Show Report: Trenton, NJ

I’d like to start this show report with a deeply felt “thank-you!” to Amy Preston and Caryl-Rose Pofcher.  They, individually, graciously boarded Clover and Jackson for me, so that we could make the drive down to Trenton and back carrying only two dogs, instead of four.  In a very real way, they made the trip possible.

Sunday’s show in Trenton was a regional specialty show, hosted by the Greater Valley Forge Rhodesian Ridgeback Club.  There was an entry of 72 Ridgebacks for the show.  We elected to drive down Saturday night, and drive home Sunday after the show, staying overnight in Cranbury.

Mercer Park, the show site, is amazing.  It’s gorgeous.  We went to Trenton last year, too, and I loved it even better this year — warm and sunny.  Just like last year, we had ringside parking for the van.

Cutting to the chase, here are the results:

Pike was Best of Opposite in Sweepstakes, netting us a lovely, lovely black leather show lead with black and yellow beads for a trophy, and a small cash prize.  He was also third place in his class in regular judging.


The show lead trophy came from A Bead Above, and is pictured here.

Loki was awarded Reserve Winners Dog (to a five-point major, with 25 class dog entries).  Here he’s pictured with sister Reign, who was from the same litter as Pike.  Reign was awarded Reserve Winners Bitch.  Nathan handled Loki, and breeder Lisa Hoffman showed Reign.

Loki and Reign


Loki and Reign

We went home totally thrilled with our two boys.  I’ll put a link up to the rest of the show results when they become available.

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Long overdue show report: Springfield, MA


Loki: Friday | Saturday | Sunday
Pike: Friday | Saturday | Sunday

I have zero excuse for not putting this up earlier, except that I just wasn’t in the mood to write.  Still, the shows are starting to heat up, and I spent some time updating Clover’s page to reflect her major wins better, so I can take a moment to let you know how Springfield went at the beginning of this month.

The Spring Fling cluster was held in Springfield, MA over April 3-5, 2015.  This was Pike’s first “real” show — he was in the non-competitive Beginner Puppy class at the Hartford shows (which were also held in Springfield, so it’s okay to be confused).  We decided I would handle Pike, and Nathan would take Loki again like he had at Hartford.

Nathan and Loki were on fire that weekend.  Loki was Winner’s Dog on Friday under judge John P. Wade, picking up two points toward his championship.  Winner’s Bitch and Best of Winners would go to my friend Ali Gregoire and her bitch Marlo.

Saturday, Loki and Nathan would go Winner’s Dog again for a 4 point major under judge Daniel J. Smyth.  Mr. Smyth would also give Best of Winners to Loki over Ali’s Marlo (who also finished her championship!!).  We showed to Smyth last year in Springfield in one of Nathan’s first times in the ring on Loki, where he took home Reserve Winner’s Dog.  Most importantly, Saturday’s win gave Loki his second major, leaving us in a good spot for finishing Loki’s championship.

Sunday, Winner’s Dog was awarded to Loki’s brother Raylan by judge Raymond Filburn, giving him the last win he needed to finish his championship! We were a little sad it wasn’t Loki, but totally thrilled it went to Ray, who is a really super handsome liver nose.

What about Pike, I hear you asking. Well … Pike was in 6-9 month Puppy all three days, against a Spring Valley dog handled by Jack Secrest.  Jack’s dog was more mature than Pike, handled better than Pike (Jack is a professional and I very much am not), and just showed better than Pike.  We were out-shown and out-handled, and that’s okay.  Pike needs time to mature and some more training, which is just the way it goes.  He also started going into a fear period on Saturday, so on Sunday I just focused on making sure he had a good time in the ring and at the show, and I came out of the weekend very, very happy with little Lovernose.  I thought he did as well as could be expected for a six month old baby!

Looking forward, we will be at Trenton in the beginning of May, followed by St. Hubert the following weekend.  Then Pike will be going to the Maine shows with Marsa (without me), and at the end of the month will be Ladies’ Club in Wrentham.  Loki needs a final two points to finish up his title, and then we’ll probably dip our toes into the water and see how a grand championship might go for him.  Who knows?  Right now we’re just having fun showing him, and he is working well for Nathan, so we’re happy to follow this wherever it leads.

