Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Flash and Tia thought they would share their holiday photos as well :) We had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope that everyone else has had a happy holiday season as well! All the dogs got to have real bones in the morning, which they absolutely love and keeps them busy while the people open gifts. Then this evening they got their gifts - Flash got a fuzzy bone squeaky toy, Tia a purple cow with really long legs and Queezle a red rubber bone. All three girls were quite happy.
One of my best gifts this year was a tackbox for keeping grooming and showing supplies in. I've wanted one for quite a while, but every time one was offered as a prize at a show it was guaranteed that I'd be last place! So my mom had gotten it for me as a graduation present. Naturally, she put it in a safe place... so safe that she couldn't find it when I graduated. So then it was supposed to be my birthday present, but in all the holiday bustle she forgot about it. Finally last night she stuck a green bow on the box and this morning it made it into my eager hands. I've already moved all of my brushes, show collars and leads and other grooming supplies into it, and the Q and I can't wait to take it to the shows in 2010!
Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through this house of mine, every dog came to ask me, "Is it 9? Is it 9?"

Of course, they ask that every night. 9 o'clock is when they get their bedtime chews, and they know it. Of course, the dog-alarms start going off up to an hour and a half ahead of time. I say that patience is a virtue, they say to be early is to be on time. The nightly battle of proverbs generally ends in a stalemate when 9 o'clock is finally achieved.

I heard a really funny song on the radio with a little kid saying, "I ain't gettin' nuthin' for Christmas 'cause I ain't been nuthin' but bad." I've been singing this to Queezle (substituting "you" for "I"), but she just laughs at me. She has been pretty good this year, so I guess she'll get something for Christmas after all. She even put on a nice expression while wearing her hat!

For the most part Christmas Eve has been pretty tame, though I was woken up early this morning for a surprise dentist appointment. My mom did take Tom and I out to IHOP afterward, so I guess that was ok. After that it was a good day - got all of my gifts wrapped and talked to various relatives on the phone.

Flash (who gets an automatic "good" card for her Champion Tracker this year) came down to the barn with me like she usually does. She absolutely loves it, and goes zipping down leaving a cloud of snow behind her. Then she roots around in the barn while I get everything done. Afterward I took Queezle for a walk. I picked up a handful of snow, and she leaped up and grabbed it out of my hands! We had a mini snow war, then played hide-and-seek around the shed and one of the cars. She thinks these games are a ton of fun, and always grins and wags her tail joyfully.

But for now, it is 6 minutes to 9, and I have three pairs of eyes looking at me balefully. You would think they never got fed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Feliz Cumpleanos A Mi

One of the few phrases I remember in Spanish :) Today was my 19th birthday, though I must say I don't feel any different! Started out the day with Tia buzzing me around 9 o'clock in typical Aussie fashion (she had already gone out and been fed by my mom, but snuck upstairs to do a sneak attack). She probably would have settled down and gone back to sleep, but I had been thinking I should get up. Yesterday one of our sinks developed a leak, so I ended up being woken up to do morning barn chores. As I am not much of a morning person, I did the chores in my pajamas (penguins!) and then Tia and I went back to bed for several more hours. Tia is the only one of my dogs that understands and appreciates this - Flash is ready to roll at 6 am sharp and the Q thinks frisbee at 3 in the morning is a wonderful idea.

Anyway, since I was up, Mom and I went out for breakfast and then on a couple errands, namely to buy grain for the horses. Then in the afternoon I joined several of my best friends from high school, a troupe of Advanced Placement and Honors kids affectionately known as the Fringe because the table we sat at during lunch was in a corner off by itself beyond the garbage cans. We had some good times at that table. There were only a few of us there, but Megan and Amy had made me a birthday cake and we watched the tail end of Prince Caspian and then Up in its entirety. Up is very cute, and I love Dug - there is one point where he is kind of apologizing to Carl and his posture is exactly like Queezle in that situation - head low, ears back, eyes soft, tail wagging low and slow.

My mom hadn't seen Up so I borrowed it from Megan afterward and brought it home. Mom, my brother Tom and I went out for Chinese. I got a pathetic fortune: You can't choose how you will die, but you can choose how you will live. Naturally, that sparked a discussion of the ways in which you can control how you die. Not exactly normal dinner conversation, but then again, my family isn't exactly normal. I do have a father by the way, and even saw him yesterday after doing the barn (he was somewhat amazed that I actually went to the barn in my pajamas). He is a nephrologist (kidney doctor) and works crazy hours - hence the fact that I have seen him for a grand total of 2 minutes in the 6 days I've been home. Luckily he loves his job, or else it would probably get ugly.

