I can’t believe that it was 6 years ago today that Spirit joined our family. She had such a fearful and stressful drive home with us that I thought we had broken her. She shivered, drooled and sat frozen with fear the whole way home. She even refused food (for those that know Spirit, food is the most important thing in the world to her). I took her straight into the backyard and once I put her on the ground she quickly recovered her composure and inhaled any and all food offered to her. I knew we had a fearful puppy but it was comforting to see that she also recovered quickly. She has grown into a big, shiny beautiful black girl.
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We spent this weekend at the Battle River Canine Association rally obedience trial in Camrose. I signed Spirit up just to give her some experience in the trial environment. She can get anxious and reactive around other dogs so I wanted her first trial to be somewhere relatively close to home giving us the opportunity to just take her home if she was overwhelmed. She amazed me. There were only minor signs of stress and I was able to quickly focus and redirect her. Not only did she successfully complete her trial each day with a qualifying score, she earned her Novice title with scores of 92, 96 and 95. On Friday she also got a ribbon for Second in Class. She is now officially known as Tailspin’s Winter’s Spirit RN . Not bad considering we just finished our introductory rally course a couple of weeks ago. Yahoooooooooo Thank you to Judges Karen Brearley, Margaret Chandler, Marie-Johanne Cloutier.
We received our official Advanced Title in the mail today. I didn’t realize it but we received a gold level title which means we scored 96% or better in each of the disciplines. Her started titled was a bronze so I guess it means that we are improving as a team….yeah us!!!
We were up bright and early this morning to drive to Red Deer to participate in Nosey Pawtner’s Sporting Detection Dog Association trial. We had a slow start but a great finish with lots of swag.
Spirit got a second place on the interior search component, 2nd place overall and she got her Advanced title today. So proud of my big girl. So now we have to move from the amateur steam and start competing in the working/professional scenting dog stream.
Throughout the photo shoot she had her eye on the cookie and couldn’t wait for permission to gobble it down.
Next week we are going to take a carting clinic and we needed a cart for the class. We are very lucky that Spirit’s breeders Coreen and Steve Johnson from Tailspin Bernese Mountain Dogs generously offered to lend us one of theirs. We went to their acreage on Sunday to fit Spirit with her harness and cart.
Since we have been doing kick sledding I was worried that Spirit would want to take off running with the cart rather than walking in a nice heel beside me. She was a little spooked by the metal supports running along side her body but I think she did ok.
Of course it was freezing cold and windy for us two legged folks but the dogs didn’t mind. Here is a quick video of her first reaction to being attached to the cart and then her first experience pulling.
I can’t believe that she is two years old already. Time is just flying by. She got a huge, delicious dino bone to celebrate.
You can get a perspective on just how huge the bone is when you see it beside her giant 97lb body. One end is the same size as her head. She can barely carry it in her mouth.
This is not exactly a “Wordless” Wednesday post. This weekend Spirit participated in her first dog show. It was the Northern Alberta Canine Association All Breed show. Everything started Thursday night when Coreen (the breeder) gave Spirit her second bath and groom in less than 2 weeks. She was a lot more relaxed and less stressed for this bath than her first one. Even the high powered blow dryer didn’t phase her.
On Friday morning, Jo-ann (the handler) showed her and Spirit worked with her beautifully. So well in fact that she got a best bitch in the 6-9 month old puppy category. She then went on to compete with all the winning female Berners and she got reserve (second best) which gave her two ribbons for the day. Coreen and Joanne were so happy with how well she showed that they nicknamed her “Little Rock Star”. Spirit’s Mom Sophie was amazing in the show ring and her nickname is “Rock Star”
On Saturday morning Spirit won best bitch in the 6-9 month old puppy category again. Then she went on to compete in the winners bitch category only this time she won it beating the dog that beat her on Friday. The win gave Spirit her first two points towards her championship.
I was in total shock. Spirit was absolutely horrible for Jo-ann…the complete opposite of Friday. She constantly sat in the ring and she was just not listening to her. I barely had a chance to digest the win when all of a sudden Jo-ann is handing me the leash and telling me that I have to show Spirit in the best of winners category because she will be competing against her older brother Axl (previous litter) and she had to show him instead.
It was almost a blessing because I had all of about 30 seconds to panic and then I had to grab the leash and run into the ring. I felt like a fish out of water. I kept apologizing to the judge for not understanding what she wanted me to do. The good news is that Axl won the best of winners category and it gave him all the points he needed to finish his championship.