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Monthly Raw Food Order – March 2015

I just put the food orders in for my new beef supplier and Blue Ridge Beef for the March orders, so I guess it’s time for another monthly look at the raw food situation.

I deviated a little from the plans I had made in last month’s post.  Instead of ordering the 60 pound case of beef heart, I bought a 50 pound case of pork heart and 35 pounds of turkey hearts (Valentine’s Day sales!).  I also didn’t order any organs from TQDF, because I got a bunch of lamb organs from our CSA.  I also didn’t order the case of duck necks I had planned.

With the way my suppliers have their deliveries spaced out, it no longer makes sense for me to plan my “months” based on TQDF deliveries.  For that reason, I’m going to swap to food ordering and planning based on actual calendar months now, instead of counting the time until the next supplier delivery.  This does mean that my cost/day calculations for January and February can’t be directly compared to March, but going forward for the rest of the year the comparisons will be more equitable.

The Inventory:

1 whole turkey
1 sheep rib cage
37 pounds of turkey hearts
32 pounds of pork hearts
5 pounds of beef mix
1 pound of lamb hearts and tongues
12 pounds of ground chicken backs
7 pounds of lamb liver
6 pounds of beef liver
3 pounds of lamb kidney
2 pounds of pork kidney
4 pounds of beef lung

For the 31 days in March, I will need 135 pounds of raw meaty bones, 77 pounds of muscle meat, and 27 pounds of organs.

I have really got to do something about that last whole turkey and the sheep rib cage.

The Food Order:

30 pounds Blue Ridge Beef Natural Mix
40 pounds of beef mix
60 pounds of beef heart
1 case of duck necks
3 cases of chicken (backs or necks)


We have finally reached the tipping point where I’m ordering all my food by the case, to stretch over several month’s time.  Oh for those halcyon days when I just had Jackson and Clover to plan for.  Hahahaha!

My plan is to feed 20 pounds of beef heart, 12 pounds of Natural Mix, 28 pounds of beef mix, 8 pounds of pork heart, and 8 pounds of turkey heart in March.  That will let the case of beef heart last me through the end of May, the pork hearts last me through the end of June, and the turkey hearts as well.  Additionally, the case of Natural Mix will spread out through the end of April (and into May).

For raw meaty bones, the plan is three full cases of chicken, and 16 pounds of duck necks, which will allow the duck necks to cover two months.  For organs, I don’t need to order any at all this month, but next month I will be ready to pick up another case of pork kidneys, along with a supply of liver and lung.

This, then, gives me beef, pork, turkey, chicken, lamb, and duck, which is a very good spread of variety for March.

The Cost Breakdown:

30 pounds Blue Ridge Beef Natural Mix $60
40 pounds of beef mix $50
60 pounds of beef heart $95
1 case of duck necks $40
3 cases of chicken (backs or necks) $66

Total: $311

Hmm.  This is the third straight month of the food order cresting $300, but it’s also the third straight month of decreases from the previous month.  I’ve managed to shave a full dollar off my cost per day from January — I’m down to a cost of $10 per day to cover all four dogs.  It’s about $2.85/day each for Jackson, Loki, and Pike, and about $1.45/day for Clover.

I had hoped to have my rolling stock in place for this month’s order, but based on my calculations, it will hit in April.  Based on what I have on hand right now, in April I will only need to order a minimal amount of beef mix, the normal amount of raw meaty bones, and organs.  I estimate my cost for April will be closer to $200.

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Mid-winter update

You may have heard that Boston has gotten a little snow this year.

Nathan, with the five feet of snow accumulation in our front yard.
Nathan, with the five feet of snow accumulation in our front yard.

The dogs are chronically under-exercised — although they’ve made some cool trails in the backyard, it’s been so cold that the Ridgebacks can’t safely spend any extended amount of time outdoors.  Clover, poor girl, has been getting snow packed between her toes and limping if she stays outside for too long.  I’m very grateful now our fence installer went with six foot fencing, because I’ve watched Clover stretch up with her front paws on the fence to measure whether or not she thought she’d be able to jump over it.

I swear there's a gazebo under all that snow.  Somewhere.
I swear there’s a gazebo under all that snow. Somewhere.

