Let's start out with some news from good friend Linda Sheldrick. You may remember me bragging about Linda and her lovely working black and white Springer, "Penny" (Nanjay's Common Cents Am. C.D.). Well, Linda's other Springer "Copper" (Bryden's Keystone Copper), a lovely liver and white male has also been making some news of his own.
My Nanjay girl "Penny" continues to shine!!! She has now got her two Canadian C.D. "legs" in grand style. The first one was in Brockville Ontario, thanks to the Thousand Island Kennel Club, where she came first with a score of 197 ½. She really seems to enjoy performing for her mum. She ended her routine with a typical Springer jump as high as my nose where a lady with her Golden said "I guess that's why they call them Springers!" You got THAT right!
Her second "leg" came about a month later in Arnprior, Ontario where she got second place with a 197...I found out later that she would have got a high in trial if only the silly girl had sat on her final halt. The judge docked us 1 point for that! She is making me very proud indeed. She is happily retrieving her beloved dumbbell in preparation for Open trials next year and has even got the hang of doing signals and scent discrimination (Utility work). She's starting to wear me out!! We plan to tweak her routine a little bit as my mentor and good friend Rita Susanto tells me she is worthy of even higher scores. Fingers crossed!!
Copper recently embarked on a 10 hour pilgrimage to York, Pennsylvania, with Penny in tow. The purpose of our trek was for Copper to compete in a rather fierce obedience competition aptly named "All Star Dog Performance Competition".
I reluctantly agreed to do so at the insistence of my mentor, trainer and dear friend, Rita Susanto. Although this is not affiliated with the American Kennel Club, it is yet another way the Americans demonstrate their love of dogs, their spirit and competitive nature when it comes to all things canine.
The three day competition also involved rally, obedience and agility, of which we didn't take part. It certainly added tangible credence to the almost physical air of competition.
In order to even be eligible to enter the "All Star" open class obedience competition, the dog must have scored at least an average of 195/200 within the past year on either side of the border. The competition brings out the best competitors from all over the U.S., some of who I had only read about in obedience articles in magazines or at least spoken of in awe in hushed whispers.
Border Collies, who are notorious for "cleaning up", as far as ribbons and trophies are concerned in these circles, were there in great numbers. I suspect this being a prestigious affair, as well as the fact that there is a great deal of publicity with respect to "Front and Finish" and other such related magazines, brings out the best teams from far and wide.
The competition itself runs over three days and you are expected to perform three rounds of competition where you and your canine partner are ruthlessly scrutinized for "points lost". Copper and I fared quite well and after the three rounds were completed we had lost a total of only ten points.
There were times, especially by the third day, where I started to wonder if it was an endurance competition as we were feeling the pressure and the long days at the site. But with the encouragement of Rita and my friend Lynda Morrissey, we soldiered on and ended up tying for first place!
Just when I thought it was over - silly me! This now meant that Copper and I had to have the dreaded "run-off" in order to determine the winner. This time, it meant there would be four judges in the ring, one calling a lengthy complicated heeling pattern with the other three judges watching every move/twitch and taking points off where they felt it necessary. Yikes! Another groan from me when I realized that my run-off competitor was a woman by the name of Betsy Scarpachhio, with a Border Collie, no less. Betsy is famous for giving obedience training seminars all over the United States as well as winning these types of events quite handily!
Onward ho! We did it and ended up with only 1 ½ points off! Copper heeled like a dream as only he can and made me very proud! As I like to say "the planets were all in alignment that day". After all this dog has been through with his hip joint surgery a few years ago he makes me realize what a wonderful breed English Springer Spaniels are. His fierce determination to please me in spite of the odds were certainly in evidence.
When the awards were being presented later that day I was wondering to myself what the Americans' reactions to us would be when they realized that we were from Canada. But when the announcer stumbled over our names, finally got it right, and then said, "Hey folks, guess what? These guys are from Canada!" the audience, my fellow competitors, etc, started whistling and clapping and cheering so loudly that I could hardly hear myself think. Fellow Springer competitors, and those I don't know at all, endlessly congratulated us to the point of embarrassment and marveled at how well Copper had performed. They were great! I also found out later on that we were only the second team from Canada that had ever won the Open division, (the first being my friend Rita and her Border Collie, Justin, when they were actively competing) and the ONLY Springer EVER to win!
We had our formal photography taken with the rosette and trophy and the photo will also appear in "Front and Finish" magazine.
