Archive for the ‘awesome’ Category

Cover Girl Nina!

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Look who’s the cover girl on the AKC Dog Agility Community Facebook page today!


Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

When you have a newborn litter, the days seem much the same, you don’t have to do much except make sure the dam is looked after, keep the whelping box clean, and handle, weigh and monitor the puppies. With this litter we had to do a bit more because Popcorn (now Cora) was struggling at bit at first, but overall, they grow, they eat, they crawl around. And then, all of a sudden, their eyes are open, then they’re walking, then they’re moving to the big pen, they’re learning things, and now, somehow, we’re almost at the point where they’ll start leaving to go to their new homes and now….now we have to figure out how to let them go. I love this litter so, so much, they are exactly what I was hoping to get from this cross so far. And while I am SO looking forward to following their adventures out in the world, I am also going to cry….a lot…as they leave me.

Today we took them all to the vet (where I work) for their first doctor exam, microchipping (we use a local anesthetic so they don’t mind that big needle), and since Cora is scheduled to leave on Saturday, she got her first distemper/parvovirus vaccination. The others will get theirs next week.

Cora getting her checkup (with a snack) from Dr Julie.

Everybody was healthy! No heart murmurs, everybody who should have testicles has two, and nobody who shouldn’t have testicles has any. Bites were good. And they really did very, very well. They played, nobody was really worried about being up on the exam table, nobody cared about their local anesthetic injection OR their microchip. Cora was very brave with her vaccination and didn’t even notice it. They wrestled and played in the exam room and then played tag up and down the hallway with the staff.

Licensed Veterinary Technician Simone and Chex

There are many reasons I love working where I do. We have an awesome staff who are dedicated to making sure pets have a good experience at the vet, we’re a certified Fear Free clinic and we work hard to make the vet fun if possible! I love the doctors and staff I work with and seeing how they all interacted with the puppies was awesome. We have Adaptil diffusers in every dog examination room, we play music specifically intended to help dogs feel calm and comfortable, we use food and low stress handling techniques, but even so, I was very happy with how the puppies did! They played, they ate, they wagged and barked and socialized!

Simone and puppies

Simone getting the bities from Alfie (formerly Orson):

“Sorry Jan, she knows how to bark!” (Cora, wearing the blue collar):

Veterinary Assistant Jason had LIVER….they liked liver AND Jason


7 Weeks Old (and thereabouts)

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

SO MANY THINGS happened this week! The puppies took their first ride in the car (to visit my work, since they’ll be getting their microchips next week, I wanted their first visit to a vet clinic to be all fun), they started eating meals in crates, many different enrichment things, they’ve been going out onto the deck…

We played with paper and an apple at Amanda’s work!

The cool kids are outside!

Puppies vs Egg

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

Yesterday three of Jim’s graduate students came to visit the puppies. We had them sit on the floor in the living room and let the puppies have to come out of the pen to greet them. I realized that most of the socializing has been taking place with the puppies IN the pen, so we wanted to change things up. No worries, they were thrilled to meet new people and find new fingers to bite and hair to eat!

They are getting fitter and their stamina is increasing. Just a few days ago a jaunt outside the pen for zoomies would tucker them out in just a few minutes. Now they need several real world zoomie adventures a day before they’re tired.

They’re real little dogs now. They’re looking quite pudgy so I expect they’re gearing up to grow some more.

I’m feeding them a variety of things, and so far they love everything. They’ve become excellent eaters as Vallhunds usually are, and clean their plate in record time. They’re eating Primal raw (a variety of protein types), kibble, canned food, various chewies, and people food (they’ve tried popcorn, cheese, baby food, various meats, and eggs). I will start feeding them in crates in the next few days. They now have a treat ball filled with kibble in the pen, and they’re gradually learning how to make it dispense the food.

One of our favorite enrichment activities with puppies (we got the idea from my dear friend and mentor Ulla Gamberg at Vastgota Swedish Vallhunds) is giving them a hard boiled egg to figure out.

