A hop, a skip, and one hell of a jump away

Summer in the city means less locals and more tourists. And although we generally like to defy that rule by staying in Vancouver while it’s nice here (those 3-4 months we get actual sun and minimal rain), our homeland was calling. –Actually, it were my parents and grandparents that were calling, but close enough!– So we booked ourselves a trip to the Netherlands and arranged for a little stay-cation for Jaz.

jaz_poolLeaving your pets behind is a difficult thing to do, and finding good people to take care of them while you’re gone is key. We have found an awesome cat-sitter for our two feline friends, and Jaz gets top-of-the-line care at one of our trainers, who offers in-home boarding. Boarding with the dog-trainer means that Jaz will not only get lots of love and caring, but will also have to stick to the ‘rules’ while we’re gone.

Left: Jaz enjoying some pool-time during her stay-cation.





Right: Jaz even had a little summer fling! Meet Fred. The two were inseparable!




While Jaz was having lots of fun hanging out in the pool and making new friends, we were over in the Netherlands doing the same (well, minus the pool…) Namely, besides the usual suspects –you know who you are!–, we also visited some place new, namely: The Sounding Burrows kennel! The Burrows and I met by admiring each other’s Lakies on Flickr, and have been conversing ever since. The Burrows breeds beautiful Lakelands with lovely temperament, and is actively trying to maintain variety by breeding black Lakelands, and, most recently, starting to focus on breeding liver-coloured Lakelands. We share a passion for Lakies, and since this would be one of the few occasions where we’d be on the same continent, my husband and I decided to stop by and say ‘hello!’.

20130704-DSCF1568“Hi! I’m Scott, man of the house!”

We were lucky enough to meet a plethora of puppies, as The Burrows had two litters, one of 4 and one of 5. Needless to say, I wanted to take them all home! They say all puppies are cute, but to me there’s nothing cuter than Lakeland puppies; who can resist those tiny stumbling plush teddy-bears with their cheeky eyes and boastful roars?!

Puppies – yeah!

Not just the puppies, but the whole crew was a lively bunch; energetic, cheerful, just plain-old happy! I cannot blame them; I’d be happy to be living at The Burrows too. This place was set up with Lakies in mind. A fusion of human and canine space, where functionality and comfort were perfectly balanced… we’d never seen such a thing!

Happy, happy, joy, joy! Chess is living life to the fullest each day!

It was great to meet someone with whom I share a passion. We could have talked for days, I’m sure of it. But, for now, it was great to put a face to a name, to share in some of The Burrow’s knowledge, and, most importantly, to get some Lakie-love oversees. –Boy were we missing our daily Lakie-fix!– Thanks, The Burrows!

UK Lakeland Terrier Club Yearbook Article

If you’ve read my last blog post, you’ll know that I’ve had the opportunity to write an article for the UK Lakeland Terrier Club Yearbook. The yearbook has a section titled “Around the world…” and Jaz was lucky enough to represent Canada this year! My own copy of the Yearbook is still in the mail, but I was thrilled to receive pictures of the publication (thanks, dad!):


For those of you that are not members of the UK LTC (in which case you will have received a copy of the yearbook already), here’s the article:

Lakie Land – it’s a small world after all

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted a Lakeland terrier. Growing up with Kerry Blues, and surrounded by terrier books, I made up my mind at an early age. I wanted a lighter, more compact version of a Kerry Blue, and a Lakeland seemed like the perfect blend between cute and courageous. Never mind being careful what you wish for; I wished for a small dog with big dog attitude.

But this childhood dream of mine, as happens with many of them, sank to the back of my mind as I grew up, where it stayed dormant for quite some time. I moved out of my parents’ home, attended university, met my future husband, and immigrated from the Netherlands to Canada. It wasn’t until February of 2011, when we were happily settled in Vancouver with our two cats, that my childhood dream re-surfaced.

On a pending trip to Europe that summer, my husband and I were planning to spend some time in England; the Lake District, to be precise. And it was in email-correspondence with my father that the subject of Lakelands came up. If we were to visit the Lake District, the area where these dogs originated from, why not visit a breeder? Surely, this was an opportunity not to be passed up!

After doing some research online (what would we do without the world wide web?!), we found Alan and Angela Johnston’s contact info at Oregill kennels. A visit with the grandson of the man who was involved in creating the very breed of dog I was after… talk about getting to the root of the matter!

It happened as planned. We contacted Alan and Angela, and visited them in Egremont on a rainy Cumbrian afternoon in May of 2011. Terriers galore! Outside, we were greeted by two Lakies that were out in a run. In the side-building, we found working terriers and fox terriers, and inside the house we met some month-old Lakeland pups… all of them bursting with energy at the mere sight of us.

It was at that very moment that my childhood dream came rushing back more vibrant than ever. How can anyone, when catching sight of these spirited, small yet sturdy creatures, not secretly wish to own one? Sold! No need to check the price tag, discuss the warranty, or go over the return policy; I was ready to proceed to checkout.

While Alan told us a little more about the breed and its heritage as well as Oregill kennels, the initial veil of foolish excitement lifted, and my rational mind returned. I was not going to put a puppy through a 10-hour intercontinental flight. If I wanted a Lakie, we would have to find a breeder in Canada. And in Canada, Lakies are few and far between. It’s labradors, poodles, and, modern pet-breeders’ newest creation, labradoodles, that rule the streets of Vancouver. I think I had only ever spotted one dog that (probably due to poor grooming) somewhat resembled a Lakeland.

