30 July 2012


Passion and Eloquence.... It sounds like an advert for some fancy diamond necklace at your local jeweler, right? Well don't worry, I'm not about to try and sell you an over priced rock that you're told is a symbol for something greater. Nope.

Passion and Eloquence are the two words I think best describe what you will find after this jump. If you want trouble... It's the title of a blog, written from the perspective of a Rhodesian Ridgeback breeder up in Canada. The blog follows her, her pets, and the kennel, Invictus Hounds. It's unfortunate to note, that shortly before I started this blog, she finished hers. Choosing instead to continue her own personal blog here, and to simply include some of the dog escapades there when it seemed natural.

Just because she's no longer updating the blog, however, should in no way discourage you from bookmarking it. And visiting it. Often. I may have found out about the Rhodesian Ridgeback through wikipedia, but I fell in love with the Rhodesian Ridgeback through the vicarious experiences I had thanks to Tamzin's blog. It was her passion and love for the breed and her dogs that drew me so far into this thing that I doubt I'll ever find my way out.

The blog is set up with the most recent post first. So if you're like me and need to start at the beginning, simply find the archive one the left hand side of the page and click on 2007 to start. You will soon be embarking on a journey, an epic journey that covers 5 years, 1184 blog posts, and eleventy-billion heart wrenching high quality pictures of Ridgeback's in all of their glory and shame. Tamzin pulls no punches as she opens the door and invites you into the last half decade of her and her pets lives.

You will be rewarded with unprecedented access to the daily life of a pack of Ridgebacks, and you will live through several litters of Invictus puppies. Helpful tips on training, feeding, playing. The information, insight, and experience that exists in those 1184 posts, in my humble opinion, is invaluable to a current or future fancier of this great dog breed.

Tamzin's way with the english language, her skills behind the shutter of the camera, and her devotion to the four legged is intoxicating. I dare you to visit the blog once and never go back. I refuse to believe that it is possible. If you don't fall in love with the simple minded, but huge hearted Raimi (aka The Boy), then surely the confident, conniving and snooty Foundation Bitch Halo will command your attention. If they aren't your cup of tea, then the effortlessly gorgeous but uniquely... odd Leeloo is bound to steal your heart. Not to mention the youngin, baby brother Archer who you should feel privileged to watch struggle to grow up in the shadow's of the rest of the Invictus hounds.

I'm not sure I can continue to throw words of praise down without simply gauding up the post with my exuberance. Please, her blog will speak for itself. Do yourself a favor, and visit it. I can only hope that someday, Pawed-Equivocality might help even a single person develop an appreciation for this great breed. Tamzin and the Invictus Dog Blog have already done so, in spades I'm sure.


28 July 2012

3 Week Puppy Visit

So the waiting wasn't unbearable... and frankly, that was starting to concern me slightly... Then we visited.

Now it just needs to be September. Now. Can you blame me? It occurred to me just about the time that this photo was taken, that if I didn't have such a firm grasp on what it takes to keep these seven puppies fed, cleaned, and content, I would have taken them all home with me. The urge was almost insurmountable. Almost.

As you can see above, the better half and I made the trip out to Ellsworth last weekend to see the puppies. And Bob and Vicky, ofcourse. Naturally Mommy Saba was a bit reluctant to grant us some visitation time, but she was soon coaxed out of the whelping room so that we could introduce ourselves, and the pups promptly chomped down on any fingertip they could find in search of sustenance.

This little gem is Carina. She and her sister Lyra are two of three puppies in this litter with Liver colored noses. She was also the first puppy to come say hello to me before immediately demanding food. :P

This here is Lyra. She was the first pup to find her way out of the whelping box (with a little help from Vicky) and into my lap.  

And then the napping started, followed by the inevitable slide...

 Maintaining a position even remotely near the lap starting point proved to be too much and before long...

Lyra settled on simply curling up beneath my legs for some beauty sleep.

Ofcourse, Lyra isn't the only puppy to have mastered the Ridgebacks penchant for unorthodox napping positions, here is Pavo doing his best to fall off of the Better Half's lap in a similar fasion.

I believe that is Zueben showing the world just what he thinks about the concept of modesty...
 Eventually my joints gave up and I needed to relocate from the floor to a chair... Lyra could not be bothered to join me.

