Friday, April 6, 2012

And Away We Go

Everything is just about ready for my departure. Car is loaded, suitcase just needs a few things added, crate rugs are ready to go out to the car, dogs just had their breakfast, and Argus is sitting beside me all ready to go. He always knows when I am preparing to go out of town because he's gone with me so many times. He'll be disappointed to find that Letty is going along instead. I will miss him a lot, but it would be a really dumb idea to take along a male when going to pick up an in season bitch and ferry her to her husband-to-be. She's Argie's daughter, but that won't make her any less interesting to him!

I find it hard to drive without a dog in the car to keep me company, and when I do I often find myself making comments to the dog who isn't there. Letty is good company, quiet in the car and a great rider, fun to walk and explore with, and a very good companion, but there is a special bond between Argie and me. All the dozens (hundreds?) of trips and thousands of miles we covered during his show ring career, all the motel rooms we've shared, all the people we've met, all the adventures we've shared . . .

Things appear to have fallen into place. Jeni will be waiting for me to pick up Pauli, Maryla is expecting us to spend the night, Becky is prepared to meet us tomorrow to get Pauli from me, and Angie will meet her at some halfway point to get Pauli and Louie from her. Just a week ago I got the news that Pauli was in season, and it seemed impossible that the pieces would all come together for this adventure. Hopefully they actually did, everything goes smoothly. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I MUST Be Crazy!

Pieces are falling into place for breeding "Pauli" (GCh/UKC Ch. Paisley Choco Chip Brownie Delite) to "Louie" (GCh/UKC GCh. HiSpots Simply Sublime). Fingers crossed this all works out! Tomorrow I drive 5 hours to pick up Pauli from her handler Jenni, then another 5 hours to visit friends Zak and Maryla, where we'll spend the night. Looking forward to seeing them, my Granddogs Red Hots & Phoenix, the Peacocks, and new Peke Teddy. The next morning I will continue south and meet up (somewhere) with Becky and Louie. Becky will drive a couple more hours and connect with Angie(Louie's other mother) who will keep both dogs for the week and manage the breeding. I'll spend 8 - 10 hours driving home. And the following weekend I can do it all over again. ARGH. Sure wish I had a fuel efficient vehicle!

Yes, this DOES sound crazy.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lucy Puppies!

I heard from Patti on Monday and she seems quite sure that Lucy is pregnant, so it's time for me to put together a new Puppy Page for the litter-to-be, and check back with the people who have contacted me about pups.  

As you know, this will be the Pella's litter.  The pups will be raised with their kids until weaned, then come down to me for health checks, BAER testing, evaluation and pictures.  We'll decide which is the right pup for them to keep for showing, I will select my puppy from the litter, and I'll take the responsibility of placing the other pups.  That spares them the need for interviews & placements, and makes the pups more accessible (Lucy lives in Canada).  So the pups will not be here until some time after six weeks.  In the meantime, if you are slated for an interview and want to meet the resident dogs, we can get that taken care of during May, after I am back from the National.

Lucy was co-bred by me, grew up with Pellas, and their daughter Grace showed her to her Canadian Championship.  Lucy stayed with us while we were showing her in the US to her American Championship, and I took care of all the health testing.  Lucy has BAER-bilateral hearing, OFA certified hips & elbows, CERF-normal eyes, and passed her OFA cardiac & thyroid evaluations, so she has her CHIC number.  The dog she was bred to "Indie" is also an American Champion, but is primarily a star in the Agility ring.  His hips, eyes & hearing are also OFA certified and he too has his CHIC number for completing health testing.   Both dogs have exceptionally nice temperaments and are beloved family companions in addition to being show dogs.

Pictures tomorrow, stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Just Like Daisy

Daisy with her cat Reggie

I received this picture as an email attachment last week and it brought back so many memories.  Although this Dal girl is known as "Daisy" to her family, she was "Viva" when she lived with me, and I owned her until she was about a year old.  I kept Viva from a disasterous litter that contained multiple deaf pups, the kind of litter that gives breeders nightmares.  Both parents and all four grandparents had bilateral hearing (they heard in both ears), but sometimes in this breed the genes line up wrong and even the most carefully planned litters can produce this.  Because Dals are genetically "extreme white piebald" (with an additional gene that adds the characteristic spotting), deafness is always a possibility in a litter of Dal pups.  The only way we could totally eliminate deafness would be to make the breed solid colored - no longer Dalmatians!  By using BAER testing so that we know the exact hearing status of our dogs, we have a valuable tool that can be used when planning a breeding, but there are no guarantees.  Genetic deafness occurs in many other breeds as well, and it is heartbreaking to have deaf pups, BUT it is a breeder's problem.  We can identify any deaf puppies before the pups are old enough to go to new homes, so there is no excuse for a buyer to end up with an "unexpected" deaf puppy.

Viva was the only hearing female puppy in the litter she was from, so I kept her for awhile, showed her a few times, and she even won a few points.  She was quite small and extremely cute, with pretty markings and sparkly black eyes, but she wasn't really what I wanted to go forward with.  When Shelly & Ed contacted me about a Dal to fill the hole left by the passing of their beloved Herbie, I reluctantly decided to let Viva go, knowing it was a terrific home.   Viva became Daisy, and is much-loved, well cared for companion and valuable member of the family, in the kind of home we all want for our dogs.  She even has her own cat!

