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Dare I Say Sacred…

 

Dog fancy has pulled me out of the comfort zone called home to visit several regions of the country to connect for breed competition.  It has been my pleasure, for every place we have gone we have received a warm welcome.

From my observation, I have got to say the Kerry community is quite remarkable.  Kerry people are as sweet, friendly, loyal, intense and passionate as their beloved Kerry dogs.  And, hackles up where there is the perception of values compromised.  Though the framing of those values may look slightly different from one person to the next, at the core I believe it is very much the same.  Our kerry dogs are special [dare I say sacred], and woe to any other soul thought to exploit them.

But wait; Our strengths are in our differences.  We do not each have to approach this endeavor in exactly the same manner to be true to the breed.  It seems to me that insistence on one right way creates divisive animosity, which cannot be good for anyone.  As an idealist, I believe we would benefit from internalization of this simple truth.

 

 

……Our last journey was met with the makings for great memories.  Yes, this was exactly what one would hope for from an extended journey bridging 3 times zones.  Many thanks to the kind members of the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Chicago for a warm reception, great venue, and for sending me home with my new Grand Champion!

Judge Patricia Trotter awarded CH Stirling O'Hanluan BEST OF OPPOSITES for 4 Grand Champion points at the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Chicago's Independent Specialty in St. Charles, Illinois on August 26, 2016.

Judge Patricia Trotter awarded CH Stirling O’Hanluan BEST OF OPPOSITES for 4 Grand Champion points at the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Chicago’s Independent Specialty in St. Charles, Illinois on August 26, 2016.

Judge Wayne Bousek awarded GCH Stirling O'Hanluan BEST OF BREED for 5 Grand Champion points at the Elgin Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in St. Charles, Illinois on August 27, 2016

Judge Wayne Bousek awarded GCH Stirling O’Hanluan BEST OF BREED for 5 Grand Champion points at the Elgin Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in St. Charles, Illinois on August 27, 2016

Judge Wayne Bousek awarded GCH Stirling O'Hanluan the TERRIER GROUP 4 at the Elgin Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in St. Charles, Illinois on August 28, 2016.

Judge Wayne Bousek awarded GCH Stirling O’Hanluan the TERRIER GROUP 4 at the Elgin Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in St. Charles, Illinois on August 27, 2016.

Judge Janie Bousek awarded GCH Stirling O'Hanluan BEST OF BREED for 5 Grand Champion points at the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Chicago's concurrent specialty in St. Charles, Illinois on August 27, 2016.

Judge Janie Bousek awarded GCH Stirling O’Hanluan BEST OF BREED for 5 Grand Champion points at the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Chicago’s Concurrent Specialty in St. Charles, Illinois on August 27, 2016.

Judge Charles Trotter awarded GCH Stirling O'Hanluan BEST OF OPPOSITES for 5 Grand Champion points at the Elgin Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in St. Charles, Illinois on August 28, 2016.

Judge Charles Trotter awarded GCH Stirling O’Hanluan BEST OF OPPOSITES for 5 Grand Champion points at the Elgin Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in St. Charles, Illinois on August 28, 2016.

 

 

 

 

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On Competition…

Competitive by nature, I play to win.  But the win is only as sweet as the imposing challenge.

This weekend Stirling did well at the specialty hosted by the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Chicago held in St.Charles, Illinois.  This was good.  But what made it great for us was respect for our competition.  I admire the people we were competing with, and I respect the energy and imagination involved in the breeding of each of their dogs.

 

KBTCC BOB

 

I am probably going to suffer tomorrow, as I cannot sleep tonight.  Sometimes the comments people post on Facebook upset my stomach, making it impossible for me to sleep.  Tonight it was the commentary of a “winner” from this past week about how sweet their victory was over the disgusting competition…

If you think so little of your competition, how can it be such a big deal when you win?

