Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Timbreblue Reunion

The Timbreblue reunion is October 17th in Leesburg, VA. The following details are for our owners who plan to attend. If you don't have a Timbreblue puppy but would like to meet some whippets before you make up your mind about whether you want one, give me a call at 540-464-8046. Guests are welcome as long as arrangements are made ahead of time.

Since we have a number of people who are coming to their first reunion, I thought I'd do a little FAQ -- more information will follow as we get closer to October.

Q. Are the dogs are on or off-lead at the reunion? Do they race around constantly?

A. Most people allow them off lead but a few keep their dogs on leash for various reasons. That is entirely up to the owner. They all run when they first get there, and then it settles down. Since people arrive at different times, it's not quite the chaos you would expect. Okay, so there is a fair amount of chaos.

Q. How many whippets and people are there?

A. I expect we'll have in the neighborhood of 60-70 whippets this year, and enough people to give them rides to the reunion. Some people stay the whole time; others drop in for just awhile and leave, so the number is a bit fluid.

Q. Do the dogs ever fight?

A. Not so far. The main thing we have to watch is when suddenly all the dogs decide someone is "prey" and the whole crew takes off after him or her. Sometimes the dog playing prey is perfectly happy with it, but it makes me very nervous and we try to stop that kind of behavior right away. Before the reunion, I'll post some things to watch for that indicate an impending barroom brawl and tell you what to do about it. We do have "emergency dog fight kits" scattered about the area (more on that later) but have never had to use them.

Q. What if my dog is the worst-behaved one there?

A. I assure you that every person at the reunion will believe that his or her own dog is the worst one there. Like children, your dog will attempt to embarrass you by telling everyone there that

1) No, he has never been trained and has no idea of the definition of "come," "sit" "down," "get off that table," "drop that hotdog!" or any other command that doesn't fit in with his agenda at the time.
2) You never, ever feed him and if everyone at the picnic would give him ONE little snack, he might survive to the next reunion ("no begging" is also a concept they tend to forget at the reunion)

Remember we all have whippets and we all understand that they are perfect at home (well, after a year or two) but whippets in public.

Q. What if I am afraid to let my dog off-leash?

A. Obviously anyone who is uncomfortable with the dogs being off-leash should keep his or her whippet leashed and we will also have crates available for rests and time-outs (whether the people or whippets call for it!) I keep Ivy on a leash some of the time because she tends to be the fun police with her offspring.

Q. If the dogs don't run all the time, what do they do?

A. It really is a bit like a doggy cocktail party. Some of them work the crowd, some stick right with mom, and most do a mixture of the two. Candy and Juliet, I never see again till we get ready to leave -- they're too busy socializing. Some whippets are more social than others and either is normal. Diamond used to stay right under my feet the entire time we were there. She wasn't scared -- she just preferred to be with her mommy. Ivy is somewhat like that too, though she doesn't mind taking off after some rascal she sees having too much fun. (Thus the leash for her) There's often someone throwing a frisbee or ball, there are wading pools, but mostly, being whippets, they lounge around.

Q. What are the rules?

A. The reunion rules for whippets are simple: No fighting, no bullying, no humping. And believe me, that third one will be tried by about the half the dogs there, neutered and unneutered! It's just a natural doggy thing, but we correct it just like we would a child picking her nose. "It just doesn't look nice, dear. No one wants to see that."

Q. What if I don't see my dog is acting up?

A. We are all family and if someone else's dog is being obnoxious, it is perfectly okay to grab a collar and say, "You cut that out!" No one's feelings will be hurt. Every reunion has some bratty cousins that get corrected by each and every adult there at some point. We all keep an eye on our own but if there is a problem developing, whoever is closest should deal with it. (Note: It is not fair to deny ownership if your dog gets in trouble)

Q. Are there structured activities?

A. We've tried that, but I am just not good at gathering people up and getting anything organized. Professional dog trainers Bev Crawley and Karen Haynes are going to offer some (free) basic training lessons for anyone who wants them throughout the day. I also think we can talk Bev into doing a couple of freestyle dancing sessions for those of you wanting to learn some basic dance steps with your dogs!) so we're in the process of getting a separate area for that. We will have some door prizes....gate prizes? I'm hoping Fred and Bobbie Lutz will be there with one of their portable agility sets (for sale at so some folks can try a little of that too. We have a swap table for dog stuff you don't need any more and if any of you make things to sell (leashes, collars, coats, etc) you're welcome to set up a table.

Also anyone who wants to bring business cards or brochures or samples of whatever is welcome to consider this a business networking meeting as well. In the family we have personal trainers, artists, attorneys, interior designers, architects, CPAs, web designers, and all kinds of other things I can't think of right now. Fred Lutz might even sell you a damn fine Toyota while you're there. We distribute goody bags as people leave (which I forgot to do until most people had already left last year -- We need to put someone other than me in charge of remembering that!) and anyone is welcome to drop flyers or business cards into them. In the current economy, any networking you want to do is just fine.

