack had Bess before she came to live with us. They got her back at I think about 12 weeks old and she was 11 months old when we got her. That's one of the hallmarks of a very reputable and dependable breeder. They knew that Bess needed a specific home that would work with her, give her an outlet for her boundless energy, and also make her use her mind. They kept her for 8 months until they found the home that they felt would best suit their dog. How many back yard breeders do you know of who would do the same for one of their puppies?

I drove up to Lynden, WA to pick Bess up in April of 2008. When I got to Georgia and Jack's house and was ready to see our little Bessy Poo, Georgia warned me that she hadn't had a good run yet that day (she was in one of the outside runs at the time). As she went out to get her she turned to me and asked me if I was ready for her. I said sure, while kind of laughing to myself. After all, how "bad" could she be? Heffner was a very busy puppy who was also an only puppy growing up and we were the focus of his energy. After going through that, this should be a piece of cake. Um, yeah. You know that Warner's Brothers cartoon character the Tazmanian Devil?

THAT was Bess as she came tearing into the living room! She did laps around the room, literally running on the backs of the couches! Was I ready for her? Holy cow, I wasn't expecting THAT much energy!LOL Once she decided to stop her lap running and settle down, she came over to the couch I was sitting on and did what I now know to be her signature move. She came over and hovered within millimeters of my face. Not necessarily sniffing me, but just hovering and soaking whatever about me in. She was definitely entertaining!

After that, we hit the road for the 5 hour trip home. I let her and Heffner out together in our back yard and they got acquainted. Heffner pretty much liked her right away. She was a little unsure initially, but warmed up to him very quickly!

It really amazed me just how quickly she settled in and how it seemed like she was always meant to be there. We got home kind of late that first night, so the dogs didn't get a whole lot of time to play with each and get to know each other more. The next day though, it was like she had already been there for weeks. She and Heffner played like old buddies and it was just the easiest transition we had had. And do you know how awesome it is to bring home a new dog who's already house broken???:o)

She just really was the perfect fit for us and we're incredibly happy that we have her. Although I do have to admit that when she goes into season and loses her brains for a couple of weeks, she does make me want to strangle her just a little bit. But just a little.;o)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blogger Tuesday

Weeeeeeeee.....I'm still flying a little bit high over our blog getting picked to be the winner!! Thank you again to everyone who voted for us and for all the nice stuff you guys have been saying! It really does mean a lot.:o)

Before I get into my blog pick for the week, I have sort of exciting news. Since Bess is in season right now, I decided to take Heffner to agility class tonight! We lowered his jump height and I didn't run him through any tunnels. And he did fantastic! He was soooooo happy to be out there running! I wasn't sure how he'd be with the weave poles, but we just went for it. I am not kidding when I say that I have NEVER seen him run weaves better than he did tonight! And a full set of 12 to boot! He had great drive through the entire set, he was fast, he was accurate, he had great entrances, and I was able to keep a distance from him. It was just amazing! Our instructor was incredibly impressed with him tonight. He also ran the courses like a dream! He was just soooo happy and nailing everything that I put in front of him. I'm so excited to have him back in the game!

