Friday, 22 June 2018

Llyn Cop and Cwm Dulyn

 The four at Llyn Cop - what's different about this photo then?
Well the water has never been so low that I've been able to walk along the edge of the lake before. 
A few days light rain may well have refreshed the plants and grasses, but a lot more is needed to refill the lakes and rivers. 
 Nico and Jezi on route to Cwm Dulyn 
Kaiah and Ross after a paddle in what today is a blue lake!

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Nature Or Nurture?

A Young Idol 
A really interesting conversation with a friend at Cheshire made me think a lot about these and their family ties. No doubt they are a combination of their genetics and the environment they are bought up in and live in. Weak/soft characters can be improved but also I feel made worse in a poor environment.
The conversation was about Ross, Ivylene commented that Ross has taken so much from his maternal grandfather, Idol, whom she knew .. well knows .. the old man is still alive I gather. Strangely I had thought of using Idol on Asha all those years ago, but felt at the time that Suffolk was out of my reach. Idol Vom Haus Am Lerchenweg was an import and is now dominant in the pedigrees of sables in this country. It is said that as well as producing colour and type that a lot of the strong mischievous characters come from him. Looking at photos of Idol as a young dog I sure can see a young Ross, though Idol has a profuse coat and unfortunately Ross has followed in his father footsteps on the coat front. Here's hoping when this horrible junior moult is over that his next coat will be thicker. Ross' coat has never been his fortune but I have seen worse and he will have enough to get by in the show ring.
So let's go back to the beginning of the Blanik bitch line and be honest about who they were ..
Seffe, Blade, Dexi and Nikki
Nikki was confident, reasonably calm and affectionate, but with a slight intensity and a toy/grass obsession that I've not seen again here till Ross.
The young Seffe was a little more unsure of herself, and could react nervously in unfamiliar situations, particularly around children .. but I do think being a more sensitive bitch she picked up on my  dislikes. (Well I'm just being honest) As an adult her character became stronger .. I think a lot of Seffe strength of character was environmental and came from living within a strong confident pack. Had she lived with a weaker pack, maybe a mother with a different character I think she may have not developed into the bitch she became .. so nurture not nature?
Louis, Krizzie, Jay, Seffe and Nikki
Krizzie - OMG - the clown, the joker in the pack. Miss Crazy, full of her own self important with a huge love for life, she adored everyone, especially men. Never nervous, nor shy and a huge eye opener for me. I never knew a dog could be that naturally funny, clever or devious ..
Tali - another culture shock, full of her own self importance, aloof and strong willed. Never nervous or shy, she sometimes made you feel she didn't even need you, being so confident in her own skin without you she would have got by just fine.
Asha - calm, gentle, affectionate but focused .. never nervous or shy. Possibly the ideal character?
Mikey, Ziva, Tali and Asha
Ziva and Jezi - The sisters. Hmmm - a product of their unfortunate environment. Four sisters together for too long sure did affect their character. The young pups were as outgoing as any others but they were truly affected by our circumstances and the facts that same sex siblings should not be together for so long. Ziva was bred from so her character was more important, the sweeter of the 2 sisters but still with the hangups of her earlier years she surprised us all by becoming one of the best Blanik mothers ever. Ziva is generally affectionate and kind but does lack a little self confidence and can be a little spiteful!
Nico and Jezi 
Sammi - Perfect! lol.. No I'll be serious. In all circumstances the young Sammi has been confident bordering on cocky, like Tali self assured in her own skin which did cause earlier obedience problems. She always seemed to consider what was in it for her to listen .. as she's got older she's got very obedient, affectionate and loving. But and there is always a but .. she did not take charge of her daughter as she should have done and Kaiah now bullies her which I find hard to accept or understand.
Kaiah - Confident, cocky, vocal, pushy and spiteful (like Ziva). Ridiculously jealous of my attention, but equally a sweetheart who affectionate and obedient and bubbly. Like Krizzie I guess a bit too clever for her own good!
So that's the bitch line .. nature and nurture has affected them all .. and the boys ...
Blade - I always thought he had a strong character, but knowing what I know now I consider some of his behaviour to be down to being just a little unsure of himself. Though the pack was well ordered, I think Nikki was really the strength behind it's order. He was my everything, but he could be odd and did dislike some people .. and their dogs.
Asha, Kai and Tali 
Dexi - what a goof. Without doubt a super character, but a dog who was happy to be in his place in the pack and though he did challenge a weak Sultan he never pushed his luck with Blade or his mother. Super super dog
Jay - What do I say? What a friggin idiot. Confident, loud, OTT, funny, pretty obedient .. never nervous or shy but a proper handful.
Louis - the love of my life. A combination of his parents, the extroverted Krizzie and the loopy Jay. A happy bubbly individual who loved life and everyone and everything in it. Not a lot more I can say .. he was a dream come true.
Kai - Now there a character - Strong, intense, authoritative and confident - the strongest character ever to live here. His sheer presence filled up a room .. I'm sure you could have stopped a fight in a rowdy bar just by walking in with him. Kai was huge .. in very way.
Kaiah, Ross, Loki and Sammi 
Mikey - Asha brother, Kai and Tali's son, but as a youngster he lack the confidence of his parents and sibling. To be honest he lived in Asha's shadow for years, but as Asha started to stay home for maternal duties a huge change came about him. All of a sudden, he was the star, he grew in confidence and demeanor .. nurture not nature? I don't know maybe the nature was always there, just over shadowed by his sister in the early years.
Nico's past has been well documented. Dogs in rescue centres have often suffered less mental abuse than he has. It's a credit to the dogs true character that he has recovered so quickly to be who he is. In my opinion Nico has the perfect pet dog character. He's affectionate, obedient, ridiculously cuddly and sweet, but territorial and protective.. what more do you need?
Loki is generally a sweet sensitive dog within his family, but he is aloof with strangers and makes no effort to interact with anyone he doesn't know. His confidence level has grown tremendously but I still see shadows of his former nervous self in him, especially now as Ross is growing up.  Loki lacks the confidence he needs to be the dominate male in a pack and is resorting to growling  instead of controlling. Other than his natural puppy nervousness I think loosing Mikey affected Loki tremendously, he lost his way and was no way ready at his young age to have a pack of 5 bitches in his care.
Ross  .. hmm.. another eye opener. Determined, head strong and loud, pushy and mostly confident. A combination of Kai's will and intensity with a little of Jay's madness about him. Great fun dog, but not the ideal first time GSD for anyone. Breaking his spirit is not what I'm about .. but getting discipline and order itself on such a strong willed individual has been a challenge, but we are almost there. I love his spark of naughtiness and mischief, but I also love the cuddle bum who he's now growing into.
A family, but they are all so different, no mother and daughter alike .. but I often see grandparents in their traits. We breed the best we can and hope for better .. we do ask a lot of our dogs don't we!

