What A Week!

Happy/sad time as pups leave to their new homes ready for new adventures!

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What an amazing week this has been! LOTS happening every day!

First, we had a fantastic visit with Sherry from California as she came out to see ALL the puppies and ended up going home with “Black Boy/Trek”. THANK YOU Sherry for all your help with the puppies entertaining/socializing them every day and helping me give everyone baths. Puppies had strict orders to STAY CLEAN for their new families which, for the most part, they did! It was great to talk “all things dog” with someone I very much respect in the dog world. You kept saying how it was a vacation for you, Sherry, but it was really a vacation for me! I can’t wait to watch Trek, grow up… I/we are so excited about his future!

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“Trek”
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“Westie”
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“Gracie”
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Running and Playing… 
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“Zoey”
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“Charley”
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“Gracie”… King (Queen?) of the Hill!
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“Trek”… STUNNING boy!! Love him to pieces!!

On Friday, we celebrated Rooster’s (CH Gaitway-Jema’s Kiss And Tell, BISS, CGC) 6th birthday. He is such a special boy; he means the world to me! His accomplishments IN the ring pale by comparison to the assistance he so readily gives as a Mobility Assistant Service Dog… He just KNOWS when I need his help!

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Happy Birthday, Rooster!

On Friday, Orange Girl (now known as “Westie”) went to her new home. While this starts the beginning of the puppies going to their new homes, I can’t help but feel a tad sad until I see the smiles from the new families. This may be an end to “the puppies” for me but it is just the beginning of their new wonderful lives with their new families! I’ve no doubt they will hit the ground running ready to take on this new adventure! CONGRATULATIONS to all on your new family companions!!

Saturday was the big “going home” day and now… I’m exhausted! We have one more puppy that is leaving tomorrow and then… I will just have my puppy left. It will feel SO STRANGE just feeding ONE PUPPY after “Zoey” leaves!

  • Black Boy is now known as “Trek”
  • Orange Girl is now known as “Westie”
  • Green Boy is now known as “Finn”
  • Blue Boy is now known as “Ziggy”
  • Purple Boy is now known as “Eddy”
  • Pink Girl is now known as “Gracie”
  • Lime Green Girl is now known as “Charley”
  • Yellow Girl is now known as “Zoey”
  • Red Girl is now known as “Vee”

For anyone who has not seen the vid of the puppies playing on the pool cover, they had a BLAST! Talk about getting their “sea legs”! Bouncing around, it was like a Bouncy House for puppies! All of the pups quickly thought this was great fun; another surface mastered by all!

 


Sunday, August 5, 2018… The blog entry that never ends (LOL!)

I fell asleep at 8:30 p.m. and was up by 4:30 a.m. this morning… Where is the COFFEE! Going through a few more of the photos taken last week and wanted to share:

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Puppies play hard with each other but now need to learn you aren’t another puppy for them to climb all over! Gently “correcting” this behavior now will ease your puppy’s transition into your home!
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It is easy to forget the pupies are like babies… they “explore” everything with their mouths! 
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And I “taught” them how to “dig”! If you have an area you can “give” to the pups to dig, they would be so happy! Think of it like a sandbox for a child. It will help them NOT dig where they shouldn’t if they have their own “spot” to “play”. 
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Our little “water feature” on our back patio where EVERYONE uses as a recirculating drinking bowl! At least none of the pups thought to actually climb into the fountain (I half expected some might try to do that, LOL!) 
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We LOVE all of our puppies! Thank you, Andrew, for all of your help loving on the puppies! 

Thank you to everyone who has followed the puppy journey here on my blog/web site! I hope to continue to add more photos as the pups grow up and to share their stories of their lives with their new families. It has been a wonderful summer experience for us… a lot of fun, a lot of work, and a lot of memories!! Congrats again to the new owners of my precious babies!

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Puppies First Car Ride and Vet Visit

Just another adventure!

