Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nine and Counting!

We are up to nine pups now, six girls and three boys. We lost a lovely big male pup who got stuck. Skye did everything she could to get him out, as did I, but our efforts were in vain. It is always so sad to lose a healthy pup. Thankfully, it is very rare and the other nine pups cheer us immensely. Amanda and I figure that Dana needed one of these very special pups as one of her angels.

They are here!

I guess I should say, they are coming. Skye had her fist pup, a lovely little girl, at 4:25 AM before we woke up. Both Andy and I were up and moving within a minute. Since then, Skye has had three more girl and two boys, all vigorous. At first, Skye wasn't sure what was up but after that she has become a very good mom, cleaning her babies and the box. Stay tuned, more are on the way.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nothing Yet

For those of you wondering what is happening, don't worry, there isn't much happening. Skye let us sleep through the night though I was up regularly to check on her. She didn't sleep much but seemed to just be uncomfortable. No contractions, not much nesting, just hanging out. That's pretty much where we are today, too. She's doing some nesting but I think we are still hours away from pups. We'll let you know when they show up.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hmmm, MIght Be Tonight!

I was going to post a resounding post that confidently stated the pups would be born tonight. Skye's temperature was 98.6 this morning and then 97.3 (!) at noon. She had started that inward look that often accompanies labor. And then tonight she went out and "chased" the ball, climbing up and down the hill at a slow but steady pace. In fact, she was the only one that found a ball in the house so we could head out to have some fun. And she steadfastly refused to stay with me and instead, went out to find balls. Hmmmm, she didn't look like a girl about to deliver pups. Of course, she looked like a watermelon going up and down the hill (if you haven't been here, our hill is s-t-e-e-p!) but she was going.

So, I don't know where we are at but stay tuned, pups are coming. If not tonight, soon!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Puppy Watch Begins

Skye has reached the beginning of Puppy Watch, which means the pups can come at anytime now. We aren't able to pinpoint her delivery date as closely as we often can because we only did a little timing for the breeding. However, we've been over and over the breeding calendar, which captures Skye's behavior and vaginal cytology, as well as the behavior of the dogs around her. Even other girls can indicate the progression of a dam's cycle. I still think that Friday, October 30 is the earliest we will see pups but I was relieved that her temp was still high this morning since I have a very busy day today.

So, what do I mean by temperature? Well, a dam's basal temperature will drop below 99 and will stay there for at least 12 hours just prior to the pups' arrival. So, we have been taking Skye's temperature four times a day, ideally beginning at 7 and ending around 11 or midnight. I'll confess that I haven't been able to do both the early and late measurements but Andy is home so he'll be able to help from now on. I'm really glad he got his golf vacation in before the pups arrive :-).

Some dams have temps that stay relatively high until the 24 hours prior to the birth. That isn't Skye. She has been teasing us for days. On 10/21. her temp droped down to 97.6. Then it was back up over 100. Since she came here, Skye has had at least one temperature reading each day under 99. I think she just wants to make sure I'm paying attention!

At noon yesterday, she was at 98.6 but then last night it was back up to 99.8. This morning it is the same os no pups today. Whew!

Off to start the day! Keep thinking positive thoughts for Skye-girl!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

We're Getting Ready!

Skye's due date is rapidly approaching so I'm starting the blog for the "Southern" litter. We've chosen that theme to honor Dana Morris, Skye's first owner who died from ovarian cancer three years ago, and Lauran Mancuso, Skye's present owner. Dana was from Lexington, KY and was a true Steel Magnolia. Lauran is from Louisiana and is a true Southern. So the pups' registered names will either have the words South or Southern in them or will have to do with the American South.

Skye is looking pretty darn big at the moment and is waddling wherever she goes. She has an excellent appetite so far and is a happy a dog as we've seen. We've started spending time in the whelping box but I'll confess, Dreamer thinks it is more fun than Skye. Skye can't really figure why we are hanging out in this silly white box. Not to worry, she'll figure it out.

I wanted to get an idea of how many pups we have, either confirming or adding to the ultrasound results of 10 pups. Skye was also smelling kind of ripe after enjoying some good rolls in God knows what so I shaved her, scrubbed her down, bathed the rest of her and dried her. After dinner, she settled down for a nap and I poured a glass of wine. Using a Sweet Beats doppler (thanks, Charlie), I started the slow process of finding heartbeats on the pups. It took an hour but I found quite a few--we are somewhere between 11 and 13 pups, if my investigation was correct. It's always fun to see how well I did once the pups are here. Skye thought I was pretty crazy, marking big X's on her belly for each heartbeat. The X's make it much easier to check on the pups over the next few days. All the pups sound good, with heartbeats between 196 and 209 beats per second. Think "bdrdrdrdrdrdrdr."

Her temp is all over the place, ranging from 98.6 to 101 degrees over the past few days. However, the general trend is down so we know the process is starting. For those who didn't follow our last blog, we are looking for two temperatures below 99 degrees out of the four we take each day. That will indicate the pups should be born within the next 24 hours. I've estimated her due date as Oct 30 but we aren't sure. Only time will tell.

Well, it's time for all of us to hit the hay! Stay tuned, Southerners coming!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Endings

In 30 years of breeding, I've only had a handful of placements that didn't work out. My goal is always to match the right pup to the right owner so both can thrive. We put a huge amount of work into those matches, from the pups' development and socialization program to our obnoxiously long application to talking at length to prospective owners to our extensive testing and evaluation program. But despite all of that effort, sometimes things just don't work out as planned.

Such was the case with Miss Yellow from the 4th of July litter. Soon after she left, phone calls from her new owners were indicating that things weren't going as they should. So, after two and a half weeks, we called it quits and I went to work figuring out how to get her home, a trip of 2000 miles. Unfortunately, by that time, she was too big to fit back in the Sherpa and fly in the cabin. I even had two friends in Florida who were willing to fly her back to NY with them. There was just no way she would fit :-(.

Thankfully, Amanda was willing and able to make the trip. Miss Yellow was her favorite pup in the litter so she was only too glad to bring her home. Four days driving and Miss Yellow arrived back home. She was thrilled to be here, all of the dogs greeted her warmly and both Andy and I were relieved to have her safe with us.

I kept her for five days to reevaluate her before I decided what kind of home she would fit well in. After those few days, my initial opinion of her was reconfirmed and off she went to a competition home with my good friend, Maggie Lukiewicz. Maggie and I met when she got a dog from me in 1997. We've showed and trained together over the years and even co-founded Canine Health Events, Inc.

Maggie lost her 16-year old golden, McDuff on the same day that I found out Miss Yellow was coming back home. Although I thought Maggie would have a great time with the pup, I wanted to be sensitive to her recent loss so didn't mention my idea to her. However, when Maggie called suggesting that she foster Miss Yellow, I leaped at the chance. After spending a week with Miss Yellow, I knew it was a great match.

So, Miss Yellow is now Flaire, Gaylan's Rockets Red Glare. She went to Maggie on Saturday and on Sunday they ran in the Southern Berkshire Golden Retriever Club Club Field Trial. Despite her delayed start, 3-month old Flaire took 2nd place out of four 3-6 month old puppies, behind the oldest pup in the competition, a 5-month old. She retrieved chukar, pheasant and even a duck although she thought Connecticut water was much colder than Florida's.

Since the weekend, Maggie's other dog, Scorch has fallen in love with the little girl and she has settled in easily at Maggie's. They have already started training in agility and obedience, in addition to field. We all have high hopes for this little dynamo.

Sometimes, things are just meant to be.