Archive for the ‘Nina’ Category


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

It’s The Little Things

Sunday, March 26th, 2023

The things you notice after you lose someone or something you love.

Two weeks ago Nina was doing so well that I bought an extra two cases of food because I was worried I’d run out. She was sparkly and bouncy.

And then as that week progressed she stopped eating so well. The little hitch in her step and occasional trip she’d had for a while progressed to outright falling. She’d been sitting down to eat for a while, but now she wa swaying and sticking her legs out at odd angles.

That weekend, last weekend, it was like she fell off a cliff. Eating less and less, falling more and more. She had been frail (she was just a few weeks aways from 16 years old after all) but this was different. Sunday she ate just a token bite of her Sunday pancake. It was cold and windy but we bundled her up anyway and took her around the block in her stroller. I took pictures. I knew it was coming to an end. As we walked, she looked back at me as she often did, meeting my eyes in that way she had.

Monday at work I wrote in her chart that she’d had a rough weekend. Dr Stein said to bring her in Tuesday. That night she was restless and woke me up by walking on the control for the heated bed pad and turning it on.

Tuesday at work she had diarrhea and seemed very dull. But she had a fever, so maybe she was sick! Maybe it was pneumonia again or something. We put her back on Clavamox. I decided I’d force feed her for one week only in case that was what she needed to get over the hump. We put her on two different appetite stimulants. I said I just needed to know if this was a bump in the road. Or the end of the road. I gave her a bath on Tuesday, because she got poop all over herself.

She was a dog whose dignity did not depend on things like that. She was the queen after all. She tolerated the bath and blow dry with her usual grace.

That night she was restless, and she woke me up by getting herself trapped between the wall and the dresser. Appetite stimulants can have strange effects is what I told myself, but I could see she just wasn’t right.

Wednesday she actually ate a couple of bites on her own! I allowed myself to feel slight optimism, but I could still see that there was something neurological happening. I took her to work with me so I could feed her small meals throughout the morning. We gave her a cautious amount of subcutaneous fluids to hydrate her (you have to be very cautious with this in dogs with cardiac issues). And then a co-worker called and told us of the unimaginable tragedy that had killed one of her dogs.

Wednesday she got worse through the day, and the knowledge I’d been carrying in the back of my head forced its way to the front. Jim and I lay on the floor with her that night, and she told us. I don’t mean she spoke English, but she told us just the same. She was done. She was ready.

Thursday morning I texted Linda and said I was so sorry to do this after the trauma we’d all experienced the day before with the co-worker’s dog, but we had to put her to sleep that day. She was ready. One of the other instructors at agility kindly agreed to take over my classes that day.

Caroline at work came in and asked how Nina was and I told her. She hugged and cried with me. Then suggested I come home to spend the day with her. I walked in at home and she came to the baby gate like usual, looking surprisingly perky, Jim cautioned me that she was really wobbly (as in “don’t get your hopes up”), and then one of the other dogs brushed against her and she fell. I had always been Nina’s sunshine, she always brightened up when she saw me, and that was it.

I’d stopped on the way home to get her a Tim Hortons old fashioned plain donut, her absolute favorite. She took one piece to humor me, but spat it out. Jim had gotten her to eat a couple of bites of baby food, but that was it. I made ramen for lunch, also her absolute favorite. She ate a few noodles (probably also to humor me), but that was it.

I sat there with her all day. I took pictures. I cried. I wrote her obituary.

And eventually it was time to go. That last car ride to the vet is always, always, always, such a journey. Her warm weight wrapped in waterproof pads on my lap. It rained. I kissed her nose over and over again.

We let her walk around the clinic while we waited, she didn’t want liver, or peanut butter, or even one of the Hershey’s Kisses that we keep in a jar and bring out for euthanasias (the jar is labeled “goodbye kisses”). I lay on the floor with her. I told her over and over again how much I loved her. I kissed her nose, her fur was wet with our tears.

And then it was time. We gave her the sedative injection and she took a deep breath and relaxed on my lap. We stroked her and hugged her and kissed her. She got so sleepy so quickly as they often do when they’re really ready to go as she was. We put a catheter in. I sat back down on the floor with her on my lap, her head against my chest. I told Linda we were ready. I kissed her nose and told her that it had been a privilege. And she was gone.

