Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Thanks, Santa!

Tess, Jazz, and Indy had a wonderful Christmas filled with lots of new toys and treats.

The three Dals join together to open a gift.

Two heads are better than one!!

Indy's favorite toy in the world is a rather beat up, semi-stuffed bunny.  He keeps tabs on it throughout the day and takes it with him when he settles down to sleep.  The poor thing is chewed up and ragged, but I finally found a brand new bunny for Indy to enjoy.  We'll see if he likes the new one or sticks with his old standby.

Thanks, Santa!  Here are the Dals in the aftermath of their Christmas morning flurry of gift opening.  A very Merry Christmas was had by all!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays!

From our house (and barn) to yours, wishing you a very happy holiday season!




... and Rocky, too!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Hospital Visit

Tonight, all three Dals went for a holiday pet therapy visit to UPMC Passavant, dressed in their holiday finest.

As in years past, we had requests to snap pics of the dogs before we could even sign in for our pet therapy duties!  Everyone loved Tess, Jazz, and Indy in their Santa suits.

If you couldn't tell from the photo above, here's a closeup of Tess wearing her Santa hat and beard!  It was a big hit with the patients.  For as stubborn as Tess can be, I have to hand it to the girl...she wore that hat and beard for nearly an hour and a half without any fuss at all!!  I think she knew how much joy she was bringing the patients and staff in her holiday outfit.

I'm proud of the Dals for the great therapy work they do all year round, but I'm always thrilled that we can bring smiles to the faces of patients who are in the hospital during the holiday season.  We are truly blessed to have the companionship of these awesome dogs! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Cover Girl Jazz!!

Found out yesterday that the photo above will be on the FRONT COVER of the 2014 AAA PetBook!!  I submitted the photo in the fall of 2012 and was told that it was not accepted for publication in the 2013 edition but that the judges had set the photo aside for consideration for the front cover in 2014.  Sure enough, I got a call from AAA yesterday that Jazz's photo was chosen for the cover of the book, which will be published around May of 2014!!  Along with the honor of being on the book cover, Jazz also won some very nice prizes, too.  I'm very excited to share a great photo from our Outer Banks vacation, as well as my beautiful brown cover girl!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Happy Birthday, Sweet Jazz!

Although Jazz officially turns 6 today, she started celebrating yesterday with her agility friends at B&D Creekside Activity Center.

Jazz in her party hat with her cake.  

OK, I'll wear the hat if that's what I have to do to get some birthday cake!!

Ah, cake is on FIRE!!!!

At last, Jazz gets to eat some of her birthday cake.  I tried a new recipe with banana and applesauce and carob chips.  Not surprisingly, all the dogs loved it!

This morning, Jazz got to open her birthday gifts.  Here she is with her head in a gift bag from Aunt Mariann, Uncle Jim, Sammie, and Blaze.

Thanks, Aunt Mariann and Uncle Jim!  We all love the leopard and the owl.

Wishing a very Happy Birthday to Jazz and all her siblings!  It's been another great year with my little liver Dal.  Jazz has earned titles in agility, rally, and obedience this year and continues her work as a Therapy Dog.  She is my heart's dog, and I enjoy every minute with her.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Snow Frisbee

Here's a little video of a new game Indy invented while playing frisbee in the snow today.  Rather than the typical toss, fetch, and return, Indy decided that it was more fun to hike the frisbee through his back legs and then turn around and pounce on it.  As you can see in the video, there were times when he got some pretty good distance!  After the girls decided it was too cold to stay out in the snow, Indy entertained himself with his new game.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Here are a few pictures of Rocky that were taken back in the fall:

Rocky at the door of his "apartment," as my great-nephews like to call it.

Handsome Rocky!

Although this was earlier in the fall, you can see that Rocky was already getting his fuzzy winter coat.  After the recent cold weather we've had, he's even more furry and ready for winter's chill.

Rocky and me

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Title Photos

Just had to post these awesome collages that I got from Cavalier Canvas Company with Indy and Jazz's ARCHX title photos!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Not to be outdone by her baby brother, Jazz also did very well at the Keystone Canine Training Club Rally trial.  She, too, placed in all her classes and earned her Rally Level 2 Championship and her ARCHX title! 