After dinner, we broke into the creme de menthe cake that my mom had made for me. I love that cake, and the dogs are all sure that they would too! Then we settled in to watch Up. Flash was unimpressed, Tia wants a giant bird of her own and Baloo, Tom's Aussie, barked at and attacked the screen every time the dogs came on. Life is never dull.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tia Issues

Over the past couple months Tia has been doing a funny cough thing. Recently it has been getting worse, so today we took her in to do bloodwork, a tracheal wash and chest xrays to see what's up. Haven't determined anything for sure, but heartworm or lungworms are definite possibilities so she is getting Panacur for a couple days. For her part, Tia doesn't seem overly concerned, though she was a little miffed that she didn't get breakfast today. Unlike Queezle, who absolutely hates going into the clinic, Tia doesn't mind and likes visiting with all the people.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hello World

Hello everyone and welcome to The Pawprint Chronicles! My name is Kate, and I have been an avid dog enthusiast since forever. I got my first dog, Flash, when I was 7 years old. As of now I am almost 19, and currently share my life with 12 year old Pembroke Welsh Corgi Flash, 6 year old Australian Shepherd Tia and 4 year old Belgian Tervuren Queezle. I compete in an assortment of dog sports and activities with all three dogs, including agility, tracking, conformation, rally, obedience, herding and musical freestyle. Flash and I were the first junior handler team to earn the American Kennel Club's Versatile Companion Dog 1 title, and this past summer at 11 1/2 Flash passed her Variable Surface Tracker test to earn her Champion Tracker!

The CT is considered the most difficult of all the dog championships, and requires your dog to earn her Tracking Dog, Tracking Dog Excellent and VST titles. In tracking, the basic idea is that your dog has to sniff and follow the path of a person she doesn't know, as well as finding anything the tracklayer left behind on the track. For TD and TDX you work in fields and woods, but for VST 1/2 to 2/3 of the track is on nonvegetated surfaces such as parking lots and sidewalks. There are only just a little over 200 CTs in the nation right now, and I am the youngest handler to ever do it. By far Flash's CT is my proudest accomplishment, as it is a lot of work, especially for the dog! Flash is a very neat dog, with tons of drive and a great personality.

Tia is more of a princess, and would like to be admired by everyone and not have to work. Though she isn't as fast as Flash or Queezle, she is a very reliable agility dog, and earned both of her Excellent level titles at full height and just finished one of them in the Preferred division. She is the most materialistic dog I have ever met, and loves large toys and gifts of any kind. Ironically, she also enjoys playing with (and eating) cardboard.

Queezle, the "baby," is my star showdog. She is from the reknowned Chateau Blanc kennel, and has done well in the conformation ring from the start. As of now, she has four Herding Group I awards, a Best In Specialty Show and numerous other Group placements. We were invited to the AKC Eukanuba National Championship two years in a row, and have also shown at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. We took this year off for Queezle to have her first litter, which was born on February 25. Frankly I should have started a blog then, but alas, I did not think of it at the time. One of her daughters, Demi, has already finished her Championship, and the others are well on their way. Though I love Corgis and will always have one around, Tervs are the breed that I wish to be involved with as a breeder. Queezle is the foundation bitch (not a bad word in the dog world!) for Coyote Run Belgian Tervuren, run by myself and my mother, Deb Eldredge. Right now we are stud-hunting for the perfect sire for Queezle's next litter, which is a daunting task.

I just finished my first semester at Cornell University (woohoo!), where I am studying as an English major with a focus on creative writing. Writing has always been one of my passions, and I have had several columns for dog magazines. I also currently have two books out - Head of the Class, an all-round guide to dogs geared toward kids, and Amazing Pet Tricks, a trick book written with the ASPCA. I also have a rewrite of an Italian dog picture book in the works - I've sent in all the captions and it should be coming out in print sometime in 2010. My dream is to live off writing, which may or may not happen (Tia says if I write about her every book will be a bestseller!).

I am also a member of Cornell's Big Red Marching Band, which I absolutely love. I did 7 years of marching band with my high school, and definitely wanted to continue my involvement through college. Marching band is second only to dogs on my list of favorite things. I play the tenor sax in marching band, and also currently play the clarinet, my original instrument, in the Cornell Pep Band. Though I love marching band, my favorite sport to play for is hockey. Unfortunately marching on ice probably wouldn't work out too well.

The only thing I dislike about college is that I can't have dogs in the dorm (I do love my dorm though). Though I have adjusted well, it's hard not having my fourlegged friends around. However, I just put down a deposit on a dog-friendly apartment for next year!

That's enough for now, but stay tuned - and warm depending on where you live.