Euthanasia when it’s done right is beautiful. It’s a very heavy burden those of us in veterinary medicine carry (even when it’s not our own pet, we cry with every one, every one affects you, you are ending a life). But it’s also beautiful. To give something you love so much a peaceful and painless death when their time comes, when it’s the last thing you can do for them, is beautiful. When it’s done right, they just drift away.

Friday, the day after, was sunny. I visited Sue and we cried. I tried to train my dogs but my heart wasn’t in it. Jim and I took all the dogs for a long walk in the sunshine.

We cry all the time. Of course we do. You don’t love and lose a dog like Nina every day. I see her everywhere. I am so glad she got to be in the house, to bless it with her presence. I am so glad she got to be happy and sparkly in the house. We needed that.

I told a friend yesterday that it’s like she was this magical creature who was somehow MY magical creature. We had nearly 16 years together but now it seems like a dream.

And now we are faced with then mourning. And the last of all the things. Washing the pile of waterproof pads she’d used. Vacuuming the hair that was hers. Washing the last bowl she’d used. Washing the water bowls and refilling them, washing away the last traces of her. And today we will make our usual Sunday pancakes. And for the first time in almost 16 years she won’t be here to demand and eat her rightful share.

But between that first time our eyes met and I knew she was meant to be my dog and I was meant to be her person, and that last breath she took in my arms, hopefully feeling loved and safe and warm and at peace, there was so much. So much joy and and running and barking and agility and travel. So much love. I hope we gave her a good enough life. I hope we gave her the life and love she deserved.

There will never be another Nina. She was my soul dog. When we looked at each other there was a connection that transcended species. She was my sunshine and I was hers. I don’t really believe in metaphysical things but I so hope I will see her again.

It was a privilege.

Nina May 14, 2007 – March 23, 2023

Thursday, March 23rd, 2023

Today we said goodbye to the best dog who ever lived. She changed my life in so many ways. From the moment our eyes met at Ulla’s house, I knew she was my dog and I was her person. Ulla was keeping her, but I managed to convince her to let me take my bean home.

Baby Nina

I met so many people because of Nina. I have my job because of Nina (I needed a vet because she broke a baby tooth shortly after I brought her home). She was a wild puppy and a wild dog in the best way, so energetic and strong willed and opinionated. But also so sweet and so loving and so gentle. She was just what we needed. She drew blood more than once in agility when she thought I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. But she also gave the best kisses and snuggles. People who only saw her in agility thought she was a wild thing (and she was), and people who only saw her at home thought she was a mellow sweetheart (and she was that too). She was the foundation on which Alkemi was built, and while we wish she was living on in our home, she is at least living on through her descendants.

Smart as a whip. Fast as lightning. Beautiful inside and out. Sweetest dog in the world. A working dog to her core. More than my heart dog. My soul dog. There will never be another Nina. She was with us for nearly 16 years, but it seems like it went by in a flash. Every dog you ever own will break your heart, and while she was ready to go, we weren’t ready to lose her. She did everything with conviction, and balls to the wall abandon.

I hope she is healthy and happy and running like the wind wherever she is. I hope she is spinning and barking her “pack a day” bark. I hope she is with Al (she is the last of my dogs to have met Alun) and with my Mum and Dad and Auntie Ann, and with Rakki, Riley, Demi and Austin, and with Ringo and Rupert and Bailey and Sullivan and Cillian, and with everyone else who’s gone on ahead.

I have never had a bond with a dog like the bond I had with Nina. She was my soul dog, and she will take a piece of my heart with her across the bridge, and I will keep a piece of her heart here with me. I know I will see her again one day, and both our hearts will be whole again.

It was a privilege to be your person my tiny bean.

