Tuesday, November 30, 2010

She is really EXCELLENT now!

Hi all, I've been so remiss about posting lately.

But we've been busy and have good news! We had a great time at the 2010 GDCA National Specialty in October, and the best news of all was that Kinsey qualified in Excellent B Jumpers with Weaves for her Masters Excellent Jumpers title!! This title requires 10 qualifying scores in the Excellent B Jumper with Weaves class. No faults at all are allowed for a qualifying score, the run must be clean and under time to count. Kinsey got her 10th qualifying run at the National, at 8 1/2 years young! I'm so proud of her and also my hubby Ronnie who is her agility partner.

I'll get some pictures up soon!

Monday, June 14, 2010

You know you've got a big dog when....

... you're brushing your teeth and your dog wants you to move over so she can get a drink!*

Dakota is 10 months old now, and just started doing this. Her uncle Teddy will sometimes drink out of the sink, but she's the only Dane we have who wants to do it all the time. Her father Keeper does it too, and so did his dad Hammer.

Hammer used to go stand in the guest bathroom and look out the door at his owner, waiting for her to come turn the water on for him!

*Credit goes to Ginnie Saunders of DaDane - check out The Dane Owner's Checklist!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oops!

Correction... Teddy finished his Novice FAST title last weekend, not his Standard title.

Which is still great - the FAST class in AKC agility requires the dog to complete some obstacles at a distance from the handler. Which is difficult for an inexperienced dog!

Way to go, Teddy! (And Ronnie too!)

Monday, April 26, 2010

More Agility News!

Last weekend in Wichita Falls, Teddy finished his Novice Standard title! He finished his Novice Jumpers title a few months ago, and has 2 legs toward his Novice FAST title, so we are very pleased with his progress!

And his mom Kinsey (8 years young, thankyouverymuch) got 2 legs toward her Open FAST title!

Ronnie handled them both - way to go!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Only her hairdresser knows for sure...

More Show Biz news!

Not the dog-show-type "biz", but the "Lights - Camera - Action!" type biz. Kinsey was tapped to star in another commercial! The kicker was they needed a fawn Great Dane small enough to fit into the front bucket seat of a car - which leaves Teddy right out - but they wanted one with a black mask.

Which 8 year old Kinsey is lacking these days:



So with some mild hair dye, black chalk and lots and lots of mascara around her eyes, this was the final result:



I know it looks fake - and yes, I absolutely DO prefer her lovely grey face. But it won't harm Kinsey at all, and it worked for the commercial which was a LOT of fun. It was pretty easy - she had to sit in the car a lot but it was a nice cool day and the takes were short. There was one scene where she had to jump out of the car and run off camera, and she had to bark on cue. Which is her very, very favorite trick!

It was great fun, and I'll post a video here as soon as I can get one.

But I'll be glad when all the dye wears off and she's back to her naturally beautiful face!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Agility news

Due to some family (human family) plans we just showed Friday this weekend and had to skip the trials on Sat & Sunday.

But it was very worthwhile!!

Kinsey qualified in Excellent B for her 8th leg toward her Masters title (10 legs are required).

Kinsey really likes the Jumpers classes!

And Teddy got his second leg in Novice FAST which is a relatively new AKC class which requires the dog to work some obstacles at a distance from the handler.

Teddy going through the tire jump

This was also Topper's first trial since the National last fall - at which time we knew she wasn't really ready but we entered her anyway. She didn't qualify but really worked very well - we'll enter her again in a month or two and she should be ready to rock by then!

...And thank you all for all the well wishes about Teddy's injury last fall! Obviously, he is all better now! :-)

Monday, March 08, 2010

WARNING: Cuteness overload

Yesterday I went to Vicki's to see Dakota's little brother and sisters. This is a repeat of the breeding that produced Dakota and as you might expect they are ADORABLE!

There are just 4 of them and they sure haven't been lacking for groceries because they are huge! They turn 4 weeks old today and as they are gradually switching from Mom to mush they actually will slim down a bit. Plus they are mastering this walking thing - they're starting to play actually - and that will burn calories too.

There are more photos on our website at http://symmetrydanes.freeservers.com/Litterbox2.html
- for now, just inhale the puppy breath!

And thanks to my friend Karen for the puppy modeling duty... it's a tough job but someone has to do it!


Light brindle girl


Fawn girl


Brindle boy


Dark brindle girl

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Say hello to my little friend

Here is a video of Dakota's brother Ty playing with his friend Pib:
(Ty had a case of hives when this was taken. She doesn't know what he got into, but he was fine the next day).




Obviously it takes some close supervision to let such a big dog play with such a little dog... especially when the big one is a puppy and maybe not entirely aware of his strength or where his feet are!

But he is so gentle with her!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Military families, deployment, and dogs

I got this email a couple of days ago:
"... had gone to the shelter to donate food and bedding as she regularly does and she heard loud crying and whining coming from the back kennel. She reluctantly headed in that direction only to find a grief stricken black Great Dane. His (hysterically upset) owners had left him two days ago because they are both in the military and were being dispatched abroad. He is a one year old, neutered, black Great Dane who is house broken and heart broken.