 

Meas Uile Eagla Ar bith…

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Crowned in Triple Blues…

 

Standing on the travel crate that served as our grooming table, Stirling casually yawned as we stood ringside waiting for the Best In Show competition on the last day of the Fairbank’s cluster.  Sasha, a kerry-man and acquaintance we see annually at this show, asked in a hushed tone whether we might ought to work Stirling up a bit.  I shrugged, and mumbled that would likely not be necessary.

Soon enough it was our turn.  …Twice in a row actually, as the National Owner Handler Series Best In Show competition directly preceded the regular Best In Show competition; and we were in both…

Upon entering the ring Stirling came alive and showed his heart out.  Another deserving team was awarded Best In Show.  But I am sure Stirling’s terrier antics were highly entertaining.

 

And I could not be prouder of my boy crowned in triple blues!

 

Judge Chris A Levy awarded CH Stirling O'Hanluan a TERRIER GROUP 1 at the Tanana Valley Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Fairbanks, Alaska on May 28, 2016

Judge Chris A Levy awarded CH Stirling O’Hanluan a TERRIER GROUP 1 at the Tanana Valley Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Fairbanks, Alaska on May 28, 2016

Judge Janie M Bousek awarded CH Stirling O'Hanluan the Terrier Group 1 at the Tanana Valley Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Fairbanks, Alaska on May 29, 2016

Judge Janie M Bousek awarded CH Stirling O’Hanluan the Terrier Group 1 at the Tanana Valley Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Fairbanks, Alaska on May 29, 2016

Judge Wayne E Bousek awarded the TERRIER GROUP 1 and Judge Nikki Riggsbee awarded the NOHS TERRIER GROUP 1 to CH Stirling O'Hanluan at the Tanana Valley Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Fairbanks, Alaska on May 30, 2016

Judge Wayne E Bousek awarded the TERRIER GROUP 1 and Judge Nikki Riggsbee awarded the NOHS TERRIER GROUP 1 to CH Stirling O’Hanluan at the Tanana Valley Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Fairbanks, Alaska on May 30, 2016

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Epiphany…

 

 

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 10,000+ feet above earth en route from Alaska to Maine; when an epiphany struck.

I am a big fan of the a-ha’s of life.

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Perhaps I should not have been surprised that Rebecca Brandon came to mind as I was flying over the clouds…  After all, she is now of the ethereal world.

 

But there I was reading and reflecting when I realized something important.  …Soon after joining her handling class, Ms Brandon became hard on me.  In earnest I tried to absorb what she was teaching, but it felt like she kept changing the rules.  It seemed she was impossible to satisfy, and seldom did I ever get an attaboy.

But as painful as it was, I learned a lot.

 

 

I am answering you, not to answer but to simply destroy the questions. I am not a teacher. The teacher teaches you; the master does not teach you, he helps you unlearn.

IMG_2221-Book Of Wisdom OSHO commentary on Atisha’s work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebecca was a master.

 

Dear One, may you rest in peace.  You knew exactly what you were doing so well.

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Dream-Come-True…

 

Being my sister’s birthday, July 25th has always been a memorable date.  But on that date of this particular year one of my dreams came true…

Judge Dana P Cline awarded CH Stirling O'Hanluan BEST IN SHOW at the Cook Inlet Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Palmer, Alaska on July 25, 2015

Judge Dana P Cline awarded CH Stirling O’Hanluan BEST IN SHOW at the Cook Inlet Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Palmer, Alaska on July 25, 2015

 

The whole experience is sort-of-a blur to me now, and even at the time it had a surreal feel.  But I still have tiny bruises from pinching myself so many times, as well as the photos ribbons & prizes that prove it was not just a dream; but, a Dream-Come-True.

 

Judge Dana Cline points at Stirling O'Hanluan...  My face says, "Wait!  Can I believe my eyes?!!"

Judge Dana Cline points at Stirling O’Hanluan… My face says, “Wait! Can I believe my eyes?!!”

 

A handshake?  ...This calls for a hug!!

A handshake? …This calls for a hug!!

