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Posts Tagged ‘puppies’

Well, I’ve heard about it happening, but I’d never witnessed it before, until yesterday.

At lunch, one of my co-workers called me over to a table he shared with Guy, and said, “You know about dogs. Guy here wants to get a dog. Where would you get one?”

Always happy to talk about dogs, I asked, “What do you want to do with a dog?”

He said, “Just hang out, go for car rides. Couch potato stuff.” And then before I could say anything else, he added, “And I don’t want to get one from a breeder.”

That stopped me in my tracks. That, plus the disgusted look on his face when he said the work, “breeder.”

“Um… What makes you say that?”

“Yeah, you know,” Guy said, “they put out all these puppies just for the money. You know. Bad conditions, not treating the dogs right.”

“Yeah,” the first co-workder added. “Not a good connotation there.”

“Well…, I’m a breeder,” I said. “Breeders like me make a distinction between responsible breeders and puppy mills. Responsible breeders get medical care for the mom and pups, do health testing, take the puppies out to experience the world, and we’re always there to help our puppy people whenever needed. You’d get a good puppy from a responsible breeder.”

Guy looked conflicted. I know he didn’t want to insult me, a co-worker. But he also didn’t really believe me. And then he added, “And you know, breeders want $2000.00 plus for just a dog!”

Wow. Just a dog.

So, I went back to, “So, you want to just hang out with a dog? I got a great dog like that once, from my local Humane Society. They do a pretty good job of matching people with dogs. You might try there.”

As I turned away, I hoped I would be forgiven for claiming I’m a breeder. It’s true I am a co-breeder, but Colleen did most of the work: she provided the food, shelter, medical care, and socialization. She’s the one who found people for the puppies. I just drove up every weekend to contribute as much as I could.

But I do stand by Tooey’s puppies, and if any of those puppy people ever need me or need to return a dog, or if they ever need a question answered, an issue discussed, or an achievement shared, I am there for them.

A day later, I’m still thinking — Wow. “Just” a dog. Best money I ever spent was on a dog from a responsible breeder.

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Tooey has produced beautiful puppies. Her first litter, sired by Cork, has so far included three AKC show champions: Pax, Bold, and Sorcha.

In recognition of this, the Irish Water Spaniel Club of America awards an “Outstanding Producer” certificate.

Thank you, IWSCA! (And Brenda, Julia, and Colleen — along with their various helpers, groomers, trainers, etc. —  for showing their pups!)

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There are so many dogs in rescues and shelters who need homes, I’m told. Why, I am asked, didn’t I get one of those instead of buying a purebred dog?

Well, here’s one way to think about it:

Ask the same question to a car enthusiast: Why didn’t you just go down to your local used car dealership and get some car there? Why do you need a new car of a particular make and model?

Or, how about asking a guitarist: Why did you have to buy that particular guitar? Couldn’t you have gotten a used guitar from Craigslist?

To a woman who needs professional clothes for work: Why did you have to go out and buy new clothes? Can’t you go to Goodwill and get your clothes there?

Of course these folks can get a used car, a Craigslist guitar, or Goodwill clothes. And sometimes, those are excellent choices for a lot of reasons: getting used things is “green”, it recycles good stuff to new uses, and it keeps stuff out of the landfills. But most of all, sometimes you can get well-made, workable, second-hand items that fill the need you have.

But often, you can’t.

And even though dogs are living beings and not inanimate objects like cars, guitars, and clothes, the principle is the same.

I know because I’ve taken both paths.

Before I got my purebred Irish Water Spaniels, I had a Malamute-mix and a German Shepherd-mix. Both I bought from backyard breeders. I didn’t know any better about why I shouldn’t do that. But now I do, and I won’t do it again.

One of the dogs turned out to be a dearly loved, sweet companion, and the other turned out bad — really, frighteningly bad. It was all luck — we had no knowledge about the breeds, about the mixes, about the parents, how the mother was housed, fed, or cared for, about the environment the puppies had been initially raised in, about what they’d been fed or any training or socialization they might have been given (or not). And the people who bred them weren’t responsible breeders who cared about any of that or who could give us any ongoing information and support.

We did a bit better with our third dog. She was a sweet Chow-multi-mix rescue from our local shelter. The shelter workers helped us pick her out, and she was a calm, placid companion for us for several years. But she also had some issues and problems, and we had no one who had known her from puppyhood to help us figure out what was going on. And since she was a mixed breed, we couldn’t really research what might be typical for her breed.

Like the car enthusiast, guitarist, and professional, when it was time to get a new dog, we had specific requirements.

We decided we wanted a water dog. A puppy who would grow up to be a size down from our previous dogs. A dog who would go for walks and hikes, and who would love the water and go with us on our boat. We wanted an active dog who would play and retrieve a ball, and one who wouldn’t shed as much as our previous dogs. We didn’t want a protection dog or a lay-about dog or an ordinary dog.

