24 August 2012

Rhodesian Ridgeback World Congress Day 2

As I said in the previous post, Thursday's session of the World Congress seemed predominately focused on Health and Medicine. It did not disappoint.

First up in the morning was a TBD block of presentation from Royal Canin, one of the sponsors of this years Congress. Dr. Emmanuel Fontaine, formerly of France, was the chosen speaker and Dr. Fontaine put on a wonderful presentation on the advancements of the specialization of reproduction in veterinary medicine. While his accent at times grew a bit thick, the presentation itself was still an enjoyable one. Then again, as a medic myself, I'm sort of into those kinds of things.

Following the reproduction presentation was the representative from Germany, who provided us with a profile on Ridgebacks in Germany. Following the Germany Profile was a similar presentation on the Ridgebacks in the UK. It has been pretty enlightening to see how the structure of dog enthusiasm is forced to differ depending on the laws and governing bodies of the home countries. How the importance of the regional, and then national clubs takes on or loses significant importance depending on the countries Kennel Clubs and other ruling bodies.

The last lecture before lunch was presented by Dr. Stephanie Reid, a board certified Veterinarian and Acupuncturist. She gave a very informative, if a bit lengthy, presentation on what Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture is, how it works, and how it can be used as an alternative to, or in cooperation with traditional vet medicine to help our four leggeds be whole again. Strong emphasis on herbal and acupuncture treatments as a supplement to current traditional practices opened my view on the topic, and will certainly prompt more research, as I am informed that at least one of the vets at our clinic back home is also a certified acupuncturist.

Following Dr. Reid were the country profiles for both Australia, and then Russia. Victoria Moritz, who I mentioned in my last blog post as the owner of Ujamaa Ridgebacks, gave the profile for Australia. I'm afraid I do not remember the Russian blokes name, but his presentation was very well done. Considering the short amount of time that Ridgebacks have called Russia home, (1993), the country has produced a significant amount of history, and enthusiasts of the breed. Perhaps, even guardians. As he outlined that currently the national RR club has been suspended due to the ever changing government, politics and social turmoil, a Kennel Union protecting some of the top 15 RR Kennels in the country has stepped forward and is currently informally acting to the best of its ability as a preserver and guardian for the breed. Commendable, to say the least.

After the lunch break, we returned for a rousing, energetic and fairly humorous presentation on Allergies in dogs by Dr. Stephen Waisglas. Much like Dr. Zink the day before, Dr. Waisglas  knew how to work a crowd, and presented his material in an easy to understand, easy to follow fashion. Allergies are a small concern in the Ridgeback, but also a concern that seems to be steadily growing, and it was valuable information to be sure.

Following the Allergy presentation, Denise Flaim took the stage to broach a rather somber, and even taboo topic. Deafness in the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Having already read her article earlier this year in The Ridgeback Register (a quarterly magazine) I was familiar with much of the subject matter of her slides. Though I was shocked to see how many of the attendees at the congress had not been aware of the simple recessive trait in our breed that carries a still as of yet unidentified deafness gene. This, as I said, was not a very joyous presentation, but it was absolutely necessary.

Some levity was required, due to the subject matter.

Unfortunately due to time constraints, the presentation Bekah had been looking forward to all day by Lauren Meadows regarding Degenerative Myelopathy was bumped from the schedule entirely. Instead we pushed on through the USA country profile, which did more to plug a current study on proper testing for Elbow Dysplasia than it did at profiling the Ridgeback in the US, and then pressed straight into the final event of the day, a Health Panel made up of Victoria Moritz, Denise Flaim, a gal from Scandinavia and another gal that I didn't catch the name or nation of origin of.

This panel began as a 'To test, or not to test." discussion based on the hereditary conditions known to the breed. It ballooned, alarmingly quickly, into an open forum on all things from DM, Deafness, and Displaysia, all the way through the gambit to irresponsible breeding. In the end, Diana Pethick, the Chairperson, reined in the discussion and it was practically unanimously voted on that there be created a World Congress Health Panel, charged with spending the next four years between this and the next congress researching a list of conditions and topics that were put forth in the form of shouts from those gathered and recorded for posterity.

All in all, it was a very full day. Productive, informative, necessary, but full. Friday there will be a Rally Competition, Obedience Competition, then Conformation. After all of those shows, the Banquet and Closing Ceremonies will commence. Friday promises to be even more full than Thursday.... At least there should be more Ridgebacks around than there have been the past few days :)


23 August 2012

Rhodesian Ridgeback World Congress Day 1

Our first day of World Congress felt very much like the first day of any level of schooling I've ever undertaken. Despite the fact that we'd met a few fellow Ridgeback folk  the night prior at the optional 'Ice Breaker' out in the courtyard. A lovely Australian couple Vicki Maritz and Russel Glenn of Ujamaa Ridgebacks, also Rens Trappel of Vizara Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and another couple from the UK whose names elude me (despite the neat little badges we were all provided). It was with great anticipation, and a healthy dose of unsureness that we made our way downstairs and into the sizable conference center.

The tables filled with blankets, quilts, shirts, books, and cups were an expected site, and helped to ease the nerves a bit. We waded through the growing crowd, window shopping as it were, before heading inside and finding some seats.

First up, were Olive Taylor, the President of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of Canada, and Diana Pethick, the Chair of the Organizing Committee with the opening remarks. Welcoming us to this the eighth World Congress and laying down the groundwork for how the rest of the day was expected to go.

Next was Jo Dunn, who did a marvelous job at regaling us in the history of the Rhodesian Ridgeback here in Canada. All the way from Ridgie, the very first Ridgeback in Canada, through the establishment of the various clubs, the acceptance of the Breed in the Kennel Club, and into today. This was of particular interest to me, given that I've recently done quite a bit of research in this regard, only with the history of how the Ridgeback came to the USA.