It took me a few days for it all to sink in! It will remain a treasured memory. We will return next year and see how things go, but in the meantime Penny will also be fine-tuned for her appearance in the Novice ring there next year. She handily qualifies to enter after her High Novice Scores (and High In Trial!) that she obtained stateside this past summer in Vermont. Keep an eye open too for this special Nanjay girl in the obedience ring!
Healing thoughts and good wishes are being sent to our favourite little liver obedience bombshell, Lexi (OTCH. Nanjay's Canamer Legacy CGN, AGN, UKC-CD, RA-MCL) who is on the sidelines at the moment, recuperating from an injury. Yes, canine athletics can be 'benched' as well, so we are sending good thoughts her way.
Lexi's mom, Sheila, reports that Lexi has a herniated disc in the lumbar region of her back. Sheila is working with the well-known and respected naturopath veterinarian, Dr. Sharon Kopinac, and they are giving Lexi laser treatments (basically concentrated red healing light), acupuncture treatments, some herbal anti-inflamatories and some chiropractic treatments.
Sheila says, "She's supposed to be kept very quiet (HUH!!!!!) for 4 to 6 weeks: no running, jumping, climbing, etc. - good luck!!! If I crate her, she comes flying out of the crate like there's no tomorrow because she's so frustrated about being confined. I'll have to come up with some way of managing her.
I doubt whether Lexi will be able to do any trialling again until late spring at the earliest and probably I'll only be able to start training her again then - so trialling will come later. It's so disappointing because I really, really wanted to finish off her rally title yesterday - but it's way more important to think of her future. Keep your fingers crossed that she'll eventually be 100%. I guess all those tumbles by the Mastiff and Aussies' when she was younger took their toll. If only she wasn't such a tease! But then she wouldn't be Lexi."
Have a good winter getting better, Lexi. We look forward to reports of even more accomplishments next year.
I have received several inquires as of late for an update about Everett (our Springer), Corbin (my son) and myself since the accident. Here is the latest:
Everett now has his cast off and is wobbling around the house. God Bless him, his tail hasn't stopped wagging these past three months, and in true spaniel form - he never missed one meal! If he is on his feet a lot in the morning he is definitely much worse in the evening. I am now just concerned as to how bad his limp will be and the pending onset of arthritis.
My son, Corbin, is recovering fairly well from the accident, with the exception of some nasty scars on the back of his hands where he received stitches and the fact that he must wear a knee brace whenever he does any sports.
I am doing better, at least getting around more, than I was three months ago. I am still seeing the physiotherapist, kinestiologist, chiropractor and massage therapist a few times a week. As a result of the accident I have "drop foot" and I now have to wear a brace on my left foot and ankle all of the time. I pray that it will eventually get better and I will not have to wear this thing the rest of my life. I am presently visiting the dentist for some new crowns on the teeth that were fractured in the accident. I am also waiting for the plastic surgeon to remove the rest of the glass out of my knee. Regular visits to the orthopedic surgeon are monitoring progress in that department. I am scheduled for an MRI in March of 2006, and anyone who knows the situation in Ontario knows that five to six months waiting time is the norm.
Your words and thoughts of encouragement lift my spirits - many thanks.
A few of you have inquired about the advertisement that Miss Atti Tude did in the spring. I hadn't seen a copy of it anywhere, or knew where to look. I telephoned Volvo Canada and inquired about a print advertisement that appeared with an English Springer Spaniel in it. I inquired as to where the ad had been featured so that I could try to find a paper or magazine with the ad in it and keep it for our portfolio.
Next thing I know, Volvo is e-mailing a copy of the ads - the "billboard" and the "newspaper" copies. Man, I was so impressed with the time someone took at Volvo to answer my request and then go above and beyond by sending me copies of the ad that it makes me want to buy a Volvo for the great service and attention to detail alone! (Honestly, if I had the cash I would own a Volvo station wagon - a GREAT car for Springers!)
We will be adding a link to the site next month so you can have a peek at Miss Atti with the 'windblown' look!
Well my friends, here we approaching the end of another year. It is so true, time seems to go faster the older we get. If we all only looked at the world through the eyes of our Springers, there would be a lot more time for the really important things - smelling the flowers, long walks in the sunlight, romps in the snow, and naps by the fire - hmm, sounds like the kind of life I could try and get used to!!
As always, take care, and have fun with your Springers.
Happy Holidays and God Bless.