Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Two Firsts

Baby Blue Boy had two milestones today--first solid food and first time outside.  He definitely enjoyed his breakfast and did like being outside at first, then wanted the comfort of something familiar!  He snuggled into my chest as soon as I picked him up.  His first outdoor adventure wore him out-he has slept most of the day!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Plotting His Escape

  Baby Blue Boy has discovered that there is a world outside his whelping box and he knows he's missing out on some important action!  He has started throwing himself at the entrance of the box, which has boards to stop him from escaping, hooks his elbows on the top, then wails and cries about missing the fun that is happening just beyond his reach.  I hope he will stay in his box until this week-end when I will have time to get the other room puppy proof.  Aunty Jewel is staying there right now, but she probably won't mind moving into the nursery side.
  Jewel came into season a little sooner than I expected but the timing turned out to be perfect.  We have chosen CH Jag-View It's How You Play as the sire for her litter.  It is a line bred cross and should improve the head qualities where Jewel is lacking.  Both Jewel and Evan have the happy, fun personalities that we like in our collies and nice movement.  Evan is a tri smooth but is rough factored like Jewel so this litter should have both coat types.  We think Jewel is pure sable which will make the puppies sable, but tri factored.
  I tried something a litte different with this breeding.  Both Shannon (Evan's owner) and I had commitments that made it very dicey to get Jewel to Evan.  To better pinpoint the day of breeding and hoping it would coincide when I was off work, I took Jewel to the vet's for cytology exams.  It's not as exact as progesterone, but Jewel seems to have a very small window for breeding and we didn't have time for the vet office to order the progesterone test.  Saturday's test showed that Jewel had started into her fertile period and Dr. Robbins thought Monday would be the optimum breeding day.  What great timing!  I was off work and Shannon was also available to do the breeding.  Jewel and I took off for the four hour drive to Brookneal.  It was an easy drive and the scenery is so pretty through Charlottesville and Lynchburg.  There were a few sprinkles around Lynchburg but the sun came back out in Brookneal.  The breeding went well and we were back on the road by 2:00.  Within half an hour, I hit rain, not too bad a first, then torrential downpours!  I kept thinking of David's trip back from Tennessee with Sadie and hoped this was a good sign that we had another successful breeding.  This litter would be due two weeks after I retire.  Surely, that's another good sign!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Big Blue

Baby Blue Boy is now 3 weeks old!  We call him the Puppy Prodigy as we don't think any other puppy (including all those whelped at Hillcroft, so this is a big boast) is as smart as this guy!  His eyes and ears have been open for a little while now.  I think his eyes are very dark blue, but it's still hard to tell.  At the tender age of 2 weeks and 2 days, he was able to stand and piddle on his own!  He quickly went from walking to running, although he's still a bit unsteady at both modes of locomotion.  He barks and growls, was actually very vicious sounding towards my sister when she visited this past Wednesday.  At least, as vicious as a toothless, four pound, 2 1/2 week old can be!  His teeth have now broken through the gums (watch out burglars!) and he is busy gnawing on toys, the pig rail, sometimes his legs.  He will also "patrol" the whelping box, marching in a circle, stopping to growl and bark at whatever trespassers must lurk near the pig rail.  Under the pig rail has been his favorite place to sleep, but the growth spurts of this past week have made it very difficult for him to squeeze beneath.  This has been a hard transition for the little guy and he appears to have a bit of a temper.  There has been quite a bit of screaming and yelling as he tries to stuff himself under the rail, bumping his head in the process.
  Yesterday was his first meet and greet of what we know will be an adoring public.  We hosted a family reunion and many of my cousins wanted to tour the kennels and of course see the puppy.  Sadie is not thrilled with strangers near her baby so she had a long walk while everyone snuck in to get a peek.  Of course, they couldn't resist petting and a couple cousins wanted to hold him.  Jacob was so gentle with the baby!  He did a great job holding him.  The puppy was good with the unfamiliar sounds and hands of company but did snuggle into my neck when I took him to put him back in his box.  Then, he put on his "tough guy" show for the audience, barking and growling!

