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show ring debutante

on may 22nd, lotta, my human and i went to the city where my human used to live before she moved to the city where we live now.
we went there because my human had entered me for my first ever “official” dog show – we had taken part in “unofficial” aka training dog shows before, and since the judges in those dog shows had said they thought i was (AM!!!) beautiful , we figured we’d try a REAL dog show as well.

lotta was to be my handler at the dog show, because she’s a PRO, and my human is a klutz!
*lol*

lotta told my human that she wasn’t allowed to stand so close to the show ring (why is it called a RING when it’s a SQUARE???), because lotta thought i’d become far too excited when i saw her, and i wouldn’t be able to “behave” in the show ring.
so my human was left wandering aimlessly through the venue where the dog show was held while lotta and i strutted our stuff before the judge.

my human stood at a distance at talked to an acquaintance while lotta and i were in the ring, but she couldn’t help but sneaking peeks at us from time to time.

this is what she told me when she was allowed back with us:

“i peeked at you almost the whole time, and i was VERY happy when i saw the ring secretary raised the red paddle, because then i knew that you’d been awarded first prize in the “quality judging” – after all, i’d been up since quarter past five, worrying about you being awarded a THIRD prize (which would mean that the judge was BLIND!)…
then the ring secretary raised the *pink* paddle too, and that meant you’d also been awarded a “ck” – which is short for “champion quality”!
of course that was what i’ve thought of you from the very first time i saw you, because you *are* the most beautiful toller girl EVER, sienna, but it *was* NICE (understatement of the year!) to know that an “official” judge agreed with me on this!
*grinning*

after the ck paddle had been raised i really wasn’t expecting anything else to happen for you, because you had tough competition from several other  – older – toller girls.
i continued talking to my acquaintance, and out of the corner of my eye i see lotta becoming VERY happy, grinning like mad, while she waved something blue and yellow. it took several seconds for it to register with me, and my initial thought was “??? that can’t be, can it???” but it WAS – *you* had won the “certificate” (a fourlegger needs three “certificates” to become swedish show champion, so now you “only” need *two* more!), and the “madness” didn’t end there, because *then* lotta started waving something red and yellow, which turned out to be the bob (best of breed) ribbon!
sienna…
the judge saw what *i* see, and he thought *you* were the most beautiful of the ten tollers that were at the dog show!!!

imagine that: that little “junior” toller (the name of the show “class” i entered you in – because of your age – is “junior class”. the next dog show you will be in the “young dog class”, because by then you’ll over 15 months old) beat them all!!!
AMAZING…

when lotta told the judge that this was your first “official” dog show, he just SMILED…
*grinning*

i called siw (your breeder), but at the last minute before she answered the phone, i handed the phone over to lotta, because i was far too emotional to be able to say something “sane”…
after lotta had told siw how you did at the dog show, she handed the phone back to me, and i talked to siw.
we shared the joy of your success, and it was amazing!
i thanked her for entrusting me with you, and i said ‘i WORSHIP this dog, but you already KNOW that…’, and she said ‘yes”.
*grinning*
after that, siw told me that your mom matilda had also been awarded a “certificate” and the bob ribbon at her first “official” dog show, so you continue to walk in your mom’s paw prints!

dearest sienna…
i am so HAPPY and so PROUD…
and i am so GRATEFUL that i have been given the privilege to share your life…
and this has NOTHING to do with what happens at dog shows or other trials or competitions or classes – you KNOW this, and *i* KNOW this, and so does *everyone* who knows us…
but it WAS nice to hear lotta say ‘i actually think she has the potential to become a show champion…’!
*giggling*

THANKYOU for a WONDERFUL day, sienna, and THANKYOU to lotta for doing such a wonderful job showing you to the judge!”

so, that was my human telling you about my first time in the REAL show ring.
what *i* have to say about that day?
i was TOTALLY beat after having had to concentrate so hard for so long to behave, so i slept during the hour-long car ride home, and then i slept right through the evening and the night!
and: meatballs ftw!
*grinning*

