Happy Mother’s Day!

Pups are doing great! Growing and developing a bit more every day! ❤

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

208 nails clipped! Deja’s pups had their 2-week deworming meds (tastes like bananas; Juju & Tipsy “helped lick faces”!) Deja didn’t mind; she wanted some of that banana stuff too!

Deja’s pups have eyes open and are walking. Vee’s pups are walking too; need to open their eyes, HA! Toys/obstacles added for both litters.

Of interest, Vee’s blue boy is almost the BIGGEST puppy in BOTH LITTERS (although he is 6 days behind Deja’s pups! He’s a moose!


Yellow Collar (Deja)2 lb 4.6 oz
Blue Pawprint (Vee)2 lb 3.4 oz
Green Collar (Deja)2 lb 2.8 oz
Pink Collar (Deja)2 lb 1.4 oz
Blue Collar (Deja)1 lb 15.2 oz
Orange Collar (Deja)1 lb 11.2 oz
Red Collar (Deja)1 lb 14.8 oz
Purple Collar (Deja)1 lb 15.0 oz
Green Pawprint (Vee)1 lb 11.6 oz
Orange Pawprint (Vee)1 lb 9.0 oz
Purple Pawprint (Vee)1 lb 9.0 oz
Pink Pawprint (Vee)1 lb 7.2 oz
Red Pawprint (Vee)1 lb 12.2 oz
The main “take-away” here is all pups are consistently gaining weight. Both mom’s are doing a great job feeding their pups. They are (and will be) very close developmentally too. Thank goodness for the different collars!

My “Little’s (Havanese) are “helping” by licking pups face!
Time to change the bedding… the epitome of a “puppy pile”!
A moment in time captured. Vee is a good mommy!
Toys added for stimulation and interest (Deja’s pups because they are moving around better each day. Vee’s pups will get more toys soon.)
Yellow Girl is a prolific walker. I suspect “mom” is right outside the box and puppy thinks she is going to get to mom? First puppy to show interest in the “outside world” 🙂
Their eyes are open now!

Pups are doing well ❤

Puppy Stuff (5/5/21)

Puppy News… Pups are learning to walk!

Vee’s puppies are 6 days old; Deja’s are 12 days old… There just seems there would be a bigger difference in weights? Vee’s puppies are not filled out though they are getting to be hefty puppies. Deja’s pups are like potatoes! Solid. I suspect a few will hit the two-pounder tomorrow (Greey boy, Pink and Yellow girl). The weight difference is interesting…

Blue BoyGreen BoyOrange BoyPurple GirlRed GirlPink GirlYellow Girl
1 lb 9.4 oz1 lb 14.6 oz1 lb 7.8 oz1 lb 10.0 oz1 lb 11.0 oz1 lb 14.2 oz1 lb 15.4 oz
Deja’s puppies: 12 days old
Blue BoyGreen BoyOrange BoyPurple BoyPink GirlRed Girl
1 lb 12.0 oz1 lb 5.6 oz1 lb 6.6 oz1 lb 2.6 oz1 lb 2.2 oz1 lb 6.2 oz
Vee’s puppies: 5 days old

Vee’s Blue Pawprint boy is a moose! He’s definitely an outlier! And Deja’s Orange Boy is not far behind his siblings now; he and Blue Boy (Deja’s) are about the same weight.

For some odd reason, both mom’s have decided to dig? I’ve removed the fleece pads because pups were crawling under them and getting “lost” so maybe, mom’s miss the cushioning? I’ve added extra coverings (the waterproof washable pads) but they are just digging them up making “mountains” for pups to crawl up and over to reach mom’s. I’ve spent much of today “fixing” them while mom’s are laughing at me, I know!

Pups moved to heating pad in case squeaking means they are chilled? Slams in the background… other dogs using the doggy door going in and out. THOSE dogs are quite impressed with themselves digging at my lilac bush! They’ve enjoyed our recent rainy weather and soft ground perfect for digging!

5/6/21: I was SO TIRED last night that I decided finish this today. I did manage to figure out how to make a “table” for the weights above! Keeping an eye on pups and keeping everyone updated plus working on “next steps”… something had to give… I fell asleep and forgot to put my phone in the charger. Oops!

Vee has a small lump along her mammary chain in between two nipples. Caught early (because I’m checking mom’s as much as checking pups), we started alternating warm and cold compresses three to four times/day. Lump/mass got a bit smaller but still there? I made sure pups were draining the nipple above and below the mass to keep those ducts flowing/emptying. Started Vee on antibiotics (Deja and Vee are receiving probiotics as well as the puppies; already giving pups probiotics every other day). I have visions of a major erupting mastitis that would require surgical repair… That would be my nightmare! Well… It seems milk has leaked out of the mammary chain into the Sub-Q tissue that resulted in this mass? Compressed and we were able to get that milk mass out through the skin in between those two nipples! There is a pin prick size hole that closes up immediately after expressing. There’s not a lot that bothers me but this did. Mass is definitely milk although maybe not quite as white as Vee’s milk from her nipples. Mass substantially smaller now although we are continuing the warm/cold compresses. It doesn’t seem to bother Vee; she’s not in any pain but… Just not “normal”! It can’t stay because leaving a pocket of “old milk” would not be good! I plan on keeping Vee on antibiotics a few more days and… probiotics continued for all. Might this reabsorb on its own? Maybe? But better to be aware and on top of things before it becomes a bigger problem/infection.