Ironically, even though this litter took forever to start eating, they made very short work of the egg and figured out it was food immediately (past litters took a while). This morning’s zoomies and the egg tired them out (for now).

So here, without further ado, our magnum opus: Puppies vs Egg. (Spoiler alert, the puppies win, the egg was harmed….oh my….).

Tamarack Lake AKC Agility Trial

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

Nina and I have been off since the end of September (basically she got her MACH on a Saturday, another double Q on that Sunday, and then we were off for puppies). But since we’re going to the Invitational in December, which is getting extremely close, we really need to start getting back into practice. Since the puppies are still nursing a lot, I scratched Zhora, but still ran Nina. I crated out of my car and only took her into the building to warm up and run, to hopefully minimize exposure to other dogs as much as possible.

Nina was AMAZING! Over the course of her career, she’s had some periods where she hasn’t had three double Q’s in a YEAR, and she came back after 12 weeks of and DOUBLE Q’D! That’s three IN A ROW, she’s never done that. 10 year old Nina was so excited to be back she couldn’t stop bouncing up and down and barking. When we went to Sue’s on Wednesday just to at least try and remind ourselves how to play agility, she was so happy she zoomed!

This was our first time showing under judge Bob Jeffers, and I hope it won’t be our last. His courses were challenging but very fun, they ran better than they walked, and Nina double Q’d! So NO complaints!

Jumpers With Weaves (Q, third place, 4.9 YPS, 20 points, the top 3 dogs were all within half a second of each other):

Standard (Q, second place, 4.06 YPS, less than 1/10th of a second behind the first place dog):


30 Days Old – More Visitors!

Saturday, October 21st, 2017


Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who’s been coming to visit, we’re averaging at least one new visitor per day just now and this is exactly what we want!

Today the puppies met 6 year old Abigail (they already know her mum Caroline), and her grandma Sharon, who kindly brought her cane and wheelchair so they got to see those too!

Mum Zhora came in to provide refreshments

LOVE this quote

Friday, October 20th, 2017

“Breeding is an important by-product of the wider interest in ones breed and some kind of dog hobby/work, not the main aim.” (from “Brainless” on the forum. “Brainless”….ain’t)

Something HUGE Just Happened!

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Orson just actually PLAYED with me! He raised his little paw up and then kinda-sorta POUNCED on my hand! They are very interactive with us now, tails wagging, growling, coming over to sniff and lick our faces!

I was woken up by a crying puppy this morning, he was having a difficult time pooping. They’re a little constipated (which isn’t unusual, adult dogs almost never get truly constipated, but baby puppies sure can, especially while nursing, and it can be quite serious if left untreated). So I gave everyone a dose of milk of magnesia, and will keep doing that every 4 hours or so until they have a touch of diarrhea, that’s how you know you’re done according to  the puppy experts.

We are offering them food three times a day. They’re interested to varying degrees (Popcorn, Orson and Ruffles the most), but they’re all eating at least a little bit.

212 GRAMS!

Monday, September 25th, 2017

Little Popcorn broke 200 grams with a BULLET this afternoon!!! WOOHOO!

I won’t say she’s out of the woods but what a huge milestone for her!

Day 63 – Welcome To The World!

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

This is why you do this though. Happy mom, happy puppies. Everybody back home and safe.

Whelping puppies is about my least favorite thing about breeding dogs, it’s stressful as hell. And anyone who tells you that they love whelping likely simply hasn’t bred much or has had extremely good luck. It’s true that 90% of the time everything goes well, but when it doesn’t, you’d rather be doing anything else. You feel horribly responsible (because you are), and it’s a weighty burden.

So as you know Bob, if you read this blog, Zhora started with stage 1 labor yesterday. All fine. Our friend Nicole came over to be a newbie whelper helper (this was a heck of a litter for THAT as it turned out).

