Archive for February, 2011

To celebrate Cooper and his littermates 4th birthday on February 14, I asked the owners of Cooper’s littermates to send me a recent head and shoulders shot of their pup. I am very lucky — I now have pictures of all 10 pups that were in that litter.

Here are the ones I have, in alphabetical order:

Cooper, photo by Patrice Dodd


Darcy, photo by Louise Bailey



Mowgli, photo by Becca Graham


Tiki, photo by Steve Riseman

Tosca, photo © Pepi Barrington

Ziggy Stardust

Here are some things I know (and if anyone has any corrections, please let me know):

  • Two of the pups, Cosmo and Phoebe, are new to me. What a thrill to see them at last.
  • Four of them, Cooper, Gunner, Tiki, and Ziggy Stardust, have American hunting titles. Tiki is the first Irish Water Spaniel to earn a HRCH hunting title from the Hunting Retriever Club. I think Darcy and Tosca may have English and/or European hunting titles. Mowgli has had hunt test training, too.
  • Five of them have working certificates: Cooper, Gunner, Tiki, and Ziggy have AKC WCs and Tosca has won three working tests in England.
  • Three of them, Cooper, Darcy, and Tosca, actually hunt. Tosca regularly works picking up birds on shoots. And Mowgli’s been on a hunting trip, too.
  • Three of them, Cooper, Maggie, and Mowgli, have show championships. And Tiki has been in the show ring also.
  • Two of them, Cooper and Mowgli, have obedience titles: Mowgli in Obedience and Rally, Cooper in Rally. Maggie has shown in Rally also.
  • Two of them, Darcy and Tosca, live in England. Gunner lives in Canada. The rest live in the US.
  • Two of them, Mowgli and Phoebe, have a “leprechaun’s kiss” (i.e. the cowlick on the muzzle).
  • The picture of Ziggy was actually taken on his 3rd birthday, but I loved the hat!
  • All of them are beautiful.
  • All of them are beloved companions.

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Team Cooper got more fan mail — a fun postcard of the Dogs of Ireland. And it has a mystery on it!

published by Bell'acards, Whitegate, Co. Clare

Note that the translation into Irish of “The Irish Water Spaniel” is “Spanner Uisce”.

“Irish” is not translated. These being dogs of Ireland, there’s no need to put “Irish” in there. (Now, those other water spaniels — of course, they would need the additional label. Of course. Ahem…)

Now, I’ve figured out that “uisce” means “water.” It also sounds like it’s related to “whiskey.” If you go to a site like this one, you can hear how it’s pronounced. To my uneducated American ears, “uisce” sounds kind of like “ishkeh,” which kind of sounds like “whiskey.” At least to me — this may be wishful thinking.

But, having searched around on Google, I can’t find this use of “spanner” anywhere. I used some translation engines to translate “water spaniel,’ and they just translate “spaniel” as “spaniel,” so I get “spaniel uisce.”

So what’s “spanner”? That’s the mystery. Anyone know?

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It was a long day. A really long day, spent in a dusty horse arena. Hundreds of dogs showed in competition obedience and Rally in that arena, and as they moved around the rings, dust flew everywhere, particles of whatever is left behind in the dirt of a horse arena getting into our noses and mouths.

Gave me a headache.

And it blew Cooper’s mind.

All those delicious scents of horse. And the smells of all the hundreds of dogs, and the allure of dropped training treats that other handlers were using outside of the ring to pump their dogs up before going in.

Mostly, as a management technique, I had Cooper hang out in his crate. But a couple of times, I got him out to see if we could practice a bit — he’s crooked on his come to front. Instead of coming in and then sitting perpendicularly in front of me, he sits with his butt cocked to my left, anticipating that I’m going to ask him to heel. I also took him outside several times, one time to just run for 20 minutes to get some of that energy out of his system.

But I could not get the boy’s mind to stay in his head. His mind was in his nose, on the horse-and-dog-rich dirt.

I was sure I was going to be texting to Russ: “Butthead NQ” — meaning that Cooper couldn’t concentrate and we didn’t qualify.

So we waited. And after almost 4 hours of waiting, we went in for our 1.5 minutes in the Rally Novice ring.

And somehow, the boy put it together for that 1.5 minutes. He got distracted by dogs outside the ring a couple of times. He didn’t sit quite square a couple of times. Fortunately, I didn’t make any handler errors. We came out of the ring with a score of 90 (70 or above is a qualifying score). I was very happy with that score. And relieved.

So we got our third ribbon, and Cooper can now add to RN to the end of his name. SHR Ch. Realta Rosario Cooper CGC, FdX, JH, WC, RN.

scores for each leg: 94, 86, and 90

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A challenge was posted: Write limericks about your Irish Water Spaniels. Seemed appropriate — Irish limericks for Irish dogs.

So I gave it a try for my two:

Cooper’s a hunter worthwhile,
Loves water, and pheasants beguile,
Retrieves undeterred,
To your hand brings a bird,
But makes his own rule as to style.

Tooey gives hugs and sweet kisses
To favorite misters and misses.
But from Cooper the toys
She steals and destroys
As if that’s a girl’s routine business.

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It’s really true. Cooper’s a champion. And this week, we got the two pictures that tell the tale.

Cooper, Best of Winners and New Champion, Rose City Classic 2011
photo by Steven Ross

proof from the AKC website

Now that it’s official that Cooper got his championship, I don’t have to maintain a show coat any more, at all, ever. Unless I want to. Which is unlikely. If you listen hard enough, I’m sure you can hear me cheering.

After the next bath, we’ll get out the clippers and the scissors and give him a nice short field clip. I’ll leave a little on the topknot and some on the ears, just so he looks like an Irish Water Spaniel.

Let’s hope the new hairdo will put Cooper in mind to succeed during this 2011 hunt test season.

Go Team Cooper!

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If you have followed this blog for a while, you probably have seen quite a few examples of Cooper’s willingness to accommodate my photographic whims by sitting and posing for the camera or canvas. Once more he has lent his visage for this illustration.

One of my day jobs is teaching at the Art Institute of Portland. When I develop my lesson plans and projects for my students, I often dip into my archives of personal and commercial images as source material to explore ideas for future assignments.

For next week’s Digital Image Illustration class, we’re going to practice photo-composing disparate elements from two or more photos, so I needed to build an example to show my class of photo students.

One of the shots from a recent photo shoot with Cooper provided one element. A photo of Mt. Rushmore provided the other.

So I am actually getting paid to make cute pictures of my pet dog. How good is that!

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