Vee “smiling”. She is taking her mother role very seriously; she’s being a very good mommy!

In puppy news… I’m going through my wait list and talking to folks to see if they are “still waiting”. I have several wonderful families that I would like to promise them a puppy; I’m going to run out of puppies before I run out of great homes. I’m truly sorry for the families who won’t be getting a puppy from these litters. For the most part, I’m still working on folks who’ve been waiting since mid 2020.

This gave me a fright when I was “counting puppies”. Green Pawprint boy “hanging out” under the pig rail!

For the families that I have contacted, I’m in the process of nailing down “puppy party” dates and “going home” weekends. Pups stay with me until they are 8-weeks-old; fortunately this corresponds to upcoming weekends which is always nice to have to get used to pups schedules and for pups to get used to new surroundings. I will send each puppy home with a small bag of food we’ve weaned pups onto so that won’t be a change for puppy. Fortunately, my pups go home pretty close to being house-broken and knowing how to use a doggy-door. It will be up to each family to keep close eyes on puppy and learn his/her signals he/she needs to go potty. Expect “accidents” but strive for reading signals and pups doing the “right thing” will go a long way in “house-breaking” pups. Today, I’m making those vet appointments for each litter for pups to get their first vaccinations and vet checks. I want boys to have their “family jewels” descended although these can still go “up and down” even at 8-weeks of age.

Pups are obviously NOT cold; good! But… No room for mom! I rearranged pups so mom had a place to lie down with them.

Several of Deja’s puppies have their eyes open now. Tiny little slits as they now start using visual skills and not just scent to “find mom”. In both litters, pups are getting up on all fours. After eyes, ears open next and “squeaks” turn into “barks” as they start to hear themselves for the first time. Many know I have an African Grey parrot (expert mimic ability!) Picasso, my Grey, already mimics my little dog’s barking only it sounds “distant” and muffled which is how s/he hears it. I fully expect to be hearing puppy barks “in stereo” soon, LOL!

Vee’s puppies: puppy pile!

Once pups are walking well with eyes and ears open, we will remove the whelping boxes and start more interactive toys for pups to explore. Mom’s will still be nursing; solid food introduced week three or so. Teeth should start erupting by then too.

Back to puppies… Look for an email from me with more specific information soon. I’m really looking forward to meeting and talking to folks in person at the puppy parties!

Counting Puppies

Counting to “7” and Counting to “6”

It’s Monday afternoon and I haven’t accomplished a thing! I know I’m probably being paranoid but I’m jumpy when I hear squeaking and I’m worried when I don’t hear squeaking! I’m definitely getting my steps in by getting up and down “just checking” (and counting puppies) to make sure all are alright. The saddest thing… Only needing to count to “6” when checking Vee’s puppies.

Yeah, THIS will get my heart racing… Couldn’t find this puppy? He is under the “pig rails”! I suspect he got warm and just rolled off that fleece heating pad?!

I’ve now removed the fleece pads that pups originally had. Too many were crawling UNDER these pads and I’m just afraid mom’s won’t know they are there when they go to lie down? Better safe than sorry! (My heating pads do have fleece coverings on them. Mom’s avoid the heating pads; they are NOT cold!) Pups can often be found on the heating pads though and/or are placed on the pads when mom’s are out to potty or eating. Pups just don’t have “fat” (or hair) to keep them overly warm. It will take another week or so for them to be able regulate their own body temperature.

What’s better than a heating pad? Mom, of course!

Both Deja and Vee enjoy their breaks away from puppies. But not for long or else they start to get “antsy”! They both still remain incredibly interested in the other’s puppies? Because Vee is the new mom, I let her in with Deja’s puppies (Deja was there and didn’t mind). She smelled each puppy and seemed satisfied they weren’t “her puppies” yet, she still stops and watches them every time she walks past… Just to make sure! I don’t want to do anything to make Vee nervous or upset so haven’t let Deja in to “nose around” Vee’s puppies but she too “checks out” Vee’s puppies before settling in with her own (I swear they both are counting puppies too?!)

Pups spend a LOT of time eating!

Pups are all growing; all can “walk” in both litters although since their eyes are still not opened, they DO look like little drunks! I want to see each pup “use their rear” at this age. I want them to be able to push themselves up and although they don’t always bear weight very long, they are “pushing off” with their rear legs. This is really important! There is a problem that can occur in some puppies who don’t use their rear legs. These puppies are called “swimmers”; they paddle with their fronts and don’t motivate with their rear legs/hips at all. If they lie too long on just their stomachs, they can actually change the shape of their rib cage causing “flattening” that then can decrease lung capacity. None of these pups have this, thank goodness!

As you can see by that buried puppy (probably blue boy?), “pigment” is coming in on pads (and noses).

I once had one puppy who was a “swimmer”. Most vets will suggest euthanizing these pups; the rehab is lengthy with no guarantees it will work. I did do the rehab on my “swimmer” puppy and long story short… that puppy, now dog, is climbing 14er’s with his very grateful owner. By 8 weeks, that puppy was “normal” but it was a very intensive 6 weeks of physical therapy/rehab to get him that way. It is just something I now look for developmentally in pups at this age.

Not cold (they would be huddled together if they were); GOOD! But no where for mom to sit/lie down! This is NOT GOOD… pups put back into a “puppy pile”. Oh and that is blue boy up on all fours “walking”!

