Sunday, December 26, 2010

Awesome Holiday

Here's the state of the holidays around here nowadays: It used to be that I would ask Santa for jewelry, but now I'm asking for obedience practice jumps!!! Nothing like trading diamonds for PVC ;) Imagine poor Santa trying to lug a five-foot set of jumps down our chimney! I'm afraid I may already be on the "Naughty" list for next year.

Tess and Jazz were a little easier to please. Here they are opening a gift from their Pug cousin, Frank.

Since the girls hardly need more toys, Santa brought them some more practical things this year, like these doggie blankets. They also got self-heating thermal pads for those chilly days at the agility trials.

Tess and Jazz in front of our "fireplace" with the cute Dalmatian draft stopper that my sister made me for Christmas.

Tess and Jazz in the aftermath of all the present opening and paper shredding on Christmas morning. I'm not sure which they like more, their gifts or shredding the gift wrapping paper! As you can see, the girls had a wonderful holiday with lots of fun stuff. Hope you all did, too!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas
Tess and Jazz!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Santa Visit

When we went to our class yesterday at Misty Pines, Santa Claus was there! We missed our annual trip to the mall for Santa photos because of bad weather, so the girls were happy to see Santa and let him know what they want for Christmas. Santa agreed that both Tess and Jazz have been very good girls this year, so I'm sure he'll leave them lots of goodies on Christmas!

As the holiday approaches, we send our warmest wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy 2011!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Goodbye, Sweet Friend

Our friends Mariann and Jim lost their dear Rocky this morning. He was 14-1/2 years old and was a good friend and companion for many years. Tess and Jazz both respected and adored Rocky and we will miss him terribly. Rocky was sweet and gentle, yet instantly gained the respect of every dog he encountered. Although we didn't meet Rocky until later in his life, we understand that a humane officer was in the area picking up another dog, and when he returned, there was Rocky just sitting in his truck! After failed attempts to locate Rocky's owners, he was taken to a shelter, where he was adopted by Mariann and Jim and enjoyed doing agility, taking walks in the park, and vacationing at the beach. I think Rocky knew that getting in that truck with the humane officer would transport him to a better life. Even as a puppy, that boy was smart!

Rocky, Jazz, and Tess at the beach earlier this year.

Love ya, Rocky. Till we meet again....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Therapy Visit

Tonight was our pet therapy night at the hospital, and Tess, Jazz, and Sammie managed to spread a fair amount of good cheer this holiday season.

Jazz, Tess, and Sammie visiting the 5th Floor at UPMC Passavant.

Tonight's visit also happened to be Sammie's 6th birthday, so I took my first foray into baking doggie birthday cakes this afternoon and made Sammie a peanut butter carrot cake.

According to Sammie, I did okay! He especially liked the cream cheese icing.

Here's Sammie with one of his birthday gifts. You can never go wrong in buying Sammie a ball!
A very happy birthday to Tess and Jazz's Border Collie "brother"!!

While we were celebrating Sammie's birthday, someone approached us and asked Tess and Jazz to visit with her Mom, who used to have Dalmatians. Even though she was not technically in our visitation area, we made a quick visit to Mom's room. Imagine her surprise when two Dalmatians walked in (dressed in Santa suits, no less)! Mom enjoyed seeing Dalmatians again so much that her daughter had tears in her eyes as she thanked us for taking the time to visit. It's times like this that make me so proud of my girls for doing pet therapy. The time we spend volunteering is nothing compared to the comfort the dogs bring to people during difficult times.
I was especially pleased that we could bring some joy to a fellow Dalmatian lover!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Our friends, Jan and George Smith, opened a new dog training facility late this past summer (, and in addition to agility training classes, they've also been offering some fun stuff for dogs and handlers, too. In late October, Tess and Jazz and I taught our fitness ball exercise class there, and yesterday, Jazz and I attended a Doga (doggie yoga) class!

Here are our instructors, Leta and Laurie, and their dogs. Notice how graceful they look!

Here's Jazz going, "Gee, Mom, I didn't know you could touch your toes!!" Notice how not-graceful I look!

This is Jan's little Pom, Regina. Even though she just had hip surgery, she was enjoying the Doga class.

