Wednesday, December 30, 2015

All most the new year......


Kazimoto (Fuyu x Oso)
I can't believe how quickly this year went for me.  It really is true that the years go faster when you are older.  Wishing all my friends joy and prosperity in the coming years.  I plan on making this the year I purge my all of my unneeded items. 

Rockstar (Bridget x Kuro)
Friday (Fuyu x Shogun)
Darla & Stitchy
Fancy (Mari x Kuro)
I have 3 puppies, the yearling orphaned puppy Darla and a 6 month old to raise this year too not to mention a new horse.  I have one red puppy from Bridget's last litter, a black female from Mari and another red from Fuyu.  One of them has to end up my next show stopper.

I have two too many horses.  I can really only ride one so I have to decided between keeping the mare I rescued from the kill pen and Sterling whom we have had for years but I can't ride him, he's too wide and tall.  I really wish I would have chosen a smaller horse to rescue in the case, which seems to be, I get stuck with it.  The mare Georgie is too tall as well but she isn't as wide and Sterling.  The width is what stretches all those crotch muscles and makes you sore the day after riding.  It also wrecks havoc on my dislocating knee.  I finally figured out that a small narrow horse doesn't make me sore at all!  Neato.  You can read all about Georgie on Cheri's Rescue Horses FB page.

We lost Stitchy my Pomeranian this month.  It was a terrible tragedy for which I feel completely guilty for.  I don't want to talk about it and I haven't even mentioned in on my FB page.  It's just too painful to talk about and I don't want to answer any questions about it.

Other than puppies nothing new going on.  I'm puppied out after 3 litters.  Of course all 3 litters only consisted of a total of 7 pups but I get tired with all the dogs in the house all the time.  Puppies are constantly get into things and you just get tired from watching out for them.  I so look forward to sleeping lately.

Speaking of which, the couch and a bowl of popcorn and/or a pomegranate are calling my name about now.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Crossing my fingers for puppies and other nonexciting things.

It's that time of year again and poor Victor is rife with strife.  All the girls are in season and hopefully we will have plenty or girl puppies so I can keep a show prospect for myself.  This is boring not having anything to show.

We have a Shiba Open House tomorrow so I have been busy tidying up the barn and dog room today.  Marcel's mom has been here for 2 weeks and I had to take some days to recuperate.  With my fibromyalgia I get tired easily.  When you have FM you do not store energy.  I have had to learn to be kind to myself and rest when I need to.  It is a really hard thing to do when you used to be able to go for days at a time but I think that is what does you in because most of the people I talk to that have FM say they used to be busy, busy, busy.  We use ourselves up.

Good sleep is probably the most important thing when you have FM or MS.  You heal while you sleep.  Water and sleep keep you from getting those horrible leg cramps.  I hate those.  Guess I just have too much on my mind to sleep. Maybe after the open house event is over I will get some real rest and perk up again. 

So here I sit.  Looking for something to do sedentary and blogging is perfect.  I told myself I was going to do more blogging so I am keeping my word to myself and of course to all of my fans.  HA! Right, because I am so interesting.  Well and least my animals are interesting to most people.

Before mom came to visit I had been riding my mustang Handsome in the arena to try and teach him something, anything.  He is hella boring and I don't think he's gonna get any more exciting.  He plow reins like an old mule.  I was hoping to do dressage with him but he just doesn't have the spark nor the will to participate in anything.  However, I'm looking forward to taking him on the trail to see what happens there.  Could be a rodeo, I don't know.

I was going to start working Marcel's horse Sterling and depending on how that goes I might even sell him since Marcel isn't doing anything with him.  My friend Chris is going to help me get him ready.  Plus she has a little black mare that I am going to ride to get back in the swing of things so I'm looking forward to it being a bit cooler this fall.  Hot flashes are a bitch.  Need I say more?  I didn't think so.