Now on to my pick for Blog of the Week! I have chosen The Greyhound Beckett & His Dog Treats! It's a great blog to read. Enjoyable posts, and Beckett's mom bakes him some WONDERFUL dog treats! That's really what caught my attention. She uses some really great ingredients. I was so inspired while reading their blog that I decided that I needed to get off my duff and bake the dogs some treats! I haven't done that in ages and it was also one of my monthly goals for this blog that I've slipped a bit on. The specific recipe that I went for was the Blueberry Chamomile Cookies. I will start off by warning you that I'm not a huge fan of going through the trouble of putting together our mixer, using it, and then cleaning it. So I usually just mix things by hand (I wasn't sure if the original recipe was done with a mixer or not). It doesn't always work, and sometimes it only sort of works. Either way, I get my own unique spin on things. When I mixed all of the ingredients except for the potato flour together (I tripled the recipe), this was my result:
Not nearly as pretty as Beckett's mom's version, but I'll take it. And my guys are such food hounds that I really don't think they care a whole lot. Next I added in the potato flour.
And yes, the dough totally takes on this weird/neat sponge-like quality to it. It was kind of fun to play with!
And here it is without the flash. It kind of gives it a different look and I think you kind of get a better feel for the sponginess.
I didn't really feel like going through the effort of rolling out the dough and using the cookie cutters that we have (are you seeing a general trend in the laziness department? ;o) ), so I made little patties and put them on the baking sheets.
And here's what they look like all nice in the over before baking (we have two ovens and the overflow cookies went in there).
I put both of the ovens on their lowest temperature settings, which I believe put them at right around 150-160 F. Now when Beckett's mom says that it takes several hours for these to bake, she's seriously serious! I thought that it would be fun to document the first few hours of the cookies baking. You don't see a whole lot of change, but here goes. Here's after the first hour.
And after the second.
Each time I opened the ovens, I got the most wonderful chamomile smell that wafted out at me. It was so yummy and comforting smelling! And here's after three hours.
After hour three, it was getting time for me to turn in for the night since I had started these cookies after getting home from work on one of the days last week. I decided to just chance it and leave the cookies baking over night and then I'd check on them first thing in the morning. When I got up, they were all still pretty moist and doughy in the middle. Definitely not to the crispy stage yet. Finally I had to go to work and I couldn't just leave the cookies baking all during the day. So I pulled them out after 13 hours in the oven and this is what they looked like.

I put the cookies in a Zip lock bag and into the freezer where I'm going to keep them as I use them. So yes, a lot of time in the over, but the cookies smell really good and the dogs definitely like them!

Thank You!!!

This is just a quick post before I head off to work to thank everyone who voted for our blog in the blog contest!! We really appreciate it! And guess what??? We freaking won!!! You guys totally rock!

I just got the email this morning saying that our blog won! The email said that more than 400,000 subscribers voted in the final round and we received 20% more votes than our next competitor! Yay!!!

I've also updated the button on the side bar of the blog. Hooray!! I'll be back later tonight for Blogger Tuesday and it's a fun one!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Part 3: Taylor

After Trinity went back to the woman who had had her before, Heffner's breeder asked me if I would like to take on one of the puppies that she kept from her last litter. The puppy was Taylor, affectionately known as Tater Tot.:o) I was very happy at the prospect of a "puppy" in the house again and one that hadn't developed issues in another home. Taylor came to stay with us at six months old. We pretty much fell in love with her from the start. She was a very sweet girl who was easy to love. And I do have to admit that I have a bit of a thing for mantles, be they of the Irish or the merle persuasion.;o)

However, the "tricky" thing about Taylor was that she was a cropped dane, when I had a natural eared boy and Trinity's ear were already standing and long out of tapes when she came to stay with us (I think I forgot to mention it, but she was with us for six weeks). Taping ears is a whole art unto itself. And if you don't have someone who's willing to explain it to you and help you out, you can easily cause permanent damage to the ears. This was one of those times when I started to realize that Heffner's breeder wasn't the mentor that I was looking for. When we did the hand off of Taylor, she basically gave me a small ziplock bag of some ear supplies and told me to just keep doing what she had been doing. At the time it seemed simple enough. Late on though, I realized just how much more there was to it. The first few weeks were a bit rough. And Heffner wasn't helping any because one of his favorite games was to chew on Taylor's ears, especially right after I had just gotten done taping them. Apparently they were just screaming at him to have the tape ripped off. Yeah, that wasn't a whole lot of fun. Thanks to many helpful people who were part of an online dane forum, I started learning how to actually tape ears and slowly got better. The first stages though looked a little something like this:
Taylor fit very well into our family and we were pretty much sold on the idea that we were going to keep and not give her back once our new puppy was born. This was something that the breeder was very fond of. And boy did Heffner love his new little sister!