Here's the whole Doga gang. We had fun at the class and Jazz did very well, particularly with the "Downward Dog" position. We learned different stretches for us and our dogs and ended with a nice massage session for the dogs which included placing one hand on your heart and one hand on your dog's heart and conveying all the love you feel for your dog and taking away any hurt or fear they may have. It was a sweet way to end a fun afternoon.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Birthday Celebration

Here are a few pictures from Jazz's birthday celebration:

Didn't take Jazz long to figure out the birthday cake thing. She was licking at it before I could even get the camera ready! Both girls enjoyed Jazz's peanut butter-banana birthday cake.

Gee, that peanut butter icing really sticks to the roof of your mouth!

Tess politely waited for the birthday girl to eat her cake...

...and then gulped her piece down, too!

Jazz opening a few of her presents.

Come on, Jazz...let's play with your new toy!

Happy Birthday, baby girl...and many, many more!!

Happy 3rd Birthday, Jazz!

Today is Jazz's 3rd birthday! It seems like yesterday that I was holding a little 7-week-old pup in my arms. In honor of Jazz's birthday, I created a slideshow of what we've been up to these past three years. I'm so proud of Jazz and all she has accomplished in the short time we've been together.

Many thanks to Gia and Tolliver for my wonderful little liver girl! I'm also grateful to her breeder, LaDonna, and her "grandmas," Barb and Nanci, for entrusting us with Jazz and for their support in all we do.
Jazz has taken me places I never thought I'd go, from the agility, rally, and obedience rings to riding horses again after more than 30 years! She is a fantastic working dog and a joy to live with.
More pictures of the birthday celebration later!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Turkey Day!

A very Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends and family from Lisa, Jim, Tess and Jazz!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Jazz's Obedience Weekend

Jazz got two legs towards her Companion Dog title in AKC Obedience this past weekend at the Westmoreland County Obedience Training Club trial!! On Saturday, we qualified with third place, although Jazz could have gotten second place if her handler didn't make a 3-point error. Oops! You know what they say...there are no bad dogs, only bad handlers ;) You can bet that this handler won't make that same mistake again!

Our friend Susan and her Dal Ripley came out from Ohio for this trial and stayed with us Saturday evening. We had a nice dinner with a bunch of our agility friends and then brought Ripley home to play with Tess and Jazz. Although he liked playing with the girls, he was much more fascinated with our parrot.

On Sunday, we headed back to the obedience trial, where Jazz qualified with first place! While we still have a ways to go in building Jazz's confidence, I was really pleased with how well she did this weekend. She was comfortable in the trial environment and did fairly well in the ring. Her long sits and downs were solid and she's really improved her Figure 8s. I'm looking forward to continuing Jazz's obedience training and entering more trials in the spring with this awesome liver girl!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Trick or Treat!

Our veterinarian's office had a Trick or Treat day for the pets who come to their clinic, so Tess' Elvis costume was once again dusted off and pressed into service, along with Jazz in a pretty pink poodle skirt made by my sister. They had a grand time getting treats and lots of attention from the folks at the vet's office.

The veterinary office is holding a costume contest, so we're asking all of our friends on Facebook to search for Bakerstown Animal Hospital and vote for Tess and Jazz! I'm not sure how quickly they'll get the pictures and voting onto Facebook, but we'd appreciate your support. Thank you...thank you very much!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Autumn Splendor

Just thought I'd share a few photos of Tess and Jazz with some of the fall foliage in our yard.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rally Pairs

We've just wrapped up a Rally and Obedience weekend at the Golden Triangle Obedience Training Club trial. This was Tess and Jazz's Rally Pairs debut, and, as promised, I'm including links to the video from their two Rally Pairs runs. Unfortunately, I couldn't get Blogger to upload this video, and when I did it through YouTube, it cut off half the video, so just follow the links below to view it on YouTube. I'm sure this is all because of my lack of video upload experience, so my apologies!

Saturday was quite the day for us. Tess finished her Rally Novice title with a third place finish and Jazz got her third RAE leg, qualifying in both Rally Advanced and Rally Excellent. The girls then competed in Rally Novice Pairs and finished in first place!! To top off the whole day, Jazz went on to finish her Beginner Novice obedience title and was once again High Scoring Dalmatian in the trial. Way to go, girls!!

Sunday was also a good day. Tess got her first Rally Advanced leg and Jazz got her fourth RAE leg. The girls once again competed in Rally Pairs and had a very nice run. They tied for first place, but the other team had a faster time, so we got second place. We had a great time with Rally Pairs and can't wait to try it again! We may even get brave enough to enter Rally Pairs Advanced, where Tess and Jazz would compete off leash!