Well, I'd better a snack.  I'm starting to fade.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Showing Dogs
Whether you got your Shiba from us or from another breeder we would like to inspire you to show your Shiba.  Our breed needs good natured people out there showing their beautiful Shibas off.  Showing your dog can be a fun family activity and teach children good sportsmanship by example.  There are so many new events to try everyone in the family can pick something fun to train your dog in and then go out there and compete for titles.  That's the thing, you don't have to compete against other people and dogs.  In many events you are in the ring with your dog alone.

Working with a trainer or a training group and/or having a Shiba mentor assist you is a great way to get started.  Having someone there with you to cheer you on always helps with the nerves.  I found studying sport psychology really helped get me over being nervous.  Understanding human nature lets you realize everyone else is just as self conscious as you are.  No one is worrying about what you look or act like because they are too nervous about their own performance and the judge is only looking at your dog anyway and would rarely notice you unless you really fell or tripped. 

I have certainly done my share of silly things in the ring.  Like the time the icepack on my aching back slipped into my pants and I held it to my buttocks around the ring so it didn't slipping down a pant leg.  The judge laughed as I rounded the ring, put my hand down the back of my pants and placed the icepack on the ribbon table then quickly stacked my dog for presentation.  Ooops.  He gave us our last major to finish Kuro's championship!  And we beat pro-handlers that day.  Even with that blunder.  Most judges have seen it all, they were once handlers once too.  I was rather proud of myself for not breaking my dogs stride around the ring!  Once with my big Rottweiler Victor I dislocated my knee and it popped back in mid stride.  We got a 3rd but I was thrilled I made it around without falling.  I was sooooo proud of my short little legs that day!

But why on earth go do something that makes you nervous?  Why put yourself in the position of being embarrassed by the family pooch?  Well, there are lots of good reasons.  It's basically a clean and healthy sport.   Your dog gets you off the couch to attend classes, go for walks, runs or out to herd, hunt or jump through hoops!  There is nothing better than seeing your children graduate.  You get the similar feeling of accomplishment when your dog performs well.  Notice I did not say wins, I said performs well. Winning isn't everything. Being in sync with a dog you trained yourself when you are the only ones out there, just doing your thing, well it feels GREAT!

It is important to put the sport into perspective if you want to enjoy it.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  Yes, politics play a part in the conformation ring on some days but other days the best dog wins and.........your dog won't always be the best dog.  Most seasoned owner handlers will say they don't mind being beaten by a better dog but it is annoying when a lesser dogs wins. Even those who have a super dog that does a LOT of winning doesn't win EVERY time and eventually a new dog will come along that is better and beat the first dog.  Dogs win, finish and get out of your dog's way to his championship so don't give up.

Kuro took FOREVER to finish.  He is a black and tan dog and they tend to be overlooked.  If he had been the same dog in a red coat he would have finished much earlier.  But he did finally finish.  Bridget took her time to finish as well.  She has a different look to her face then the other females being shown in my area and she could be considered long backed by some judges who don't think females should be longer than males, which they should but all things being equal as shorter backed looks flashier.  My point is I had a lot of fun at the shows I attended.  I like to drive, I like the time away from home with just 2 dogs, I like going to dinner with my "doggie" friends who like to talk dog just as much as I do. 

In the performance events things are based on your team performance.  You get a pass or qualify score or you fail in a part of the test and that disqualifies your total score from earning points toward a title in the event.  If you DQ you know you have to go back and practice that part of the test more.  Dogs have off days too.  Be happy with the parts they did well show another day.  Bring a nice lunch and watch another event or cheer on a classmate. 

The reason we got our dogs in the first place was to enjoy them, spend time with them, participate in activities with them.  If you can keep dog shows in perspective, enjoying the day out, the people and your dog you will have fun and be successful no matter what a judge has to say about it.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sheep, dogs & horses, oh my.