It was a busy day yesterday for both the puppies and us going to the vet. Puppies took the whole experience in stride; they did great on the car ride and they did great at the vet office and for their individual exams.

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Car packed with puppies!
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First crate and car experience… CHECK!
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Can you just hear them all… “Are we there yet?”! 

Of course EVERYONE thought they were simply adorable! I had a few people ask me if any were for sale? And I had EVERYONE want to touch and pet them (and that would be a NO! The last thing I want is for a puppy to get ill from any type of cross-contamination!) So to answer to all of the “can I say ‘hi’ to the puppies?”… You most certainly can but not with your hands! (I’m so “mean”, LOL!)

It was an incredibly well-run appointment with each puppy being weighed, temp taken, examined, and then vaccinations given (DA2P/Parvo plus oral Bordatella). All hearts were normal; normal heart sounds and all boys had testicles palpitated (a good thing!)

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Puppies relaxing in a heap of course! These are the calmest puppies ever…even with the commotion going on around them! 
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Crates on our crate dolly all tied and wrapped and ready to roll! 

Of course, we are watching closely for any adverse reactions. Everyone ate well last night and again this morning. Poops look good. No one is lethargic afterwards either… Whew! I’ll keep an eye on them over the next few days to hopefully continue this trend/behavior!

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This CAN’T be comfortable but… When it is time for a nap, you just have to close your eyes!

The drive home was again taken in stride by these confident pups and once parked, they were “let loose”! All come when called (they answer to “puppy” so folks… that may help you as you transition them to learning their real names!)

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Ah… Freedom at last!

Another milestone achieved in the puppies lives! Good job babies!!

 

Lazy Day

A Typical Day With Puppies!

Wednesday, July 18

This morning, the puppy pen was a disaster! It was bad! Bless my dear hubby for cleaning the pen this morning even though he always does the morning clean because this morning… It was exceptionally BAD!

Mark was an hour late for work but he still got the first load going and managed to power-wash the potty boxes. BLESS HIM!! Since then, I’ve been keeping the washing/drying going to get all bedding, etc. clean again, WHEW! (Regular laundry is fit in around puppy bedding, LOL!) This is not something people usually think about regarding puppies but it is a very real “behind-the-scenes” thing that needs to be done!

Pups usually “help” with the morning clean. They like to chase the vacuum cleaner! Some even have started RIDING the vacuum cleaner head as the area is cleaned! Such helpful puppies they are! On this morning, pups got to go out to the indoor/outdoor run! They were thrilled! Running up and down my covered 40′ run means… great muscle strengthening and coordination! And it was outside where I fed them their breakfast.

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Another kiddie slide we use for puppies

Watching that thermometer closely (and having a lovely breeze today), I left pups out when I went out to pick up the bowl. Polished clean! Starting for lunch, I will increase food yet again! I actually prefer some food be left so I know EVERYONE got their fill.

Sitting in my study, my window is cracked so I can hear them running and playing. I frequently go into the “dog room” to look out the window to check on them. After a short nap (puppies; not me), I went out to pick up and hose down the run.

YEARS AGO Mark bought me a Honda power washer. I struggled so much with our previous power washer pulling to get it to start. Guys will probably understand the motor, etc. of the Honda but… I can start this power washer myself! I’ve been cleaning my dog runs for years! For the last two years or so, I’ve been recuperating from spine surgery (first surgery “failed” so had to be repeated the following year). I haven’t used MY power washer in quite some time (although Mark has, of course). Today, I was able to pull start and hose down the puppy run! Well, YEAH for me! Now I was very careful to NOT let the blast of the hose anywhere near any puppy but they LOVED splashing on the newly wet concrete! Which gave me the idea…

I pulled out the kiddie pool and a different hose (because I remembered how hard it is to ATTACH the hose to the power washer) to fill up the kiddie pool. Then, each pup got to “go swimming”! This time, each pup got to play with the hose and have water from the hose splash and get them wet. And, I placed their indoor slide (which Mark cleaned this morning) so they could slide down the slide into the pool! ALL had a great time!

