Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hush Has Her First Haircut

I have to confess… I have been absolutely terrified to groom Hush. I bathe her, and I trim her nails, but that’s about where I draw the line. I know that Golden Retrievers need regularly trimming – their tails need to be trimmed a certain way, their feet should be trimmed to look neat and tidy and cat like, and their ears should be trimmed to emphasize their heads. I even have excellent step-by-step instructions that are a great starting point for grooming. But, while I’m comfortable doing all of Milly’s grooming and trimming myself, just the thought of raising my thinning shears to Hush’s ears puts a big knot in my stomach!

I do want to learn, but no matter how much I read, I feel that I’m really going to need to learn in a hands-on manner, and no book will show me the proper technique. As a result, anytime I put pictures of Hush on Facebook her breeder always comments “SHE NEEDS TO BE TRIMMED!!!” And, I hang my head in shame, for having the pick of the litter, and being too petrified of messing up to do the necessary trimming.

Before I got Hush, I learned of the Olde Towne School for Dogs, a well-respected training facility, pet boutique, and grooming salon in the heart of Old Town, Alexandria. In fact, this place has such a solid reputation the First Dog, Bo Obama himself, has his spa treatments performed there. But, with celebrity canines and White House woofers frequenting the establishment, getting an appointment is nearly impossible. I’ve been on the waiting list for months, and feared I would never get “the call.” Of course, having researched the place before starting handling class, I needed to confirm this was a solid place to send a show dog. I asked around, and numerous top breeders from a variety of breeds all said, “this is the ONLY place to go with a show dog.”

Well, this afternoon, I got the call! There had been a cancellation, and if I could get Hush there in the next 20-minutes, I had an appointment! My heart skipped a beat, and of course, I said I would be right there. But, I know to be cautious of groomers, so before heading over I printed out my grooming/trimming instructions and brought them with me. Much to my surprise, when I dropped Hush off I was greeted by an old college friend, and fellow Hollins University alum, who explained the owner, is also a Hollins grad!

When I arrived I handed over my instructions, and was told they have excellent groomers, and I need not worry. I explained I had heard nothing but great things, but I wanted to make sure whoever would be trimming Hush was familiar with the breed standard, because she is a show dog. My friend called over the owner to introduce me, and mentioned Hush was a show dog. With this, Hush was immediately swept away, after the owner wrote in huge letters on the grooming sheet, “SHOW DOG!” and assured me only their top groomers, familiar with breed standards, would touch her!

I will post pictures after the appointment!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Guest Blogger: MEET MORGAN & EDDIE!

Morgan on her wedding day with her husband and furbabies!
I think this is one of the best bridal portraits I have ever seen! Don't y'all agree?

I am so excited to share this great post by my dear friend Morgan with all of my readers. I asked Morgan to be a guest blogger on The Wet Nose, because of her incredible accomplishments with her Jack Russell Terrier, Eddie. If you know anything about JRT's you know they are incredibly independent, high energy, and for many, difficult to train. I have encountered many, as they are one of the most popular breeds, if not most popular, with horse people, but have never felt I could own one because of their difficulty to train. Morgan and Eddie have done an excellent job of breaking down my preconceived stereotypes about the breed.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Jack Russell Terriers (JRT)… or Jack Russell Terrors.
People seem to have mixed feelings about the breed. I have always loved JRTs, probably because I grew up around hunter horses and they go hand in hand. I will admit it takes a special owner to love and appreciate a JRT. They are not your average small breed dog. JRTs were breed to be WORKING terriers. That is why they do not do well in many homes. Too many people think small dog equals lap dog. This is not the case! JRTs are extremely intelligent, active, athletic, loyal, intuitive, and fearless. When their energy is not directed correctly or at all they become moody and destructive.

I would like to introduce you to my JRT “Always Ready Eddie” because he will change all negative feelings you have for the breed. Eddie is 2.5 years old and lives with his older sisters Trotter, a 14 year old German Sheppard and Skyy a 4 year old Great Dane. Eddie was our unplanned child. We had decided NO more dogs, as two were plenty. Until I went to a horse show and there Eddie was! He was lying under a blanket in a crate and looked pitiful. He looked right at me and he took my heart. For the rest of the horse show he stayed curled up in my fleece jacket with his head poking out of the zipper so he could see everything going on. I got several comments from others about how I had gotten the cute one. Eddie is adorable- big brown eyes, the right amount of spots in all the cutest places and he is short-legged which I love!

A few months after we had Eddie we decided it was time to enroll him in PetSmart education. I knew he had an awesome temperament and needed the training to back it all up. Eddie breezed through puppy class, intermediate and advanced classes in a very short amount of time. This is when I realized just how smart the JRT breed was. My first goal for Eddie was to become a canine good citizen. While he can pass the test I knew this wasn’t quite right for him. So we started agility classes and we LOVE it! In less than 2 years of agility training we have started to compete. Eddie is very hard to beat for several reasons. First, he is VERY fast- he absolutely loves the sport and secondly, he is so perceptive and in tune with me it makes everything so easy. I truly believe all the training I have put in has kept him out of a lot of trouble. Let me clarify that statement- Eddie is NOT a bad dog but by his breed he needs an outlet for his energy and for us it is agility. Several people have told me that if Eddie was the only JRT they knew they would love the breed. That’s a simple testament to what positive training can do for any dog!