 

The Dream-Come-True was bittersweet…

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY

 

1555 4 Kerry BISc

 

 

 

Sharing The Dream-Come-True …with you!  It is my pleasure…

It is my pleasure to share this Dream-Come-True with breeders Jana Deaton and Lois Grier via Timothy D Johnson.  Thank you both so much for your hard work and dedication to our breed, and for entrusting me with this wonderful dog.

So too, this Dream-Come-True is enthusiastically shared with my dear friend Christie Simantel-Janusiesicz who has selflessly found mentoring-time for us in the midst of life-its-own-self,  without whom Ms. Two-Left-Feet (not mentioning any names here) would never have made it around the conformation show ring.

It is also fitting and proper to share this Dream-Come-True with Lynda Barber-Wiltse, another dear friend and a dedicated canine-sports performance guru, who has provided invaluable insight into the human-canine relationship.

It was a pleasure to share The Dream with all the exhibitors and spectators on the day of the event.  Your support was overwhelming!

MANY THANKS  …to the Cook Inlet Kennel Club for hosting this spectacular event,  …to Meg of Calleafoto for the photo memories,  …to Jeanne & Roger Hale for the NOHS Terrier Group 1 Gifts,  …to Carolyn & Tom Tolson for the Terrier Group 1 Gifts,  …and to Debi & Tim Okonek for the generous Best In Show “Trophy”.

A BIG SHOUT OUT TO JUDGE DANA P CLINE who definitely made our day!!!

Lastly, but never least, Stirling & I share this Dream-Come-True with Mark and the rest of the pack without whom there would be little point.  I Love You!

 

 

 

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Blessed by a Scenic Drive…

 

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Fireweed & Mtns

 

The All-Breed Dog Show held in Soldotna was a bit of a disappointment this year, as there seemed to be an inordinate number of professional handlers.  The competition was tough, and it felt grand to be awarded the Terrier Group 4 the first two days.  The third and last day was a total wash for us, as we showed pathetically in a downpour.

DSC_2057The trip home took the bite out of our last day.  As the rain mostly subsided, we were graced by a rainbow.  And as always the scenic drive was nothing short of gorgeous.

 

Moose & Calves

 

As we approached the Turnagain Arm, a moose with calves were grazing roadside.  I actually turned the van around for a closer look…

 

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And of course it was Alex’ first dog show experience…

Alex, my son...

Alex, my son…

 

 

 

 

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Feeling Greedy…

 

Wow!  What a weekend…

Today we scored another Terrier Group 1 under Judge Houston Clark, and the Owner Handler Terrier Group 1 & Owner Handler Best In Show under Judge Loraine Boutwell.  This is simply amazing!  We had very worthy competition and I am sure every entry was deserving.

 

This Feels Greedy

 

This showing thing is going to cost us a fortune in win photos!  Who is complaining?

Not I

 

With everything I have planned, I should be sleeping.  But who can sleep with so much excitement?  …Stirling is sleeping soundly.

Tomorrow is back to work, and Wednesday we fly out to Purina Farms.  I was hoping for a small friendly show to test the water, as this will be Stirling’s first time out as a special amongst kerry competition.  But as it turns out the competition will be tough.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love to win.  But I really do not mind when it does not happen, as long as we show well.  The choice of the win is for the judge to make, but the presentation and performance is up to us.  After this weekend, I am confident that we will not embarrass ourselves …again!

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Dog Tired…

Stirling O'Hanluan is Dog Tired...

Stirling O’Hanluan is Dog Tired…

You won’t see this very often…

 

Yesterday we got up before… well, I was going to say before the break of dawn.  But this is the land of the midnight sun, so dawn and dusk are largely indistinguishable at this time of year.  That being the case, I will simply say we got up early for our trek to Fairbanks.  Now the six hour drive may be long, but it is nothing short of spectacular.  But as always, we were in too much hurry to stop for pictures.

