The end of August brings with it the close of another South Florida summer and the hopes of cooler weather and dryer afternoons. Despite our heat and rain, it’s been a great summer full of many awesome experiences! Orso finished his AKC Championship, earned his Therapy Dogs International registration, and started his Rally-Obedience show career; I took off to Tahiti for a few weeks for many humbling SCUBA diving and non-diving experiences; Cleo and Karma joined our family; all that, among many other great things! We have no shortage of things to be happy about and grateful for. Along the way, we took some pretty cool photos of the Costa Bel clan, our furkids, and so did Kathi Wisdom, who is taking care of Cleo for us. In celebration of our photogenic furballs, we created an album to commemorate the summer of 2011. The print version should be on its way to us soon so we can set it on our coffee table for guests to enjoy. In the meantime, click here to view the online album or follow the link below, enjoy!
Karma has been added to the online Cane Corso Pedigree Database. The Cane Corso Pedigree Database is a free service that runs on donations. It’s a very interesting site that allows owners to submit images of their Cane Corso so that photos show up on the pedigrees. Results from health tests can also be uploaded, among other relevant data. Orso’s online pedigree was recently updated to reflect all his accomplishments and health testing! Way cool!
To see Karma’s main page, click here or go to http://www.canecorsopedigree.com/modules/animal/dog.php?id=20529.
To see Karma’s pedigree online, click here or go to http://www.canecorsopedigree.com/modules/animal/pedigree.php?pedid=20529.
To make a donation supporting the Cane Corso Pedigree Database, click here or go to http://www.canecorsoforum.info/pedigreedonations.htm.
Over the weekend, we took Orso and Karma out on the town to hang out with us. On Saturday, we went to Chili’s in the Grove and spent a couple of hours eating and drinking in their outside patio. We were headed back to our car to go home when we were stopped by 4 people in a parking lot asking us if our dogs were Cane Corsos. We told them that they were and they enthusiastically told us that they had Cane Corsos back home, in Romania! We started chatting and sharing smartphone photos and it turns out that they have a male who is also named Orso! What a coincidence! Another coincidence is that they just brought home a black Corso puppy around the same age as Karma! We hit it off and decided not to go home so soon. We spent the next 7 hours with them, hopping from place to place, drinking, eating and, of course, talking about our favorite topic – Cane Corsos!! Below is a picture that our new friends emailed us today, enjoy!
From left to right: Yvonne Alemán (me), Monica Muntean Pazuric, Andreas Muntean, Diana Sime-Pazuric, Lucian Sime Pazuric, Agustín “Gus” Quevedo, Lionheart Buona Karma di Costa Bel (Karma at 15 weeks) & CH Mar e Sol Orso di Costa Bel (Orso at 14 months).
How exciting! Orso’s Therapy Dogs International package finally arrived today, after months of going back and forth with paperwork! It came with his own IDs and collar tags! They even sent us a neck bandana for him to wear on his therapy visits! So cool! Yay, TDI!
It’s been raining for days around here, so the cabin fever was reaching an all-time high in our house, especially with Orso. Today, we got lucky with a break from the bad weather and we decided to let everyone play with the JollyBall. Unfortunately, all the grassy areas were soaked and muddy, so we had to keep the dogs restricted to the patio area. Orso LOVES his JollyBall! So much, in fact, that he did not allow anyone to play with him. It was just him and his JollyBall for 36 minutes! Below are 2 video clips of him playing with his JollyBall. The first one is about 3 minutes long and the second one is about 2 minutes long and shows Orso chasing his JollyBall in the pool! Enjoy!
We had an excellent weekend! Since Karma had her 3rd set of vaccines last week, it is now safe to take her out and introduce her to the world! Our adventures officially started last Wednesday, August 17th, when I decided to take Orso & Karma out to South Miami to run some errands and grab a quick snack. That was Karma’s first real outing since we brought her home and she did pretty well. She was fairly confident and was comfortable hanging out with us while we ate a snack at Blu Pizzeria but she did not get to meet too many new people, so it wasn’t as effective an outing as we’d hoped it would be. This weekend was entirely different though!
On Saturday, our day started with our usual morning craziness in the family room, which is great since it helps burn some puppy energy! Below are two video clips of our morning ritual – it is a total free for all! I have no idea how none of our dogs ever get hurt playing all crazy like that every morning.
