Every Spring we get as many of our puppies as possible to come together for one afternoon of play. This year our annual Puppy Reunion, also known as "Pupapalooza", was held at the beach at Port San Luis. Here are some pictures:
Most of the dogs were off-leash for the afternoon, These two stayed on-leash just long enough to be coaxed in to the water!
Others needed less coaxing!
I like this shot by Jenny Mathis because it shows a true representation of what Pupapalooza is like.
Everybody just mingles and meets all the Cockers and their owners... and a good time is had by all!
I was worried about having this event at the beach, because I thought the dogs would get all wet and sandy.
But the way it really worked is that most of the dogs never got in the water unless their owner's made them do it!
Mike Baird shot this panorama that gives another good overall look at the scene.
See more of Mike's photos here
There were a lot of beautiful Cockers in motion.
The ones from Abby's litters looked so much the same that I had to cheat
and look at their dog tags to figure out who was who!
It was sunny and warm, so these guys enjoyed the shade of an umbrella and hoped for something from the cooler.
I like this photo that Jenny Mathis took of our girl, Reese.
It shows off her coat and coloring really well.
People meeting Reese for the first time were surprised at her size.
The pictures offer no clue of how truly tiny this girl is. Cat sized, and she's a full-grown adult.
Why humans at Pupapalooza should never drink from a container that has been left unattended!
We had a few special visitors who are not Zim dogs. This is Cody from Walnut Creek, and I was quite impressed with him!
Ruby, another one of our special guests, with spectacular sable coloring.
Lucy, another one of our sable colored guests. We actually had three sables attend.
Lucy figured out a good way to stay cool on a warm day!
This is Molly from our November litter. Totally bonded to her owner and never very far away!
Molly's owner, Alicia, with one of her other Cockers, Lacey.
Monty belongs to Carol Patterson, my photographer friend who did the photography at our daughter's wedding in April.
You may remember our girl, Lady, who is now retired from breeding. She's the one in the center.
Here she is with four of her kids and two of her grandkids!
Lady's kids, Cassie and Mattie, are on the far right.
On the far left is Lady's daughter, Lil' Lady. To her right are two of Lil' Lady's kids.
You may also remember "The Big Moose", third from the right. Click here to jog your memory!
That's Lil' Lady's owner, Marie, with two of Lil' Lady's pups.
I like to think of them as my grandpups.
Every one of Lil' Lady's pups is totally gorgeous. A truly successful breeding!
One fun aspect of Pupapalooza is meeting Internet friends in person.
This is Randi, a big fan of our web site, who's been emailing me for more than a year.
Funny how in email the "cute and sweet" thing never came through
but in person she just knocked everyone out with her delightful personality.
After hours of playing, a good nap was in order!
For the last two years, we've held our Puppy Reunions at an off-leash dog park in San Luis Obispo. (See pictures here.) This was the first year that we tried meeting at the beach, and everyone seemed to think it was better. So, we'll do our future reunions here, too. In fact, the next Pupapalooza is scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2005. Morgan's litter of puppies will be seven weeks old at that point. Obviously, we can't bring puppies that age to the beach, but we think it would be totally fun to invite everyone over to our house immediately following the beach event, and have "Pupapalooza-Part II" with actual puppies out on our front lawn. Sound fun? I think so! For more details on the plans for our September Pupapalooza, see the Pupapalooza section of our forum.
Why do we have these puppy reunions at all? Several reasons, actually. First off, it's just a ton of fun to see that many Cockers all together at the same time... way more fun than a dog show where you can't really interact with the dogs, and where the owners can sometimes be less than welcoming. The photo opportunities are tremendous! Second, it's great to have a chance to chat with so many people who all share a common interest. The people are extremely friendly, and the conversations flow easily. Pupapalooza always draws a wonderful mix of people.
But the most important reason that we like to have these Puppy Reunions is that it gives us a chance to evaluate the dogs we've bred in the past. We can see how they turned out, and it helps us figure out whether we're on the right track with our breeding program. Quite frankly, one of the reasons we decided to retire Lady from our breeding program a few years ago was seeing how large all of her puppies were when they attended the very first Pupapalooza. We decided we wanted to work on breeding a line of dogs that would grow up to be much physically smaller than most of Lady's pups... and if you ever have the chance to meet Reese in person, you can see exactly where we're headed!
Special note for those who attended this year's Pupapalooza: be sure to send me any good pictures that you took, so I can share them here.
After all the fun of Pupapalooza at the beach in the afternoon, we still had a little more fun later in the day. We agreed to baby-sit Lucy, a beautiful red sable Cocker, while her owners went out to dinner at a local restaurant. While they were out enjoying their dinner, Lucy and I had a photo session in our backyard! Here's what I managed to come up with:
One final note about Pupapalooza 2005:
I know it sounds like a good time was had by all, and mostly that's true. But there is one bit of bad news to share. It's a bit of an embarrassing story, and I certainly deserve a "dunce cap" for this one. Here goes...
We were experiencing very warm weather for Pupapalooza, and so minimal clothing was definitely called for. I wore shorts and a t-shirt, which is unusual for me. Normally, I try to catch as little sun as possible, at the advice of my Oncologist, following cancer treatments several years ago.
Since I knew I would be spending several hours in the sun, the very first thing I did upon arrival at the beach was to apply a total sunblock (SPF50) to all exposed skin. This worked fine, and in retrospect I did not burn or even tan anywhere that I applied sunblock to. However, there was one aspect of all of this that I didn't fully think through!
At the time I applied the sunblock, I was wearing shoes and socks. A little while later, when I realized I was going to want to wade in to the water, I took the shoes and socks off... and they remained off for the rest of the afternoon. This exposed the top of my feet to the mid-day sun for several hours, and the feet had no sunblock on them.
By the time Pupapalooza was over, I realized that my feet were getting sunburned, but I really didn't realize how severely they had burned. To make a long story short... by the next evening I knew I had a big problem, as my feet were not just burned, they were starting to blister. Later, in the emergency room of our local hospital, the doctor informed me that I had sustained second degree burns to both of my feet.
I've got a picture that really is worth a thousand words. I have to warn you, though, that it's EXTREMELY graphic and may totally gross you out. Don't follow the link if you're squeamish! But if you want to see what happened to my feet, and you're not easily grossed out, click here. This is not some kind of joke where you follow the link and there's a funny picture as the punchline... it really is a gross picture of my burned and blistered feet. Consider yourself warned!
I spent the week after Pupapalooza at home with my feet propped up. 40 hours of sick time, right down the drain! Thankfully, 8 days after Pupapalooza, I was able to wear shoes again for the first time. Things are pretty much back to normal for me now, and you can bet I won't make that mistake ever again!
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