Sometimes I think we monkeys overlook just how stressful all of this can be on a dog.  In Anchorage we seldom drive further than 5 or 10 miles, so the trip alone is a novel experience.  …And then there are the new digs.  I doubt you have ever made the mistake of yelling down one of those dark narrow hotel corridors; but a bark is loud.  So surely you can understand why one bark is probably not enough.  …Then there is the show scene where there are hundreds of dogs in close quarters, all with different attitudes.  The smell alone must be bemusing.  But as if all of that wasn’t enough, the ring steward dropped one of those wooden group signs on the concrete floor right beside Stirling.

 

To say I am proud of my Stirling hardly covers what I am feeling.  The Terrier Group 4 ribbon is huge and beautiful, but it pales in comparison to my boy’s loyalty.  We have turned a corner with all of this, as now we are an aligned team …finally.

 

 

 

 

 

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Little Victories…

 

Please do not feel a need to remind me to remain humble…  There is no better way to show a dog.  And there is no better way to live our lives.

I understand that I have a lot to learn.  I understand that I can do better.  I rejoice; for there is room to grow.  And with the  help of others who know more, that is what I will do.

It is also of utmost importance to celebrate our little victories.  Our glory moments come and go rather quickly, and it is all balanced by our little failures after all…

 

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So please allow me bragging rights for the day, as Stirling O’Hanluan placed in Terrier Group under Judge Keke Kahn second only behind the #1 Parson Russell Terrier in the country and second only ahead of the #1 Australian Terrier in the country.

…I think that is pretty neat!!!

 

 

 

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Palmer: Show Day 2 of 3…

 

The Kerry Show Team jumped out of bed and off to the neighborhood high school track early this morning to wear off some of that EXTRA terrier energy.  20 minutes of gaiting beside the bike took the edge off my boy.  From there we groomed out the fair grounds of yesterday, and easily took Best of Breed!  …OK, it’s true; we were the only exhibitor in breed.

Terrier Group was scheduled last for the day, which gave us monkeys time to hobnob. Although it would seem that the dogs are all about the winning; behind it all, I’m sure we monkeys keep going back to enjoy our friends!

 

And NOBODY could complain about the weather!!!

 

 

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Anyway, we are PSYCHED to be holding at TERRIER GROUP 3!!!

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I’m Just For Love…

 

Our 3-day show in Palmer, Alaska is perhaps our most competitive.  The mountains afar make the fair grounds a breath taking venue.  And the easy commute from our international airport in Anchorage makes the show easily accessible to those in the lower 48.  So there’s no surprise that a good handful of handlers and their highly exhibited show dogs compete in our community; more at this particular show than any other.

Now today a certain song kept playing through my head.  That would be Hank Williams Jr’s “I’m For Love”.  And in particular a certain line kept cycling over and over:  “…and I’m against fishing in the rain”.

Well, of course we were not really fishing, but we certainly were in the rain.

 

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It was wet, but we were pleased to score a Terrier Group 3 for our trouble…

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leith gach aon cheann eagla

 

 

What does it mean to be competitive?

Obviously some people view this as a matter of the win.  …If you “win” you are competitive.  If you don’t “win” …than not so much.

 

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But that is not my point with any of this.

Conformation dog shows are a game with a lot of variables that we have no control over.  So anyone could beat anyone at any time.  That to me does not define being competitive.  Competitive has to do with the quality & maturity of your dog together with the consistency of your performance and skill.  …At least that is what is important to me.

My handling mentor gave me some good advise.  She said your job as a handler is to show your dog to it’s best with humility, and leave the “who wins” up to the judge.  The “who wins” is not your job, and for that matter hardly even matters…  Long as you show your best, you’re good.

 

 

 

hgf

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Soldotna…

DSC_8897The Kenai Kennel Club hosts an annual all-breed dog show in Soldotna, Alaska.  This is an event we truly look forward to, as the commute between is a worthwhile adventure.  There are 150 miles of gorgeous that first pass by the Turnagain Arm before unwinding through the Chugach National Forest.   From there we pass by Cooper Landing where the water is a breathtaking azure blue.