After they ate their breakfast, we decided that it was time to truly expose Karma to everyday sights and sounds. We also felt that it was best to take both Karma and Orso together so that she can feel more comfortable having him there and possibly also learn from his behavior in public, which is almost impeccable. We settled on going with them to Sergio’s Restaurant, a Cuban restaurant in London Square, a busy strip mall a few miles from our home that is frequented by families. We immediately drew a large crowd – this always happens with Orso, so we were happily expecting it – and handed out single bits of kibble to anyone who would be kind enough to agree to offer it to Karma. Orso could care less about people and kids but Karma is new to this, so we kept asking everybody to pet her and call her over. We specifically targeted families with children. Every single person who helped us received a wholehearted thank you from us for helping with Karma’s training. While we ate, Karma and Orso both held their down-stay very nicely. After our long lunch, we walked them back and forth through the strip mall, stopping at entrances to stores, so that Karma could become accustomed to shopping carts, strollers, balloons and anything else she might consider unusual. It took us an hour to walk from one end of the mall and back with them – and it is not that big of a mall – because everyone wanted to meet Orso and Karma. By the end of the outing, Karma had met approximately 50-60 new people, mostly children, and had been exposed to all kinds of scary noises. Orso, as we expected, was a saint and threw himself on the ground so kids could LITERALLY climb him, pet him, rub his belly, feed him kibble, etc. He is such a great role model for Karma! She had to have absorbed his reactions to the different situations; we really believe they learn from each other, so it was a blessing to have Orso with us! Below are a few photos from this outing. Thanks to every single person who trusted our dogs and helped us start Karma’s desensitization project!
We got home and decided that everyone deserved to play in the pool, including Karma, since they were so hot and had been such awesome dogs at lunch! Everyone had a great time in the pool and we worked a little on Karma’s pool skills. Below are a few video clips from pool time, enjoy, and no making fun of the overgrown shrubs (the landscaper has canceled 3 times due to rain)!
Then Karma napped on me on the sofa, see below!
Today (Sunday), we took Orso and Karma with us to George’s on Sunset in South Miami for brunch. The folks there had a table waiting for us! We went there Friday night for dinner and promised to return on Sunday with our dogs and they remembered! Karma behaved like an old pro! She was laying down the entire time and did not bother anyone. The seating there can be a little tight so we were concerned that she would “get in the way” while we were eating, but she did not at all! Yay, Karma! The best part was that George’s is known for its party scene, especially if it’s someone’s birthday. The table next to us was celebrating a birthday so the music was blaring, everyone was singing happy birthday AND the waiters came out with firecrackers!!! Karma was super chill the whole time! My sister, Yvette, also met us out there and was very impressed with how well they behave. After we ate, she met lots of people, including children, and was very calm about it all. Also, the restaurant is located on a busy road so there was a lot of road noise, yet she did not react at all to it, not even to the sound of motorcycles. So great to see her learning so quickly! Once again, we thanked everyone who trusted our dogs with their children and for helping us teach Karma to love everyone! Below are some photos from brunch, enjoy!
By the time we got home, Orso & Karma were exhausted! They barely made it past the front door! They did manage to find some energy to play with an empty cereal box I saved for them. They spent the rest of the day relaxing with Mouse & Luna. Their snoring could be heard for blocks! The humans of the house got some alone time later in the evening to recharge our “doggie batteries”!
Tonight’s class was interesting. Orso was a special guest at Karma’s class. Since he is still a puppy and is huge, the folks at Applause Your Paws like to invite him to the puppy classes so he can show the other owners that big dogs can be gentle too and show the puppies that they don’t have to be scared of a big dog. For me, it’s great because it gives me a chance to expose Orso to a room full of loose puppies that are safe and positively reinforce his ability to socialize with dogs outside his pack. AND I get to educate people about the Cane Corso breed and how kind they can be! As expected, Orso was a complete gentleman. He was very gentle with all the puppies – there were 6 in total – even though they were all jumping all over him like he was an amusement park ride. It was actually very cute. Despite being surrounded by all these puppies, Orso was well-behaved. I have to admit that I was frustrated with him because he kept coming out of his down-stay when the puppies would come over to play with him, but in all fairness, he was in a down-stay for an entire hour and it probably wasn’t very reasonable of me to expect him to lay there like a statue. He’s such a good boy that I forget that he, too, is still a puppy and is dying to romp around with all these other dogs. So, Orso, I apologize to you for getting testy when you kept standing up. You behaved a million times better in that situation than any other dog I know would have behaved! Good boy, Buckethead!!!
