Trip to 2011 Otterhound Specialty

In September 2011 the Blue Fairy Pack ventured on a big trip to the Otterhound Club of America National Specialty Dog Show in Eugene, OR. We decided to make it a true adventure starting with visiting Scarlett – Ozzy’s sister at her home in Central California, then a short stop in Sonoma,CA – getting rested and ready for a big 3-day dog show. We found Eugene to be a very beautiful dog friendly city with a HUGE dog park next door to our hotel. Otterhound Specialty was a blast. With over 30 hounds and their humans from all over US and Canada how could it not be.. 😉 After an exciting and long weekend we were on the road again, this time to discover new dog beaches in Oregon and Northern California. This mission was a great success! Just follow links below for pictures and videos of our exciting journey.

1. Visiting Scarlett
2. Cows in Sonoma, CA
3. Otterhound Specialty
4. Oregon Dunes and North California Coast

1. Visiting Scarlett

When we decided to go to the Otterhound Specialty in Oregon, we knew that there was one stop we had to make on the way up North. We had to see Ozzy’s sister Scarlett. She was placed with a wonderful family in Central California and it was our chance to visit the extended Blue Fairy Family. And we did, on a beautiful Labor Day afternoon. Last time we saw Scarlett she was 3 months old and a little over 30lbs. The dog that welcomed us was a ‘little’ bigger – almost 80lb, as tall as Mamba and Leeloo. Hard to believe how fast they grow!

At first, Scarlett seemed to be shy and reserved. Maybe because her brother Oz welcomed her with a growl .. I guess it was his way of saying “”where have you been Sis?!”. Mamba was curious to sniff her daughter and Leeloo wanted to know if this new Otterhound would be interested in playing around. After a while, they were all one happy pack. Scarlett’s new home had lots of room for lots of fun: running, sniffing and even a small pool to get wet. Otterhound Paradise! We have pictures and videos to prove it 🙂

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2. Cows in Sonoma, CA

California’s Wine Country is beautiful, with never ending fields full of grapes and wineries ready to welcome visitors for a taste of their wonderful wines. We stopped over for a couple of days in Sonoma to enjoy the scenery and re-charge. It was probably more fun for humans than the dogs, but we made sure we kept them busy. We found several dog-friendly places, including on and off-leash parks. One day, we even met the cows! After our morning run, in the field next to the dog park, we noticed there were about a dozen cows with calves and a giant bull. We had no choice but to explore.
The dogs were curious but cautious. Their first reaction was to announce the cows: the Voice of an Otterhound! What a beautiful song it was – too bad me and my camera were too slow to catch it 😉 As we got closer and the hounds got familiar with the scent and look of a herd of cows, things got quiet. Cows moved slowly around and after a few minutes we realized that they surrounded the calves, just in case we were predators. A giant bull and a couple of cows were observing us with caution. It was fascinating to watch the dynamics between the herd and our pack.

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3. Otterhound Specialty

After a long drive we arrived in Eugene, Oregon. We made a few exciting stops to stretch our legs and take some cool pictures – all part of the on-the-road fun.

As soon as we arrived in the hotel we discovered we were less than 5 minutes from Alton Baker Park – a giant fenced off-leash dog park. Excellent location for burning off some energy. Extremely important in a hotel environment. Tired Otterhound is a well-behaved Otterhound 🙂

On Thursday, several Otterhounds had an opportunity to test their noses in a tracking test. It was fascinating to watch them work despite the heat and rough terrain. Instinct in action. At the end of the day, there were two Otterhounds with new tracking titles: VST (Variable Surface Tracking) and TD (Tracking Dog). Amazing accomplishments for dogs and their humans. It was truly a team effort. For more information and tracking pictures, you can visit OHCA 2011 National Tracking Tests (TD, TDX, VST) web site.

Friday was the Otterhound Club of America National Specialty show. We spent our morning at the dog park and then we had to get ready: quick shower for the dogs and humans. Ozzy had to supervise.. I guess he inherited Mamba’s ‘management gene’ 😉 On a more serious note, we are very lucky that Otterhounds don’t require extensive grooming show preparations. Hard to imagine getting 3 dogs ready for a show!

Ozzy was working hard all afternoon – Puppy Sweepsteaks first, and then the regular show. He did great considering he was only 8 months old and had to deal with 90F heat. Mamba and Leeloo represented the Pack in Best of Breed competition. Mamba and Ozzy closed the show with their Best Brace performance. We got ribbons, toys and trophies. Good day 🙂

But the best part was right around the corner – literally! We discovered there was a river right next to the show grounds. We were hot, we were tired and it was just what we needed. Too bad we – the humans – were not ‘river-ready’ but the dogs had a blast! See for yourself..

