Friday, December 31, 2010

Old Dogs

 I enjoy every phase of a dog's life.  Since we have dogs that span from puppy to senior, I get to see all the changes that occur during the life span.  I find it very fascinating!
  Ben and Sophie are currently our two oldest.  They will be 12 in April.  A collie's life span is 10-12 years.  We've had a couple that were a little over 11 when they passed away, but certainly Benny and Soph are the healthiest and oldest of the collies we have had.  I think what I have learned the last few years about nutrition and the level of care they receive contribute to their longevity.
  This is not to say that they can be with the rest of the dogs!  Along with the gray on the muzzles, they have slowed down, sleep harder than they used to and while they think they can still run hard and wrestle, it often ends up they aggravate the touch of arthritis they both have.  They still have great appetites and enjoy a treat but I have to be careful how many treats they get and make sure it's not too rich.
  During these bitter cold days, they spend most of their time inside where they get extra attention and care. Both dogs seem to have lost some hearing, but Sophie will sometimes be completely deaf.  Usually, that happens when I tell her not to get into the cats' food or their litter box, it's time to go outside---hmmm, I wonder if there is a connection????
  As they have aged, both Ben and Sophie have developed unique traits and habits that still make us laugh. I taught Ben how to sit and "wave" a few years ago.  He will doggedly do this trick whenever he wants attention, even while Sophie knocks into him trying to be first for the hugs.  Sophie still likes to be the alpha and tries to incite barking contests with the other dogs when she's outside.  The adults largely ignore her, but the puppies can always be counted on to play the game.  Sophie will rush along the fence, barking and snarling and the puppies run from the other side, also doing their best to sound ferocious.  The game lasts about five minutes these days.  Sophie has lost a few teeth so the snapping of her mouth makes no sound, wrinkling up her snout to snarl makes her sneeze and she just doesn't have the stamina like she used to.  The puppies get easily bored, too, and since the game never varies anymore, they can't be enticed to join in for very long.  Sophie gets so frustrated when she's at her "fiercest" and the puppies have moved on to other toys!
  Sophie did give me a scare a couple of weeks ago.  When I went into their room, she was in a crate, eyes partially open and I couldn't see her chest move as she was breathing.  I called her name with no response.  I thought for sure she had slipped away during the night.  Finally, after my panicked, shaky call of "Sooophieee", she raised her head.  I'm sure she wondered why I was hugging her and laughing like a fool!  Ben was immediately jealous of all the attention his sister was getting and tried to get into the hugging, too!  (which, of course, he did!)
  I know the day is coming when there will be a blog post that one of these guys have left us.  While I dread it and know that that day will be very painful, I would never trade losing all these other wonderful days by not having these dogs in my life.  Each day is precious!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Why Are We Surprised?

  Since the snow on Thursday, I've kept the puppies in the kennel instead of their yard.  It was just enough snow to form a layer of ice on the gravel and the babies didn't have a place that was dry to play.  At the same time,  it was chilly and damp enough that I didn't want seniors Ben and Sophie to be outside (right after my last post, they started blowing coats for some reason) as it seemed to be bothering them.  With a little re-arranging of kennel assignments, I freed up one run for the four pups.
  Saturday, David found the inside gate open and the pups running about.  Sunday, he found them in the next door kennel with their mom and Uncle Gibson.  I discovered that they could push under the communal fence inside, plus the outside sloped away enough that they could squeeze under there, too.  I re-attached the fence to the rail inside then tried to find something to place under the outside rail to discourage the kennel hopping.  The gravel is frozen (plus, they would easily dig through that) so I couldn't haul a few wheelbarrows into their kennel run.  Likewise, some stray pavers are stuck to the ground like glue.  Maybe some logs?  Either too big or also frozen to the ground.  Finally, I found a metal fence post that I rolled into the low spot, then positioned their outside bed on top of that.  Problem solved! (I thought)
  I tried to finish my Christmas shopping, did grocery shopping and a couple of errands.  Late in the afternoon I went to feed the dogs and it looked like two of the puppies were in Jewel and Gibson's yard.  Inside the kennel, I found the puppies had opened their gate and were at the door waiting for me (not sure how the ones in the run got back inside so quick).   I had forgotten to secure their inside gate!  I gave them their dinner and saw that they had moved both the fence post and the bed.  Tomorrow's project will be to find something more secure to place on that outside fence rail.  I already fixed the inside gate latch so they can't flip that up.
  I should have expected these puppies to be the escape artists that they are.  There is a post from 2008 about their mom, Jewel, and her Houdini ways.  She slipped under gates as easily as an eel through water!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How Low Can It Go?