As many of you know, I also have “little dogs”. Compared to the Goldens, do they even count as “1” dog? My furry “little’s” are Havanese; each weigh about 8 pounds each! They, too, are wondering WHAT those squeaks are? Because they pose no threat to puppies, Deja had no problems letting my girl, Juju, in to check them out. Deja is an experienced momma with a rock-solid temperament! Still, I wouldn’t let any dog mess with puppies unsupervised although if the pups were in a different location, my kitty would check out puppies (has in the past). Kitty wants that heating pad, of course!

Soon, puppies will be as big as Juju!

That’s the latest up to now. Back to checking on puppies!

The “Name Game”

Naming Puppies Is Always Fun! (Vid uploaded of pups nursing)

Most breeders do “theme litters”. These themes are a way to identify individual litters with the actual theme being representative of a time or event significant to each litter. Think of it almost as surnames for your puppies. Some breeders to “alphabet themes”; they have the (a) litter then the (b) litter and so on. Personally, I think that is BORING and totally lacks creativity! Each puppy’s registered name represents the given theme although what you call your puppy (his/her “call name”) is totally up to each individual owner. The theme is used in puppy’s registered name that goes to AKC and will be on your registration certification for your puppy.

For those that have owned registered dogs before, this may sound familiar. For those that weren’t given a theme or due to some other circumstance, let me know if you have any questions.

Deja’s puppies are going to be themed around the word “last”. This will be her last litter. It is a bittersweet time; Deja has produced beautiful puppies but soon, it will be her turn to be an “always by my side” type of dog without her worrying about taking care of “puppies”.

Some examples of names are below but folks are certainly welcomed to come up with their own names too. Anything that goes along with the theme. I have personally killed many long hours driving from dog show to dog show playing the “name game”, LOL! It is a fun thing to do while waiting for puppies.

Each puppy will have our kennel name first: “Jema” (signifying where puppy came from). Here are some examples to give you an idea what I’m talking about.

  • Jema’s Last Dance
  • Jema’s Last Minute
  • Jema’s Last Resort
  • Jema’s Lasting Impression
  • Jema’s Last Stand
  • Jema’s Last Man Standing
  • Jema’s Home At Last
  • Jema’s Everlasting Dream
  • Jema’s Last Train To Paris
  • Jema’s Good to the Last Drop; call name “Maxwell) … This has been used before in our coffee theme. AKC will not allow it to be used again.
  • Jema’s Last of the Mohicans… This also has already been used in the past. His call name is “Hawkeye” and is a Champion dog with TONS of agility titles. He is now retired at 12 years old living his best life.

In Vee’s litter (due tomorrow!), her theme for her litter will be “Ice”. The sire for Vee’s litter is my beloved boy, (Grand Champion/Champion) GCH Tazo; now deceased. We used his frozen semen for this litter, hence the “ice” reference. Timing of breeding, when using frozen semen, is critical! Once thawed, the “collection” has an eight-hour viability window. I have done “frozen litters” in the past; there is about a 50/50 chance the girl will even get pregnant! This is another reason I bred both girls. I wasn’t as sure Vee WOULD get pregnant!

Examples of “ice” registered names:

  • Jema’s Ice Castle
  • Jema’s Fire and Ice
  • Jema’s Ice Ice Baby (already taken)
  • Jema’s Ice Princess
  • Jema’s Twice as Nice (can use words that have “ice” in them)!
  • Jema’s Alice in Wonderland
  • Jema’s Dealer’s Choice
  • Jema’s Roll The Dice
  • Jema’s Spice It Up
  • Jema’s Slice Of Life
  • Jema’s A Night In Venice
  • Jema’s Ice Breaker

Update on puppies, themselves… All are “filling out”; their bodies now match their heads. Think of it like in human newborns. Heads are always the biggest presenting part; bodies generally less big. Until they start eating and get “chubby”… we have chubby puppies now! Dew claw sites are look really good; all healing nicely. Most of the umbilicus’ have fallen off (they are tied off from the placenta shortly after birth. In a natural delivery, mom’s usually do this with their back teeth. They “grind” those cords to prevent bleeding. Standing by and “helping”, some breeders use dental floss to tie off cords. We use sterile surgical suture material because… we have it!

Pups are still “squeaking”. All move incredibly well and are able to “find mom”. We have several getting up on their rears legs; pups will be “walking” soon! And not a coincindence in the timing of these pups (warmer weather) means less chance of puppies becoming “chilled”. Rarely do I find any of them on the heating pad even in Deja’s absence. What I want to see (and what I’m seeing) is pups sprawled out (signals they are NOT cold!) The downside of them sprawling out is… I want them to give Deja enough space to lie down without one getting behind her (that is when you hear the biggest squeaks; pups have to crawl around the mountain!) Because there IS a chance Deja might not see a pup and accidentally lie on one (would NOT be good!), we have “pig rails” in her whelping box. Even if Deja (any mom) lies down, she can only lie down as close as the pig rails. There is room under those rails for pup to slide under so as to avoid actually being laid upon.

Next milestone for puppies is in approximately 5 days when eyes start to open followed closely with ears opening afterwards. Then, pups “voices” will change. They will be able to hear themselves and littermates and squeaks will turn into little barks. They will go from being little potato blobs to real dogs!

