Saturday, July 18, 2009

I'm NOT a "Country Girl

Hey, it's Jada again. We just had an experience recently that made us realize that I just am NOT a "country" sort of gal. I'm more of a "suburban" sort of gal. Now I've never seen a sheep or a cow or a horse, and I'm not sure what I'd think of them. But this fact I do know:

I'm deathly afraid of big birds.

There. I said it. I have to confess this doesn't make me feel any better. Everyone said I'd feel better if I talked about it. But I don't.

I don't have many fears. Oh, I'm afraid of little wisps of hair that blow across the floor when dogs are being brushed or trimmed - but isn't everyone? Hey, they look like bugs when I see them coming at me and my heart stops and I jump away quickly and then sheepishly realize it's just a piece of hair. But then it occurs to me that you just don't know WHERE or from what dog that hair came from. Uh huh. Think of it that way and you'll run from tumbleweed hair wisps also!

So other than hair wisps, I really am pretty fearless. Oh wait....I forgot. I'm sorta deathly afraid of cicada's also. Not the normal cicada's that one seldom see's. No, it's those big bulging red-eyed 17-year cicada bugs. Yes, THOSE!

Check this thing out - what's NOT to be afraid of!

I was sort of willing to give them a chance when I first saw one, but then it SCREAMED this ear-shattering shrill noise at me and that was all I needed to know about them! DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!

What blew me away is that Tyssen just loves them! He EATS them! He picks them up in his mouth and carries them alive for a bit, then lets them go to bat around with his paws (what, he thinks he's a cat now?) and then eventually munches them up for a snack. That's just sick. Joni does
n't help. She thinks they're great fun and picks them up and holds them out for me to see. What's that all about? She knows I hate them! So I just stand back and go to my "happy place" in my mind and pretend I'm in a big cicada-less, bird-less and hair wisp-less meadow all by myself. Joni just laughs at me refusing to look at the cicada that she's letting crawl around her hand, while she fights Tyssen off, who is trembling in anticipation of swooping it out of her hands and tearing it apart in front of me. Sick sick sick. I live with degenerates.

Fortunately the 17-cicada swarms are only around occasionally. Yeah
, I hear there are different broods of them in different years, but it sure makes me happy to know that I'll never EVER meet the descendants of any of those vile creatures I met last year!

So now the big bird thing.

I've seen regular birds my entire life - robins, sparrows, cardinals - normal size birds and I'm fine with them. I leave them alone - they leave me alone. I even tried my best when I was younger to catch them before I realized I'm not a Retriever and it just made me look silly. But the birds I'm talking about are monstrous birds like ducks.....swans....stuff like that. They're just NOT normal birds! These things are freakin' scary! I heard somewhere that they think birds evolved from dinosaurs. Dinosaurs!! I don't need anything with dino DNA near me! They're just deadly looking. They've got these big ol' claw feet and sharp razor-like beak lips and flap these big hairy wings around [shudder]. And they FLY! That's just not right.

I was introduced to some baby "ducks" in the Spring while at a visit to where I was born. Judy had 4 ducks out there and I knew they were trouble from the first whiff of duck breath when I walke
d into the grooming room. I decided that the best tactic to deal with this was to completely ignore their existence - don't even LOOK in their direction. I just kept repeating to myself that if I don't make eye contact with them then they don't really exist....since it worked so well for the cicada's. Well, that only worked as long as someone wasn't picking up the evil pieces of yellow fluff and holding them out for me to see. Naturally - Joni did this again to me, just like with those stupid bugs. What possesses someone to do this is just beyond me. It's like she has a sadistic illness or something. I kept avoiding looking directly at them and they finally put them back into their jail-like cell they were keeping them in. THAT should tell them something, you'd think! They're ferocious enough to be kept in a cell, but safe enough for me to get them shoved in my face?

