The Faces of Keepsakes



This is CH Zuran's Do You Wanna Know A Secret At Keepsakes

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Showing your dog- part 1 

 I don't know how I became a "show" person. I really just wanted a pet, a beautiful pet with a stunning pedigree and lineage that would make the Royals in London blush, other than that, I hadn't thought anything about "showing".

I started with a large breed. Russian Wolfhounds (no, these are not the ones that look like a giant, melicious dustbunny- those are Irish Wolfhounds- the Russian Wolfhound- aka Borzoi- are elegant creatures with soft, flowing lines who never forget an insult. My first was called "Fable". He came with a contract four miles long and when I finally read the stupid thing, (about three weeks after signing it, paying the money and taking the dog- who by that time had cost me a billion and four dollars in vet bills for a mysterious sensitive stomach thing) I realized that I had "missed" the part about the "mandatory" showing of the said dog.

Hmmmm. I hated showing dogs. I was raised by parents who had show dogs. The idea of parading around in the ring while God and everyone watched and critisized your every move-well, if I wanted that I would move in with my well-meaning mother. But, there it was in black and white. And so, I began showing.

I still show, I stll find it isn't my forte, and I still find that nine-year olds do a better job of it than I do on some days. But, let me break it down for those of you that think you'd like to try.

First, pick out your outfit. This is the most important aspect of the showing of the dog according to many. "The outfit makes the man" as the saying goes, and in this case, makes the dog. I will share my wealth of experience with you on show outfit "do-nots". Do not wear: a shimery evening gown (especially if you are a guy) polk-a-dot capris that fit great after six months at Weightwatchers, a backward baseball cap with bling-bling because you named your dog Puff Daddy, baggy overalls because the show is at the fairgrounds, 4 inch high heels, or a button that says "my other dog is a showdog". Do not wear flowing scarves, pigtails, or a faux fox fur jacket. Do not wear the same outfit as the judge or dresses that you crocheted yourself at home in your spare time. These are all taboo.

Instead wear things that a flight attendant would wear, minus the airline logo and hats. Wear sedate, stylish and smart- unless you have a really cruddy dog- then go for broke! Shoes should be flat-soled and not ones that could catch on the extention cord that someone taped down rather haphazardly at the east corner of the ring- some guy named Sam that had only done this once before and was very sorry when you took your fall by catching your spike heel which caused you to flip up in the air- pulling your poor chihuahua into a flying arc which resembled something that might have been conceived as a face plate for some Bradford Exchange specialty clock. Not that this has ever happened- but- you wouldn't want it to, would you?

Next: The dog. Pick a good one. Well, what else am I supposed to say about this? It's a show dog after all. If you are taking "Fluffy-no-name" into the ring just because he/she is AKC registered and the parents: "Guido and Annie" have a champion somewhere back in the 10th generation- well... okay. But really, if you are looking into the idea of showing dogs- well, it would stand to reason that the first rule would actually be "show a show dog." Don't you think? Your mentor (the dog's breeder and your new best friend- much to the breeders horror) can explain what makes the dog "show quality" what the minor faults of the dog might have that you should be mindful of, and how to groom that dog for the ring. If the "mentor" says, "well, its a show dawg- but I ain't never shown before.." run away. Give the dog back and run away fast. It seems nowadays, everyone has a "show dog" but few have shown. How can that be?

Okay, now that Champ has been verified as a show dog- let me ask you this: Did ya train em? Show dogs are notcontrary to popular belief, instilled with a set of magical genetics that make them stand inside of a ring and suddenly, go forward- correct tail and ear set- happy expression- innate stacking ability and poof! you have done absolutely nothing with the dog except set it on the floor!!! You must train this dog, just like any other dog. Lead break it, teach it to stack on the floor or table, fiddle with it's mouth, it's testicles, its body. Teach it to respond to something in the ring- treats, toys, something. Otherwise you will be standing there with the dog that is turned backward, staring off into space (while you are standing forward staring off into space) someone out of the pair of you should be paying attention.