At the beginning of February, we bought an electric blanket for the dogs, and put it on the sofa.  Jackson and Loki have spent the past month like this:

Jackson and Loki


And that brings us to today, the first “warm” day we’ve had in several weeks — and warm has me thinking about just where all that melted snow is going to go.

Last winter we had a horrible time with water intrusion in the basement, but this winter it’s been dryer than Pharaoh’s tomb down there.  Where the sump pump was running more or less constantly last winter, this winter the sump itself has been nearly dry, and the water level hasn’t even approached being high enough to trigger the pump to run.  I’m not foolish enough to think that can’t change with the spring thaw, however.

Nate and I spent some time in the basement today, re-stacking what few things we store down there.  We’ve got a mix of Rubbermaid storage containers and cardboard boxes, so we got all the cardboard boxes up off the floor.  We also tested the de-humidifier and the sump pump to make sure they’re still in working order, just in case things do get damp down there again.

We also spent time this morning processing some raw dog food.  I’ve been swapping back and forth with giving the dogs whole raw meaty bones vs ground raw meaty bones since Jackson had his carnassial removed.  He has no issues with whole RMBs at all — but surprisingly, Loki does.  Loki would prefer all his food ground, thank-you very much.  He will eat whole RMBs, but not with the same gusto that he eats ground food.  So … we’ve made good use of the grinder I bought from Caryl-Rose after Jackson’s surgery.  This morning, with Nathan’s help, we managed to grind and pack up 50 pounds of pork heart and 40 pounds of chicken backs.  I’ve got another 35 pounds of turkey hearts thawing in the sink right now.  I have plans to buy a larger, more capable grinder later this year — my Facebook friend Nancy says hers can do a 40 pound case of chicken leg quarters in 10 minutes.

We’ve more or less standardized on putting all the ground food in the largest size of reusable food tub available from our local grocery stores.  It holds 4 pounds of food and stacks pretty efficiently in the freezer, and in our fridge on the “dog food shelf.”  I took an inventory since I just put in my March orders from the new beef supplier and from Blue Ridge Beef, but you’ll see that in the normal monthly raw food order post.



Pike continues to grow like a weed.  After his start at the Hartford shows, I’m really looking forward to Spring Fling in Springfield.  He’ll just be eligible for the 6-month puppy class, and Loki will be showing in Open for the first time.

Speaking of the Loki litter — Loki’s brother Dante finished his championship this weekend with a 4 point major in Suffern!  Super happy for Marsa, and hoping Raylan and Loki will be hard on Dante’s heels.

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What’s in YOUR Food? | The Science Dog

The scientists’ concern was that owners were unwittingly using the LIDs as an alternative to the more expensive and supposedly better controlled veterinary-prescribed foods. The expectation was that the therapeutic foods would contain only what their labels claimed, while the retail LIDs would be contaminated with other ingredients. What they found however, was that both retail foods and veterinary-prescribed foods have the potential to be mislabeled. (Oops).

via What’s in YOUR Food? | The Science Dog.

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A Frustrated Breeder Asks, Why Didnt You Call?

Years ago my daughter, Laurie Laventhall, rescued an old Pharaoh Hound bitch from a shelter some distance away from us. The hound had been turned in by an elderly couple who gave no information about her. With help from PHCA Rescue, we were able restore Goldie’s health, but placing an elderly dog is not easy, and we ended up keeping her as one of our own. Goldie lived out her life with us. What bothers me is, why didn’t her owners call her breeder?

via A Frustrated Breeder Asks, Why Didnt You Call? – American Kennel Club.

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Show Report: Springfield, MA


Loki: Saturday | Sunday
Pike: Saturday | Sunday

This weekend, the First Company Governor’s Food Guard Athletic Association’s annual dog shows occurred in Springfield, MA. Previously, these shows were in Hartford. Last year, Hartford was Loki’s first show, so it seemed sensible to let these shows be Pike’s first as well. (Spoiler alert: Pike did better than Loki on his first time out!)

We had plans to show both Pike and Loki both days this weekend, but the judging schedule for Saturday had Loki in the ring at 8:30 am, and Pike in at 1:00 pm.  The big gap between ring times meant that Jackson and Clover would have to come to the show with us, because otherwise they’d be home alone for far longer than I am comfortable with asking them to go without potty breaks.  When it came time to load the crates into the Dog Bus on Friday afternoon, I made the executive decision to pull Pike from Saturday’s competition, so we could just show and go with Loki, and thus leave Jackson and Clover at home.  The weather Friday was just frigidly cold and I simply couldn’t bear the thought of staying out in the cold long enough to rearrange the crates in the van, then having to set up crates for a single day of showing.

