Let’s Talk About …

… hair!  Dog hair to be exact.  No, not the stuff that finds its way onto every piece of furniture or item of clothing you own … the stuff that forms hair bunnies and herds itself around the corners of the house.  We’re talking about face hair.  If you own or have owned any of the long-coated breeds, you know the ongoing challenge of keeping the hair out of the dog’s eyes as well as keeping the eyes from being poked with the bloom of ever-growing hair on the muzzle.

From time to time, I take my crew in for a professional grooming.  On each dog’s kennel card, there is a notation that the hair on the muzzle is *not* to be scooped out with a clipper and nothing below the corner of the eyes and down the muzzle is to be trimmed.  When grooming the dogs myself, I follow the same protocol.  “Why?” you might ask, knowing that the hair on the face is going to look like a chrysanthemum in full bloom as it grows out.  Because clippering or scissoring this hair sets you and the dog up for a never-ending trim/grow/poke in the eyes/watery eyes/can’t see/trim cycle

Teller - head shotHere’s what I do on literally all my dogs, pet and show … I let the hair grow out until it lies flat to the muzzle.  You only have to grow it out once and then keep the length trimmed up at the chin area.  This also preserves the soft facial expression of the dog.  In the photo to the left, Teller is several weeks out from a groom so the hair above the eyes is in need of a trim but you can see how the hair lies flat on the muzzle.  He can still see despite needing a trim!Teller side

Teller 2In the photo to the right, you can see how the hair is grown to the beard length and then trimmed appropriately.  While growing the hair out on the muzzle, I will use an alcohol-free hair gel or KY jelly to keep the hair tacked down and out of the eyes.  Since the hair grows fairly quickly, it won’t be long until it is laying flat and out of the eyes.  I find that keeping the muzzle hair in this fashion also helps with the eye discharge, i.e., less of it and easier to clean out.

Remember, you only have to grow it out once.  Unless you forget to tell your groomer …

Choices …

CH Everglo Zijuh Tomba

I have long been an advocate for rescue, taking in dogs that need a second … or third or fourth … chance at a new home. However, I also respect those owners who decide that, for their lifestyle and family, a predictable and purpose-bred dog is the better choice. IOW, they know what the size of the dog is going to be as an adult, what type of temperament it will have and the grooming requirements of a specific breed. They will also have that breeder behind them — and the dog — for the life of the dog.

I came across this recent posting on FB and wanted to share it …


“I have been helping a friend find a puppy. She wants a specific breed, for a specific purpose, with a specific temperament. I have found her several responsible breeders who I think would have puppies that would fit all of her criteria. Then she says to me, “I just want you to know that I am not spending $1,000 on a dog. Not when so many need homes.” And you know, if that was the end of what she said, and she wanted help finding a rescue dog, I would have been all about helping her. But she is still not opposed to buying a puppy… just not one for $1,000. So, at first, it didn’t really register what she said, but as I thought about it, I became more and more offended. Because basically what she said to me was that as a responsible breeder, my dogs are not worth any more than Joe-shmoe’s down the block… that all the time, effort, and money that I have put into health testing, temperament testing, training, proving, and selecting my dogs for breeding has no value. I have to say, this really got under my skin. Maybe it’s because I have driven my girls as far as CA to breed to the most perfect stud dog that I could find… or that I just spent over $2,000 on progesterone tests, and I still don’t have a litter to show for it… or maybe it’s because I have proven my dog’s over and over again, and it just plain pissed me off that someone doesn’t see the value in that.

So, what do you get for a $1,000 puppy? Proven temperament and trainability… mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, and great-grand parents for many generations are trained and temperament tested- and they have been to a million dog shows, earning titles to prove it all. Proven health… mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, and great grand parents for many generations have had their hips, elbows, knees, eyes, heart, & thyroid tested, they are clear of all genetic disease that I can possibly know of. They are to breed standard… which may not mean a lot to you, but it should. It’s what keeps a Rottweiler from looking like a Black and Tan Coonhound, or a Bernese Mountain dog. It’s what maintains structure and soundness, and what makes a breed a breed. You also get me. You get a knowledgeable breeder and expert in your breed. You can call me day or night, and even on holidays. I am there for you through all your joys and frustrations, sickness and health. I will do anything I need to do to make sure that owning one of my puppies is the most wonderful experience of your life. You have the peace of mind knowing that no matter what ever happens to you, your dog, your best friend, has a safe place to live out the rest of his life.