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dearest sienna,

today you’ve been a part of my life for a whole year.
it’s been a year since Life and Light returned…

i love you SO much, little girl…
you’re my EVERYTHING, and i’d be completely lost without you…
SO many memories are fighting to be the *first* memory to be acknowledged and shared now that it’s time to summarize our first year together – where to start?

at the beginning.

i’m still totally convinced that it was totte who lead me to you, sienna, and i *know* he was the one who told me your name.
the day i got to bring you home was a WONDERFUL day!
and after that came a few hectic weeks when you and i went with lotta and her beardie girls EVERYWHERE, and in between the field trips you and i struggled to find our routine when it comes to everything: visits to the little girls’ room, food, playtime and cuddling.
and at the same time i was busy mourning totte – the grief after losing him was like an open wound, and it HURT.
i mopped after your (fairly few) “accidents” and struggled to get you to eat, and all the while my heart was aching and my tears were flowing…

the day i scattered totte’s ashes out in the sea near lotta’s parents’ summer house (where he LOVED to play) was incredibly hard, but you were with me, little girl, and we were surrounded by people who knew and know how much i LOVED and LOVE totte, and what he meant to me.
i put my hand in the water and touched his fur one last time, and then we went into shore again, where you were waiting for me – you couldn’t wait to share the next part of my life with me!

for a long time you were “instead of totte”, but some time in november (about six months after i brought you home) i woke from my “grief sleep”, and you were SIENNA, MY FOURLEGGER, and no longer “instead of totte”…

you’re a WONDERFUL fourlegger, sienna!
“if it’s not a toller, then it’s just a dog” – and they are SO right about that, sweetie!
*grinning*
your personality is so big that it would be enough for four or five “ordinary” dogs…

with your help i’ve become a VERY much more active person – who would have even DREAMED of guessing i (the world’s biggest couch / computer potato) would VOLONTARILY go for hour-long walks, and prepare half-mile long scent trails for you to find and follow???

scent tracking – your FAVO(U)RITE thing in the whole world, sienna!
you’re SO good at that, little girl, and it’s VERY fascinating to see the change in you when we put the tracking harness and tracking line on you – the sienna who normally is so all-over-the-place and, well, HYPER, turns into this überfocused, thorough tracking virtuoso!

soon you will make your debut in the show ring, and i’m starting to get nervous!
*i* am not going to be your handler – we’re lucky enough to have “pro handler” lotta to help us with that – but STILL!
you ARE the most beautiful toller girl in the whole world, and i’m HOPING the judge isn’t BLIND to your beauty!

to get to share your days is a GIFT, little girl, and i look forward to every day we have together!
i’ve learned SO much from you, and each new day with you is making me a better person.

there’s so much i could write about our first year together, but when it comes down to it, there’s really no need to write anything else but this:
i LOVE you, little girl, and every day i thank The Good for you.

ALL MY LOVE, ALWAYS,
your human

yep – for THREE WHOLE WEEKS my human and i were cut off from the outside world (well, ALMOST!), and the tech heads over at our internet provider couldn’t figure out what was wrong, until yesterday, but now we’re BACK – did you miss us aka ME?

obedience class report

well.

the obedience class was LOADS of fun!
well, apart from the part when this crazy drooling boxer MONSTER (possibly rabid? nah – my human says boxers DO that; drooling is part of the boxer “identity”, apparently: “boxer’s my name, and drooling’s my game”, kinda…) by the name of agnes tried to KILL me.
talk about anger management issues…
chill, girl – CHILL!

i was having A LOT of fun playing with my human – our instructor aka my human’s best friend lotta told us to play with our human, to BOND with her or him.
so i did – i got my human to wrestle with me, and push me and clap her hands for me and all that good stuff, and all of a sudden here comes the boxer express, the locomotive with a mission to KILL, agnes,  CHARGING at us and ATTACKED me!
for NO reason whatsoever!
lotta said afterwards that agnes must have fixated on me from across the training field.