Mostly we just eat and socialize and talk about how we really ought to do this twice a year!

Q. What do I bring?

A. Your dog, a leash, a bed for him or her, treats, and a covered dish. Suntan lotion and insect repellent if you need it. It will be October, and the club will provide some tables and tarps, but if some people want to bring a card table or two and one of those pop-up tarps, it would be very much appreciated. And bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.

Q. What kind of food?

A. We'll get the food organized shortly -- we try to keep a running "menu" going so we don't end up with 25 desserts and no vegetables. (For some reason, that doesn't seem like a good idea to some people though I cannot imagine why not)

More later, and I'll upload some pictures too, to give you a better idea. And all this information will also be in your invitation -- I hope to get those out at the beginning of September.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Red still needs a home

Red is a beautiful, sweet, sensitive whippet who is looking for a home. He is eight years old and has been a kennel dog most of his life. Though he has never been mistreated or neglected, his experience range is limited, so he will require patience, time and love. He is adapting to house life very well, plays with toys and other dogs, and is extremely affectionate, though he doesn't seek out attention. (He's still learning that!) He is up to date on shots, heartworm and Lymes negative, neutered, and ready to go.

Red is leash and crate trained and would do better in a home with another dog or a human who is home most of the time. Although he is gentle, he has never been around children or cats, so I think a home with no cats and with older children or no children would probably be best. He's going to take some time and patience, so a busy household will not work out well. You'd need to have time to commit to him. I'd like him to stay within 200 miles of us (Lexington, VA, north of Roanoke) in case he does need to come back to us.

Although he's eight, he's in good health and should have several more good years to enjoy. He would be an ideal companion for an only-whippet of the female variety or for someone who for whatever reason is hesitant to make a 12-15 year commitment to a new pet.

As with any Timbreblue dog, Red can always come back here if for any reason his new home doesn't work out. All we're asking for him is $250 t0 cover his neuter, microchip, and associated vet costs.

If you know anyone with room in the heart and home for this guy, please let me know. He needs to get settled fairly soon.

Whippets and Toys

When Ivy is in a really good mood, she has to take a toy out to the bathroom with her. She can hold the toy (no matter how big it is) while peeing, but not while pooping. Her little game is to "forget" the toy, come flying back to the porch and stare at me, wagging her tail. I say, "IVY!! Where's the toy?" She turns around and either:

1) Flies back out to get it and bring it back or
2) Wags her tail harder till I say sternly, "You go get that toy!" THEN she flies out to get and and comes to a sliding stop against the front door.

One of the things I enjoy so much about whippets is their love of toys. I used to buy toys for the collies all the time and they never really played with them after about six months or so.

We finally had to replace the big cardboard box that'd been in the living room since Christmas. My friend Carol sent us a giant box of stuffed animals (I'm talking 2 1'2 foot square box here) Ivy and the Shakespeare litter opened it, I cut a more attractive opening, and we just let it stay here for awhile. Gracie liked to climb inside and sleep in it so we hated to move it. Then the Pelton puppies came and they decided the box itself was a great chew toy. Two days ago it finally fell apart and I replaced it with a big plastic box. Our living room has definitely lost a little of, character, since the cardboard box is gone.

We go through a lot of stuffies around here. I keep a good supply in the living room and just a few in the dog room. The good ones have to stay in the living room or upstairs though because Candy and Juliet simply HAVE to have toys in their mouths when they go outside, and they generally forget to bring them back in. Which means when SinCin and Dallas go out, we have the Chainsaw Massacre out there. Part of the reason I try to clean the yard every day (and sometimes twice a day!) is to get the fluff out of the yard. SinCin (Lab/Chow) is amazing to watch. She picks up the toy, lies down with it delicately between her paws, and with one wrench of the jaws, rips its head off. Dallas will carry one around for awhile and sometimes even sleeps with one all night without destroying it, but it eventually falls prey to the German Shepherd Jaws.

Goodwill does a booming business with us. Fifty cents a stuffie, no matter the size. And ours like the almost-whippet-sized ones best.

The Timbreblue Toy Wars, where the toys never win.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Puppy Plans

Aero's puppies are all settled in their new homes and we are planning a litter of our own for late August. We've bred Blue to Juliet and (fingers crossed) due date should be in the neighborhood of August 30. I'm hoping for a real rainbow of colors with this litter. Juliet is fawn and white but both of her parents are brindle and white. She did produce a couple of blue brindles in her first litter, so we know she carries that gene. Blue has red, black, and steel blue in his pedigree, so there is just no telling what we'll get!