 

This year our trip was made in the rain.  Within minutes of arrival we were greeted by our friend Wendy, who helped us set up our pop-up grooming tent in record time.  By the time we finished, we were drenched…

The iPhone weather forecast was certainly not optimistic.  The whole weekend was predicted in rain by 80-90% chance.  And that evening as I gave my last good look at Stirling, I comforted myself with the well-known wisdom fact that the exact experience you are having is the exact experience you need.  And that evening I closed my eyes at the Hooligan Lodge with no hope of sunshine the next morning.  …But there was no worry in my heart.

And as it were the morning was full of sunshine; as if in the better dream of life, we only needed to have faith…  OHM

 

But truly, there were lots of stories to be had and nothing was as easy as that.  The grounds were wet, and the bathtub at Hooligan’s was completely dysfunctional.  And if I have learned nothing else, it’s that a terrier needs to exercise.  So most of the weekend I spend retrieving a filthy dirty dog to show-shape.  But it was fun, albeit a lot of work.

 

But here’s the upside:

Judge Cecilia Ringstrom awarded Stirling O'Hanluan his very first Terrier Group 1 at the Kenai Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Soldotna, Alaska on July 13, 2014!!!

Judge Cecilia Ringstrom awarded Stirling O’Hanluan his very first Terrier Group 1 at the Kenai Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Soldotna, Alaska on July 13, 2014!!!

 

Judge F.M. (Butch) MacDonald awarded Stirling O'Hanluan Terrier Group 2 at the Kenai Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Soldotna, Alaska on July 12, 2014

Judge F.M. (Butch) MacDonald awarded Stirling O’Hanluan Terrier Group 2 at the Kenai Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Soldotna, Alaska on July 12, 2014

 

Judge Michael J Woods awarded Stirling O'Hanluan Terrier Group 2 at the Kenai Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Soldotna, Alaska on July 11, 2014

Judge Michael J Woods awarded Stirling O’Hanluan Terrier Group 2 at the Kenai Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Soldotna, Alaska on July 11, 2014

 

…I am truly grateful to all of you who walk this life with me.  You inspire and encourage me, and you remain in my ceaseless prayers…  Always

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Update…

My Little Stallion

My Little Stallion

 

Stirling O’Hanluan is quite a handful.  He may not look especially big, but you can’t tell him that.  But he thrives on my attention, and at 2 years old he is darn near civilized…

 

 

June 28th 2014…Dog showing has been going well. Stirling was awarded his Championship at Purina Farms in June, and won Terrier Group 2 here in Anchorage last weekend…  And it’s an honor to have been asked to show for a friend.

Cadence has his tail up and looks happy.  That's important for a Cavalier.

Cadence has his tail up and looks happy. That’s important for a Cavalier.

 

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Champion Stirling O’Hanluan

Where does one begin?  We learn so much along the way…

 

A NEW CHAMPION under Judge Richard William Powell who awarded WD, BOW, & BOS for our 3rd Major win.

A NEW CHAMPION under Judge Richard William Powell who awarded WD, BOW, & BOS for our 3rd Major win.

 

 

Please allow me to extend heartfelt appreciation for family friends and supporters who have taken witness of the comedy of errors that have unfolded as we’ve learned to play this sport well.  Words seem to fall short compared to the treasured memories nested in my heart.

I am especially grateful to Christie Simantel-Janusiewicz who several months ago graciously accepted the challenge of mentoring my handling skills, and in the process has entirely changed my life for the better.  This extraordinary woman has been pivotal in our growth.  Christie wittingly coaxed me into seeing myself in terms of both strengths and weaknesses, which has opened within me deeply suppressed and previously untapped resources.

What a gift!  What a treasure!  …Thank you, thank you!

 

Judge Cindy Vogels awarded Stirling O'Hanluan WD & BOW for a 5-Point Major at Purina Farms 5/30/14.

Judge Cindy Vogels awarded Stirling O’Hanluan WD & BOW for a 5-Point Major at Purina Farms 5/30/14.