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

These Things

No photos today, I was too concerned about the rain but everyone was walked. Have to admit it wasn't pleasant, I guess my main worry was the poor visibility. The mist was that thick it was hard to see anything and Asha had it on her and kept wondering off. To be honest, she always does but normally it's not a problem as she's always in sight. I know that mountain so well, but I did think that if someone dropped me off on the middle somewhere today I wouldn't know where I was.
I cried as I walked, again my brain repeating the events of the past few weeks. Little Billy Bob, 16 years is a long time to share with an animal and then find they are not there. He was such a sweet but odd little guy. Steve said he walked like a pigeon, hence the nickname Billy Bob .. his little head bobbed up and down as he walked. I honestly thought he would outlive Tia, he'd been so healthy till recently. He hadn't seen a vet for years, well until earlier this year and that was just his cataract, Tia has looked like a corpse for years! She's now starting to neglect her coat .. and needs brushing. I'm not brave, or stupid enough but Steve tries. I must video it .. it's quite funny really, she's such a nasty bastard!
Now it's bright sunshine, but a little breeze. I wish I'd waited to walk but the young guns are a pain in the morning until they are walked, and having missed a few days today they were horrendous. Once they've been out they are no trouble and calmness replaces the madness.
Ross is not quite sound today, he seemed quite stiff first thing and again after our long sleep. I do worry about what the future holds for him. Something is not right and until I can get the money together for further tests I will not know whether it's something and nothing .. or a problem that will escalate further in life. I still have him on fish oil and turmeric .. maybe it's helping? One thing is for sure I won't take him off them until we know one way or another. I have also considered putting him back on Vit C .. as long as we do no harm!

