Dog Shows

The Dog Days of Summer: 5 Highlights from our Poodle Summer

The Dog Days of Summer

This summer has been one for the books.

Bryce used the summer of 2019 to prove the coolness of poodles; dyed hair! Bryce sported dyed bracelets and ears all summer.

Bryce used the summer of 2019 to prove the coolness of poodles; dyed hair! Bryce sported dyed bracelets and ears all summer.

First, the heat! Alaska has experienced record breaking heat all summer long. And if the records were only barely broken. If the heat index had registered only a smidgen above what is normal for Alaska summers… maybe I wouldn’t be so worried. 

But the records that were broken were not gently tapped with the butt of a butter knife until cracks could be seen. 

Nope.

Instead, these records were smashed. Demolished with a massive hammer that left nothing intact. What old heat index records? There are no old records here!

Galavanting’s home is right on the edge of what is known as South Central Alaska and Interior Alaska. And the heat in our area should live at a beautiful upper 60’s ºF to mid 70’s ºF

Not this year.

Jupiter the Catahoula Leopard Dog climbed trees in Talkeetna Alaska all summer!

Jupiter the Catahoula Leopard Dog climbed trees in Talkeetna Alaska all summer!

This summer 2019, we hit more than 90ºF often. Multiple days a week. Each week. For two months. Those days of more than 90ºF included enough 100ºF days to make the three digit temperatures go from never before seen in Alaska to just another hot, hot, hot summer day in 2019.

Heat index records; DESTROYED.


Next, Pali has been killing it at the Alaska dog shows. 

Poodle Pali won several Group One honors from the Non-Sporting Dog group at the dog shows this summer

Poodle Pali won several Group One honors from the Non-Sporting Dog group at the dog shows this summer

The summer of 2019 saw Galavanting Poodles at just about all of the Alaska dog shows. All but 1 show that Pali attended, she won Best of Variety in the breed ring AND placed in the group.

After a quick summer season for Pali, she finished the summer in the Top 20 Standard Poodles in America.

Pali also earned her Bronze Grand Championship this summer.

Not too shabby.

We had the fantastic opportunity for my friend and handler extraordinaire, Allison, here in Alaska to show Pali to her beautiful wins. 

Believe me when I say, we are forever grateful to have had Allison join us on part of Pali’s journey. When you have a retired handler friend love your dog so much that she’s willing to take time from her busy teaching schedule to work with your dog and teach you some tricks… well, dog show life can’t get much better.


Third, our youngest poodle, Kluane finished her AKC Championship in fine form.

Kluane proved this summer that poodles are STRONG. Kluane carried a log around with her everywhere she went.

Kluane proved this summer that poodles are STRONG. Kluane carried a log around with her everywhere she went.

I am super happy with how Kluane has grown and matured. She finished her Championship with three 5 point majors in two weekends.

This little spitfire of mine is one special girl.

Stay tuned for updates on what’s next for Kluane!




Fourth, we brought home a new puppy.

But sadly, we lost the puppy to a deadly and highly contagious illness.

This experience tossed us on the floor, stomped on our heads and kicked us in the gut.

Poodle puppy in the mountains of Alaska

Poodle puppy in the mountains of Alaska

Repeatedly.

We’re still reeling from the sudden and unexpected loss.

Eventually, I may blog more details. But not today.

I live my life in such a way that I am always working to better my soul by finding the good, the graceful and the gratefulness.

In this loss, I’ve found myself being forever grateful for my breeder and co-breeder. They have come at this situation with a wealth of knowledge and understanding. 

The three of us together have learned so much. Both wonderful things to help prevent another loss. But also very unfortunate things; like the simple fact sometimes dogs are exposed to very bad things due to the carelessness of other people.


Galavanting Poodles spent nearly every day walking through their new home town of Talkeetna, Alaska.

Galavanting Poodles spent nearly every day walking through their new home town of Talkeetna, Alaska.

Fifth and finally, 2019 is our first summer on our brand new Galavanting property!

We love living here. We love the log home/homestead life. We love the privacy, the quiet, and super small town life.

I’ve never lived in a town with more than 3,000 people. So small town living is pretty familiar to me. But our big move to Talkeetna has put a whole new spin on what I’ve known as small town living.

Our town boasts about 900 year round residents. And I gotta say; I totally love that number! 

Galavanting is quickly becoming known as the Talkeetna Poodles. People stop us in the streets when we’re in town, and I’ve even had a few folks stop their car(s) to chat if they see us out on the bike trails.

I love the small town life. And I really love that my new small town is Talkeetna, Alaska.

Galavanting Poodles hiked Kesugi Ken, commonly known as Curry Ridge, in Alaska, many times in the summer of 2019.

Galavanting Poodles hiked Kesugi Ken, commonly known as Curry Ridge, in Alaska, many times in the summer of 2019.

2019 has been a wild ride. 

Lots of adventures and travels (this is, after all, Galavanting Poodles) 

Some tough lessons 

Home projects and a newfound passion for furniture sanding 

And my favorite of all; the love, support and laughter of family and friends. 

My Week at the Poodle National Specialty

The Poodle National; The Greatest (Poodle) Show on Earth!


Pali gets ready for her ring debut at the Poodle National Specialty

Pali gets ready for her ring debut at the Poodle National Specialty


Olivia and Ethan grooming a black standard poodle just before ring time.

Olivia and Ethan grooming a black standard poodle just before ring time.