  The temperature, that is.  After what seemed like an endless summer (I was still wearing shorts in October!), winter has arrived with a vengeance.  Almost overnight, the temperatures went from the 50's to low 40's, 30's and 20's.  The coldest days have been accompanied by high winds, making the wind chill into the teens and single digits---brrrrr!
  The dogs, though, are barely affected.  Even the puppies are not bothered by this sudden change of seasons.  They come in at night, of course, but tear across the frozen ground every morning, ready to romp and play in their yard.  We drop the kennel doors for the adults at night.  Their combined body heat keeps the building so comfortable, the water buckets only have a skim of ice in the morning!  I was afraid our warm fall would delay their winter coat build up, but even senior dogs Ben and Sophie look like they could step into a show ring with their gorgeous coats!
  Today is still quite cold, but the wind has mercifully calmed a bit.  The sky is very clear with a strong sun and the dogs hinted they would like a play day.  Off they went after breakfast, running and chasing each other, Dixie trying to entice someone to play tug of war with her.  I opted to watch them from inside, next to the woodstove, rather than partake in their play.  Every time I peek out the windows to check on the dogs, they are contentedly watching road activity, looking for squirrels or sunbathing.  Short winter days though, means the fun ends early.  I'll let them stay out for another couple of hours, then it's time to come in for dinner.
  Tomorrow's forecast includes the word S*N*O*W.  Nothing like the blizzards of last year, but should be enough for the puppies to have a new experience!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Leesburg Holiday Parade

  This morning we took Jackson and Treasure to the Leesburg holiday parade.  Jackson hadn't been out in awhile and Treasure hasn't had any leash experience or recent socialization.  It was a great outing for both of them!  I thought Treasure was slow to learn how to walk on a leash, then realized she was outsmarting us.  Every time she refused to move and sat down, people would stop and make over her!  Being younger, she got lots of attention--Jackson would have none of that!  He would push his way into the crowd around his cousin and get his fair share of pats.  
  The first marching band made Treasure try to bolt away.  Jackson wasn't upset by any of the entries which helped to calm Treasure.  He would also try to get her to play during slow spots of the parade and finally succeeded.  About midway through the parade, one person was passing out dog treats.  That was all Treasure needed to decide this was a fun event!
  After the parade, we walked the pups downtown, taking the long way back to our car.  We stopped at the Farmer's Market, where they got lots more attention.  Finally, we got back home and let all the dogs out in the play yards.  It's been so rainy, then cold and windy, that the dogs have stayed in the kennel.  Lots of pent up energy!  They certainly appreciated a pretty day!
Jackson trying to get Treasure to play

She finally starts to romp with him

Getting a treat from a parade participant

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Taking a Mulligan

  We've done a re-do on Callie's name.  I still think it's a cute name but too many people said "Callie the collie"?  Plus, it turned out David didn't like it!  (he should have said something sooner)  At the shows this past week-end, everyone put their heads together to come up with just the right name.  Ellen is excellent at names and suggested "Gemma".  Perfect!  Emma is a favorite name of mine, plus this variation reflects the gem/jewel/treasure theme for the litter.  Gemma will be Hillcroft Gemstone.
  Ellen was on a roll and came up with the registered name for Treasure, the rough girl we are keeping--Hillcroft Hidden Treasure.  She then cleverly came up with names for the remaining two puppies, who we are keeping until show homes arrive.  The girl will be Hillcroft Bejeweled (Bijou) and the boy will reflect his father's name, Hillcroft Play By the Rules (Ref).
  Gemma went to the show with us on Saturday and got lots of practice with her new name.  She enjoyed the atmosphere at the show, was intrigued by the activity in the Group ring and quickly learned that hands often produce treats!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bad Blood

