Friday, April 30, 2010

April 30th Good Luck Kirby

Last night Kirby went to a new home. I wish him luck even though I'm very sad to see him go. I'll miss his antics, and the way he always jumped into my lap, licked my face and curled up for some petting. I'll miss his soft curly poodle hair and him poking me to make me laugh. Most of all, I'll miss his cuddles and the unconditional love. Kirby was attached to me more than most of the other puppies, and that bond became pretty tight over the days he spent under limited activity after his surgery to be neutered. He slept in my room beside my bed and loved going for walks alone with me.
This is the hardest part for me, to let go of my babies.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

April 29th Outsmarted Again!

As much as Kirby is our Einstein with regards to getting what he wants, Xena is our Houdini with regards to keeping her confined. She has learned that the chicken wire I've laid down around the bottom of the fence has weaknesses, the joints can be separated (at this time), the fence pulled back out of the way and the digging out can resume. Last night, she took another "Girls Night Out", but fortunately I was home and we were all paying attention. Jim noticed that some of the pups had gotten out of the fence and we were able to round them up rather quickly and prior to any incidents. So, my next task is sewing the joints together....It never ends.
We had a visit from Moutain Forest Siberians owner and got to see his new puppy from Southern Spirit! He was a cutie, and after a few moments of shyness, warmed right up to all of us! One thing that struck me was his size compared to our puppies. Though he was five weeks younger, he was half the size of our smallest pup. People have told me how huge my puppies were, but it never really hit home just how big they really are until then. I could see it with a couple of pups from one litter or the other, but both litters?
The unlikelyhood of all the puppies in both litters being giants got me to thinking what has caused all my puppies to be larger than average especially when neither of my girls are overly large. Granted one of my boys is, but he only fathered one of the litters. It only stood to reason I was doing something vastly different for my pups than most other breeders, and that was to suppliment their feeding with cow milk mixed with puppy formula during weeks 4-10.
We don't plan to breed again for over a year and possibly two, but I'm thinking on an experiment and not supplimenting the next litter to see how much of a difference it makes.

Monday, April 26, 2010

April 26th Rainy Days and Mondays

So, half the things I wanted to do over the weekend were rained out. I did, however, wade through the mud to get more of the chicken wire down. With the girls out of heat, I opened up the enclosure to let the dogs come in and out as they please (this was before the rain). This turned out to be a bad idea because as soon as it started to rain, Lightning struck somewhere nearby. This put all seven puppies to flight into the house faster than you could say "JACK RUSSEL". My floor and furniture turned a nice dark mahogany color from the stampede. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to round up seven determined muddy puppies and give them each a bath? Yeah, so I ended up putting them back in the enclosure after getting Kirby washed and realizing what it would take for the other six. It was by far the least innocuous course of action. So my oddball puppies love the rain. They love drinking from the hose, splashing in the kiddie pool, and generally getting really muddy. I sometimes think they are furry little piglets and not dogs at all. They do, however, hate, and I mean HATE lightning and thunder. They demand to be where I am, shivering between my feet (yeah, all seven of them) or jumping in my lap. So after my shower, I had a mud bath which didn't seem to do much at all for my complexion.
I did manage to get most of the fence kitted out with chicken wire sewn to the bottom and weighted down with rocks. Hopefully this will prevent any more puppy excursions outside the dog yard. With the puppies hopefully contained, I also did some work on the garden out front. Yeah, me the computer geek with a shovel and some landscape paper... isn't that frightening?

Friday, April 23, 2010

April 23rd Work for the Weekend

The girls are out of heat! WOOO HOOO! A little peace back in the household before the girl puppies go in to it. I had them out in the yard shaparoned and Cat and Yukon showed no interest. So it will be a couple of days of supervision just to make sure.

Freya has become a real house dog, and has only vestiges of her feral shyness left. She cuddles up to Jim and I on a regular basis now and you would think that she never had such a rough start in life. Cat has also settled back in very well, and we are happy that both are now well-adjusted happy dogs.

