Ruby’s (almost) four!

She was my first conformation dog, and I’ve learned so much!

I learned that…

It’s not as much about the conformation of the dog, as it is about the brushing, nail trimming, bathing, diet, training and your bond together.

It’s not as much about the dog as it is about the handler’s skills, knowledge, and attitudes.

It’s not as much about the dog and the handler as it is about the unique conditions of the day, the competition, and the judge.

It’s not as much about the dog as it is about luck.

It’s not as much about the dog, handler, conditions of the day and luck, as it is about love.

Enjoy her birthday video.


My life offers me many epiphanies, bolts from the blue and similar “oh my Dawg” moments. Sometimes, they stick with me and change me for the better. Other times, I nod and smile at Life’s lovely face and say ‘ I got it’ but She usually knows better.

Winning is obviously one of Life’s pleasures. Succeeding, nailing it, scoring big…these things feel scandalously awesome and are meant to be thoroughly enjoyed and never minimized.

Recently, Ruby and I won a Best in Show at a United Kennel Club dog show. I am unabashedly proud of that.

However, I didn’t learn a damn thing.

And there’s my epiphany.

I’ve always been a bit shy about making friends with Life’s best mate, failure. He intimidated me.  I just couldn’t warm up to him. So I usually do my best to avoid him and try not attract his attention at all. A strategy which is doomed to…failure.

Yesterday, after I experienced a nice, plump hunk of dog training failure,  I gathered up the shards of my confidence. I turned them over in the light, admiring their rainbow reflections as I built my new plans. That’s when it came to me.

I have never learned a damn thing from winning. As tasty as it is, it’s just the icing on a rich thick cake that’s layered and layered with spicy sweet failures.

I think I’m warming up to Mr. Failure.

He’s starting to look like a real dreamboat.

Hangin’ up our skates…

Ruby and I participated in Victoria City Kennel Club’s conformation show on August 11th and 12th,  2018, at the Saanich Fairgrounds. In spite of being utterly ‘out of coat’  she took Best of Breed, over three other bitches.

I brought her back into the show ring this spring, after a year and a half hiatus, to prepare us for the 2018 Canadian National Specialty in Edmonton. She was well received, winning four Best of Opposites in four shows and Select Female at the Specialty.

We are now going to re-focus on agility, obedience and rally fun. I may decide to bring her back into the conformation ring one day, but for now, we’re ‘hanging up our skates’.

I am very grateful to all the people who have treated us with kindness and helped Ruby and I along the way. I’ve learned a lot.




Ruby @ Schipperke Nationals 2018

Ruby and I travelled from Victoria BC to Edmonton, AB, to participate in the 2018 Schipperke Nationals; part of the Northern Alberta Canine Association’s series of shows.

She was a pleasure to travel with and a lovely ambassador for the breed, charming everyone she met.

On Friday, June 1st, she was selected Best of Opposite, under Judge David M. Kelland. I was very pleased and would have gone home happy with that. To my delight, she was also awarded Best of Opposite on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, by Judges Raymond V. Filburn, Mr. Ole Neilsen, and Sharon Newcomb.

At the Specialty show, she was Select Female as chosen by Mr. Keith Brown of New Zealand.

I saw lots of beautiful Schipperkes and met new friends. A perfect trip.




Back into the Ring

Preparing my little Schipperke to go back into the show ring as a special, late February 2018.  That’s about a year and a quarter after her CKC Championship. During that time, she’s matured very beautifully.  I’m going to be very proud to be at the other end of her leash.

Here’s a picture of her from October of 2016.  A lanky teenager.

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