Whippet Snow Walk

And now for some Whippet fun pictures:

Blossoming

Words cannot express how much I miss my sweet mama dog, Flirt. Sometimes the pain is literally unbearable. I take comfort in the fact that she is extremely happy where she is, and that her new owner really enjoys many of her personality traits that I admit I wasn’t crazy about. Flirt was a bit on the extreme for me in her excessive interest in greeting everyone she laid eyes on. She had a stubborn streak. Hell, I don’t know why I refer to her in the past tense. She’s living happily ever after with a friend who appreciates the very things that I wasn’t fond of, as well as all the things I absolutely loved about this amazing dog. It’s something my brain does when I place a dog that was truly special to me. It somehow helps me cope; she’s forever gone to me in a way.

Flirt and I went through so much together that whether we were really a good match or not is almost irrelevant. There is a bond there that will never be broken, even if I never see her again. I survived a great deal of hardship with her by my side. She whelped 20 beautiful puppies in my arms. I spent hours upon hours of precious time training her, and I cannot name all of the things I learned from her. She gave me everything.

Her daughters have a personality that suits me much better and is what I want to move forward with. I bred to their father for a reason. He has ball drive. He’s extremely beautiful and even a little bit on the soft side of things. That makes nicer pets for the average person, and I enjoy living with it more. I’m going to breed this generation to a working gun dog to get back more drive without the silliness of Flirt. My stud dog improved type, too, while still not being overdone. The puppies have more retrieving drive than their mother, while still maintaining her oral fixation on objects.

Their beautiful daughter Fontana has her father’s exact temperament. Polite, sweet, gentle, biddable, and never demanding, she is an ideal dog. She faded into the background in the presence of her mother. Although her mother was never aggressive, her rough playing style and more confident temperament meant that Fontana was just not able to truly shine. Flirt also had a senior position in the house and undoubtably got more of my time and attention.

I have noticed that in the several weeks since I made the heartbreaking decision to let Flirt go that Fontana has truly blossomed. I see so many of her mother’s personality traits in her. I see the good ones. The ones that I wanted Flirt to pass on to her puppies are the ones I see. Yet, I also see a distinct absence of the traits that I did not care for, like the mouthing and the intense obsessive interest in greeting strangers. I also see a dog that puts her ears up, forges ahead on walks with confidence while still maintaining manners, wants to play and rough house with her sister, follows me about the house the way her mother once did, and holds herself completely differently now. It is her time to shine, and this lets me know that although my decision was difficult, it’s bittersweet. Fontana is no longer a wilting violet. She’s everything I knew and hoped that she could be, and she’s the future of my kennel.

Hardship forced me into a corner I didn’t want to be in. However, life sometimes has unexpected gifts. Both of these dogs and all of the people who love them are benefiting.

I look at these pictures and I can’t believe I’m looking at the same dog. We here at Windridge couldn’t be more proud of her or happier with her.

Willow Starts Retriever Training

Willow has completely stolen my heart. She is also bright, driven, and quick to learn. Yesterday we started retrieving exercises with the bumper. She nailed it! She was so overjoyed doing what she was born to do that she chattered her teeth with joy. Here are some pictures of Willow during her training session, and this morning, just playing. We love her so!

Thanks for looking!

Grooming Matters

Fontana is a gorgeous dog, and she only gets better as she matures. Yesterday I “show” groomed her. I thought it might be fun to compare photos taken before trimming, after trimming, and after both trimming and blow drying.

First, here she is early in the day on a walk:

She looks ruggedly beautiful to me in the above picture. However, grooming makes a difference, especially in real life. Setting up or stacking does too.

Here she is set up, brushed, but not bathed or trimmed (feet, pasterns, ears, tail) for a few weeks:

Now, here she is the very next day (yesterday) trimmed, but not bathed yet:

And here she is a few hours later, bathed and fluff dried:

Here are more, with the flash:

Remember that whether you are calling a show dog overdone, or a working/pet dog weedy and bald, that grooming blurs the lines at times. I have a great time grooming my dogs, and I love them in fluffy or rugged form.