 

 

Judge Dr. Stephen J Schellenberg awarded Stirling O'Hanluan WD for his 2nd 5-Point Major.

Judge Dr. Stephen J Schellenberg awarded Stirling O’Hanluan WD for his 2nd 5-Point Major.

 

 

Now this morning as I watched Stirling standing in the sunshine on the deck, I noticed his color seemed to be turning before my eyes.  When I asked him about it, Stirling declared that change was quite fitting for a champion…

 

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Reflections…

The trip to Florida was worth every penny and minute expended.  I’ve learned to accept defeat with grace.  And I’ve seen how to win with humility; though I may not always choose to strictly abide by that knowledge.  Any little victory screech may be totally unnecessary; …or is it?!?  [wink]
…More importantly, I had the opportunity to meet some crazy awesome dogs & people.  And I took home a first-hand perspective that is unique, which I value beyond measure.
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So here it is: About the biggest thing I can conclude is that everyone knows something.  And some know a lot.  But nobody knows everything.  …And I think that is good to keep in mind.
~~~
It’s good to embrace the challenge of learning all aspects of this wonderful sport for oneself; cause otherwise you are at the mercy of other’s opinions.  And it makes sense to continue to question oneself at a healthy frequency to make sure you haven’t become blind amidst your own obsession.
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We Haven’t Been Winning…

Discouraged? Heck no! I’m obviously no judge, nor a professional handler; but every time I pull out that show lead Stirling gets psyched, and looks me square in the eye. At 18.75″ Stirling is near-ideal size, which seems to run small these days. But he doesn’t think so, and there’s no telling him otherwise. He’s a proud boy, so I’ll stand proud beside him.

 

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It Could Be No Other Way…

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Let me pause and give thanks. The one thing I am sure about is this trip will give me exactly the experience I need, as this is the experience I’m having. It could be no other way…

A dog show that may seem to be a big deal (or simply a big ordeal) is really just a microcosm of the life it occurs within. Thus: “The important thing in life is not to triumph but to compete.” -Pierre de Coubertin

Thank YOU all for your abundant encouragement. …It is not lost on me.

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What Are We Do’n?

 

“The important thing in life is not to triumph but to compete.”  -Pierre de Coubertin

 

Sunday Morning: 6:30AM, January 5th

…After hours of near-sleepless travel our Kerry Pack made its way into the Orlando International Airport (MCO).  All things considered, the trip had been uneventful with a bit of rough turbulence at the start followed by hours of half-sleep in the semi-seated near-paralized position.  Finally we were reunited at baggage claim.  Aoife & Stirling were dazed and confused, but cooperative – and believe it or not, quiet.  Each had made the 13 hours without soiling their crates, and they held on for still another length of time while I secured our rental vehicle.

I had planned to rent a mini-van and have the seats removed, but the Alamo representative looked at me as if I had three-heads.  She informed me of the fortune it would cost me if I chose to tamper with the seats, and invited me to rent from the Dollar Rentals [her hand motioned to my right].  …Now this was no big deal really, except I had the good fortune of securing a porter to assist me with my travel lot, and he was patiently waiting with my precious cargo.  The Dollar Rental line was long, so out we went to the Alamo lot to off load the porter’s cart.

At least a half-hour and 3 vehicles later we were ready to give up.  Neither one of us could figure out how to flatten the seats in these vehicles, and at the best configuration we literally had a large crate sticking half out the side door.  I really should have grabbed my camera, but I sensed I was pressing my luck with this porter.  He had gotten himself into far more than he ever bargained for, I’m sure.  So we unloaded with the intent of my joining the Dollar Rental line, while relieving the porter of his duty.  But as it were another person came along and showed us how to flatten the seats, and so we parted with our mission accomplished.

But talk about tired…  And although I could go on and on about how we’ve spent the last three days, I won’t.  At least not at this time.

 