Canadian CH MACH PACH Vastgota Nina Ricci ROM MXG MJC MXPB MJP3 MJPB PAX XF T2B3 NAC NCC NJC TN-E TG-N WV-N HP-O ChFH CL3-R CL4-S CL4-F CL4-H TG2, AKC Agility Invitational qualifier 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2020, AKC National Agility Championship qualifier 2018 2020, #1 AKC Agility Swedish Vallhund 2015 #1 AKC Agility PACH Swedish Vallhund 2019


May 14, 2007 – March 23, 2023

This was always Nina’s song


Wednesday, April 6th, 2022

12 and a half years ago, my first litter was born. Among those seven puppies was a little stub-tailed girl. A few months earlier a nice man I saw at agility trials had asked about possibly getting a puppy. He played agility with his Australian Shepherd, who was getting older, and he was looking for his next dog.

That man was Ron, and that puppy was Demi (Alkemi Adrenaline Murtaya ST AXP AJP). All my puppies are special, but the Ninababies have an extra special place in my heart.

In September 2020, Demi collapsed after chasing a squirrel. Ron got her to the vet, where she was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy. A diet change and medications helped a lot and she did well until February of this year.

Ron and his wife Linda lost Demi in late February. She was just over 12 years old.

Ron says “She was my joyful companion, playmate, social butterfly, agility team mate, food tester and more. She was not my whole life, but she sure made my life whole. She will be missed”.

Ron and Linda gave her an amazing life, she played agility, she traveled, she found a deer carcass and brought it back to Ron piece by piece, showing a true Vallhund sense of humor. She was loved.

Rest well Demi, you will be missed.

Nina’s Uninvited Guest

Saturday, June 12th, 2021

April 24 & 25 Nina, Zhora and I went to an agility trial for the first time since last August. It was great, they did great, I went into the weekend thinking if Nina told me she was ready to retire then I’d just scratch her and that would be that. Well, she ran and loved it and was Nina, older and slower for sure, but Nina nonetheless. This was less than a month before her 14th birthday.

Over the last year or so a couple of her liver values on her bloodwork had been elevated. Not concerningly high by any means, but above normal. Her liver function tests were always normal. She’s been on Denamarin (a liver supplement) for a while and she’d been acting just fine, like the extremely young-for-her-age senior citizen she is. But the last urinalysis we did showed a lower than normal concentration (USG), which was repeatable on subsequent testing. So now we had a concern about her kidneys (older animals can have kidney failure, not great but also not terrible since there’s a lot we can do to manage it). So I booked her an ultrasound with our usual radiologist Dr Homco, who I usually take my dogs to once a year or so for a screening, but thanks to COVID, we hadn’t been since January 2020.

That was the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, and I came into work on Tuesday after Memorial Day to Dr Homco’s report on the fax machine.

Nina had a mass in her liver. Approximately 6 cm.

In her voicemail to Dr Stein, she said she couldn’t determine malignant vs benign (and she often can), which I guess is better than “it’s malignant”, but either way a mass on your liver isn’t something you want. Dr Stein (who is the best veterinarian I have ever known) sat down with me and had a long discussion about what our options were. Number one was do nothing, ultrasound her again in 4-6 weeks and see what it looked like then. Number two was get a CT or MRI done to learn more about it (operable or not). Number three was explore her, either him or a boarded surgeon.

I called around out of interest and we were looking at several weeks to months before a CT, MRI or surgical specialist consult were available. And aside from anything else, while Nina is a vibrant and very young 14, she’s still 14 and has age-related heart valve disease and kidneys that aren’t 100%, in addition to whatever was up with her liver. Plus we’d done a dental on her a few weeks before and her blood pressure was hard to manage during that procedure. I am fortunate that Dr Stein has a special interest in anesthesia and analgesia, and our anesthetic protocol and management where I work is second to none (he runs a website for other vets to help them perform better anesthesia, and he’s lectured internationally about anesthesia and pain management). I wasn’t sure I trusted the anesthesia anywhere else for a dog with her anesthetic challenges, plus Dr Stein had extensive post-doc surgical training and is an excellent surgeon, and I absolutely trust his skill in the OR.

