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.

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