They were gone the next time I was there, I was relieved to see. Then Joni and Jud
y took me out to "the pond" (whatever that was) out front with my mom, Lucy, and the big black lab, Bash. I chased Lucy around for a little while, then when we stopped I was next to the BIGGEST HUGEST puddle I've ever seen. This was "the pond". WOW! I was thinking this was pretty cool when I saw it - a huge white bird with a long loopy neck. My first thought was that it HAD to have a long necked Brontosaurus ancestor! It was on top of the huge puddle heading directly at me with a murderous glint in it's dead black eyes and a 6-foot wingspan! Then I noticed the 4 ducks! No way!! They were HUGE now and were heading towards me in a flanking maneuver that was sure to entrap me and this time there was NO jail-like enclosure for them around!

Then Bash jumped IN the pond!


At first I thought he was protecting me from them and my heart just warmed at the thought that he loved me so much he was willing to selflessly give up his own life and let them torture and eat him up, thus giving me a chance to escape to freedom. I vowed right there to name my first-born puppy "Bash" in his honor. Then I remembered I was spayed, but I could just make a donation somewhere in his name. But no....all he did was frolic in the pond next to them. That's right...he was a collaborator and a double agent - maybe even a "pod Bash"! This was all just their plan to get me! I quickly backed even further away so that Joni was between me and the puddle. I think she might be able to handle herself....and if they ripped her apart first , well....such is life. Then Bash came out of the puddle looking like the creature from the Black Lagoon and I just KNEW he was coming to get me. I didn't know what would happen next - would an alien-like bird burst out of his stomach? Maybe he'd suddenly sprout wings and a beak and come after me as a horrifyingly huge mutant lab-bird creature. I just kept on moving back even further and further. I hated that Joni and Judy were laughing at me and trying to entice me towards the pond/puddle and the evil birds again, but I'm certainly not stupid enough to come to them and see what would happen. I just kept hoping I'd wake up and this would all just be a horrible nightmare.

Finally, they got tired of laughing at me and we moved on from the pond, but my heart was pounding all the way back to the house. That's when Joni figured out that I am NOT a country girl - I'm really not a "city girl" since that sounds so downtown-ish - so it was decided that I'm a "Suburban girl". Sounds nice, doesn't it? I'd much rather see lawns and cats and tree's and kids around then these nightmarish big bird things.

A slight update:
We visited the pond again today while out on errands and Joni wanted to get some photos of my bird terror. [rolling my eyes at this!] We didn't take Bash with us this time, so he's not in any of the photos. I tried my best once again to avoid looking at those evil birds again. I was also finding duck feathers ALL over the grass. Ewwwww. I had to look very carefully to avoid walking on those.

I sat on the picnic table for a little while, but refused to look at the swan that was quietly stalking me from behind.

For some unknown reason - perhaps she's just a bit dense - Lucy seems to not understand the danger she's in when she's out there. Look at these - she's totally oblivious that she's mere seconds from having her limbs torn off! That swan continually stalked her as she meandered along the pond edge. Notice she's got her back to the murderous bird EVERY TIME! She's clueless!

RUN, Lucy, RUN!!!!

This is me when I decided to get a bit braver and look at the swan, but was pretty jumpy every time it made eye contact with me.

Finally, in sheer terror, I just closed my eyes and went to my "happy place" and kept saying "There's no place like home...there's no place like home...there's no place like home..."

I was VERY happy to finally leave the pond - best part of the whole visit!

Here's one final photo of our visit today - Tyssen and me hanging out in the yard. Ty's being silly thinking he can climb the tree and get the squirrel he is convinced is up there.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tyssen Makes His Grand Appearance! Hold the Applause....

Tyssen here. Jada is really tough to move away from the keyboard! I had to keep reminding her this is a TEAM effort here! And I just found out that while I was getting my beauty rest, she went ahead and posted again! That Keeshond history thing was supposed to be a collaborative effort! I suppose it won't be believed that "I" did nearly all the research for that, but now she'll get all the credit. Humph!

I'm 2 years old - and 2 years younger than Jada. Both my parents were great Champions and I'm following in their footsteps. (Sure, both of Jada's parents were great Champions also, but this is all about me now!)

Our mother is named Lucy (Am. Can. Ch. Trumpets Spirit In The Sky Esprit HOF) and my dad's name is Bounce (Ch. Trumpet's Jumpin' Jack Flash) (Jada's dad is Andy - Am. Can. Ch. Foxfair Excalibur, BISS)

Yeah, I'm a "show dog" but don't think that I'm some empty headed pretty boy. More about that later.

