Saturday, June 9, 2012

No Changes Here

It often seems that a day or two after a new litter is announced, there is a follow up posting that says, "Oops, we were wrong."  After the excitement dies down, the whelping box is cleaned up and and the breeder starts to handle the pups, it becomes obvious that the count was off on how many pups of each sex, and whether or not those pups were black or liver.  Sometimes the assessment of color goes on for several weeks if the pups don't have enough nose trim for judging color, or if the liver noses are so dark as to appear black in low light situations.

After I bathed Pauli and changed the whelping box carpet, I took another look just to be sure I was right.  All pups STILL appear to be black (and the nose trim is filling in quickly) and there are still 3 boys and 3 girls.  Am sorry there are no liver boys, but that will keep me from being tempted, when it's really a girl pup I need to keep.

Friday, June 8, 2012


The PaLouies (Pauli/Louie Pups) are here. NOT an uneventful whelping as it included stillborns, cords cut too short, and a nighttime visit to see Dr. Jim who had to extract a very dead puppy lodged crosswise (actually transverse, he called it). Jim worked an hour to get that puppy out and save me a Cesarean. (Pauli was fabulous, and even gave him a few kisses during the process.) The pup trapped behind it was whelped naturally at home an hour later.
So we have 6 puppies, all blacks, 3 boys (1 patched) & 3 girls. Medium-sized pups born several days earlier than anticipated, all nursing strongly, with open marked bodies and ears, clean faces, and lots of trim on most.  We can see some of the body spotting when the pups are still wet, and we can tell color by the nose color (livers always have brown noses).

Although I love raising puppies, I do NOT enjoy whelpings as so much can go wrong and it can be emotionally exhausting.  Pauli is doing just fine, I am totally wiped out.  I'll take a quick shower and head into work for a few hours, then come home and collapse.  Ron is on Puppy Watch today, to be sure that everything continues to go well.

So now we have healthy pups.  Dewclaws will be removed on Monday and the pups will get their first check ups.  Then we just handle them daily, make sure everyone is gaining normally, and keep things neat and tidy.  Pauli will do most of the work at first.  Starting at 14 days I'll be home-testing for hearing, and by 21 days (often by 17-18 days) I will know if we have any deaf pups (please keep your fingers crossed that everyone hears).   Then we start watching for show potential pups.  Hopefully we'll have a few, but you never know as so many things have to be just right.  The only pup I know can be promised to a pet home is the ear patched boy - we can't show patches.  I'll be touching base with the people on my list this weekend and letting them know who might get a puppy, but it's all a waiting game now. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Letty Settles In

Letty seems to be doing well in her new home, learning their routine and teaching them hers.  This is promising, but taking on a young dog is a serious decision, and I sent Letty "on approval" to make sure that everyone is happy.  One of the cats is obviously not, but he may never be happy about a new dog, whether it is Letty or any other dog.

Skip writes -
What a wonderful young Dal. All that energy and an incredibly active  mind and yet an underlying sweetness.

I have forgotten what it is like having a puppy around, actually not much different than a room full of seventh graders. One is always aware of energy going off in a direction you don't expect.

We have had a couple of long walks each day. We met a young couple down by Lake Hiawatha with a Corgi mixed with something exotic about  Letty's size. Both dogs wrestled while we talked and it was funny to
untangle leashes every couple of they could continue. Both dogs were pretty tired after about twenty minutes. We never did get  to the romp with the Jack Russell, but I expect that may take place  tomorrow. Letty was pretty tired after this morning's walk and spent  this afternoon asleep on my lap as I was engrossed in a book.

You saw the pictures of her interaction with grand-daughter Laura, but you missed the sound of giggle from an infant as her nose was being licked. Letty was so gentle.

What we are working on the hardest right now is making the big rag- doll male cat, that is so frightened of everything deal with Letty. I think we will try putting Letty in the sleeping crate in the front bed room and make Fritz the cat be there for short times to start with and hopefully get slowly used to the idea of existing together. 

Letty has really started to bond with everyone that lives here or comes and goes in the house. Even our son (who has never really been close to any of our dogs) has come by bearing dog toy purchases and  has really interacted with her. The person she has really bonded to is Lucinda. Letty really doesn't like to have her out of her sight.  But it seems as though Letty has bonded mostly to females her whole life. Anne and I tease Lucinda that I am going to have to get my own Dalmatian! I am thoroughly enjoying the whole experience.
Sounds like exactly the kind of home I wanted for Letty, doesn't it?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Retirement Seminar

I'll spend the next two days at a retirement seminar for people who hope to retire within the next five years.  The word here is "hope" of course, but it makes the possibility seem more real.