Starting in September of 2007, I started taking Taylor into the ring! We had been going to handling class religiously and we were really working well together and I really enjoyed her. At our first conformation match, not only did Taylor win the puppy breed, but she also got a puppy group 1st!! She was getting fairly tired of her long day by the time we went into the Best in Match ring, it was pretty much all I could do to keep her standing up! Prior to going into the ring the judge was nice enough to let us get a picture with her. While it's not the best shot since Taylor really was not longer in the mood to be a show dog, I still think it's cute!

We really felt like she was a great addition to our family and Heffner was very obviously taken with her. We took her every where with us. Many trips to the beach!

Trips out to my parents' property in Pine Grove.

And a trip out to Sunriver.

After about three months living with us, I started to find out about some issues that the breeder was having in her personal life. While not entirely related, I really feel that these issues played a large part in some of her erratic behavior and the decisions that she was making. Unfortunately, she and I had a difference in opinion about things related to Taylor that eventually ended with her asking for Taylor back. Since I was not a co-owner or otherwise of Taylor, I had no rights with regards to keeping her. We very much wanted to keep her because she was a very sweet dog and the plan had been for us to keep her. At the time, it felt like a great blow. However, as with many things, it turned out to be for the best. Losing Taylor opened the door for getting Bess and gaining a breeder who was EXACTLY what I needed in a mentor. So while it was sad and hard to let her go, we are much happier for it and in a much better place now.

As I was looking through all the old pictures I came across some old videos too! Hopefully these come through alright.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weekend Wrap Up!

I'm taking a brief break from my little stories about the danes that have come through our house to do a little weekend wrap up. My wrap up will actually start on Thursday evening. I decided to take Heffner out to a Rally run through way out in Gresham. The facility was great and there was plenty of room for a nice large course. There were nested courses that everyone sort of ran the same course, the stations were just different depending on what level you were doing.

Everything went pretty well. Heffner had a little outburst when he saw a siberian come into the facility. So that kind of sucked. Otherwise, he did quite well. He listened well for the most part. Our second run was better because he was warmed up. I wasn't really sure how things were going to be run, so I neglected to actually warm him up and get him ready prior to our first run. The only thing that I wasn't terribly comfortable with was the fact that the start position had us sitting literally a foot from a couple of the dogs. I'm used to our obedience practices where people either have their dogs crated when they're not getting run or they make sure that the dog is focused on them the entire time when they're outside of the crate. I'm not used to people sitting so incredibly close with their dogs out of a crate and letting them play and greet other dogs. A couple of the dogs decided to say hi to some of the other dogs while they were starting the course. I was incredibly apprehensive that one of those dogs would try this with Heffner and it wouldn't go well. So I was understandably tense at the beginning until we got away from the area where people were sitting with their dogs. Otherwise it went well.

Unfortunately this facility is really too long of a drive for me to do on a regular basis. By the time I got home, got the dogs fed, and dremmelled their nails, it was 10:00pm. It pretty much ate up my entire night to do two run of Rally with one dog. Oh well!

Friday night was our obedience practice. And it went really well! I'm really happy with how Heffner is coming along. He was really comfortable in the ring and was totally not disturbed by the other things going on outside of the ring. His heeling was tighter than it was today, but I'll get to that.;o) And guess what else??? We did an entire off leash heeling pattern!!! OMG! He was doing so well and focusing on me that I decided to go for it. I had good treats that he was definitely interested in to make sure that if he started to mentally wander, I could get him back. But I was soooooooooo pleased with how he did!!

Our sits and downs were so-so. I think we're really going to struggle with the long sits. He now wants to slide into a down pretty quickly. So I'm going to have to really work on getting him to maintain that. Otherwise, they were better than last week.:)

Saturday morning I got up early to take the dogs for a hike so that we could both get some exercise. I had a packed day with a friend's wedding and some other non-dog activities, so I wanted to make sure that they really got to stretch their legs. The weather was great, the trail was great (lots of climbing), and there were even some deer for the dogs to chase for a brief bit to really get them running.;) Naturally, I brought the camera along and snapped some pictures!

This is the picture that I used for my 52 Weeks for Dogs submission this week!

