Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I have this absolutely incredible amazing dog! He’s lovable, intelligent, devoted, beautiful, and can be adorably obnoxious… as all puppies are. He’s a German-bred show line German Shepherd. His name is Cash and he’s 2 years old. And he’s my pride and joy! My poor husband doesn’t think he can ever compete with the animals… maybe he’s right. I don’t think so, I do love my husband. But Cash is just awesome!

When I was a kid, a German Shepherd bit me. I had over 150 stitches in my face and was hospitalized for a week. I still loved dogs after that, even saying in recovery, “He’s sorry, he’s a good dog, he didn’t mean to do it.” German Shepherds can be amazing dogs, but with any large, smart, powerful dog, gosh, you have to know what you’re getting!! So I knew I needed to research and find the right bloodlines, the right breeder. As soon as I met Cash’s dad Saint, I knew I had to have a Saint pup! I was then able to pick the mom, and then had first pick male of that litter.

I’ve worked with Cash since he was a puppy - socializing him, building his drive and building his spirit. He’s a certified therapy dog and he’s perfect for it! He LOVES people. Walk up to him and kneel down and you’ll have him slurping your face… don’t try to stop him once he’s started, or he’ll just lick your ears or your hair, or whatever else is exposed.

I have done some preliminary Schutzhund training with Cash over the last two years and have now finally found a great Schutzhund club and have set aside the time and the money to pursue the sport with him. Schutzhund is a sport developed for the German Shepherd that involves obedience, protection and tracking. Schutzhund tests the temperament, nerves and workability of the breed. It’s a very demanding sport for a dog and once a dog is titled in Schutzhund, it’s a testament to that dog’s soundness of mind and body.

We had our first training session (in quite a while!) on Saturday, and I was so impressed with Cash. From what I saw of him that day, he has just as much potential as I had always hoped he had. I’ve been working with him all week, riling him up for protection work and obedience. I can’t wait to go back to class next Saturday. It will be fun to see him improve every week and get to the point where he’s running blinds.

Google Schutzhund for more fascinating information on the sport! For really super-cool videos, go to www.youtube.com and check out the Schutzund videos… it’s AMAZING what these dogs can do!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

This year has been a wonderful year of growth for Symphony Jewels. I have had a summer of successful art shows, repeat customers visiting me regularly and frequent requests for custom jewelry. Now that the business is supporting itself, I have wanted to get more involved in local charities. For the last two years, sales from my Cancer Awareness bracelet has benefited the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, but I want to do more. Tonight a great opportunity came along. My aunt belongs to a local women’s club that hosts several fundraising events throughout the year. She called to ask if I wanted to donate a piece of jewelry to their next auction.

This week I have a necklace and earring set that is being featured in the Hawthorn Woods Women’s Club annual Love Fund Auction. All proceeds benefit women and children in need in Lake County, focusing on local shelters that support victims of domestic violence.

The donation is the Golden Skies set – a necklace and earrings in a beautiful combination of aquamarine blue and shimmery pale gold. This set features Swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls, sterling and fine silver, and rutilated quartz.

I am very excited to be a part of this event and hope for a very successful fundraiaser!

For more information on the benefiting charities, please visit the Hawthorn Woods Women’s Club at http://www.hwwc.info/.