Saturday, 31 January 2009

happy half birthday

The puppies are 6 months old today. That means they can now compete in shows. Maija's first show was supposed to be today, but yours truly had too much work demanding attention and so she missed out. Both Inko and Tarkka will be off to their first shows next weekend.

Six months old also means that the hormones will soon be kicking in. With the bitches, they might have their first season anytime from now to 12 or 14 months old. With the dogs, the urge to hump will grow and grow... these hormonal times are trying times. Maija has shown no signs of coming into season yet, but Neka is in full swing, bang on time as always. So poor old Keskiyo has had a week in the kennel to save his (and our) sanity.

With many dogs, reaching the age of 6 months also means they have more or less reached their full height, although there is usually quite a bit of filling out to do that takes place over 2 years or so. Keskiyo is only now filling out like a properly grown up boy and he's almost 3.

And it's looking like the puppies are taking after him in that department. He grew a whole additional inch in height after the age of 12 months, and all the puppies are still quite small. Maija is still very baby-ish and far from Neka's size yet. However, she has knobbly knees, and that usually means a pup's got some growing to do. I haven't seen any of the others in person for a while, but I hear Emma fears Rauhan will end up a "miniature Lapphund". Before you get too excited, no, there most certainly is not any such thing!

Here is Tarmo looking quite adorably chunky and somehow reminding me rather of his Uncle Veli (Oswald).

And, you see, definitely knobbly-kneed and due to grow quite a bit more.

And here is Viivi getting cuddles from Dave for her birthday.

Sharing a stick with Jaska.

Doesn't is look as though they've had a major falling out?

'Don't talk to me!'

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

chew dig destroy

Neka and Keskiyo both love to dig when they get a chance, and Maija is the best digger in the bunch (if you want to put a positive spin on it...) Every puppy loves to dig and sand is the best digging medium around. Inko has her own sandbox and here is Tarkka head-first in his modest hole.

'I know Australia is around here somewhere.'

Having been banned from the garden for similar behaviour, Maija has now taken to digging the sofa cushions instead. No, of course the dogs are not allowed on the sofa (anymore). Nonetheless, everytime we turn our back, she's up there ripping out chunks of foam and running off in glee with her prize. To be fair, she didn't start the sofa-digging, that distinction is reserved for Keskiyo who, also as a puppy, scratched the first tiny hole through the leather of the cushion. Then it really took a dive when I left the very pregnant Neka for 20 minutes to pick Jay up from work. When we got back, she was having contractions and had settled in her emergency nest in the cushion surrounded by ripped up foam. But we've been living with it until Maija discovered her new favorite game.

Luckily, there was an excellent sofa in the sales last weekend.

And I'm considering covering the cushions in fine sand paper. Not very cozy for curling up watching DVDs, it's true. But think of the time I'll save in trimming claws.

There is something certainly just as good as, if not better than, digging - chewing shoes. And socks. But preferably shoes. Maija has been roared at enough times now to drop shoes on command. Finally. Perhaps some day she'll lose her fascination with them altogether. But, unless I'm very much mistaken, here is a puppy not only chewing a shoe, but being photographed doing it rather than told off. What a lucky puppy!

You can see he knows he's lucky - look at the smile on his face. What a cutie.

But, who is he?

If I hadn't known, I wouldn't have known (if you follow my meaning...) There he is looking for all the world like his mum and half-brother Taito. And of all the puppies, he's the one I was quite sure would look exactly like his dad, especially when I saw this lovely photo of him & Sukka with the Katy & Hattie on the xmas card I got from Emma. (Apologies to the girls for chopping their heads off, but I don't like to publish photos of people without their permission & I haven't asked for permission to use this one.)

That's right, this is Rauhan, of all puppies! He still has the tan legs like is dad, but he's definitely got his mum's bright white face and little grin. Comparing the two photos, would you guess it was the same puppy? I don't think I would.

Monday, 12 January 2009

more modelling

Keskiyo wasn't the only one who needed a photo for the Yearbook. Paula & Adam have been struggling to get a suitable shot of Inko as well. The quintessential moving target, that puppy.

We thought this one would be cute, and it is, but unfortunately just not sharp enough.

Besides, she is possibly just a teensy bit too sandy and bedraggled for this photo to be consigned to the official historical record of the breed. So, at the time of writing, they are still trying.

Tarkka, on the other hand, has numerous gorgeous photos to choose from. It sure must be handy having a committed shutterbug in the family. At least they won't be forced to use something like this one of him struggling against the wind, adorable tho it is.


Wendy managed to get an absolute corker of a photo of Karhu for the Yearbook. At the same time, she sent me this beautiful shot of them both.

Viivi won't be appearing in the Yearbook, but David & Sherralee did send some wonderful photos a couple of weeks ago. Here is pretty Viivi, looking so much like her mum as she grows up.

Sunday, 11 January 2009


So, the Bigbury walk was the ideal photo opportunity. Particularly for those of us who still had not managed to get a shot worthy of showing off in the first annual SFLS Yearbook. The Yearbook is a record of Finnish Lapphunds in the UK in 2008/09. It will have articles, information about the breed, its history in the UK and elsewhere, and lots and lots of gorgeous photos as I, and a hundred or so of my closest friends, advertise our dogs. At a time when there are still fewer than 500 Lapphunds in this country, the Yearbook will stand as a historical record documenting the progress of the breed. A brilliant idea!