Researching on the web, it quickly became apparent to me that there were three purebred breeds that would be right for us. At the same time, it became equally apparent that getting a mixed-breed would much less predictably get us what we wanted than getting a specific kind of purebred dog. And getting a dog that wasn’t right for us would be frustrating for us and sad for the dog.

I’ve told the story of how we got Cooper throughout this blog, so I won’t go into that again.

But I do think it’s important to stress how valuable and helpful it has been to stay in touch with the breeders of our Irish Water Spaniels. When the dogs have health or behavior puzzles, I have people to ask advice from, people who knew our dog from his first moments, who know our dogs’ parents, and can tell us how their parents, and grandparents, and great-grandparents behaved. People who have such long experience with Irish Water Spaniels, that they can tell us what is typical and what isn’t, and what kinds of behaviors to expect. They can tell us what kinds of medications to avoid, what kinds of foods are best, and what health problems we might see.

Staying in touch with our dogs’ breeders has expanded our social universe in ways we’d never had predicted. Plus we get to have the fun of sharing pictures and stories with people who actually want to hear about our dogs as many times as we want to share them.

I had none of this with my three previous dogs, and I couldn’t have had, because none of those dogs were purebred dogs bred by responsible breeders.

I have now co-bred two litters of Irish Water Spaniels. I hope I can serve these same functions for the people to whom I have entrusted my puppies, people who specifically chose purebred Irish Water Spaniels, plus my co-breeder and me and our puppies in particular, because the breed and the puppies meet their new people’s own specific requirements.

(written in response to this article: http://caninechronicle.com/world-news/september-chairmans-report/)

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Russ came with me to the IWSCOPS Specialty this year, and since that event is held on the grounds of the house where the Tooey x JJ puppies are lodged, he took that opportunity to capture some more portraits. He got out his gear and took these just before we left to take Tooey home with us.

So here are the Tooey x JJ puppies, in birth order:

Mr. Blue

Mr. Blue

Mr. Red

Mr. Red

Ms. Pink

Ms. Pink

Ms. Yellow

Ms. Yellow

Mr. Green

Mr. Green

Mr. Teal

Mr. Teal

Mr. White

Mr. White

Ms. Lavender

Ms. Lavender

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The Tooey x JJ puppies are still very cute puppies, but now they are starting to move and look like dogs. And, since they’re nice and clean, it’s time for some 6-week-old-puppy pictures.

(Note: The puppies’ coats are actually nice and dark. These pictures may have been taken in full sun, which could make the coats appear lighter than they actually are. The color will depend on your computer monitor, too.)

Mr. Blue

Mr. Blue

Mr. Blue

Mr. Blue

Mr. Red

Mr. Red

Mr. Red

Mr. Red

Ms. Pink

Ms. Pink

Ms. Pink

Ms. Pink

Ms. Yellow

Ms. Yellow

Ms. Yellow

Ms. Yellow

Mr. Green

Mr. Green

Mr. Green

Mr. Green

Mr. Teal

Mr. Teal

Mr. Teal

Mr. Teal

Mr. White

Mr. White

Mr. White

Mr. White

Ms. Lavender

Ms. Lavender

Ms. Lavender

Ms. Lavender

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Colleen reports that the pups all got their real dog collars today.

Ms Pink was first to pass the 4-pound mark yesterday, and today, I hear that many are already over four pounds.

20130729-114334.jpg

The lucky puppies also got their first dose of worm medicine.

All this and they will be only three weeks tomorrow!

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Already the pups are walking (actually, kind of lurching) around. Not to be outdone by Mr. Green, who was first out of the whelping box last week, this week Ms. Yellow was first to make it out the dog door and to the outside. The whelping box is gone — I mean what’s the point? Mr. Green or Ms. Yellow would just show everyone the way out. But the dog door is now blocked so Tooey can get out, but not the puppies — they are still too young to be outside.

All have their eyes and ears are open, and baby teeth are making white dents in the puppies’ gums. Ms. Pink has made it past the 4 lb. mark at 4 lbs, 1 oz. All the others are well over 3 lbs. and some, except for Ms Yellow, at 2 lbs, 15 oz. Green has two distinct curls in his coat — one by his left rear hip, and the other by his left shoulder.

Mr. White and and Ms. Pink are content to be held. Mr. Blue and Mr. Green want to get down when I pick them up, though Mr. Red will let me hold him for awhile before wriggling. Mr. Teal will push anyone out of the way if another puppy is at the teat he wants. Ms. Lavender found my sandal, and tried pulling on it. All are peeing on their own, and except for once (that I saw), they’ve all figured out to pee at least 6 inches away from their mat.

