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Our first UKC show!

We decided to try our hand at UKC over the July 13-14 weekend! UKC is so different from CKC; the point system is vastly different, and people are less… stuffy. Lots of comfortable functional clothing around to see, and sensible running shoes for running on hard uneven ground. 

Cian worked hard, putting in his best puppy effort, and came away with the three competition wins, and more than half the points he needs for his Championship. We also got some very nice complements from a Judge. 

I’m proud of my little man, but more than proud of him for how he showed, I’m proud of how he handled the weekend. It was hot, and because I didn’t know how the day would run I had poor Cian on a lead at ringside the whole morning from 9-1 before we found out they were breaking for lunch. We didn’t actually get to go in the ring till close to 3 both days. The second day we knew better and he stayed at the setup until we were about 20 minutes out from ringtime. He travelled well, hung out with me at ringside like a champ, and was just a joy to have hanging around all weekend. 




June 29th, 2019

It’s close enough to July 1st that I’m going to say “Happy Canada Day!” since I will be travelling tomorrow and very busy on the actual holiday.

Please remember, your dog will not apreciate the fireworks, and they may not love the festivities. More dogs go missing this holiday weekend than at any other time all year long. Keep your dogs safe. Use a double door/gate system, give them something to chew and enjoy before the noise and festivities start and they’re too far gone. Use a thundershirt, difuse some oils, put on Netflix and chill with your best buddy. They will thank you in the morning when they’re still safe and sound at home. 

Safe Travels

I made a decision a few months ago that I knew was going to mean some changes for me. When I took my position at work I knew that part of my job was transporting clients, and I couldn’t do that in my Soul. For the first few months I made it work by switching vehicles with my parents, but even that wasn’t exactly going smoothly. I was buying time while I did some research, seeing what was on the market. Finally I had narrowed it down to two vehicles, and I went and did some test drives. There was one clear contender at the end of the first drive. But that wasn’t all I was thinking about. 

I have harped again and again about safe travelling with dogs. Not only are loose dogs projectiles in an accident, but a dog that is wiggling around in your car is a dangerous distraction. * Side Note * I have a good friend who is a police officer, and he has been handing out distracted driving fines to people driving with dogs out of crates in the car if he can see the dog moving in the vehicle. 

I put almost 4000KM a month on my vehicle, 2500KM of that is with the dogs in the car, most of that being highway travel. I had some serious decisions to make when it came to a new vehicle, and one of them was how was I going to contain my dogs? I had Dog-it crates and PetSmart crates as spares, and for regular use I had RuffTough - now RuffLand - crates, but I found they lacked ventilation. The cost of having them - the RTs - customed in the States then shipped was going to be astronomical, but I still wasn’t writing that option off yet. I kept looking, and I kept on coming back to the issue of wanting to be able to see out my back window; something I haven’t been able to do in years! I spend quite a bit of time driving with clients, and I want to know that I’m as safe as possible with them in the vehicle. 

For years I’ve looked at Variocages. I didn’t have room for one in my Soul, but I saw them as a possibly viable option with a larger vehicle if I wanted to keep my back seats avaiable for passengers. Now having the backseats available wasn’t just a want, it was a must with my job! 

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So this is what my setup looks like now! I spoke with Norm at BravePoint Kennels. He listened to my concerns, talked about options I had available to me, and gave me a great deal on both the cage and the drawer. The drawer is quite possibly the best thing ever, allowing me storage space for all my gear that I need for class and basic travel. When I go away for a weekend I still lose at least half the backseat to gear, but that’s a given for any away trip. 

This weekend coming is my first away weekend since I started my new job, and I am so looking forward to it. It’s the PSD trial in Syracuse, and we leave tomorrow morning after I do a caregiver introduction. Today I have to bathe Caoimhe, finish packing my gear, and load up the car. Can’t.Wait!!!

I have been told...

This post is about three products and a half dozen or so tips to manage the summer heat. 

The first, is sunscreen… Just wear sunscreen. Find one that works for you and put it on. Skin cancer is no joke. 

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Ventlocks are the new product that I adore lately. They allow me to walk away from my car with the back hatch open and I don’t have to worry about the dogs. The 24” allows for plenty of airflow through the hatch and windows, and I also give the dogs a shade screen and a fan for their crates. I can also put on their Cool Coats. They stay quite comfortable without having to run the AC. 

Stay hydrated. Yesterday it was stupid hot; 30 degrees before the humidex and that was afer a week of it being 10-14 degrees feeling like 7. It was awful out yesterday, but Cian and I came out relatively unscathed - sunscreen not holding up notwithstanding - because we kept up the water intake. I will often throw some broth cubes in the cooler that I can add to the dogs’ water pail in their crate on really hot days. I want them to keep drinking. 

The dogs love their pool. I have a little splash pool from Canadian Tire that I fill several times a day for the dogs when they’re outside. They love to walk through it, lie in it, and just generally play and keep cool in it. They also use it as their own personal giant water bowl. 

Sometimes I will freeze bones or chicken or turkey necks within big blocks of ice. I’ve also seen some people use their dogs’ favourite toys. It will give the dogs something to do while keeping them cool. 


Cian’s First Points


My brat had a great first weekend out. His first day in the ring he took best of breed over two adult male specials, going on to take a group 4th and a best puppy in group. My little rockstar! 

