July 31, 2008

Best friends

Darbi and Miikka are best friends.

It's a very comfortable relationship.

I have never seen either dog so much as raise a lip at the other. They share toys, couch space and their entire world with each other.

When one or the other dog is finished eating first, the other will sit politely and wait for the other dog to finish eating and check to see if their bowl is empty. What is very interesting, is that if the bowl is not empty, the other dog would never think of touching the food left in the bowl that is not theirs. The food will sit untouched in that bowl, all day.

Every stick or toy thrown for them is brought back in tandem no matter who retrieved it first.

People ask me who the "boss" is, and to be honest, I have no idea. One never tries to boss the other into anything. I'm sure Darbi is Queen Bee around here, but you'd never know by watching them interact. It is a relationship built on mutual respect.

It is heart-warming to see such a bond formed between my two favorite doggies.

We are hopefully bringing a new "pal" into the pack this fall. I'm sure the girls will let her join in with no fuss.

This pic was taken last week by my friend Liz. Thanks Liz!

July 30, 2008

Ummm...excuse me...

Darbi loves her spot on the couch by the window.  She can see outside and watch the world go by.  I was sitting in that coveted location today working on my laptop when I noticed I was being watched.  

July 29, 2008

Safe journey...

Esprit's Out Of The Woods...


passed away this week. He is the sire of Darbi's one and only litter, born in 2006.

Tiger gave us 8 wonderful puppies, who are now spread across North America and giving much joy to their owner's lives. These puppies are all incredibly personable, super talented and exceptionally healthy.

He was a great match for Darbi and we are thankful to have had the opportunity to breed to him.

Rest in peace old man...you were one of a kind.

July 28, 2008


Meet Yankee. Yankee is from the Tiger x Darbi litter of 2006.

If you look closely, you can see where he got his name. Yankee's collar was red/white/blue, so it was an easy choice to call him Yankee from birth. Just like Dottie, Yankee's owners decided the name fit and he is known as Yankee to this day.
In my litter notes, I described Yankee as:
-1st puppy to come when called and 1st puppy to climb out of whelping box
-LOVES people

Yankee is still all these things and more.

Yankee was chosen as "pick" male from the litter and was flown to his new home in Ohio at 8 weeks of age. He was raised by his owners Sean & Sherree and sent off to Basics training with Bruce Curtis at around 6 months. Yankee did not run any Derbies and spent a year with Bruce in Texas & Wisconsin.

Yankee is now in training with Joe & Scott Harp and he is doing really well. In his FIRST field trial, he finished with a 3rd in the Qualifying. He WON a Qualifying shortly thereafter in Kentucky. Yankee is now in training to make his All-Age debut later this fall or winter. We have REALLY enjoyed following his career thus far and I have enjoyed the friendship I have formed with Sean and Sherree.

He looks EXACTLY like his mother.

Yankee now...

July 25, 2008

A watched pot...

Look at her. She thinks it's funny.
We all sit around anxiously...waiting...waiting. I am getting e-mails from people on the waiting list wondering if it has happened yet.
Never in history has a dog's hoo-ha been so closely watched.
I think I'm going to give her a pharmacological nudge.

July 23, 2008


Oh, how I miss Dottie.  She is from the Shaq x Miikka litter of November 2007.  I gave her the name "Blue Dot" when she was assigned that collar seconds after her birth.  Since she had the only collar with dots on it, her name quickly shortened to Dottie.  She was a brilliant puppy from day one.  Always a bit of a loner, she didn't have the patience to partake in her brothers' and sisters' antics.  She was also the smallest pup in the litter at birth, but now weighs 60 pounds and is still growing.
We had a young couple with no other dogs on our waiting list for a pup from this litter.  We thought Dottie was the perfect fit for them as she didn't seem to need the company of other dogs and she wasn't the wild and crazy pup that a lot of field trialers are looking for.  She was still the smallest pup in the litter at the time.  Dottie has always had an "air" about her and it sounds like she now has her mother's sense of humor and zest for life as well.
When her new owners came to pick her up at 8 weeks old, the name Dottie stuck...and this is Dottie now.

July 19, 2008

Fun Times

So, last week-end I entered a Hunt Test on a lark. It's hard to explain the differences between field trials and hunt tests, but let's just say there's quite a few. It was a NAHRA test in Irricana and I had a great time with the girls. There was about 10 things in every test that my dogs had never seen before. Ducks calls, decoys, me carrying a "fake" gun, marks from wingers thrown towards us and overtop of us, running out of a boat, etc. etc.
I was hoping because we hunt the dogs a lot every fall they would not look too stupid.
This picture is of the first test on the first day. I had to sit inside the big goose decoy while the triple was being thrown. My girls were curious as to why I was sitting inside a giant goose for any reason whatsoever, but they went along with it.
Of course, this picture was taken by my friend Wendy with my iPhone...can't leave the iPhone out of the story.
Darbi got a Senior pass the first day, and Miikka was having a GREAT day until the last test, which is the trailing portion. She had never trailed in her life until 3 days before the test, so I expected her not to be successful. It was too bad, as she had near perfect work all day.
Neither of the girls got a pass the second day. The whole process was a little overwhelming for them, and the shorter marks threw them off. Miikka was just hitting 2nd gear about 100 yards deep of a mark on one test.
We had a great time though, the dogs had a hoot and I met some very nice people!

July 18, 2008

Stay, staaaaayyy, STAY!

Believe it or not...it didn't take long to set up this group photo.
After some field training at Liz and Andy's place, we walked down to the river and had some fun with the dogs. They live on my dream acreage.
Pretty much all of these dogs have a CD or are close to getting one, so we only had to say "stay" 14,562 times.

July 15, 2008

Poor Radar

My friend Cheryl has a poor dog named Radar. The reason why Radar is classified as a "poor dog" is because he just had TPLO surgery. Now Radar has at least 3 months of very limited movement and re-hab, but a very dedicated owner to see him through it all.
Curciate Injuries are becoming more and more common it seems. I don't know if it's just me, or coincidence, but I'm noticing a lot more. With Labrador Retrievers, it can be a genetic cause or a straight traumatic cause. I know that cruciate injuries are definitely on my list of considerations when planning a breeding.
On the bright side though, TPLO offers the dogs suffering the injury the possibility of a full recovery. There are many, many instances of dogs returning to full activity, and competing again on the field trial circuit after surgery and re-hab.
Radar will be 100% before we know it.

July 14, 2008

July 13, 2008


Wow, even I can't believe it.   All Miikka's babies that I have met sure take after her, but Lili takes the cake.  Lili is going to be bigger than her mother, but I can't get over how similar they are.

Lili has a few passes towards her Started Retriever Title with NAHRA.  Congrats Lili!!

iPhone Mania

I know...I know...it's crazy.  I actually sat out on a sidewalk early in the morning to get one of these phones.  I've never used an iPod in my life and I certainly don't need a new phone, but I HAD to have one.
Now, I have to figure out how to use the darn thing.

July 7, 2008

How fast they grow.

This was so fun. Miikka (and I-center) re-introduced ourselves to two of Miikka's daughters. On the left is Mattie, owned by Tim Duhaime. On the right is Maggie, owned by Rob Littlemore.

Maggie won the Puppy Stake at the Lethbridge Trial and Mattie came in second. Miikka is very proud of her two little girls. Although it appears they are not so little anymore!!