Saturday was another fun day at the show. Ozzy was busy all day: ring time in the morning and supporting Judges Education Seminar and Meet the Breed booth in the afternoon. We were really impressed with his patience during the Seminar when five future Otterhound Judges were touching him all at the same time, checking his paws, ears and teeth. Standing still is not his strength! He just had to keep up with his Mom Mamba who was representing Otterhound females during the presentation. Ozzy also shared his voice with all seminar participants – after all, how would they know the song of an Otterhound if he did not show them! Ozzy discovered his voice during 4th of July holiday and has been ‘flexing his pipes’ ever since. He has a beautiful low voice and he loves to share it!
We ended the day in the river with Otterhounds, Wolfhounds and dog show participants of all breeds. This time we were ready for wading in the water right along with the hounds.

Sunday was an easy and mellow day in comparison with Friday and Saturday activities. In the morning, Oz had to work again – his last day in the ring for the weekend. Another ribbon won. Our little Champ in training 😉 We were very pleased to watch him each day get more confident in the show ring and comfortable with the judges and the judging process. Judging Seminar was a great experience and a lesson in show etiquette for our puppy boy.
Pretty soon he’ll be a show pro!

In the afternoon we supported our Otterhound friends Best of Breed Winner Keeper (CH White River’s He’s A Keeper) and Best Bred-by-Exhibitor (BBE) Winner Griffin (Can CH Avitar’s Quick Riffs in Jazz, RN) in Hound Group competitions. Keeper won Group 4 and Griffin – BBE Group 2 placement. Great accomplishments and we were glad to cheer at ring side 😉

We concluded our OHCA Specialty and Eugene Kennel Club dog show adventure with a swim in the river and a big run in the dirt. Otterhound style! Ozzy and Leeloo led the charge. They’ve become quite a duo in the last few weeks. Leeloo finally re-discovered her playfulness and Toy Master skills and Ozzy did not need an invitation.
We all had a wonderful weekend with our Otterhound and Human friends 🙂
For more of our dog show stories and videos, visit Adventures – Dog Shows.

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4. Oregon Dunes and North California Coast

After a long and busy weekend, it was time to start driving back home. We decided to make it more fun and ventured on a new mission: discover new dog-friendly beaches in Oregon and Northern California. Our plan was simple: Google and Drive! It worked like a charm.

First stop: Oregon Dunes. It was a challenge to just get to the beach – we had to climb our way up and down, but once we did, it was well worth the workout: the giant dunes of white sand, ocean, us and no-one else. Little mist in the air made it magical. Gorgeous! It was low tide so the beach was giant and the dogs had plenty of room to stretch their legs: Ozzy and Leeloo did their circles and Mamba attempted to catch up and manage with little success. Leeloo definitely took over the duties of keeping Oz entertained 🙂

Back in the truck and the drive continues. Before we knew it, we were back in California. This time we were away from the coast and into the woods. The Redwoods. We drove almost all day admiring majestic trees and winding roads up and down hills. Close to Mother Nature and no cell service. It was a bit uncomfortable to have no Google maps and no contact with the outside world. Hard to believe how much we rely on technology until it’s gone!

We made a stop at a rocky beach on the outskirts of Fort Bragg. This time, the dogs had a chance to practice their climbing skills. There was a lone rock sticking up on the edge of the ocean. Perfect hang-out for seals and other sea creature during high tides. The smells were irresistible for the curious hounds. Leeloo led the pack. Ozzy followed without fear. He already figured that when it comes to play and finding cool places to sniff, his Aunt Leeloo is the master. At the beginning, Mamba was watching from the bottom of the rock, then started nervously pacing along side the rock and finally she gave up and joined the climb. It was impressive to watch these big dogs control their bodies and maintain balance on the way up and down that rock. Otter-Goats! For more videos of our climbing hounds go to Adventures – The Beach.

Next stop: Monterey, CA. It was our chance to see wild sea otters. They usually hang out in large groups in kelp beds right off the coast and to see them you usually need binoculars. Unless.. you get lucky and we did. There was a lone otter swimming in the harbor. Too bad our hounds were not so lucky. Who knows what they would do 😉 Our good luck charm continued on our drive along the coast: we saw seals, dolphins and whales. The views were spectacular. We even found a monument of an otter along the coast. Pretty cool! But our destination was just a few miles away: Carmel-by-the-Sea, right next to the world famous Pebble Beach golf course. The dog beach had great reviews and we just had to check it out. After all, how many times one can combine dogs and golf! We were not disappointed. The dog beach was great: big, white, soft sand and lots of room to run, dig and run again. We had lots of fun: sniffing, circles, fetching, barking – all that the beach hound’s heart desires!
Here comes the best part: when we were done the dogs were tired and ready to take a nap. Good idea for the ride all the way home.
For more videos from Carmel CA Dog Beach go to Adventures – The Beach.

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