 Carina was quick to take advantage, however and quickly found a place to snuggle in for some warm snoozing.
Here we have some rare photo-graphical evidence of the Ridgeback Triquetra.I believe Pavo, Vega (the third, black nosed female) and Lyra who finally got cold and found herself a new lap...

As I said at the opening of the blog post, I was doing fine in the patience department... but after this, not so much anymore. I want Cortana to come home. Now. However, since I'm more than aware of how important these first eight weeks are for a puppy to spend with its momma and siblings, I will persevere... somehow...

I'll try to get some more 'development' pictures up in a later post. Also we'll be having some spotlights on books about ridgebacks, another blog and more on the way...

Stay tuned!


08 July 2012

Starry Night

Today I’d like to take some time to talk to y’all about Bob and Victoria Ruggles of the R Star Ridgeback’s kennel in Ellsworth, IA. Twenty-two years ago, the Ruggles started their Rhodesian Ridgeback journey in the way that everyone does; with a companion. They brought Rhonda home with the simple intention of adding another member to their family. After seeing all the CH’s on her pedigree, however, they soon found themselves in the Confirmation Ring. It was here, at the Dog Shows, that they would meet Kate Borst, of the Jabulani Rhodesian Ridgeback’s kennel up north. The Ruggles credit Kate’s friendship, guidance and mentorship for much of their success today as a Kennel themselves.

(For those who are not familiar, the Confirmation Ring refers to the competition of pure bred dogs against each other and in pursuit of the Breed Standard. These dog shows are held worldwide, and owners/breeders travel far and wide in the pursuit of earning Championship titles for their companions. Dog Show’s themselves are a topic for a whole different blog post, one I’m sure we’ll get to later on in the year, for now, though, I will simply say this: If you are new to the realm of pure bred dogs, or are curious or interested in learning more about a breed than what Wikipedia can tell you, then a local Dog Show is the place for you. These individuals are the Subject Matter Experts when it comes to their chosen breeds, and so long as you do not interrupt them when they are working in an official capacity, they will more than likely be just giddy to tell you all about their breed and its future in your life!)

Sadly, as all of our companions do, the time came for Rhonda to leave her home and travel to the Rainbow Bridge. Bob and Vicky then spoke with Kate, and fell in love with a then four week old Willow. Willow came home with them at eight weeks old, and R Star Ridgebacks was born. Vicky would go on to show Willow in the ring as a Novice handler, (no small feat) to her Championship Title. As R Star’s Foundation Bitch, Willow was bred three times, producing eighteen puppies. Once with CH Jabulani’s Kishindo Matusi in September of 2000, then again with CH Jabulani’s Chakra in 2001, and finally with CH Emoyeni’s Made in Sweeden. Three of which went on to receive their Confirmation Titles as well. 

 CH Jabulani Willow of R Star - Willow

Bob and Vicky’s pick of Willow’s first litter was Tank. If they had known just how literally he would take his namesake, perhaps the Ruggles might have named him Tiny instead. Tank would eventually grow to be 31” tall and approximately 100lbs of solid Rhodesian Ridgeback. In addition to growing into his name, Tank would also grow up to fulfill the expectations of his pedigree. He earned his Championship title by receiving all of his points in the “Bred by Exhibitor Class” which was just as much an accomplishment for him as it was for Victoria. Tank sired three generations of R Star Ridgeback puppies, all while exemplifying the grace, sensitivity, and protectiveness that the Rhodesian Ridgeback is known for.

CH R Star Baye Bomani – Tank

When it came time for Willow to retire from the puppy making business, Echo stepped up to shoulder the burden. Daughter of Jabulani’s ‘Ginger’ and Emoyeni’s ‘Biko’, Jabulani Loki’s Echo of R Star, informally known as Echo would go on to whelp 3 litters, all sired by Tank. Echo’s time of producing future R Star Champions is now behind her, a responsibility inherited by one of her daughters, Saba. She now is content to provide companionship to Bob and Vicky, however every now and then she needs to step in and explain to the youngin’s how things are done, Ridgeback style.

CH Jabulani Loki's Echo of R Star – Echo

R Star Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Bob, Tank, Echo, and Victoria

“Mbele Safari translates to 'Onward Journey'. Considering where we've been, what's gone on in our lives the past year, and where we're headed, this seems a fitting name for our new baby.”