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Royal Cheshire County Show

 Haha don't look at my face - look at the dog - haha
Even though Ross was the baby of the class he won GSD Junior
 Beautiful Sammi was second of two in open - or was it three? 
One was withdrawn for growling at the judge!
Kaiah,who'd left her clothes at home stood alone in limit but was short listed into second place in the challenge for BOB. I have to admit to mixed emotions when Ross stepped up his game and took the RBOB from her clutches. 
Two sables take top honors 
Sully BOB - Ross RBOB

Monday, 18 June 2018

The Days We Dread

Cooking Sunday dinner on a Monday .. tears pouring uncontrollably down my cheeks as I think about the day's events. The doubts are always there, did I/we do the right thing? Was it the right time? .. could we have waited just a little longer, 24 hrs, 2 days a week? Logically, no, we couldn't have left it, his dignity and welfare came before our need for borrowed time ... I couldn't just sit back and watch him take maybe days to die, the last act of undying love is to let them be at peace.
At the vets Billy was quite calm, the snotty nosed, flea ridden feral kitten in him was long gone. I'll never ever forget today and how peaceful and unexpectedly relaxed the whole situation was. As the vet did what he had to do, Billy just nuzzled his little head into my chest and purred away until he took his last breath. Through endless tears there was complete trust and seemingly an understanding of the situation. Quickly and quietly and peacefully he was gone.
Billy has come home onto the mountain, he now sleeps with the other Blanik cats and dogs in the front garden where he loved so much to spend his days in the sunshine. Little Billy Bob .. a funny little soul, we will miss you so much, but be sure You Have Been Loved ....

RIP Billy

Nos Da Billy Bach ... RIP my funny little friend.  /6/02 - 18/6/18

Sunday, 17 June 2018


The hardest decision of all needs to be made. Buying time to make new memories is always precious, but not at cost to my animal friends. Quality of life is paramount therefore we must always put them before us. The letting go is truly the hardest part of the loving ...
Harder still is knowing exactly when, better a week too soon than a day too late.

Ruthin - Part 2

Loki with some of his stash 
 After a lovely journey we had an extremely long day at Ruthin C.S  Show in Llangollen yesterday.. Being first in the ring at 10am we are there well before 9.30am to get ourselves and our dogs settled. Young Gun Ross pleased me by winning GSD junior and only managed to make one hole in the ring whilst the others did their individuals. I was really pleased with him, both in and out of the ring.
Loki then beat his sister by the skin of his teeth in open and then took BOB. The judge was over the moon with both Loki and Bella and said she was splitting hairs between the siblings. A lovely feeling for Ian and myself as he owns mum and bred the litter and I own the sire .. Nico!
Ross enjoying an ice cream 