And this morning Heffner and I went to an obedience match in Salem!! My plan was originally to do one run of obedience and one run of rally. However, I ended up doing two runs of obedience and skipping out on rally because I wasn't really feeling up to spending the whole day there. The facility that we went to was My Dogs Gym and I LOVE this place!! The matting is wonderful, the facility is great, and there's plenty of room for everything! Our first run was Novice A obedience. Again, I didn't really warm Heffner up enough prior and our first run was a bit rough. He was having a harder time focusing on me than he has before. Additionally, this was the first time that he's been in an obedience ring while another ring is running exercises right next to it. While this happens all the time in agility, this is a totally new thing to him with regards to obedience and it took him a little bit to adjust to that. Pretty much all of the exercises were rough (and yes, we did all the off leash stuff too!). Not where they had been on Friday night. I was a little disappointed there, but he was otherwise a happy dog.

The sit stay the first time around was just awful though. Ouch! The boy did not want to hold his sit stay. I kept him on leash and didn't go far because I had a feeling it was going to be a problem. We had slide to a down after slide to a down. Oy! His long down stay was actually pretty good. I still kept him on leash for that one, but I feel pretty confident now that I could have unhooked him and he would have been fine.

After the first two rounds of dogs, they asked if anyone wanted to do any additional novice runs. I figured what the heck, it would be nice to end that one on a good note, so we might as well try again. By this time, my parents had shown up to watch. They live in Silverton, which isn't too far away. They came in at the end of the down stays. Heffner was very excited to see them. Especially my dad. Both my dogs LOVE my dad. Probably because he encourages them to be naughty dogs! Since they didn't get to see us do our first set of exercises (thankfully!), that was another reason why I wanted to do a second novice run. My dad also was nice enough to video for me.:) The video is a little long because it's completely unedited. You'll notice a few times that Heffner definitely knew that grampa was ring side.;) While we did have some lagging and I wasn't wanting to attempt to test his automatic sits on the halts in an environment where he most likely would fail, I was much happier with our second time around.:) So here's the video of our novice exercises. Just keep in mind that we're still very much a work in progress, but slowly getting there!

My dad also videoed our group sits and downs. You can see that Heffner was still being a bit of a pill, but better than the first time around. I will warn you that this part of the video is especially boring so I don't blame you if you don't watch it!

By the time we left it was right around noon and they were just starting to run Open. Rally wasn't really slated to start until 2pm and I had planned on heading out to my parents' house to relax and just visit that day. If I decided to stick around for rally, then it would have really ended up eating up the rest of my day. So I voted for just sticking with my two novice runs and heading off to my parents'. Heffner and I had a great time just hanging out. He loves going to their house because not only do they leave all sorts of food on the counter that's RIGHT at his height, but they also leave their garbage can out on the floor!! My parents' have an aging golden retriever, but he has a hard time getting around now, so there's a lot that they don't have to worry about with him. Heffner however, is all about getting up into their business!

Tomorrow is our very first private obedience lesson!! I had originally planned on only taking Heffner since Bess is in season, but our instructor said it was fine for her to come as long as I had some panties for her. I think I'm going to bring her after all! And after that very packed weekend, I'm heading off to do some vegging out!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Part 2: Trinity

After having Heffner for about a year, I went to the Rose City Classic to just check out the whole dog show thing. When we got Heffner, I had no interest in showing in conformation. I was hoping to do some performance events with him, but I had never done anything competitive with any of the previous family dogs, so I wasn't planning on necessarily being gun-ho about it. So I thought it would be fun to just go and check everything out. I was especially excited to see the danes in the ring.

I showed up ringside about an hour early because I wanted to make sure that I was able to sit right up close so that I wouldn't miss anything.:) When people started setting up crates and bringing their dogs in, I was like a kid in a candy store! I wanted to bounce in my seat and clap my hands I was so excited!! I sat and watched the entire competition. Granted I was a little confused about how things went. Which is understandable for someone on their first time who sees similar looking dogs and certain handlers on many different dogs. From there I was hooked! I decided that our next dane was going to be a show prospect.