  I don't know what has happened with Mosby and Gibson but they are friends no more.  For two years, they've been kenneled next to each other and have played in the yards, always getting along.  A few times tempers have flared over a toy or a treat, but always returned to friendly harmony.  The past couple of weeks have seen an increase in the flare ups, then the other day, it became an all out fight.  I went to feed the dogs and found both boys bloodied and Mosby limping.  The cuts turned out to be superficial that bled easily.  Mosby is in the house to rest his leg and is just about back to normal.  I put him in the yard this morning while I fed everyone else.  Gibson thought it was going to be a play day and ran to the yard gate after he finished eating.  When he saw Mosby, both boys started posturing and egged each other to make an opening move.  I got Gibson back inside and returned Mosby to his comfy bed in the house.
  I'm quite puzzled as to what is going on between them.  I've had intact males together in the yard for quite some time without fighting.  Mosby has always been good with the other dogs but I'm wondering if his personality is changing as he ages (he's now 9).  Or is Gibson trying to assert his dominance as the alpha male?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Puppy Socialization

  The Barkfest didn't turn out to be too much, but then we got there quite late.  The puppy did get some attention and she got to see other dogs that aren't collies.  She just started to get comfortable with the leash and collar as the Barkfest was ending so we decided to take her to Casanel Vineyards for more socializing. She really put the social into socializing!  She got attention as soon as we arrived and within minutes of sitting at a table, she started acting like the patio hostess.  She looked up at every arrival, often walking over to try to greet the new customers.  When part of a wine bus tour group came to see her, she went into full adorable puppy mode!  She flopped down to get her belly scratched, she looked sweet, she chewed on both boots and fingers and the base of a wine glass, all the time looking around as if to say "Aren't I cute"???
  We think this is the smooth puppy that we will keep for showing.  Her name will be Callie, which we called her this afternoon and she quickly picked up on it.  She is a sweetie!

Lots to Do!

It's Saturday, so of course that means the "to-do" list is lengthy!  We need to brace puppy ears, get updated pictures on the website and here and get some good pictures of new champ Dixie for advertising.  But first, we're going to take one of the puppies--the smooth girl we think we'll keep--to a "Barkfest".  There won't be much for us to do but gives us a chance to get her out and socialized individually.
  Last week-end, we did manage to get a couple of pictures.  Here's the rough girl and one of the smooth boys having fun:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Maggie Goes Home

  The first puppy has gone to her new home.  "Rough Girl B" in the pictures on the website and Facebook page is now Maggie and living with a wonderful family near us in Ashburn.  They had visited about 3 weeks and thought she would be a perfect addition.
  Maggie's had quite a busy couple of days!  All the puppies went for their first vet visit on Thursday for a vaccine and exam.  They were pronounced healthy and happy!  I forgot a fecal sample, but three of the pups obligingly supplied one in the exam room.  Maggie got microchipped, as will the others when they go home.  I did a couple of errands after the vet visit, which must have been too much time in the car as the puppies started getting car sick.  Thursday was a rainy day and the puppies found mud to get into to add to the car sick sliminess that was tracked into the house.
  Today, Maggie had her first bath, which she did not like.  Just turning on the bath water made her scream like a wounded calf!  She did enjoy being dried with a towel and cuddled but started crying again when she discovered she was in the puppy room without her siblings.  When her family came though, the tail was wagging hard enough to almost come off!  I brushed Maggie up a bit and showed how to brace ears.  After going through all the paperwork, it was time to say good-bye.  Maggie did a quick potty stop in the yard and she was ready for her trip to her great home.  She's going to be well loved!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gibson Therapy