P.S. Today is “Vee Day”! I’ve lined up “help”to watch Deja’s puppies and keep an eye on Deja for anything she might need. Prayers and Happy Thoughts appreciated for Vee and her pups-to-be! I’ve no idea how many pups to expect (we did not choose to expose her to radiation otherwise known as an x-ray to get a “count”. There wasn’t a medical reason to do this so… We didn’t do it!) I will say that Vee is fascinated by Deja’s puppies and feels the need to TRY to get in with them every chance she has! Her maternal instincts have kicked in! Vee will be “set up” next to Deja so that we can keep an eye on both mom’s and puppies. Deja’s feelings about Vee’s interest in her puppies… Deja KNOWS Vee is not a threat so is not bothered by Vee’s interest. As I predicted would happen, I can see “co-parenting” happening should we choose to let that happen? It is nice to even have this as an option! (And hence the different marked puppy collars!!)

Puppies are gaining weight!

Monitoring puppies and mama IS a full time job!

Deja’s milk IS coming in by evidence of puppies beginning to gain weight. I am again “sold” on the prenatal vitamins Deja received before delivery and now flipped to “new momma” vitamins. This makes me so incredibly happy although our smallest puppy IS getting “special attention”. We “help” this smallest puppy get the best nipple (the ones closest to the rear of Deja do have the biggest milk supply). The goal for all puppies is a steady, consistent gain of weight. We strive to avoid “runts” in every litter due to human intervention and assistance.

Stats: (Birth Weight–4/26/21)

  • Blue boy: 11.4 oz– 13.4 oz
  • Green Boy: 12.6 oz–14.4 oz
  • Orange Boy: 10.0 oz–10.4 oz
  • Pink Girl: 14.2 oz–15.6 oz
  • Red Girl: 11.8 oz–13.2 oz
  • Yellow Girl: 14.6 oz–1 lb!!
  • Purple Girl: 12.6 oz–14.2 oz
All are good litte eaters!

As you can see, Orange Boy is our “special project”. While not a huge disparity in weights, our goal is to “catch him up” to his littermates long before eight weeks of age. Of interest, he WAS the smallest puppy at birth by a little over an ounce.

Deja “checking in” on her babies. Yellow girl has her head on the heating pad; the others are apparently warm enough.

I’m again very grateful that hubby is sleeping with the puppies every night. There was less crying out/squeaks last night with pups being a bit more aware where mom was (so they didn’t wander too far away from her.) Deja is an experienced mom who keeps close tabs on puppies and is probably less worried about puppy’s squeaks then we are?

Deja is a really good mommy!

Meanwhile, you always “think” you are ready and then things seem to occur to me later. Today we adjusted whelping boxes slighly in preparation for Vee’s puppies later this week. This adjustment will allow us to keep close(r) tabs on BOTH litters at the same time. My “dog room” is what enable me/us to have two litters at nearly the same time. That and the help of my family which I whole-heartedly admit are a huge help!

Puppies hanging out in a small dog bed with Deja attentively watching! Time to clean/change the bedding.

Tonight, we will remove dew claws. IF a breeder is going to remove them, it has to be done between 3-5 days of age. Most breeders end up having their vets do this. Again, I am fortunate for family aka “hubby’s” help. There is some debate regarding whether to remove dew claws or not? Having one of my dogs rip their dew claw (not my breeding) during our recent blizzard (and having everything closed the day afterwards so no vet care available)… I gotta say, “I hate dew claws!” Fortunately, we were able to patch up the dog and she left that vet wrap alone so she didn’t cause further injury to her ankle/leg! She’s fine now but this could have been avoided had her breeder had those dew claws removed when they were 3-5 days of age, sigh!

Everyone back “home” again. Deja watching me remove the old bedding listening for any “squeaks”. No, Deja, I didn’t take any of your babies!

My “dog room” is like an “over-size” utility room off my kitchen. I also have an oversized sink in this room. It IS where I thaw my Thanksgiving turkey every year, LOL! It has it’s own heating and cooling system (I will turn on the AC for the dogs during our hot days of summer long before I turn on the AC for the rest of the house.) We have severa “runs” in this room; the runs each have doggy doors that lead out to 40′ covered runs. Most of the time, the dogs have free access to the rest of the house but during special times, like now, I can separate dogs. The dogs on the far left run have their own fenced “doggy yard”. The “inside dogs” have yet another doggy door to access our fenced backyard. I remember “way back when” as my carpenter was making specialty adjustments to our home soon after we bought it, he predicted I would have raccoons come THROUGH those doggy doors? Has never happened (I’ve never seen a raccoon in our yard!) but my barn kitty uses it all the time. While kitty DOES prefer to be “out and about”, he also comes inside for food, water, cat trees to nap on, and for easier for me, vet care! It is my “kennel system” that allows me to have an intact boy separated from my girls when need be. Or puppies outside safely (the outdoor runs are covered so NOTHING can jump in or out! Or fly over/in! This room IS the reason I bought our house previously built by, yep, another dog person! (I KNEW this when we first looked at the house! I know what “I” was looking for in a home and later, I found out who built the house. I know the family… they show and occasionnally breed Irish Setters and Daschunds.)

Not a flattering photo of Vee but you can see how the momma’s will be carefully watched and cared for along with their puppies. Vee is, no doubt, eyeing “treats” I store nearby but definitely OUT of doggy reach!

