Tis that time of year (again) when the streets have their Christmas decorations and lights up; the local Santa Claus parades or the Parade of Lights’ have been held, the nights are cooler and most furnaces are running day and night. Local food drives and telethons are in high gear and the Christmassy things have been in the store since early November. Snow has fallen several times, ponds are freezing over, and the local Canada Geese left for warmer climes in early November, with just a few late flights flying over afterwards. Once daylight saving ended at the end of October, it gets dark earlier and earlier in the afternoons now.

We have had a busy year and made some big strides in some things, and hope that you had a successful year. We like to hear how pups of our breeding have developed and what they are doing, and some people send us pictures and updates several times a year. …whether it’s success in a training class, a picture of the pup enjoying a swim in a lake or pool, or even what trouble they have got into.

We started the year with new pups, born in January – all went to their new homes in early March, except the one female Golden that Ivan kept, and a black female Lab pup that I kept. Several went to repeat customers and it was great to see them again and hear about their previous dogs from us. We have also had people drop in when in this area camping, holidaying, or for hockey tournaments, and enjoy seeing how the pups have turned out.

In February I had “in office” eye surgery in Sudbury which was apparently successful – more as a precaution than a problem at the time. I haven’t noticed any changes or anything, but the local optometrist checked and said everything went well.

In late April I judged obedience trials at Pembroke, Ont, for the Champlain KC, - a return visit to the club, and while it was an early drive down in the morning, and back after judging as Ivan had left for Newmarket the previous day and had hip replacement surgery, it worked out well. Just before he left, a neighbour who does house construction arrived – and in a short time converted what had been - at various times - the old summer kitchen, briefly my den, then a puppy room, and finally a storage/laundry room, into a convenient small bathroom and laundry room off the kitchen. Handy when visitors come or people come for puppies after driving 3-6 hours to get here.

Post surgery, Ivan stayed with friends in town who had everything on one floor, until he could manage the stairs here – and drive again. I missed going to the Soo shows/trials in late May to judge their trials, but did get to Cambridge to judge their tracking tests at the end of May – drove down early one day, ploted tracks, stayed over, judged the next morning, and back home……so only away one night and Ivan came back to be here.

Our summer was weird – hot and humid one day, cool and rain the next…rarely two days in a row of nice weather….so training was really hit and miss for all types of work. We did get out and do some field training basics and some tracking, but not as much as we would normally do. The vegetable garden produced well from the “root” type, but many above ground plants such as tomatoes had a very poor year. We have potatoes, and enjoyed asparagus, rhubarb, a few beans, and lettuce. Ivan got a bushel of carrot “seconds” for the dogs and goats and they all enjoyed chomping on them. The red currant bushes were profuse in berries but the goats and birds managed to get them all.

Ivan spent a lot of time ensuring that we had enough quality hay for the cattle and goats, and were lucky to have it delivered and stored up on the hill for us. The cattle have done well in site of the weather, although they regularly tested the electric fencing when Ivan wasn’t here – and even after neighbours and I spent a whole day fencing. This fall Ivan and a neighbour spent a week working on the back fencing with a “fencepost pounding machine” that drove the cedar posts into the ground – but of course some posts hit rocks or bits of “Canadian shield” and either split or went crooked. End result – the cattle have a strong electric fence on well set cedar posts rather than the T-bars and small intermediate posts we have used for years.

We had several litters during the year – 2 Golden Retriever litters of Ivan’s – in January and October; Labrador litters, and Border Terrier litters. Pups from the litters have gone coast to coast this year – Vancouver Island, Kamloops, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Halifax, as well as across all parts of Ontario – many to repeat customers….including one who now has their 5th dog (all Labradors), but now has a female after 4 males.

Ivan spent much of the hunting seasons at the hunt camp, but total “haul” was one four point buck. …and came home with a cold that he gave me! They saw moose after moose season was finished, and had deer right by the door to the cabin, and saw lots of tracks….but one can’t eat tracks.

