Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving...a little late!

I just posted the photos and videos from the last few days. I'm sorry I haven't been on the blog but I've been very busy with work and puppies. No time for anything else these days. I've grabbed pictures and videos when I can so you can at least visit in cyberspace. I promise I'll have more time after Wednesday...I promise.

Let's see, what has happened with the pups? They are enjoing their new pen and all the fun toys and stuff to do. They are getting started on housebreaking, using the pans about 60% of the time. They come out to play in the kitchen a couple of times a day where they explore and play with the big dogs.

I started feeding them solid food today since they had stopped gaining weight and Skye was less interested in nursing than I'd like. So, they had raw ground beef and beef heart for lunch. They thought that was pretty amazing and licked the bowls clean.

Dinner was Bravo beef blend with supplements and grain. Peas didn't go over well wiht this crew but they ate around them :-). They have started gaining weight again so all is well.

What else? Well, Jack and Sue Belicka found out that Brass is prcd-PRA clear so that means the pups are clear, since we already knew Skye was. That's a nice thing for me because it means I don't have to put in microchips and draw blood next week. I know it has to be done sometimes but they are so little, that I'd much rather wait till they are older before sticking them.

Hopefully, the weather will be warm enough this week to get the pups outside. No doubt they will love that! Photos and video will be posted!

OK, time to go back to work. Enjoy the photos and videos.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Digs

I'm pretty beat so this won't be long but there are lots of new photos and videos up on the site. The pups moved downstairs to the puppy pen yesterday. Well, it's a small version of the pen until they get their sea legs and figure out the potty area. As they grow, we'll expand the room they have and the stuff they get to do it in. Skye can get in and out during the day but spends her nights with the pups. Everyone seems quite content.



Monday, November 23, 2009

Catching Up

We made it through the weekend! This was the second Canine Reproduction Workshop that I've hosted for Dr Mary Stankovicz and Debbie Leach. We had 20+ dog breeders here over the weekend, complete with stud dogs and brood bitches. It was wonderful to have Gaylan's family members, Pam Martin and Jill Brown, down from Canada, as well as Newfie, curly-coated retriever, Rhodesian ridgeback, English cocker and many golden retriever breeders with us. We learned a lot about how to be more successful breeding our dogs.

Although the weekend was about puppies, the actual Southern Pups didn't feature prominantly. Not to worry, they were by no means overlooked. Througout the day, Amanda kept tabs on Skye and the babies. Then, each evening, after a long day teaching, working and learning, a bunch of us gathered with the pups and bottles of wine. The pups got cuddled, tickled, kissed, and hugged by many, many "aunts" (not many guys come to these workshops). Everybody had their favorite so the pups each got lots of one-on-one time with someone. It was a great way to end each day.

Tomorrow is a big day for the babies because they are moving downstairs. They have become quite active and coordinated so we are going to move them into the center of the house where they will get lots of stimulation and Skye will be in the center of the action, her favorite place to be. This will begin the pups housebreaking, since we will set up a large litter area in the puppy pen. They will also get introduced to things to climb on, crawl into and sleep under. It's an exciting time for them. Amanda and I will definitely take some photos and videos tomorrow.

The ones who felt the most ignored were Corey, Una and Dreamer. Dreamer finally got to feeling better as of yesterday. I'm assuming it was a spider that bit her and it got her good. The swelling of her ear flaps finally resided last night and she ate her first regular-sized meal this morning. Dreamer and Una decided to have some fun with Amanda this afternoon by *presto-chango* turning into chocolate Labs.

BTW, for those who were wondering, Gaylan is back from Tennessee. She goes to see Dr Jim on Friday for an evaluation and then we'll decide where she is going. Marcy and Jim were wonderful to go pick her up from Karen Langer. Hopefully, she'll be cured quickly and will head off to learn how to hunt.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dog Days

There are some days that I wish that pups were the only exciting thing in my life but that isn't often the case. Not to worry, the pups are doing well. They see (sort of) and hear (even less sort of) and walk. They interact with toys, kind of, and love their mom and the other dogs. They play with each other...some and sleep...a lot.

