10 December 2010

Winter Woofstock: Recap

What can I say?  We packed up the Blue for a trip down to Winter Woofstock 2010 hoping for a fun-filled morning.

Not so much.

Although there were tons of people, there really wasn't much to do there.  It was just a sea of people retailing with their dogs in tow.  Don't get me wrong, I love retail - but not that much retail.  It was a huge event - but it was mostly doggie clothes, toys, treats, food.  Yes, all things for dogs and that's appropriate, but wow!!  Some of the more interesting booths belonged to those of the rescue associations and breed specific groups.

We checked out the fashion show (Zoë is not really into sequined pjs or tiaras!); there was a microchipping service ($30 per dog); pictures with Santa (a huge, frenzied line-up) - even someone selling subscriptions to local newspapers.  One mystery area was the VIP Lounge.  Not sure who or what you had to be to enter - but there wasn't anyone in there when we walked by!  Unfortunately, we also missed the Wiener Dog Race and the Running of the Pugs - sorry folks!!!

The most puzzling feature of Woofstock was the Doggie Daycare area.  I mean, why????

On a positive note, Kypros and I were very impressed with Zoë.  She doesn't have much experience with large groups of people, but we were very impressed with her.  She was good - so good in fact that we received compliments from complete strangers! Once they found out that she was still young, they were shocked at how well-behaved she was.  This confirms that Zoë is definitely a contender for Dog of the Year!

Benefits of attending?  We did get some great swag and Zoë did get a new collar from Hustle Up! and a tasty dog treat or two and a complimentary copy of the Toronto Star.  All in all, we spent about 2.5 hours at Woofstock and headed home.  Will we go next year?  Probably not to the Winter Woof - but we might check out Summer Woofstock.

So in conclusion, what's a blog post without pictures - here's a pictorial of our day at Woofstock (nothing exciting I'm afraid). 

Woofstock Promenade

At the Fashion Show: Skunk Couture?


Taking a Break

No pulling on-leash??  What!?!?!
How do I get out of here??


New crowd arriving
  
Fresh Air!!

"Home, James...I mean, Kypros"


29 November 2010

Rocky??

Dear Rocky,

It's been days since I've seen you.  I've been to the leash-free on the weekends, but haven't seen you there.....I miss you!!!


Love,

Zoë

27 November 2010

Winter Woofstock 2010: November 27-28


What a perfect day for Winter Woofstock!! 

Held annually each summer in Toronto, this year, dogs are lucky enough to get a Winter Woofstock as well.  This past summer was way too warm to take Zoë - she hated the hot, humid days.  The winter woof is held indoors (on the CNE Grounds). 

As it's the prime gift giving season, Woofstock has a ton of vendors offering a variety of fun and practical services, toys, fashion, treats and accessories made exclusively for dogs.  Just in time for retailing!!!!!

Prime events include the "Wiener Dog Race" and the "Running of the Pugs".  Neither of much interest to our Blue, but it should be fun for us nonetheless!  There is a full schedule of events for each day on-line for anyone interested.

Where's Woofstock??  Heritage Court and Hall F in the Direct Energy Centre,Exhibition Place, Toronto.

Stay tuned for pictures!!

24 November 2010

If it looks like a hunting dog....

..... it probably is a hunting dog.

As most of you know by now, this breed is indeed a true blue (pardon the pun!) hunting dog.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), Zoë has never hunted - except for bees and flies.  She has also taken more than a passing interest in squirrels as well.  Fortunately for the squirrels, she can't climb trees!!

So, in the spirit of 'hunting' and all things 'Field & Stream', we like to take Zoë on forest and trail walks - leash-free whenever possible.  The latest was to the Etobicoke Valley for a walk on the wild side!

Mud + Water + Trees = 1 Happy Blue

On High Alert

Zoë in her element

The Classic Stance

"Biscuits!!!!"


Muddy and wet - a perfect leash-free experience


Ready for a nap (and a bath!)


18 November 2010

Gus and Zoë: The Best of Frenemies


Zoë and Gus have a very interesting relationship.  Kypros and I use to think that Gus hated Zoë ('hate' is kind of strong, but if you saw them together....).  We used to make incredible effort to reprimand Zoë for 'picking' on Gus. I mean, look at him... he's so cute and small....ahhhh....look at him people!!  He's a cutie-patootie!!




But, now, we're beginning to see their relationship from a different angle......

 
You lookin' at me???

Gus actually amuses himself with Zoë.  Yes, he is old; yes, he is a cat; yes, he weighs about 50 lbs less than Zoë, but his ego is gigantic and he is a regular Kitty Galore.... conniving!  He actually enjoys his run-ins with his "puppy sister".  He even goes in search of her -just last night, Zoë was crashed out. Gus approached and when Zoë ignored him, he slapped her in the muzzle.  Our Blue continued to ignore him , so what did Gus do? 

He slapped her again - twice, in quick succession.  Still no reaction from the Blue, just maybe a glance.  So Gus just trotted away, tail in the air, ego intact.



Zoë, on the other hand, just wants to be friends with Gus.  She thinks all of his slapping and hissing means "I love you"!  She follows him around, sticks her nose in his hair (which he hates) and just watches his every move. 