Buck and Kirby are both healing up well from their surgery, and have also started to like being indoor dogs. This morning I let them out in to the yard for about fifteen minutes with the girls and kept an eye on them to be sure they didn't get overzealous. They did very well, and were more than eager to come back in with Freya and Samantha. All the pups are becoming well-behaved as we work with them to get their house manners and learn the house rules (no chewing on furniture, no jumping up, no begging, asking to go out for their business, etc.). They are such good puppies, and sooo cute.

So on to the weekend, tasks are to finish up puppy-proofing the fence, bathe, brush, dental, nail clip, and primp Princess for her show training, take Freya and a pup (Moon, Ace, or Cat) out on a short bikejor and if I still have some time left, go check out the trails on the Wildlife Management Area nearby with Yukon and maybe Demon or Samantha (hiking).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April 21st busy busy busy

I do have aspirations for retirement, time where there isn't something I HAVE to do every day. Until then, though, life is still 200mph every day. Yesterday our two boy puppies got snipped, and while Jim was returning from dropping off James at college, the rest of the puppies decided the weather was good enough for another outing. They tugged the chickenwire that I had not yet sewn to the fence out of the way, dug another hole, and took another holiday. So... guess what I was doing last night? Ya, sewing the rest of the wire to the fence. This is a very difficult task as all 7 puppies think it is their duty to assist me either by inspecting the fence, the wire, or the chicken wire, wiping the sweat from my brow with their tongues, and cleaning my glasses (also with said tongues). They also have to make sure the place I need to sit is comfortable enough for me prior to me moving there. If it isn't, they must jump on me in the urgency to let me know that there are uncomfortable pebbles, hummocks or sticks where I want to sit.

I make sure that I thank each puppy for their help in turn with a scratch behind the ear and a hug, which really makes the job take a lot longer, but much more fun than doing it alone.

Jim talked to the Handler/Trainer again and she let him know that next week she should be ready to start up some classes, so this weekend Princess gets a primping.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 13th Sleepless Again

He's a great runner, and normally a very quiet amenable dog. However, these past two nights, he has been a noisy beast of a dog, whining, crying, howling and carrying on. Why? Hormones! Testosterone poisoning, whatever you want to call it. Poor frustrated boy has to smell two girls who are in standing heat. Poor me has to listen to him howl most of the night. I love the boy to death, but I'm very tempted to put him in the kennel in the barn during the night. It is very airy and open, but I hate confining my dogs in 10x10 kennels. It seems cramped to me, and though he might love the custom built insulated dog house with fresh straw, I find it hard to see a big dog in such a small area. They normally get to run around the acre of fenced in dog yard unrestricted.

Ah well, hopefully this will all come to an end within the week, then we have to watch the girl puppies for their first heat. That will be the real challenge. The boy puppies will get neutered in a couple of weeks (there was a waiting list at the vet), so at least they will get to run and play together once they are no longer boy puppies. So, anyone wanting a boy puppy from our kennel before they are neutered better speak up. We have 3 again, though I want to wait at least a week before re-homing Cat to make sure he is re-adjusted and has no underlying health or emotional issues. Kirby still makes me smile and laugh, my little Albert Kirby Einstein, my siberian poodle. He's so cute and smart, but unfortunately isn't quite the show prospect. He would be a great agility or obedience dog, or probably an awesome leader dog. I've yet to try him in harness, but might this coming weekend if it is cool in the morning. Buck is the third boy puppy, and would make a good show prospect as well as a good sleddog/agility/obedience. He has symmetrical markings, is a gorgeous light golden red and looks like he won't grow larger than the standard (important in my puppies as they all seem to grow miraculously large...) All three boys are housebroken, know how to sit and lay down on command, and have been walked and socialized (sparingly with people, extensively with other huskies), taught not to bite or jump up(but sometimes they try to jump up anyway), have all their shots including Rabies and DHLPP, so most of the preliminary work with them is done.