So the pups are the high point these days. Work has been pretty rough and then last night, I walked over to get some dinner to find Dreamer looking like a Shar Pei. Her head was swollen twice its normal size, her eyes were almost swollen shut, her lips and ears were about an inch think. Darn! I had to work last night so I crammed her full of Benadryl and prednisone and then took her to the office with me in case she ran into problems. Thankfully, the night passed easily and by this morning, her head was nearly back to normal.

Unfortunately, midafternoon she took a turn for the worse, vomiting and starting to swell again. I decided to take her to Dr Jim so we wouldn't have a crisis this weekend. A little Cerenia and Benadryl and she looks like she is on the mend.

In the meantime, Marcy and Jim Burke are in Tennessee picking up Gaylan for me. We donated Gaylan as a breeder to Retrieving Independence, a new service dog organization. Unfortunately, after two snake bites, it appears that Gaylan has demodectic mange so she is on her way home. This is only our second case ever of demodex but it happens. Since I was at Dr Jim's this afternoon, I could pick up medication for her so it looks like we can get her treated in six weeks.

I was excited to learn that Promeris has been approved as a treatment for demodex it makes it much easier on dog and owner than daily Ivomec. She'll be home on Sunday and will get started on treatment and evaluation so we can make some decisions on her future.

So, the puppies are the high point these days. I am looking forward to seeing Pam Martin (Gambling Dice) and Jill Brown (Comedy Punch) who are traveling down from Canada for the reproduction seminar this weekend. Chris Marinelli (Fire Tux) is also stopping by tomorrow. A few more Gaylan's folks will also be joining us, as well as some wonderful breeders of other breeds. Should be an interesting time!

So, I've posted lots of puppy video and some photos. Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanks, Carrie

I am working 24/7 for the next few days finishing a project for work and getting ready for the repro workshop this weekend so tonight you get to see Carrie Neyland's video of the pups.

Carrie came up from New Orleans on Saturday so she could meet me, Skye, her relatives and the pups. Carrie spent Saturday night with Stephanie Schmitter and her family (Thanks, Stephanie!!), including Pilot, Skye's brother. Steph and Carrie headed off to the agility trial at Dream Park to watch some runs and visit with some other Gaylan's dogs.

Carrie arrived here on Sunday, while I was working madly so she did a lovely job occupying herself with puppies and dogs. Andy and I so enjoyed meeting her.

Without further ado, here are the Southerners from today, brought to you by Carrie!

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Monday, November 16, 2009

What Changes!

I haven't posted in a few days and during that time, the pups have "woken up." They are now seeing pretty well and starting to hear. They are walking, playing with each other and engaging with toys. They now bark, chortle, purr and scream bloody murder when they aren't happy.

We finished the Biosensor exercises today. With their improving senses, there is no need to put additional stress on them through the exercises. They will now stress themselves just by interacting with their environment. Their last two scents were a goose wing and a duck; both were VERY interesting.

Dreamer and Corey are regulars in the whelping box. Corey is a diligent cleaner and has even settled in to "nurse" on occasion. Dreamer is eager for the pups to start playing but isn't interested in any of the hard, dirty work. Skye is watchful but very tolerant. Una is disinterested.

Skye is gleefully participating in all of the woods walks now. She's getting bored with nursery duties so we may move the pups downstairs a little earlier so Skye doesn't have to be off by herself.

Lots of new photos and videos are posted. Check out the pups playing with each other and their toys.


Friday, November 13, 2009

The Aunties

I've mentioned Dreamer and her passion for the pups in many of my posts but she isn't the only doting aunt. Her mother, Corey is the Main Mom in this house. She loves all puppies, firmly believes that cleanliness is next to Dogliness, and adopts any and all pups. However, Corey has also been a mother herself so she is more respectful of maternal concerns than Dreamer is. Well, until tonight.