I feel like we have a pretty good handle so far (knock on wood!) Vee has a few more days to go before her pups are born. Today (because I like to be prepared), I ordered the puppies deworming meds as well as puppy food we will eventually wean puppies on later. Deworming puppies is done prophylactically; we will do at 2, 4, 6 weeks of age (and new owners will get copies of what we’ve done to give to their vets so vets know pups were treated.) It’s all part of making sure pups are as healthy as possible and get the best start in life starting with our care first.

I hate to end on a “bad note” but Deja does have some hardened areas along her mammary chain. She does have a history of mastitis; these hardened areas could be “scar tissue” from past infection? Or they could be the start of mastitis now with her milk coming in? We’ve started alternating warm and cold compresses to hopefully alleviate “full blown mastitis” that would require antibiotics to treat. Again, through human interaction, we are making sure pups nurse above and below that hardened area to “keep things flowing” correctly. So far, the hardened area is not worsening and it actually appears to be resolving somewhat. Whew! I don’t know how anyone could have puppies in an “outbuilding” or “not monitored closely”? I know that sometimes happens and sometimes pups and momma are “fine”. Fortunately, that is not how breeders I know “raise puppies”!

Pretty, pretty puppies

Early Neurological Stimulation

Helping every puppy grow up to be a “super dog”!

This post is from a previously published post (with new photos) but I thought it was important to repost again. We do this with all of our puppies in every litter… we want every puppy to be a “Super Dog” someday! “Puppy Packets” are being put together as I write this. LOTS of information for new and experienced owners alike especially on the types of socializing we’ve done before pups go to their new homes AND the things new owners will want to continue after they leave us. Some of these things can be done right away; others will need to wait until after that second vaccination. Their first vaccination will be given by me/my vet when they get their health check. This vet appointment/health check is before pups leave us at around 7 weeks of age so they have several days to make sure all are doing well post vaccinations before heading off to their new homes.

The photos are new! Deja and her puppies… Day 2.

Previous Post: This was brought up with me at the “puppy party” last Sunday. One of my guests was telling me how he was interested in “testing” one of his dogs after he brought the dog home (I don’t recall what age he was “testing” this puppy/dog?) I responded that yes, we do do “early neurological stimulation”. Does it make a big difference long term? Is it really worth doing it? Hmm…

My feeling has always been that it can’t hurt the puppies. And if it helps puppies have a better tolerance to stress and a greater resistance to disease later in life, why not do the early stimulation! And because “I breed for myself”, I’m down for anything that will make MY puppy a better dog!

The stimulation I am talking about is from the “bio sensor” program first developed by the military for their canine program. It consists of five types of early tactile stimulation done to puppies to stimulate their neurological system. The stimulations is done once per day from day three until pups are sixteen days old. It is just something we do for every litter.

Puppy Pile!

There are five exercises or stimulations:

  1. Tactile stimulation (between toes)
  2. Head held erect
  3. Head pointed down
  4. Supine position
  5. Thermal stimulation

The benefits of Stimulation:

  1. Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)
  2. Stronger heat beats
  3. Stronger adrenal glands
  4. More tolerance to stress
  5. Greater resistance to disease

These early stimulations are then followed up with various socializing activities (many I’ve already mentioned in the puppy packets). The “window of opportunity” for socializing puppy to those various things that he/she will likely encounter during his/her lifetime is a relatively narrow window of time but well worth the effort to get each puppy exposed to as many of those things as possible.

Watching their “pigment” come in! This is amazing as this ususally doesn’t happen quite this fast! (Day 2)

And as far as the benefits of that early neurological stimulation… I prefer to err on the side of providing it rather than neglecting to do it. Here’s hoping that all of “my” puppies grow up to be “super dogs”!

(Link below if anyone cares to read more about this… )

Early Neurological Stimulation

Yes, We Are Having Puppies!

Planning, cleaning, monitoring… Getting ready for the big day!

Quick update… yes, both girls ARE pregnant! Deja is scheduled for a progesterone blood test, x-ray (to count skulls and spines to get a puppy count) and a C-section (4/22 or 4/23). I will start taking her temp twice per day starting a week prior to her due date (that will also monitor her progesterone and that drop).

Deja and her puppy belly! Doing what she does most these days… resting and growing puppies!

Progesterone is the hormone that maintains pregnancy. Just before (within a 24 hour window usually), progesterone levels drop signifying impending labor. That drop in progesterone causes the girls temperature to drop by a full degree… a sure sign of impending labor. Another way to monitor that progesterone level is a simple blood test. We want to make absolutely sure her progesterone levels drop, and puppies are “ready” to be born, before they do that C-section.

Vee is about a week behind Deja and also pregnant. She, will have that pre-whelp x-ray to count skulls and spines (to know how many puppies to expect). She is scheduled for her C-section on 4/30; her actual due date.

Vee is also spending a lot of time “growing puppies”.

Meanwhile both girls are ravenously hungry! When they aren’t sleeping, that is. They are getting moderate exercise but separate from my more rowdy dogs. It is just an added precaution but neither need to be darting and diving for say a tennis ball! And as those puppies grow… Many more potty breaks for both provided these days!

I’m still waiting for my collars to arrive. They said they’ve shipped but this certainly is NOT Amazon which we’ve become so used to in regards to fast shipping. Fortunately, I do have “plan B” if they don’t arrive in time.