My name "Tyssen" does mean "firebrand" and they gave a great deal of of thought to my name. I was part of the "fire" litter, so every one of us has "fire" in our registered name. My breeder/co-owner/handler, Judy, wanted my call name to have something to do
with "fire" also. Lots of names were tossed around. Joni wanted names Judy didn't want (Kolby and Mavrik were tops on the list - and boy, did she really try hard to find a "fire" connection!) while Judy wanted "Magnum", which Joni didn't like. Joni finally discovered after days and days of research that the name "Tison" meant "firebrand"....and the rest was history. Actually, that's kinda of an interesting spelling, isn't it? The other spelling considered was "Tiessen", but everyone seemed to like the way we did it in the end. At least it's not "Tyson" and forever connected to Mike and chicken!

Y'all probably won't believe it, but it's hard work to go to these shows and look good. I put in a lot of long hard hours doing this! The practicing isn't bad, but ENDURING all the work that is being done to me is the tough part!! Let's see....I get my "show bath" about a week before the big event. Sounds simple enough. HA! First I get to get up early and get line brushed out. That takes about 60-90 minutes. Then I get my nails ground down to the nubs (no kidding - and they call me a wimp! I'd love to get a hold of that grinder and grind their fingers down to stumps!) and my feet trimmed up. Then I get tossed into my bath and washed and conditioned. Then it's up on the table to get blown out. I'd guess nails and bath and blowing out take another 3 hours - then brushed again after that. I'm pretty much falling asleep on my feet as they're finishing me up! Then a day before we leave for the show I get my BLT bath....Britches, Legs and Tail. Oh, and nails again. Pretty much repeat the above scene again with half my body getting washed.

Then I'd be off to the show.....lots of strange barking dogs and smells and staying in a strange hotel room with Joni, where odd sounds and weird room smells keep me up all night. Kinda freaky to be in there with all those smells. Joni brings a blanket from home to put on top of the bed so I can have my comfy home smells, which is nice. We're up early the next morning to - you guessed it - get brushed out again! Then it's off to the show ring where I walk around the ring a few times with my breeder/handler, Judy, then stand in various places in the ring, then let some total stranger look at my teeth and feel down my body and....gasp....feel to make sure I've got all the privates I'm supposed to have. I gotta admit, that one took me quite by surprise the first few times. I just wish these folks would try to NOT hav
e ice cold hands when they do this! YEEOWWWW! [shudder]. After we pick up our ribbons we're usually done for the day, and it's a long day of hanging out in the motorhome or outside in the expen, and I can relax some before heading back to the hotel room. But the next day it starts all over again! Usually the shows lasted from 3-5 days, so you can see how exhausted I was at the end and why I pass out for the trip home! But it's not over yet! I have to get another bath the next day!

So as you can see, it's HARD being so handsome and perfect!

I got my AKC Championship in something like 5 weekends out showing. A week before I finished that I got my UKC Championship in one weekend. I'm taking a year or two off from my show career to hang around the old homestead. Officially the reason told to me and others was that I'm taking some time off to "grow up" before they "special" me, but that's just absurd since I'm exceptionally mature right now. I'm still lurking around hoping to find out the real reason.
Maybe someday they'll let me get my Canadian Championship and I can be an "International Star!" Not to mention I'd LOVE the stamp in my passport, eh! Jada would be soooo envious (although she'd never admit it).

I'm also an aspiring Agility athlete. I say "aspiring" since Joni thinks I should. I think I'm great at it already - I can guess exactly what obstacles she wants me to do at class - but she keeps thinking I need to slow down and wait for her to
tell me what I already know. Sigh. Someday she'll get it - I'll just have to keep working on her. I've suspected for awhile that she just changes the obstacle order when it suits her to make it appear as if I'm not doing what she claims she wants me to do....I suppose she thinks this makes her look better. And I'm sure she'll sometime figure out how to keep up with me as I run at top speed - after all, it's HER job to keep up with me and have those treats handy! It's like I've got to keep re-training and re-training her! For awhile I slowed down and tried my best to stick with her, but that got kinda dull after awhile. Who wants to go in 1st gear when I can drop it into 5th gear and tear the course up! So I'm back to racing fast again, and hoping she'll keep up!