Everyone will tell you, if your breeder is a reputable breeder, they will be your go to person for EVERYTHING related to your breed. So naturally, I emailed Heffner's breeder about my interests in showing in conformation and that we had decided to bring another dane into our house. It only seemed natural to go to the same person that I got the dog whom I loved so dearly. Basically what I was looking for was a mentor in the breed. Unfortunately, though I didn't realize it at the time, I was not looking the in right area. But I'll get there.

The breeder and I had stayed in touch because I periodically sent her emails about how Heffner was doing and what I was doing with him along with pictures. She seemed quite excited that I wanted to get into conformation and offered to let me "foster" one of her bitches in our house so that I could get some hands on practice in with a dog living with me until she had another litter and puppy for us. Until she figured out which bitch she was going to have stay with us, she asked me if I wanted to meet her for some handling classes with a particular instructor in our area. I was thrilled that she was not only going to let me take one of her dogs into our house to work with, but she was also going to give me the means to get some handling instruction and guidance. At this point I will say that it really was pretty great of her to offer all of this. She was paying for the handling classes and driving all the way out to my side of town with one of her dogs so that I could practice. She was also going to let me show whomever she was going to enter. To a newbie, that sounds fantastic! And I will agree that it started out as a pretty good way for me to gain experience. Though not QUITE the experience that I had originally planned on!

I was a die hard regular at our Tuesday night handling classes. This was before I had Heffner in agility, so it didn't conflict. If the breeder couldn't make it out with one of her dogs, then I took Heffner. And yes, that was pretty funny. Heffner is many things, but a conformation dog he is not. Thankfully he humored me and mostly behaved. Though he didn't quite understand why I kept fussing with his feet and walking and trotting him everywhere.

Finally the day came and the breeder emailed me to say that she was going to take back one of her harlequin bitches that had been staying with a friend of hers. Originally when she got the harl bitch as a puppy she thought she was too timid and sent her off with this friend of hers so that she could hopefully work with her and see how she developed. This bitch had been on the back burner because the breeder wasn't really sure that she wanted to show her. However, she had me interested in a dog to show, so why not? And so the fun with Trinity began.

Unfortunately the friend that Trinity was staying with had gone through a nasty little divorce and the woman hadn't really worked with her at all. And I do mean at all. As in, the dog didn't know what a collar was and would run and cower if you tried to put one on her. Leash broke? Pretty much only because she preferred to walk with you. You want to clip a leash to that collar that just took you a half hour to put on her? Be prepared to go through the whole collaring routine, but add in some screaming from Trinity when you tried to connect it to the collar. Yes, this bitch was going to be a lot of work! But I was willing and eager.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that she was afraid of men while inside? When she was outside, she was totally fine with them approaching her and would love up on them. Inside a house? Um, yeah, that's a whole different story. But I will get to that one.

For the first week that we had her, I was able to take the first week off of work. This was pretty perfect. I could get her settled in to our routine and get her more used to us and how we went about things. I could also get her used to a collar and leash and behaving herself when out and about.

One of the first activities that we did was spend a day at the beach! My friend Jenny came along with her great dane Marlie and we had a really nice day of it. Trinity had never been to the beach before, but she did seem to enjoy it.

I also took the dogs out to this wonderful HUGE off leash park out in the Gorge during this time. We met up with a few other dane people and it was a great time!

Adam and I took both of the dogs to one of the Bark in the Park events held at PGE park. There were a lot of noises and different things that she really wasn't used to, but she adapted.

Basically, I started her on a crash course to socialization.:o) As the days ticked past and she got more and more comfortable in her new long term temporary home, more of her personality started to come through. As I said before, she was not fond of men while inside the house. This started to become an issue with Adam. As long as I was in her sight, she was mostly fine with him, but didn't like for him to approach her. It started to become an issue if I wasn't in her sight. For instance, if I was in the bathroom with the door shut. If Adam tried to come down the hallway, she would start growling and make it clear that he wasn't to come any closer. And I don't mean a kind of sort of warning growl. It escalated towards the end to the point, where Adam was seriously not comfortable being on the same floor of the house with her if I wasn't around. I have no doubt in my mind that she would have actually gone after him if we hadn't regulated her environment like we were having to.