This weekend is pullout and clean/bleach “puppy stuff”! I will feel good being “ready” with things set up; I just hate leaving anything to the last minute! That is IF the weather cooperates?

I WILL try my hardest to keep folks updated but please know, my first priority will be mom’s and puppies health. That first few days (actually first week) is so critical in monitoring mom’s and puppies health for any problems. Just as soon as I’m sure all are doing well, we get to go through the entire process again with Vee. This is the hardest part/time, in my experience. Then, the next “hard time” starts again at around 4-5 weeks when we start transitioning puppies onto solid food.

Lastly, and really sort of silly are “technical difficulties”! As we’ve all experienced, just when you’ve learned a new program/software, they change it with “new and improved” functions! What used to be easily done now takes longer to figure out how something new works! I guess this is “good” as it keeps our brains thinking/working but yeah… frustrating to figure out how new improvements work too!

Keeping fingers crossed for a safe whelping and healthy puppies! And as I write this, just thought of yet another question for my vet… pain management post C-section? What does she recommend for mom’s surgical pain that won’t cross over into milk and sedate puppies? Hmmm??? I guess we cross that road when we get to it. I’ve already been told that due to Covid and mandates, only one person will be allowed “to help”, sigh! I will help the techs “revive” puppies; hubby will be waiting to help wherever he is allowed? It would just about kill me to NOT be with my momma’s and babies in real time! Maybe by some miracle, our Covid mandates will be lifted in the next few weeks? One can certainly hope!!

Getting Ready…

How I plan on differentiating puppies in not one but two litters. (Gearing up for “puppy breathe”!)

Sorting through my “dog stuff” and just not thrilled with my “puppy collars”. My old collars have survived several litters and are just looking a bit ragged now so… I ordered new newborn and then “slightly bigger” collars for pups-to-be at birth and as they grow. Now I hope I don’t jinx anything by planning ahead but these collars are coming from the UK; ordering them now and they should hopefully arrive none too soon before pups are born?

That said… I’m pretty sure both of my girls ARE pregnant. Am a bit disappointed my ultrasound appointment (that officially confirms pregnancy) is later than I would have liked but my vet has been incredibly busy probably now more than ever with “curb-side” appointments due to Covid and mandates. It just takes extra time to communicate to owners after seeing their dogs.

These will be the “solid color” collars for one litter. I got my choice to pick out colors (I didn’t buy nor need THIRTY collars!) These will be the “older collars”; the newborn collars have a “breakaway clasp”)

But back to the collars… I need collars to differentiate the puppies from both litters. While there may be some differences between litters especially at first, I don’t want to take the chance of mixing up pups! So I ordered a second set of puppy collars that are “different” (to be able to tell which puppy belongs to which mom). This will be especially important later when mom’s and pup’s are all out together.

These collars will be for the other litter. We collar puppies at birth to monitor weight gain and to be able to identify at a glance. Again, newborn collars will be a “breakaway”clasp; these will be once pups are a bit older.

Both moms are now on prenatal vitamins. It won’t hurt them if they happen to NOT be pregnant but if they are, just something to help them help their babies. Deja, as a veteran mom, is already “showing”. If she happens to NOT be pregnant, she needs to go on a diet ASAP! Both girls have “flank flips”. It is a subtle sign that their bellies are getting bigger. And the “weight” is not over their rib cage where you might normally expect to tell if a dog is putting on weight. Their weight gain is in their tummies. It’s very subtle but I definitely see these “flips”.

A meme I saw the other day. Just SO TRUE! I’m every puppy’s “first” mom before they go to their forever homes at eight weeks of age!

So out of thirty color choices, we will have say, Blue (boy or girl) and then Blue Pawprint (boy or girl). I will have newborn and then older puppy sized collars for both litters. As for the color assigned to each pup, these are randomly assigned at birth. We use the collar colors to differentiate not only pups from each litter but also how each pup is growing (weight) and then later, as they are seen/identified at my vets. We use the collar colors to evaluate pups as they grow and interact with each other. My constant comment when I have pups is “which pup is that?” The collars differentiate them. This is NOT something breeders necessarily need to do in other breeds when they have pups with different colors and/or markings but with Goldens… they ALL are gold!

I hope everyone is enjoying our upcoming spring weather. The iris’ are coming up green. The crocus’ are blooming. Spring is right around the corner!


Breeding” takes up a LOT of time when done with intention and care!

What a week (or two) it has been! After tomorrow, I will have been to my vet seven out of the last eight days! Really, I should be getting a paycheck, right? Or a room there! Today (and first thing tomorrow morning), Ms. Vee will be getting inseminated with Grand Champion Tazo’s frozen semen. I am using the “good stuff” from a collection I did on him back in 2012. Back then, he had several collections done and frozen with varying quality simplistically rated as “ok”, “better” and “best”. These “collections” are taken and some of the collection is frozen, thawed and evaluated for these ratings. The decision on “what to use” for Vee’s breeding was difficult but easy in hindsight compared to future decisions that are being made!

Grand Champion Tazo… I will always miss this beautiful, sweet dog! He was the love of my life…

The reason for the multiple trips to the vet is based on timing; exactly WHEN to inseminate Vee? Vee has had a blood draw done every day to evaluate exactly when she ovulated and then, blood draws to make sure she is progressing to time her most fertile period of time. Frozen semen, once thawed, has the lifespan of approximately eight hours. Timing is crucial on insemination to conceive those puppies later. According to her progesterone results, Vee’s MOST fertile period of time will be Monday (today), Tuesday and Wednesday. We are doing two inseminations (actually transcervical so past the cervix using flouroscopy). We are picking the middle of her most fertile period of time so late today and first thing tomorrow morning doing two TCI’s (transcerical inseminations). And then… we cross our fingers and hold our breath that she becomes pregnant!