I haven’t mentioned lately...

I haven’t talked about my job lately, but today is the day. Towards the end of last year I felt like I was in a rut. Work was the same thing day after day. The residents changed - as is the nature of Long Term Care - but when it came right down to it I wasn’t feeling the joy the same as when I started a year before. Then one of my co-workers asked me if I had heard of Nurse Next Door.

Nurse Next Door is a home care company, but that’s where the similarities end with regards to every other home care out there. Minimum 3-hour blocks and dedicated lead caregivers are just a few of the ways they are different; they believe that those that have been blessed with longevity of life deserve to age how and where they wish; they believe in Happier Aging. 

If we remember back to any Psych course we’ve taken, we can remember the importance of self-industry throughout the lifetime. We also know that companionship and communication are vital to our mental health. When clients are aproved for a 45-minute visit and that’s the only person that client has to talk to in a day… that just doesn’t jive with me. I value communication. I value companionship and quality time. I value self-industry. So why was I staying in a job that, though I didn’t hate, I didn’t really love? I was afraid. It took a lot of self-reflection, but finally I decided that what did I have to lose!? So I took the leap! 

I love my job! I have a staff management position that also entails care planning. My official title is Care Designer. A lot of weeks I work double the hours I did at my last job, and I love that. There really is no better thing in life than waking up excited about what you get to do that day. To top it off, I get to work some of my hours from home. I didn’t realize how much I missed having a home office until I got to work in it again. The dogs are happy, I’m happy, and I’m much more productive. 

But, what does all of this have to do with a cute picture of Chaos and I? This morning I left the house early to head to my client’s home. I was just turning onto their road - they live in a rural area - when I saw two young foxes playing in the yard. I pulled over for a few minutes to watch them, and it reminded me to treasure the little moments. 


April 26th 2019 


Clear Eyes - March 28th, 2019

The dogs all had eye exams on Monday, and all came away with clear eyes. 

Eyes are one of the many things that we test before breeding dogs. I’ve talked again and again about the importance of health testing, and I’m going to do it yet again. Health testing matters. Let me tell you why. 

My parents have very good friends of theirs that have a dog. He’s a little black poodle mix, and he has been blind since he was 18 months old. His mother was also blind before she was two. They have hereditary cataracts. 

There is no perfect dog or perfect pedigree, but there are genetic disorders that we can breed away from. Knowledge is power, and the more we know the more we can make informed choices. So we health test; eyes, hips, genetic panels and more. We take that information and work with it, so that we can produce healthier puppies. 


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!! This year has been so huge it’s been unbelievable. The Spice Crew are growing up in their new homes, Caoimhe’s health testing is underway for the big plans for 2019,  and Cian came home early December. Eventually I’m going to get a page for Cian, but work has had me on overtime every chance they get, so the website is taking a bit of a backseat for a bit. 

2019 will see us with one litter, out to trials with Caoimhe, and Cian will be hitting the show ring come the spring. I am so excited for what this year is going to bring, both personally and professionally. I’m back to classes in January -while still working full-time- so time will be tight, but bring it on!

Spooktacular Scents - October 20th, 2018

The date is a day late, but that’s because I didn’t get home until late last night. Too late to start writing a note. 

Caoimhe and I competed in our first scent trial yesterday, and we came home with some nice bling :) 

I’ve said before that the bling doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t. Our dogs don’t ask to go to trials, and they don’t care about ribbons. They care about the time spent with their owners, doing something they love together. They care about your joy. This is why it is so important to that you always give your dog a win. More on that thought another time. 

The car was packed on Friday, and Saturday morning we were up and gone way before dawn. We arrived at the site for 7:30. We got a good parking spot where we could easily crate out of the car, and I had time to check out the grounds before General Briefing. Our first class was scheduled to start for 10. 

We began with Buildings and ended with Speed. It was a “Spooktacular Trial” and was decorated accordingly. Caoimhe found the decorations to be interesting, and a bit nervy at times, but she worked through it. We came away with four Qs, and two third-placings. 


Today she’s doing a lot of flopping and dropping as I make a turkey dinner at my parents’ house. She follows me everywhere, but instead of standing or sitting she’s lying down and fast asleep wherever she drops. She’s precious, and I adore her. And this was an amazing start to our competitive career. 


October 1st, 2018

I’m thinking about “C” names again… 

Pet homes have a hard time understanding a breeder’s numbers. I remember when I first started talking to breeders that I was fluxomated by their having 5+ dogs, some as many as 12! For the most part these were house dogs, and I just couldn’t imagine having that many dogs in the house. Well, jokes on me now, because those numbers are staring me in the face. 

I was sitting at a friend’s kitchen table on saturday evening, talking about our dogs and where we both want to take our programs. She also has more than the average pet home numbers, and we were talking about management, specifically of our bitches. It’s interesting for us because our bitches are all similar ages (Chaos is 5 years old, Chelsie is 18 months, and Hazel is 6 months) so we compare notes a lot. Pack dynamics are fascinating. 

I am still looking for a home for Storm, and I’m also considering a Guardian home for River. There are some other changes in the works as well, but that is for another day. 

In the meantime, Fall is here and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve got fresh straw in the backyard, and it’s finally cool enough to enjoy the outdoors again! Time to get in some camping with the puppies before winter gets here. 


© Shari Joanisse 2019