Archive for the ‘vallhunds’ Category

Colby

Sunday, 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)

:(

Wednesday, 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.

THE DEED IS DONE!

Monday, 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?

Tuesday, 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!

Sunday, 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

Saturday, 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.

Jack

Monday, November 6th, 2023

I am so sad to say that we lost another of the Alkemi A litter today. The very first puppy born in the very first Alkemi litter. Right after he was born and I was telling Jim his markings (so we could tell them apart later), I looked at his chest and said he had a white stripe, and Jim said then his litter name would have to be Jack (after Jack White from The White Stripes).

So he was Jack.

Little did we know he’d keep that name for the next almost fourteen years. Jack had a wonderful family who gave him a great life with adventures big and small, they took amazing care of him, and they loved and respected him enough to say goodbye when the time came, he will be missed, and he was loved. I am so sorry for their loss

Rest easy Jack, you were a good boy.

Jack (Alkemi Ascari LS) – 1/15/10-11/6/23

Evie Progress!

Sunday, October 22nd, 2023

I’m sharing this mostly for myself, but I am proud of the hard work Evie and I have done over the last six weeks or so.

Evie stresses UP, which is a good thing, but it also means that she needs to learn how to channel that up stress and not let it explode her brain. She was disconnecting, zooming, visiting, and just checking out, because she didn’t know where to put the energy she was getting from a trial environment.

For the past several weeks I have only entered her in games classes, only did FEO, and often only did two or three obstacles and then got out of the ring, and we stayed for matches (even if it meant I didn’t get home until after 9 PM).

I am proud that I have been disciplined about not going for the Q but playing the long game, getting her the experience and training and mileage she needs.

I am grateful for the folks who were willing to be pretend ring crew in the classes we dropped into, and for Sue’s help and support as always!

It is ALWAYS worth putting in the effort. It is ALWAYS worth taking a step back and working your foundations. It is ALWAYS worth throwing a Q in order to give your dog the right experience (DON’T FIX ALL THE THINGS!).

Train the dog you want to have in a year. Be patient, but don’t be lazy. And VIDEO EVERYTHING, because seeing even small improvements can be the cookie YOU need to keep going,

It’s obviously a work in progress, but we are for sure several big steps along the right road!

I am so excited about what the future could hold for this little dog!

(Also she earned her very first title – Novice FAST!)

Evie Training

Saturday, August 12th, 2023

Here’s a little sample of what Sue helped me with today: working Evie through distractions. It is SO helpful to have someone to train with who knows a lot and has good ideas (not to mention, it’s more fun).

Evie is very friendly and also stresses WAY up, the visiting is less about her being friendly though, and more about being an outlet for stress (remember even good stress is still stress).

I am absolutely THRILLED with this! Plus LOOK HOW FAST SHE IS, and look at how quick also – you can see her deke towards me and then back to the dogwalk when she isn’t sure where to go. And this is probably the best set of weaves in a course I’ve ever had from her.

Good girl Evie! She loves to work and is such a trier.

Evie Training Thoughts

Sunday, August 6th, 2023

When you’re really invested in your dogs and your dog sport(s), it can make you feel all kinds of big, profound, wonderful, terrible, things.

For me, there are few things that cause me to doubt myself and my skill more than when I feel I’ve let my dogs down.

Since COVID I’ve been much more of a homebody than before (although I’ve really always been a homebody), and so I go to agility trials far less than before. Instead of doing 2-3 days 3 out of 4 weekends a month (or more), I go to 1 or 2 days, once or twice a month.

This has positives: it’s better for my bank account; I get to spend time at home (which I love), with my husband (whom I love); I get to spend more time with my dogs outside of our sport.

But it also has negatives: my dogs get far less trial mileage than before; I get far less trial mileage than before (this has a highly detrimental effect on our mojo); we fall behind with the titles etc.

Agility is just dogs jumping over plastic, yes. But it’s also an amazing bonding experience with your dog. When the mojo is working, you truly do become one mind.

Anyway, all that is a big preamble to me trying to work through how I’m feeling about Evie right now.

Evie is an amazing dog. She’s so fast and quick, in training when I can feel the beginnings of our mojo, it’s like running with a hummingbird or a rabbit, she’s so immediately responsive, it’s like driving a sports car. And, for a dog who can be a bit of a weirdo about some things, she’s really very confident out there (three different people remarked to me about how confident she is).

But she’s a very sensitive dog, and she’s really experiencing the throes of adolescence right now. She has a LOT of feelings about things. And while I absolutely love a dog who stresses up, because those are usually the dogs who end up being the most fun to run with, right now Evie can’t cope well with pressure. She’s run in a handful of trials, and initially she was what I expect out of a novice dog. But the trend over the last few trial days has not been what I want to see, and the way I’ve been handling her is not what I want to see. I am so thankful to have dog friends who are wise, and willing to tell me what they’re seeing and what they think.

Evie is zooming, and visiting, and tuning me out, and I’ve been dropping connection, which is a big part of WHY she’s doing that. I took the opportunity yesterday (after a really ungood trial day) to run her in a match (you have 90 seconds to do what you like on a course, you can bring a toy or contained food). And while I got some really good attention from her in our second run, I came home feeling quite defeated, and disappointed in myself.

So, I pulled her from all ucoming trials, other than the games classes, where I can run For Exhibition Only.

I’m going to do some Control Unleashed pattern games. I’m going to work on relationship. I really think she has the potential to be an amazing agility dog, but she needs more foundation work, and I need to step back, go back, and work this through.