So what about that $400 puppy out of the paper? You get a puppy with unknown temperament, health and type. You get nothing else. You can potentially get a dog genetically predisposed to fears and aggression, a dog with debilitating health issues, a dog who will never be able to fulfill the goals that you have set out for him. And if you ever needed to return that dog (life can sometimes throw you a curve ball), that person will not take your 5- or 8- or 10-year old dog back … you will be stuck putting your dog up for adoption or euthanizing him.

So, who’s making money? I have never actually figured it out, but I would guess that I lose about $1,000/puppy. I don’t breed dogs to make money. I breed dogs because I love my breed and I believe that there are wonderful people out there who should have the opportunity to own wonderful dogs. The person selling the $400 puppy is making a profit of about $350/puppy. That person breeds purely for profit. Oh, I am sure they love their dogs, and their breed, but not enough to be any benefit to anyone other than themselves.

I guess people don’t really understand value. It is not about the price you pay, but what you are getting for that price. And in the end, if what you are getting for $1,000 is not worth anything to you, then by all means, the $400 puppy is a much better value.”


It’s all about choices, folks. If your choice is to open your heart/home to a rescue dog, then I’m behind you 100% and will help you find that perfect match. Conversely, if your selection is a well-bred dog from a responsible breeder, I can respect the thought process and reasoning behind that choice as well.  For some, the allure of a dog bred to type goes beyond the health and temperament, connecting one to the rich history and culture of the sturdy mountain dog as a landrace in it’s native country … Tibet.

Paws on the Promenade 2015

Sammy & Budha, waiting for breakfast ...
Sammy & Budha, waiting for breakfast …

Update:  Sammy and Budha were adopted this past weekend (June 20th).  Wishing them and their new owner many happy, healthy years together.  And we are just thrilled that the new owner decided to take them both … dogs are pretty darned happy too!

Always a good time to interact with the dog community … Paws on the Promenade at the Shops at Centerra!  Come on out and join the fun on Saturday, May 16th with a variety of events as noted below.  We’ll be there with our foster Tzus, Sammy (l) and Budha (r), for a meet/greet.  Hopefully, the weather will be better by Saturday … anything but pouring rain or blowing snow!

Sammy is a five-year old Tzu that would love to find a retired or semi-retired couple on which to work his charms.  He’s a cuddle bug and gets along well with other small dogs.

Budha is a two-year old Tzu, originally from Wyoming.  We think he looks like Toothless from “How to Train Your Dragon.” A sweet boy, he’d do well with with an active couple and gets along with other small dogs.

10th Annual Paws on the PromenadeSaturday, May 16, 2015
10 am to 3 pm at the Main Plaza, the Shops at CenterraIt’s a fun-filled day for you and your dog!  Enjoy giveaways, dog adoptions, live demonstrations by the Larimer County Sheriff K9 Unit and the Longmont Fire Arson Dog, Yappy Hour, dog contests for prizes & so much more!

Schedule of Events:
10:00am    4-H Agility Demonstration
11:00am    Dog Costume Contest
11:30am    Larimer County Sheriff K9 Demonstration
12:30pm    Longmont Fire Arson Dog Demonstration
1:00pm      Dog Trick Contest
2:00pm      Yappy Hour

This event is free and open to the public.

Gracie …

Gracie ...
Gracie …

Update:  Gracie has found her new family and was adopted!!

Calling folks in the Midwest … or someone willing to travel/fly!  Gracie is a retired champion looking for a home to call her own.  Some things prospective adoptive families should know:

  • Is a heavy chewer and will need plenty of good chews;
  • Loves attention, to the point of pushing out other dogs for attention (this is a training issue, under resource guarding);
  • Needs a fenced yard to run and play (no invisible fencing allowed);
  • Is crate trained;
  • Needs a home with someone home most of the time or working less than 40 hours a week;
  • Needs to be an only dog or with only one other dog in the house; and
  • An experienced dog owner, someone with no young children.

Please see the flyer for contact more info; an application process is required.  If interested, please contact: jen@sunriselhasaapsos.com.