Judging has taken me to many places – all within driving distance this year: Cambridge, Ottawa, Sudbury, and Sherbooke, PQ, for Tracking Tests; Sudbury, Pembroke, and Cornwall for obedience and rally judging. My last assignment was Dec 9-10 at Sudbury where they have 6 trials in the weekend. Entries come from all over Ontario for the trials and on the Saturday the “dress” is pyjamas, and on Sunday “Christmas sweaters”….for exhibitors as well as judges. The ring stewards are also dressed as “elves”…. Because it is the lasat trials of the year, there are often dogs there that are competing for “top dog” in their breed, group, or all breeds for obedience for the year. This year was no different with 5 dogs sharing the High In Trial awards.

Our local training club had a `mid winter lunch in early February` for people who regularly train with us, and it was great to see people again after a couple of "no dog things" for several months. We also hosted tracking trials in late May, late September, and early November; had the obedience and rally trials on the Saturday afternoon of the tracking tests as most people involved in both were already here and it saved driving, motels, etc if we had held them on a different weekend. The Retriever tests tried a different date – running on the first w/e in September, but had a poor entry….and as one judge was unable to come, I ended up judging rather than running dogs. In October our local CKC Director asked me to take over as the tracking Rep for northern Ontario, and I will be doing this for the next 3 years.

While there were only a few weekends that I was away competing at shows and trials, we had several dogs complete titles: Huck )Ch Wimberway’s Huckamuck WC RN RI) earned 2 legs towards his RA title; Riggs (Wimberway’s Outrigger), earned his RN title and legs towards his RI; Otter Ch Wimberway’s Otter Do It WC,), completed her Championship; Lucky (Ch Wimberway’s N Lucky Seven TD TDX UTD WC RN RI) also completed his Championship; Peachy, a young yellow female had her first w/e at the local shows in October and took a 4 point win towards her Championship. With their owners: Dakota (OTCh Wimberway’s Dakota), black male, completed his UD and OTCh titles; Ollie (Wimberway’s Olfactory Wizard RA, TDX UTD), completed his RE title; Lexie, (Ch Wimberway’s Bdr Queen Boudicea RA), Border Terrier, completed her Championship and her Rally Advanced title; Rockford, (Wimberway’s Lively Rockford, yellow male) had a busy year with his owner Carol Fletcher of Sudbury, earning his RA, RE, TD, and CD titles; Flo (Wimberways Golden Flame), (Golden), completed her RI title, and her litter sister Aer (Wimberways Golden F’aer) earned many agility titles as well as her CD.. Huck, Lucky and Hope (Ch Wimberway’s Vibrance WC TD – Lucky’s dam) all qualified for their Versatility Certificates from the Labrador Owners Club this year. Our thanks to the owners who put the time and effort into their dogs and trialled them.

In July we hosted the annual eye clinic (for dogs) here with Dr Nick Whelan, and also had Dr Michael O”Grady come the same day, and run a heart clinic. Both clinics were well attended with people coming from Timmins, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury, as well as points east and south. We had all shapes and sizes of dogs from Irish Wolfhound, to the Border Terriers, German Shepherds, Belgian Shepherds, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Australian Shepherds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Whippets, Shetland Sheepdogs, Boxers, and Bernese Mountain Dogs. Both Vets were kept busy – Nick in the ‘blacked out’ shed doing the eye checks, and Mike in the back porch of the house doing the heart checks. We really appreciate these specialists coming for the day and doing the clinics. Many breeds have to be rechecked annually or several times through their lives, and there are no specialists north of the Toronto area.

The newest addition for the menagerie has been Pepi. Someone found a couple of wild turkey eggs, took them home and hatched them. Pepi came from one of the eggs and grew into a large male turkey…..when the owner died, Pepi was 5 years old and tame, but needed a new home. He came here and likes to follow you around like a dog and be petted. The swans nested in the spring, hatched two cygnets, but unfortunately one only survived a few days and the other was accidentally trampled by the goats when they rushed through some high grass where the baby was feeding. We are told that the first ten days are critical for cygnets and hope the swans do better next year – this was their first hatching.