Jim and I talked about it, and I went into work the next day and said we wanted surgery. Dr Stein said “here?” and I said “yes” and he said “putting the surgeon to the test huh?”. We’d done a liver surgery on an 11 year old Golden Retriever in March (his mass was benign), and I absolutely trust Dr Stein and the amazing staff I work with, so I felt this was our best shot. He said we’d better do it soon if we were going to do it (especially because he had some time off coming up). So we did a chest x-ray right away to be sure there weren’t any lung metastases (she has an old lady chest and an enlarged heart, which we already knew, but nothing obviously ominous per the radiology consultant). And so then last Tuesday (June 8), was the day. I knew she might not make it, but I needed to know what that mass was, and far better to do the surgery while she was feeling great, full of energy and not showing any symptoms. The weekend before we spoiled her rotten, took her for nice walks, made a fuss of her (even more than normal, because she’s Nina), called Ulla (Nina’s breeder) and had a long talk and a good cry (Nina’s great grandmother Cranberi had a 7 cm liver tumor and lived for 2 years afterward as an old lady). All “just in case”.

The techs and Dr Stein had a meeting on Monday to discuss the surgery (we do this with any complex case), Linda had mentioned after the dental that maybe we should do Total Intravenous Anesthesia (TIVA) for her next procedure so we could manage her blood pressure and heart rate better. So that was the plan.

I brought her in Tuesday morning and cried (I’ve cried a lot over the last couple of weeks). I wasn’t second guessing the decision at all but I knew it was a risky surgery. Dr Stein was already there when I arrived (and I get there at 6:30 or earlier), I buzzed up and said good morning and “how are you feeling?” and he said “ready to take on the liver!”.

She was first on the schedule that day (to leave all the rest of the day for monitoring her for complications). And in addition, that was the day I was scheduled to get my Invisalign fitted (my teeth have moved and are very crowded now and are chipping each other because they’re hitting each other). Not a relaxing day! Bekka buzzed down to me and said they were going to poke her (that means give her her pre-anesthetic sedative injection) and did I want to come hold her for it (I usually do hold my dogs for this, and you can bet I wanted to hold Nina).

The mass was significantly bigger than Dr Homco thought it was (which either means it had grown, or just that she wasn’t able to completely visualize it). Dr Stein got the best margins he could get. Fortunately it was on the left lobe of her liver, which is the lobe that can be completely removed, so he took the entire lobe and as much as he safely could get. There was at least a small amount of apparently healthy liver that he took, so we will have to hope it’s enough.

She was up and BAR (which means Bright Alert and Responsive) pretty quickly after the procedure, and started the usual spinning around that she always does post-anesthesia (which makes running an IV and CRI (constant rate infusion) difficult to impossible). I went up to see her and Bekka said “that’s a healthy dog”, meaning that for a 14 year old dog to be that bright that soon after surgery she was in good shape. Her packed cell volume (PCV) was 38-40 throughout (normal is over 38, we get worried the lower it gets, since lower than that is anemic). Bekka texted me pictures of her looking comfortable and alert while I was at the orthodontist.

I took her home Tuesday night since she was way too active for an overnight CRI (I’d planned to sleep at the clinic with her) and we didn’t want to give her too much additional sedation. I gave her oral meds that night and she had a good and quiet night Tuesday and looked great on Wednesday.

Thursday she started out the day OK (I was bringing her to work every day for monitoring), but then mid morning she suddenly got pale (her gums were pale) and very weak and droopy. Her PCV was down to 33 and all of a sudden things looked bad. We were worried she might die. Dr Stein was very stressed. He said “we do not, NOT, want to put her through another surgery”. We talked through what might be going on: it didn’t seem likely that she was septic since her temperature was normal; it didn’t seem likely that she was hemorrhaging since her PCV wasn’t continuing to drop. We took x-rays and they looked unremarkable for a post-op dog (also another confirmation that there were no obvious chest mets), and you’d expect to see something on an x-ray if she was septic or bleeding. The hopeful sign was that she didn’t continue to get worse, she went down in a valley but then started to climb back up.

Bekka came and told me she thought she was looking a bit better. Then Linda buzzed me and put me on speaker so I could hear that Nina was barking and complaining about being in jail (she was upstairs in case they needed to act fast if she crashed). I carried her downstairs and took her for a short walk and she urinated and then tried to drag me over to the car so we could go home. She was pretty much back to where she’d been first thing that morning (you’d never know she’d had major surgery).