Guess I need to ad cat and rats to that.  Wow, it's totally quiet here without the puppies.  It's kinda nice. They say everything happens for a reason.  It's time to deal with horses.  It started slowly, 2 years ago both Stetson and Sterling's feet started showing signs of laminitis, commonly called founder.  An obvious ring around the hoof. Like when you smash our fingernail in the door.  Both horses had been to two trainers last summer and I supposed it was from rich alfalfa and grain they both gave the horses.  I would be very mindful of their diets for the next year.  Sterling's feet showed complete recovery as the ring grew out and was trimmed off without incident but Stetson's feet continued to get worse and worse and worse until this sad state he is in today.  He's lost 100 pounds and his hind end sways from side to side to find relief for his feet and his thigh muscles tremble from the pain. I am beside myself with the fear of having to put him to sleep.  I have only a few days to find a solution for Stetson before Marcel makes me call the vet out to euthanize my horse.  He just can't stand to see him suffer like this.  I am told that horses can come back from laminitis but I have never known one.  Things have changed a lot but I just remember when I was a child they would cut the front of hoof clear off and you could see inside the foot.  The horses suffered terribly and rarely ever recovered.  We still don't know what causes laminitis accept that fat horses and ponies all most always get it.  It can happen to any horse who gets a stomach ache, stress, rich feed, different illnesses come out in the foot for unknown reasons.
We added 3 female rats to our long list of pets.  They have a giant cage.  They smell and I'm going crazy looking for a better solution to keep their bedding from getting outside the cage and onto the carpet.  We've had rats before but only one at a time.  Three is a little overwhelming.  I think they bond better when there is only as they seek out your attention and company.
I swore I'd never have small cage animals again.  At one time I had several cages of rabbits, mice of different types and a couple of hedge hogs.  Now that was overwhelming.  I like rats a lot.  They are so smart. We are really enjoying feeding them bits of food.  I'm sure I'll end up making little agility obstacles for them and teaching them tricks.  Marcel laughs because they love me and come running to whatever corner of the cage is closest to me.
I'm anxiously waiting for our first ewe to lamb.  I didn't pick up our ram until late last fall and so we'll have later lambs than normal which is OK as it's warmer.  A woman in my swim class said she found several of her goat kids curled up and frozen in dark slumber next their mothers because they were born too early while it was still freezing during the night.  Yikes.  I'll take waiting till later any time. 
All that was left of a ram.
I'm down to three ewes again. I lost a couple last year.  Don't know why but we did have a large pack of coyotes eat a ram last year.  I couldn't even find the head with the giant horns.  I don't know how they got the horns through the fence.  Now none of my animals will go out on the other side the creek to graze any more.  The lush shaded grass gets as tall as I am but nope, scary things lurk.  Sterling eats his hay, one bite at a time, looking over his shoulder between each bite.  A few years before we had a mountain lion kill two ewes, my favorite ewe and her daughter the following year.  That lasted for three years until a local rancher shot the lion.  Many farms lost sheep and goats to that big cat.
I never thought I would be the kind of person to want to shoot wild animals or any kind of animal but when you have a farm full of animals you want to protect them.  Marcel shot the mink that was eating my poultry but of course we couldn't shoot the bald eagles for killing my goose and considering taking my barnyard full of Pomeranians.  All I could do is give my remaining poultry away and place all of my Pomeranians in safer city homes.
This is the reality of owning animals.  Lots of poop, making hard decisions and anticipating new life.  I couldn't imagine my life any different. 
Well, I'd better get out to the barn to make a dry place for my crippled friend Stetson to lay down and I'll check those ewes while I'm out there too.  One ewe is bagged up and will deliver any day.

Time goes way too fast

To all the youths out there:  It's totally true that time goes faster as you get older so ENJOY every moment of your healthy youth.  Life really is short.