Here are the girls with the spoils of their victories! We're actually missing a qualifying ribbon in the picture because the club ran out of them. I LOVE the Rally Pairs ribbons. Because it's a non-regular class, the first place ribbon was pink and the second place ribbon was brown...our favorite colors! We had a successful weekend at the trial and enjoyed spending time with friends and their dogs. I've taken the plunge and entered Jazz in Novice A Obedience in November, so we'll be training hard until then! I'd also like to get Tess into Beginner Novice Obedience, but there are only so many hours in a day...and too many of them are spent working to earn the money to pay for the entries in these trials :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

WCOTC Rally and Obedience

We had a great weekend at the Westmoreland County Obedience Training Club's Rally and Obedience trial. Friday and Saturday were beautiful fall days, and although it rained on Sunday, we still enjoyed a weekend filled with good friends and their canine companions. I was ever so grateful to have many of my new instructors and classmates from WCOTC there to give me guidance and support. They're a great group of people!
Tess made her Rally debut on Friday, earning a fourth place qualifying score in Rally Novice B. Tess also qualified in Rally on Saturday. Tess was a bit confused about why Jazz got to run in two classes in Rally and a class in obedience, but she was a good sport about waiting for her turn in Rally and worked nicely for me. Good girl, Tess!

Jazz's weekend was a whirlwind of green qualifying ribbons! On Friday, Jazz got a third place qualifying score in Rally Excellent B, along with a qualifying score in Rally Advanced B, earning her first RAE leg. She also qualified on Saturday in Rally Excellent B and Rally Advanced B, getting that second RAE leg. Only eight more to go :)
On Saturday, Jazz made her Obedience debut, competing in AKC's new optional titling class of Beginner Novice. I was a bit nervous about this, as we had a potential conflict in rings for Rally and Obedience, but we finished Rally just in time to walk into the Obedience ring with only one dog ahead of us! I was very pleased with Jazz's run in Beginner Novice. She was happy and confident, and after a run-off with a very skilled Lab and her handler, Jazz was awarded first place with a score of 195.5! Jazz went on to win a stuffed toy for High Scoring Dalmatian in the trial...and then won a large trophy for High Scoring Non-Sporting Dog in the trial!! Wow, what a day!
Sunday was Obedience only at the trial, so it was just me and Jazz, back for another run in Beginner Novice. Jazz was obviously worn down from two days of Rally and Obedience, but she again had a nice performance in Beginner Novice, scoring 192.5. She received a crystal apple-shaped bowl for being High Scoring Dalmatian in the trial, and also got an address book and journal for being High Scoring Non-Sporting Dog in the trial.
I'm very encouraged by Jazz's performance in the Obedience ring. She seemed to enjoy it, and we're looking forward to competing again in two weeks and hopefully finishing up her Beginner Novice title. We'll also be working on a couple more RAE legs with Jazz and trying to finish Tess' Rally Novice title that weekend. The girls will also be competing in Rally Pairs for the first time, so I'm going to try to get a video of that for everyone's entertainment!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Easy Rider

Every Thursday evening, Jazz and Sammie go to class together. Tess usually stays home with Jim. Yesterday, Jim was in Philadelphia for work, and since I didn't want to leave Tess at home all evening after being home all day while I was at work, she went to spend the evening with her "Uncle Jim." Tess got to go walking in the park with Jim, and since we take my car to class, she got to ride in Jim's van in Rocky's special seat, wearing Rocky's seatbelt harness! I'm sure Tess just loved sitting in the passenger seat facing forward to look out the windshield. She usually rides in the back of my car with a view only of where we've been, not where we're going!
I'm not sure how Rocky's going to feel once he realizes that a silly spotted girl was riding in HIS seat and wearing HIS harness. Rocky is 14 years old, and while his trips to the park to walk may be over, he is still about the coolest dog in the world, which is why I nicknamed him John Wayne! He is wonderfully calm and confident, and both my girls are very respectful of Rocky. Thanks, buddy, for allowing Tess to ride in your seat and spend the evening with your Dad at the park. Thanks, too, to Uncle Jim for taking Tess to the park so she didn't have to spend the evening home alone!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tess - MX! ** Jazz - NAJ!

We had a wonderful titling weekend at the Westmoreland County Obedience Training Club agility trial! On Saturday, Tess started out with a 4th place Q in FAST. Then she went on to qualify in Excellent B Standard to earn her Master Agility Excellent (MX) title!! Woo-hoo, Tess!
After working so hard to earn that MX title, Tess took a well-deserved mental vacation and didn't qualify the rest of the weekend. She needs two more legs for her MXJ title, so we're hopeful that she'll finish that before the end of the year.