We are trying something else with Gibson to overcome his show phobia.  I bought a "Thundershirt" which is used to help dogs with thunderstorm anxiety, but also helps with general anxiety.  It's light weight fabric with velcro closures that puts pressure on the relaxation points of the body (also has a money back guarantee, another selling point).  Shortly after it arrived, I put it on Gibson and took him to Home Depot and the local Farmer's Market--two places that makes him anxious.  Gibson was more relaxed in the car, laying down in his crate for the ride to Home Depot.  But once there, he was his usual self, pulling on the lead, shying away from the carts and people.  At the Farmer's Market though, it was a huge difference!  While I could tell he wasn't 100% comfortable, he was much calmer than at Home Depot and willingly let kids come up to pet him.  Someone recognized the Thundershirt logo and asked me how it was working for Gibson.  We ended up talking for quite awhile and she could see Gibson relaxing as we talked.  At one point, the wind picked up a nearby vendor's sign and it blew right into Gibby--he barely flinched! 
  Today, we took Gibson to the Middleburg Kennel  Club show in his shirt.  When we first arrived, it was normal behavior for Gibson, but shortly after we stood at ringside, he started calming down.  Ears up, self stacking, relaxed lead .  The only time Gibson got anxious was when we walked around the vendors and were near generators.  So, now I know one of his anxiety triggers.
  After the show, we had lunch at Doener Bistro.  I could see that Gibson wasn't comfortable, but he was working to calm himself (something I've noticed he does since his reiki treatment).  Success!  Gibson was able to take (and eat!) french fries and some bread from my doener.  He watched the soccer game on the t.v. near our table and was generally the happy guy we see at home. 
  Gibson is very much my boy and I will probably have to be his handler in the show ring.  But, there is a definite difference in his behavior outside of the safety of home and now we can formulate a  plan.  It will be babysteps but so gratifying to see Gibson become the dog he should be!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Fashionista

Poor Jewel!  Her piranha babies are really rough on her and her not so subtle suggestions to stop nursing are not having much effect.  It really is too soon to separate her from the puppies so I'm trying to fashion a way to just separate the "food bar" from them until Jewel's milk dries up.  My first attempt with a t-shirt did not work out quite as I had hoped.  The puppies started to use their mother as a tug toy!  Some modifications have us on the right path as the puppies' appetites have almost doubled in less than 24 hours!  This morning was better than yesterday.  Jewel was playing with her puppies with an actual tug toy and was enjoying her babies once again.
Just one of the reasons Jewel's wearing this shirt!

Jewel's not very happy with her new wardrobe (it wasn't one of my favorite t-shirts, either!)

Once she walked around a bit and got some relief from little teeth, it seemed o.k.

The Fashionista!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dixie Did It!

  We now have our second champion and first homebred champion, CH Hillcroft Heartsong!  Dixie won Best of Variety yesterday to finish.  In the Group competition, she was pulled for consideration, but didn't place.  We couldn't be more pleased with our girl!  Dixie looked like she was having such a great time, I wish we had more shows lined up for her.  She's due to come into season soon and then it will be her turn in the whelping box.  Such exciting times!

Friday, October 22, 2010

News from the Show!

Dixie has her 14th point!  Only need one more for her championship!

Busy Day

  Yesterday was dog day!  The puppies had their eye exam, which is a major undertaking for a large litter.  David and I packed everybody up, loaded up on towels and an extra crate mat for the 1+ hour trip to the canine opthamologist.  The puppies did great!  Lots of crying but no car sickness.  The eye exams were even  better.  One of the smooth boys is normal eyed, and everyone else is very mild to mild for choroidal hypoplasia. 
  We caused quite a stir as we came off the elevator after the appointment.  The pups were in a crate on a dolly and were pretty quiet at this point.  But then, the waiting room of patients practially exploded as everyone started exclaiming over the puppies and rushed to see them.  Several people whipped out their cell phones and started taking pictures.  What could the pups do but look adorable and pose?  It took us quite awhile to get back to the car!
  We swung by the library on the way home so my former co-workers could get a peek at them.  More oohing and aahing then it was time to get home for the second half of the day.
  Dixie got a bath in preparation for a week-end of shows in Cumberland, MD.  We decided to take Jackson along to meet Ellen.  The car was packed up once again with an extra crate and towels and we were under way.  But, somehow, Ellen and I got our signals crossed and we were at the meeting point an hour and a half early!  Plan B was to meet at the Red, Hot and Blue in Annapolis which worked out better for me as that meant dinner out!  Ellen liked Jackson and he showed off nicely for her.  He was slobbery on the trip up, but didn't get car sick until halfway home.
 Dixie was a funny girl though.  She readily went to Ellen's van, but wouldn't jump into her crate like she normally does.  Usually she's so excited about shows that she doesn't pay me any notice but yesterday she looked like she didn't want me to leave her.  She has been maturing and losing her "bad baby" ways.  I've been anxiously waiting for that to happen, but now that it is, I'm not sure I like it!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Thrill Is Gone