My other advice is to take care of your teeth, your feet, your knees and your skin.  USE SUN SCREEN.  Especially if you're a whitey. Wear a hat, eyes can get sun burned too.  Eat organics whenever you can and don't use toxic chemicals in your body or in the home. Don't eat or drink anything that says DIET on the label and ladies, no birth control pills! They are the worst!  Don't use certain recreational drugs, prescribed pharmaceuticals AND over the counter remedies. NSAIDS are soooo bad for your kidneys............I can attest to that personally.  It's now common knowledge that these things cause seriously effects your health and as you age it all becomes apparent.  PLEASE care for you body and share the information with everyone you love and don't love.

It sucks to be in your 40's and start having all kinds of health issues you could have avoided.

Enough about physical health now I want to talk about happiness.  Humans can't thrive without love and friendship.  Nurture healthy relationships and leave any in the dust that don't make you feel good about yourself.  It's hard to know what that means when you are a child playing with other children but it is something we learn the hard way in short time if we have been raised with any sense of confidence and integrity.

Everyone has to learn to say NO.  Leave toxic relationships with any partner.  It isn't worth your time.  Remember life is short.  It isn't your responsibility to save anyone.  I'm not saying you can't help others but don't become co-dependent. Point them in the direction of professional help and let them make the decision to float or sink.  Most people have to hit bottom before they will help themselves.  I'm not saying bail on a marriage because it's tough but toxic isn't healthy for you.

Ladies, get a good education and be able to support yourself and any children YOU decide to have.  We have come too far to be angry with partners that don't support us and our children.  Be the provider and get over it.

Gentlemen, be just that.  Respect your partner.  Be your word.  Don't make promises you can't keep. Communicate openly and honestly even if it is a simple yes or no answer.  Be generous with your heart it doesn't cost you anything.

Lovers come and go throughout life but good friends are always there when your lover leaves.  Don't forget about them!  Keep in good communication.  Don't neglect them, they deserve your respect too.

Cultivate and nurture friendships with people that inspire you. Brilliant people come in all kinds. Both young and old people of all faiths and cultures can contribute to our educations as humans.  Them more we learn other people's prospective the more loving and generous we can become to the world. Take opportunities to meet new people.  Talk to strangers.  Pay it forward. 

TRAVEL as much as you can.  Even if it's just a car drive a few towns away.  Take a new way home from work.  Try new things you haven't done before.  Start a bucket list.  It gets harder to do some of those things as you get older so do them when you can and before you can't!

Happiness starts with feeling good about yourself.  Then and only then will you attract the kind of people in your life that share your level of integrity.  Only then will you attract a willing partner in life.

Happiness can be found in the strangest places.  In quiet days with blue skies, singing along with the radio playing your favorite while you pick dog poop up off the lawn.  Been there, done that.

Enough said.  I have to start my happy day with feeding hungry critters.  Have a good one.

Shiba health moving in positive directions

Wish I could go to Japan but the more I think about the imports the more I am happy with our Shibas here in the US.  We have the most stringent health checks in the world US and have some very good 4 and 5 generations from imports that are moving in positive directions.  There are imports that pass health tests but they still have poor grades of health behind them that need to be overcome and there are things like cream, long coat and other recessives that need to be weeded out.  Thankfully DNA can now let us track some of these genes and it helps us breed any good specimens that are carries to non carries and we can slowly eliminate that from our programs.  Of course there are all the other minor faults that show breeders deal with that we have to keep an eye on too so the whole thing gets complicated but conscientious breeders willing do the job and pet buyers can take advantage of it at no extra cost to themselves but not everybody is patient enough to do that and that is what keeps the puppy mill and other Shiba producers in the money.  These people have so little investing in their poor quality dogs that everything is 90% is pure profit for them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

First rides, awaiting new puppies and other stuff

Since we lost Lexi I have been ever vigilant in caring for my pets.  With the sheep gone I have more time to focus on dogs and horses which is nice.  I didn't realize they were taking up so much of my time but they were not to mention their expense.  I miss them but life goes on. 