Jazz had a great weekend, too. On Saturday, she qualified in Novice FAST and got a 1st place qualifying score in Novice JWW! Then on Sunday, she got a 3rd place Q in Novice FAST. Today, she got another 1st place Q in Novice JWW, earning her Novice Agility Jumpers title with three 1st place legs! Jazz also got a 1st place Q in Novice Standard today, with just one more leg to go for her NA title. Not bad for a baby dog!!

Of course, the girls had a fun time visiting with all their friends this weekend. A few of our buddies have puppies, and both Tess and Jazz enjoyed a little puppy play time, especially with Katie, our friend Linda's adorable little Cocker Spaniel pup. While we're sorry to see summer go, we had an enjoyable Labor Day weekend at the trial.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Since most of the summer has been hot and humid and today was predicted to be a sunny day in the mid to upper 70s, Jim and I decided to take the day off of work and take Tess and Jazz to Ohiopyle State Park.

Here are the girls in the falls area of Ohiopyle. You can see part of the falls behind them to the left.

Tess and Jazz enjoyed a fair amount of frolicking in the water below the falls.

Tess and Jazz on one of the large rocks near the water.

One of the big treasures of the day was this large stick that the girls played with. Amazing how a floating piece of debris can be so much fun!!

Tess would even swim out and retrieve the stick!

Jazz with some of the local flora.

After the girls romped in the water, we enjoyed a picnic lunch and headed out to hike on the trails. Here's one of the two large bridges we crossed on the trail. These bridges are actually former railroad bridges converted for hiking and biking on a portion of trail that connects the Pittsburgh area with the Washington, DC, area (we didn't hike quite that far)!

Here's the view of the river from the bridge where we were hiking. We had a most enjoyable day with Tess and Jazz at Ohiopyle. The weather was perfect and the girls enjoyed playing in the water and hiking in the woods. Sure beats going to work!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tess' Perfect Weekend

Tess and Jim had a perfect weekend in CPE agility at the Splash 'n Dash K9 Sports trial over the weekend. Tess had 9 qualifying runs over two days and is now just 3 runs away from her C-ATCH, which is the championship in CPE. Jazz also did well, qualifying in 7 out of 9 runs over the weekend.
To make the weekend even more special, our friend Leslie and her Keeshond Kiwi earned their C-ATCH. Leslie and Kiwi are the first team from Splash 'n Dash, our training club, to get a C-ATCH, and it was so cool that they did it at our trial. Congratulations, Leslie and Kiwi!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

There's a Storm a Brewin'

Meet JLS Storm a Brewin', "Twister," our friend Susan's 3-1/2-month-old Dal puppy! We were at USDAA agility this weekend and finally got to meet this sweet, handsome liver baby.

Here's Twister stretched out in the cool grass.
Jazz was completely enthralled with little Twister. At first, she was a bit jealous that I was paying attention to him, but she quickly found out that he's lots of fun to play with!

There was lots of play bowing and chewing on each other.

I was really pleased with how well Jazz did with Twister. Although we have no puppy plans, it's nice to know that Jazz would accept a puppy and have fun, too!

While Jazz and Twister were getting to know each other, Tess and Twister's big brother Ripley were running agility at a USDAA Dog Agility Masters Tournament. It's a team competition, and our original team was supposed to be Tess, Ripley, and our adopted Border Collie Sammie. The team name was "Dalmatian Sammich" (two Dalmatians with Sammie sandwiched in between). Well, Ripley's owner had a knee injury a few weeks ago, but she was going to work hard in physical therapy and tape her knee so she could run on the team. Unfortunately, Sammie's owner fell the week of the tournament and broke her wrist in two places, so she couldn't run Sammie on the team. Then the day after she broke her wrist, I ended up in the emergency room with kidney stones! We were a medical disaster!!

Fortunately for our team, a friend with another Border Collie named Seeker stepped in to fill Sammie's place on the team. Since Jan is an EMT and we had had so many medical emergencies, we changed the team name to "Rescue 911"! Susan managed to hobble through the courses with Ripley, who ran incredibly well for having an injured handler, and Tess and Seeker ran nicely and "Rescue 911" came in third place in the team competition, earning a very nice bronze medal.

As for me, I spent the two days at the trial drinking gallons of water, visiting the ladies room, and playing with the puppy :)