Sheesh - the things we have to do for our people. I really wanted to do the next Agility trial, but she thinks I'm not ready. We did Snooker in class last night and I was amazing! I'm not sure how Joni managed to knock down a few bars here and there, least I'm assuming it was her. It certainly couldn't have been ME! I did detect a slight breeze in there, so maybe that was it. Perhaps it is better we wait until she figures out how to do this stuff....I don't want her embarrassing me out there with her pitiful efforts!

I've heard a few whispers about Jada maligning my intelligence in her posts here. HA! I laugh in her face! She just thinks she's smarter than me! But while she likes to show off how smart she is, I prefer to keep that fact hidden to have an advantage over any given situation that might come up! Think about it - it's a brilliant plan! I pretend to be not as quite as sharp as Jada, so less is expected of me. Then when I decide it's time to let them have a glimpse of brilliance they are astonished and gush all over me and I get a bunch of extra treats! Pretty friggin' brill
iant, isn't it! But shhhhh - don't tell anyone my secret!

Lessee....what else can I share in this first post? I like to "talk" alot but so far Joni has acted as if she doesn't understand what I'm saying. I've tried every sort of "whoo-hoo" I can think of and she still doesn't get it. Then she has the nerve to laugh in my face and pet me as if I'm the village idiot and just doing this for her amusement. I'm deadly serious with the very deep and personal conversations I'm trying to share with her and I get laughed at! I'm always shaking my perfect head at her
obtuseness (look it up - ha!). I suppose I have no one to blame but myself for pretending I'm not as brilliant as Jada. That's one drawback to that tactic!

Before I end this to go pass out in front of my fan, check out my stunning puppy photo - wasn't I just irresistible!! Then a photo from last Fall, after finishing my illustrious class dog career. Not hard to believe a youngster so cute could turn out so damn hunky, is it?

(Had to throw that in because it'd drive Jada nuts thinking I spelled it "Chow" - ha!)

What a Difference 4 Months Makes!

These photos were taken 4 months apart.

In the first photo, Tyssen is only 3 months old....

In this next photo, Tyssen is 7 months old.

They sure don't stay puppies long!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A bit of Keeshond History and other Important Stuff

Jada here again. Yeah, I know you're all anxious to hear from Tyssen, but you'll just have to wait awhile longer. Uh...he's still trying to compose his thoughts. Yeah, that's it. And he has no idea I'm doing another post so soon, so he doesn't realize he's missing out right now. So I'll just let him lay in a coma in front of his fan awhile longer.

A few things to get straight right off the bat. We're Keeshonds and proud of it!
Most folks have no idea what a "Keeshond" is when they see us. We hear the craziest things out there. Some think we're a Chow, which distresses us. I guess they see a bunch of fur and a curled tail and something in their brain screams CHOW!!! Recently we've been hearing "Siberian Husky", which really annoys me. A HUSKY? Puh-lease. Just imagine if someone mistook YOU for a chimpanzee, orangutan or ape and you'll see what I mean. Not that there's anything wrong with Chows, Huskies or Apes....(sheesh...I despise political correctness and can't believe I'm saying that!)

I had Joni make this graphic up...not to belabor the point, but this is just something that I've got to get off
my chest. These are from the AKC site.
Notice the differences? Seems pretty obvious now, doesn't it?
So to get this straight....we're not an oddly colored Chow and we're not a long-haired Husky.

Okay. Now back to our Keeshond subject. We hear our breed name mispronounced ALOT, but have learned to live with it, although our people will still try to correct your
pronunciations. Out of the 350 plus purebred dogs, the Keeshond has the most mispronounced name. "Case-hond", "keesh-hond", and even "keesh-hound" (the most popular) are all improper pronunciations. The proper was of saying our breed is "kayz-hond" or "kayz-hawnd" . The plural version is "kayz-honden" or "kayz-hawnden".