Something I realized a long time ago is I'm a glorified human pooper scooper.  No matter what, every day I have poop to pick up somewhere on this property.  If I want to mow, I have to pick up first.  Give the horse a bath, definitely want to pick that stall before I put him away.  It doesn't really bother me.  It's a given.  It just takes a lot of time away from other things I want to do.  So I have to come up with something I can do while I'm cleaning up besides singing along with the radio.  I'll work on that one.

I had my first ride on Handsome Stranger.  He's like and old baby horse.  He didn't know the foundation lessons so I have to start there.  He seems to fit me well enough.  I can't wait to ride him again at home.

We took the boys to OSU to get their teeth floated in preparation for the spring riding season.  This means the sharp edges of the grain and grass grinding surface are ground down so they don't pinch the inside of the mouth or get bumped by the bit.  Sterling is 8ish and new mustang Handsome is 15ish so it was definitely time for a tooth floating.

Now this is quite the procedure compared to what I remember our farrier doing in the old days.  Now a vet has to do it and farriers have moved on to fancy foot work and trying to save all the foundered horses feet out there. Founder was a rarity when I was younger.  Now horses are spoiled with grains and such and turned out to pasture to get fat and sick and their hooves fall off......literally.  This of course is a death sentence for any horse.

To float the teeth they first lightly sedate the horse, they place the chin on a sling and then put a huge speculum in their mouth to hold it open.  Then they use a modified saws all drill with a long file on it to grind down the sharp edges.  They have several files with lighter grates on them to grind, sand and polish.

While relaxed I thought it was a good time to have their sheaths cleaned (you probably don't want to know about that process and if you do google it) and get a rabies shot since I don't know when they got a rabies shot last and update their other vaccines since it costs about the same at the teaching hospital.

Why haven't the horse people challenged how often horses get shots like we dog people did?  Shouldn't there be the same issues of over vaccination in horses?  I asked the vet to write down where he gave each horse their vaccines and he said that was an excellent idea.  I guess many horses, especially gray horses like Sterling, would be sensitive to where those vaccines went year after year.  Horses are routinely given shots in spring AND again in fall so it should really be noted.

So Fuyu is due next week.
Tomorrow she gets an ultrasound to see how many pups.  I can't wait but guess I'll have to. I bred her to a great dog who's a top 10 show dog. His name is Oso Handsome.  Funny because we used to have a Rottweiler named Oso and I have a new horse named Handsome!

The Lexi orphan pups are ready to move on.  Monkey is about normal 9 week old puppy size so a couple who are next on the list will come over next weekend and check him out and see if they want to adopt him.  I am holding onto the girl for a bit longer.  I call her Darla.  She is pretty sweet.  Can't wait to see what she is like when Mr. Personality leaves.  I suppose she will blossom.

More to come!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

OMGosh so much to write.  I will start with not including my feeling we will see where it goes from there. 

My Shiba friend Lexi has died.  The vet did an autopsy but found no reason why it should have happened.  After much reflection I don't know if I can believe that a mistake wasn't made by my vet early on and Lexi could have been saved.  I have to be strong for the puppies she left behind. I am bottle feeding them and they are doing OK.  Yesterday it was their first trip outside to see the sun.  Most pups are scared of the new feelings under their feet, cement, gravel, grass, weeds all are a new thing.  These pups just crawled across it all without blinking.  Very interesting I say.

Anyone who has gone through the process of buying a puppy from me knows I am very particular about where my babies go so I prescreen homes and pups are sold by reservation and all are spoken for before they are born.  Otherwise I wouldn't do any breeding.  So, the puppies Lexi left behind are sold with the exception of the female who I reserve the right to keep.  I am doing everything in my power to have these pups survive to an adoptable age.  They are now 4 weeks old and I'm soooooo tired!  Being a mom to a litter is exhausting. One of the pups is so small and conceived several days behind the others.  He is the one I worry about but he is getting bigger slowly.

