Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Winding Down

Puppy chores will be winding down soon. Two weeks ago we did microchips, last week we did BAER testing, this week it's vaccinations and Vet checks, plus three stool checks and worming along the way.  Visitors every day this week including two groups today, and one tomorrow.  On Friday Jess and I will get together to do puppy pictures.  On Saturday Feeney will head off to his new home, and Summerset will leave the next day.  Two pups will fly out to their new homes next week.  Puppy booklets to finish up, literature to print out.  Books (puppy raising and raw feeding) have arrived, registration applications are back from AKC and I have collars for everyone.  Whew!  How did I manage this when I was working full time?
Time to go through my list, and decide who would make the perfect owners for Dallas, when I finally decide to let her go. Sigh...
Fern is enjoying just being a dog again.  She and Max have been wrestling, playing keep away with Fern's beloved pig, and she's been nagging me endlessly to throw the darn thing for her.  Yesterday we went down to the river, and she had a chance to splash in the water for the first time in over two months,  She certainly enjoyed it!  Fern came through the litter in great condition, and we hope to go for her Grand Championship next Spring. This winter Fern will do an obedience class - she's exceedingly smart, but often has her own way of doing things, so it should be interesting.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Playing Favorites

So we're down to the last week of enjoying the whole litter.  Pups start to leave this weekend.  They've been a lot of work, but so much fun.  Because I don't take deposits, all expenses have been out of pocket so far, and my bank account is really feeling the pain. I'm tracking expenses on this litter, and hope they will be covered, but of course I don't track the hours invested in raising a well-bred, well adjusted, healthy litter, and placing them carefully in really good homes.  It's a very good thing that I still love raising a litter of pups!
Do I have favorites in a litter?  Absolutely!  My favorite is rarely the puppy I end up keeping.  It's often an obvious pet puppy, but one with a particularly endearing personality.  Whatever puppy I keep has to be a good fit for my home, have the kind of personality and temperament that I enjoy working with, and of course it has to be show potential.  Although all my dogs are pets first, they are also show dogs who finish their championships in the breed ring.  They may not ever be bred, but they must be dogs that have something to offer the breed if I choose to do so.
Sometimes it's easy to select a puppy to keep.  Fern stayed because she was the only brown-eyed bilateral hearing female pup - and fortunately she was also my favorite, although her brother Ramsay was a close second.  Max was always my favorite in Holly's litter, from the time he was a tiny puppy.  Fortunately he was also show quality, so I could justify keeping my favorite puppy - even though I had done the litter for a liver boy, and Max was black.  I kept his sister Mellie too, who is probably the better dog, but she eventually went to live with her co-breeder.  Both Fern and Max did well in the show ring and have become permanent members of my family.
When I leased Reebok and raised a litter from her, Letty picked ME when she was three weeks old.  She was a beautiful pup, and definitely my favorite.  Her sister Weather was also lovely, and it was a tough decision.  I eventually selected Letty to keep despite the fact that she was not outgoing and carried her tail too high, and Reebok's owner took Weather.  Weather had a wonderfully outgoing temperament and made a fine showdog, while Letty only wanted to be my dog.  Sweet and beautiful but unsure of strangers, with a tail carried too high as well.  Letty was eventually placed in a pet home where she has thrived, and I shed many tears over placing her.
Fern's litter was done knowing that the best male was already promised, so I made a point of not getting attached to Feeney who is a lovely pup with an ideal temperament.  He'd be a great fit here, but has an excellent home to go to.  Dallas was my favorite pup from the beginning, a brilliantly colored girl with a beautiful face and a sweet nature, other than being death on shoelaces.  She's the one who always kisses my face when I cut her nails, and she follows me everywhere.  Unlike Aunt Letty, she's comfortable with other people too, and sooo pretty.  BUT her sister Mira is almost as pretty, appears to be a bit better for construction, and has a bolder, more confident personality.  Dallas is soft and sweet and a bit submissive, and whichever girl I keep will be living with bossy mama Fern.  Dallas has a better chance of thriving and developing her potential in another household, without Fern.   I'm still arguing with myself over this.  I like Mira a lot, and anticipate that she will be a good show dog, but Dallas is the pup I really want to keep.  Still thinking this over, but I need to pick with my brain rather than my heart!   What I probably need to do is to find the right co-owner in the Twin Cities area, someone I can work with, someone who would raise Dallas well, and let me show her if she turns out well.  Still thinking . . .