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Who doesn’t love a water slide?! 

Because of our cool evenings, the house is opened up for fresh air. It is when I hear the dog room AC kick on, I know it is heating up outside. Time to close up the dog room for sure and probably also the rest of the house (although the dog room is ALWAYS cooler than the rest of the house. For the dogs, of course!)

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Future agility superstar? Possibly!!

Lunch fed outside although a few seemed less hungry. That is okay. I’ll pick up now and offer again in a few hours. I’m working on getting the “feeding schedule” closer to what it will be like when puppies leave. When they leave me, they will be on a three feedings per day schedule (with maybe a treat at night). I would like for “lunch” to be closer to noon-1:00 but right now, pups prefer lunch (are more hungry) around 3 p.m. But we’ll get there. For the amount, feed 3/4-1 cup of food/puppy. Again, the goal is that puppy probably will NOT eat all of their food (so the “mom” in all of us will know puppy ate enough; got their fill!) As puppy becomes more active and grows bigger, they will soon be polishing off that 1 cup of food at feeding time!

As an aside and just for reference, my “big dogs” eat 1 cup of adult food per feeding and they are fed twice per day. This is for my girls. Rooster is fed 1 1/2-1 3/4 cups of food twice/day. It depends on how active they are and how they are looking. When you are feeding, it is a great time to “feel their ribs”. You want to be able to feel their ribs without them being “bone-y”. If you can’t feel ribs at all, time to cut back on food/feeding! This is for adult dogs but… You can get in the habit now with puppy of checking ‘how they feel’. One of the easiest ways to assess your dog’s weight is by using the “knuckle test”:

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How to evaluate your dog’s body condition or weight:

 

Another chart you’ll probably see at your vet’s office is the hand’s-on guide for evaluating weight. It will probably look something like this:

Illustrations of Adult Dogs for Weight Evaluation

LATER:


Temp is climbing now; another scorcher of a day! Pups pulled through the doggy door (some came in on their own) to learn how to use. My mistake was in NOT closing the gate… Some puppies attacking me; some running wild! Climbing the single step into the house is no problem for puppies now so I have two puppies in my study, one in the kitchen, and braver ones heading towards the front door! In other words… Puppies EVERYWHERE!

Two by two I pick them up and take back to their puppy pen. I refill their water bowls (they have two now) and everyone immediately pees. REALLY?! You couldn’t have done that OUTSIDE before coming in? Well, my fault really… I woke them up from sleeping. I SHOULD HAVE taken them out on the grass to potty then bring them inside. Oops! Remember that everyone… After eating; when they wake up from sleeping; and last thing before bedtime TAKE THEM OUTSIDE to potty! (I would add when you first take them out of their crate too!)

Everyone is settled down for their afternoon nap. Now… Time for me to go mow the grass! I hope everyone is having a GREAT week so far!! Happy Hump Day!


Sorry this is late posting but I had to get photos uploaded, etc. And then… there is always “other stuff” to get done 🙂 And now… It is almost the weekend! YEAH!

I will share that every year we get a pair of nesting hummingbirds although we are not really in their flight/migratory pattern. Well the babies have just left the nest and we now have hummers EVERYWHERE! SO MUCH FUN watching them fly from flower to tree to flower!

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Early Neurological Stimulation

Early Neurological Stimulation

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.

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 relatively narrow but well worth the effort to get puppy exposed to as many of those things mentioned previously as possible.

And as far as the benefits of that early neurological stimulation… I prefer to err on the side of providing it 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

Photos:

I’m using one of my favorites lenses for the below photos. This lens gives a velvety soft look to the shot which may not be the best for moving puppies (the lens requires manually focusing!) Still, it was fun to “play around” taking puppy photos!

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Potty box or play box? 
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Pups are playing harder with each other now
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And they are experimenting with their mouths/teeth! 

Mastitis

Treating Deja for mastitis… First time for everything!