Bekka and I discussed what might have happened (after she and Dr Stein had been discussing it). It could have been a vagal issue (the vagus nerve is in that area and they had to do a lot of pulling and pushing to get access to the part of the liver Dr Stein wanted to remove), it could have been some kind of transient delayed shock (losing half your liver a huge insult to the remaining liver), it could have been her spleen reacting to the whole thing. We don’t really know.

What I do know is that her PCV was up to 40 on Friday and she thinks cage rest is bullshit. She is strong, she is eating, she is taking her meds well, she tries to drag me around when I take her out into the back garden for potty walks on a lead. She is sleeping comfortably when she’s not angry about being in jail.

As best we understand it, dogs only really care about their quality of life, we’re the ones who care about quantity of life. But I have always believed that it’s well worth putting a dog through short term reduction in quality of life if there’s a reasonable chance for a return to a good or better quality and quantity of life. And selfishly, I’m just not ready to lose Nina, especially when she’s so full of life and joy. She’s sassy, she plays, she runs, she wrestles with the other dogs, she’s happy. Many people wouldn’t perform a major surgery on a dog of her age, but her lines tend to be very long-lived (well over 16 usually, and some 18 or even 19), and she’s lean, fit and very young for her age. I am fortunate that I work with some amazing and knowledgeable professionals, who have shepherded her through the first part of this with so much skill.

I love all my dogs but we say “but only Nina is Nina”. I have never had a dog like Nina and I probably never will again. The bond she and I have is something so precious and rare, she is my heart.

We don’t have the pathology results from the mass yet (it was big and smooth and pink), we don’t know what the future holds. But we do know that Nina is a tough cookie, and after all, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

The haircut is pretty punk, and cage rest is bullshit

Update June 13: Biopsy is back already: BENIGN adenoma with narrow clean margins. The best possible news!!!!


Sunday, August 30th, 2020

A year ago, Lobo (Alkemi Beowulf del Roble LS UD PT FDC AX AXJ BCAT RATCH CGC TKA NDD) became the first Swedish Vallhund in history to earn the Water Dog title (this was in addition to his OTHER breed firsts, like being the first to earn the Open Barn Hunt title, and the first to earn drafting titles). This year, he became the first Swedish Vallhund in history to earn the Water Rescue Dog title.

Here’s what his owner Jan says:

“Lobo, WRD (Water Rescue Dog)

Thanks once again to the Colonial Newfoundland Club in accepting Lobo’s Senior level entry in their water test on August 15, 2020. Special thank you to John Caldwell and Carrie Joneckis for these pictures documenting Lobo’s title.

Lobo Watching Jan Get Set Up

The WRD Senior level exercises are . . .

DOUBLE RETRIEVE: A kayaker places a boat cushion & life jacket 50’ from shore and 50’ apart. The dog is required to go to the first article as directed by the judge, retrieve to hand, and then retrieve the second article to hand.

Double Retrieve (boat cushion)
Double Retrieve (life jacket)

RETRIEVE OFF A BOAT: Handler and dog board the boat and are rowed 75’ from shore. Handler throws the paddle at least 10’ from the boat and sends the dog to retrieve it to the handler on the boat.

Retrieve Off A Boat
Retrieve Off A Boat
Retrieve Off A Boat

TAKE A LIFE RING: Three people swim out 75’ from shore and 30’ apart. The dog is instructed to take a life ring to the distressed swimmer and tow swimmer to shore.

Take A Life Ring
Take A Life Ring
Take A Life Ring

UNDERWATER RETRIEVE: Handler and dog enter the water to elbow depth for the dog. Dog retrieves object thrown three feet and sinks immediately.

Underwater Retrieve
Underwater Retrieve

TAKE A LINE/TOW A BOAT: Dog takes a line to a boat that is 75’ from shore and close enough for the steward on the boat to grab the rope and then the dog tows the boat to shore.