During all this mayhem life on the farm going on.  There are other dogs to care for and horses in various stages of training that need to be exercised.  I sold my sheep on Sunday, Feb. 31, 2015 which was last Sunday.  It was a very hard thing to do, to let go of a herd I have tended for nearly 20 years.  I concentrated on certain traits in a single bloodline.  I was very proud of what I had accomplished.  Now........gone.  Totally weird.

Yesterday we were at the vet checking the puppies progress again and I tripped and jammed my fist against a window sill and popped my upper arm out of the socket.  That hurt.  Now I can't move my upper arm away from my body without total pain. 

I swear it's always something, then something else, then something else.  I think I am cursed.  I will have to start thinking about who I might have offended that put such a curse on me.

I am the most innocent, honest and kind person I know.  I never mean to hurt anyone but it seems like I always say the wrong thing.  Do you ever feel like that?  That's why I stay to myself and I don't talk to anyone.  Then people think I am scary, mean and unapproachable.  At least that is what those who got to know me and became friends tell me.  I squint because I can't stand the sun or I can't see and it gives me a tough guy brow.  I also have chronic pain so sometimes I just don't want to talk.  It takes all I've got just to concentrate on what I am trying to do.  Anyway, I hope the curse will be lifted soon as I really want to get on with my life without all the drama.

I am scheduled to ride my horse Handsome in the next few weeks and I hope my arm is healed by then but it feels pretty much like it did when another horse yanked it out of the socket and it took years to heal with all the constant use it gets.

I guess I should add some pictures here to make my blog more exciting.  I'll see what I can find.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

I'm so excited!  Handsome leaves for training TOMORROW!  yEEEEEE Haaaaaaaa!  I can't wait to ride him.  Even though I suffer from fibromyalgia and have a busted up back from a car accident I can still ride.  I use a mounting block so I don't have to use my own strength to pull myself up  then someone helps flip my leg over the back.  Once I'm up there I'm OK.  It's just getting up in the saddle that is hard.  Of course I pay dearly for days after but it is so worth it when you love something so much.  Like washing and packing dogs to the shows.  Marcel does a lot of the work now but I still want to go!

OK, so I found out some information about Handsome from Patti at the BLM.  She said he was captured 11/24/1999 in Nevada outside of the herd management area but she doesn't know which herd management area.  He was adopted 8 months later.  So he is 4-5 years older than I thought, maybe being 15 years old!  Damn, hope Jona can teach and old horse some new tricks like how to respect me!

Marcel is hooking up the trailer as I write.  Tomorrow is superbowl or STUPIDbowl as I call it so at least I know Marcel will be motivated to get the transport done early.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Lexi is getting fat and we've found wonderful homes for all her puppies.  I will have her x-rayed in a week to see how many pups she'll have and the vet will let me know when she projects she will deliver.  Babies are always so exciting and fun.

Got to go finish cleaning my rat cage now!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Happy New Year and all that rot!

Time really does fly and it's been a long time since I wrote myself anything.  I want to say a lot has happened but I can't remember!  I'm in a perpetual fibro-men-o-paws kinda fog. 
First I have to say I'm freaking happy the holidays are over.  I'm really beginning to hate holidays.  We don't see friends or family anymore and they are just annoying days I can't wait till they pass and we can get back to normal.  Plus the dreary late fall through winter non stop flippin rain making my old bones ache and all those chores to do in the mud.
The latest and greatest is that Bridget Jones finally finished her AKC Championship.  I was afraid it would never happen.  Here's the photo.  It was a really good weekend for us.  Bridget was the winner's female and best of opposite sex on Saturday and the black & tan male I'm showing, Zorro, was reserve winning male.  On Sunday both Bridget and Zorro were reserve female and reserve male to a major so that was great!  It's always so much fun when you can win!  The next two times I showed any dogs we got completely dumped out of the competition.  I still had a fun time at the show because I brought a friend who had never been to an AKC show so I got to be like an announcer delivering the blow by blow accounts to my captive audience of one.  I tried to be quiet and not annoy those around us by sharing my own opinion of controversial topics. 