On "patrol":


This board won't keep him in much longer!:

Happy puppy:

Almost nap time:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Gibson Got Reiki'd

And what a difference it made!  In June, we hosted an ice cream social for the Northern VA Collie Club (the day after the puppy was born) and one of the demos was reiki by Mary Pat Corrigan of Higher Ground Bodywork.   Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress-reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is a hands-on technique that works the energy field within/surrounding all beings. The hands of Reiki practitioners have been shown to produce electro-magnetic pulses -- working with the patient's own electro-magnetic fields to restore balance, harmony and health.   We had wondered if reiki could help Gibson with his phobias, especially when it came to being in the show ring.  I felt that I had done all I could to help him and even though Gibson has shown vast improvement, we still needed a break through.  I think reiki will be it!  He will need more sessions of course, but even this brief demo showed that this is a good therapy for him.  The ice cream social had most everything that will stress Gibson--noise, strangers, men, change in his surroundings (we had tents in the back yard) and he reacted as I expected when I brought him over from the kennel.  He was tense, wanted to go back to his home and was rather jittery.  Gibson jumped right up on the grooming table that was set up for the demos (for some reason, he finds that comforting).  Within minutes of Mary Pat starting the reiki, he began to relax, his eyes softened and he started to look around at the crowd.  It even looked like he was smiling!  Even more telling, he began to release gas, a sign that Mary Pat said he was relaxed and responding to the therapy.  That part of reiki I'm not so happy about!  Since the reiki, Gibson has been more calm and centered, confident in himself instead of looking for ways to make me happy.  This makes me more relaxed when I'm with him, which I'm sure builds on the reiki results.  Today, I gave him a bath and it was actually fun!  I dried and brushed him outside and he was playful, wagging his tail, even mischievous as he stole the treat bag and finished it off.
We plan on Mary Pat becoming a regular visitor to our house--especially since I won a reiki gift certificate at the raffle!

  Wish I had some better pictures, but the best ones will hopefully be in the fall, when Gibson has those big rosette show pictures!

Sunday, July 4, 2010


And when she was good,

She was very, very good

But when she was bad she was horrid.

This nursery rhyme would describe Dixie in the ring, especially when I'm handling!  With her lack of coat (she actually has some bare patches!) there was no need for Ellen to handle Dixie today at the Rock Creek Kennel Club show.  I would have preferred to just have her absent, but she was needed to hold the major so I took her in the ring.  Dixie had already started to misbehave the previous day and when we arrived at the show site, she was in her crate with towels covering it to prevent her from seeing (and barking) at other dogs. Like her mom, Dixie will vocally object to anything she finds disturbing--the list is long and continually growing.  But, at least Phoebe would stop in the ring!  Dixie seems to have developed a very strong sense of what should be allowed and  is the self appointed collie cop of all things wrong.  She lulled me into a false sense of "this will be a fun ring experience" by behaving perfectly outside the ring, sweetly waiting for our class, and stacking wonderfully when we first entered the ring.  Our initial go around was great! I caught the judge looking our way!  I didn't think she'd win the class, but perhaps she could go second??? NO, we were lucky we weren't excused!!!!  Dixie wouldn't stand to be examined, then jerked her head out of the judge's hands.  When I tried to hold her head still, forgetting that I had bait in my hand, Dixie tried to grab the bait, earning me an admonishment from the judge--"don't feed her now"!  Dixie started to dance around, I was trying so hard to get her to behave, then I straightened as the judge bent over--almost knocking the judge's hat off her head!  After that good first impression, it was time for the down and back.  A piece of paper was blowing outside the ring and a couple were walking with their dog.  Oh, the horror, this can't be allowed!!!  Dixie started barking, charging towards the edge of the ring (unfortunately, not in the direction we were supposed to go), her tail straight up like an antennae.  Somehow I got her to the proper corner of the ring, gave her an admonishment, which she blew off, then tried to gait her back to the judge.  Dixie had her hackles up, was looking backwards and was barking!  David was going to get some pictures of us in the ring, but Ellen just murmured, "oh no, don't take pictures of that".  We finished third (out of three entries) but I was so glad that the judge didn't say "don't ever show a dog to me again" that I just kept saying "thank you, thank you"!  Apparently, the people watching the show (friends and other exhibitors) thought is was very amusing as I heard various comments--"I hope you weren't upset that I was laughing", "I've never seen a dog raise their hackles in the ring before", "she was having more fun than should be allowed".  Back at Ellen's set up, Dixie flopped into her crate, exhausted.  It's hard to show and keep order a the same time!