mah gawd – WHAT a circus!
i was wearing my collar and leash, because i HAVE been known to make wild dashes around the training field when i get wired enough, and this way my human thought she’d at least have a chance of catching me by stomping on the leash.
agnes was also wearing her collar and leash, and when she attacked me, i tried to get away from her by running around my human, and agnes followed me, and soon both of our leashes were securedly wrapped around my humans legs and feet.
now, my human has bad knees – i think i have told you about how *she*, too, like me, has “loose knee joints”?
and so to avoid getting her knee joints dislocated, she THREW herself onto the ground, while agnes continued to chase me.
dear lord…

my human checked me thoroughly afterwards, to make sure there was not any red on me that wasn’t supposed to be there, but thankfully i was alright.

but agnes and i will never again be in the same training group.

i think the least agnes’ minions (because they’re CERTAINLY not “responsible owners”) could have done was to apologize to me and my human.

——-

my human said she was VERY happy to see how much i have learned since last time we took this class!
*grinning*

lets not talk about how i was the only fourlegger who did a lap of honour before going to their human during recall, okay?
okay.
thankyou.

back to school!

my human and i are looking forward to tonight VERY much – it’s the night when our “everyday obedience” class starts!
yes, we attended that class last year too, but since we’re still working on some stuff that my human needs to learn before we can move on to “real” odedience training (aka COMPETETIVE obedience), we’re taking this class again.

we’re VERY excited about seeing all of our “old” friends again!

we’ve been working REALLY hard on getting me to be able to stay CALM and UNSTRESSED when i see twoleggers, and lemmetellyouthis: clicker training is a WONDERFUL training method!
clicker training is a win-win thing for me and my human: SHE gets to feel GOOD about rewarding me at the exact moment i do something SPECTACULARILY awesome (which, if i may say so myself, happens OFTEN! *lol*), and *I* get TREATS!

a while ago i did my human PROUD, and i got LOTS of treats for what i did.
this is what happened:
we were working on my ability to understand the “down” command, and then STAY down, without finding something better to do, or DIE OF BOREDOM while staying down.
(my endurance needs some work, okay?)
i was doing a FINE job of staying on the ground, and my human gave me loads of praise and treats, and everything was GOOD.
then all of a sudden this man comes walking by us, and he MUST have known we we’re WORKING, because he could hear my human telling me to stay down, and then praising me for doing so.
he KNOWS this, and YET he – in a VERY enticing and syrupy voice – whispers “well, aren’t YOU a GOOD doggie then!”, and i had to concentrate VERY, VERY, VERY hard to not want to get up and greet him, since he was whispering so sweetly to me.
my human gave the man the Evil Eye, and then she told me to stay down, and then she praised me for doing so.
so what does the (stupid) man do then?
he does the same thing AGAIN.

rinse and repeat.
more praise for me, because by now i’d figured out that that man was NOT a *nice* man, but a TEASE who WANTED me to FAIL.

my human gave the (STUPID) man the Evil Eye MUY GRANDE, and he finally walked off, smirking.

my human praised me and gave me LOADS of yummy treats, while she mumbled something about how she swears that somewhere there are villages that are missing their idiots, because they all seem to have moved to *our* city…

letter from my human

dearest sienna,

eleven months today – eleven WONDERFUL months full of life, laughter, tears, toller madness and JOY.
i LOVE you, little girl…

the past month we’ve been working VERY hard to have you learn not to be so stressed out when we meet people.
clicker training ROCKS, and you’ve gotten REALLY good at ignoring passers-by, sienna!
of course it’s still very hard for you sometimes, when we meet people you like A LOT, like the Treat lady, our neighbo(u)r janne and rigmor, but we continue with the training, and we WILL master this!

