Sunday, February 26, 2017

Dog Show: Colorado Kennel Club, 2017

I entered Ramen in the Colorado Kennel Club dog show last weekend.

I'm always impressed by the transformation our dogs go thru.  Here's Ramen, a few weeks before the show, prior to any grooming.  He had been enjoying the snow and mud.  :-)

Given the time of year and chance for snow and cold, we scheduled an appointment with a professional groomer.  Shannon does an excellent job with our dogs and she has much better equipment for bathing and drying than we do.  He looks handsome after his bath.  :-)

I did a pre-show groom on Saturday, then fluffed him up before each event on Sunday and Monday.  :-)

The Denver show is about an hour's drive from our house, and we were helping a friend with her dogs, who's ring times were earlier than ours... so it was a very early morning and late night both days.

This show takes place at the National Western Stock Show Complex and is pretty-well advertised so there are a lot of non-dog-show-people who attend.  While exhausting, it's wonderful to have the opportunity to speak to so many people about Tibetan Mastiffs.

Fortunately, Ramen is an easy-going guy who enjoys the attention.

So on to the meat of the competition!

We had an amazing weekend, with many first-ever experiences.

Ramen was awarded Best of Breed both days.  Only one other dog competed, so he has one more point toward his championship title.

We were entered in the Bred-By-Exhibitor and Owner-Handled competitions on Sunday as well as the Open competition both days, which meant we had four opportunities to practice in the working group over the weekend.

As you can imagine, choosing the best four out of 20 or more Best-of-Breeds can be challenging.  So generally the group judge will make a "cut" prior to making their final selection for "best" dogs in the group.

On Sunday, Ramen and I made our first group cut ever.  We were in the Owner-Handled Working Group.  I believe we were the last dog chosen in the cut... but honestly, I don't remember.  I was so excited to make the cut!

Owner-Handled means just that.  The people at the end of the leads are the registered owners of the dogs they are handling.  There is a wide variety of handling experience in this competition, but none of the people have ever been a professional handler.

When the judge made her final selections and chose us as 4th place, I wasn't sure that she was pointing at me.  I was hesitant to go to the front.  But she clarified and I don't remember a whole lot after that.  I do remember her being very complimentary and she spent some time with me the next day, which I greatly appreciate.

We then competed in the regular Working Group.  A large percentage of the handlers are professionals and many are top 10 dogs.  I was exhausted from the long first day and know I did not exhibit him as well as I could have.  However, I was delighted with his performance.  It's a long day for canine and human alike, and Ramen performed very well.

Then after a little rest and a quick trip outside, we competed in the Bred-By-Exhibitor Working Group.

In this competition, the people at the end of the leads are the breeder of record for the dog they are handling.  The handlers can be professionals and/or owners, but neither is necessary.  The judge awarded Ramen a Group 2!  Or 2nd place!!

To be chosen from a group of dogs who are being exhibited by the people who bred them is a huge honor... I know that we brought what we feel is the best example of our breeding program.  I imagine everyone else did as well.

So we finished out the first day of the show having gone from never making a cut, to being placed in the group twice!!  Let's just say I had a hard time sleeping from all of the excitement. :-)

Monday was a quieter day, with only one group competition... and when I couldn't imagine the weekend going any better, we made our first-ever cut in the regular Working Group!  It was all I could do to maintain my composure and not squeal with excitement!

After a deep breath on my part, and an exceptional performance on Ramen's part, the judge awarded us with a Working Group 2nd!

As I mentioned above, a large percentage of the handlers in the regular groups are professionals.  Many are top professionals and many of the dogs are ranked in the top 10 for their breed.  So knowing the quality of dogs in this Working Group and the exceptional handlers, owners, and breeders behind them makes this placement all the more special.

I enjoy the camaraderie with the other handlers.... especially the owner-handlers.  I can't express how warmly I was congratulated by so many people I have been competing against (and losing to) for the last several years.  :-)

Most of the people I've met in the show dog world are lovely, nice, people who love and care for their dogs at least as much as I do mine.

I appreciate the time that each of our judges spent with us over the weekend as well as the advice and encouragement.

After an amazing weekend playing Show Dog, Ramen relished being back to work.  He enjoyed a few laps and a wrestle with his sire and sisters then settled down for a good long nap with his alpaca.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Dog Show Fibering

I entered Ramen in one of the Denver Dog shows last weekend.

We had relatively early breed ring times and then late in the day group ring times, so there was some down time during the day.

I collected fiber while I groomed him and knit on my latest project.

It's funny to think that, when I started knitting again about 10 years ago, I was embarrassed to do it in public.  Now, if I think I will have a wait time, I bring whatever small or simple project I'm working on.

It's a great way to pass the time productively as well as a great conversation starter.  I met another chiengora spinner, although her preferred breed is Samoyed.  :-)

What have you been up to?  Do you do fibery things in public?

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Collecting Tibetan Mastiff, part 2

I spent more time with Nobu over the weekend.

She wasn't really in the mood, so we only spent about 30 minutes.  Can you read the "Are we done yet?" look on her face?  ;-)

I collected 3 ounces of fur, making a two-week total of 6 5/8 ounces collected.

Not sure if you can tell from the after photo, but she still has a good amount of fur to blow on her britches and collar/mane/chest area.  Another week or two, and she should be done shedding for the year.

What have you been up to?

Link below for Fiber Arts Friday!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Collecting Tibetan Mastiff Fur

I have received a few questions recently about how much yarn someone would be able to collect from their Tibetan Mastiff.

At about the same time Nobu had started to blow her coat.  It appears that shedding season is early for many TM people in the northern hemisphere.  ;-)

Last weekend, about two weeks into Nobu's shed, I spent some time grooming her:



You can see in the before photo that I've missed out on collecting a lot of her coat.  But after about 40 minutes, I had trimmed her toes, checked her ears and teeth, and collected about 3.5 oz of fur.

I think she looks much better.

I only collected the body fur.  The tail and britches, while absolutely useful, are more coarse so I am not saving it.  I have more than enough fleece and fur to work with.  ;-)

What have you been up to?

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Pink!

As a general rule, I'm not a fan of pink.

But some things are more important than preferences.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!