Tomorrow, and update on Letty.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


One of the many fun things about "being in dogs" is all the interesting people you meet, people who you would normally never meet.  Going to the National every year is rather like going to a reunion, a chance to get together with people you rarely see otherwise.  People you might email back and forth with, or who might be Facebook friends, but people you would never actually be able to get together with.  Many of my puppy buyers also stay in touch with me, and some of them have become good friends.  Unfortunately, Minnesota is not really a "destination" for most people, but some pass through on their way to other places and take the time to drop in for an hour or a day. 

Last Saturday we had company on their way from NJ to California, doing a month long vacation.  (Ah, to be retired and able to do that!)  John & Loretta own a silly 6-year old Dal girl, a daughter of our silly 9-year old Josie.  We tried to take pictures of the two together, but Cheyenne was more interested in rolling on the grass than sitting nicely for a picture!  Loretta always sends Josie something at Christmas, and this time brought along a Wubba Kong which Argus and Josie are really enjoying.

This is the week to get some work done on the house, before Pauli's puppies arrive.  The ceiling fan in the family room is making ugly noises - I guess they don't last forever, and that one has been running since we added the addition about 25 years ago.  (Although we refer to that as the "new" part of the house, it's merely younger than the 100 year old part of the house!)  We found a company called "My Husband Is Amazing" and they do great work on project like this that will also include fixing the light switch.  The employees are musicians, who do handyman work on the side, and have given us excellent service. 

Our gutters also need cleaning, and because this is a TALL 2-story house, it is not a home handyman job.  We need some patching done too, although the gutters are actually in pretty good shape otherwise.  My father paid to have gutter, soffit, and fascia installed on this house the summer David & I purchased it, almost 40 years ago.  40 years in July, the month before Jess was born.  Guess the gutters have given us good service too, and we'll use the same company we've been satisfied with in the past.

Pauli has settled in well, but I don't think she will have a huge litter.  Although she's hanging very low and everyone is guessing lots of pups, she's not very wide, not a lot wider than usual.  I don't normally do it, but she'll go in for an x-ray this weekend.  Just in case she runs into difficulties, I want to be sure we can get her into that clinic, rather than having to go to an emergency clinic.  I use two different vet clinics, one for the day to day stuff, and one for reproductive work and more complex issues.  Pauli has never been to the latter clinic and I want to be sure she has a record there.  Because my first Dal died during a botched Caesarean, I always get nervy before a litter is due.  Although I love raising pups, I do not like whelping pups.

Question for the day - why do stud dogs always seem to become "better" after they are dead?  I'm always amazed how many people will use frozen semen from dogs they probably would not have bred to when they were alive, and why they never take the time to ask the right questions first.    A dog that was used at stud in the past has a "record" (of more than just his show wins) and there is information available about both the good and bad things they produced.  Oh well.   

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Rough Day In Paisleyland

Saturday was rough day in Paisleyland, as Letty interviewed for her new home.  Letty picked me as a tiny baby, and I kept her knowing that her tail might be a problem - but I HOPED it would be OK by the time she was old enough to show. Our experience has been that tails that come up as early as 4 weeks do NOT get better, while tails that come up at about 6 weeks often do. This was confirmed yet again, as Letty's ended up way too high for the show ring. That's not to say that exhibitors don't show dogs with tails like hers or get them "fixed", it's just that I don't. Otherwise she was a perfect fit for my household, smart as well as beautiful, and fun to be around. It was tempting to just keep her, but I always knew that if the PERFECT HOME came along I would let her go.  Letty deserves to be a special dog in a Special family, and I try not to keep "extra dogs" as there is a limit to how many dogs a person can truly do a good job with.  Because I have two elderly dogs who may need more care in the future, as well as puppies to deal with, this seemed the right thing to do and the right time to do it.

My Facebook friends were incredibly supportive, as most have "known" Letty through pictures and stories since she was a puppy.  My daughter's posting said it all though, "Just remember what we've always said, every dog deserves to be special and if it means going to their own home, then that's what it is. Lots of special dogs have been placed through the years - Murphy, Trivia and Marla come to mind."

That's true of course, I have placed many adult dogs and older puppies over the years.  Jocko, Toby, Carrie, Daisy, Hemery, Murphy, Bambi, Art, Trivia, Tasia, Marla, Wendal, Gemmie, and Jake, just to name a few and it hurt (in varying degrees) to see them go, and they ALL had wonderful lives in their new homes where they were cherished members of their  new families. By keeping my numbers down, and finding perfect homes for the dogs who are not part of my immediate plans/needs I have made many families happy, and my grief at their departure later turns to satisfaction that things worked out so well.

The interview went well and Letty stayed behind.  It DID seem like the perfect place for her. A loving dog-smart family with the time and determination to do a great job with Letty.  She has things to learn there of course, like living with cats and without other dogs, and being comfortable with an infant granddaughter.  I shed a lot of tears, but I know it was the right decision.  Don't blow this Letty!

Stay tuned . . .