Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend: LGRA

My boys: Pi, Gil, and Yumi

Every year, RCRA hosts race meets over Memorial Day Weekend. I have not attended in several years, for various reasons, but this year we promised that we would go and support the club. I was getting a little worried as the date drew closer, because the weather reports were indicating it to be a hot weekend. In situations like this, I am always happy to pull my dogs out of competition if I think it's getting too warm. So, I packed up plenty of water, a small kiddie pool, and some sponges in case I needed to cool them down.

Thankfully, the venue we were running at had plenty of shade, and it was surprisingly cool if you weren't standing in direct sunlight. Combine that with a gentle breeze and the ambient temperature throughout the day wasn't too bad.

I decided to enter all three boys; Gil, Pi, and Yumi. Gilly had an unfortunate string of bad luck starting in October of last year, so he has been lame on his left front every now and again. I anticipated him coming up lame either right before the meet, or after the first program, but he surprised me and was sound all day.

One thing I like about running with RCRA is that they are one of the few clubs that have starting boxes big enough to accommodate the MAs. The only problem on this particular occasion was that only Gil has had any serious box training. Nevertheless, I figured if the other two were going to learn, it was now or never.

Below is a slow motion video of the beginning of one of their races:

Both boys put up a pretty good struggle when it came time to box them, but we muscled through it and they were noticeably better as the day went on. Pi's break got a lot better too, although not as good as Gil's. Yumi is either a slower learner, or he's just stubborn (I think probably the latter), so his breaking skills may take more time to come around. His slow exit from the boxes cost him a second place finish in the first program, but he got it together well enough by the end of the meet to finish second overall behind Pi. One more GRC point down, 7 more to go!

I'll report on the NOTRA meet in a separate post to come. Stay tuned ...

Friday, May 27, 2016


I realized a few days ago that I haven't done a formal introduction of Tilly, the other MA that was brought over from Hungary with Yumi.

Tilly as a puppy

Tilly is the much beloved companion of her owner, Joanna, as well as Joanna's husband, Tim. Before Yumi came to live with me, he lived with Joanna and Tim briefly until his behavior problems became too much for them to manage.

Joanna and Tilly

Anyway going back to Tilly, while I don't have the complete story behind either of them, I've been able to piece things together here and there, so this is it.

I actually met Tilly for the first time in March 2013 when I attended a meetup at a local park, organized by some of the local adopted Greyhound community. Shortly after I got to the park, Joanna arrived with a beautiful young white hound. At that time, Tilly was still basically a puppy, and her immaturity was obvious. Young pups tend to stand out in the crowd because most adopted Greyhounds are at least 2 or 3 years old when they go to their new homes. While I was busy throwing a frisbee for Pi, I overheard Joanna say that Tilly was not a former racing Greyhound, and that she got her from a family who brought her over from Hungary. Of course, upon hearing that little bit of information my ears really perked up! What are the chances that two dogs from Hungary would meet each other by chance at a local park?

Tilly, the day I first met her

It wasn't until about a year later that I ran into Tilly and Joanna again. Joanna had contacted me about the possibility of attending one of our race meets, and I of course encouraged her to come, which she did. She arrived in the late morning with Tilly and stayed briefly to let her watch. Tilly didn't seem all too interested in the lure, but a lot of dogs can start out that way if they've never seen a lure before.

Fast forward a couple more years, and that's when I got the phone call from Barbara at Greyhound Friends for Life telling me about Yumi. At that time it didn't even occur to me that Yumi and Tilly were connected. It wasn't until I went up to the kennel to meet Yumi that I was able to talk to Barbara about him at length that I got the rest of the story.

Tilly enjoying some down time

Shortly after Tilly went to live with Joanna, Yumi's former owner contacted her about taking his other, older male dog, "Yummy." Of course, given how happy Joanna was with Tilly, she accepted and he went off to live with her. It is my understanding that Tilly and Yumi were originally purchased with the intent that they become a breeding pair. Given how similar they are in type, I'm assuming they came from the same breeder in Miskolc. For whatever reason, they were never actually bred and Tilly was given to Joanna.