Even though Jazz doesn't do the paw-up routine when she sits, she's still a cutie!  We always get lots of comments about the "brown" Dalmatian.

The joy of working with Jazz is her awesome focus and attention.  While Indy is busy wooing the crowd, Jazz is focused on her handler!

I just love being in the ring with Jazz.  She's so attentive and eager to please.  She consistently does a great job and I just feel a special connection to her.

Jazz, too, had a nice weekend at AKC Obedience the weekend after the Rally trial.  She was in Wildcard Open Obedience and got first place both days!!  I was really pleased with her heeling and retrieves, and her drop on recall was really nice.  

Many thanks to photographer Jane from Cavalier Canvas Company for the great Rally photos of Jazz and Indy!


Indy had a great weekend at the Keystone Canine Training Club APDT/WCR Rally trial the first weekend of October.

He had very nice scores, with placements in every class.  He earned his Rally Level 2 Championship (RL2X) and also his APDT Rally Champion Excellent (ARCHX) title!

Here's Indy's now-famous new Rally exercise...the moving play bow!  It is supposed to be a moving down, and that butt did eventually go down, but he gets quite a reaction from the crowd when he performs this exercise in true Indy style.

This is another Indy signature move, the paw up on every sit.  It's also a crowd favorite!

And, lest you think Indy goofs off through the whole Rally course, here he is heeling quite normally ;)

Indy followed his successes at APDT/WCR Rally with a nice weekend at AKC Rally and Obedience the following weekend.  He earned his Rally Advanced title and got his first Rally Excellent leg the next day.  He also had a first placement and second placement in Wildcard Novice Obedience.  He did really well for a big, multi-ring trial.  His second day of Wildcard Novice was a true test of his abilities.  He had many distractions to deal with, including our friend's Dal in the next ring doing her dumbbell exercises and a Rally Pairs team in the ring on the other side who were running amok!  I was really proud of him for holding it together through all of that, including his sit and down stays!

Indy's a great working dog and a lot of fun.  He becomes a crowd favorite wherever he goes and lures people in with his boyish charm, both in the ring and out of the ring.  I look forward to continuing his training and trialing with him some more.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Couple More Obedience Photos

Here's a couple photos of Indy's Novice B Obedience run, taken by my friend Mellissa: 

Off-lead heeling exercise.

Stay before the recall.

Gotta love Indy's recall...

...especially when it ends in a nice front!!

I'm waiting for photos from the trial photographer, but we have good news to report from the Keystone Canine Training Club Rally trial this past weekend:  Both Jazz and Indy earned their Rally Level 2 Championship (RL2X) and their APDT Rally Champion Excellent (ARCHX) titles!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Indy's WCOTC Weekend

Just getting around to posting about Indy's Obedience and Rally weekend at Westmoreland County Obedience Training Club.

Indy started his weekend by getting his first leg in Novice Obedience!  He had a really nice run, with only one little bobble when he missed a sit on a halt because he was checking out a stink bug!!  He had a fabulous recall and a nice, solid long sit and down.  I was really proud of how well he did.  The work we've been doing has obviously paid off.

Next, Indy competed in Rally Advanced B and did a great job with a score of 97 and fourth place.  That was his second Rally Advanced leg.  We're hoping to get the third one in mid October.

Since showing multiple dogs in multiple classes during a weekend is too much for my old brain to keep up with, I did one day with Indy and one day with Jazz at this trial.  Unfortunately, Jazz didn't fare as well as Indy.  She was in her first Open A Obedience class on Sunday, but she NQ'd on her heeling exercise.  I'm not sure why, but halfway through the heeling pattern, she got intimidated and just kind of stood there for a while.  Of course, the handler must continue in the heeling pattern and Jazz was not able to catch back up again.  Despite that, she went on to complete all the remaining exercises beautifully!  She had a wonderful drop on recall, which is a weak exercise for her, and she did her retrieving flawlessly.  

As I said, I'm not sure what caused Jazz to be distressed during the heeling pattern, but the rest of her run was good.  Out of 19 dogs in the class, only 2 qualified.  I was happy that Jazz did so well in all but one exercise in Open.  She loves retrieving and I think we're going to have fun in this class in the future.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Pair of New Titles

I'm a little behind in posting this, but Jazz and Indy both earned their Rally Level 3 titles at the B&D Creekside Activity Center APDT/WCR Rally trial on September 22!  Both Dals will also receive an Award of Excellence for earning their title with scores of 190 and above.

