After 6 months of waiting and 2 years of maturity Babbette has officially come into season, or “heat”. We are ready for our first pregnancy and prepping for puppies.
Since the pandemic has brought an influx of puppy buyers and sellers, it wasn’t something any of us could have predicted. We had veterinarians in check but over the last year their hearts have changed. After contacting a few veterinarians they have all said they will no longer be helping with breeders. This is not unwarranted and I can accept their opinions. Some are wondering why I choose to breed standard poodles especially at this time. My short answer is because people need help. As a person with disabilities of now 2 incurable diseases which are highly debilitating, dogs have always been my therapy as well as my assistants. Babbette assists me with standing, sitting and even helps me off the floor should I fall or seize. Tootsie would stay by my side and lay on the floor when I have seizures. These are small duties I feel that humans don’t have patience for.
Since I was very young I have always observed the relationship between dogs and their humans. Service and therapy dogs usually cause scrutiny not only from the non disabled but also from the disabled. I never understood why we as a society make it so difficult for us to be more accepting regardless of our opinions. I shake my head at tons of stories about dog discrimination knowing that only a couple hundred years ago we were all going into shops and markets with our canine companions pulling carts full our groceries home with us. I see paintings of dogs and cats laying by the family fireplace. I see dogs leading the blind and helping with opening doors and drawers. Those scenarios are why I breed my dogs.
I’ve done my share of rescuing dogs from shelters and from other owners and one thing ran true through each rescue story I have heard. They had behavioural problems, separation anxiety, among more. I will take examples of my own personal experiences. I rescued. a stunningly beautiful large Doberman Pinscher named Judge. The Doberman, to me, is the Cadillac of all dogs, my dream dog.. I called the owner and made a trip an hour and a half away to get him. They were a young family with 1 preschool son and another baby on the way. Before anything I wanted to take him for a walk. Now picture this, I am 5’2″ so this dog was basically like a miniature horse to me. He ran right up to me and his owner said “Wow he really likes you”. I walked him up the street and he looked at me with the softest sweetest eyes and we fell in love so to speak. The owner had his mother and he said Judge’s mother wasn’t getting along with him in her old age. For $500, I got this magnificent animal, his crate and bowls. One may read this and think what a beautiful story, but there are kinks to this story. We opened his cage up because in my experience dogs enjoy having a “den”. My heart sank when I saw parts of his cage had bent bars about the size of his muzzle. He had pressure points on his elbows and one on his rib. This is usually from laying on a hard surface for a long time and him trying to get out probably due to seperation anxiety. He was slightly underweight, I figured more because of crappy dog food.
I changed his diet and closed the cage and he would never be inside that thing again. He had bad habits like counter surfing and any plate unattended would be fair game to him. BUT he helped me balance myself, we would go for walks and I can’t express it in words, he just knew what to do without me asking nor extra training. As soon as I put his service vest on he was WORKING. He was focused and proud. He sat by me after seizures and he helped me to stand. He was 11 years old when he left us for Rainbow Bridge. He spent half his life in a cage and the other half with my family who loved, cherished and still miss him to this day.
You will hear conversations about ethical and unethical dog breeding and the pet population problem and so on, but my thought is that if temperament was focused on rather than the breed’s cosmetic value there wouldn’t be AS MANY surrendered dogs. Now, there are some not so good purebred dog breeders and I again have experience with them too. I was starting my own training with protection dogs and I decided on a Boxer. Not great for bite work but I wanted a dog who could protect as well as get along easier with children. I named her Jasmine and she was, as some say, full of piss and vinegar. At her first show, she lost her first place ribbon because she decided randomly to sit in front of me to get a reaction. The judge loved her but sitting is not part of the show game. If you have ever known a Boxer puppy you know they act like they have springs in their feet. At 6 months I had to get this lil girl in shape. I trained her basic manners like not door crashing and basically not being annoying getting up in people’s faces. I taught her to only accept treats from me and she knew commands to watch people and keep them at a distance. Everything was going well until she had a seizure. My poor dog was diagnosed with epilepsy and was prescribed phenol barbitol taking a pill twice a day. She was only 3 years old when she died. This prompted me to do a full out investigation on the breed and breeder. A friend of mine bought her sister and she died of cancer at the age of 4. These are extraordinarily young dogs with such disheartening health issues. My friend did her research and told me that their breeder would drown any white puppies that were born. Like whoa! We were both shocked and pretty disgusted. What I learned through that whole experience is priceless. I learned to not be so naive.