By lunch time I was feeling knackered and I begged Loki not to win the pastoral group .. but he went ahead and did it anyway, possibly the best group he's ever won! Funnily the group judge walked past me in the line whispering I'll be back to you and came back at the end giving Loki the opportunity to go round the ring twice .. lovely for him and me but a little uncomfortable maybe as she only gave the others the chance to go up and down. Comments where made that she may well have decided he was set to win early on, and it sure felt that way as she called him into the group 1 position almost straight away. As I was moving him up and down I was very uncomfortable as a Pyrenean Mountain Dog started to react aggressively towards Loki,
Someone wants to kill Loki 
or me, or both of us. I have to say I was really hoping the owner had the ability to hold him and when I saw the photo it unnerved me even more.
It sure did become a very long drawn out day and with so many of us fed up and knackered I'm sure the committee will reconsider the judging order for future shows. It was approx 6.30pm when we went into the BIS ring, as usually Loki's performance was faultless but it was not to be his day. Still the BIS judge said he was a credit to me .. which was lovely to hear. Thanks to everyone who shared the day ... and to  Marilyn who said she though Ross was wonderful, she said she couldn't take her eyes off him in the ring, these comments mean a lot and help so much when you always do get to hear the negative comments too!
Bella, Loki's sister
Apparently poor Kaiah was lost without her partner in crime yesterday, but she'll have to get use to staying home as I only intend showing her under breed judges and at Ch.Shows now. I bet she'll be pleased to hear she's going to Cheshire and Blackpool next week!
Today I've been shattered, I've not even walked the troops, no doubt we'll pay for it this evening. Ross and Kaiah will want to wrestle, and I'll just want to sleep, or watch TV. Here's hoping there's something other than bloody football on offer!

Ruthin Show

Wow .. A very long day, with a tale to tell .. later!
 Young Ross won GSD Junior 
Loki won GSD Open, BOB and was Group 1 
in I think the best group he's ever competed in. 

Friday, 15 June 2018

The Critiques I'd Been Dreading

2 Stanley and Bibby's Silkenwood Poldark of Blanik. Male of just under a year. Needing time to fill out and tighten up. Finer in bone, strong clean profile shape, head in proportion, good length to muzzle to skull, almond dark eyes and good, alert expression. Not as positive on the move as the winner.
1 Stanley's Blank Jeevana. Very nice bitch of 19 months. Lovely profile, height to length, reach of neck, topline and rear quarters. Sufficient bone, good feet. Pleasing chest, rib and loin, would like just an inch more muzzle to balance skull, good ear and eye giving an alert and lively expression. Very controlled on the move, sound and fluent action with plenty of reach.
Ah The Royal Welsh .. I really didn't want to go, for one reason and one reason only .. my previous experiences of this judge. She was the only judge to ever criticise Louis' fantastic head. When she said his muzzle was too short for his forehead I wondered what she really did know about a GSD. I gave her further opportunity to judge Mikey and Asha and neither where placed, I said then I would not go under her again .. well now I really mean it. I will NEVER give this woman another opportunity to lay a finger on one of my dogs ..
Ok, generally these critiques are not that bad as I expected of her. I agree Ross needs time to fill out but to say he is fine in bone and not a positive mover is just a joke. Ross has as much bone as Loki, but he is not as heavily built as Nico, in my opinion all three boys have suitable bone for their build. I have never shown Ross lame, he powers around the ring with a positive strong stride and on the day I had to hold him back from the bitch who was dilly dallying in front of him. Yes  she was a nice puppy bitch .. but really?
Kaiah's critique has really put the tin hat on it. I have to admit it's mostly a nice critique, but .. BUT .. OMFG she almost word for word gives the same criticism as she did of Louis years ago .. she would like an inch more muzzle to balance the skull... FFS ... she has the best head of any bitch here in years, she's bloody beautiful  .. she's not a fecking Belgian, she's a German Shepherd.
This is what the breed standard says about the Head and Skull of the breed.
"Proportionate in size to body, never coarse, too fine or long. Clean cut; fairly broad between ears. Forehead slightly domed; little or no trace of central furrow. Cheeks forming softly rounded curve, never protruding. Skull from ears to bridge of nose tapering gradually and evenly, blending without too pronounced stop into wedge-shaped powerful muzzle. Skull approximately 50 per cent of overall length of head. Width of skull corresponding approximately to length, in males slightly greater, in females slightly less. Muzzle strong, lips firm, clean and closing tightly. Top of muzzle straight, almost parallel to forehead. Short, blunt, weak, pointed, overlong muzzle undesirable."
Enough said!