We're off to Keystone Canine's Rally trial next weekend, so we'll hopefully have more good news to report!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Riding for a Good Cause

Today, a group from Babcock Stables-Richland did a Ride-A-Thon to benefit the program at Riding for the Handicapped of Western PA.

This is the Rocky's eye view as we get tacked up and ready to ride.

Here's the group we rode with, from left, Jim riding Mouse, Glenda riding Punkin, Lori riding Teddy, me riding Rocky, Tara riding Reba, and Dee-Dee riding Tequila.

As you can see, we had a spectacular day for a ride.  We all enjoyed ourselves and raised a little bit of money for a great program that allows children with various disabilities to ride horses.  Doesn't get any better than that!

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Today, five Dals from the Greater Pittsburgh Dalmatian Club took and passed their Temperament Tests!  It was great to see such a nice showing of Dalmatians at the test, and we're very proud of the Dals who earned their TT:

From the left is Chris and Ryder, Barb and Indy's Daddy Maks, me and Indy, and Twister, Susan, and Ripley.

The Temperament Test evaluates the dog's behavior towards strangers, reaction to auditory stimuli, reaction to visual stimuli, reaction to tactile stimuli, and their reaction to a "weird" stranger who starts out non-threatening and then escalates to threatening and then aggressive.

All these Dals did a great job on the test and we're very proud of the representation of GPDC and Dalmatians as a breed during this test!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Indy Turns 2!!

We celebrated Indy's 2nd birthday today.  Of course, he doesn't know what an infamous day he was born on, but at least he gives us a reason to smile on an otherwise sad day in history.

Here's Indy with his fall-colored birthday cake.

This is the only picture of Indy eating his cake.  It was gone too quickly to snap another photo!

Indy got a little help from Tess and Jazz in opening his birthday gifts.  They are much more experienced with these things.

Indy knows there's something fun in here somewhere!

All three dogs try out Indy's new stuffed bunny.  Amazingly, it is still in one piece!

I can't begin to tell you how much we enjoy this little guy.  He has his Daddy Maks' sweetness and he's smart and eager to please.  He loves everyone he meets and he makes friends wherever he goes.  Although it was never our plan to have three Dals, I can't imagine our lives without Indy.  The girls think he's the best toy we ever bought them...and Jim and I have a lot of fun with him, too!  We wish him many more happy birthdays.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Good Dogs...Good Cause!

Our friends from the UPMC Passavant Cancer Center invited us to join their team, the Passavant Teal Titans, in the Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer this morning in North Park.

Here's Indy and Jazz in front of a teal balloon ribbon, the symbol for those battling ovarian cancer.

Before and after the walk, Jazz and Indy dispensed a good bit of pet therapy to those in attendance, from children to college students to ovarian cancer survivors.

Indy and Jazz at the start of the walk.

Almost there!

At the finish line with Blaze and Sammie.

The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition's Pittsburgh Chapter organized a great event, and they even had a "Canine Corner" with goodies for the dogs and information on the benefits of pet-assisted therapy.  The dogs got toys and treats, and they provided water and a cool-down pool for the dogs after the walk.

Jazz and Indy and I enjoyed the walk this morning with Aunt Mariann, Uncle Jim, Sammie, Blaze, and our friends from the UPMC Passavant Cancer Center, Judy and her Boxer, Rock.  We were proud to be a part of the Passavant Teal Titans and to help raise some funds for this great cause!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Future Cowboys

My great-nephews, Ryan (4) and Logan (3), came to meet Rocky last evening.

Ryan was ready to go from the moment he arrived at the barn and was anxious to get to know Rocky.

First, the boys each took a little ride with me, but Ryan was anxious to ride Rocky all by himself.

At first, Logan wasn't too sure about riding Rocky, but he warmed up to it pretty quickly and took many laps around the arena, both with his brother and by himself.

The boys had a great time riding Rocky in the arena, and when we were finished, they checked out the barn and what they called Rocky's apartment (his stall).  They helped me take Rocky's tack off and turn him out into the pasture, and then they visited with the barn's resident mini goats, Nacho and Salsa --  not a bad day's work for a couple of future cowboys!