one example of how much you like people is this:
at the beginning of this week we were at your twolegged grandma’s because i was going to the optician’s to get new glasses.
as we were walking to your twolegged grandma’s house from the bus stop, we walked past a house where there were four deer standing in the backyard.
you didn’t even SEE them, sweetie, but when a family of twoleggers (with a stroller) passed us, you became VERY happy, and wanted to go up to them and say hello!
aren’t you supposed to be A LOT more interested in DEER than PEOPLE, sienna???
*giggling*

we’ve signed up for your very first OFFICIAL dogshow now – your debut in the show ring is on may 22 – i’m very much looking forward to hearing what the judge thinks about you…
but no matter what she says, sienna, i LOVE you, and to me you’re the most wonderful fourlegger in the whole world – the most beautiful, smartest and sweetest dog EVER…

a couple of weeks ago you started shedding you coat, and since we’re going to that dog show in may, i became a bit worried.
i talked to lotta, and she gave me a small bag of algae pills for you.
the first days when i gave them to you, you didn’t like them at all, but NOW…
now you seem to think of them as *treats*!
*lol*

your eating habits continue to confuse me (and everyone else): you happily eat algae pills, but turn up your nose at roast beef!
*BAFFLED*

i feel like we’re just waiting around for the snow to melt, so we can start with the scent tracking training – MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELT!!!

i keep fighting to get the energy back that “things” have sucked out of me during the past six months or so, and you’re a GREAT help, little girl – you’re always in a good mood, and drag me out for walkies and training sessions.
we’re trying to work on your retrieving skills, so you don’t forget how to do that!
*lol*

soon the “everyday obedience” class, and then we’re starting a tracking class at another canine club – YAY!

i really don’t know what yo say, because we’re doing GOOD, you and me, and right now we’re just sort of just BEING – not a lot of stuff happening right now…

i hope we’ll get to see your boyfriend sigge and his human before we start the “everyday obedience” class, because sigge and you play SO well together!

he’s one FINE looking boy, your man, sienna!
*grinning*

of course we still see lotta and her beardie girls OFTEN, and when the four of you play, things go a bit different than when sigge and you play…
when you meet the beardie girls, this is ususally what happens:
me or lotta throw snowballs for you to chase after and catch, and the beardie girls (who have almost NO interest whatsoever in retrieving games), race after you to herd you!
*snickers*

(i just “love” your cute hind legs in this photo!)

you’re like a canadian hockeyplayer when you’re playing, sienna – you tackle and wrestle, and you’re *very* “physical”, and the beardie girls are pretty much just FLUFF, so they almost *fly* when you tackle them…

dearest sienna…
you have my heart, and you have healed it.
THANKYOU.

i am the luckiest and happiest person alive, because i get to share my life with the most wonderful dog in the whole world…
i LOVE you, little girl, and i’m looking forward to every new day i get to spend with you.

all my Love, always,
your human

bananas

i LIKE fruit.
i think i’ve told you that i was crazy about apples when i was a young pup?

(this is one of my human’s favo(u)rite photos of me,
and there ARE a few photos of me out there –
lotta and my human talked about this yesterday,
and they figure lotta must’ve taken at least 5000 photos of me so far!)

i still like apples, and i also like pears, and lingonberries, blueberries, gooseberries and raspberries (i’ve even learned to pick the berries myself! *grinning*).

there’s really only been ONE type of fruit i couldn’t stand, and that’s BANANAS.

yesterday morning my human was having breakfast, and she was having (among other things) a banana.
she gave me a piece, and what happened next is so WEIRD (and frankly: VERY worrying): instead of taking the piece of banana and spitting it out unto the floor and looking at my human as if to say “WT*BEEEP!!!* – are you trying to KILL me, human???”, i ATE the piece of banana, and THEN i asked my human if i could have another piece, please?
SCARY stuff!!!
i guess this means i LIKE bananas now.
*still in shock*

