Posts Tagged ‘Tooey x Cork puppies’

I was thrilled to learn that one of Tooey’s puppies, Pax, was selected as the Best of Breed dog at the Irish Water Spaniel Club of America’s 2019 National Specialty.

I wasn’t there to see it, but I got lots of texts giving me the good news. And now here he is on the cover of the club’s May/June 2019 newsletter.

photo by Jeremy Kezer

Pax is owned and loved by Brenda. I think Pax heard her say that this show was going to be his swan song in the dog show world (he’s over 7 years old now). So he decided to show her that he still had it.

And boy does he. He was also selected for Best in Veteran Sweeps and Best Veteran Dog. I am so pleased for Brenda, and glad that Colleen and I (mostly Colleen) could breed such a fine puppy.

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Tooey got fan mail! Two packages arrived from her baby girl, all the way from Australia. Amongst the nice long letter, several maps, a list of shows she’s competed in, and other assorted delights, were an absolute pile of 2-foot long, tasseled ribbons (which they call sashes) won in conformation shows all over Australia.


Sorcha (pronounced sirk´ha, a.k.a Baby Circle), the beautiful Tooey x Cork puppy, has obviously had a revel of a time in Australia. In addition to her American championship, with all those Australian wins, she now also has her Australian show championship.

Congrats, Baby Circle! And congratulations and thanks to her faithful devoted servants, Robyn and Bianca (who say that Sorcha is their very loving, PUSHY, lap dog).

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One of the very best pleasures of being a breeder is hearing back from your puppy people. And what makes it even better is when you see them giving the pup a full and happy life. And even more wonderful is when that life includes doing what an Irish Water Spaniel was bred to do.

Steve and Kathy knew that Foley (Tooey x Cork’s Mr. Blue) was at least a little birdy. A friend has a stuffed pheasant in his basement, and when Foley saw that bird, he barked at it and went on point. (Tooey knows something about this — she LOVES to go in and see the stuffed pheasant Russ keep locked up in his office.)

So it wasn’t a complete surprise when Foley went out on his first hunting trip with Steve, and came home with birds for the table.


Here’s what Steve had to say (thank you, Steve!) about Foley’s first hunt:

Eventually we got to the club and to the field. We had the birds marked so we could learn Foley’s bird signs. He found the first bird, pointed it and flushed it. The bird was not hit hard and coasted a fair distance. We walked over with the dog. He found it and pounced on it. Not much of a retrieve was required since we were right there. I threw the bird back out for him and he delicately brought it back.

He found the next bird but would not flush it — just circled around the bird — but he made it clear the bird was there. That bird was shot, and he went and got it and dropped it about 5 feet from me. He found the next bird but again would not go in close and point or flush the bird. [The bird flew.] Unfortunately, 8 shots later the bird was still flying, but Foley stayed on it. I was too busy laughing about the poor shooting and forgot the critical “No Bird!!” command. Foley followed the bird across the field. During his romp, he either found or just ran over another bird, and it too took off flying. He [Foley] came back quickly when called.

The fifth bird was shot and coasted down. When we went over, Foley did not want to grab the bird as it ran away. Once it was dead, I tossed it and he retrieved it. The last bird was tough to find, but Foley kept at it and eventually started circling the area. I flushed it, and we shot the bird. Foley went straight out and brought it back perfectly.

He appears to have a thing about grabbing a live bird and about feathers. He likes to grab the wings and will repeatedly drop the bird — sometimes but not all the time. He is either lazy or doesn’t like the texture. I did throw the birds back out and he would retrieve them fine.

I am not sure about the pointing thing. My only idea is he likes to point, and I was pushing him to flush, and the birds scared him on the way out, or the first one pecked him. Who knows. I believe that he will become more aggressive on the birds with time and experience.

There is definitely a lot of puppy still in him. He would hunt back and forth, then come back and say hi to all of us, run backwards, and zoom up and say hi, then back to hunting. Sometimes he would just walk the trail and not even get in the thick stuff.

The field we hunted was thick with brush and tall grass. Tough hunting for a first time hunt and a young dog. Overall there were more problems on the trigger side of gun than with Foley. He needs experience and maturity. I think he did a great job for his first time out.

I couldn’t be more thrilled to hear all this. And the pointing and retrieving stuff? Cooper and Tooey both point upland birds, but with encouragement will flush the bird, and sometimes even trap it. For Foley, the retrieving will come with training, experience, and the love of doing what he knows in his bones he was bred to do.

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Tooey is a beautiful bitch, and she produced some beautiful puppies in her litter with Cork (Ch Whistlestop Wayward Wind CD RN JH WC) .

One of them went Winner’s Bitch all four days of the cluster of dog shows in Blackfoot, Idaho this last weekend, earning her Championship title.

