Evie! (and the Western Lakes Trial)

April 25th, 2024

As I’ve posted about here, Evie has been a bit challenging for me. She’s not giving me a hard time, she’s having a hard time as they say. We have struggled with connection, focus, and trial stress/excitement leading to zoomies and visiting. We did several months of FEO.


With loads of help from Sue (including her pointing me to Jess Martin’s Focus30 course), I feel really positive about how things are headed with her.

Sometimes I should also listen to my own coaching. I tell my students all the time not to fix things, then I go and fix things. Then we disconnect and anything good that had been happening is undone. I am so glad I video everything because it’s absolutely stark.

Here’s what happens when I fix things:

Here’s what happens when I don’t:

Evie Excellent FAST:

Evie Time2Beat:

Nothing I Can Do….

April 8th, 2024

…a total eclipse of the…sun?


March 17th, 2024
Alkemi Batman LS OA OAJ CGC August 5, 2012 – March 10, 2024

When Riley’s people asked about another puppy, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. They loved Riley so much I knew my little blue collar boy had hit the jackpot. He was called Connelly while he was a baby, because the B litter were born on my sister’s birthday, and her name is Jennifer, so all the puppies were named after famous Jennifers. He was the third to be born, so he was Connelly (Aniston, Beals, Connelly etc)

He had a long white v-neck sweater white chest, with a little gray spot. He was adorable, and I knew Nichole and Chris would be his perfect home.

His new big brother Riley welcomed him and taught him how to be a good boy and also how to get all the snacks.

Nichole’s Instagram is filled with pictures of their dogs living their best lives. Their Sunday Funday adventures, their travels in cars and on boats. Their dogs are family.

Colby learned agility and even got some titles! But most importantly he was loved, he went places and did things. He never met a stranger, pretty well everyone he met was his favorite person. His tail wagged constantly and he always looked happy to be wherever he was, even at the vet!

After a while, he lost his big brother Riley, but then he welcomed (after a while 😉 ) his little sister Jovie. He taught Jovie the things Riley had taught him: how to get the snacks, how to bark properly, how to go for walks and love Sunday Fundays.

I am so sad for Nichole and Chris. So, so sad. They are the most amazing people. They love their dogs fiercely. They do everything right. The world is a better place because of people like them. I know their hearts are broken and I wish there was some way to unbreak them.

Colby loved them for his whole life, and I know they will love him for the rest of theirs.

Colby came into this world on a Sunday, and he left on a Sunday too. I know his big brother Riley was there to welcome him with a wagging tail.

Colby and big brother Riley

(almost all images by Nichole and Chris B)


February 21st, 2024

Today was Jovie’s pregnancy check ultrasound and unfortunately there are no baby Jovies on board.

I am still planning a litter for this year, but if you have sent me an application and do NOT wish to be kept on the list for a 2024 litter, please let me know. I generally don’t start seriously going through the applications until I know I have puppies on the way, so if I haven’t reached out to you, that’s why.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

It do be like this sometimes.


January 29th, 2024

After multiple progesterone tests, Jovie finally ovulated last Tuesday (we’re calling it January 23rd).

So Kat kindly agreed to meet me halfway between us in Herkimer NY last Thursday and the breeding took place!

The sire will be Foxberry Wookiefoot. He’s a lovely red natural bobtailed boy with a super sweet and stable temperament, so reds and bobtails are a possibility!

Now we wait! More updates soon!

What’s the secret of great comedy?

January 9th, 2024

Jovie’s people texted me this morning to say she was on day 1 of her season already! I’d just checked my records and thought we had at LEAST another month.

So today was a lot of scrambling around to get my ducks in a row (you know, like getting her established with my awesome repro vet, which I’ve been meaning to do for months).

I don’t know if they’re in a row yet, but at least I think I have ducks now.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Here’s my application if you’re interested in a puppy from me. A reminder that I don’t do “first come first served”, I match puppies to homes, although I do consider homes in the order I receive applications.

(oh, and it’s “timing”)

2024 Litter Plans!

December 24th, 2023

We are excited to announce we are planning a litter for 2024! The sire is still TBD (although we have a pretty nice shortlist!), and the dam will be the lovely CH Alkemi Daydream LT. Jovie is a speed demon in agility, has a tremendous work ethic, and is sweet and gentle with people and dogs alike. And she’s pretty too!

Our application is here

2023 AKC Agility Invitational

December 23rd, 2023

I’d thought last year was the last year Zhora and I would travel to Florida for the Invitational.

Then she got invited again, and I thought “why the fuck not?”.

So we went. Ruth and Orbit came with us to show. The drive down was a doddle.

In all the years I’ve gone to the Invitational thanks to the awesome dogs I have and have had the honor of running with, I have never had a dog have a perfect weekend. There’s always been one little thing that costs us a Q.

Not this year.