Partnering Locally …

From time to time, we work with the local humane society — Larimer Humane Society — taking in dogs that need more attention that can be provided in a shelter setting.  Nice plug for ALAC Rescue and the ever-important foster homes that take these little one in!!  Today’s article in the Loveland Reporter-Herald

Larimer Humane Society creates its own ‘animal network’

By Shelley Widhalm Reporter-Herald Staff Writer

Humane Society partners with 110 welfare organizations to foster, place animals

Saving animals isn’t a job the Larimer Humane Society does alone.

The Fort Collins-based nonprofit partners with 110 shelters and rescue groups across the state to find permanent homes for adoptable pets that the shelter doesn’t have the staff or space to handle.

The shelter contacts animal welfare organizations to inquire about transferring out animals that have behavioral, socialization or medical problems the shelter cannot address, determined on a case-by-case basis.

“Most outgoing transfers are due to lack of space to provide behavior modification training,” said Stephanie Ashley, community relations manager for the Humane Society.

Animals entering the shelter undergo medical and behavioral evaluations to determine if they can be treated and placed into a shelter environment.

The shelter partners with the Colorado State University Teaching Hospital and other veterinarians to provide some of the medical treatment requiring deeper diagnostics that cannot be done in-house — the shelter is overcrowded at 11,000 square feet and hopes to expand its services once it can relocate to a larger facility.

Foster Care

The shelter places animals that are underage, ill, injured or under-socialized into foster care through a network of 96 foster homes to transition them into a permanent or “forever” home.

“Once they’re stable, because our shelter is so small, we can’t house dogs (and other animals) during their entire recovery time period,” said Bob Francella, director of development and community relations, adding that the animals may need a quiet place to heal that a noisy shelter can’t provide.

If an animal cannot be placed into foster care, the shelter staff contacts animal welfare organizations that can take on the animal, working out the logistics of transfer. If other organizations face overcrowding, the Humane Society also will work with them to transfer in and house some of their animals.

“I think it’s great we in Colorado have a pretty good network,” said Alexina Thompson, foster and transfer coordinator for the Humane Society. “It allows us to give animals a second chance.”

The shelter’s foster network cannot take in animals with severe behavioral issues, such as extreme aggression toward other dogs or people and animals afraid of new people and situations. Medical issues include cancer, hypothyroidism and allergies.

Breed-specific rescues have more connections handling certain medical problems specific to their breeds.

Rescue Groups

The shelter’s primary relationships are with two Fort Collins-based animal welfare organizations, the Fort Collins Cat Rescue & Spay/Neuter Clinic and Animal House Rescue & Grooming.

In 2012, the Cat Rescue & Spay/Neuter Clinic worked with nine agencies, including the Larimer Humane Society, in four states to transfer in 200 cats and kittens to ease overcrowding elsewhere and to handle the animals’ medical or behavioral issues. The rescue handles an average of 1,000 cats and kittens a year, including owner surrenders and transfers.

The rescue has a shelter that can house 35 cats and works with 60 foster homes, primarily in the Fort Collins and Loveland areas. The foster homes handle 60 percent of the rescue’s intakes.

“In order to rescue more, we have to put them off-site in foster homes,” said Ashley Boothe, marketing and grants coordinator for the rescue. “It’s a shelter without walls. We expand the shelter beyond walls into homes.”

The Rocky Mountain Collie and Sheltie Rescue, which doesn’t have a centralized location, places animals into foster care statewide at an average of 150 dogs a year, working with two dozen foster homes.

The rescue takes in owner surrenders and animals from other organizations and covers the cost of rehabilitation and medical care.

“We just have a spot in our heart for collies and shelties,” said Mac McMullen, who heads up the rescue and lives in Parker. “We do whatever we can to help out.”

Most of the fosters coming to the American Lhasa Apso Club are owner surrenders, said Vickie Kuhlmann, state and regional rescue coordinator, adding that she works with the Larimer Humane Society and shelters in Denver to handle transfers.

“Lhasa Apsos don’t do well in shelter situations,” Kuhlmann said. “They need structure and calm, but they aren’t going to get that in a shelter.”

Breed-specific rescues add to what shelters can provide, Kuhlmann said.  “The fact there are breed-specific rescues out there gives (shelters) more options to place a dog,” she said.