Now the ring: The dog knows its stuff (hopefully) and you are well-dressed (hopefully) and the Ring Steward has called your number. In you go. First rule (again, learn from my mistakes) If you carry the dog into the ring- remember to set it down. It is a poor show when the judge says (around in a big circle) and you are walking briskly with little Princess still lodged tightly in your arms. They kind of like to see the dog gaiting- how it moves- these crazy judges.

Also, hold the lead. Perhaps Fido does walk right by your side every morning to get the paper- the ring is different. It is scary. It is nerve-wracking. There is no paper... hold the lead.

As you can see from my picture- avoid the deer in the headlights look if you can. I have never been able to be rid of it, Thank goodness Mrs. Forsythe was kind enough to look at how large my dog's eyes were and not mine. I typically have a tendancy to go deaf and blind when I am in the ring. Do not do this. Friends have told me that I stop breathing- do not do this. Several times I have caught myself humming- do not do this. Do not sing love ballads to the judge, make chit-chat like "how bout those Mariners?" announce the lineage of your dog, explain that you have taken this up in middle age because of empty-nest syndrome and finally- never look at the judge and say "have you ever judged a _______ before?" Those things are always offensive (well, maybe not the love ballads-). Do what the judge says, when he/she says it. Don't block the view of your dog ever. Don't line your ass up with the judge during the down and back, line up the dogs rear- believe it or not- that is all the judge (in most cases) wants to see. They are being paid to check out the rear movement in the dog, not how great those capris look on you now that you have been in Weightwatchers for six months. Don't ever let your dog attack a judge and then say "oh, Pwinsess is a bit gwumpy today". Have control of your dog at all times. A judge is just like a mailman: Although they deal with the possibility of being bitten at ever turn- they don't like the idea...ever.

Finally, if you are lucky enough to have the judge point at you toward the end of your class or breed's judging, this does not mean the same as your gym teacher pointing you out in 8th grade gym class. You are not excused to hit the showers- this means he/she is picking your dog! Do not run out of the ring screaming, do not pull out your cell phone to call uncle Harry, go to the area of the ring marked 1, 2,3 and stand in your place. You will be given a ribbon. Thank the judge. Do not try to hand the judge your dog in exchange for the ribbon. The judge does not require an exchange. The judge actually lets you keep the dog! As a matter-of-fact, if you like this kind of chills and thrills, you get to do it again, and again, and again. And, in a final word of advice, if you are bitten by theshowbug: start the process to refinance your house early! Unless you're independently wealthy- you'll need it.

Showing your Dog- Part Deux 

Getting prepped for the dog show
Many people have wanted to know what the process is for getting ready for a show. Well, here it is, Thursday, and we show at 12:30 Saturday in Shelton, which, near as I can figure, is somewhere after the place that Columbus watched fall off of the edge of the flat-world.

The first thing to remember about going to shows is: Have somewhere to stay. Do not expect to call three days before you need to be there and find a place waiting for you with open arms. It wont happen. You may get offered the Janitors smoking closet, the park across the street and a tarp, or standing room in the lavetory (along with 10 or 12 of your best dog-show cronies who also came unprepared). Rooms book fast! If you think you are going- book now, apologize later!

Second: Remember your dog. First timers tend to omit this instruction and find themselves turning around somewhere outside of Tacoma, Washington and going back for dear old Spot. May I just remind you- SPOT IS THE SHOW! It doesn't matter if you have found a darling outfit from Value Village that you are just sure the judge will love- without Spot, you will not be put us as best of Show. It's never happened (well, Christmas 1941 in Podunk, Ill- but that was a fluke, the miraboo around the bottom of her skirt looked like a maltese to the near-sighted judge. Hence the Miraboo Banning Ordinance in Podunk.) and it won't happen to you. Bring the Dog!