the weather’s been *wonderful* the last couple of days – sunny and “warm”.
of course this means that the SNOW is disappearing – something which i have VERY mixed feelings about!
after i recovered from that first encounter, i have been totally *in love* with the cold, white stuff, and to see it melt away now is…SAD…
but my human promises me that it’ll come back “soon” (if you ask *me*, i think she’s pushing that whole “dogs live in the NOW” thing a bit too far!), and that i’ll have the WATUHR to keep me busy / happy until then!
i am NOT happy about the disappearing snow, but WATUHR…
WATUHR makes me HAPPY.
swimming is GREAT, and there’s NO swimming with all this snow and ice stuff, so…
you PROMISE me there’ll be WATUHR ans SWIMMING *soon*, human?
okay then.
*allows the snow to keep melting*

during the past week i have been working REALLY hard at training my human in giving me treats.
i use a clicker, and of course i keep all those yummy treats in my new, VERY pretty PINK treat bag.

i LOOOVE people, and so i get all excited (ÜBERexcited, you might say) whenever we meet someone – something which makes my human all tense and “worried”, because she doesn’t want anyone to think that i’m a CRAZY, UNCONTROLLABLE fourlegger.
she’s afraid that people are going to TOTALLY miss the fact that i am the kindest and happiest and friendliest fourlegger EVER, and just see THE CRAZY.

i don’t like it one bit when my human’s worried or afraid, and so i’m trying to get her to focus on giving me treats when we meet people – that way she forgets AAALL about being worried and afraid.
we’ve been working on this all week, and i think all our hard work is starting to pay off – my human’s MUCH less worried and afraid of THE CRAZY now!
*grinning*

“speaking of THE CRAZY, sienna…” – oh, stop it, human – if you want a toothbrush that bad, the store is FULL of them!
i, uh, yes…
well…
i MAY have chewed on my human’s toothbrush a bit (“i found all pieces except the brush head, sienna!”), but it was not like she treated her toothbrush like it was a VALUABLE item anyway, so how was i to know she REALLY wanted to KEEP it???
she left it on the toilet seat cover when the phone rang, and the toothpaste was smelling SOOO good, and before i knew it, the toothbrush was… “resting”, had “gone to its ancestors” and “ceased to excist” (although the toothbrush was orange and not blue, and i don’t think it was from norway either – naw, forget it!)…

my human FREAKED OUT when she realized what i’d done (there; i’ve said it: yes, it was ME – happy now?), because she’s a MASTER worrier, and images of toothbrush parts starting to poke out of my tummy flashed before her eyes.
so she called lotta – at 1am!
lotta mumbled that she didn’t think i was in any danger, and that she was fully convinced that the toothbrush head would find its way out of my body without any veterinary assistance.

did my human sleep any that night?
NO.
she kept checking on me every 12 seconds or so ALL. THROUGH. THE. NIGHT.
which of course meant that *i* didn’t get to sleep either.
*sighing*

but like lotta predicted, i am FINE.

yup, that’s right:
today i turn ONE YEAR old!!!

i don’t *feel* any different, but my human says that the festivities haven’t started yet, and that i’ll probably start noticing changes this weekend.
she’s promised me that i can have PIZZA for lunch today, and after a quick look at the menu from the pizza place, i decided that i want a pizza called “donald duck”.
(no, the pizza toppings aren’t duck or even chicken but HAM. i have NO idea what they were thinking, but, hey, i’m not going to TALK to the pizza, so i really don’t care what its NAME is! ham is MMMGOOOD – i still remember the YUMMINESS of the ham slices i, uh, BORROWED, from vaino’s bag at THE CLUB! *lol*)

but ENOUGH about FOOD, and MORE about ME!

i almost don’t remember ever being this TINY, but since my breeder siw took this photo of me when i was about one month old, i guess i really HAVE been this tiny:

so SMALL!!!

this was the first photo my human ever saw of me, and *THUD*, and it was a done deal…

from that little red sausage, i’ve transformed into THIS:

my human says time has FLOWN by, and you know how they say that “time flies when you’re having fun”?
TRUE DAT.
me and my human laugh every single day – we have A LOT of fun!