But in the meantime, back in Alaska the -dales have found adventure of their own:

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The Count Down…

View from atop the foyer at the VA out-patient clinic in Anchorage, Alaska

View from atop the foyer at the VA out-patient clinic in Anchorage, Alaska

 

One more day of work, and then I’m off until the 21st.  Not sure how I’m going to get all the fine details in order; but all the important reservations have been made for our trip to Florida.  …It’s just me and the Kerries this time; our destination being the January show circuit in Brooksville.

We have our vet appointment set for Saturday morning, and our plane is scheduled to depart at 3:15PM.  If all goes as planned, we’ll touch down in Orlando, Florida at 6:00AM Sunday morning…

…Right now I’m feeling a tad overwhelmed.

 

Aoife knows...

Aoife knows something is up…

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Dog Shows…

Here’s the thing about dog shows…  Somedays you’re a diamond, somedays you’re a stone.  It’s that simple.  Unless you’re some certain professional handler; in which case you could “take in a truck”.  Though with all due respect to professional handlers, sometimes they do campaign good dogs.  But not necessarily; and the rest of us realize this.  …But that’s a different story.

Having experienced both, I can say with certainty that it is a whole lot funner to win than to loose.  And whether the weather works for us or against us is all rather a matter of convenience.  But what ultimately makes or breaks my take-home experience is the matter of the judge’s integrity.

 

…The least a judge could do is look at my dog.

 

 

By Dr. Seuss

“Some times you are winners.  Some times you are loosers.  We never can win against so many Poozers…”                     Dr.Seuss, from I Had Trouble in getting to Solla Sollew

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Grooming 101

It’s taken me four years to master grooming my Kerry Blue Terriers.  Oh my, that sounds truly arrogant; as if I have finally arrived.  Heck no, that may not be so.  For grooming a Kerry is not just a skill that may be developed, but an evolving dynamic art.

 

I got my first Kerry with full knowledge there was a grooming requirement.  I asked the breeder whether 15 minutes a day would keep my new kerry pup in good shape.  Yes, was the answer; and that is partly true.  15 minutes every day will keep a pup brushed out.  If you skip one, 30 minutes is more the case.  If you skip two, 60 may be required.  …You get the drift.

Now in addition to this basic act; there is the need for bathing, scissoring, clippering and plucking.  In the beginning I waited with bated breath for a month to pass, as I understood the need was to groom in full at least once a month.  My understanding was it takes the breeder about 2 hours to groom a kerry from start to finish, but the reality was it took me all day.  Still, being the stubborn sort, I waited in great anticipation for the hair to grow and another stab at getting it right.

In the beginning I literally pinned my girl to the bed for the plucking of ears and snipping of toenails.  I had a make-shift table with a nice grooming arm for the grooming, but I struggled to find sufficient lighting.  I remember each snip was slow precise and deliberate.  Hours later I had a raggedy pup to show for my efforts.  At the end of the day the feedback was always, “She looks the same to me…”  For the longest time I did not have a Kerry like I saw on my breeder’s website.  Mine was more of a screwed up mutt.  Despite the frustration, I refused to quit.   I refused to cut out a mat or clipper my Kerry to the flesh.

Then one day I recognized a need for change.  By waiting for a month to pass, I was essentially starting over from scratch.  My bitch just never looked good.  So I started grooming every 10 days.  And at that point the progress was appreciable, but most likely to the knowing my work was less than serious – more like humorous.  …Still I refused to quit, refused to cut out a mat or clipper my Kerry to the flesh.

In reality I’ve invested as much time as it’s took, and spent thousands of dollars on equipment and still more on travel to where my mentors live to learn to groom this fabulous breed.  Unique – yes…  Elegant – yes…  For everyone – …no.  But I will say this: If you get totally fixated on the Kerry, and you know in your soul that you can’t live without; You can do this if you don’t quit.  And if you’re in my neck of the woods, I’ll be happy to help.

My Kerry Corner - grooming room

My Kerry Corner – grooming room

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