But we can count ourselves lucky that it is a small world, and that the world of Lakelands is even smaller. As it turned out, Alan and Angela knew one Canadian breeder: Mark Wamback, owner of Wakefield kennels. And after contacting Mark when we got home from our trip, he kindly referred us to Judy Gruzelier (Waterwalk kennels), who happened to live only a stone’s throw away from us. A few emails later, my husband and I were in Belcarra (a mere 35 km from our home in Vancouver), on Judy’s couch, each of us with a Lakie in our lap.

Things could not have lined up more perfectly. One of Judy’s bitches was in heat and about to be bred. And August 16th of 2011, we welcomed Waterwalk Rosso Corsa (‘Jaz’) into the world. All summer, I had secretly hoped for a red girl. Jaz was a singleton. Red. Female. I got everything I wished for in this tiny little package. If anything was meant to be, it was Jaz.

From that summer on, I was caught in a Lakie whirlwind. Socialization, obedience, grooming, handling… we tried it all! I had even started a blog about it. Jaz’s breeder was my be-all and end-all in everything Lakeland. She (very patiently!) taught me how to hand-strip a Lakeland, and introduced me to the dog-showing world.

Initially, I thought show-grooming was tough, but obedience and handling turned out to be tougher. Try getting a naughty dog with selective hearing (which, as you well know, Lakies are famous for) to pay attention in a room full of dogs… I didn’t stand a chance! Needless to say, Jaz did a lot of air-walking in the beginning, spinning and cartwheeling around the show ring. Quite the challenge, but never a dull moment!

Owning a Lakeland terrier has opened up a whole new world to us. Although Jaz is just a pet, I take pride in grooming her to look like a proper Lakeland. In the words of Jaz’ breeder: “hand-stripping wire coats is a dying art form,” and we should share these techniques to keep it alive. I am trying to do so, by passing what little knowledge I have on through my blog.

Besides the grooming, training is a never-ending project. We have taken some obedience and handling classes, and are contemplating taking a stab at agility next… Regardless of where our endeavours take us, we have met, and continue to meet, a lot of great people; in real life as well as online.

I thoroughly enjoy communicating with Lakie owners and breeders through my blog. Especially because there aren’t that many Lakeland owners where we live. And even my father, who doesn’t own a terrier at the moment, has gotten caught up in all the Lakie-craze by creating an extensive Lakeland terrier pedigree database dating back to the 1930s. All of this courtesy of Jaz, a single (but very special) Lakeland terrier.

Then & now: 13 & 14 weeks

When Jaz was still a puppy, people used to tell us she looked like a little teddy bear… the following picture will tell you why:

Then & now: 13 weeks oldThen: November 15, 2011: This was taken a week after I fully stripped Jaz’s furnishings and beard… look at that skinny snout!
Now: November 15, 2012: I tried to re-take this picture last week, but Jaz wasn’t having any of it. I even tried to wear her down a bit by playing tug, hoping she’d be tired enough to lay still, but missy was determined that laying on her back was a bad idea. Oh well… I tried. You get the gist 😉

Cute as they may be, even little teddy bears have a job to do, and Jaz’s job was to learn how to stand properly on the table for showing. This is not only required during the show, but also comes in very handy during grooming:

Then & now: 14 weeks old
Then & now: November 19, 2011 and 2012. It’s safe to say that Jaz has figured the art of standing out by now. She spends quite a few hours on that table each month. (Side note: I’m thrilled to see that she has finally grown proper furnishings!!!)

— And now for an administrative announcement… I have to apologize for lack of content on the blog lately. Time flies when you’re having fun, but also when you’re really busy. My studies have bogged me down. Luckily, there are only two weeks left of this semester. The final grooming post will be up by the beginning of next month, and there are some exciting things happening in 2013, which I will tell you about later. Thanks for being patient! —

Then & now: almost twelve weeks

Exactly a year ago today, Jaz’s breeder gave me my first few grooming instructions. The breeder had already stripped Jaz her jacket and flats at eight weeks of age, but now that Jaz was about to turn twelve weeks, the furnishings, including beard and fall had to go (at some point, all the baby hair has to go to make room for a wire coat!).

Jaz didn’t enjoy the process very much the first few times, as you can see in the “then” side of the picture below. Her ears are up, but there is some sadness in those eyes. This is why we tried to keep sessions short and ‘fun’ in the beginning (this, of course, is debatable, as I’m not sure you can call getting your hairs pulled ‘fun’ 😉 ).
But nowadays, Jaz doesn’t mind it so much. In fact, she has become accustomed to the ritual, and was somewhat surprised when I asked her to sit on the table to pose for a picture (to Jaz, the grooming table means “standing only”), which explains her goofy look on the “now” side of the picture. You can see that she has become a lady, though, because she is keeping her legs closed! 😛

Then: November 5, 2011, almost 12 weeks old. Now: November 5, 2012, a year and many grooming sessions later…

Then & now: eight weeks

Today, exactly a year ago, we brought Jaz home! She was very small then, but she still managed to scare the cats, and didn’t listen to us at all… Now she is about three times the size, the cats take turns teasing and getting teased, and she’ll listen to us… that is, when it suits her (selective hearing–the breeder warned us about it)!
But I can tell you one thing: there hasn’t been a boring day since!
It’s a miracle the same ball is still intact; most of her toys end up biting the dust after a few months…