Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Sooner or later gossip gets back to the person and the dogs you gossip about, especially if you live close to one another.

Remember that game we used to play in preschool or kindergarten? The one where one person whispered something into the ear of the person next to him/her and what was whispered was quietly passed from person to person all the way around the room until it got back to the person who started it?

By the time the whispered phrase got back to the originator, it had changed significantly. That taught me a lesson that has lasted with me through the last six plus decades of my life.

Our Mom taught us back then: - If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

I know now that she was trying to prevent us from saying hurtful things about someone else. The Golden Rule.

I have tried, usually successfully, to adhere to those two dictums or "rules" all of my adult life. To needlessly hurt someone or damage someone's reputation is unnecessary and cruel, plain and simple. We all do better when we all do better. Think about it. Please.

Sooner or later what is said and who said it gets back to the person whose reputation was hurt.

Tryggur, aka Yankee, has fit in very well with the rest of my dogs. He gets along fabulously with the younger dogs and allows the older ones respect and distance. Only rarely now do the older dogs in my pack indulge in play.

When Tryggur was returned, there were some very minor initial adjustment concerns, the kind anyone would have when introducing any new dog into an established 'pack'.

I am very happy to report that Bear and Tryggur are best buddies and play together all the time without incident. I am proactive by nature and watch for any possible escalation whenever any of my dogs play with each other. (See below.)

Totty and Pila also play all the time with each other and also with Bear and Tryggur. They are a delight to watch. BEFORE things can get out of hand, I step in verbally to calm things down if I feel it is necessary. It rarely is. Those of you who have more than two adult dogs know what I'm talking about.

There are many things I absolutely love about our Icelandics.

They are an old breed and still have many of their old instincts and behaviors. That makes it all the more interesting to observe them while at work herding or training, or while they play, or raise puppies, or play with or discipline those puppies, or watch for skyward bound predators like hawks, or forage for food in the wild, etc. Our dogs are not a recent breed and, therefore, still have many or their ancestral survival skills close to the surface.

Some people call breeds like Icelandics, Carolina dogs and Basenjis "primitive" breeds. I don't much like that word because it implies, perhaps, that they are dumb or slow. Neither of those descriptors fit our dogs. They still have many of their original old-fashioned instincts and I believe that's what people actually mean when using the word "primitive". Dogs that still have most of their instincts intact are certainly more interesting, at least to me, and present some challenges that a more modern dog, one that has lost most of its instincts, does not have.

When I have a litter, which has normally been once a year, I question the potential new adopters closely about the breeds of dogs they have had before.

If they have had good success with intelligent and active dog breeds in the past, that's a good sign that they will be able to understand and work with our breed.

I believe that some people who in the past have had a "soft" breed whose instincts have been lost over many generations may not be the best bet as a home for an Icelandic. There is not a thing wrong with those more modern breeds; they are relatively easy to manage and to train. They make fantastic pets and best furry friends. They can be challenging too.

I've always said that you have to be smarter than your dog if you want your relationship with him/her to be successful. If your dog is smarter than you are, then you could be in trouble.

I really enjoy working with an intelligent, athletic, sociable, happy dog. I hope to be around for a few more decades so I can get better at this! Ha!

Friday, August 19, 2011


Arbakki Magni, bred by Laura and Joe Lutz, out of Ísi Kappusínó (DN15949601) and Birta (DN15154601), owned by Debbie and Greg Ostrander and shown by Cheri Schmitz, has finished his American Kennel Club Championship and his AKC Grand Championship.


Pila and Kria

Two Icelandic Sheepdogs, Pila and Kria - last photo, who have started their agility training - hopefully one day they will catch up with Kata.

"What is so are as a day in - - " August! "Then, if ever, come perfect days."

Why would anyone live in Texas with the horrible heat for days on end. (It's rhetorical.)

Here in Michigan we are surrounded by water, fresh water. Loads of fresh water in the Great Lakes, the rivers, streams, ponds and smaller lakes. A deluge of water without the floods of the Mississippi river valleys

One would think that our Michigan politicians would be touting the advantages of living in a more temperate clime with loads of fresh water everywhere as a "plus".

Click once or twice on photos to enlarge them. Then use the back arrow to continue.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


This is the "view" the Icelandics had in the previous post. July was a hot month for us but at least we had rain and it shows. Things would normally be a bit haggard and brown by this time of the summer; this year it's lush and green.

(Click once or twice to enlarge photos.)


A gray, cloudy, misty August day makes a good day for reading the paper and contemplating "life". (This was take from outside on the deck looking in.)

(Click once or twice to enlarge photo.)

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Korpur has been ill but is now on the road to recovery. He spent a night at the emergency vets on Tuesday. His heart rate was way up. He was vomiting and had diarrhea. Apparently he ate something, you know dogs, that upset his system. I suspect a chipmunk but we'll never know what it really was. He's been known to do that before. They all do. How do you stop a dog from foraging?

For now, he's resting, eating a special diet for three days, and taking three kinds of pills until he recovers. All of us have been walking around on tiptoes - well the other dogs aren't but I am.

I may be only slightly biased (ha!) but I think Korp is very studly. I call him my stud-muffin. He's one of my nicest dogs, temperament-wise, a real cuddler in an appropriate way - not too much, and a very affectionate dog to humans and other dogs as well. Fortunately, he has thrown his amazing good looks to his puppies. Tryggur from his most recent litter shows great potential.

As always, to enlarge the photos, click on them once or twice.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Loki and Birta

Two pictures must equal 2,000 words! Well done!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I have to admit that I'm conflicted. I just heard that our tasty Chocolate Mousse has two of almost everything he needs to have two of. (Double dews?) I would like for him to be bred but I totally understand if that does not happen.

You all know me and you know how I feel about conformation. I do believe that we should breed to the official breed standard. I think that the way dogs are judged in the US and the way they are judged in Europe are very different. Their way (European) makes great sense, at least to me.

Look at the great tail curl in the first photo. I don't know what his tail looks like now but back then it was great. The left ear came up soon after the second photo was taken. I'm pretty sure he turned into a long haired pup like his two brothers. The lone female puppy was the only shorter furred pup in this litter.

Click on photos if you want to enlarge them.

Lycoris lily - revisited

Click to enlarge photos. The hairs on the morning glories are lovely as is the dew.

The Coxes lived in Maryland for a short time after Uncle Olin had been called back into service; in their yard they had dozens of Lycoris lilies which are not reliably hardy in Michigan. I planted several bulbs about 30 years ago and this is the first time any have flowered. Climate change? Michigan is becoming more like Maryland. This one plant reminds me of the Coxes and their marvelous country home with the hidden stairs. We rode on a train from Michigan to get there and the ride was a wonderful and memorable experience. There was a dining car and berths. It was so much better in so many ways than driving there.

The Hosta is one I grew from seed several years ago.

Recently someone said that we only take photos of flowers when they are at their peak but even as their flowers start to wilt and fade and we see spent the flowers fall and the leaves get ragged, they are still lovely and we should continue to celebrate them. - Somewhere in that thought is the message that the same thing is true for humans - - and dogs, et cetera.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Click once or twice to enlarge this photo.

Cargo will turn 15 next March 2012. Yes, that's his name. I wonder if he got the name because he flew cargo from his birth country to his new home many years ago?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lycoris lily


W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pila Today

We had some very good news last night about one of Pila's pups. Congratulations Leroy! My Uncle Nels Leroy would be so proud! Happy Easter!!!