Vee doesn’t know what all the fuss is about? Always happy to be “the chosen one”, she has been enjoying the car trips and extra attention.

Meanwhile, Champion Deja has also been bred this season also. Deja was bred to a local boy, also a Champion. Her progesterone (blood test) was also monitored to make sure she ovulated as expected? Her “boyfriend” agreed she had; HUGE thanks to this stud dog owner for agreeing to do multiple breedings every other day to cover Deja’s fertile period. And to be sure she didn’t “stall” or quit progressing, we had another progeterone done to make sure her level was high; that her cycle was progressing as expected. It was.

Deja is a sweet girl and a most excellent “mommy”! Pictured here on one of our many trips to the mountains. In this photo, she was helping us organize our new barn “up there”.

After tomorrow, we sit back and wait. In about four weeks (actually 30 days), we can do an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy for both girls. Once pregnancy is confirmed, diet is adjusted for the growing puppies/pregnancy. Not to “count my chickens before they hatch”, our whelp date (day pups would be expected) will be April 22 for Deja and April 28 for Vee. This is important for future planning… we WILL be home and available to help each “mom-to-be” both in the delivery of puppies and then mom and puppy care afterwards.

Breeding ONE dog is very stressful; breeding two so close together… I must be crazy! I ALWAYS think the actual breeding is more stressful than the whelping/birth of puppies. Why? Timing is critical! One “shortcut” can mean the difference between having puppies or… NO puppies! So yes, we did those progesterone tests, even on the weekend when the price for doing them is doubled because it is considered an “emergency” appointment. And I’m putting my faith in my repro vet who HAS talked to me in person at length regarding the science and “the plan” even though we are doing all of these appointments “curbside” because of Covid and social distancing. Thinking ahead… I may opt to do a planned C-section for both girls (assuming they both get pregnant) so as not to risk losing any puppies. I’ve put too much work in both of these breedings to risk losing even one puppy later. Whether we have confirmed large or small litters, birth is always a stressful event on mom and puppies. It isn’t unusual to “lose” a puppy during the process. If I can avoid that, even at a greater expense, it would be worth it!

The size of the litter i.e. number of pups to be expected is done first by ultrasound when confirming the pregnancy although an exact count can not be made at this time and then later, at approximately 58 days, by x-ray, when puppy bones can be seen by x-ray. We then can count “skulls and spines” to determine how many puppies to expect? This is important because… we like to know where mom’s are at when delivering puppies? Sometimes a puppy can “get stucked”; we like to know this to be able to help mom’s throughout the entire labor and delivery process.

I don’t have puppies/breed that often because besides the amount of work involved, it always is a very emotional endeavor. Every one of my puppies has my heart. Puppy photo from my last litter two years ago.

Meanwhile, my new dog, Trek, is going out of his mind! He KNOWS the girls are “in season” and wants to be the daddy! Sorry buddy, NOT going to happen! I have him separated from the girls with a run in between them. Dogs have been known to breed through fencing to “get to those girls!” He is distractable so “training” has taken a back seat as he watches those girls from afar. When they go outside (I have indoor/outdoor runs), he goes outside and just pines for their attention. My neighbors will be glad when this is done and over with; his barking at the girls to notice him IS a bit obnoxious. Just another reason I live “out in the country”. At least all of my girls do cycle in unison. It is the “dorm effect” so that once one girl “comes in season”, they all do. Hormones are in the air around here right now!

Trek out playing in the yard (and burning off some excess energy)! Formal “training” is taking a backseat until the girls are out of season and hormones return to a more normal level around here!

Trek’s transfer of ownership has gone through so he is now officially “my dog”; yeah! And he is scheduled for HIS health testing coming up at a local “health clinic” which also will be “curbside”. Unfortunately, the canine eye vet appointments filled almost immediately so I will have to take him to a different eye vet to get his eyes tested. Yesterday I ordered his DNA swabs that will test for 133 genetic diseases. These are in addition to the core health clearances recommended by both the local and national Golden Retriever clubs. This health testing is not done just for future puppies but for the health and well being for the breed in general. It is an expectation that breeders do this testing. Both the Champion boy who hopefully will be sire to Deja’s puppies as well as Tazo used for Vee’s breeding have this health testing and clearances. I’m serious when I say “health” is a priority for my puppies. And any breeder who makes excuses as to why they didn’t do this health testing before puppies… well, they are just that; EXCUSES! Unfortunately many soon-to-be puppy owners may not realize this? I mean, every baby animal is “cute”, right?! But what is behind those cute puppies? It should be health testing done on the parents!

Off to create an account for Trek with the company that is sending me my DNA swabs. I’m using a different company than the one I’ve used in the past with my other dogs. And thanks to an online friend for the “heads up”; I’m using a coupon for a discount and allowing my DNA results to be part of a Golden Retriever Genetic Diversity study sponsored by the Mid Michigan Golden Retriever Club. Works for me!

I hope everyone has a wonderful day and that you all do something today that makes you happy! It is sunny here with promises of being a beautiful spring-like day. I think I will go outside and play with the doggies!

