November 27, 2012

Sleeping on the job

Had a great day training today at the property where the recent US National was.  We train there once a week or so while in Texas as it's only 30 minutes from the kennels.

My new pup Rip is now Horsetooth's new Equipment Coordinator.

Looks like he's a union guy.

November 19, 2012

No rest...

The National is over and after taking Sunday off...we were back in the field today.  Nothing like BIG water blinds to relax and enjoy the nice weather.

We are so proud of both Turq and Boomer, as both got to the seventh series in the National.  They are both young guys and have bright futures.

Some random photos from this past week...

A view from the retired gun station in the first series of the National.  Quite a few trucks there.  I was throwing this bird for one shift, and they went back about 6 rows!  Now you can see why these dogs need to learn to handle with "distractions" behind the handler.  There is a lot for the dog to look at back there!

Girl dogs don't air.  They just don't.  They lay around and stare at you.  Sometimes I wonder if they ever go to the bathroom.

Turq relaxing and cooling off after running the big 5th series quad at the National.  He enjoyed hanging out with Rip and his brother Trouble.  "Trouble" has gone to his new owner and now we have just Rip.  He's a great little puppy.

The two long guns in the fifth series quad at the National.  Things are always tighter in the field then they look from line.  I'm throwing the one bird angle back towards the other guns...and as you can see...they are not that far away, and throwing their bird towards me.  These birds were each about 380 yards from the line.  Amazing what these dogs can do.

And little Ahti at "show and tell" in Victoria, BC.  Not sure what the fire helmets are all about, but Ahti had fun anyways.  Ahti showed off her new trick - Shake A Paw.  I miss Ahti very much, but she's in doggy heaven, no question.

November 11, 2012

Early mornings...

It's 4:45 in the morning right now.  Ugh.

Kennels are done and dogs are looked after.

The National starts today and Turq is the 5th dog to run, so we need to be there early.  Test dog goes at 6:30.

I'm not a morning person and the Luckiest Man Alive would say that is an understatement.

How many pros does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A picture of the test planning for the last day of pre-National yesterday.  From left to right: Randy Bohn, Howard Simson, Wayne Curtis, Bill Eckett, Luckiest Man Alive, Rob Erhardt and Dave Rorem.

Not a fancy picture with my iPhone, but it will do.  Darbi's son, Backwater Smokin Turq watches the birds go down.  The last test we ran for the week was a double and a blind, with handlers doing it in various fashions...straight up double with the blind, interrupted double, singles, etc.

Double Trouble.

Here are two puppies I'm looking after right now.  If it seems I'm never without a're right.

The pup on the left in one I bought for myself to raise.  His name is Rip and the breeding is FC AFC "Zoom" out of "Tootsie" QAA.  I named the pup Blackwater's Hoof Hearted.  If you get the joke in his name...extra points to you.

The pup on the right is "Trouble".  I'm watching him until the end of the National for his new owner.  They have been a joy so far and are wonderful little guys, although Trouble seems unimpressed with the pre-National proceedings.

Pups from the previous ZoomxToots breeding got 1st, 3rd and 4th in the Derby at Missouri, so we're excited about these little guys.

November 8, 2012


The US National is in Texas this year, so that is why we made the trek down earlier than normal.  Pre-National training started on Monday and it's been a busy few days getting the dogs ready.

Our pre-National group consists of Dave Rorem, Bill Eckett, Rob Erhardt, Wayne Curtis, Randy Bohn and of course, the Luckiest Man Alive, Kenny Trott.  There are also several Amateurs with dogs qualified in the group.

A picture of the gallery at Tuesday's water triple and blind.

The trucks line up.

A CANADIAN dog...CFC Backwater's Boomer, owned by Daryl Shmon and run by my husband.

My boy Boom.

Wayne Curtis and the wonderful FC Drake's Bay Parting Of The Sea - "Moses".

Moses likes his flyers.

And the second CANADIAN dog qualified for the US National.  FC AFC CFC CAFC L and L Just A Gigalo - "Deuce".  He is owned and will be run by Howard Simson of Ontario.  Deuce trains with pro Kevin Cheff.

Deuce watching the bird intensely.  

It is great fun having both the Canadian dogs that are qualified in our pre-National group!!

Plus, we can't forget the Canadian BRED "Turq".  I'll get some pics of Darbi's son up soon.

November 5, 2012

Ahti's New Home

I mentioned in my last blog that I would be off on a big adventure, and a big adventure it was.

I made the decision some weeks ago that Ahti was not going to make it as a field trial dog.  She was talented, and she was cute, but she didn't LOVE it.  They need to love it to succeed.  She was always worried about what she was going to do wrong instead of relishing in what she did right.

It is probably one of the hardest dog decisions I've ever had to make.  A lot of emotion was involved and I had to think with my head instead of my heart.  I cried many tears (I cry easily as I'm sure you've noticed) and I had many long conversations with the World's Luckiest Man about it.

I was stuck, with my heart, in that Ahti is the only Darbi daughter that I kept.  Darbi is my Heart Dog and I so desperately wanted to recreate the amazing years I've had with her.  But Darbi wants it more.  And why make Ahti do something she didn't really like just to satisfy my own emotional needs.

The decision was made, not lightly, and it was time to figure out what to do with Ahti and what would be best for her.  

What was best for me was to KEEP Ahti forever and ever.  However, was that really best for her?  If I wasn't on the road (with limited dog space) so many months of the year, that would be have been easy. But I didn't want Ahti to have a life of living on a dog truck when she could have so much more.

So off we went to her new home.

Ahti and I hopped a plane to Seattle, Washington out of Houston, TX.  She flew cargo and seemed unfazed by the trip.

We then jumped on a FLOAT PLANE for the last leg of our journey to Victoria, BC.

There is not enough room on float planes for dog crate, so Ahti had to ride loose on the plane during the flight.  I HATE (capital H) flying and I swear we were going to crash about 6 times during the flight.  I had Ahti's crate from the previous flight donated to a dog rescue centre in Seattle in Ahti's name.

Here we are landing in beautiful downtown Victoria, BC where her new family awaited.

Ahti must have surely thought I had taken her into a weird world, when these faces met her for the first time.  It was Halloween!

However, she was completely unfazed by the whole adventure.

Ahti's new family is my brother, sister-in-law and most importantly...their two boys.  The boys had a little calendar on their fridge crossing off the days to when Ahti would arrive after the big announcement was made to them two weeks prior to our arrival.  They are SO excited to have their very own puppy.

Ahti walked to school with them her first morning in Victoria.

And I was quickly forgotten as she figured out who her new buddies were.

It tore at my heart on several levels.

She was SO wonderful with the boys in the few days I spent there during the "transition".  She never once jumped on them, she was very sweet and loyal and listened to them so well.  All the wonderful qualities that Darbi has that I love so much.  She is truly her mother's daughter in so many different ways.

But this is best.  Best for Ahti.

I cried (again) when I left, but I know she will have a better life then what I could offer her.  I know the present to her of her own two little boys is the best gift I could have given.  

And my brother works out of his home, so she will have a lifetime of companionship and love, which is all she ever wanted.

I'll miss you Ahti Boo.  But I'll see you very soon.