When anyone asks me if they should adopt or buy a purebred I ask them if they want a surprise or a predictable temperament. Research research research go to shelters, talk to breeders, go through kennel club standards. I was even pleasantly surprised that my dog breeder partner and friend gave me a temperament guarantee. She even accepted a 10 year old service dog back as the owner needed a younger dog for her needs. All pluses to me!
It all starts with day one of my dog’s cycle. I have high hopes that my puppies will bring joy, service and companionship to people who need them. Quality over quantity! My poodle gals are so smart my children say they are like humans in a dog suit…
I let Babbette out for a quick break before bedtime and she came back in with a bee and an earwig stuck to her. I saw her biting at something on her coat then she threw a dying bee on my floor. I quickly covered it with a book and she kept trying to get to it. She was mad! Lol I’ve never seen an angry poodle before but it was cute and concerning at the same time. It was as if she was insulted that it would dare sting her. I threw it in the toilet because she wanted to get at it so badly and I did not want to risk a sting to her face. I, then, spotted an earwig on the wall where she was standing. I grabbed the same killer book and smashed it as hard as I could. After 5 seconds I took the book off only to see it fall to the floor and come running at me. Yes, I screamed and slammed the book on it again and successfully conquered the insect invasion. Babbette paced from the bee to the earwig crime scenes with disdain, as if she had my back and was ready to save me from any more insects that dare cross the threshold. She has been licking her belly so I’m pretty sure the bee won the battle before losing to the wrath of Babbette.
I had a really tough day, too. It was a day full of problem solving and frustration. I can relate to Babbette’s situation. One minute you’re minding your business while doing your business and then someone stings you for no reason as another waits for a chance. It’s unnecessary and extremely dramatic. These little hitchhikers had ill intentions while causing discomfort.
Like my Bap, I too will get over this day. I’m annoyed and irritated now but I will have a better tomorrow. I don’t know if there’s a moral of the story to this day, but I am grateful and hope this day will fade for a better memory.
I’ve been picking out some pretty great movies lately and I had to tell you about the movie Searching, on Netflix. The way it was filmed and written was really done well. If you like investigative online sleuthing you will LOVE this movie.
The movie had an in-the-moment feel and brought some serious security issues we need to be aware of while being online. Our children may live in our homes but we may not know everything we should. This movie also impressed me by the way it showed different ways you may be able to use in order to also help find missing people. We can take it for what it is. I felt strongly vindicated as a parent with trusting your gut. As parents we need to be disruptive and nosey about their lives. When you’re a parent it’s your only job.
Spoiler alert! It ends with a twist. I hope you enjoy the movie and the way the director and editor created it. Take care!
Hello my friends and I hope you are all doing well. So let’s talk about home cooked meals. As a mother of 6 children I have been challenged with coming up with quick and easy ways to feed the family. During this current pandemic and the most recent 4 week lockdown here in my city, even ordering food can have risks. A few weeks ago, I had a fight with some food poisoning after ordering some takeout. Some people may have slight fevers and other not so pleasant discomforts in the stomach and bowels. However, due to my ever complexing Multiple Sclerosis disease, food poisoning can be a full on battle.