Joanna was devastated about having to surrender Yumi to the GFFL, so when she found out I was fostering him she contacted me to offer whatever assistance she could, and asked if I could please keep her informed about his progress.

Since then, I've kept in fairly close contact with Joanna and she loves hearing updates about Yumi's new life with me. She and Tim even came out to see us at our Nationals last October, which was a nice little reunion for Tilly and Yumi.

Yumi and Tilly at NAMAA Nationals 2015

So in sum, that's the whole story as best I can tell. Tilly has a wonderful life with Joanna and Tim, getting to go for long walks and hikes everyday and basically being Joanna's shadow. Hopefully we will get a chance to meet up with them again soon.

Friday, May 13, 2016

A New Arrival: June 2016

Photo by Diana Komaromi

We are extremely excited about the upcoming litter between Patti and Gator, but I don't want that to overshadow another very exciting bit of news. Last year, Remy's owner (Remy is Gil's litter sister, for those who might not remember), Diana, informed me that she was planning to breed Remy one last time, to a very accomplished and prepotent hunting dog named Vándor. She had acquired Vándor as a mature adult, as well as Vándor's sire, Finom. Given the outstanding nature of this potential litter's pedigree, and the fact that we are terribly short on breedable bitches here in the states, this was an opportunity that we just couldn't pass up. So, we told Diana that should a litter be born we would be very interested in taking a puppy, preferably a bitch puppy. To our delight, and hers as well, she happily agreed.

Remy and Vándor
Photo by Diana Komaromi

So we waited patiently for Remy to come in season, and when she did she was bred to Vándor a single time. Now all we had to do was wait. Given the size and success of Remy's first litter, I had little doubt that she would conceive, but given her age there was always the possibility of a miss, or at the very least a small litter.

Photo by Diana Komaromi

Come February, Remy's belly was growing larger and larger by the day, and on February 6th she finally popped. A total of 8 puppies were delivered; 6 girls and 2 boys. We were thrilled, and very happy that there were so many girls to choose from.

Photo by Diana Komaromi

As the puppies grew, Diana kept in touch with me and always asked if there was any particular puppy that I had my eyes on. At that early stage, there wasn't any particular puppy that stood out to me, so I kept on waiting and watching intently as the weeks went by.

Look at that face!
Photo by Diana Komaromi

By the time the puppies were 7 weeks old, Diana was able to give me a better idea of what their individual personalities were like. We narrowed it down to two of the girls, one named Fesztivál and one named Fricska (this is the Cserihegyi F-litter). Just based on their photos, Fesztivál appealed to me because she has a black mask that makes her look a bit like Gil, but I never want to make decisions based on color or markings. According to Diana, Fesztivál was more laid back that Fricksa, but both were very nice puppies. I told Diana that my preference was for a bolder, more confident puppy, so that meant Fricksa was the winner!

Photo by Diana Komaromi

Fricksa means "Flip" in Hungarian, which I think is an adorable name for a spirited little Agar puppy! In order to prevent a lengthy quarantine, we have to wait until Fricksa is 4 months old before she can be shipped to us here in California. However, with Patti's due date looming in early June, we decided to wait until late June to have her flown out. So, we will be waiting patiently for our bundles of joy to arrive next month. All of them :-)

Photo by Diana Komaromi

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Big News!

It was confirmed on May 10th via ultrasound that Patti is in whelp! Tom and I have been working on this breeding for quite some time now, so we didn't want to make any announcements about it until we were certain that there are buns in the oven. The doctor counted between 6 and 8 puppies, but truthfully any number would have been fine with us. We are over-the-moon excited about this litter and can't wait for these little Agars to make their appearance. Patti (as you will know if you've been reading this blog) is from the first litter of American-born Magyar Agars, so this litter will mark a new milestone for the breed in North America. The proud papa is none other than Mr. Al E. Gator, or just Gator. Gator was born and bred in Germany, but grew up here in the states and has been our most competitive Agar on the amateur race track and lure coursing field. He's also just about the sweetest boy you'll ever meet. Here's hoping for an uncomplicated pregnancy and an uneventful whelping!