January 29, 2005

The Water Dog

Olivia loved being in the water. I'm not sure that all Dalmatian's do, but ours did. She especially loved to run along the shoreline of any lake and dive in and out as she went along. It got to the point that we carried a towel in a backpack whenever we knew that our walk would be along a lake.

We would also bring along some tennis balls. We'd toss a ball in and off would go Liv to fetch it. She seemed to never tire and a few times would even lose her bearings and start to swim out to sea. Then we would call out to her to get her turned around and headed back towards shore.

There was also the time when Glynis was a mere 10-weeks old. Off we went on a walk to Medicine Lake as a family. Even cousin Koko came along as my sister and brother-in-law had come to see the new puppy. Olivia seemed to be extra happy that evening, as if she was going to teach her sister and cousin the fine art of chasing a ball in the lake.

Glynis would follow her older sister into the water not getting much past the first joint on her legs. Glynis did not like the water in the least. She sat amd shivered along the sidelines as Olivia and Koko frolicked in the water. Glynis was not, and would not, be a water dog. She was a Princess. Olivia was a Tom-Boy.

But Glynis stayed right there on the shore, watching her older sister. Whenever Liv would exit, Glynis would excitedly run up and congratulate her on bringing back another ball. Glynis was Olivia's cheerleader.

Now, Glynis is the alpha dog. Pont is the wanna-be. And Glynis is doing a terrific job and teaching Pont the ways of the Maas household. She should, as she had one heck of a teacher.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:28 AM

January 25, 2005

Funny Moments with Olivia

We had several funny moments with Olivia over the years. I'd like to share some of those with you.

The Race

In 1993 I saw a blurb in the local paper that there was to be a K9 race held in St.Paul. In conjunction with the Humane Society, there was to be a 5K race in which owner & dog ran together as a team. Well, having spent 3/4's of my life running in various road-races and participating in triathlons I could not resist entering Olivia and I.

We trained together for a few weeks. Olivia got use to staying right by me on her leash and to not jump in front of me. She was doing great and it brought us even closer together.

The day of the race we got right up on the line for the start. There were a lot of dogs of all sizes. But Olivia and I were very confident we would be victorious. We were a TEAM!

There was no gun so as to not startle the dogs. But the start was pure chaos anyway. Dogs went after each other and leashes became tangled and it was absolute hilarity for the spectators. But Olivia and I got off fairly clean. We found ourselves up near the lead pack after things thinned out and order was restored.

We kept moving up as we ran. Liv and I passed dog after dog until we were in the lead pack of runners. With less than a mile remaining, I started to position us to be able to make a kick at the end and not be boxed in by the other owner-dog teams.

We could see the finish. And I was just about to tell Olivia to kick it into high gear when I felt the leash go taut. I got yanked back and when I turned around to see why, there was Olivia stopping to urinate.....in the middle of the street...in front of the finish line crowd....as dogs passed on both sides.

We still finished 3rd and still have the plaque that was presented to us. We never did race again. But that one was a thrill.

The Canoe

Each summer we make a trip to Strawberry Lake to spend time with my parents who have been camping there each summer for as long as I can remember. The summer of 1993 was no different. We made the 4-hour drive to a little north of Detroit Lakes and found ourselves back at Strawberry.

One afternoon we were a little bored so I decided it would be a great idea to take out the canoe and go onto the lake. I also decided it would be a great idea to take Olivia out with us.

Olivia had been out on a boat with us many times but never a canoe. She also loved, I mean absolutely loved being in the water. So, I should have seen this one coming.

Jackie, myself, and Olivia all got into the canoe. Liv was in the middle. We paddled out and began to go along the shoreline about 50-yards from shore. My grandmother and mother were also on shore and called out to us and waved. That was all that Liv needed. It was as if she heard "treat!" being called out.

Olivia bounded out of the canoe, which immediately capsized. Jackie was frantic when she surfaced thinking that Olivia was drowning as she could not find her anywhere. I walked (walked because we were standing in about 2-feet of water) over to my wife and pointed to the shore. There was Olivia, shaking herself dry in front of my grandmother and mother...who were now shrieking about the wet dog.

Now that was funny!