Yes I had tons of life stress that contributed while also concealing what was happening with me. My stomach started feeling and looking swollen. I noticed but wasn’t too alarmed as my disease, meds, stress etc. can cause some bloating. I started feeling fatigue, also a common symptom of MS, and my stomach had a burning feeling and THEN the real pain began. My lower back started hurting, I could hardly walk. The pain was so bad and I was so weak I opted to buy a wheelchair to help. I was mostly bedridden and I was tired of staring at the walls. I started feeling hot and cold chills and with the state of the world as it is, I did not want to go to the hospital unless it was absolutely necessary, but something was urging me to do something about it. I called my neurologist because I was going downhill fast.
After having so much pain walking and simply moving my legs, my neurologist asked me questions, did some physical tests. Before I go on, I would like to point out that these physical tests are freaking hard! There’s pulling, pushing, walking, eye testing, coordination testing, balancing, reflex testing and trying to remember all the concerns I had.. I digress. We looked at my recent brain MRI and he didn’t see any new nor active lesions. At the end of it all we discussed steroids.
As much as I love to be pain free, I take steroids with my Ocrevus infusion every 6 months and I really wanted to avoid the side effects as much as possible. For example, “roid rages”, eating like a bottomless pit but most importantly over time my bones will become brittle. We discussed our options and decided to do a full panel blood test, get a new spine MRI and then decide what the next step is pending the results. The wait sucked really hard, but what the blood test revealed was pretty shocking.
Are you ready for this one?! I had E.colipoisoning!! My nurse called to check on how I was feeling and tried to assure me that it should clear up on its own. My neuro said the small infection is exacerbating my MS symptoms, kinda like hiding in plain sight. We went ahead with getting another spine MRI just to be sure. My family physician and nurse contacted me and prescribed 1 dose of fluoroquinolone. A few weeks later, my spine MRI showed no new nor active lesions and I was starting to feel better each day after.
What this whole ordeal came down to is food. All the risks and trust we put into others to prepare our meals is incredible. It made me really think about my family and how we have all consumed this food and could have ended up in a full disaster if my children were effected. Now I’m a lot more cautious of what I and my family eats. I’ve gone back to my roots, cooking, baking and creating different recipes that my kids are so happy with. My most recent creation was a 5 layer lasagna. I made the noodles and layered the dish while I watched Dr. G Medical Examiner. Perhaps watching her show made me hyper aware about what goes on inside our bodies and contributing factors to deaths. The best thing that I’ve done, as a direct result of using quality ingredients and home cooking, is leading by example. My children love to watch and help me cook and bake. Their eyes brighten up when I make their favourite treats and dishes, but even more so when they know they helped me.
I hope this post gives you some cooking inspiration and health awareness.
Alright! The warmer weather is slowly creeping in and it’s time to physically condition my dogs. Dog shows in Canada are still in question however if you’re a dog lover like I am, putting my dogs in their top condition is a major goal. Showing dogs is not just about their coats it is about bringing out the best of the best out of the show prospect. Usually within the first few months to 2 years of my show prospect’s life, I have a better idea of what they can do in the ring and whether they will be part of my breeding program.
Structure is so unbelievably important to me so I tend to choose my puppies that are of show quality. To me, that means that the breeder has used their professional knowledge, time and effort to ensure they produce dogs that best represents the breed standard be it from the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), American Kennel Club (AKC), United Kingdom Kennel Club (UKC) etc. Yes, the breed standard is up to interpretation, so make sure you find a good mentor in your breed club or your kennel clubs to help guide you. One thing to keep into perspective is what showing is about. As the names suggest “Canadian Kennel Club”, these are dog kennel clubs. As a member of these clubs I can openly admit that we are dog enthusiasts and most members are breeders. In my last post about dogs ( Purebred or Not ) I explained why I choose purebred dogs, so you can get a bit of my reasoning.