I truly cannot explain on paper the bond that Eddie and I have. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with an animal that can teach me so much about so many things. I only hope you, the reader, have a connection like this with a dog someday. Are you ready to give JRTs a try yet?

Last but not least some famous JRTs!

Nipper 1884- His Masters Voice (you know the dog looking into the phonograph)

Bothy 1982- The first dog to travel to North and South Poles with his owners

George 2007- saved 5 children from being attacked from pit bulls

And many others you have seen on TV- Eddie on Frasier, Skip in My Dog Skip, Wishbone and many more.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Goodbye, Lucy

"For the soul of every living thing is in the hand of God." -Job 12:10

I’ve mentioned Lucy a handful of times on the blog. She is my parent’s dog we adopted from the Walter Crowe Animal Shelter, a high-kill shelter, run by people who truly care about the animals, in Camden, SC. We adopted her as a puppy the day after Thanksgiving two years ago. While my parents didn’t really want a dog at the time, it was hard to say no to this brown puppy with big soulful eyes looking out at us. Lucy made herself right at home, and became part of the family almost instantaneously. She became my dad’s dog, and they did everything together. My mom helped with her care, some, but the brunt of the responsibility was my father’s, and he loved having her in his life. Wherever my dad went, Lucy was at his side. Errands around town, trips to the post office, road trips back and forth from South Carolina to Vermont, and evenings spent watching the news, sports, or the History Channel.

"If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness." -Marjorie Garber

At the time, my parents did not have a dog, and had not for over a year. This was the first time in my life where we not only had no dogs, but did not have multiple dogs. While my parents had enjoyed the down time without a dog - the lack of dog hair throughout the house, and the freedom to travel – as soon as they had Lucy they realized what they had been missing with no dogs. Lucy filled a void in my dad’s heart, which had not been filled since his other dog, a chow mix named Springdale, died my freshman year of college. In the nearly 2.5 years we owned Lucy, my dad regularly called me from his walks with her. I would get calls when Daddy was still awake, and my mom had gone to sleep, to tell me about something cute Lucy had done. This brown shepherd mix had quickly turned my dad’s heart to mush, and he loved every second spent with her.

"I guess you don't really own a dog, you rent them, and you have to be thankful that you had a long lease." -Joe Garagiola

Two days ago, I was sitting at work and received a call from my mom. I answered, and the first words out of her mouth were, “I have some terrible news.” My heart sank. I’ve gotten calls like this in the past, and they always have involved the death or serious injury of a loved one either of the two or four-legged variety, and I knew something was very wrong. But, never in my wildest dreams, did I expect to hear the words, “Lucy died last night.” I was in shock.

"The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his master." -Ben Hur Lampman

Apparently, Lucy had a congenital heart problem that had gone undiagnosed by multiple vets. She began showing symptoms on New Years, and my parents rushed her to the vet. Many roads are closed in the winter in the North East Kingdom of Vermont, and the nearest vet was an hour away. By the time they got to the vet, Lucy was fine. The vet ran all sorts of tests and monitored her, but found no problems. After that, Lucy quickly went back to her normal self, until two nights ago, when she began showing symptoms again. Being late at night the vet they’d used on the last visit was closed, and they had to take her to an emergency vet, the nearest being 1.5 hours away. My dad has one glass eye, and his lack of depth perception makes it extremely difficult for him to drive at night. So, my mom drove, while my dad sat in the back seat, Lucy’s head nestled on his lap. It was dark, and quiet, and he sat stroking her head and talking softly to her while my mom drove the long distance, which must have felt like an eternity.

"She died as she had been born and as she had lived, in my care, and surrounded by those who loved her." -Vicki W. Fowler

When they arrived at the vet they tried to get Lucy out of the car, but she was not moving. They quickly realized she had stopped breathing. My mom raced in to get help and the vet ran out, noted she was not breathing, and rushed Lucy into the exam room where she performed CPR and administered a shot to try to get her heart beating again. There was nothing that could be done for her, she was gone, explained the vet. Soon after, we learned Lucy had an undiagnosed heart condition that most regular vets would not have picked up on. She died a painless death, in the arms of the person she loved most, but all of our hearts feel as if they have been ripped from our bodies, as we mourn her loss.

"Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives." -John Galsworthy

All we can do is think about what an incredible dog she was. Had it not been for my family, Lucy most likely never would have made it out of the shelter alive. She had been found as a stray, turned into the shelter, adopted by the people who found her, returned a day later, and by the time we met her was an older puppy in a shelter overrun with puppies. The adoption coordinator informed us when we adopted her that she most likely would have been put down the following week. My parents gave her love, they gave her a home, they gave her furniture to lounge on, TV to watch, woods to run in, lakes to play in, socialization, regularly veterinary care, a high quality diet, and most importantly, a family. In her short life, she went from being a flea and parasite infested puppy with deep brown eyes that seemed to have given up all hope, to a vibrant, healthy, athletic, and blissfully happy dog.

"If there is a heaven, it's certain our animals are to be there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them." -Pam Brown

This is a photo of her taken over the summer playing in the lake in Vermont with my brother’s dog, Minka. I am planning on blowing up and framing this photo, which I think truly captures her spirit, as a gift for my dad.

Rest In Peace, sweet Lucy.

"If there is a heaven, it's certain our animals are to be there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them." -Pam Brown