Thin Ice

Along one of our usual walking paths are a series of ponds connected by canals. In the summer, we always had to worry about Olivia stopping to have her fill of goose droppings when the geese came during the nesting season. In the winter, we would let her off the leash and she would fly around from pond to pond along the canals darting in and out of rushes and reeds. She was in her element.

One unseasonably warm winter day in 1996, we had let her off her leash when she spied a muskrat. Off she went like a rocket chasing that muskrat who was looking for one thing...open water.

The muskrat found the open water and Olivia was unable to put on the brakes in time to stop on the slushy ice. In she went, head first, and with no muskrat to show for it.

Now wet and angry, she came bounding back to us where she was consoled over the indignity of losing to the muskrat.

And was a little wiser for it.


Posted by maasx003 at 7:11 PM

January 24, 2005

Olivia Retrospective

I've written a lot over the last few weeks about the newest addition, Pont and his older sister Glynis. Now I want to get around to writing more about our first dog Olivia. Call it Olivia Sweeps Week!

And we might as well get the terrible stuff out of the way first by posting a notice we sent to friends and relatives shortly after Olivia passed away. Here it is, as first posted on July 11, 2001.

In Loving Memory

Dear Friends and Relatives:

After an extended illness Olivia Kachina Kodak, our Dalmatian, was put to sleep on July 10. We ask that those whose lives she touched reflect for a brief time on special moments you may have shared with her.

Olivia was born in Olivia, Minn., on May 16, 1992. Olivia’s father was Bubba’s Bravo and her mother Kodak’s Ultralife, the dog featured in Kodak Ultralife batteries ads during 1991. Olivia’s bloodline included the famous Dalmatian champion Paisley Spirit O Hopi Kachina, hence, her name Olivia Kachina Kodak.

Olivia was purchased from Tami Revier at the Hardee’s in Glencoe, Minn., on June 29, 1992. She slept on Jackie’s lap during the entire trip home. Upon arrival, Olivia made several romps around the yard before crashing in the three-season porch and sleeping the entire night through.

Olivia was the original “Surfin’ Dalmatian” as a puppy. She liked to lie on her belly, front paws stretched out in front of her, and push forward with her rear paws. She loved to go for runs and play with her sister, Glynis the whippet, in the backyard…and many times in the house!

She was a beautiful dog with soulful dark eyes and a heart-shaped black nose. Her glossy, spotted coat was a kid-magnet and walks around the neighborhood were often interrupted with shouts of, “A Dalmatian dog! Can we pet her?”

Liv was patient with small children and while she was initially unsure of her place in the household after her little brother Graham was born, she grew to appreciate his attempts at “gentle touches.” Even though she may have resented him a bit, no strangers could get near him without seeing a flash of her protective, snarling stance.

Did you know that Olivia could actually smile? Dalmatians are the only breed that has this genetic trait and Olivia would stand at the top of the stairs and smarl (smile and snarl) when those she knew and loved would enter the house. If you had the pleasure of visiting Olivia at our (her) house, you know that she enthusiastically welcomed all guests. Typically within five minutes of their arrival, we would find visitors stroking her head with Olivia curled against them.

She had some bad habits as well. She was a counter creeper and had been known to eat entire sticks of butter when no one was looking. She licked her feet obsessively, which drove us mad and left couch cushions soaked. She was a very smart, very stubborn dog who would often disregard a command until she felt like responding to it.

But these little flashes of personality are also some of the things we will miss most about her. When we got home from the vet’s after putting her to sleep, we could feel her absence immediately. There was no Olivia to greet us with a wagging tail and a smiling face. From now on, there will be no Olivia to jump in the middle of our bed and hog all the covers. There will be no cold, wet noses reminding us that she needed attention. And there will be no more dark, soulful eyes looking at us with trust and affection.

There may be a few of you who feel we have finally gone off the deep end, particularly if you have never had to let a beloved pet go. Indulge us for a moment. For us, we have lost a treasured child, our first-born. We held her as she slipped away and felt a piece of our hearts leave with her. A part of us will be missing forever

We know we did the right thing in easing her way. After our visit to the vet, we watched a videotape of Olivia when she was three years old. How full of life she was – jumping and playing, sitting for treats, positively quivering with energy.

This is how we will always remember her. We hope you will too.

Brian and Jackie Maas

olivia27.jpg

Posted by maasx003 at 8:21 PM

January 23, 2005

Let it Snow....