As for Karma, I should apologize to her too because I ended up ignoring her half the time while I was babysitting Orso. Amaris was super helpful and made sure that she participated in the class and worked on her social behavior and obedience. Thanks, Amaris! I did get to work with her for a little bit. It was funny because I was sitting on the floor with Orso on one side and Karma on the other, kibble in both my hands and giving commands to both of them at the same time! Next time, I am dragging someone along to help me!
Below is a very short video clip of the back of Orso’s head – he is on a down-stay – and all the puppies in the class scurrying around him, including Karma. Sorry there are no photos from tonight! I took my camera but it was impossible to take care of both dogs AND video AND photograph the class! Enjoy!
Back in May, Orso earned his IABCA National & International Champion titles. We have been patiently waiting to receive the Championship certificates, which thankfully arrived in today’s mail! Thanks, IABCA, for getting these out to us, but more importantly, thanks to our dear friend & highly-respected judge, Thomas Nesbitt, for lighting some fires for us! Below are the certificates that we are proud to share with all of Orso’s friends, enjoy!
August 15th marks Costa Bel Cane Corso’s 1st anniversary that we came home with Orso as a little puppy – not that he was ever very little – but, in fact, it has been exactly one year today. In this past year, I have learned so very much and have gained so much wisdom. I have made both great and awful decisions along the way, but the truth is that we wouldn’t change a thing!
Yesterday, I took 4 of our dogs – sorry, Cleo, you will be with us soon! – to my parents’ house for a beach day. We had a wonderful time as we always do! It was the first time since Karma came home to me that I took all 4 of them together. While the dogs played, I sat at the end of the dock with my camera. Armed with my mega-lens, I observed them from a distance; I can see almost the entire property from there. I love to watch them through the viewfinder of my camera and see what craziness I can capture! During this creative exercise, several things that I already knew were reaffirmed to me.
Regardless of age, gender, breed or where each came from – homeless shelter, rescue organization or fancy breeder – my dogs have a lot in common! I took 343 photos yesterday... Throughout those 343 photos – and the thousands I have taken before – there is a running theme of camaraderie among my dogs! They ALL love to run, play, swim, pounce, hunt, steal, beg and borrow. Each one loves attention – from me AND from each other – and work hard to get it! They all get bathed and dried assembly-line style and crash out in the Jeep on the way home! At home, they are inseparable and look for each other when one is separated from the pack. They make room for each other on the sofa and drink out of the same water bowl. They have no food aggression and for the most part share toys willingly. I am blessed to have a great fur-family and am privileged for every single day they are a part of my life! Their lives are regrettably short, which is why they pack such an immeasurable emotional punch when they leave us. For now, we bask in the awesome experiences we share with them and appreciate their subtle ability to teach us how to be better humans. Enjoy the photos below and the video at the end!
Tonight was Karma’s third class and it went very well! Everyone got to witness “Karma the Puppy Playtime Police” in action as she refereed the rough play among the other puppies. Dee from Applause Your Paws brought toys to tonight’s class and it was nice to see Karma playing tug with other puppies. We worked on some obedience, mostly reinforcing the commands she already knows, and having her perform the commands for the other owners in the class as opposed to only for us. She is also starting to learn hand signals to go with her verbal commands. The cutest part about tonight’s class was that Karma learned a new command: “BEG”! It is so cute to see her do it. She starts in a SIT and then you tell her to BEG and she comes up into a sitting up position and holds it for her treat! Below are a few of my favorite photos from tonight, enjoy!
Get higher, baby!
Get higher, baby!
And don’t ever come down!
Rang dang diggedy dang di-dang
Rang dang diggedy dang di-dang
Rang dang diggedy dang di-dang
Diggedy dang di-dang diggedy dang di-dang
Seeing these awesome photos of Cleo that Kathi Wisdom sent me this evening of Cleo on a 7 foot A-frame reminds me of the old Grandmaster Flash song “White Lines” from at least 20 years ago!
Clearly, plans for a new house will have to include an area full of obstacles and cool things that Cleo can climb! Otherwise, there’s gonna be some trouble in this house! Boredom = trouble!!!
Thanks, Kathi, for the awesome photos and for making Cleo in a super Corso! I know you say it’s all her and you just give her support, but I am sure it’s more than that! So very appreciated! Thanks, Yulia, for breeding a litter rich in excellent temperament!
Love you, Cleo, can’t wait to meet you!!!
Founder & Owner