What a day (and night)! It started off great celebrating the puppies First Week Birthday. Posted photos, answered emails, spent time with the other critters… And then I’m watching Deja who is in with her puppies but not letting them nurse? I sit with Deja and examine her belly… Is her C-section incision bothering her? Instead, I noticed a lump in one of her nipples. A definite hard nodule that concerned me. In addition, she had a hardened area on her belly?

This is when less experienced breeders run into problems. They may not recognize something is wrong? Now I’ve never had a girl have problems with mastitis nor did Deja have this problem with her first litter but… Something was wrong!

I did a quick google search; funny how that is now easier than looking up a chapter in any book. And I put myself “out there” asking a question in a “group”. LOTS of immediate responses! I knew about cabbage wraps but wasn’t sure how they were applied; question asked and answered! Texted hubby to pick up cabbage on his way home from work.

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Cabbage is frozen then applied along her mammary chain as a cold compress

Meanwhile, I had already started the standard things one can do… warm compresses to the hardened area and massage. I put one of the puppies on the effected nipple to drain it. Of course, this made it difficult to manually express it myself to really examine what the ducts were producing! And then I get a response from a gal who commented on one of the photos that she would love to “puppy sit”. Her intentions were to “help” and to spend time with the puppies but I was thinking, she wouldn’t notice nor know what to do for this problem. That would make me more nervous than anything!

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And then “worse case scenario” photos posted to “help me”? OMGosh… Now I am beginning to panic! What if this is that scenario?! Privately, I’m being messaged what helped someone else in this situation. Sound advice!

Hubby gets home with the cabbage and we do the sequence of cold compresses, warm compresses, massage, and puppies nursing. And… hubby calls the vet to get Deja in NOW!

We load up Deja and pups to go to the vet. Deja is such a good girl; she complies with what we ask her to do. The puppies are now almost too big for the warming box I use to bring home puppies; their little heads are pushing up trying to get to “mom” next to them in her crate. Their eyes and ears are not yet open but they can smell her. And they are crying for her too! Deja sees her pups and knows that they are safe next to her so is not worried.

Deja’s temp was normal until I started the massage. I am sure I caused some inflammation that pushed some of the bacteria into her blood stream that now caused the rise in temperature. Of course we’ve been taking Deja’s temp regularly since puppies arrived.

Deja is examined by the vet tech and vet upon our arrival. Antibiotics prescribed along with what I was currently doing. NOT DOING the compresses/massage would have made this situation worse. And I’m reassured this is NOT the “worse case scenario”! Although we brought with us a sample of the gunk from one of the ducts, a new sample is obtained to send in for a culture. We won’t have the results back for a few weeks and I’m thinking… Hopefully by the time we get the results back, this will be a distant bad memory?

In addition to the cold cabbage/warm compresses/massage/nursing cycle and the antibiotics, Deja is now on a probiotic that will also pass to the puppies through her milk. Although Deja’s antibiotic is safe for the puppies, it could give them diarrhea killing off the “good” flora in their guts. I had already ordered probiotics for the pups in a gel form to wipe on their tongues. At this age, they may have difficulty swallowing so care will be needed to not let them aspirate the gel probiotic. But the last thing I want to happen is for the puppies to start having diarrhea!

I also ordered Lecithin (from sunflowers) that is supposed to help with mastitis and the ducts. My vet had not heard of this but hearing this from the collective wisdom of my group, it will be started. While at the vet, I asked for a light-laser treatment. This promotes healing and is cumulative. I will likely take Deja in to the vet again soon for another laser treatment. I want that hardened mass to soften and disappear as soon as possible!

Tag-teaming with hubby, Deja’s “treatements” were done every two hours throughout the night by hubby. The hardened area is already beginning to soften. Deja is feeling better herself and ate this morning (which also included her probiotic). And being the good mommy that she is, she is back to nursing her babies. Now ALL of the puppies have a good nursing reflex but we put one of the bigger boys on the effected nipple to help drain it. We need to clear that duct(s) and get that nipple working again! And her temp is back down to “normal”.