PLEASE....if you can take him, consider it."
Needless to say, a lot of us in our local Dane Rescue community have been scrambling to find a place for him - I was even all set to pull him from the shelter myself in the morning and transport him down toward central Texas to another rescue that had a foster home for him. But fortunately another local rescue stepped in and pulled him out so he is safe now, and hopefully getting a lot of TLC from his foster family. And soon will have a new, permanent family of his own.

But even though this particular dog is safe now, this is still a heartbreaking story all around. It is not an uncommon story, unfortunately. And it illustrates why so many reputable breeders and rescues are so very unwilling to place a dog into a military family.

I can see it from the point of view of the military families too... my brother is an Iraq war vet, I have other family members in the service and more than a few friends in the military. Most of them are real dog lovers and aren't willing to deny themselves and their children the joy of a dog for 5 or 10 years or more until they get out.

But how to avoid tragedies like the one described in the email above? Especially if the military folk are NOT able to get a dog from a reputable breeder or rescue that would help them out if they are deployed to some location where they cannot (or should not) take the family dog? All too often the only source these families have for getting a pet is an irresponsible breeder who asks no questions, and doesn't care what happens to the dog once they've cashed the check.

This leaves the family with no one to turn to if they are facing deployment - they usually don't have the resources to find a safe placement for their dog at short notice. Unless they have family members or close friends who are able and willing to take the dog for an extended period of time they rapidly run out of options.

The answer lies in the strategies that are employed by reputable breeders or rescues that ARE willing to place a dog with a military family. Usually the agreement is that when the military family hears even a whisper or rumor of future deployment to some remote and non-pet friendly part of the world that they MUST notify the breeder or rescue. They don't have to give up the pet at that point, but the "heads up" gives the breeder or rescue time to make some tentative plans. Specific deployment orders often come at short notice, but they are almost never unexpected - you do have some advance notice, sometimes many months.

If tentative plans are in place, then when the specific orders come the dog can be safely placed in a new home or a foster home (pending adoption) fairly quickly. The military family still has to stay good-bye to the dog - it is almost impossible to find a long-term temporary home - but at least they have the comfort of knowing the dog is in good hands.

But if they have gotten the dog from some fly-by-night breeder, what then? My advice is that at the first rumor of deployment, they reach out to family and friends for options. If no one can take the dog then they should reach out to rescue groups. It is not uncommon for rescue groups to fill up and not be able to take a dog at very short notice, but if you stay in touch with them over a period of weeks or months then they are more likely to be able to take your dog when crunch time comes. Finding a rescue group has never been easier - all you have to do is Google the name of your breed of dog + Rescue, and you'll get lots of options. You can also talk to your vet for advice - he or she may know of someone looking for a dog like yours. The trick is to NOT wait until the last minute - "plan for the worst".

And finally, a responsible military family will do what ANY responsible dog-owning family will do - take the dog to some training classes to make him more enjoyable to live with!! This is a huge benefit to the original family plus if they must find the dog a new home it will make it much, MUCH easier to find someone to take him.

UPDATE - One of my readers left a comment about a program called the Military Pets Foster Project. (Thanks Kathie!!) This is a program that helps people in the military locate foster homes for their pets when they are deployed.
The website is https://www.netpets.org/netp/foster.php

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

What a GOOD boy!!

Gus's owners sent me this photo of Gus working (quite successfully, I might add) on "Leave It". She said the limiting factor was the drool - they released him to gobble his treats before he soaked everything in sight! Don't be taken in by the sad puppy eyes - Gus has it pretty good!

Gus is one of Kinsey's pups - he is Teddy and Topper's brother.

In case you are new to this blog and wonder why his owners send us photos even though he is almost 5 years old, you should know that reputable breeders always try to stay in touch with their puppy buyers. Not in a controlling way, but to provide support and answer questions and in general to do everything in their power to ensure that both the dog and the family stay happy with each other. And if worse comes to worse and the owners can't keep the dog for some reason - and catastrophic things can happen to the best homes - then the responsible breeder will either take the dog back, or help to find him a new home. We do this because we LOVE every single puppy we ever produce, and we truly care about them and will move Heaven and earth to keep them out of shelters, or out of bad situations.

The promise I make to every newborn puppy is this: "You will be loved for your entire life. You won't always get your way, but you will ALWAYS be loved". And I will do everything in my power to keep that promise.

So if you are in the market for a puppy and encounter a breeder who asks lots of personal questions about your family situation and they also want (or require) you to stay in touch with them after you take the puppy home - that is a great sign that you have found a responsible breeder. And chances are they will be a help to you for the life of that dog.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Talented Teddy!

I am remiss.... Teddy finished his Novice Agility title last month!! He's just one leg away from his Novice Jumpers and FAST titles too. Now that he's "got it" he and Ronnie are turning into a fab team!!

Going over the A-frame


The dogwalk


The weave poles


Finally getting to run and JUMP!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dad's home!

This doesn't need much of a caption, does it?? ;-)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Happy Birthday!!

Today is Number Eight for Kinsey and her sister Aeryn!!

They had a quiet celebration at home with some ice cream...