Anyway, here are some pictures from Saturday, July 27:

Tooey_pups_130727

Tooey feeding hungry pups

Blue_130727

Mr. Blue

Red_130727

Mr. Red

Pink_130727

Ms. Pink

Yellow_130727

Ms. Yellow

Green_130727

Mr. Green

Teal_130727

Mr. Teal

Lavender_130727

Ms. Lavender

white_130727

Mr. White

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Tooey says: I don’t have to go to the Spa for Hot Girls to have puppies. I can stay home to have them. In fact, I found the perfect place: a nice cozy spot under the deck.

20130612-094815.jpg

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Tooey had her ultrasound today, and the vet saw 6 puppies, more or less. Little beating hearts inside puppies lying on their backs. (Last time, the vet thought he saw 4 puppies, and she ended up having 10.)

Russ put together a video of the ultrasound images:

The sire this time is JJ (aka Ch Whistlestop’s John Jameson). He’s the son of HRCH Ch Whistlestop’s B All You Can B CD SH RN “Joey” x Ch Whistlestop Journey To Freedom CD RN JH “Journey”. Joey is one pass away from an AKC Master Hunter in the retriever world, and Journey is a real performance dog, most recently working in musical freestyle.

Here’s JJ in a photo taken at a dog show in January 2012:

JJ in January 2012

JJ in January 2012

And here’s a still from the ultrasound:

Tooey ultrasound 6-10-2013

Tooey ultrasound 6-10-2013

You can kind of see a little puppy, lying on its back with its head down. The vet tech told Russ that the bigger red area is the heart, and that the other colors were developing organs.

I’m sure that the best part, as far as Tooey is concerned, is that the vet said that she could have free range food. No more watching her weight for that girl until puppies are weaned.

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It’s astonishing to watch Tooey grow. Not even a week ago, she looked like this:

Yesterday evening, she looked like this:

Along with the amazing growth, we’re making other discoveries about canine pregnancy.

For one, Tooey farts. A lot. And very stinky. I guess the puppies are producing gas, and Tooey has to get rid of it for them. Night before last, one incident was so smelly that it woke me up out of oa deep sleep.

For another, she also poops a lot, which would go with the amazing amount of food she’s putting away (and not getting fat, either). Kibble, raw liver, full-fat yogurt, pieces of fruit, flash-frozen chicken wings, and whatever Cooper leaves behind in his bowl.

And in the last couple of days, we’ve found evidence of leakage from those beautiful, huge nipples — – little whitish puddles. Especially on the patches of cool tile we have on the floor in front of the fireplace and in the bathroom. She must be hot with all those little bodies growing inside her.

And she lies around a lot. Those pictures above are typical. She’s very slow on her walks, trailing behind at the end of the leash. Fortunately, those periods of inactivity are interspersed with squirrel chases, leapings onto and off the bed, and playing bumper-keep-away with Cooper.

We’re taking her to Colleen’s this evening, where Tooey will whelp her puppies in just over a week. She’ll be gone for 5 or 6 or maybe even 7 weeks, while she whelps her puppies and then feeds and takes care of them. Even though I plan to go up and visit as frequently as possble, I won’t get to see her nearly enough.

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Especially when it’s just a week before a dog show. But puppies don’t necessarily know exactly where their faces (and other body parts) are in space. Or, at least, this puppy didn’t.

Tooey's face

Tooey and Russ were in the back yard, playing fetch, when Tooey returned to Russ with this injury just under her eye. She’d run into something. Not sure what it was. Could have been the corner of the deck. Could have been a rogue branch sticking out from the rhododendron bush. Could have been any number of things.

Fortunately, it looks like just an abrasion. We cleaned it up and have some ointment we’re putting on it twice a day. It’s already looking better.

Hope the judges overlook it next weekend at the Vancouver Kennel Club show next weekend.

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If you’ve read Mary McCarthy’s memoir, Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, you might remember the point/counter-point structure. First she told a story from her young life, and then, in a following passage, she reported what others, especially her brother, remembered about the same episode. Their recollections ranged from complete agreement, to something completely different, to not remembering it at all, and all the degrees in between.

She told the story, and then she told the rest of it.

McCarthy’s book is what struck me when Mom gave me the one picture she had of King, my first dog.

My sister and my dog, King

My sister and my dog, King

I look at this picture, and I don’t see the dog of regal bearing and pointy ears that I wrote about naming on June 1st. What I see is an adolescent dog, perhaps still a puppy.

When Mom gave me the photo the other day, she said that Dad had found King running loose at the gas station my Dad owned, and brought him home. We didn’t keep King long — he kept jumping up on us kids.

Of course King jumped up. He was an untrained puppy. Neither Mom nor Dad knew much about dog training, nor did they have the time. Dad worked long hours at the station. Mom was a stay-at-home mother with three little kids to take care of.

But I do know the name, King, is right — that’s what written on the back of the photo. And I know I must have had some reason for naming him that. Perhaps his ears and chest lifted up at the moment I named him.

And I’m sure I loved King. The rest of what I wrote may just be the story I’ve always told myself.

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