I Made A Complaint

Ross with his rosette at a recent Companion Show
For the first time ever I've reported a judge for not publishing critiques from a Championship show. A judge who commits to judging at this level signs a contract and is obliged to publish the critique on the first and second dog within a 3 - 6 month period. Until recently if there was no critique, then so be it, nothing could be done about it. But now the KC has bought in a new complaints procedure allowing three months for the judge to write and publish the critique, and a further three months for any missing critiques to be reported. They also point out that it is not normally possible for a complaint regarding the non-submission of a critique to be made later than six months following the show.
So I waited patiently for 5 and a half months before making the complaint and I've had a reply from the K.C saying that they are looking into the matter.
Look at Loki's ears
In the big picture of life it may well seem petty on my behalf, but we pay £25+ per dog to enter these shows, the catalouge costs about £5, there is usually a parking fee and then the expenses of travelling .. without even thinking of food, always take your own or get a second mortgage! Yes it's an accolade to win at such a level, but what do you win for your money? A poxy piece of card with the name of the show on it, if you want a rosette then that's another fiver! So as the whole story goes the critique actually really matters, for people to see your dogs name in print and see why it won, or didn't is really important. To see the judge actually sees your dog as you do, or not is important. Remember the judge who said Loki had small ears for his head size .. well hand on heart I'd never noticed and no other judge has ever noticed .. but look, hell she was right!
It's actually quite a contradiction that if you go to a companion show, the show at the bottom of the pile, the one we consider the training ground for puppies or the day out for the oldies, that you get huge rosettes, prize money and even sometimes goody bags. It's a charity event, the classes are usually sponsored and dogs with anything over a JW are over qualified to enter, but in all honesty, you wouldn't take your best there anyway that just wouldn't be fair on the competitors who are there just for a fun day out.
Beautiful Dexi who won 1 CC and 3 Reserves
Should have been a champion! 
Maybe KC championship shows need to reassess things, to consider giving more value for money to the exhibitor? Maybe they also need to reconsider their CC allocations and classifications. Is it really fair that a dog get 20+ CC when three is all that's needed to become a Champion? The dog winning these multiple CC is no doubt robbing other great dogs of their titles. We and many other have been there with Dexi, he missed out as Nilo romped his way to over 50 CC. Was that really fair? But I can also see that a three year old dog with 3 CC who loves the limelight should not have to retire .. well put on a Champions Class .. give them another goal to stride for ... please think KC, before this becomes solely a rich man's game. As for the handler who charge £50 a class and £250 for a CC.. well they can go an whistle!

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Good Guys Walking

Well three of them where good, but again today Kaiah forgot the meaning of "Wait." 
Strange how such a bright dog can struggle to remember the meaning of one word .. or do you think she could be being a little defiant and be choosing to do her own thing!!!!