Next came the best puppy in breed category where the girls compete against the boys for the first time. I handled her again. Her brother handsome Samson had won his 6-9 month old puppy category too so that meant Spirit had to compete against her brother. Although she won, it was a bitter sweet victory. It just didn’t feel right competing against her beautiful brother.
Spirit’s first in the Winners’ Bitch category meant that she moved on to compete in the best puppy in the working group. Since she was so horrible for Jo-ann and worked beautifully for me both times, we all decided that I would show her in the afternoon. She competed against 8 or 9 different working dog breeds and she came in fourth which gave her a beautiful big white ribbon.
Here is her official winners picture.
Sunday morning was an exact repeat of Friday except that I showed her in both rounds. She got a best bitch in the 6-9 month old puppy category and reserve (second best) in the winners bitch category which gave her another two ribbons. In total she won six small and 1 large ribbon.
Here are just a few more pictures of Tailspin’s Berners at the show:
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This morning Spirit and I took a Bait and Gait class as a warm up for the mock show this afternoon. She did pretty well for a dog that loves to sit….a big no no for the show ring. Then this afternoon the handler took her and worked her in the mock show. Her brother Samson, her big brother Axel (same parents first litter) and the breeders’ Newfie Ryder were all in the same show. Axl made it to best in show but lost to a beautiful Golden.
Spirit was so wiggly every time the judge touched her and when she tried to look at her bite. She made the cut for the female working dog group but ended up losing to a cute boxer. I think it was a great experience for her that hopefully will have her better prepared for the real show. The handler Jo-ann said she did a good job so hopefully she will do her breeders/grandparents (Steve and Coreen Johnson of Tailspin Bernese Mountain Dogs) proud next week at the Northern Alberta Canine Association all breed show. This video is for you Coreen since you didn’t get the opportunity to see your grand-daughter “strut her stuff” in person.
This afternoon I took Spirit back to the breeder (Tailspin Bernese Mountain Dogs) so that Coreen (Grandma) could see her. I could see that Spirit definitely remembered her and was curious to be back at her birth home.
She was very excited to see her Mom Sophie again….unfortunately the feeling wasn’t mutual. All was not lost because Jake, a beautiful 6 year old Berner, was quite nice and gentle with her. She looks dwarfed by his huge head and 110 pound body.
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This beautiful girl is Spirit’s Mom Sophie, more formally known as Can Grand Champion Werlwind’s Playing with Fire. Spirit’s registered name is Tailspin’s Winter’s Spirit. Here are a couple more pictures of Sophie at different shows.
This handsome fellow is the sire Bacchus or Am GCH Alpenspirit Sweet Celebration. I didn’t realize until I was typing this blog post that Spirit’s name is also part of the Kennel name of her Dad….that’s neat and totally by accident. While it is lovely that both of her parents are grand champions, the most important things for me was to find a breeder who really cared about their dogs and participated in Berner Garde. Berners have so many health issues and such a short life span. After watching our poor Tango suffer through DM, it was important that our breeder tested her dogs to see if they were carriers of any of the major diseases Berners are prone to. Healthy body and good disposition are the most important to me.
I went through severe withdrawal last week because we didn’t get any pictures of the puppies at 8 weeks old. I saw this one on Facebook yesterday and just fell in love all over again. It’s their official 9 week old picture and the last one of the litter together. They are starting to move on to their adoptive homes now. Look at them….so beautiful. Spirit is the one on the far left. Her brother, the one of the far right, is just gorgeous with the wide, white flash on his forehead. He would have been my first pick but he was already spoken for. Only 4 more sleeps until Spirit comes home with us!!!!
A big thank you to Coreen and Steve Johnson from Tailspin Bernese Mountain Dogs for allowing me to share their puppy pictures on Spirit’s blog. Soon I will be able to take all the pictures I want of our little girl…..ok…not so little.
We had our second visit with the puppies today. It was only a few degrees below zero so we got to play with them outside. I was shocked to see how much they grew in 2 short weeks and to see their individual personalities emerge. Spirit is a little timid and quiet but she played a little with Don. They were getting over some tummy troubles so that may have contributed to her quietness. I was able to get a couple of good pictures of her.
We now have an official adoption date. Thursday, February 5th at 1830hrs. It is only 17 days away but I know it is going to feel like a life time for me. I’m used to getting my puppies much younger but I am sure she will be worth the wait.
Tailspin Bernese Mountain Dogs’ winter litter of 2014 were born yesterday…Saturday, November 29th. Here are their official birth pictures at 1 day old.
The breeder isn’t exactly sure who is who but her best guess is that Spirit in the one in the middle.
This picture isn’t any better. I know which one she is but unfortunately she is underneath ‘red’ girl.