So now Sorcha (Ms Yellow) is Ch. Whistlestop Mine To Keep At Tirriki!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t there, so I couldn’t get any pictures myself. I hope some kind soul took one and will send it to me.

Added on 6/24/2013: Apparently these Blackfoot shows were very busy, and getting pictures was tough. Richard very generously sent me a photo, and I’ve cropped it down to show Finnegan (Winners Dog) and Sorcha (Winners Bitch) competing in the Best of Breed ring for Best of Winners.


Finnegan (Winners Dog) and Sorcha (Winners Bitch and Best of Winners)
photo by Richard Liebaert

They both came out of the ring with Major wins, with Sorcha as Best of Winners (even with her tongue just peeking out)!

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Ms. Rainbow is the youngest girl, and she was the smallest puppy in Tooey’s litter of pups. Every week, when I went up to Colleen’s to visit the puppies, I took a special interest in Rainbow. Sometimes she shivered, and I put her under my shirt. She often spent time off in a corner by herself — her own girl. Sometimes, another puppy would be fooled by her size and try to tell her what to do, but Rainbow held her own.

Oonagh 5 months

Whistle Stop’s Pick Me, Pick Me “Oonagh” (Ms. Rainbow) at about 5 months

As you can see from the picture, Oonagh is very beautiful. Her people say that along with that beauty, she’s also an intelligent pup, perhaps even a little too much for her own good sometimes! Of course, she’s a teenager, so that’s to be expected.

Oonagh is also very lucky for a Water Spaniel — she lives on the Oregon coast. Her people say she loves the Oregon coast and the rain! And they say she loves to bring it all in the house with her. Well, her mom also loves the ocean and bringing it all home. Love to see the legacy continue.

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One of the happy consequences of going to the IWSCOPS Christmas party is that I got to see a couple of Tooey’s puppies. Luckily for me, Russ took pictures.

So here is Sorcha, the former Ms. Yellow, after an afternoon romping outside in the cool, damp Pacific Northwest.

Irish Water Spaniel

Whistle Stop’s Mine To Keep at Tirriki “Sorcha” (Ms. Yellow) at one day short of 7 months

Sorcha (pronounced Sir’-ka) had Tooey’s high forehead and eyes. Her people think she has a beautiful head and lovely movement.

I believe the movement part, being as how she’s Tooey’s daughter. Sorcha will be in her first conformation show next month, so we’ll all get to see for ourselves.

She’s also quite the athlete. At Sorcha’s house, dogs eat in their crates, and Sorcha’s crate is one level up, so to speak, stacked on top of another dog’s crate. Sorcha has taken to leaping up into her crate at a single bound. A real athlete, her people say. Probably she also loves her food, just like Mom.

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After I wrote the post about the pictures I’d gotten recently of five Tooey puppies, I got news and a photo of a sixth Tooey puppy. Oh joy!

Jax Irish Water Spaniel

Whistle Stop’s Are We There Yet “Jax” (Mr. Purple) at almost 7 months

Jax ‘s people say that he is about the sweetest puppy they’ve ever met, which is saying a lot for a boy IWS who is entering adolescence. He’s just about to finish his third round of puppy classes, and will probably continue on. I am so happy to hear that — that should increase the happiness quotient of the whole family.

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It’s amazing. Tooey’s puppies have gotten bigger! They reached six months of age on November 9th. Hard to believe that 6 months and more have gone by so fast.

I was thrilled to get relatively recent pictures of five of them:

Irish Water Spaniel

Whistle Stop’s He’s Breathing On Me “Foley” (Mr. Blue) at about 6.5 months

Foley is so beautiful — nice dark coat like his dad, and a face that looks like both Tooey and Cork. I hear he’s being a typical 6-month boy IWS — full of his own ideas and trying to get away with doing what feels good, based on all those hormones that are starting to run around (ahem!). I also hear that he is really enjoying beginning agility class, with the A-frame being his favorite so far.

Irish Water Spaniel

Whistle Stop’s Not Me, ‘Pax’ Did It “Pax” (Mr. Red) at about 5 months
photo by Penny Diamond

Pax has got that tendency to turn orange from the sun, just like his Mom. And that expression on his face? Just like Mom, too.

Irish Water Spaniel

Whistle Stop’s Bring It On “Bold” (Mr. Green) at just under 6.5 months

Bold was being shown at his first conformation dog show, at the Whidbey Island Kennel Club show on Nov 17. The quality of the picture isn’t beautiful because it was grabbed from a video. But isn’t that stack beautiful? Such attention and focus! Completely unlike parts of the rest of the video, which shows him bouncing around enjoying the whole process. But really, for his first time he did a great job, and so did his handler.