We're generally a medium sized dog with a plush double coat of black and silver fur, a ruff around our necks, and a curled tail. We originated in Germany and were originally called a German Spitz. We're closely related to other German Spitzs like the Pomeranian and Wolfspitz.

Basically, we're an old breed and one of the few that's always been so awesome as to always have been bred to be companions and watchdogs. We have no real career other than that. We're not hunters or killers, we see no sense in chasing sheep and cows around (eww - and step in sheep or cow doo-doo?) or to retrieve a bunch of dead ducks (hate feathers in my mouth. Actually, I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm scared to death of ducks, dead or alive!) and have no real desire to hunt criminals and make arrests. I think it's the food thing....maybe I'd consider it if there was FOOD involved, but from what I hear these dogs love doing this for what they consider "fun" - so they can have it. We much prefer to hang around our people.

My ancestors in the 1600s and 1700s were used as watchdogs on boats, barges and farms. In Germany they were known as "Wolfspitz", in France they were known as "Chiens Loup", in Italy they called us "Lupini" (hey, sounds pretty cool, doesn't it?) and in Holland they called us Keeshonds. That name came from the 18th century Dutch patriot named Cornelis (Kees) de Gyselaer, who was the leader of the Dutch rebellion against the House of Orange. Lots of political stuff here, which I won't bore you with (yawn!). We became the rebels symbol and when our side lost, we almost disappeared since folks didn't want to be associated with the losing side's symbol anymore. I find this rather pathetic, but that's the way it was.

The word "keeshond" is a two part word. "Kees" is the nickname for Cornellius de Gyselaer, and "hond" is the Dutch word for dog. Not too exciting in terms of how our name came around, but that's the history. Some also referred to the Keeshond as the "Dutch Keeshond", the "Dutch Barge Dog" and the "Smiling Dutchman". (I dunno why, but I kinda like the last one.)

Later, in England, when people started reviving our dwindling breed, we were sometimes called silly things like "Fox Dogs" and the ghastly "Overweight Pomeranian". Not that I have anything against Poms, but geez, can you come up with something better than being a big fat pom?

Let's see....what else can I say about us. We're quite brilliant and mischievous. We're very playful and quick learners, but we also get bored quickly. This is a trait of a highly intelligent dog! We're not one of those herding dog types who can do the same thing over and over and over again and be happy doing it. We GET IT quickly, but if you keep making us do it we get a bit bored and come up with antics to amuse ourselves and befuddle you. Hey, gotta keep things interesting, right?

Along those lines, we have a tendency to be known as "stubborn". We all laugh at that. Again, we're just trying to amuse ourselves and watch our people's antics as they try to overcome our "stubborn-ness". For instance - we understand everything people say, but sometimes it's just fun to hear them give us an order and we just sit there and act as if they're speaking an ancient form of Latin we've never heard before. "Huh? What's that mean?"
But the other part of this reason for them thinking we're "stubborn" is that we're so incredibly SMART we figure we know better (and we do!). We also prefer the request to make SENSE! So if they say "come", my first thought might be more along the lines of "WHY?". Surely they can tell me where I'm at and not make me walk all the way over there! Sometimes people just don't make much sense to me! I figure this is much smarter than some brainless dog that will drop everything on a dime and obey mindlessly.

Jada's Introduction to our Blog

Hey there - I'm Jada and I'm one of the Spoiled Rotten Keeshonds. I'll introduce the other one in a minute, but me first. My whole name is "Spirit's Ready for Prime Time", but that's just too long for folks to say each time, so they call me "Jada" for short. My person I live with is Joni...or so I hear. I really don't call her that, but everyone else does for some reason. I'm not sure where she got "Jada" from, or what it means.....just that "it fit", whatever the hell that means.

I've been with her my entire life after I left where I was born in the Spring of 2007. My birth home is a fun car trip away and we go out there every few weeks for a visit and I can run around with my mom, Lucy, and her person, Judy. 'Course, I get to get tortured there by getting my nails done, which I hate, but it goes quick and then I'm off playing and running again. There's a cute furry Keeshond-wannabe (a Pomeranian) there that is in love with me named Reuben, but I pretty much just ignore him.

Anyway, I digress. I'll chat about that more later when I mention all the others that are crazy about me and that's a pretty long list.