I’m still coming down from the high that is the Poodle Club of America’s National Specialty. I got to spend a great week with friends and fellow poodle enthusiasts.
I ate a lot of junk food 

I bought a ton of stuff

I didn’t sleep a wink

And I laughed with friends until I cried.

SUCCESS. 


No Sleep ’til… Purina Farms!


The Poodle National is held at Purina Farms in Gray Summit, Missouri. If you haven’t already, and you ever get the chance, make a stop by this wonderful facility. 

Remember when we were kids and our parents would tell us that our old dog went to live on a farm?

Well. Purina Farms is THE farm I imagine all our old dogs went to live. The property nestled in a quiet countryside with acres of land for dogs to run and play. The indoor event facility is packed with everything one would need to get their dog ready for any performance sport or conformation show.

And when Poodle Club of America shows up for our annual National Specialty?
ALL BETS ARE OFF.
PCA prides itself in setting a magical stage for the best breed national in the country.

The best? You say?
Oh… I say!

Poodle Club of America wins National Specialty of the Year!

Poodle Club of America wins National Specialty of the Year!

Poodle Club of America even has a trophy and official title to prove it. PCA puts on the best breed national specialty in the country!
Live flower gardens are brought in to transform the conformation ring into a lovely summer park. I noticed many a dog in the ring, stopping to, literally, smell the flowers while they waited their turn for the judge’s exam.

We even have our own green floor with extra cushion and great traction. The floor adds to the wonderland look of the rings. 

On the whole, I spent the vast majority of my time inside the Purina Farms facility. And walking into that space, decorated bright and happy, with clear love for the poodle breed demonstrated everywhere I turned… I wasn’t regretting my lack of sleep. I was just happy to be soaking in all the grandeur.


Sitting ringside; my impressions


Reading old copies of The Poodle Review. This one is from 1978!!

Reading old copies of The Poodle Review. This one is from 1978!!

PCA week isn’t just fun and games for me… I mean…mostly it is fun and games… but there are some serious parts, too.

I made a point to sit ringside during most of the conformation show days. I studied the standards ring with a sharp eye, looking and learning as each standard poodle moved along in the ring.

My handy show catalog, which lists all the poodles entered in the show, got a lot of use through out the week. Any time I saw a dog that caught my eye, I would look it up in my catalog. I marked down a few prospects for breeding and made notes to study their pedigrees.

Sitting ringside also gave me a strong sense of my own preferences when it came to “type.” And by the word, type, I mean; style of poodle… the look, the movement, the attitude… everything that fits together to create the ideal poodle, that is all lumped together in a word… TYPE.


Observing the masters


Allison Foley hard at work in the grooming space at Purina Farms for the Poodle Club of America’s national specialty.

Allison Foley hard at work in the grooming space at Purina Farms for the Poodle Club of America’s national specialty.

I did a lot of learning observing the beautifully coiffed poodles as I sat ringside. But equally as valuable was my time in the grooming space. My friend, and Pali’s handler, worked tirelessly through the week. Allison ran her grooming set-up like the captain of a ship. She effortlessly guided folks through the care and styling of their poodles before taking the dogs into the ring. 

Allison was a wealth of knowledge and shared her knowledge openly with everyone in her set-up. 

Kluane in the ring with handler, and great friend, Lindsay Gorder. This shot was snagged with a smart phone from a good distance away. Please pardon the quality!

Kluane in the ring with handler, and great friend, Lindsay Gorder. This shot was snagged with a smart phone from a good distance away. Please pardon the quality!

I have a great amount of respect for my friend. And watching her go to work on Pali before heading into the ring was truly watching a master at her craft.

Oh yeah. And Allison had cookies and candy at her set up the whole week

Guys. I’m talking literal bucketsbuckets of candy. Just sitting around on the grooming tables. For everyone to eat!

I took full advantage of the candy. Believe you me!


The cupcakes!


Perhaps the best kept secret of PCA week is the cupcakes.

YES! The cupcakes!

Another low quality smart phone photo! This time of Pali waiting for her judge’s exam at the PCA Specialty in Missouri.

Another low quality smart phone photo! This time of Pali waiting for her judge’s exam at the PCA Specialty in Missouri.

I have no idea where they come from or how they get there. But at the end of each conformation show day, boxes and boxes of truly decadent and delicious cupcakes arrive at ringside.

These aren’t your typical grocery store cupcakes. These little cakes are mouth watering bits of art. They came in a myriad of flavors…. vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, red velvet cake, almond-something-or-other, yellow cake (it’s a flavor in my book!)… with decorative frosting and bobbles also in a multitude of flavors.

I do not feel an ounce of guilt when I tell you that the cupcakes were absolutely a top three favorite reason for going to PCA. 


I am inspired for the poodle year to come.


My week at PCA feels a bit like a blur. My mind is overloaded with information about all things poodle. And I’m still not fully recovered from the lack of sleep (or laughing- thanks, Tawnya!). 

But I can say for sure; I am so inspired for the upcoming year. 

Kluane and Pali posing at the Ted Stevens International Airport in Alaska. We are home!!

Kluane and Pali posing at the Ted Stevens International Airport in Alaska. We are home!!

I love this poodle breed. I get a bit prideful when I think about what a magnificent club we have to protect the legacy of the poodle dog. And I feel very strongly about doing my part in making sure this dignified, versatile and longstanding breed is represented to its fullest potential.
Until next year, poodle on, my poodle friends!