Just when I thought Jewel would never entertain the thought of weaning the puppies, she's had enough!  Within the course of 24 hours, she's gone from pining to be with her babies to snarling when they start to nurse.  They have doubled their food needs with this change in the game plan but are still nursing whenever Jewel is in the mood.  At one point today, I saw a puppy chewing on Jewel like she was a rawhide!  No wonder sweet Jewel is snarling and snapping at her babies!  I don't want to separate Jewel from the pups at this point as they are still so young, but I hope her milk dries up soon.  I think she would enjoy playing with her babies far more than being the snack bar!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Outdoor Adventures

We took advantage of summer's return and introduced the puppies to the great outdoors.  Initially, they'd be outside for about 10-15 minutes, now they are out for about half an hour, two or three times a day.  They're getting bolder and more adventuresome, exploring the garden and the back yard before running back to me.  They are starting to explore more inside, too.  This morning, they were in the t.v. room, meeting Bootsie the cat, while I cleaned their room.  Jewel is spending more time outside, too, and seems to like the break.

Fresh air really wears a puppy out!
Add caption

Friday, October 8, 2010

First Video!

The puppies have their first video on YouTube!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What a Difference!

  The tree work was done in the kennel on Tuesday.  We had planned on having the four trees inside the runs taken down, but once the guys were in the tree tops, they could see some damage in a tree in one of the play yards.  That one needed some limbs removed, although it really needs to come down completely soon.  I had the men look at two trees at the front of the big play yard, and yep, those needed to come down, too.  One actually made a cracking noise just from them pushing on it!  In the fall and winter, we get  very strong winds from the west.  If those trees went down, it would take the fence with it.  Almost all the wood is burnable, so we have a huge pile for the woodstove!
  The dogs were very good during all the work.  Noisy chain saws and falling limbs didn't bother them at all.  Jackson was not as brave by the end of the day.  The pile of debris and the cutting of the tree closest to his yard must have unnerved him as I found him standing on his gym, frozen, when I went to get him out of harm's way so the tree top could be trimmed.  When I picked him up, he started shaking so I carried him into the house.  When the work was finished, I took him back outside and at first he wasn't sure about navigating through all the logs and limbs, then decided everything was o.k.  One of the workers described Jackson as "the puppy with the mohawk".  With his ears glued over and his fuzzy puppy head, it does look like a mohawk!
  When I let the adult dogs into the kennel for their dinner, they had a great time sniffing out the new smells the cut up logs must have released.  Sadie and Phoebe had a great time snuffling through the sawdust.  Along with the new view, it's much quieter in the kennel now that the squirrels aren't running through the trees aggravating the dogs.
  We still have a lot to clean up, but here's the new look:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's Done!

  I finished knitting my great-nephew's gift and got to spend some (but not enough!) time with him on Tuesday.  O.K., technically, this isn't a post about the dogs, but Ian is so darn cute that I'm sure you'll see why the puppies had to take a back seat for a little bit!  My lucky sister is blessed with four wonderful grandchildren--Ally, Aaron, James and Ian.  I don't get to see them nearly enough!

Ian is a ham!  

Ian was more impressed with the tissue paper than Ziggy the Zebra gift!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