Saturday’s show was a major for class dogs in Rhodesian Ridgebacks.  Loki won his class, but Winners Dog and Best of Winners was awarded to Aron, who belongs to Marsa, and Reserve Winners Dog went to Loki’s litter brother Raylan.  So, as Marsa said while the boys were in the ring, “We’re keeping it in the family!”  Nathan stayed with Pike while I showed Loki, and he reported that Pike was perfectly content in his crate.  No fussing, no whining, just happy to watch everything going on.  Big win for us on that front!  We did let him walk around and socialize a bit, and Tiny Dog took everything in stride.  Yay Pike!

Sunday, Pike and Loki had ring times that were stacked on top of each other, so we decided Nathan would handle Loki, and I would take Pike.  Pike’s entry was in a special 4 – 6 month non-competitive puppy class (no points) that is intended to help introduce puppies to the show ring, and novice owners too.  Last year when we did this class with Loki, he was the only entry in Rhodesian Ridgebacks, but this year Pike didn’t get off so lucky: there were three other Ridgeback puppies in the ring with us!  I was pretty nervous about how Pike would perform, because I have been the laziest slacker trainer with Pike.  We haven’t gotten him to a single handling class, and the only introduction he’s had to stacking has been extremely lackadaisical practice in my living room, not even on a show lead.  Oh, and of course we were first in line!

So, all that said, I am extremely proud beyond words to report that my little liver-nose boy did his job with complete aplomb.  He stacked as well as I would expect a four-month old puppy to do, he gaited perfectly without trying to break into a gallop or chew on the lead, and he walked out of the ring on Sunday with the ribbon for Puppy Best of Breed and a rosette for a Puppy Hound Group 1! Tiny Dog did it!

Over in Loki’s ring, Nathan was busy winning as well!  Loki won his class, won Winner’s Dog, and then took Best of Winners to add another point toward his championship — which would be Nathan’s first point in the the show ring.  However, it took me a little while to find out just how well Nathan had done with Loki.

As I was standing outside Pike’s ring waiting to go back in for Best Puppy In Show, I kept craning my neck to see how Nathan was doing in his ring.  Nathan  saw me looking and held up the ribbon that Loki won for Winner’s Dog, which is a purple ribbon.  However, with the lighting and the distance between us, to me the ribbon looked red — which is a second place ribbon.  I thought he was showing me that Loki was second place in his class, and I gave him a thumbs up to say, “Yes, I got it!”  So, with me thinking he had only won second place in Loki’s class, I was confused by why Nathan and Loki kept standing outside the ring.  At first I thought he was waiting to be judged for Reserve Winners Dog, but then I saw there were bitches in the ring.

So I’m standing there wondering just what the hell is going on, and thinking to myself, “What the !@#$ is Nathan doing?  You’re done! Go put the dog back in his crate!” and Nathan was ACTUALLY standing waiting to go back in the Best of Breed class so Loki could compete for Best of Winners.  And I keep looking, and grumbling to myself, and looking — because, remember, I think Loki was only second place in his class.

Finally, Pike and I got to go back into Pike’s ring to compete for Best Puppy in Show (which was awarded to a Cavalier King Charles), and then I took Pike outside to have a quick potty break.  We came back in, I put Pike in his crate, and boy was I confused when Nathan handed me a whole fistful of ribbons!  I looked down at the ribbons, back up and Nathan, and then threw myself at him in a giant hug when I realized he had actually gotten Best of Winners!  Nathan and Loki did it, too!

So, that was our weekend, which was pretty awesome.  How did yours go?

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Happy birthday, Jackson!


Happy fourth birthday to our big man Jackson!  When we first opened a conversation with Marsa about what we were looking for in a Rhodesian Ridgeback, I asked for a calm, confident puppy that would be have a solid temperamental base that I could build on and she gave me that in spades.  Jackson has gone everywhere and done everything I’ve ever asked him to do.

Happy birthday to all the dogs from the Toren x Zora litter!

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life is better when your paws are muddy