Skye was off chewing on a bone when I came in to clean up, weigh and cuddle with puppies tonight. Apparently Corey thought the pups weren't clean enough so she went to town, scrubbing each puppy until they were spotless. Skye came in at one point but decided that Corey had things well in hand so went back to her bone. Eventually, she returned to her kids only to find Corey still in the box. Corey ignored her, finished cleaning the pup she was working on before casually strolling away. Skye appears a bit confused in the video but she tolerates Corey's care. Dogs are just so interesting.

Dreamer is in the box more and more but we are all watching her closely so she doesn't step on anyone in her enthusiasm. Una is interested in the pups but sees no reason why their mom can't take care of them.

I was able to get some video of the pups walking today, as well as their eyes. They are looking more and more like little golden retrievers. Enjoy!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Up On All Fours

I couldn't get any photos of the pups walking but they are indeed tottering around on all fours as of today. All eyes are open, though some more than others. They now get very excited when Skye enters the whelping box, crying and milling around. This can be a time that dams get concerned about handling their pups. The pups start getting very active and careful dams are worried about lying on them so they circle and circle, trying to find a place to lie down. So far, Skye has taken all the activity in stride and has had no problem getting in a out.

Not much else happening here outside of eating and sleeping. The pups got to smell pigeon today. Yum! Skye is now walking with the other dogs on their morning woods walks with Amanda. She is thrilled with that but definitely has to get back in shape. She actually had to lie down and rest while making her way back up the hill. Not to worry, six more weeks of woods walks and she'll have her girlish figure back again.

New photos and videos are posted.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nose...and Eyes!

Puppy development is a good indication of the priority of dogs' senses: nose, eyes, ears. The pups have been able to smell well since the instant they were born. Their noses, dogs' primary sense, have enabled them to stay alive by helping them find their mom and figure out where the milk is.

Now the pups' eyes are begining to open. It is always such an exciting time when we get a peak at the little eyes as they gradually appear. Over the next few days, they will open fully but it will be weeks before they can see well. Their ears are also gradually opening but it will be another week or so before they can hear.

In the meantime, the pups are receiving lots of visitors. Today, Charlie and Lauran Mancuso arrived early for a visit with Skye and the babies. Skye loves it when they come, squinting her pleasure at seeing them. While Charlie and Lauran spent an hour petting Skye and loving the babies, I trimmed toe nails, weighed the pups and did their Biosensor exercises. After Charlie and Lauran headed back to Pennsylvania, Amanda, Jimmy and 8-year old little Jimmy came to pet Skye and love the pups. Then, tonight, Jack and Sue Belicka, Brass's owners came to visit for the first time. They had a great time with the pups and I got to visit with Brass (and 14-year old Red).

We also collected DNA from Brass for the prcd-PRA test (progressive rod-cone degeneration progressive retinal atrophy). We'll know in a few weeks if Brass is clear or a carrier. prcd-PRA is a newly discovered disease in golden retrievers, primarily in field lines. It causes blindness in midlife so our goal is to not produce any effected dogs. Luckily, this form of golden PRA is genetically similar to the disease found in other breeds so we were able to piggyback off of their research efforts. Doing simply DNA tests, we can determine if dogs carry two, one or none of the genes for this eye disease. Skye has already been tested and is clear so even if Brass is a carrier, none of the pups will be effected.

The pups have been enjoying their scent items recently. We used grouse wings two days ago and three of the pups actually grabbed the wings. Wow! Then yesterday, we used a chrysanthemum blossom. The pups literally buried their noses in the flower and breathed deeply. It was a hoot. This morning was a dirt day. This was clearly not as exciting as grouse or flowers, they sniffed and moved on. Oh well, we don't always pick well.

We have two-pound pups so they are eating well. Most of us are sleeping much better these days. Poor Skye still has to pull night duty but she still seems to be enjoying most of it, particulary with visitors who will tell her how wonderful she and her babies are.