  today didn't go as planned at all!  Yesterday, we had contracted to have some troublesome trees taken down from the kennel.  The job would be finished by the time we got back from the show this afternoon.  Ellen was going to come back to our house to see the puppies and hopefully we'd be celebrating at dinner the points Dixie and Gibson won.
  The day started at planned.  I was right on schedule feeding dogs, cleaning kennels and washing Dixie and Gibson.  Two of the tree guys were here right on schedule but the vital tree climber guy never showed up.  Truck trouble or maybe too much Saturday night fun?  Whichever, the tree cutting is now postponed.  Then, Ellen called to say she had an emergency and wouldn't be able to make it, but she had already arranged a  back up plan for handling for me. 
  At the show site, all was going well until Dixie got on the grooming table.  I found a small puncture wound on her front leg and remembered she had an overly enthusiastic play session yesterday.  While I was brushing her, she snarled when I went over her shoulder.  Gibson, however, was great on the table!  When we went to the ring, Gibson seemed relaxed, Dixie was behaving pretty good and I thought we were right on track.  The judge arrived a couple minutes late but seemed like a laid back person, who I thought would be good for Gibson.  When she went over to the judge's table, she lit up a cigarette--a first for me to see!  While she was smoking, Gibson was called into the ring.  He was a little antsy at first, then lost it during the exam.  I think the judge's cigarette breath was the cause as he settled back down for the down and back.  Dixie was no better, also backing away from the judge, then looked for food on the ground for the entire down and back.  She didn't behave much better for Winners, refusing to show and pretty much blowing off the judge.  Dixie went Reserve but we were very happy that Deb's puppette, Anna, won her first point!  Anna also went Best of Winners, so no point for Gibson. 
  So, even though the day didn't go as we wanted, Dixie has some chances in a couple of weeks to finish, Gibson is coming out of his show jitters, Anna is pointed and we still had some fun.  On to the next show!
  I was also told today by a couple of people that the blog needs more pictures of Jackson and the puppies.  I'm knitting a gift for my great nephew, but, after Monday (when it WILL be finished!) there will be lots of pictures and probably a video or two!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Retirement Life

  The dogs are loving my retirement as much as I am!  Since I am home almost every day, they get to play in the yards all day long.  The ones who need to lose weight (Phoebe) are less chunky, the ones who need some toning (Sadie) are less flabby and everybody is getting groomed and nails filed on a regular basis.  Ben, at 11 1/2, has a new lease on life!  I make sure he doesn't over do and yesteday's rain seemed to aggravate his arthritis, but most days he has a spring to his step and is interested in the kennel happenings.  I'm spending much more time playing with the dogs and giving them one-on-one time.  Gibson seems to be benefiting the most from this, he's very relaxed and has become quite mischevious!  Even Dixie has settled a little bit, showing flashes of a sweet girl that will walk calmly with me and come when I call her.  But don't worry, "Bad Baby" is still her dominate character trait!
  I also get to spend much more time with the puppies and am marveling at big changes in a short amount of time.  When I was working, I wouldn't see puppies for 9-10 hours at a time and didn't get to see the little milestones or how quickly one development leads to another.  With this litter, I've seen how much can happen in just a couple of hours!  One eye opens, then the other, followed by the ears--suddenly, the same noise I made an hour earlier scares them.  Just as quickly though, they recognize my voice and scent and are eager for me to pet them.  They manage to stand up, start walking in no time and within a day are running!
  Yep, life is good!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two Weeks Old!

  The puppies are now two weeks old.  For those not on Facebook to know this update, we had another loss yesterday.  The tiny girl died early in the morning.  I'm not sure what caused it, but she was not gaining as quickly as her bigger siblings.  Often in the last week and a half, I'd find Jewel feeding her separately from the others so I didn't think I needed to supplement her.  She was moving well, trying to stand and was almost the first to scoot to Jewel when it was feeding time for the whole crew.  Friday morning, I found her and Jewel outside the box.  I think she was still nursing when Jewel left the box and being tiny, Jewel must not have realized she was still hanging on.  Perhaps when the pup fell off the nipple and hit the floor she was injured?  The heat lamp also burned out during the night on Saturday and the room was cool when I discovered it.  I got the tiny pup warmed up and started to supplement as she wouldn't nurse anymore.  At first it seemed she was responding, but while she would swallow the formula, she wouldn't suckle.  She would still scoot over to Jewel but wouldn't try to nurse.  It seemed she was behaving by instinct and had lost ground developmentally.  When I went into the nursery first thing yesterday morning, I knew she was gone.  Jewel was laying in the box, puzzled by her still baby but still wanting to mother her.  Jewel's been good with her smaller family and was not distressed when I took away the little pup.
  The remaining six puppies are fat and active.  Jewel is not nursing them continuously but she still needs a lot to eat to keep up with their demands.  She's eating about six cups of food a day!  I'm sure she'll be glad when it's time to introduce cereal.
Here are some birthday pictures:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jackson at Casanel Vineyards