Saba, a Tank and Echo puppy was born in May of 2007. In 2010 Saba was bred with CH Tundra’s Wm Augsburg Courage, JC. In 2011 she was bred with CH Rollings Croixridge Pheonix. This spring of 2012 Saba was bred with CH Riveroads Ridgerunr Hammer Of Thor, BN RN JC NAP NJP. Saba is currently about 2 months along and is showing just how stuffed full of puppies she is.

CH R Star Mbele Safari – Saba

That’s probably enough about the history of R Star Ridgebacks to wet your whistle. If you’re interested in reading more I suggest checking their website out here. Let’s move on to talking about how I found them and why they’re the Kennel for me, eh? Choosing a breeder is a process. There are several sources of literature out there meant to aide and guide you through the search. And since it was indeed a search, mine started in the most likely of places. Google. Step one, I’ve learned about the Rhodesian Ridgeback, I like what I’ve learned. I want one. How do I get one? Well a puppy needs a mom and a dad, right? So naturally I need a breeder. Now some folks, like my better half, will travel halfway around the country to a breeder they know and trust to get a pup. I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same, but I certainly wasn’t setting out to do that. Because of this, I started my search more locally. RRCUS, the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States, had a few links that sent me to various places. Eventually though, I landed on the Jabulani website. Through some extra digging and research I also found R Star Ridgebacks. It didn’t get much more local than that.

After reading what Bob and Vicki had to say on their website, and seeing that their Breeding Program’s foundation was deeply rooted in the Jabulani line anyway, I decided to give them a try. Typed up my ‘Hey I’m a newb but I’d like to know more about you and your dogs’ email and then I sat back for the wait. I didn’t have to wait long. I received an enthusiastic, friendly, and informing reply back from Victoria very quickly. Naturally, she was curious as to how I’d found out about their Kennel, what I knew of the breed, why I was interested in the breed, and to know a bit more about me and my situation. After a few more back and forth emails, the better half and I were invited out to Ellsworth for a formal meeting.

Unfortunately I did not take pictures during this time, however the meeting went fabulously. We were only able to meet Victoria that day, as Bob was out, but we were compensated by being introduced to a whole pack of Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Echo, Saba Tatu, Red, and Siri! The interview itself was very friendly, relaxing and informal. We spoke about the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed, the things we knew, the things we were curious about, stuff we should know for the future. Victoria was friendly, professional, and most of all patient as I was completely distracted by the dogs and had to be reeled back into the ‘human talk’ on a number of occasions. We were able to watch the RR’s in their element inside the house, and then also out in the large backyard where they were able to run around and play. After expressing out continued interest in a potential upcoming R Star litter, we spoke briefly about the contracts and expectations of new owners, and then said farewell.

Shortly after our interview, conveniently, the Ruggles were hosting an R Star Reunion. Even though we were sadly Ridgebackless, Vicky and Bob were generous enough to give us an invite to the fun as well. It was a great time! 3 Generations of R Star Ridgebacks gathered in one big back yard with all their humans, what a blast! This was a major selling point for the better half and I to make our final decision. Having the ability to look over the progression of generations of the R Star breeding program all in one place, in their element, with adults and children and siblings and elders all around… Well one couldn’t have asked for a better evaluative tool in terms of Kennel Quality. Below are a handful of pictures from the R Star Reunion 2012:

The Ruggles

Scheming Convention

Play Play Play!

Your Author and his Better Half

More Ruggles Action

And the Group Shot

Since the Reunion, Vicky has done a marvelous job at keeping us up to date with the R Star news. We were very excited to here that the potential Sire's test results had come back as all clear and that the plans for the next R Star litter were in full swing. Here are a pair of pictures of the handsome devil, Hammer:

Saba gave birth to a litter of four boys and four girls last Sunday, and we are thrilled and excited and anxious to see the promised pictures of the little ones! Though we are also patient, because we already know how much trouble one dog can get into. Vicky and Bob surely have their hands full with 8 new Ridgeback puppies underfoot!

As a technical note, I would like to apologize for the abysmal formatting in this latest update. I'm afraid Blogger is getting the best of me at this point, and my newness to blogging is showing through rather marvelously. I will strive to learn more about the systems and preferences as the blog moves along and hopefully I will become proficient at it before I have my own puppy underfoot.

More to come as it rolls in,