I have to give Adam a lot of credit during this time. He never ONCE complained about it or brought up the topic of taking her back to the breeder. He just put up with having a dog in his house who was acting like she would kill him if I wasn't in sight. That's not an easy thing for anyone to deal with.

I continued to work with Trinity. We went to weekly handling classes, I did a fair amount of road working her to get her into better shape so that she had some actual stamina, and just worked on general socialization. As the weeks went on, she was just snippier and would challenge other dogs that we were hanging out with. When I picked her up the breeder had mentioned that she had just gotten out of season before coming down. What I now realize is that she was in a false pregnancy, which was part of the reason why she was being the real bitch that she was.

The handling class that we went to had a group of people there who were regulars. So some of these people got to see me as I switched dogs throughout the time and finally came to work with Trinity. As the weeks grew on and some of Trinity's less desirable traits came out, I'm feel bad admitting it, but I grew to like her less and less. As such, our relationship in handling class was suffering. I like to think that I can get along with most dogs that I'm asked to work with, but Trinity and I just were NOT meshing. I was becoming more frustrated with some of the things that she would pull and we were just totally out of sync. After a particularly frustrating class where I headed out to my truck just feeling incredibly defeated, one of the women in the class followed me out and was nice nice enough to chat with me. She kind of helped me to clear my head and told me that not every person is meant to mesh with every single dog. Some dogs have personalities that just don't work with certain people and vice verse. I was being pretty hard on myself at this point and it was incredibly heartwarming to hear someone say those words to me. It's something that I am still grateful for today.

On the drive home that night, I decided that I was going to email the breeder and just let her know that it wasn't working out and that Trinity just wasn't really meshing in our household. She was a dog that had many traits that I found undesirable, she acted like she was going to kill my husband half the time, and the crowning glory came later that night.

When bitches are going through a false pregnancy, they can exhibit all sorts of different behaviors. One of the ones Trinity had started exhibiting was toy hoarding, like they were her babies. I just thought of it as her being toy possessive or "aggressive" (I really hate that word). We made a habit of not having any toys left out on the ground because she had started doing some very low growls towards Heffner if she had a toy. Unfortunately, since she no longer had any "babies" to guard, she switched her possessiveness to other things. That night, it was a sock. Just as Heffner was in the process of laying down, not even looking at Trinity, she went after him. I mean, full on, momma bear attacking the threat, attack. Heffner didn't even know what hit him and was slow to respond. It was not a pretty sight. Trinity wanted to kill him for whatever perceived slight he had made. When I finally got the dogs separated and had been hollering for Adam to come and help me, we put Trinity down in her crate. I checked Heffner over first, and sure enough, she put a very long laceration into his ear. There were a few other scrapes here and there, but that was the biggy. She was completely unscathed. That night was the final straw. I had had enough of dealing with and trying to "make better" a dog that just was NOT going to change and was only going to create all sorts of havoc in our house.

I sent the breeder a long email because I wasn't able to reach her via phone. I explained the whole situation and wanted to know when the earliest was that I could drop Trinity off. The sooner she was out of my house the better. I had the notion that since she was the breeder's dog, she would just take her back right away and contact the woman who had been keeping her previously. Unfortunately the breeder didn't want Trinity back in her house because Trinity had attacked both of her bitches in the short period of time that she had been there. Yes, she was a bitch in every sense of the word!

Finally we figured things out and I met the woman who had her before and we did the hand off. I have never been so relieved to get a dog out of my house before! While I feel kind of bad saying that, at the same time it's entirely true.

After that the breeder asked me if I was still interested in showing in conformation. I most definitely still was, I just didn't have a dog to work with. She was going to think about it, but she thought that one of her puppies from her last litter, who had the same sire as Heffner, would be a good idea. I was pretty excited about taking on a puppy! And that's roughly where Part 2 ends.:o)

Yes, this is a bit of a long post. Which is why I wasn't able to write it last night. We got home REALLY late last night from a Rally practice and I was just beat! More on that later.;)