Irish Water Spaniel

Whistle Stop’s Is It My Turn Now? “Chica” (Ms. Pink) at about 6.5 months

Chica is going to handling class and doing well. Apparently, the phrase “my turn now” fits her perfectly. I hope she enjoys showing her stuff in the conformation ring. Getting points too would be a delightful bonus.

Irish Water Spaniel

Whistle Stop’s I Know Who Did It “Kwest” (Mr. White) at about 6 months

Kwest recently finished a few weeks of training at the Academy of Canine Behavior, learning to control those hormonal impulses and behave politely. All reports are that he’s a very sweet boy.

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Orange has found his Someone. Or rather, his Someones. David and Shirley came this evening to pick up my sweet Orange and take him home with them.

David, Orange, and Shirley

I was reassured to meet them both this past weekend, and watch them interact with Orange. And then just a day or so later, Shirley texted me, saying they were thrilled with him. I know what they mean. I would be thrilled with him, too.

In a parallel universe, Orange is my dog. But in this one, he’s Shirley and David’s. I hope he turns out to be every bit the heart dog and companion for them as I would hope he’d be for me.

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Purple went home today with his new people, Susan and Denny. They took the opportunity to really spend some time with him yesterday, and they decided that they wanted him.

Lucky Purple! His new people live in Seattle at a house with beach rights. If Purple has inherited his mother’s adoration of water and swimming, he should be one happy boy.

Mr. Purple

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Here are Mr. White and Mark, just as they were ready to hit the road on the way home to Oregon:

Mr. White and Mark

Both Colleen and I met Mark at last January at the Rose City Classic in Portland. He was there looking at dogs and breeds, hoping to find a new companion. Made me smile — that’s where I met Irish Water Spaniels and their people for the first time, too. Maybe it’s a good omen.

Mark heard that there were plans to breed Tooey, so he had been keeping in touch and following the blog. Then he found the portrait of Mr. White that Russ took on June 2nd, and that was it. Mark liked the philosophical expression on Mr. White’s face, and so he wanted White. He came and visited the puppies a couple of weeks ago, held most of them, watched them play and gait in Colleen’s back driveway. After that and a chat with Colleen, he still wanted White.

By this time, Mr. White has probably reached his new home, in one of the quadrants of Portland, Oregon. It’s an auspicious day — July 4th — and with all those fireworks, it can be a scary one, too. But that’s like life, isn’t it? White has the benefit of being loved his whole life, and really wanted. Let’s hope it just gets better from here for Mark and Mr. White.

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I just got word that Kathy has landed safely at the airport with my first favorite puppy, Mr. Blue. He’s a sweet puppy with big feet, a curly head, and an even disposition. He’s brave without being reckless. Motivated to be with people, but not clingy. Interested in food and toys without being obsessed. A nice balanced dog.

Here’s a picture of Blue with Kathy taken on Sunday afternoon in Colleen’s back yard.

Kathy and Mr. Blue

I like Mr. Blue. In fact, I like him a lot. I liked him immediately when he was born. I don’t know why — maybe because he was first. Maybe because as a first-born myself, I feel a little kinship. Maybe it’s his crooked tail. I think that little crook in his tail just adds to his intrigue.

Blue is going to live near Chicago with his 4 people: Kathy, her husband, and their two boys. I’m sure he will keep them all on their toes and thinking of ways to keep him occupied and channel that sweet puppy energy. I hope he enriches their lives the same way that Cooper and Tooey have enriched mine.

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Pink and Red left this morning for their new homes in Canada. Both Pink and Red are opinionated dogs who like exploring and playing with toys. I’m sure they’re very eager for new adventures with their new families.

Pink confident on the wobble board

Red jumping through the ring


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Maybe you are someone who can relate to this:

When Russ and I chose our first dog, we chose the puppy who ran up to us, the one who came when we called, the one who seemed to want to be with us. That was our beloved Kayak, the Malamute-mix who was with us a very-too-short 14 years. We didn’t do performance activities with her, no Obedience, no Rally, no working tests. We just went for hikes, walks, and trips, stayed home, and hung out. We loved her. I’m sure she loved us.

Now I’ve found that puppy again: the one who runs up to me when I walk into the puppy room, the one who comes when I call, the one who wants to be with me.

And I can’t keep him. My heart has broken into tiny, sharp slivers that make it hard to breathe. I cry every time I think about him. We’ll have to find him a home with someone else. I’m pretty sure I will stand it somehow, I’m not sure exactly how.

Mr Orange at 45 days old

Mr Orange has stolen my heart. He will steal someone else’s heart, too, the right someone who can love and teach a wonderful puppy who will become a heartdog, companion, and friend.

I wonder: Who is that someone?

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