Zhora gradually progressed as the afternoon wore on, and started strong contractions and pushing in the evening. Administered injectable calcium per our repro vet (the amazing Dr Claudia Gray at Alliance Animal Hospital). All according to plan. First puppy just wasn’t coming. Eventually I pushed back Zhora’s vulva a bit (this is the glamour of dog breeding) and saw a foot. I was pretty sure it was a back foot (which is fine, about 40% of puppies are born tail first, the main things to be concerned about is that the puppy is in a “diving” position (legs extended, facing down), and not with its legs tucked under or on its back). But I could only find one foot and I was worried the puppy’s other back leg was tucked under, so I “wheelbarrowed” Zhora (walked her around with her back legs in the air to let the puppy slip back up a ways and hopefully reposition a bit). I also called Dr Gray in there somewhere to make sure this sounded OK to her (in literally the middle of the night). Then as the puppy started to work its way out (or rather as Zhora started to work her out), I grabbed the back feet with a facecloth and just gently pulled down with her contractions (you almost never want to just pull it out, you can really hurt the bitch or the puppy, the main thing is to stop the puppy getting sucked back in between contractions so the bitch can gain ground with each contraction). After that, the puppy came out reasonably easily. She had a lot of mucus and I suctioned her well with my Delee catheter. After she was out Zhora was like my friend Lynn’s proverbial “salad shooter”, and the next three puppies (all males) came in quite quick succession.

And then nothing but occasional hard contractions. For four hours. That’s the maximum time my vet wanted to see between puppies if there were contractions. So I called again. I could feel the one remaining puppy still quite high up. Dr Gray walked me through a few things to try (small doses of oxytocin IM, “feathering”, etc.), nothing worked. I called back, she said she’d meet me at the clinic.

Once there, we started Zhora on IV (she was quite tired by then), did a quick ultrasound to be sure the puppy was still alive (it was, and with a good heart rate), and tried a few medical interventions (more calcium, more oxytocin, poor Dr Gray getting covered with poop trying to manually get the puppy out). Nothing worked. We checked the puppy again and its heart rate was dropping so we decided we needed to go to section and that there wasn’t much time.

Well thank goodness for well-educated, well-prepared and knowledgeable people!  Zhora was pre-oxygenated by mask (she didn’t like that), and then anesthetized and whisked into surgery. I was invited in to watch. Dr Gray got the puppy out and handed her to Renee, her tech, who pulled out ALL the stops. She had a warming mat and warm air blower running, she used epinephrine and dopram to stimulate breathing, she used the acupuncture needle spot on the front of the muzzle, she used subcutaneous fluids, and she suctioned and rubbed and pinched and pissed that puppy off until she woke up and got breathing well. It sounds mean, but when a puppy is first getting breathing it’s very hard work for the puppy and especially if they’ve had some anesthesia in a section they can be quite slow to get going. But they will die if they don’t breathe, obviously, so you want to make them ANGRY and squealing. That’s a sign they’re breathing well enough. We made sure she got to nurse from Zhora alone so she got some colostrum.

We then sat with Zhora (who was up and around, admittedly like a drunk arguing a DWI), let everybody nurse one more time, and then headed back home. Over 24 hours without sleep and a gallon of stress. But so far, so good.

Zhora shortly after waking up from her c-section, nursing puppies outside the operating room. Note the artistic tail-brush painting on the wall behind her in blood (normal post-whelp discharge) and poop. It’s a glamorous business!

What Dr Gray thinks happened is that a placenta was left behind and it blocked the puppy’s exit. Her sack had broken so she was dry, so that combination of physical blockade and lack of lubrication meant she just couldn’t get out.

Finally she lay down to sleep (after I made her). If you look closely, you can see a puppy lying ON her back foot to nurse.

I decided to use the makeup sponge method to top up the c-section girl as she had a rough start. I will probably hand feed a meal every day to everyone, I’ve done this in the past at my friend Diane’s suggestion, since it helps with associating people with good things early on. I made a batch of Myra’s puppy formula last weekend and I am glad I did!