Friday, November 16, 2012

An Introduction to our Family

I thought I'd introduce my family or our cast of characters to the readers of this blog, especially for those readers who only know me through Facebook.

My husband Dan and I live in a small community south of Pittsburgh, PA.  Dan and I met through our mutual interest in horses and for years enjoyed trail riding and other activities with our Thoroughbred horses.  As a musician Dan traveled quite a bit and with the long hours I worked we never felt it was fair to have a dog in our home.

In 1995 Dan had a heart attack and then a stroke, which left him disabled.  Friends of ours talked me into getting a dog to keep Dan company while he was home alone when I was working, and it was that mixed breed dog, Sister, who started our journey into dog ownership.

Photos of Sister our sweet Lab mix.

We were lucky enough to have Sister until she was almost 17 years of age

In early 2003 a friend told us about a Weimaraner who needed a new home.  He was too much dog for his owner and the situation was becoming more and more difficult for the dog.  We waited quite some time for the owner of the dog to finally decide she had had enough and in November of 2003 Frankie came to live with us.  Almost four years old when we got him, we found out that we were at least the third home in which Frankie had lived.

Frankie is our first Weimaraner.  We think he probably came from a   puppy mill as he has very poor breeding and actually only has one coat.  We never cared, though, he has been a great dog and a wonderful introduction to the breed.

Living with Frankie was quite different than living with Sister.  He was always into something, learning how to open doors, drawers and cupboards.  We also found that he had some fear aggression and was afraid of strangers.  Frankie and Sister became good friends and she was a good influence on him.

Photos of Frankie and Sister (and Dan).

Labor Day weekend of 2004 I had a rather serious accident with my young Thoroughbred, which made me rethink some of my life choices.  As the breadwinner in our household it did not make sense for me to be putting myself in situations where I was not able to work and earn money, so I decided it was time to change my hobby and sell my horse.  

Memories:  Buddy was our last Thoroughbred

With Frankie still getting into most anything he wanted to in our home, I decided he needed a job and took him for some basic obedience training.  It was during these classes that I got the idea that working with dogs would be a great outlet for me and something to replace the void left when I sold my horse.

Since 2005 I have thrown myself into learning as much as I could about everything dog, and especially about Weimaraners.  It wasn't long till my interests also headed toward Weims in need of help, as I knew that my Frankie had suffered at the hands of his previous owners and I knew that helping this breed was something I wanted to do.

It wasn't long until I was offered another Weimaraner in need of a new home.  This two and a half year old male had been returned to his breeders and in October of 2006 Rocky came into our home.  Rocky suffers from separation anxiety and has a lot of trouble being crated, but he is a gentle, sweet boy and makes us laugh at his antics.

Rocky, my very handsome boy.

Through the training I did with Frankie I started to show him in obedience and rally.  I was a pure novice with much to learn, but I enjoyed the process and we were able to earn a few titles.  I also trained him for agility and we had just started his competitive career when some neurological problems arose with Frankie and I retired him at just 7 years old.  Frankie will be celebrating his 13th birthday January 20, 2013.

Frankie Blue CD RE NAJ CGC

 Frankie enjoyed his short agility career very much.

Frankie participating in the Rescue Parade at the Weimaraner Club of America National Specialty Week in 2007

With Frankie retired, I started to train Rocky and he also earned some titles in obedience and rally and we also gave tracking a try and found that we both enjoyed that sport very much. 

I also learned about therapy dogs and decided that Rocky, with his sweet disposition and friendly nature, would be a great candidate for this type of work.  We passed the Therapy Dogs International testing in October of 2007 and Rocky has made over 250 therapy visits to various places, including Washington Hospital, Western Psychiatric Institute and many schools and libraries.

I had planned to compete Rocky in agility, but during our training it became evident that something was not right and Rocky was diagnosed with wobblers syndrome, a neurological condition that caused me to retire him from any competitive activities.  We do continue to make some therapy visits, but we have also cut back quite a bit on those activities, too.  Rocky will be 9 years old May 12th of 2013.


Through my membership in the local Weimaraner club I became familiar with Tri-State Weimaraner Rescue and I became a volunteer with the group.  In the last four or so years I have helped with transporting and fostering quite a few Weims.  In the last year alone, I fostered three Weims, each under a year old.  My work with rescue also advanced my education about dogs and taught me much about working with dogs with different temperaments and problems.

So now it's time to start the next chapter of our lives with Weimaraners and we're excited that Rigby is a member of our family and we will enjoy watching her grow and develop.  Personally, I'm anxious to start training with a puppy and am already having a great time with our little girl.

Rocky and Rigby getting acquainted.

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