Monday, November 19, 2007

Clean Faces

Any ideas out there? Mike and I can't figure out why our white dogs can get filthy dirty when it is a rainy day but somehow those little faces are still clean. Look at this little white face on Treasure. See the rest of her? Rain is no fun when you have big white dogs...but hey at least her face stays clean.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Outfit

Now Mike and I aren't ones to want to dress up our dogs....but there are times when a guy has to have a new outfit. Tattoo has lost a lot of coat and is feeling the cold, so on Sunday we took him shopping for a new outfit. At Petco we found a cool shearling jacket that fit him well and although he was totally embarrassed in the store, once we got him home he really warmed up to it. Now he is strutting around like a new guy. He even has a back up outfit for when this one is in the wash and he needs a more casual look. He'll model that one later, but for now what do you think of this one?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Harvest Cluster Shows

This weekend was the Harvest Cluster shows in Grand Rapids. Since our kennel club is on Friday, I worked all day with my 4-H poop scoop team keeping the Deltaplex clean for the exhibitors. It is a fund raiser for our 4-H dog program.

On Saturday though I showed both Boston and Alaska. Alaska finished his Rally Advanced title and was 4th in Advanced A. He is now DreamWeaver's Northern Light RA. Boston was also successful and qualified in Open A to earn her second obedience open leg with a 3rd place. She needs just one more to finish her open title. She was entered on Sunday too but we decided to stay home and rest. We will wait until another day to finish her title since we are all pretty exhausted.

I'm just so proud of my two obedience dogs! They are such troupers.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Boston's Beautiful Baby Barley

We just love having puppies around, but seeing them grow up into beautiful big dogs is the most rewarding part of being a breeder. Check out Boston's son Barley and his family Sylvia and David

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Boston's Open at SCA

It took months but we finally got our picture back from the Samoyed Club of America national specialty where Boston was 1st place in Open A obedience. Unfortunately as pictures go...well let's just say both Boston and I were having a bad hair day, but your first open leg is a huge deal in obedience, so we proudly share while hoping the next time will be a better Kodak moment.

The Big "D"

My girlfriend refers to a dissertation as the big "D". They seem to have a lot of mystery surrounding them. In the world of PhDs we have a saying which is "the only good dissertation is a done dissertation". So whenever Mike goes to a dog show (like this weekend) and I stay home, he is constantly asked "Isn't she done yet?" Poor Mike then has to try to explain just exactly why I am not done yet and no he doesn't know when I will be done because dissertations aren't that simple. So let me explain a little about the dissertation process.

I began my doctorate in September of 2001. In fact my first class was September 10th of 2001, the night before Sept 11. In the beginning you just take a couple of classes each semester. They are 800 and 900 level classes and each involves reading hundreds of pages weekly as well as writing lots of papers. No matter how on top of things you stay, you always feel behind because just as something halfway intelligent comes out of your mouth in class some other graduate student trumps you with a better insight or another reference you hadn't heard of.

Course work goes on for a long time. In my case I had to take numerous classes in my cognates of administration, leadership, technology and research methods. About halfway through your classes you select a committee and then get them together to approve your plan. The plan is like a contract. It lists all of the courses you will take, why you will take them, your relevant research and experience and your plan for a dissertation. Once signed it must be followed unless you petition the committee for a change and have a good reason for it.

Somewhere near the end of classes you have to take and pass comprehensive exams. In my case I had a take home exam. That means they e-mailed it to me and I sat and wrote answers and sent them back via e-mail. My major advisor (after consulting with my committee) came up with a list of questions which I had to answer and I had four days to do it. This meant I had to write eight essays in four days, each about 10 pages long with references. Ouch! That was by far the hardest part of the doctoral program and just about everyone I have ever talked to agrees it was really the moment that made them question whether they wanted to do this. Many doctoral students fail here and then they are out of the program. In some cases they can retake them, but often they are just out. I was fortunate because I passed all of them the first time I took them, but it was the most exhausting four days of my life. Mike went to a dog show and most of the dogs with him so I was home alone struggling with my personal nightmare.

Once you have passed comprehensives you write your dissertation proposal. The proposal is the first three chapters of the dissertation. It includes the introduction which explains why this research is important and why you are going to do it. The second chapter is the literature review. You are expected here to discuss everything ever written on the topic you are proposing and include citations. In my case I have about 85 citations. The third chapter is your methods chapter and it is a step by step detailed discussion of everything you are going to do and how you are going to do it..right down to what kind of stamp will go on the envelope you are mailing to your survey audience (no joke). Once it is written you gather your committee again and pitch the proposal. Here is where most doctoral students derail. I know MANY people who never got a proposal approved. Others rewrite many times before it is approved. I was lucky, mine went through with just a request to change the direction of my survey a bit and add interviews to my methods. I didn't have to meet with the committee again to get approval on changes.

Once the proposal is approved, you then have to submit to SIRB which is the Institutional Review Board of the university. This is because all research is subject to ethical standards. They have to approve each word of every document related to the research. And let me tell you they are very picky! Once you get their approval (which takes weeks) you pilot your research. In my case this meant sending out the survey to a smaller group and checking my reliability. Then you meet with an advisor, make some revisions and guess what? You have to have all revisions approved by the SIRB!

Once your final revision is approved you can begin to collect data. That is where I am now. Sending out 300 surveys. Each survey has at minimum three mailings (pre-letter, the actual mailing and the follow up thank you) and those that don't reply are then sent another survey.
Once data is collected you can begin analysis which you write up as chapter four. You make some conclusions in chapter five and then.....only gather up your committee one last time and you defend your dissertation! Assuming all goes well that day and you have paid attention for the previous seven years... you finally get to put those initials after your name and for the first time in years you can face a weekend with no more thoughts of all of the work you have to do on that BIG HUGE "D"!


CERF is the Canine Eye Research Foundation. In the Samoyed breed of dog, there are many different eye diseases that can impact the life of a dog in a negative way. Because of that it is important that all breeding stock have their eyes examined by an opthomologist once per year. Results are sent in to the CERF database and then CERF sends the information on to the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) where it is added to the data base of health clearances for the dog.

Since Korbel will be bred in the next six months and because Treasure is going to be bred in the future, both went down to Kalamazoo with me on Saturday for their exams. It was Treasure's first time having the doctor look into her big brown eyes with the lights. She thought it was a lot of fun and wagged her tail the whole time! Dr. Ramsey got kissed too. Both Treasure and Korbel passed with flying colors. Korbel has now attained CHIC status which is the Canine Health Information Center. Parent clubs ( the SCA in her case) set up health testing minimums for CHIC status which is beyond their code of ethics requirements. These standards are the highest for breeders and not all breeders go to the considerable expense and time to get all of the tests. Korbel has passed all of her tests plus has her elbows cleared. Now she is good to go for when we breed her later this year or early 08.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Treasure has a New Friend

Treasure got invited over to visit and play with her new friend who is an eight month old Samoyed named Sasha. It took Sasha and Treasure a little while to adjust and figure out how to play with each other but after a while they were chasing balls together and then chasing each other around the yard. Here Treasure (left) poses with Sasha and her family.

Tisha is Home

Tisha is home from MSU and recovering from her surgery where a plate was put into her leg along with 8 screws. They did a bone graph taking it from her shoulder. She is resting comfortably at home and on pain meds for five days. We go back in four weeks for a recheck to see if there is any bone growth. Her prognosis is guarded, but we still hope for the best! Keep those good thoughts coming her way. She needs them.