  On Saturday, we took advantage of being within walking distance of a winery and took Jackson to Casanel for an afternoon of relaxing and listening to live music from a local band, Andy Hawk and the Train Wreck Endings  (makes for a very cheap date!).  That was the farthest Jackson has walked on a leash!  He did pretty well and enjoyed himself on the patio.  The only available table was closer to the band that I wanted to be, but Jackson was fine with it.  He got to make the rounds of the other tables and meet the band, then quickly realized he would far more enjoy the cheese I brought for us than his dog cookies.  I made him "show" for his cheese, then let him drape himself across my legs while I listened to the music.  We realized while we were at Casanel that it was Jackson's birthday!  He's 3 months old!  So of course, he got to finish off the cheese plate. We decided we needed to go home after some Boston Terriers arrived and didn't want Jackson near their table, or even near our table.  Their owners kept saying everything was fine, but when the dogs rushed at Jackson who was under my chair, we thought the wine may have clouded their judgement (and they certainly weren't keeping their dogs under control) and went home.

Jackson hoping more cheese is in the offering!

Andy Hawk and the Train Wreck Endings

Friday, September 17, 2010

Settling In

We've had a good first week.  All the puppies are gaining weight and thriving.  Here they are at five days old:
Smooth male

Smooth male

Smooth female

Smooth female

Smooth female

Rough female

Rough female

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Jewel's Puppies

Jewel whelped the puppies last Wednesday, September 8.  Like her sister, Sadie, she delivered before her due date and very quietly.  Also like Sadie, she didn't exhibit any delivery is near symptoms--no nesting, no change in temperature, just the appearance of puppies.  I checked on Jewel around noon and she was in her crate, dozing. She was panting a bit but it was a warm day so that wasn't out of the ordinary.  She had had a couple of accidents in the house, which was unusual for her but I just chalked it up to late pregnancy. When I checked on Jewel a little bit before 2:00, the first thing I saw was another accident--and a puppy. Jewel was in her crate, obviously in labor.  It didn't look like the pup was alive so I quickly got Jewel into the whelping box as it appeared another pup was on the way.  She settled in right away and focused on the next delivery, which gave me a chance to check on the first pup.  Unfortunately, it was not alive.  I wrapped him up in a towel and whisked him out of the room before Jewel understood what was happening.  At 2:10, the next puppy was born--a 12 ounce boy!  She delivered two more good size males, each in half hour increments, then took about an hour break.  At 4:20, it was the girls' turn.  Two girls were born half an hour apart and then I thought Jewel was finished.  She had an appointment at the vet's for an x-ray at 6:45, but after a potty break and a snack, whelped two more girls before it was time to leave!  Even though the "tape measure test" indicated Jewel was going to have 9 puppies, I didn't really think it would be more accurate than an ultrasound.  The vet's palpatation of her stomach didn't indicate any more pups so an x-ray was done just to be sure.  Surprise!!!  One more pup, way up in the horn of the uterus.  We quickly packed up the puppies and Jewel and hurried home.  The vet's office didn't have any oxytocin, which helps bring on contractions, but since Jewel didn't appear to be in uterine inertia and it was only a little over 5 hours since the first puppy had been born, the vet thought we might be o.k.  The plan was to let the puppies nurse, which also helps with contractions, but take Jewel to the Emergency Care Center if the pup didn't appear by 8:30.  On the way home, Jewel started grunting--a good sign!  We got her back into the whelping box, started the pups nursing and I could see contractions starting.  By 8:15, the contractions slowed and stopped at 8:30.  I took Jewel to the Emergency Care, arriving a little before 9:00.  An x-ray showed that the pup had not moved but was in good position to be born naturally. An ultrasound confirmed a heartbeat and no puppy distress.  Jewel had a shot of oxytocin and started with contractions 45 minutes later, but no puppy.  By this time, I was concerned about the puppies at home as it had been about two hours since they had nursed.  I went home to get the puppies (and a jacket as it was really cold in the waiting room!).  Jewel got a second shot of oxytocin and shortly after I left the ER, at 10:50, the last baby girl was born!  She was a tiny mite, weighing only a little over 7 ounces.  I was concerned at first, as she was not interested in nursing and looked so tiny next to her bigger siblings.  But, the entire litter got a chance to nurse at the ER, Jewel got to rest and by the time we left, all the pups had had a good meal.
  The first night went well.  Jewel is an excellent mother and spends almost all her time in the whelping box, letting the pups nurse as they wish.  I slept downstairs, checking on the new family frequently.  Jewel had some intestinal upsets which is not unusual for whelping a large litter and I wasn't concerned.  I was concentrating on the tiny girl,making sure she was nursing and gaining weight.  All seemed well those first 24 hours, then one of the boys was outside of the group.  Jewel had been licking him and he was wet and chilled.  I dried him off, warmed him up and kept placing him in the best spots to nurse, but he didn't try to nurse.  I gave him a little bit of the milk supplement the ER had given me for the tiny girl, which seemed to help.  In the evening, he started with seizures and we lost him about 9:30. 
  The next morning, Jewel's temperature was up and she was agitated.  She had had several bouts of diarrhea and I was suspecting the canned food we had recently given her was not agreeing with her.  Some post-partum hormones probably was also contributing to her agitation but by mid morning, she had settled back down.  We changed her canned food and she's on some pro-biotics, which helped immediately.  Jewel is a content girl once again, enjoying her family, which is growing by leaps and bounds!  The tiny mite girl is a strong nurser, not letting her bigger siblings knock her off the best meal opportunities.  All the puppies glow with good health (thank heavens!) and seem to be much stronger than Sadie's puppies at this stage.
  I'm now superstitous about posting pictures to either this blog or Facebook.  It seems (at least for the last 3 litters) that as soon as I post a picture, I lose a pup.  So, for the time being, no pictures of these puppies, but they are beautiful!  We have 2 males and 5 females, not sure of the smooth to rough breakdown but it looks like mainly smooth. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Retirement Projects

