Saturday, December 31, 2011

Oh what a year...

Late December back in...oh wait! It's RIGHT NOW! I always take a look back at the past year before looking forward to the next, so in the class tradition:
My 2011 goals for Teller:
  • qualify for the 2012 AKC National Championships in Reno, NV. 
    I wanted so badly to qualify for the 2011 championships in Virginia, but things just didn't come together for us. To qualify for each year we needed 400 speed points and 6 double-Q's (QQs). This year Teller had all of his QQs by the end of March and we officially wrapped up those speed points in May.
  • I really wanted to button up his MX (Master Excellent Standard) title and finish the year with half of our QQ's towards MACH.
    Teller finished his MX on May 8th and finished his MACH on November 19th. For the year he earned 22 QQ's and just over 900 MACH points
    Photo Credit: Sharon Pica
  • That last CDX leg
    Here's one we didn't accomplish. There were a couple of shows I was going to enter (Syracuse Cluster and Thanksgiving Cluster) but in both cases I didn't make the decision to enter in time for closing - in the case of the Thanksgiving cluster I had fully intended to enter and missed the closing by an hour. No worries - if I really wanted to make it happen I would have made it happen. 
  • A puppy - specifically a Teller puppy.
    I'd been approached to use Teller on a number of bitches - none of them were a good match. One had clearances and some nice starter titles but she didn't have a history of clearances in her pedigree - there were other reasons too, but that is a biggie for me. In general, people crawl out of the woodwork wanting to breed 'fluffy' to titled dogs. A lot of stud dog owners look the other way - have dozens of litters sired by their dogs that will never show up on, some aren't even AKC registered. The check clears so they breed their studlies to BYB 'fluffy'. Anyhow, back to reflection :-)
    I was absolutely thrilled when the possibility of what is now Kipling became a possibility. The pedigrees looked great on paper, the timing was right for all involved and we got four beautiful puppies. Beautiful, smart - so uniform in their temperament testing, personable, biddable, good looking dogs that will excel in whatever they're asked to do: agility, obedience, conformation, counter-surfing, playing ball in the backyard, climbing Mount Equinox....With any luck there will be some more Teller puppies in 2012, but - this is the looking back post not the looking forward post!
  • Starting and finishing the year with a happy, healthy golden retriever - fit in all senses of the word.
    Mission accomplished there too.

    Murphy's 2011 goals were a bit less tangible:
  • Certainly starting and finishing the year fit and happy.
    Keeping Murphy fit has always been a challenge, perhaps the early neuter, perhaps just who he is - but he's never maintained the muscle tone that Teller seems to maintain so naturally. Murphy scared the heck out of me a couple of times this year healthwise.
    The first was that damn tick-sized lump on his hock. We were really sure it was nothing - but if it got bigger, removing it was not going to be nothing. So surgery for Murphy to remove the lump on his hock, which turned out to be benign - but evolved into an infection, torn sutures, another infection, another suturing back together again, another infection and finally staples and glue. All told that round of 'life' cost Murphy 45 straight days in a cone....
    Murphy - 10/12/2011
    The second scare came in October with a spot on his muzzle. I thought he'd rubbed it - then he was scratching at it, I treated it like a hot spot, but it was clearly no hot spot. Diagnosis was Demodex - not a big deal, that's treatable - BUT what the heck is going on with his immune system to cause a mite issue. Cancer? Lymphoma? Cushings? Some kind of auto-immune issue? MMS? So many possibilities. Murphy has been hypothyroid since he was about 15 months old and medicated since he was 18 months old. We'd upped his dose back in May after his senior panel looked a little low. I pulled another senior panel in November to see what we were dealing with - bloodwork negative for cancer, negative for lymphoma, negative for addisons/cushings - thyroid low again. OK - THAT I can deal with. Now nearly 2 months later, the hair on his face is back, his thyroid is still a little below optimal, but we're going to watch him for another 30 days and pull another test before doing any more adjusting of medication.
  • Therapy dog work for Murphy
    Technically whilst Murphy is eating raw he's unable to make therapy dog visits, reading with kids, etc - it's a silly rule (I mean really some dogs eat poop (of all models of origin), dogs eat dead things in the woods, dogs lick their butts, dogs lick patients in hospitals who have dirty hands - how is a piece of raw chicken, consumed hours before a visit really a threat to anyone? Anyhow - I follow rules (I'm a rule follower) - force of habit - and that means that Murphy didn't get to make any visits to the nursing homes this year. I'm bummed - but it is what it is.

    Kipling's Goals:
    Kipling got off easy, since he didn't exist in the beginning of 2011 - he didn't have any goals. BUT he accomplished a lot:
  • He got to be a puppy
    Teller on his way to a best of breed puppy 
    The best thing I ever did for Teller - just be a puppy. Kipling got to be a puppy too. His training sessions were short - focusing on learning to learn, life skills, socialization and attention. If he has those things I can put anything else 'in' at any time in the future. Kippie traveled with us everywhere, he made his own roadtrips from time to time on local errands.
  • He got to go into the conformation ring
    and have a good time, no pressure - no expectations. Trot around, have chicken, have fun and get some mileage. In the process he picked up a Best Puppy in Breed at just over 6 months! Well done.
  • He learned stuff
    Plank work, walking on a leash, gaiting, stacking, stays, waits, tunnels, how to play with a cat without getting scratched, jumps, tables, how to wait patiently for dinner, dogwalks, teeters, retrieving, tricks, coming when called, how to chase squirrels, how to play bitey-face, that bitches are in fact, BITCHES :-) In the process he got his CGC (AKC Canine Good Citizen). All good stuff!

    Our Year in Review:
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