We finally got some snow in the Twin Cities. About 8" in our area. This meant that I had to shovel paths and several large areas in the backyard so that the Princess (Glynis) and Prince (Pont) would actually go outside to do their required business.

But Pont soon warmed to the idea of frolicking in the snow. He even enjoyed Graham's big snow fort....for a while.

Glynis and Olivia always loved being in the snow together.

both5.jpg

We'd often take them out onto frozen Medicine Lake and just let them have at it....neither would ever stray far from us although one could see Glynis decide to race the occasional snowmobile. You would then see an astonished snowmobiler slow to take a look at what kind of animal go run alongside his sled at 40 mph.

But more often than not, Olivia would simply sniff along the frozen cattails and reeds along the lakeshore and then leap in as if she smelled an animal and Glynis would happily trail along not knowing what had her older sister so excited.

We've yet to take Pont onto the frozen lake. I'm sure he would enjoy it. We may try later this week when temperatures climb nearer 30-degrees. At my age, the cold just makes my old "war" injuries ache even more. I'm sure the same is for Glynis. The two of us would rather be huddled in front of the fire fast asleep. Just as Olivia did so many years ago.




Blog Site Additions

You'll notice a few updates to this dog blog off to the left on the navigation bar area. First, is the addition of the Top 10 Whippets as ranked by Dog News. Second, are a couple of RSS feeds. RSS is a format for syndicating news and the content of news-like sites, including major news sites like Wired, news-oriented community sites like Slashdot, and personal weblogs. I've added the local weather for Minneapolis and a link to the dog community. Now, you can keep up with the weather for Minneapolis and dog-related news!

Posted by maasx003 at 2:54 PM

January 1, 2005

Cake Eaters Part II

Yesterday I wrote about Glynis and Pont eating a Snowman cake and expressed my dismay since this was not typical Glynis behavior. Not only that, she was being a very bad role model for her younger brother.

Upon reflection I recalled that Olivia also enjoyed the fine art of cake eating. For her first birthday in 1993, we threw her a party and invited all the neighborhood dogs plus friends who owned dogs.

Jackie made a special Dalmatian cake for the party using Oreo cookies and Junior Mints as Dalmatian spots. She left it on the kitchen table for a moment while she tended to some things for the party outside. When she returned, one of the cake's legs was missing and Olivia had Oreo cookies all over her teeth.

olivia2.jpg

Perhaps it's just doggy nature that "what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine, too," especially when it involves cake. And the Master is not around.

I'm sure Olivia would have enjoyed the Snowman cake just as much as Glynis and Pont did!

Posted by maasx003 at 9:57 AM

December 15, 2004

Introducing....

First was Olivia Kachina Kodak (aka Liv)

liv001.bmp

Olivia loved to run, and run, and....

liv002.bmp

....RUN! So we needed a dog that could keep up with her energy and enthusiasm.

So along came Glynis Cyfie Bryn (aka Sister, Rooster, Snow Shark, Baby Girl)

glynis001.bmp

Glynis, a whippet, could run like the wind. This often made Liv really mad. Unless Glynis was looking like....

glynis002.bmp

...and in that case Olivia pretty much bolted back to safety!

Olivia passed on due to ravaging cancer about a year after Graham was born. We were devasted and often felt a piece was missing. But, we were a happy family nonetheless. Graham came to call Glynis "Sister" and became best friends.

001fp.jpg

But you could see that Glynis missed a doggie companion. Someone she could speak to in her own terms. Someone to share the couch in the sunroom with. Someone to cuddle up to when everyone was gone. Graham thought Sister needed a brother.

Introducing Northwind’s Pont Robert (aka Pont), our newest addition to the Maas family. Pont is another whippet. And will be our first male dog.

pont6.bmp

View Pont shortly after birth

View Pont at Two Weeks Old

View Pont at Four Weeks Old

Over the coming weeks, we'll be looking back at the history of Olivia and Glynis sharing stories and celebrating their lives. We'll also be keeping everyone up-to-date with the progress of Pont. In the next blog entry, you'll get the answer to "why Pont"?

Until then, we'll be wiping floors and getting fingers nipped and all the other wonderful things with owning a puppy. We hope you enjoy the blog. Come back often and by all means, leave a comment by using the comment link found at the end of each entry.

Tah-tah!


Posted by maasx003 at 2:55 PM