Take A Line/Tow A Boat
Take A Line/Tow A Boat
Take A Line/Tow A Boat
Take A Line/Tow A Boat
Take A Line/Tow A Boat
Take A Line/Tow A Boat

RESCUE: Dog and handler board boat and are rowed 75’ from shore. Handle goes into the water and calls dog to come to the rescue. Dog then tows handler to shore.

Lobo WRD

(Lobo is from the Tempest x Nina litter, and is Zhora’s brother)


Lobo waiting to get started:

1 Retrieve 1:

2 Retrieve 2:

3 Retrieve off a boat:

4 Take a life ring:

5 Underwater retrieve:

6 Take a line/tow a boat:

7 Rescue:


Saturday, August 1st, 2020

Today, at the Olean Kennel Club trial at Countryside Agility in Erie, Nina became Can CH MACH PACH Vastgota Nina Ricci MXG MJC MXP2 MXPB MJP3 MJPB XF T2B3!!!

I have been so very fortunate to have this amazing little dog to play this game with. She brings 110% to the line every time, even when I don’t (and she lets me know if I mess up). Nina was made for agility, it is her very favorite thing, and I am so happy she is still able to run fast and happy and sassy at 13. It is an honor to have her as my best friend and a joy to have her as my teammate and I treasure every run with her, Q or NQ. She is such a special dog in so many ways.

It was so awesome to earn her PACH under our friend and favorite judge Sherry Jefferson! And at a suggestion from Glenn and Rebecca, we did a social distancing PACH picture:

The day I stole her from Ulla was one of the best days of my life. Because of Nina, I know so many people I wouldn’t know otherwise. Because of Nina, I’ve gone places and done things I wouldn’t have done otherwise. She is my Ninabean, and there will never be another Nina. Thank you for the privilege of your efforts my Tiny Bean, I love you. 

Nina Jumpers (part 1 of PACH):

Nina Standard (PACH NINA!):

PACH celebration (the video got stopped and then started again so we didn’t get the celebratory elbow bump with Sherry unfortunately, but we DID get the celebratory hip-bump with Sue!):

Zhora Jumpers (QQ #131, second place, 19 points, 5 YPS):

Zhora Standard (QQ #131, first place, 30 points, 3.89 YPS):

Alice Open Standard (NQ but some really nice bits!):

Alice Open Jumpers (NQ):

Greater Pittsburgh Golden Retriever Club AKC Agility Trial

Saturday, July 18th, 2020

We love Laura Kuterbach. But today Nina didn’t feel like a PACH. Another 19 1/2 day. Zhora won the Standard class but I sent her off course with a mishandle in Jumpers.

ALICE was the star today, NAILING her weaves in Standard and recovering from a slip in the weaves in Jumpers (after a big slip on her first attempt) to earn her second Open Jumpers leg.

Everyone wearing face masks, some with better grace than others.

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (NQ):

Nina Saturday Jumpers (Q, first place, 23 points, 4.8 YPS):

Zhora Saturday Standard (Q, first place, 27 points, 3.7 YPS):

Nina Saturday Standard (NQ):

Alice Saturday Open Standard (NQ, she was chasing her leash dragging on the ground after the leash runner, but NICE WEAVES!):

Alice Saturday Open Jumpers (OAJ leg #2, lovely run, slipped after stepping on the base of the weaves, 4.1 YPS even WITH having to restart the weaves!):


Sunday, July 12th, 2020

Jan and Lobo are in training for his Water Rescue Dog (WRD) title, which is the next step up from his breed-first Water Dog title. Water Dog is generally only done by Newfoundlands, and the titles and trials are offered through the Newfoundland Club of America. These test exercises are intended for a breed that weighs 100-150 pounds, bred specifically for this kind of water rescue work. Swedish Vallhunds weigh 20-30 pounds and are bred specifically for farm work: herding, killing vermin, etc. Many Vallhunds love to swim, but…Lobo qualified for his Water Dog title when several Newfies did not. (here is the post with video of Lobo’s Water Dog title test)

Jan sent me some videos of his training session yesterday and…holy crap.