Finally, do your prepwork. Get gas in the car, bathe the dog, blow dry the dog and comb him out, check his nails: are they short? Check his ears? clean? Stray hair? Check his teeth? Any extras? Now put him somewhere where he won't get dirty. Feed him well, practice lead time with him (that is walking him on a show lead) also- since your not stressing at all! Ha! Stack him on the new and very expensive stacking table you purchased and have used rarely since you got him. Oh look, is he confused? Unfamiliar? And wait... out of the corner of your eye you spy the fact that Survivor Gaboon is on TV. You're torn.... you need not be. Bring the stacking table and dog over to the couch. Stack him and just let him hang out while you are watching Survivor. He'll relax on the table and you'll relax about the schedule. Keep a hand on him so he doesn't do a spiderman off of the table. He's your show dog, remember? Oh, and now is time to check out that show outfit you got from Goodwill- a word about outfits: Don't try to outshine your dog. Not cool. Put away the gold lame and bring out some classic lines. Evening dresses are definitely out and wildly colored blazers- well, you have to earn that right. Don't just show up on the scene as a newbie in one of those.

A final word to the wise: You will forget, lose, misuse bait (bait is the thing you show your dog to make him turn into an attentive Lassie-like canine in the ring) so look for the nearest open grocery store as you are mapping out your route. Oh, do map out your route- don't wait till in the morning to follow people with dog crates in the car. Recently, there have been a rash of Tanya Harding like incedences where people without dogs have been placed in hotels in order to lure off the real exhibitors so that they never make it to the shows. We don't know who's behind this, or even if it is a vicious rumor, but at the Bandon show, I ended up following an SUV that said I "heart" chows, all the way to Disneyland without realizing it. If you ask me, it was suspicious.

Remember, if you make it to the show, with your dog, on time. Find out what ring you are in by looking in the program, go to that ring, and check in (ask the ring steward for number). Put it on your left arm with two rubberbands. Your dog should have been brought in in his comfortable crate and now, all you have to do short of taking him out, walking him around and fluffing him up- is fly-swatting the butterflies which have turned into Mothra inside your stomach.

Good luck and remember- it's just a dog show.

How to Whelp a Chihuahua (or not 

Life can be funny sometimes. Mostly not, however and for this very reason I wish that someone had
provided me with a very specific handbook on whelping chihuahuas when I first started out.

It's not like I haven't whelped a truckload of dogs before. I was a vet tech, my parents raised dogs
my whole life, and for kicks and giggles, I was the one who traversed around the neighborhood delivering puppies-
The doggie doula- if you will, complete (at age 12) with my own set of forcepts lovingling donated by our only in-town
vet, Doc Peterson. Oh, I did cats too- not much to that. But dogs were my forte.

I lived in farming country so, the dogs I helped with were- big dogs- the kinds of dogs that deliver a full-grown
goat disguised as a puppy- wait, let me amend that, 12 full-grown goats.

This is not what will happen when you deliver chihuahua puppies.

First- temperature is critical- NOT! See, that's a joke. Because, while I have found the old temperature drop to
be fairly reliable in many larger breeds of dogs- ha! maybe yes, maybe no... You can have a chihuahua drop
temperature for a week (talk about pins and needles) or you can have another one not drop temp, go outside to
take a pooh and look! It's Junior!

I think a good indicator of a chihuahua coming close is the fact that they will demonically possess a bed space,
dig, dig dig, stretch, pant and do it all in the very middle of the night right after you have hit good REM sleep.
If this happens, you can probably bet she is in real labor. Oh yeah, not only should it be the middle of the night,
it should be a Saturday or Sunday night so that if there is trouble- it is a huge emergency vet bill.

Lets review: If your bitch has turned into Cujo regarding where she wants to sleep, if she is panting, arching,
digging and you are so tired that you could die- combined with the fact that it is probably the middle of the night on a weekend-
your little love bunny is probably in labor. DO NOT ATTEMT TO TAKE HER TEMPERATURE AT THIS TIME!
I gurarentee you, it will not go well.

The arching you are seeing is contractions. Are you seeing full-blown arching her neck, looking like a
stretch with a strain added to it? Contraction. Usually their position is sitting up or stretched way out.
If they are laying on their backs, stretching their legs, asking for the remote control and some liver snaps-
these are not contractions. These are chihuahuas in repose.