Watching a dog’s gait or the way the move while they walk is another way that I condition my dogs. Much like horses move or “gait” the same is true for dogs. No matter how big or small, the dogs are they should look effortless as the move around the ring. For a show dog, this can be the most important 5 minutes of the show day. I remember my first time in the ring, a total rookie but I did take handling classes ( a handler is the person that takes the dog in the ring and presents the dog to the judge, this can be the owner or a professional handler ). My adrenaline was pumping and it was only a practice show. My fellow students were just as nervous.
We all lined up, stacked our dogs ready for our once around the ring. All I kept thinking is “I hope I don’t fall on my face”. From application forms, show entries, different formation patterns the judge would request, it made all us students sweat as we were all preparing for a weekend show. At the time, I showed my female Boxer who was full of energy, but she turned it down a touch and I won third place. Several years down the road I showed a male Lhasa Apso. This guy was the easiest dog to show. He loved moving around the ring like he owned it. His flowing long hair made him look like he was floating. It was so much fun but a LOT of work. Taking him to different shows and getting his Championship at 9 months of age was a group effort but it was so exciting taking a Best Puppy in Show win! Yes it was a proud moment to know I ran around the ring with my dog and I working as a team. There’s something magical about the bond I have with my dogs an unspoken quiet understanding that we’ve got a job to do.
Babbette has been my sidekick and my shadow for 2 years throughout this pandemic. Babb let me cuddle her when I had a loss in the family I literally cried into her coat while she licked my hand, she helps me stabilize when I walk or when I stumble she’s so quiet and kind. Babbette and dogs like her are why I choose to show and breed the best dogs humans can bond with. Dogs have been bred to help us humans for more than a century and I see responsible dog owners now more than ever.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll see our human-dog team in a show one day. For now, I will be out and about bonding with my dogs and getting myself conditioned as well. Bring on that Spring weather!
Babbette’s favourite frisbee is a Kong Flying Disc from RenPets. I am currently using a soft rope slip collar similar to this one on Amazon, I do not recommend this type for smaller dogs or puppies. Happy canine exercising!
I have been intrigued by true crime which you know. I am not alone in this fascination but in going down that rabbit hole of videos I had more and more recommendations of documentaries. I let my YouTube algorithm choose my videos and BAM I was hit with a 3 minute clip Dr. G Medical Examiner. I was like, “Why the heck haven’t I been watching her shows?!” I immediately used Google-magic to find all her shows. I am on season 4 of 7 and let me tell you guys. This show ticks off all the boxes for a fast paced and a “who did it?” type of feel. I find myself shouting out guesses of the cause of death with her examinations. It’s a thing.
Some bodies were on the floor of the funeral home. Two decomposing, unembalmed corpses were in a battered brown hearse. One was wrapped in sheets; the other was in a plastic bag. Days later, more bodies were found stacked in a closet. One body had been in the funeral home 10 years.
Orlando Sentinel, Funeral Fiasco –Why No One Knew
One of the breakthroughs of her career was in 1988. A government funded funeral home, in Jacksonville, Florida, was found using poor embalming and body preservation practices. Dr. Jan Garavaglia had a huge task of not only identifying quickly decomposing bodies in the Florida heat, she also had to contact each of the families as well as provide a long list of evidence to help prosecute the weirdo who committed such heinous acts.
Most of the dead had been poor or did not have relatives. Despite finding funeral home owner Lewis Howell’s performance “marginal,” the city had continued to pay him $100 to $450 to have some of the bodies cremated or buried. City officials said they were not aware that the state also had problems with Howell.
Orlando Sentinel, Funeral Fiasco –Why No One Knew
The clock never ends for the many medical professionals who do the jobs we don’t always know about. In 2015, Dr. G. retired and married her first love. She has not only contributed to the education in medical forensics, she has also taught many young budding medical examiners how to keep searching for answers within each case. She has also opened my eyes to my own health. I will make more of an effort to keep my arteries clean and organs hydrated. I’ve had some recent bloodwork and MRIs done so I’m taking this opportunity to wipe the slate clean and create a healthier me.