A trek to bring home Trek

I was deeply saddened when I was notified that a long-time, very dear and close friend recently passed. The reason I was contacted so quickly… My friend had a dog bred by me. Not only was the dog bred by me, I was also listed as a “co-owner” of this dog with my friend.

Trek: His first week in Colorado (since he was 2 months old) introduced to snow, cats, and his new harem of GIRLS!

After exhausting all possible options of potentially having this dog transferred from California (where my friend lived) to Colorado (where I live), I could see no other option than driving out to get this dog! It was to become the trek to retrieve “Trek”. Unfortunately, this was during the recent “arctic freeze”; I wanted nothing more than to hunker down with my furry and feathered critters to endure the storm. And, of course, there was the pandemic to worry about! Then, too, my girls were due to “come into season”; I didn’t want to miss my planned breedings. But because I couldn’t be sure Trek was “safe”, “getting the dog” took precedence over any other concerns.

I packed in a daze and the next morning, then hubby and I set off to bring Trek home. I am extremely grateful my son promised to take care of my animals and “hold down the fort”. He also agreed to monitor the girls for signs they were finally “in season”. To make things slightly less chaotic for my son, we took my two Havanese girls. I figured this would be a crash course in socializing and travel for them. Plus, as “pocket dogs”, well they really don’t take up much space.

We made it to Richfield, Utah on Friday. FYI: when using the adaptive cruise control, set at 5 miles above the speed limit (so 85 mph), when the sign says to decrease speed to 50 mph for the curve ahead, the adaptive cruise control does NOT adapt to the oncoming curves. Now I know this! On the trip home, in daylight, I got to see the area I drove through mostly at… 85 mph! I’m thankful it was pitchblack dark driving through those mountains!

While today’s cars do a LOT of thinking for us (and offer a great many safety features), it is a really good idea NOT to forget to be the one actually controlling the car and DRIVING yourself!

Saturday morning had us saying “good-bye” to Richfield still continuing west. I really thought that once we made it through Vail Valley/Summit County, we would be past the snow? NOT TRUE! We drove through near white-out conditions for several miles until we were well into Nevada.

It was at this time that I realized… I needed new wiper blades!
Into Nevada and suddlenly palm trees started becoming the norm.

Heading to Las Vegas… We encountered some sort of “dust storm”? It felt like a tornedo with dust and debris all over the highway? The sky was black! We just kept driving…

Las Vegas is just… plain… dirty! I have never seen so much debris flying across the highway before! And the weather… Some sort of a “dust storm”? It was dreadful!

Saturday night’s hotel stay was uneventful. We made plans to meet Sunday morning to pick up “Trek”.


After a brief visit, we were on the road again this time heading home. We made it as far as Cedar City, Utah before having to stop for the night. This was going to make it a long drive on Monday but we were all exhausted at this point… both physically and mentally. It was time to stop for the day.

Trek wants to know WHAT those little dogs are and why are THEY allowed on the bed (and he isn’t)?? SO MANY new things in store for you, my boy!

Monday morning was rough! First, the toilet over-flowed in the hotel room. Gone was the 65 degree weather of Southern California; we were back into “winter”. We had significantly MORE luggage to repack in the car having brought in Trek’s crate from the car the night before to sleep in. And neither hubby nor I slept well. Not a good way to start a day of driving!

Driving through western Utah and we are back in “winter”! Fortunately the roads were fairly dry… for the most part.
Glenwood Canyon is really specatucular! The raised highway (I-70) is such an architectural marvel. The Colorado river runs next to the highway throughout the canyon.

After Utah, now in Colorado, the western slope is a really pretty area. Through Glenwood Canyon and onto Vail. Finally through the Eisenhower Tunnel and back down the mountain with ears popping and our heads feeling like they were about to explode! About 40 minutes from “home” and we came to a complete stall on the highway due to an accident ahead. SO CLOSE and we were stopped! Until finally we were HOME!

GIRLS! Everyone nose-to-nose meeting each other. It will be a few weeks before Trek will be able to run and play with my girls (all are in season!)

Trek has never seen snow and he was pretty excited to meet my girls, now in season, even if only through the fence gate. On Tuesday, Trek had a “spa day” complete with ear cleaning and nail trim. He was a total rock star and seemed to enjoy all of his pampering.

Spa day for Trek… LOTS of dead undercoat removed, nails trimmed, ears cleaned. He did wonderful on the grooming table and LOVED all the attention!

Trek has so much to explore and he really isn’t sure WHAT those little dogs are? He now, however, knows to NOT mess with my barn kitty! One swat from kitty taught Trek some instant manners.

Life for Trek is going to be way different in Colorado with us than his life was in California. First, we have SNOW! Once the girls are done “being in season”, I think he is going to be excited having his very own “harem”? As for the girls, progesterone testing done midweek and we are right on schedule for the upcoming breedings. Deja is meeting her “boyfriend” this weekend and Vee will go in for another progesterone test tomorrow to see how far she has progressed? Although my son “thought” both came into season on the exact same day, more likely Deja was in season a day or two before Vee so… we won’t be having puppies on the exact same day. That is if BOTH girls get pregnant which is our hope. Cross your fingers!!

All in all, it was a trip I would do again… for one of my dogs! It really isn’t just about this particular dog though. It is about being part of the solution for the breed.