Not Such Good Guys Walking

Well today the halo has slipped, slipped so far down it almost choked her! As we went through the gate towards Llyn Ffynhonnau a large lamb/young sheep jumped out from within the reeds, scream as I did three stopped instantly but the Angle gave chase. Luckily for me it ran a very short distance before jumping onto the wall and heading back in my direction. She followed hot on his heels, so close she could have grab it, but credit where it's due she made no effort to do so. Still as it ran towards and past me she had a dilema and she stopped before reaching my clutches. God I wanted to catch her and show her how displeased I was with her .. I was fuming, seething, but equally relieved the incident turned into a non incident. I couldn't let it pass, I just couldn't and with her on the lead we went looking for sheep. I got my opportunity to reprimand her, I hate being harsh with my dogs I really do .. but where sheep are concerned it's kill or cure up here and another lesson will soon follow.
Asha and Ziva watched the sheep with interest but both made the right decision and remained close to me. Not for one minute did Loki consider making a mistake .. he was predictably predictable.  As we walked back towards the van I could see an older man walking towards me on the same path with a Spaniel x .. probably one of these crossbreeds with a silly name that he's paid a fortune for. Anyway he popped it on the lead and I put my 4 on their leads moved to the side and made them all sit for him to pass. There was still a tense atmosphere between us and no one dared put a foot out of place or utter a sound. I smiled at the man, he smiled back and picked up his dog to pass. Why? So stupid .. Why? He then wittered she'd only be a tasty morsel for them. I felt my smile turn into a smirk and as much as I wanted to scream "oh shut up you stupid little man," I looked to the floor and said nothing. Oh my god what is wrong with people? ... What a stupid thing to say. As soon as the man and the morsel where out of the way I let the gang off their leads and Loki decided to shoulder barge Ziva, she in turn responded with teeth and tantrums. I said nothing, he gets away with far too much with these bitches and it was actually good to see Ziva telling him off .. though I guess long term it'll have little affect.
Near the van I could see another sheep, I put Sammi on the lead and we went to have a look at it. I suggested she may like to look at it, or chase it .. she declined!!!

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

An Extra Evening Walk

 Loki and Ross with Linda and her dog Lexi, who's Ziva and Jezi's sister 
 Love this of Ross and Loki
All in Llyn Talysarn for a paddle.

Cwm Dulyn For All

With the cattle at Llyn Cop and Linda off to Llyn Ffynhonnau with Lexi I had to find a water source for our walk, the only alternative safe for all is Cwm Dulyn. I knew the water was low there last week, but it's  shocking to see how low it is there today. It's usually about 6 foot from this bank. North West Wales really needs rain. 

Walking along the track towards the lake with Sammi, Ziva, Loki and Asha.
I love this photo of Jezi and Nico, this was before Nico's accident. He really did have a miss-jump with a very harsh landing on his chin with his front legs tucked beneath him. I was expecting at least a scraped chin or broken teeth, but he seems non the worst for wear. 
Come on you two - looks like Ross is near in tears

Kaiah figured it out in seconds .. 
Bye bye Ross. You can go fishing for your dinner.

Doing A Rain Dance

I know the weather hasn't been the same everywhere in the UK but it's been weeks since we had a decent amount of rain here. My poor father and many like him have really been struggling with hay-fever, so much so that he is unable to visit or really go out until the evenings.  He says it's the worst he's been in a decade. I feel so much for him, for me it's only a minor nuisance of running and stinging eyes and cold symptoms in the mornings. I'm lucky the fexofenadine really work for me. Porthmadog, their home has been the hottest place in the UK a number of days being 27 degrees and 29 if caught in the intense sunshine. I doubt it's been quite that hot here but some days have been a struggle for me and the dogs, particularly Loki who really struggles, bless him he hates it.
Yesterday was cooler, a lot cooler, though still hot where there was no breeze. I was having a bit of a head day so walked everyone from home. I feel so sorry for them as they run from one empty ditch to another .. not a drop of water to been seen. It's so dry the mud is cracked and powdery which is devastating for the swallows who are trying to build their nests as they have no way of getting everything to stick together. The nest building is late this year due to the harsh winter running into Spring. I was also shocked to see the grass in such a state up there, basically it is dry and crispy and crunches underfoot as you walk. As you can see from the photo It's already loosing it's green colour and it's stating to take on it's Autumnal colours. On the plus side the heather seems to have survived the big freeze and is starting to flower. After the cold Winter of 2013 it was very sparse the following year, it will be interesting to see how much bloom there is by August.
The three lakes are lower than I have ever seen them, Llyn cop is just sticky mud at the near side, and you could probably walk through Afon Seiont (River) If we don't get a decent amount of rain soon, during this growing season I fear the wildlife as well as the crops will be affected. Hell I love dry weather as much as the next man, but what makes Wales beautiful is the lush rich countryside and right now it's in desperate need of the rain that is forecast tomorrow night.

Monday, 11 June 2018