Next on the Agenda, was, quite possibly, the most controversial topic of the entire Congress. (Of course I say that now, having not even gone through day 2 yet..) Liz Megginson bravely and stalwartly led and facilitated a discussion on reaching a worldwide consensus on the Breed Standard. This topic quickly became one of much contention, as you might be able to manage. Change is something not a lot of people welcome in life, your Author being one of those people. Near as I can tell, this debate was brought about by an entity known as the FCI. From what I gather, the FCI is not currently satisfied with the state of our Ridgeback Breed Standard, and has requested that it be expanded upon and made more specific. Resistance from the crowd was met at most of the proposed changes. The mantra "Change for the sake of Change" was tossed out on a number of times, while others felt it best to simply 'Educate the Judges' rather than to change the standard. All in all, the segment ran long, and I think, accomplished little.

A much needed coffee break followed, and then Linda Costa took the stage.  She wasn't introduced as such, but she might as well have been called the RR Historian. Perhaps the 'Dogfather' of the Ridgeback. Her segment was rife with information on the history and foundation of the Breed. From its origins in Southern Africa all the way through its migrations to Europe and the Americas. Some of it I was aware of from my previous research, much of it was completely new information. I think my furious note-taking awarded me some sidelong glances, but this was why I came here. To learn about Ridgebacks, from the people who have devoted their lives to Ridgebacks. I was disappointed when Linda's segment was over. It's been said that copies of her book 'Rhodesian Ridgeback Pioneers' are being sold here. I'm mulling over the notion.

Before we broke for lunch, we were treated with a Showcase of this years Top Canadian Champions. And while it was fun to watch the gorgeous Ridgebacks parade around the center and stack in a line for photographs, I must admit I hadn't planned on paying too much attention. Until number two, BPIS Can. Ch. Charisma's Mischief Managed w/ Coso was read off. I heard one word garbled through the microphone and not drowned out by the music, and that was Invictus. I said in my head, (I know Invictus dogs! and started snapping photos. Evidence below:) After the showcase and before we broke for lunch, we stopped by to speak with Atlas' handler and to meet the #1 Ridgeback Puppy in all of Canada. An honor for sure.

After lunch, we returned and settled in for a two part presentation by Orit Nevo. First up was the great Sight Vs Scent debate. Followed by a profile of Ridgebacks in her home country of Israel.  After that, Dr. Chris Zink stole the show with her presentation titled : Peak performance: Canine Athlete. Not only was Dr. Zink an eloquent public speaker, but she was incredibly knowledgeable in her field and very well prepared. She held the audience easily as she presented her points in as close to laypersons terms as one could ask for and dribbled in enough humor to soften the edges of some of her more controversial points.The largest of which being the health concerns of spaying and neutering our pets. Most specifically the outdated practices that continue for no other reason than this is what we've always done. She presented statistics, studies and information that will cause Bekah and I to take a long hard look at how we will want to proceed with our pets in the future. Certainly a conversation with our Vet Clinic is in order.

We opted to skip Dr. Corey Orava's presentation on Stem Cell research, it had been a long day. Though for what I've gathered it was quite good as well. Later that evening there was a buffet dinner, where we met another two Aussie couples and a couple from Canada. I remember none of their names. (must get better at that).

Anyway, tomorrow promises to be filled with a more medical, health oriented slate of lectures, and we're greatly looking forward to the exposure!

21 August 2012


Go ahead, guess where I'm at right now?

Well, we've checked into our room up here in Canada, and promptly ordered some Chinese for dinner. The introductory Icebreaker will be held promptly at 7PM tonight. I am making a loose pledge here, and please don't flay me if I don't come through... but I am going to aspire to have an update each night this week, as we make our way through the Rhodesian Ridgeback World Congress 2012

So long as the wireless in our room holds out, that is. 

And as a bit of a teaser for an update coming out once we've returned home from Canada...

Say hello to Cortana! That's right, I made my final decision this past weekend, and we will be bringing Lyra, the dark pink collared puppy home on the 30th of August!


07 August 2012

Fun in the Sun

Puppy napping is a very serious and very dangerous phenomenon sweeping through our great nati- Oh who am I kidding? No one can resist the puppy nap!

As is obvious from the above pick, jam packed with seven sickeningly adorable puppies, another visit was made this past weekend. I believe between the almost 3 hours we stuck around in the RStar back yard, the litter went through about 4 or 5 play and rest cycles. An admirable effort, to be sure. Pups are approx. 5 weeks old in these pictures. Eyes are fully open and functional. They've also started in on some dry food to spell Mommy Saba when they get too frisky with those puppy teeth!

They were investigating the usage of this strange structure in committee when we arrived on the scene...

And quickly lost interest in the thing. There was something else in the yard, flashing...

And it seemed to be attached to one of the food-bringers...

Who, despite what she may have been told, isn't actually *made* of food as well.

Why So Curious?

Escape artists in the making. Frightening part, there are only 3 females in this litter, and your looking at two of them.

Here is the third, egging one of her brothers on as he unties Bekah's shoe.
Yawn or growl? You be the judge.


Someone got caught mid-breakout... Timeout for Carina.

Ever wonder how a pack of puppies subdue a food-bringer...

...It goes a little something like that.








Quick burst of energy...

And the resulting crash...

Some curiosity...



And of course, no one wanted us to go home...

Some made a stronger case than others. Boy Hercules is going to be a heart breaker, if this expression has anything to say about it.

The rest of the photos that I haven't uploaded on the blog can be found here.

The next few weeks are promising to be busy, but I'm hoping to have a few more posts up in the coming days.