Time to hit the hay! New photos and videos posted under Week 2. Enjoy!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Week Old

Well, the Southerners are a week old and growing by leaps and bounds. Their lives are filled with sleeping and eating, with the occasional disruption from me--trimming toenails, doing Biosensor, giving them really cool things to sniff, and putting them in that cold pan. Oh, and their mom cleans them all the time. Now even their doggie aunties are in the cleaning mode, too, so these pups are spotless. Dreamer was allowed in the whelping box yesterday and she was beside herself with excitement. Thus far, she has avoided stepping on a puppy but she definitely keeps Skye on her toes.

The pups are having more and more visitors. Today it was Auntie Sue who came for a nice visit with lots of hugs and kisses. While she was here, we changed collars since they'd grown so much since last week.

New photos and a video are up. Their eyes open this week so we'll be stopping flash photography for a few days. We'll try to get some photos in the dark though.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Bobbi Jean, Peggy Sue and Friends

I know you've been waiting for more photos and updates. Not to worry, all is well with the pups and Skye. I've just been working my tail off on other things but I know that isn't a good excuse :-).

So what is new? Lilac is now Bobbi Jean. Rainbow now has two names, Peggy Sue. They and the rest of the crew are growing like proverbial weeds. Check out the photos, you'll see they have nearly doubled in size.

Skye continues to be a great mom and has even started to spend a little time away from the whelping box, especially before meal times. She is being tremendously patient with Dreamer who thinks she has died and gone to heaven now that there are more pups. She spends hours sitting outside the box watching the pups. Skye won't let her in the box but let's her within a few inches, the closest that Dreamer's ever been allowed.

All of the pups are approaching 1 1/2 pounds, a pretty good gain for the week. We like to see them double their birth weight in the first week and they are all close. We are well into daily Biosensor exercises, introducing new scents (tonight is apple, last night was aloe) and doing the pie plate race. The litter was very slow the first night on the pie plate--most had to get helped off after 1 1/2 or 2 minutes. However, they are quick learners since last night they took between 15 and 40 seconds. What a surprise!

The pups are having lots of visitors, too. Skye patiently watches while we all ooooo and ahhhh over the babies. They aren't too tolerant of being held but that will come over time. Tomorrow is the second nail cutting so we'll see if they are a bit more comfortable being constrained. You have to love 1 # 4 oz pups throwing hissy fits--you'd think they were the size of Great Danes :-).

Off to play with pups. Enjoy the new photos and videos.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ooops, Only Nine Tails :-(

I haven't posted for a day because Skye and I have our hands full and are pretty darn tired. Though only three days old, the Southerners have already provided many learning experiences. It's a good reminder for me that despite 30 years of experience and 200+ puppies, there is still more to learn.

So, why the title of today's blog? Not to worry, we have not lost a puppy, we only lost a tail. Yes, we had to dock Miss Lilac's tail yesterday. Although it was not an easy decision to make, it was an decision that I made quickly. Here is the story. Sunday afternoon Amanda called me in my office to tell me there was something wrong with Lilac's tail. I went over and found that the very tip of her tail was hanging on by the proverbial thread (actually a tiny tendon). Hmmm, what to do? Fearing that Skye might take care of it herself, I snipped the little tendon and saved the tip to take to my vet. The part of the tail still on Lilac was not bleeding and was sealed over.

I awoke Monday morning deciding to get the pups and Skye in to the vet for a check up. I no longer do that regularly since I can check for cleft palates and other newborn problems myself and thus reduce the risk of them getting chilled or catching something at the vet clinic. However, given I was seeing so many things that I'd not experienced before, we all piled in the van yesterday afternoon to go Otterkill Animal Hospital.

Dr Jim did not like the feel of Lilac's tail so shaved it for a better look. At least 3/4 of the tail was black, clearly dead or dying. Tails are notorious for having a poor blood supply so once a tail starts to go, the only real solution is to dock it. Jim and I discussed the options--take off a little and see if the remainder could heal or dock it well below the black line and into the healthy tissue. I hated to do it but I simply would not risk her getting gangrene or having multiple surgeries. Docking at 2 days is relatively simple and could be done under a local anesthetic. So, that is what we did. The first 6 or so hours after the Lidocane wore off were tough but she is fine now. She is such a lovely little girl that I know she is going to really stand out with her special tail.