So now I am faced with a similar problem, placing Letty.  I love this dog and she fits into my household perfectly.  She smart, beautiful, easy to live with, a terrific housedog, and gets along well with my other dogs, but . . .   I kept Letty knowing that she had a tail that might be a problem in the breed ring, and that she was not nearly as outgoing as I want my dogs to be. These traits were evident from the time she was 4 weeks old.  I kept Letty knowing this, because she picked me from the beginning, and because she was so gorgeous otherwise.

Bad tails are a fault I truly abhor, and are unfortunately very common in the breed.  Being common does not make them right, and just because some people show them does not mean that I can/will do so.  Even more unfortunate is the fact that we have campaigned dogs with "doctored" tails, and people breed to them not knowing the dog has and will produce bad tails.  I've waited a long time with Letty, hoping hers would come down and straighten out, but knowing that was not likely to happen.

The other issue with Letty is that she does not have the kind of temperament that I breed for.  I love silly, out-going, bold, confident, happy-go-lucky dogs who love everyone.  That is my goal as a breeder, and is typical of my dogs.  We still have some of what I call "old fashioned temperaments" in this breed.  Dogs that are a bit more reserved and suspicious, and slower to warm up to strangers.  These dogs were very common when I first started, far less common now, but they still show up.  Letty is one of these, despite enlightened socialization.  She'll never truly enjoy the excitement and stress of dog shows, and I would never breed her because of this.  Both bad tails and less-than-ideal temperaments are genetic in origin, and when they show up it's our job as responsible breeders to identify them and act accordingly.

So . . .  I know there is a home as good as Daisy's just waiting for a wonderful dog like Letty.  She'll be a great companion, but not a show dog or a producer.  She'll stay here until a perfect home comes long, no matter how long it takes, and when she leaves I will shed many tears, but know that she will have a wonderful life.  Just like Daisy.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Puppies In Paisleyland

The plot thickens.  Do I really want to do this?  Will I survive with my sanity intact?  Stayed tuned.

Still have not heard from Patti as to whether Lucy is pregnant.  I presume she is, but it's sometimes hard to tell until the last few weeks, as pups do most of their growing the last three weeks of gestation.  If she lived with me, I could have palpated her at 25 days to be sure.  A ultrasound could have been done too, but I've always thought it a shame to spend the money to confirm something that you can do nothing about.  Perhaps I will hear something today.  I need to get back to the people who have expressed an interest in the litter, but want to know she is actually pregnant.

We've been waiting for Best In Show winning "Pauli" (GCh/UKC Ch. Paisley Choco Chip Brownie Delite) to come in season.  Actually, we were hoping she would wait until AFTER the National in early May, but the next best option was that she would come in season now so she would be out BEFORE the National.  We want to take her along as she qualified for the Top Twenty this year, and I'd like to take her in with her daddy Argus for the Stud Dog Class, but we don't like traveling with girls in season.  She came in season on Friday, so Jess will send in her DCA entry.  Thank you Pauli!

That left me with the decision of whether or not to breed her this time.  Pauli turned 4 in March (how can that be) and we like to breed bitches for the first time before they turn 5 years of age.  Very few plans for the summer, so this would be a good year to raise a litter of Pauli puppies, except for the fact that Lucy (hopefully) has a litter coming too.  Lucy's litter belongs to the Pellas, but they will be down here for BAER testing, evaluation, pictures, and placement.  Unfortunately, the timing will overlap a bit, with Pauli's pups arriving before Lucy's will have left for new homes.  Can I manage this?  Guess I will have to, assuming that both girls conceive.  If I don't breed Pauli, Lucy will have no pups.  That's one of Murphy's Laws.  If I do breed Pauli, both girls will have a dozen pups.  NOT!

I guess it is meant to happen though, as it was just last week that I decided how I wanted to breed Pauli and contacted the dog's owners to confirm.  "Louie" (GCh/UKC GCh. HiSpot's Simply Sublime) was the first dog we considered for Pauli, but then we started second guessing ourselves.  After considering about two hundred additional dogs (I am not exaggerating here), we eventually came back to Louie as the most suitable choice.  This will not be a walk in the park, as Pauli is currently with her handler (she was entered at some dog shows this month) and the dog we want to breed her to is in Kansas.  Looks as if I will be doing some driving later this week, picking up Pauli, then meeting up with Louie's co-owner Becky.  Becky will deliver both dogs to Louie's other co-owner Angie who will keep both dogs there and manage the breeding.
This is Louie.  I selected him because he has a sweet, mild-mannered disposition (Pauli is pretty high energy), a good pedigree, the appropriate health testing, and because he has the physical traits that I think will match up well with Pauli.  Both of his parents are liver factored, and he has a liver brother, but that is no guarantee Louie will be liver factored.  If he is not factored, liver Pauli will have a litter of black-spotted pups.  We never have only black pups in Paisleyland!