birthday gifts?
OF COURSE!
i got a REALLY nice PURPLE tracking line, so now i want all this snow we’ve gotten this winter to melt away – i want tracking season to start!!!

and then i got a REALLY nice PINK treat bag that my human clips onto her belt, so we don’t lose all those yummy treats she like to give me when i am being GOOD (aka ALL. THE. TIME. no, not really, but i try to behave when we’re together, because, come on, who DOESN’T like being praised and given treats?!),

lotta keeps ridiculing my human: “you used to HAAATE everything pink and purple and ‘girly’ . what’s happened???”
HUH?
where has lotta been the past 10 months or so???
*I* happened – that’s what happened!
i am a GIRL, and i’m a PRINCESS.
and princesses have pink and purple stuff  – EVERYONE knows this!

but when princesses are being wild and crazy (and, believe me: princesses DO get wild and crazy sometimes – OFTEN!!!), they like camo stuff too, which is why my tracking harness ISN’T pink or purple, but a LOVELY shade of hunter green!

today is my FIRST birthday EVER, and i LOOOVE life!
i LOOOVE my human, and my human LOOOVES me – life is GOOD!!!

HELP!!!

a couple of days ago, a friend of my human’s told us the most shocking thing EVER: her little doggie, yorkshire terrier boy “silver”, had been attacked by (wait for it…) A WOLF!!!

amazingly enough silver survived, although he was / is VERY badly injured.
it’s nothing less than a MIRACLE that the wolf’s teeth missed all vital organs, and the fact that the beast missed silver’s aorta by less than 1/3 of an inch is almost too incredible to comprehend…

silver was in intensive care at the V-E-T’s for almost a week, and has LOTS of bite marks and puncture wounds, but the most alarming of it all is / was that for the first few days, he had NO use of his hind legs – something which made the V-E-T fear that the wolf had damaged silver’s spinal cord.

two days ago, the V-E-T started giving up hope, and told my human’s friend that maybe it was for the best for silver if he could go to the rainbow bridge, and they actually had the trip to the bridge all booked and everything, for yesterday morning.
BUT by morning, silver miraculously had regained the use of his hind legs, which led the V-E-T to think that the temporary paralysis was due to swelling and bruising rather than actual spinal damage.
YAY!!!

silver is now FINALLY back home with his mom (her name’s ulrika), and he’s started the LOOONG road to (hopefully) a full recovery.

“why ‘HELP!!!?”, i hear you ask.
well…
the veterinary bills that silver’s mom has after the WOLF ATTACK are *HUGE*.
silver is insured, of course, but the insurance “only” covers veterinary care up to the sum of about 3,000 us dollars (and that sum is pretty “decent” when it comes to covering “every day” type injuries and accidents that fourleggers can get into, but who even THINKS about the possibility of a WOLF ATTACK, right???), and his care so far has already cost 4,5000 us dollars…

i’m NO good at begging, and neither is my human (or silver and his mom), but PLEASE – if you and your humans can help, i would REALLY appreciate it…
i’m not expecting the canine cyber community to donate ALL of the monees that are needed for silver’s care, but maybe you could ask your human to NOT buy that extra treat or toy for you this month, and instead help a fellow fourlegger out?

my human has asked her friends in the cheezfrenz community (a community that grew out of the http://www.icanhascheezburger.com website) for help as well, and the cheezpeeps know my human, and can tell you that she’s alright, and doesn’t lie or scam or steal (or beg, for that matter).
please go to the cheezpeeps’ online newspaper, the cheeztown cryer and read about silver (there’s a post called “halp a frend”, and it has a couple of photos of silver, and there will be information on how you can help posted on that site once the cheezland “banker”, lcb, sets everything up.

THANK YOU.

and, silver, buddy: hang in there, okay? you are one FIERCE fighter, and i am PROUD to know someone who fought a WOLF, and lived to tell about it!!!