Dr Jim also looked over Peggy to determine if she is going to need surgery on her leg. He does think she has all of the bones that should be in the leg, they are just very short and the paw very poorly developed. At the moment, it appears that the leg will remain short and will not bother her at all. Most importantly, any surgical decisions can be left for the future so she doesn't have to face that now at such a young age.

All the other pups are healthy and growing well. And Peggy and Lilac are also healthy aside from their "differences." All the pups are over a pound and nursing well. Skye continues to be a fabulous dam, although she and I were both totally worn out when we got home last night. Listening to Lilac cry during her procedures took a lot out of both of us.

We have put all of these challenges behind us and have started on the pups' developmental program. Amanda learned to do Biosensor this morning so we'll be doing those exercises on the pups every day. We introduced them to their first unique scent, a pheasant wing. It was so interesting to see the pups stop squirming and get very quiet when we put the wing in front of their noses. We also trimmed toe nails so Skye doesn't have to deal with 180 little needles digging into her.

So, that's the news from Cold Spring where this week we were again reminded of the amazing activity that we do, bringing new life into the world with all of its fits, starts and imperfect perfection. It also reminded me that although we breed to produce working dogs, each puppy born into our hands is an individual whose life path may not go where we intend it but will still be right for that pup.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ten Tails!

Skye finished whelping last night when the 10th pup, Miss Lilac arrived. We had a relatively quiet night as Skye and the pups got to know each other. Skye is a fabulous dam, attentive to her pups, obsessive about cleanliness but as calm and centered a dog as I've ever been with. I call her the Zen Dog. There were some highs and lows yesterday, as we celebrated the Southerners arrival but morned the loss off one pup. Through it all, Skye maintained her typical calmness. I love working with dogs like this!

All of the pups gained weight overnight and are nursing well. About 10 AM this morning, they started wagging their tails when they nursed. I love that point when you look at the litter and all those puppy tails are wagging. You can't help but smile :-).

So, who are the Southerners? Well, here goes:

First born was Miss Black who weighed in at 14.75 ounces and was born around 4:25 AM. Only she and Skye know since we were asleep until she was a few minutes old. She is medium gold with lovely pigment.

Then came Mr Blue at 5:28 AM. He also weighed in at 14.75 ounces, is medium gold and has good pigment.

At 5:49, Miss Raspberry was born. She was the biggest pup at 17 ounces. She is medium gold. About an hour later, at 6:44 AM, Mr Red was born, weighing 14.0 ounces. He is dark gold with a white spot on his head and white toes.

At 7:14 AM, Miss Rainbow was born, also at 14 ounces. Rainbow, also known as Peggy, has a deformed left front leg. Her shoulder to the elbow is normal but the foreleg is quite short with a partially developed paw. I've never seen this before so will have to get educated over the next few weeks but my conversation with my vet yesterday indicated that assuming she can nurse (which she can with no problem), she should be fine on three legs. As I always say, every litter teaches you something. Peggy is our lightest puppy and is quite cute.

Miss Yellow arrived soon after Peggy, weighing in at 15.0 ounces at 7:25 AM. Yellow is also a medium gold. At 9:30 AM, Miss Green arrived. She weighed 14.0 ounces and another medium golden puppy.

At this point, I was wondering if we were going to have any boys. It's really rare for us to have more girls than boys in a litter so on cue, Mr Rust was born at 2:50 PM. He's a big boy at 15.5 ounces and is one of our darker pups.

At 3:27 PM, Miss Rose, our darkest pup was born. She weighed 14.5 ounces and arrived with no fanfare. We didn't even know she had been born until we heard her cry. Finally, Miss Lilac was born at 8:02. She was 17 ounces and is another medium golden pup.

So, that's the crew--7 girls and 3 boys, ranging from light to dark gold. They are vigorous but contented pups. All are gaining well and thriving under Skye's watchful eye. I'll post some photos and a video as soon as my battery camera recharges!