I’ll continue the compresses/massage today and was thinking… This is why puppies are in THE MOST accessible area in our house! Puppies are not raised in a basement, garage, or barn/out building! I don’t know how people do that and are able to monitor/watch mom and pups? Had we waited or not noticed the problem until it was more severe, the outcome could have been much worse. I still can’t get the “worse case scenario” photos out of my head! Scary, scary thing to happen! Fortunately, Deja is already improved and hopefully will continue to improve. And this is now just another experience I’ve had “raising puppies”. It is definitely a labor of love!

Jennifer

P.S. Puppies are now getting up on all 4’s! Since their eyes are not open, they can’t really see where they are going so… they look like little drunk potatoes! LOL!

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Health Clearances

2018 Health Testing Done For All The Dogs

Last weekend, we took ALL the dogs to a health clinic sponsored by a local dog club. This health clinic is put on every year and coordinated by a local dog person, Carolyn. Carolyn does a WONDERFUL job organizing it! She even forgives me for changing my last-minute registration which I am sure messes up her timing/organization of all the dogs that attend this clinic. (So sorry for having done that, Carolyn!)

Years ago, we piled all the dogs in our “dog van” that we used to go to dog shows when we didn’t take the RV. Knowing we weren’t going to use it much any longer, we sold the van a few years ago. This makes transporting the dogs to this health clinic a bit tricky!

Fortunately, my son agreed to help us “hold dogs” until it was their turn to be seen by the various specialists. In his car, he took one dog in a crate. I drove taking two crated dogs, and dear hubby drove also with crated dogs.

My changes? While Deja and Doodle were recently at my repro vet having blood drawn for progesterone levels, I had them add-on a heartworm test. Now that I know both of them are negative for heartworm, I can start the heartworm preventative I give throughout the summer. Deja and Doodle still needed their eyes tested though.

And then my very old, very sweet Cavalier had a problem with her anal glands. While not planned to do at this time, we went ahead and had her “senior wellness” done for the year. This included a heartworm test so now she no longer needed to go to the health clinic for this test. It also included a dental where my poor baby had yet another tooth pulled. While under anesthesia for her dental cleaning, we had the vet remove a few lumps and bumps. Cali will be back at the vet this Friday having those stitches removed.

Once we all arrived at the clinic held at a local vet office, all the dogs have their eyes dilated for their appointment with the veterinarian ophthalmologist. As they say, “the eyes are the windows to the soul”. Believe it or not, these eye exams can pick up other problems the dog may have. Last year at this health clinic, my beautiful grand-champion boy, Tazo, had retinal bleeds. He passed his eye certification but we were advised to have him seen by our vet sooner than later. At that vet appointment, Tazo was diagnosed to be in renal failure! We “lost” him four months later when his renal failure became apparent; they don’t do dialysis on dogs which is what he would have needed. It was so hard to believe he had such a serious health problem that was diagnosed from an eye exam!

As you can imagine, all the dogs stayed OUT of the sunlight for the rest of the day after having their eyes dilated. The eye forms filled out by the eye doc are then sent to OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) that adds my dogs to their registry of dogs with eye clearances. This is done every year with Golden Retrievers.

Golden Retrievers also need a heart clearance done by a veterinarian cardiologist. They need to be over a year of age for this health clearance. My sweet “puppy”, Pixel, turned one year last August! Time for her to have her heart checked! That form also filled out by the specialist is also sent off to OFA. Pixel still needs her hips and elbows x-rays to be done but they need to be over two for these permanent clearances. She will have them done this August.

And then there is “Beanie”, my little French Bulldog. Beanie had her eyes dilated and was seen by the ophthalmologist also. Having all the Goldens at this clinic was easy compared to having one French Bulldog! Beanie lunged and barked at every dog coming and going; I can’t begin to tell you how embarrassed I was! In true bulldog fashion, Beanie was “running the show”! Now Beanie has had a LOT of socialization so that wasn’t it. She just wanted to let everyone know she was there! OMGosh! It was hilarious! French Bulldogs also need hip x-rays and patella clearances. And hearts after a year. We’ll go back next year to get the rest of her health clearances when she is older. Fortunately, there were other Frenchies at this health clinic that acted just like Beanie; it MUST be a Frenchie thing?

