Today, the Canadian Kennel Club’ letter of congratulations and our Grand Championship Certificate arrived in the mail.

I’m so proud of this little girl…

In less than four years, she has achieved her Grand Championship in conformation, Novice Rally titles in AKC and CKC, Pre Companion Dog, and Agility Dog of Canada titles. 

All this while being the sweetest Schipperke, ever entertaining and lovable.

Just twelve days ago, Ruby was blindsided as she made her way towards a show ring, when a very large dog slipped out of his handler’s control and attacked her.

I was so shaken by this experience on so many levels.

Today, I am grateful that she is alive and is recovering like the champion she is.

She’s an indomitable little Schipperke.

No farther

Rolling along, your plans as tight as rails

Beneath the iron wheels,

A painted landscape sliding past as

Stations come and go.

People rise to leave and others climb on board

Your destination’s  closer

with every singing mile of track until

A lever’s pulled.

Harsh shrieks lift

The floor beneath your feet, it tilts.

You struggle for your balance, grabbing

Anything to hold.

Jolting to a stop

this train,

Will take you,

no farther.


The unthinkable

I rose at 5 AM, excited, bathed my dog, tossed my toothbrush into my over-packed car, and headed to the ferry, bound for the dog show.  A weekend of fun lay ahead, testing our skills in the ring, playing games and maybe if all the planets lined up just right and I didn’t kick over a Rally sign, getting a scrap of ribbon for our efforts.

I was not thinking that this would be the day my beautiful and kind Schipperke will be attacked by a big muscular dog, on our way to the ring.


But it happened. The unthinkable.

Your guts might have tightened up when you read that.  Perhaps you quickly thought, thank goodness it’s never happened to me. I’m always super careful. And a dog show is not a common place for dog attacks. 

The unthinkable can happen to anyone, wherever there are dogs and people. 

Is there anything we can do to make it less likely to happen?

I wonder.

Our First Group Four

The grey sky was muddled with cloud, and the rain was determined. I’d chosen comfort over style, a rain jacket and boots over my ‘show attire’.
Ruby and I won our first Group Four under the careful scrutiny of the Australian judge, Diana Fenton, who assessed the dogs quickly and without ceremony.

She gave handlers very little time to stack their dogs, preferring to assess their structure with her hands and watch them move around the ring.

I was thrilled to be granted our first Group placement.

The next day, the skies were blue with promise. Here I am, wearing my show clothes and my very best “Give us that ribbon” face.

I love my Ruby.


The right place

We planted this lovely clematis on the north side of a shed. I’d remembered my mother’s instructions that they liked to have their roots kept cool but had forgotten the part about them needing sunshine too. It languished, a fragile stick, flowerless.
Early this spring, we moved it to a pot on our deck. Roots are still cool but now the southern sunlight shines and we have been rewarded with amazing flowers.


The surest thing I know about time, is that I don’t know anything.

It expands, contracts and stretches wide, intra-dimensionally.

Joy makes my clocks run faster, sorrow makes them slow.

Children and dogs make time flash by.

My lost ones spin out into spaceblack infinity.

Playing in my garden, stops time in its tracks.

Contemplating my first year asparagus,

Shoots me into the future.





Clenched, hunched,
Jaws clamped tight,
Brow, twisted with bitter intent
Summon bits of strength against
The rolling flow

A treacly wave that threatens to
sweep you over that edge.
Not so far away,
You can see it, just there.

You struggle to stay strong,
Planting your feet, quivering
Exhausted thighs braced against
a wave filled with broken furniture,
Cars and homes and people,
Crashing past.

The horizon disappears,
That great divide between
what is and what is not,

Breathe faster, work harder
Suffocating more, there’s
always more and more.

The tide lifts you skyward,
picks you up and sets you down,
To where you can’t remember.

On the beach, exhausted.
Gritty sand beneath your cheek
Your skin thin and wrinkled
Breathing short and shallow
And still you fight
to push it back, 
as it laps your toes.

Let time be your steed,
A milk white mare
Get on, hold tight and ride. 

Her muscles bunch and stretch
Her forelegs reach and paw the miles
Hindquarters sink, deep into the earth

Your body floats,
your arms reach out, to
bury your face in her rough mane
and ride.

Your calves grip her sides and your feet try to meet
She leaps forward, you nearly slide off
Her silken rump,

She slows and you find your balance once again
And ride.

Her fine head tosses, eyes rolled back
She’s coursing ahead,
You laugh
And let your heart leap forward with her.     

Time is a steed,
A milk white mare,
Hold on tight
And ride.


Crufts. What an amazing experience. Four days watching beautiful and brilliant dogs of every variety, performing, playing or sometimes just being with their humans.

I filled every moment I could over the four days; admiring dogs in the show ring, exploring more about each breed at the wonderful “Discover Dogs” displays, watching dogs tear around agility courses, dance with their owners, sniff out contraband and take down criminals.

There were hundreds and hundreds of commercial booths, offering an unimaginable range of dog related goods and services. There were a few for cat lovers too. I succumbed to buying a few toys and a leash. Irresistible.

Crufts was vast, sprawling and deluxe. Well organized from start to finish; the show was frankly, flawless.

I highly recommend the Crufts Experience if you like dogs, even a tiny bit. There’s something for everyone, from the incredible Golden Retriever teams and Canine Good Neighbour routines, to the grand finale, Best in Show.

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