During the year we lost two of our older Labradors – both unexpectedly. Rocky (Ch, TCh Wimberway’s Helzapopin CD WC RE) crossed the rainbow bridge in May, and then Ruckus (Wimberway’s Ruckus) passed in the fall. Our oldest residents are now Border Terriers, including Wok (Ch Wimberway’s Border Top Secret AgI, AgIJ, TD, TDX) who is a permanent “couch potato” now, almost 12, sleeps on my bed, and travels most places with me, riding on the console on the front seat of the truck where she has a dog bed. Left at home when I am away judging, , Ivan says she sulks and sometimes won’t eat, but when travelling, enjoys bits of muffins, hamburgers, french fries, chicken nuggets, or whatever I stop for while driving.

The CKC requires dogs to be ID’d for registration purposes and ever since we started breeding we have done an ear or flank tattoo. Each breeder has their own 2-3 digit “code” , and the pup’s individual number and the year letter follow. We tried microchipping this year as an extra means of ID, and while it is quick and easy, unless one has a scanner, the ID information isn’t readily available. A tattoo is visible and unless it fades, can be read for the life of the dog. This summer at the eye/heart clinics we had one dog that we couldn’t find his microchip at first – took three of us with 3 scanners to find that it had moved from the preferred location. We know that some chips migrate and can be hard to find.

During the year have managed to get to most of the monthly meetings of the Powassan genealogy group that meet at the library, and have continued trying to fill in gaps in my family tree, as well as working on a couple for other people. In places I am back to the 1600’s, but other places “stuck” on names from the 1800’s. Dog pedigrees are SO much easier to trace, and many breeds have huge pedigree data bases on the web which can be used to garner information. Failing that, just an enquiry to the breed groups and someone will usually have the info you want/need.

Many Friday evenings I have gone to the Callander Legion with a friend for supper. Ivan, a neighbour, and friends also come when possible. The menu varies from pork schnitzel, roast beef, and roast chicken with mashed potato and vegetable and gravy, to fish and chips, all with a slice of bread and butter and a small dessert, plus all the tea or coffee you want. Served each week at 5.30pm, there are many “regulars” there, and the Legion has the hall decorated for the season. After supper there is some live music from local groups, but we usually have to get home for any number of reasons. While waiting for supper, there are meat draws and we have been lucky to win several during the year – getting a mixed box of beef, pork, and chicken. Money from the meat draws goes to local community services. While some nights have not been well attended with under 100 people there, other nights see 200-250 people there. The Legion also hosts special dinners/parties, and a couple of times during the year serves steak for supper. They give large servings and one goes home well satisfied.

Our last litter for the year is due at Christmas – a Border Terrier litter, and we have a waiting list for pups from it. Labrador pups born in October are on their way to their new homes – some already gone to Thunder Bay, New York, southern Ontario, and Timmins – all repeat customers, and some still to go…..We have dogs booked in to board over Christmas, so will be busy…..We took back two young Border Terriers that have been in a home that we got back in November as the owner could no longer look after them, and they are both looking for new homes.

With best wishes from our house to yours
for a joyous, healthy, peaceful holiday season.

Sandy & Ivan,
Wimberway Reg`d., RR 4, Powassan, Ont. P0H1Z0.

(L)The new downstairs bathroom…. (R)Litter of Labrador pups born in the spring….

(L)The swans with their cygnets when a day or two old....(R)Some of the cattle enjoying the spring sun…..

(L)One of the goat kids born early in the spring....(R)One of the hanging baskets we had hanging in the trees by the driveway.

(L) Border Terrier litter in the spring…. (R)Dusk – and the cattle come to see what’s happening by the house…..
(L)Falls colours along the road (R)Fall sunset