If you have a good photo to publish, that is.

There was no question of getting a photo of Neka to publish. She still hasn't regained her pre-puppy coat, for one thing, so I knew I would have to make do with a picture I already had kicking around. I have only 2 really good show-pose pics of her. One of them was taken when she was only a year old, so too old. The other is not much more recent but, even worse, it has me in it. Er, no, I don't think so.

Luckily, Andrew who has the delectable Taito, took loads of great photos of Neka with her offspring at a show last summer so I'm going to use one of those. It's not a "show" shot as they're all just sitting in a row, but they are a pretty bunch. The only snag is that Neka was noticeably pregnant with Maija's litter at the time. And 1 or 2 of the others actually make her look slim!

I've added to that one of the cute puppies-on-fluffy-blanket shots that I took when they were babies. Very similar to this one.

L-R: Inko, Tarkka, Maija, Rauhan

Sadly the quality is pretty poor, but it was either that or a photo of Maija looking like the 5-month-old horror that she is - no coat, all ears & long, pointy nose.

As you can see, her show stand is coming along nicely, though. For about .257 of a second at a time, that is. Gotta be pretty quick with the shutter. I'm not sure I'll make a show dog out of her at all, in fact. I've been spoiled by Neka who bounds into every show ring demanding that everyone look at her, and by Keskiyo, whose stand was pretty much perfect at 12 weeks, as you can see.

Now, there is a boy who definitely had to have a new photo for the Yearbook. I haven't been able to get a good show pose of him since he has become an adult. And he's looking better at the moment than he ever has - fully grown, maturing, filling out and with a big luxurious coat. So we tried. I tried. Jay tried. Jo tried. This is one of the better ones, and with a great background, but the angle is wrong.

In the end Jo got a good one of him on the sand. His underside is a bit wet & sandy, and it's not a show-pose per se, but it is a great photo of him. If you want to see it, you'll just have to buy the book.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

pondside, seaside

Apologies for being away so long. I have lots of excuses that I won't bore you with, but I also have lots of photos to keep me blogging. Just so long as I can find the time, that is.

Devon has been enjoying cold weather the likes of which I haven't seen since I visited home in mid-winter and it was -15 degrees. Well, ok, it's not actually that cold here, but we're all really struggling to keep warm in houses and clothing simply not designed to withstand weeks of sub-zero temperatures. It's very pretty though. And we haven't had any snow in my area, for which I am grateful.

As for the Lapphunds, well, they're positively thrilled by the crunch underfoot every day when they shoot out the door. Oh, how they wish it would snow! Keskiyo spends a great deal of his time in the garden now. (And, before you ask, no I bloody well have not done any work out there. I'm waiting for spring.) Here he is at his favorite perch pond-side with a proprietary paw holding his tennis ball.

He gets dragged in from time to time for unneighbourly barking out the front gate, but the garden is his room of choice these days. He occasionally comes to the door asking for someone to come out and play. Neka is normally very well behaved in the garden too so would normally be allowed out, but since having the puppies she hasn't got over her habit of cleaning up after everyone and everything. She has discovered the cats' favorite poo site and zooms straight over to tuck in. So she's banned for the time being. As for Maija, she's not allowed in the garden unsupervised until she learns some manners around the plants.

So, he's mainly out there on his own, happily amusing himself. He is particularly charmed by his new-found ability to walk around, sit and lie on the pond. And, occasionally eat it when he manages to break off a piece.

The usual caveats regarding the quality of my photos apply. On this occasion the problems are caused by having to grab a quick snap through the open kitchen window. Everytime you appear in the garden in person, Keskiyo immediately stops whatever he's doing and comes hurtling over for a game. This, of course, is not conducive to good picture taking.

We did have a great photo opportunity last weekend, though. I hosted my first SFLS walk. This is a momentous occasion because it heralds the first time there have been enough Finnish Lapphunds in the south west to warrant a specially organised walk all the way down here so far away from everyone else. A couple of people had to cancel so we were a few Lappies down on expected numbers. However, we had a reasonable turnout with 7 Lapphunds, one Anniebear Akita and about 14 people. In the end, they were all related to Neka, being either her housemates or offspring.

I thought it appropriate to choose a beach for our walk since we have so many great ones in this neck of the woods and we had a terrific time at Bigbury-on-Sea. This is a gorgeous spot anytime of year, and remarkably uncrowded on the freezing day we set out for our walk. It will now forever be known by me as Bigburrrrry. Have a look for yourself on the webcam here.

Thanks to Jo for getting lots of great photos. Here is a selection of Lappies running flat out, which is a particularly good reason for going to the beach.




Brothers Koda & Torvi

And here are a few photos illustrating why it's always a good idea to let a bunch of Finnish Lapphunds get together. Look at how much fun they're having playing together!

Yes, that's me bundled up like the Michelin man, wearing so many layers I can hardly walk. And, yes, in that photo further up, that is a bunch of people in the water. Surfers - a group of people possibly even more bonkers in the pursuit of their hobby than dog folk.