Captured on camera, this rare moment shows the 'frenemies' sharing a very messy bed (compliments of Zoë).



Last weekend, we had two of them out in the backyard, all went well, until Zoë took her rawhide over to show Gus.  Gus quickly moved behind the roses and well...


Watch for yourselves:

Disclaimer: No tabbies were harmed in the making of this video!

07 November 2010

Bagel, anyone?

Well, its getting brisk at the dog park - but not brisk enough to freeze the muddy perimeter!  Our Blue loves this area and tries hard to get other dogs to follow her down.  There are those brave few that follow, such as Rocky:

One dirty American Bulldog!

Rocky loves running down to the perimeter, but I think sometimes, he forgets that he will eventually have to run back UP the hill.  On a side note, for some weird reason, Rocky ends up sliding in dog poop more than any other dog I know at the park. (Thanks to those who don't scoop!!) Poor Rocky, he's not a fan of the bathtub!

Zoë has recently found another partner in crime, Bagel!! 

Bagel is a 'hound' adopted from the local animal services.  She is a lovely dog - full of energy and very friendly.  The thing about Bagel is that she has really long legs - much longer than Zoë, so despite the fact that she followed the Blue into the murkey trenches, only one dog emerged caked with mud:



One sparkling clean Bagel and one very dirty Zoë 
 After this romp with Bagel, Zoe was ABSOLUTELY filthy.  Caked and slimy with mud, we loaded her into the SUV and promptly carried her into the house and straight into the bathtub.  Although she likes being bathed, this one tested her patience!  She had to be rinsed twice before we got any shampoo on her.  The mud just rolled off her - from nose to tail.  Zoë is always so happy with herself when she's filthy and smelly, so this bath did not go over very big at all and she was very intolerant of the blowdry!

Although this won't be a popular thing to say, I can't wait until the ground freezes (and neither can Rocky!!)

16 October 2010

An Impromptu Baby Shower...Picardy Style

Our friends, Christine and Matt welcomed a new addition to their family in May, William Crawford.  He is such a sweet little guy!  We recently had parents and baby (and Pug!) over for a BBQ.  It was Zoë's first experience with a baby.  She has been around little kids at our place, but never a baby on 'home turf'. We had complete confidence in her with William - she's just so sweet with kids. 

Anyway, after dinner, we were sitting outside and William was on Christine's lap.  'Wills' was being such a good boy - just sitting quietly and observing his surroundings.  At this point, our Blue decided to make her move.....



Zoë cautiously approached William for a welcome 'sniff'....  


and proceeded to give him a welcome that only a Blue could give.  Follow the link for a look:



Once again people, could there be a dog with a more lovely temperment?  Highly unlikely!
I guess the BBQ ribs weren't the only thing that were 'finger-lickin' good!!!!!

13 October 2010

Home Alone?? Not!!

Well, this has been a hard two days.  I've started a short term contract downtown and our little Blue is now in charge of the house.  It's been brutal leaving her in the morning, but she's been absolutely fantastic!  Kypros and I are both so proud of her.  Now, she goes for a nice walk in the morning and has her Yaya (Greek for Grandmother) come in during the day to let her out for a potty break and to spend some time playing in the backyard.  Another bonus of having 'Yaya' come over is that, well, being a Yaya, she can't stop cleaning our house!!!  Wohoo!!  Coming home to a happy Blue, ironing done, kitchen clean - it really can't be beat.  House-sitting and puppy-sitting in one! Thank you Christina for all of your help - you've been a life saver!

When we come home, we're off to the leash-free for a romp.  Some of Zoë's best buddies are at the park after work - including CJ, Rocky and her new buddies: Alice, Louis and Charlie.  Zoë needs to let loose at night and once we're back home, she plays with her toys and chewies and around 8:30, she's crashed out, ready for another day.  What a super girl!!

It's been a real transition, but so far, so good.  (Just don't ask Gus for his opinion!!!)

11 October 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

What can I say about Thanksgiving long weekend 2010?  We've had amazing weather - something to be truly thankful for.  With the fall colours and the sunny bright skies, Kypros and I thought it was a perfect day to take Zoë to Erindale Park for a nice, long, leisurely walk. 

The Credit River

With our new, retractable 16 ft leash, Zoë had a blast exploring the forest paths and the Credit River.  Except for one roll in something fishy, the venture was a complete success!  After a full 2 hours, our little Blue opted for a siesta on the sofa for about 4 hours. Sounds like a perfect day to me!! 


07 October 2010

Good bye Summer!

Rhys and Zoë



Tonight is the first home game of the Toronto Maple Leafs people!!  That means that Summer is really over.  Now, we can look forward to hockey (and more hockey and even MORE hockey), football (Go Bengals!!), dark mornings and early nights, hot chocolate and all the fluffy white stuff you can shovel.

Au revoir Summer, see you next year!



05 October 2010

Wet, cold days....Picardy style


What channel was The Dog Whisperer on again?

Even an active breed like the Blue Picardy needs some down time.  And what better way to spend a wet, cold and rainy day??  Crashed out on the sofa with the remote!!