2018 Health Clinic is now in the books. My forms are all scanned that my dogs were seen by the specialists and soon, I will receive the official forms from OFA that they were health tested this year. I am very grateful that this health clinic is put on annually so my dogs can get their health testing. Thank you, Carolyn!! And thank you to my son for helping “hold dogs” as well as helping to transport dogs to the clinic. While it IS a bit chaotic, to get all the dogs to the clinic, it is so important to do this health testing for each and every dog!

 

 

Well Bred Dogs

Breeding puppies to the conformation standard is more than just “pretty dogs”.

I saw this illustration today and knew I just needed to SHARE it! It so perfectly shows how “purebred” dogs can look so different from well-bred dogs!

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Ahhh… My very first golden looked like the dog in the lower left hand corner. We loved her dearly and she was a very sweet dog but… She just wasn’t “pretty”. Fortunately, she had a wonderful temperament and lived a long, happy life with us. This dog started my life-long love for this breed and helped convince me I wanted not just “pretty” dogs but also dogs that were health tested (long before they were ever bred!)

Health testing is major event here held every year at a local health clinic put on by the Cavaliers of The West breed club. Why do I go to this particular clinic? I just love how organized and competent the gal that organizes and works so diligently every year to provide this service for the dog community. Every year, ALL of my dogs have their eyes dilated and are seen by a veterinarian ophthalmologist. They say “the eyes are the windows to the soul”. They can also be the first indicators of other disease processes!

Dogs over a year of age are also “heart tested” by a veterinarian cardiologist. Genetic heart diseases such as “SAS” (sub-aortic stenosis) along with other heart anomalies can be ruled out.

Then, all the paperwork is sent to OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of American); the registration organization that provides online access to health clearances.

The other big health clearances done in Golden Retrievers are x-rays of hips and elbows. I usually have my regular vet, who is adept at positioning for these x-rays, do them. Again, that information is sent to OFA. For a permanent “clearance”, dogs must be over two years of age. Another registration organization for hips is PennHip. These x-rays measure slightly differently than OFA x-rays; I usually have these done also. You can’t get too much information regarding “hip health” when considering a future breeding.

Copies of these health clearances are always given to new puppy owners. I just believe in total transparency in puppies I’ve bred.

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Deja (8 weeks old): April 2014

Other factors to consider when considering breeding a litter of puppies: Temperament! I live with what I breed and “good temperament” is a hallmark trait for this breed! By following the pedigree of any litter, I can generally predict the temperament of each puppy. Other factors of good temperament is socialization of puppies. We work hard here providing a LOT of early puppy socialization and send home information to new owners on how to continue that socialization for the benefit of that puppy as it grows into adulthood.

Last but not least is Longevity! Sadly, “man’s best friend” is never with us long enough. But through genetic research of ancestors, hopefully they live a long life for this breed. This is a big goal for us in any litter also.

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Doodle (7 weeks old): December 2014

“Looks”, by this time, that is almost icing on the cake! But by breeding to the Golden Retriever standard and after being evaluated by judges through dog shows, our goal is always to produce the next conformationally correct dogs! Do all of our dogs end up in the show ring? No! But many could be shown! And many live in “pet homes” pampered and loved that attract attention and praise when walking down the street! They are “pretty”!

Lofty goals for any breeding/litter of puppies, huh? This is what we’ve done over our thirty years being involved in this breed. Generation after generation, staying true to the golden retriever standard, improving each generation as we continue our life-long love for this breed.

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Grand Champion Tazo: Gone but never forgotten! Blessed to have had this dog in my life!

 

JEnnifer & MArk ~ Jema Golden Retrievers

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