Let's see.....oh, Stetson my horse had to be put down.  He had equine motor neuron disease which is like Lou Gehrig's disease.  Remember I posted he had lost 100 pounds, we thought it was his feet because he was shifting his weight from side to side on his hind end?  Still,  it was very hard to let him go.  My large animal veterinarian had passed away a while back and I hadn't found anyone else to be my regular vet so I used the vet the gal that owned Stetson before me used for him.  She ended up being a flake.  She said Stetson had a "classic case of founder" to her trainee. Founder can be very serious.  It's basically when the outside of a horses hoof comes off.  I know!  Ew gross! I wasn't 100% on board with that diagnosis for several reasons I need not go into for my non-horse owning readers.  Marcel didn't believe it to be the case either so we hit the computer and almost simultaneously came to the same diagnosis of EMND.  We took Stetson to OSU veterinary teaching clinic and they confirmed the diagnosis we provided and then CALLED THE USELESS VET to tell her she was wrong with all the nasty notes she wrote about me "refusing to do hoof films" after she told me they were not necessary because she would treat and medicate him the same way with or without films.  WHATABITCH! She just wanted to be right so bad.  It irritated me the being right was more important to her then the health of my horse.  If we hadn't felt that her diagnosis wasn't incorrect we would have spent a ton of money following her protocol for recovery on a dying horse PROLONGING HIS MISERY. 
I have a new horse I named Handsome Stranger.........just because I wanted to.  He is a sexy red dun Spanish mustang.  I hope he will like western dressage training because that's what I have in store for him.  He was given to me by a woman in CA.  She adopted him from the Bureau of Land Management, better known as the BLM, had him trained for a year then threw him out in the pasture and never rode him for 3 years and then I got him.  He is a spoiled beastie who doesn't respect the space of little women that's for sure but I have faith Jona will get him back on track.  I was going to say whip him into shape but that doesn't sound right when you are talking about educating a horse.
Marcel and I took the horses to a weekend clinic.  I thought it was fun.  I had already saddled Handsome several times and worked him in the pen from the ground and he knew the commands for the walk, trot, canter and whoa very well.  I wouldn't have thought twice about climbing on up except I really wanted someone there with me just in case but I assumed I could do a walk/trot without getting him too excited like he might get at a canter and get bucked off.  But Jona didn't think he was trustworthy.  Handsome is going to training with Jona soon and I hope I get an awesome horse back.
Lexi is expecting puppies sired by Kurotaka so that is exciting.  I have plans to breed my 2 year old girls Fuyu and Taka too as soon as I get their health clearances done.  I have to take some time and research potential sires for the litters.  That is always interesting.  There are so many people with show quality Shibas I haven't met yet.  I tend to stay out of the politics and gossiping and nastiness associated with show folks.  There are some nice folks and there are some not so nice folks. In Shibas I found there are a lot of breeders who say "if you're friends with so-n-so I can't be your friend and/or sell you a dog because I don't want my breeding getting into their hands."  I have friends with other breeds and I like to hang with them if I can. 
I've kept to myself until just recently and I've become really close with a couple of gals in Shibas and Marcel and I even joined our local Evergreen Shiba Club.  So we are being more involved with the local Shiba Inu community.  Still, I tell certain people who tend to insinuate someone "might be" talking about me on facebook that it's none of my damned business what people say about me behind my back. I have enough trouble already thank you very much.
Speaking of rats, one rat has sadly lost her life to cancer.  I think it's the damned rat food.  I figure on the animal food scale the rat probably gets the worst of the floor sweepings from the pet food plant.  It looks like saw dust glued together.  So I'm feeding them cat and dog food with lots of left overs from our own kitchen.  It's got to be better for them then that rat food.
I'll try to remember to blog again soon.