At 11 years old, Zhora managed to lay down FIVE OUT OF FIVE clean runs. She was pretty over it by the last round, and needed some cheerleading. Jumpers has never been her favorite, and you do TWO Jumpers courses at the Invitational, you start and finish with them. At the time I wondered if she was sore, but watching the videos, I think she was just tired and rolling her eyes at another Jumpers course. She was bright and sparkly in the courses with contacts (Standard and Hybrid), so while I came home feeling guilty for making her finish her weaves in the last round because I was worried she was uncomfortable, I don’t think that was the case.

That Sunday Jumpers course, the last of the weekend, was the only time I think I have ever asked Zhora to do agility “for me” like that, and I didn’t like that feeling at all. I have always seen agility as absolutely a team sport, and my dogs absolutely do get to have opinions about what they do and don’t do. It goes against my basic philosophy to “insist”, but once in a blue moon maybe it’s ok.

She finished 35th out of 175 dogs. and was the 15th out of 66 bred by exhibitor dogs.

I couldn’t be more proud of her. She has been an amazing and professional partner (in addition to just being a great pet and lovely dog to live with), she has always given 110%, and I feel like we both laid it down this time. She will go back into semi retirement now, she’ll still run until I feel like she doesn’t want to anymore, but she’ll do one day a weekend or so.

Zhora Friday Time 2 Beat:

Zhora Saturday Round 1 Jumpers:

Zhora Saturday Round 2 Standard:

Zhora Sunday Round 3 Hybrid:

Zhora Sunday Round 4 Jumpers:


The drive back….was something.

I glanced at the forecast and saw there was a storm pending, but it looked like we’d outrun it.

We didn’t.

Partway through Virginia the road signs started warning about winter storms and a need to be prepared. The skies up ahead started looking threatening and I started getting a bit worried.

Then, halfway up a mountain in West Virginia the snow appeared and literally we went from dry roads and normal visibility to 20 feet or so of visibility and so much snow I was finding the road using the rumble strips. If we hadn’t been behind a truck so I could follow its wheelmarks, I don’t know what we’d have done.

And then when we got to the top of the mountain, back to dry roads. But that was enough, we stopped for the night in Clarksburg.

Despite my doomscrolling about the weather, we made a later start the next morning and the roads and weather were absolutely fine the whole way home.

I am so very, very proud of my amazing Zhora. She’s a consummate professional working dog. She travels well, she tolerates changes in temperature, climate, location, you name it, with grace. She tolerates hotels, cars, loud and oppressive environments, other dogs, people, and lots of crate time, with equanimity. She’s amazing.

Listen! Do you smell something?

November 18th, 2023

I sure don’t.

Yesterday if I stuck my nose right up to something I’d get one single very muted whiff of its odor, then nothing.


Not even that.

It’s super bizarre. I can’t taste anything at all. I can still taste sweet, salty, bitter, sour, etc, but absolutely no flavor whatsoever.

I hope this goes away. There are kits you can get to help retrain your nose and brain to smell. At least I’m not the only one and this has been a symptom for a long time so there’s been some research.

But suddenly losing two out of five senses? Not great.

Realllllllly not great.

The Bug

November 17th, 2023

So last Sunday afternoon Jim was out munching leaves with the lawnmower after a lovely weekend of us just puttering around, enjoying each others company. He came in saying he had a bit of a scratchy throat and thought his allergies were really acting up.

Monday morning he had a cough so he took a COVID test. That test line came up bright pink right away. After nearly four years, he had the bug. We put masks on right away, he isolated himself, I felt fine, and my test was negative.

Tuesday morning I still felt fine and my test was negative. By Tuesday afternoon I started feeling like I had a bit of a scratchy throat, and boom:

Tuesday Jim was feeling pretty awful, and that night I spiked a fever and felt like I had lead weights attached to me.

By Wednesday Jim was feeling a bit better, and I was starting to feel pretty rough. Just getting up to go to the bathroom was exhausting.

By Thursday he was feeling much better and I was feeling a little better, but I had a terrible bitter taste in my mouth.

Today he feels pretty good, he says his smell and taste is a little better. I feel significantly better (still coughing, still congested, but much better), but now I can’t smell or taste. If I stick my nose right up to something with a strong odor I can vaguely smell it. Like I tried sniffing vanilla extract and it was like someone driving by the house outside whispering “vanilla”, I can barely smell the ammonia in Windex. It’s super bizarre. I could taste that my coffee was sweet, but I couldn’t taste any flavor to it. I got moisturizer in my mouth after the shower I finally managed to take today after not having the energy the last couple of days, and I couldn’t taste it at all.

We were pretty sick. We’ve both been sicker, but we were pretty sick. And we were most likely infected with the by all accounts MILD Omicron strain that’s most prevalent now, AND we were both vaccinated with the newest vaccine recently (Jim had his in late September, I had mine in early October). And we were STILL pretty sick.

We had all the shots we could get, we had a mild strain, and we were still pretty damn sick.

Don’t fuck around. Get vaccinated.