7 Months Post Op..

Paul chilling with the dogs behind the stand at KCI

So we are 7 months post spinal surgery. We have just got back from the Kennel Club International Agility Festival. It was interesting compared to normal being that the random weather meant that two days were cancelled but the two days we did get to do competing, they were good days and as always we got to enjoy seeing people and chatting to people.

It was good for Raven too as it is a big busy event and it was also the first time she was tied up behind the K9 Trail Time stand but she was brilliant. She coped with everything so well and I was so proud of her! Everyone who saw her said how great she looked and she was really happy meeting people and walking past dogs, she was really relaxed about it all too. So proud of her! We also spoke to a nutritionist and will be trying out a new food, depending on how that goes – will probably do a seperate blog on it as we learnt a lot!

We have also had two critiques back from Raven’s shows. The first one is from Dukeries open show, the second is from the East of England champ show. The dukeries show was the first one Raven has had indoors and she wasn’t as happy as she has been at shows, she also wasn’t sure about being gone over and bless her she was really nervous. Because of this I withdrew her from the Large munsterlander club show as I want her to enjoy showing if I am going to show her, if she doesn’t enjoy it, there really is no point in doing it. The East of England show, she had to wait around for a little while but we watched the GSPs show first as our friend was showing for the first time. She ended up standing alone in puppy bitch, then one of three in junior and stood alone in special beginners. Well to be honest I don’t know why I bothered with the other classes after her puppy class because the judge hated her from the second she saw her. She asked me whether she ate well, so of course I said yes, she loves her food. So then she said “well she needs to be fatter” at which point I laughed and said no she doesn’t. As you can imagine it went downhill from there. Obviously I am not going to put excess weight on a dog that has spinal surgery – which I did tell her. But now you are aware of what happened at both shows, here are the critiques:

My “dreadfully thin” girl <3

Dukeries: R Harding’s Callixus Athena For Mallingdown. Almost 10 month bitch which was quite small all round. She stood nervously, never-the-less I was able to go over her fully which will help her. Pretty head, dark eyes and well placed ears. Shoulder is fairly short to a longer upper arm making her quite straight in the front end, deep chest, up toward a very lean rear end. Excellent turn of stifle, to let down hocks. In good coat all round. Needs more weight in the tummy and rear quarters. Beautifully covered tail. Movement towards, away was OK.

East of England: PB(1) 1 Harding’s Callixus Athena For Mallingdown. Dreadfully thin, should not be shown as she is.

I feel the Dukeries critque is fair. Actually the judge there was really nice and even though she was rather nervous he was really good to us. The East of England one… well lets just say I have sent an email off to the Kennel Club giving them a piece of my mind! Though it has given me and a lot of people a good laugh. My “dreadfully thin” girl is amazingly healthy and I am strong enough and sure enough of myself and of her for it to not bother me. It’s not my fault a judge doesn’t know what she is talking about. What is wrong is if I did care – what if I was starting to show, is this how judges should treat people that spend a stupid amount of money to show their dogs. Shouldn’t people be treated fairly? Shouldn’t judges be judging dogs on their conformation not on how fat they are? The show world is messed up, so messed up. Have always said it really but I think that critique just proves it.

So Raven’s showing career is pretty much at it’s end. I will probably do a few local open shows with her to practice but I currently don’t know if I will enter her or not at Crufts. She is never going to be fat, I won’t ever let any of them be fat. I mean Lily is fat at the moment for Lily but even so she looks better than most ‘pet weight’ dogs. So if you will get marked down for being kept lean and fit then what is the point?

First time on cold game

But anyway… Raven has also had her first training session retrieving cold game. She obviously gave it some CPR to start with but when she realised she couldn’t bring the dead back to life she was amazing. I took her down to the field and she was perfect. She even did a blind with it, something we have done no work on at all and she was amazing. Literally perfect. I need to work on her blinds and memory retrieves now, as well as her loose lead walking and offlead heelwork. We had been making some progress with her heelwork but have lost it again recently so back to basics again. Her swimming it still on and off so I am certain that there won’t be any puppy working tests this year. She will be out of puppy next season so will probably look at finding some with special beginners to start there. She has a lot of natural ability, I do hope I don’t ruin her and can help her grow.

We had another trip to the beach whilst Paul’s parents were visiting a few weeks ago. The dogs loved it, they were all really good especially as we were there much later than normal and the tide wasn’t out either so there wasn’t as much space on the beach. They were good though, Paul waded right out into the sea with the dogs and they were all so happy out playing in the sea. It was such a lovely day.

Not long now till race season starts. Raven turns 11 months in a few days. A year old in just over a month. It’s crazy. This time last year we found out Bea was pregnant, we were so excited, then everything happened in January… but we are back sort of where we wanted to be. Yes we aren’t thinking about starting agility training but that isn’t the end of the world. We will learn new things together and have fun in some other way.

Oh she also had her eye test at the end of last month – all clear! Hip and elbows next, hopefully next month if we have the money to do it. Am curious as to how they will come out what with everything. She is amazing though, such a beautiful girl, inside and out.

Here are some photos of Raven over the last month.