03 October 2010

Rocky II

Rocky

Well, I've written about the love affair between Zoë and Rocky, the American Bulldog.  It's fair to report that the relationship is still going strong.

Rocky's parents, Tracy and Rob say that our Blue is THE ONLY dog that Rocky lets jump on his back.  Once closer in size, Rocky has been steadily packing on the muscle and now is about 100 lbs to Zoë's 55 lbs. He could easily steam roll right over her, but doesn't.  That's not to say that an American Bulldog cruising at full throttle has a great breaking system, but he sure does try his best.  He is a wonderful, friendly dog and a great Ambassador of his breed.   Congrats to Tracy and Rob for a job well done!! 

Together, these two are non-stop action - wrestling, running, playing with sticks, tug-of-war, etc.. The really are the best of buddies.

Just take a look at some of the action. 

02 October 2010

Picardy Picnic 2010



On September 11, 2010, everyone who is anyone was at the Picardy Picnic.  Our breeder-hosts, Vicki and David Duncan started this 1st Annual Picnic with a bang!  The BBQ was great as where all of the delectable salads and delicious desserts brought by all Picardy families.

The Duncans organized an obstacle course - we were all timed of course.  Zoë didn't win, but put in a respectable time of 44 seconds.  The winner was "Superdog", Truman.  Truman happens to be Zoë's uncle (and brother to Suede).  I think he finished the course - leash-free, in 29 seconds. 

Vicki and Dave have a beautiful property for this type of occasion.  'Picardy Park' is the perfect leash-free paradise for all of the Blues.  I think that there were about 25 Blues present along with all of their lucky families.  It was so great to meet and greet pups and adult dogs from all of the different litters.  Vicki later estimated that she had about 56 pups come out of Brighthope Kennels.  That is quite a few pups!!  Vicki has much to be proud of.  It was most definitely a beautiful group of dogs.

For Zoë's litter (parents Suede and Nola), there were a couple of her brothers and sisters there - including Henry.  He and Zoë were the last two pups to be picked up by their new families.  There seemed to be recognition by each of them and they got along quite nicely.

Zoë also won the prize - awarded by the Duncans for her "Hollywood Tail".  Vicki was very impressed with our Blue's beautiful, feathery tail.  The absolutely prettiest Picardy tail that they had ever seen.  The funny thing is that we let Zoë select her own prize from the table.  She choose a tough, squeeky toy.  How long did this last?  Well, lets just say that the drive home from Hanover lasted longer!!!!  Figures.  (Aside: Hey, Kim - we should've taken the towels!!!!)

The picnic ended wth great swag compliments of Bark & Fitz.  Zoë's swag included a savory knuckle bone, some dee-lish doggie cookies (the squirrel cookie was the favourite), a jar of peanut butter treats and a plushie (she hasn't been given this yet).  All in all, we had a great time getting reacquainted with old friends and meeting new ones.  This Picardy family is looking forward to next year's picnic. 

Picardy Picnic 2010


The newest Brighthope member:  Baby "Coullah"

"Suede"

"Copper" (yes, he is brown)

Those crazy tongues!!

Getting ready for competition



Posing in Picardy Park

Just a few Blues


"Justy"


Brighthope Best Friends: "Marne" and "Ciron"

Delicioius cake for the two-legged guests - thanks to Vicki's Granddaughter and her BFF



Naptime for little Coullah
















09 August 2010

Bray Lake


What defines Bray Lake??




The Blue Jays












The Loons











The Fishing















The Quiet Nights










Cottage country in July.  The sound of water lapping on shore.  The call of the loon.  This, my friends is Bray Lake. 

Now that she's over a year, we thought that it was a good idea to take our Blue up to cottage country.  We weren't sure how she would react to so much 'space'.  But we are so happy that we introduced her to the north country. Zoë absolutely loved it!! 

The lake was a huge, huge hit!  She was in and out of it constantly.  Zoë ran along the shore for some distance, then would leap into the water.  We would like her to swim, but she only went in over her head once - and dog-paddled with no problem, back to shore.  This most definitely was a favorite activity!



The surrounding woods was a playground for Zoë.  We were impressed that she didn't stray too far from us and came when she was called  - well, most of the time. 
She was very interested in all of the furry forest critters - rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels... all with quick getaway strategies!  It seemed like a couple of the squirrels were taunting her.  They would sit just out of reach and chatter away at her, then move to another branch.
  
Although she had her kibble and treats, there are some things a Picardy cannot resist: corn cob husks, lake grasses and raspberries off the bush. 

Night time was interesting.  She was very restless dispite all of the day activities and spent a good amount of time with her nose pressed to the window screens.  Little critters darting about - and maybe some bigger ones as well - peaked her attention until she would finally fall asleep.

When it was time to head home, we had to make a stop at the town dump to unload our garbage and recycle.  This guy, was a big surprise for Zoë.  However, he wasn't the least bit interested in her as he had more on his mind than a little Picardy pup!  Zoë didn't really react to him at all - I don't think she knew exactly what he was!!  Great guard dog skills Zoë!!!

We can't wait for another Bray Lake adventure!