Here’s what Jan says:

“Here are 3 YouTube links of Lobo’s work yesterday.  The gentleman who took the videos was the rower for the Take A Line/Tow A Boat so there was no recording there, but you have seen him tow a boat.  The only difference is he has to take the line to the boat so they can grab it and then tow it to shore 75′ instead of 50′ like in the WD.”

The order for WRD is:
Double Retrieve – didn’t practice yesterday.
Retrieve Off A Boat
Take A Life Ring
Underwater Retrieve – didn’t practice due to steep dropoff.
Take A Line/Tow A Boat – didn’t record

(shared with permission from Jan Robles)

Retrieve off a boat:

Take a life ring:


That’s some INCREDIBLE work for Lobo and some amazing training from Jan. Lobo has several breed firsts, including being the first Swedish Vallhund to earn a drafting title, the first to earn a Water Dog title, and the first to earn the Open Barn Hunt title.

Lobo is a Swedish Vallhund Club of America Versatility Champion and the first Versatility Champion to earn all his points on performance and companion events only. He has titles in herding, agility, obedience, Barn Hunt, drafting, Water Dog, FastCAT, Trick Dog, Farm Dog…. His name with JUST his AKC titles is Alkemi Beowulf Del Roble Ls UD PT FDC AX AXJ BCAT RATCH CGC TKA. He is a Tempest x Nina son from the B litter (my “pupsicle” litter from frozen semen) and is litter brother to Ollie, Cricket, Colby and Zhora.

Lobo and Jan are an incredible team. Jan was getting a female puppy from my B litter after waiting for 2 years. I asked Jan to evaluate the litter for me (Jan has evaluated guide dog litters and is a very experienced trainer and former breeder of Malinois), she was staying with us for a week to get to know the puppies and I was pretty sure I knew which puppy was going home with her (the puppy who would become Zhora, actually). Lobo (then known as Aniston, since he was the first born puppy in our “Jennifers” litter, where all puppies had “Jennifer” names since they were born on my sister Jennifer’s birthday) was first to be evaluated, Jan hadn’t seen any of them yet and she likes to evaluate in birth order. I heard her say “hello puppy” in a happy voice after I placed him in the evaluation room and left…and then I heard her tone change and she said “oh…HELLO puppy” and I just knew she wasn’t taking a female puppy after all (which was fine by me, since I’d already fallen in love with Zhora and was miserable at the thought of her leaving me, but I’d promised Jan a puppy and she’d been waiting for so long…). Then in the car on the way home from where we tested them, she said “So…are all the puppies spoken for?” and I said “That first male puppy huh?”.

I’m not someone who believes in fate really, but Jan and Lobo were just meant to be, Lobo would do Jan’s taxes if she asked him to. They’re incredible.

Jan also has Cora, who was Popcorn, from the C litter.

Admiral Perry Obedience Training Club AKC Agility Trial

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

Our first trial back in four months. I decided to dip my toes in and do a few Saturdays to see how it was. Overall I was very pleasantly surprised, everyone wore masks and social distanced and it felt pretty safe.

Nina is just one QQ away from her PACH, and I cost us that QQ with an ill-conceived rear cross that wasn’t really necessary, which put her into berzerker mode.

Zhora QQ’d, she was thrilled to be back.

Alice earned her Open FAST title and had two really nice NQ’s in her other classes. Really nice to see her finding the value in the work, I was really happy with her.

It was so great to see my agility peeps!

Judge Robert Jeffers had some nice if tricky courses, a generous wheel, a generous eye on the contacts, and the fastest table count in the West, which STILL wasn’t fast enough for sassypants Nina!

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (QQ #130, third place, 21 points, 4.9 YPS):

Nina Saturday Jumpers (Q, first place, 26 points, 4.9 YPS and would have been even faster without the near-off course):

Alice Saturday FAST (Q, Open FAST title, LOOK AT THOSE WEAVES!!!):

Zhora Saturday Standard (QQ#130, third place, 31 points, 3.9 YPS):

Nina Saturday Standard (NQ velociraptor mode):

Alice Saturday Open Standard (NQ, really nice run, I showed lateral motion as she took off for the triple and she sliced and knocked the top bar):

Alice Saturday Open JWW (I pulled her out of the weaves, nice run though):