Once you see the contractions coming harder and more frequently you should prepare for puppies.
NO. Preparing for puppies does not mean getting on the internet and placing ads or updating your website.
Preparing for puppies means having those items in place and checking that they are still there.
Do you have a small pair of scissors, washcloths, hemostats, thread or dental floss, an extra pair of hands?
Well, what are you waiting for? Get that stuff!

NO, don't stand there saying it is only day 58- these things happen, you could be delivering stuff under
two ounces or over 5 ounces. Did you get an xray? Then you are ahead of the game. If not, you are living on the edge-
that can be fun too. I prefer the xray method as I know how many and how big- if there is a St. Bernard in there
with those chihuahuah pups, I worry about mom's natural ability to pass. That is called a C-section.
Well, it is called a complication but lets cut to the chase, it's a C-section!

But before we jump the gun, we have puppies to deliver. She is pushing, you are seeing something-
something drastically wrong in your eyes- a black bubble that looks like what the car mechanic takes out
of your tank during an oil change looks like- hold on, don't call CNN, this is the bag of waters. Sploosh, it breaks.
She keeps pushing, I offer ice cream or cottage cheese throughout these points, also raw hamburger. It works for me.
YOUR HOUSE AT THIS TIME! That is just panic setting in and it will pass.

As she pushes, you see another one of those opaque bags, but this time you think, you feel, you know that's a puppy!
It's not moving in the bag, oh God! It's drowning! STOP! No, it is perfectly fine at this point, once the bag is out, mom or
you will break it, take the slimey little feeder mouse and briskly rub it with that washcloth. Cut and tie off the umbilical cord
(you can also pinch the umbilical cord off and keep rubbing, pinching and trying to piss that puppy off. Get it crying. Mom
should be doing something really disgusting and eating afterbirth at this point. The afterbirth came out with the puppy
but it is not the puppy's malformed, hideous twin. It is the placenta and the rest of the bag that the puppy was in. You need
to know this because this is the same point that usually small kids come in and are traumatized for life. "Mommy, Princess
is eating her own liver that fell out!" Usually I am to busy to explain so I have come up with "That's okay, she'll grow a new one."
Kind of like the Lee Press-On-Nails commercial.

If you have gotten this one squeeking, you can put him on a heating pad or with mom. Keep checking him
(I say him because it's a boy- they are always boys- someone is producing girls but I have know idea who it is-
maybe they are genetically cloned in some warehouse somewhere- mine, inevitably are boys.)
So, put this guy with mom and be prepared to do it all over again.

Make sure mom is hydrated during this prosess. Don't do what I did my first litter, and even if she is begging
for it with her eyes, do not give her a Margarita. Water is just fine, or chicken broth if you want to go crazy.

All of the little squeekers should be rubbed, pinched and put with mom. Watch them to make sure they don't "fade".
Weigh them with that nifty little scale you bought. (I know you did) and record the weights for the first week or so.
This will drive you crazy with worry and then I will have company. MIsery loves company. Now, if they all look alike
you can put a little nail polish on the fur (not skin) to tell them apart. The best nail polish is one they make for kids.
Non-toxic and mom wont wash it off in the night.

In case of a tragedy, please do not wrap the puppy up in paper towels, put it in a baggie and place it in the freezer
if you have human children. Someone I know did this and had to answer all kinds of questions from the school counselor
on tuesday just as I (I mean she) was trying to figure out how she had missed a pediatricians appointment for that same nine year old.
The counselor, obviously never having been raised around pets, felt that this child was traumatized.
This was the same child who assisted the vet for the last C-section. Well, this is just a warning-take it how you will.

Now, it goes without saying that, since I'm not there with you, and if you see your dog straining for a length of time
(a length of time being two hours) with out producing anything- or if you see something that you are worried about,
(a puppy that you can see being stuck, a foot but nothing else, no contractions after the first puppy and it's been a few hours)
well, get thee to a vet.

Also, just so you know, during this process, some chihuahuas have big teeth.

As for the new happy family, enjoy the fact that mom eats the poop for about 4-6 weeks.
Then it's all up to you. Beleive me. I think that is the only great thing about the small litter size.

Ch Keepsakes MIkey LIkes It

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