  After 32 years with Loudoun County Public Library, I retired last week.  I'm sure I will need to go back to work at some point, but for the next few months, I'm home!  I'm catching up on things--gardening, bills, housework--and doing different projects.
  I decided the whelping box needed a make-over before Jewel's puppies arrived.  I tiled the floor, but after discovering the difficulties in measuring, cutting and fitting the corners, decided to nix the idea of tiling the walls, too.  I painted the outside and inside in white, then stenciled the outside with pink and blue paw prints, toys and a puppy.  I know it sounds like I already have too much time on my hands, but I figured when I spend so much time in the nursery, I'd like to have something nice to look at!
  Here's how it turned out:

Look real carefully in the left hand corner and you'll see the first occupants!  Jewel gave me enough time to clean up the room before going into early labor.  Complete details in my next post!

Virginia Scottish Games

  On Sunday, we took Gibson and Jackson to the Virginia Scottish Games at Great Meadow as part of our booth for the Northern Virginia Collie Club.  It was a long day!  We were there by 8:00, set up and started greeting people by 8:30 and stayed until 3:30 or so.  Neither Gibson nor Jackson were that enamored of the bagpipes and drums--although I liked them!--and Gibson particularly didn't like being poked and prodded by little fingers.  He was good and patient with the children, though, but by mid afternoon, I thought he had been patient enough.  Both the boys drew lots of attention, Gibson because he's smooth, Jackson because he's a puppy.  We got lots of questions about smooth coats and the blue merle coloring.
  We had Jackson try the "Terrier Wannabee" races.  A chute is marked with fencing and the dog chases a "rabbit" into a hole made of hay bales.  Jackson took off after the rabbit, but immediately got distracted by the people lining along the way.  He ambled down the course, greeting people one side then the other, finally just stopping at the hay bales, wagging his tail.  He did win a first place ribbon though!
Jackson getting ready for the "Terrier Wannabee" race

"Going to Ground"

Jackson's reaction to bagpipes and drums

Gibson and Jackson greeting visitors

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Busy Days

Jackson has been spending the nice days outside and loves it.  There's lots to see and do--the big dogs in the yards next to his, new toys to play with, a climbing gym to explore.  

Meeting Mosby

Meeting Sophie
Trying out the gym

Jackson tries out the tire tug toy