The beauty of being alive is that you can reinvent yourself and start over as many times as you want.
I heard my neighbourhood Robin Red Breast bird, Mr. Robinson, singing his beautiful song while I woke up and stretched. The sun was shining and as I stood in front of my glass paned door, there sat a squirrel. I’ve since named him Mr Cooper.
We all stood quietly staring at each other. Mr. Cooper impressed me as he stood his ground and I’m sure he was mildly taunting my wolves with defiance. Tootsie shifted her weight from paw to paw waiting for a command. Babbette stood ready looked up at me briefly anticipating her command. Vinny quietly started to growl, I responded with, “Leave it” and he looked up in acknowledgement.
Mr. Cooper sat on the post of my fence, standing still on his hind legs, his “hands” held across his exposed white haired belly. He’s a bit big, a sizeable grey furred body which makes me believe that he’s a pretty old dude. With my trusty indoor wolves by my side, I slowly opened said glass paned door.
Suddenly, I heard a rustle from my neighbour’s backyard. From the corner of my eye, I saw 2 small black furry tails disappear in the branches of the snow covered tree. Mr. Cooper tilted his head as if he read my mind and now knew I could be a serious threat to his family. I nodded to, Mr. Cooper dismissing him from our stalemate. I told the wolves to sit and closed the door as Mr. Cooper continued on his way to the tree.
While trotting through the internet I read articles about rescuing versus purebred dogs something that I’ve been asked many times before. To be clear, I have experience with training and raising both rescued and purebreds.
So let’s start with some common ground. If you’re a dog lover you get me. I have loved dogs since I was a child. My aunt owned this great big beautiful mixed bred dog, named Nina, she and my uncle rescued her from the shelter when she was just a pup. I couldn’t wait to visit her and play with her. She was the size of a German Shepard with hair as white as a Samoyed and a beautiful face like some kind of terrier. She also must have had Collie in her too as she loved to herd my brother and I to protect us from Geronimo, the young German Shepherd who lived in the neighbour’s house. He was her nemesis after he let us ride him like a horse and she had to watch from behind the sliding glass door. She lived to the age of 18 and passed away peacefully in her sleep.
I rescued and adopted many dogs over the years and I can’t picture my life without one. I have had successes in Shutzhund (protection & security) training 2 Boxers, 1 I bought from a breeder and the other a rescue who was found deep in the northern bush close to an oil well.
My first time at a dog show I instantly fell in love. Every breed of dog you can think of under one roof. Handlers magically making their dogs look like they are gliding through the air. I entered my first dog show with my Boxer. I took a handling class and there was so much to learn. Long story short she loved working security way more than dog shows and she let everyone know by jumping around trying to get me to play. However, even though I looked foolish it was too late, I was already hooked with training a dog how to show.
I’m sure by now you’re still asking “ok so you’ve had different dogs, why purebreds?”
It comes to this.. my children. I need dogs that are temperamentally sound in my home. Being “sound” means a better chance of predicting their personality. I’ve had show dogs in my home I have done extensive research of breeds, breeders and clubs. I have picked out dogs from breeders who have many years of experience. Their litters are deliberate and my relationship with the breeders I choose is already established way before the pups are born, in some occasions.
I left the show ring a few years ago due to medical and family issues. I’ve missed it ever since and was getting back into it right before the pandemic hit. I am still conditioning myself and my dogs in hopes to get in the ring again.
I agree with ethical breeding, training and rescuing dogs. Maybe you could call me a walking contradiction, but I consider myself a dog enthusiast. Rescue or not I don’t regret any of the dogs who have shared their lives with me. Mixed or purebred dog, I’m taking a page out of my furry babies’ life lessons and live in the present.
My current indoor wolf pack consists of a one-eared hairless Chinese Crested dog who doesn’t know he’s supposed to have 2 ears and 2 poodles who think they’re human. Ahh, it’s a beautiful life.