When I came to live with Joni she had another furry critter there named Beckett. He wasn't a Keeshond, but was a
curmudgeon of a Sheltie named Beckett. I'm told that if he'd met me when he was younger he'd have been crazier about me, like that's a big surprise. Did I mention everyone loves me? All I did was pretty much annoy him, but he grew to be quite fond of me. He taught me how to be nice, gentle and sweet......and I missed him when he was gone a year later.

Wasn't I an ADORABLE puppy?

Okay, a little about me. I'm simply adorable....everyone says so. I'm brilliant and have so much fun doing everything Joni wants me to do and then hearing everyone gush over my brilliance when they see this. I'm incredibly sweet.....and will do anyt
hing to make people happy. I like nothing more than being around people and hearing them gush over me. It's even better if they have FOOD! Did I mention FOOD is one of my favorite things? I'll do just about anything for FOOD, even make a fool of myself. I'll twirl for food....I'll roll over for food....I'll go to any lengths to get food! I get treats everyday...and even more when we do agility. Don't tell Joni, but I'd do agility for nothing, but if she thinks I need food for incentive or rewards...well, I certainly won't let her know differently! This summer she's been getting Popsicles, which I'm crazy about now. She'll give me a piece of it each time. Boy, I can't think of anything better in the summer! Maybe watermelon - that's a close call.

I'm an awesome Therapy Dog also! Who wouldn't like going to a place where EVERYONE'S attention is on ME and
my every blink of the eye has them wanting to pet me and give me food? And I make the sad and sick people feel a little better about life, and that's fun also. Not as fun as food, but it's right up there. Unfortunately we haven't had time to do alot of Therapy visits for awhile...just been too busy with Agillity! But we'll get back into it again.

For awhile it was just me and Joni, but we kept pretty busy. She got me involved in this crazy thing called "Agility" when I was a puppy. What fun that is - running around like crazy with my person, jumping, leaping, going thru tunnels and ramps and jumps. I was pretty happy with life just like that....but then she brought home my little brother. Yes, he's really my little bro. We have the same mom but different dads. We look alot alike, but he's got this huge monster head and is now taller than me, so it's easy to tell us apart. Most folks can't....but I figure they're just a bit dense to not see the difference.

This new fellow was an adorable fun little furball to have around and we bonded from the first moment we met. His name is "Tyssen", which means "firebrand". His whole name is "Spirit's Light My Fire", but he answers to Tyssen, Tyce, Ty, Ty-Boy, and any other n
utty way of saying his name. He even answers to the occasionally used "Monster" for some reason. He's not as smart as me, but then who is? But all in all, he's great to have around. Ty does agility also, but he's also conceited and vain about his appearance, which works for him since he goes to dog shows and someone decides if he walks around a ring and looks good doing it and gives him ribbons. Sounds easy, but they say it's tough. Apparently he's good at it, since he came home one day last fall from a dog show and insisted on being called "Champ". Yeah, I'm going to call him THAT! That's all his ego needs to hear! I just wrestled him to the ground and showed him who was really boss and since he's such a wimp, he said I didn't have to call him that. He's a pretty good little brother...just needs to be kept in his place.....which is ME being in charge. Little twerp. Typical little brother sort of stuff, though, I suppose. He'll be on this blog also...but for now I'm hogging the first post!

Oh...he did ask me to mention that his whole name is "AKC/UKC Champion Spirit's Light My Fire". Okay. I won't call him Champ, but I guess I can mention it! Secretly I'm pretty proud of him...but don't tell him that! His ego would explode! I can't wait to see what he's like when he
starts adding Agility titles to his name. I have bunches of agility titles, but you don't see ME bragging about them in this first post! I've plenty of time for that!

This photo above was from shortly after we met. As you can see, we were pretty tight from the get-go.

We -- what? Okay....I was just informed we're going for a long walk so I'll have to continue this later! Who hoo! Maybe I'll get to visit some of those cats outside! Maybe Tyssen will see a squirrel and be happy attempting to climb a tree and catch it! OR maybe someone outside will have a TREAT for us! The possibilities are endless! Later!