Samantha has been pestering G'kar since he seems to be the Alpha male (though I use that term liberally, he's been fixed since he was seven months old), and the old man has finally come around to feeling some long forgotten urges. At almost 13 years, this is not an activity he should participate in lightly, but consequently, he has, and woke up sore and yelping this morning, poor boy. I gave him a doggy asprin dipped in peanut butter, but unfortunately this seemed to encourage him to give in to Samantha's teasing more... Hope he doesn't have a heart attack.

On top of all this fun, I've gotten a hold of a professional handler and trainer for conformation on recommendation of the kind folks from the Lexington Kennel Club. First up will be to attend a class as an observer, then have Princess evaluated. If all goes well, and her evaluation is good, then we'll arrange for some private lessons (missed the start of her new class which was last Tuesday... ah well). This is all very exciting, and hopefully will be the start of a great career for Princess and me in the show ring. Things are starting to come together despite the chaos.

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 12th Lots of Stuff

This past week has been hectic, but spring has sprung, there are blooms everywhere, grilling out, mowing, girls still in heat, and an orchard to plant. Plus we placed a pup (Cat) which ended up coming back. They had a family emergency which left them in a position where they thought it best to bring him back. He's back with the pack, having fun and playing with his siblings and cousins, and we are glad to have him back.

Friday I took a day off to plant our small orchard and six shade trees for our kennel expansion. Hopefully next year we will have fresh fruits as well as some great shade from the poplar trees. Though the hybrid poplars grow fast, the fruit trees aren't as quick, so it may be two years before we see any fruits. On the planting agenda are cherry tomatoes and some flowering perennials.

Planning out the kennel expansion is going to be a bit different, plus we've finally decided on how to do a "hook-up" enclosure to be sure no stray pups get out while we are trying to hook up the dogs for a run.

Sunday we finally purchased a race-worthy mountain bike with front disk breaks, front shocks, and rear suspension shocks. I've also found a wildlife trail rather close to our house (10 minute drive) that I plan on hiking with the dogs to check its viability as a training trail. Failing that, I've found a sporting club nearby with miles of dirt road track. Hopefully they will be amenable to dogsledding/carting traffic.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 6th Loose Ends

G'kar howls from the window by my bed (which means he's on my bed looking out).

Spent some more time working on the fence, finished the back and corner and laid down the chicken wire almost half way up the hill along the woodside fence. hopefully this will hold the dogs for a while.

Freya and Samantha are still in heat, and now little Buck is figuring out that he is a male dog and the hormones are driving him nuts. He thinks that anything on four legs is fair game, even Demon and G'kar. Of course, G'kar is having none of it, and Demon, well he's an odd dog. Samantha has done this to him often enough that he just stands there for little Buck. Unfortunately this means that Freya and Samantha are now forbidden to socialize with Kirby and Buck as well as Yukon. This has made Kirby and Buck very sad, and Yukon just a little frustrated. Poor boys, and their misery will begin again as our girl puppies go through their first heat. I'm praying that the girl puppies don't stimulate Samantha and Freya back in to heat, as that would make our lives almost too complicated to endure.
I hate to have to neuter Kirby and Buck, but it looks like that may be our only option to keep the peace.
Moon went to the vet today, and fortunately there does not appear to be any health issues as to her "Lazy Eye". We did, however, get a referral to a Canine Opthamologist that is close to an hour away where we will get her CERF tested. Hopefully we will be able to get all our unaltered dogs tested.
Our local vet does OHSA (?can't remember the exact nomenclature at the moment) testing for the registry though, and we have that on our agenda after tax season.

Monday, April 5, 2010

April 5th Easter Weekend

Was a gorgeous weekend with spring in the air, flowers blooming, turkeys gobbling, birds everywhere, even the family of hawks by the creek making noises. The grass is sprouting up nice and blue-green (this is the Blue-Grass Region after all), horses and donkies in the distance whinny, bray and kick up their heels. Everywhere there is the celebration of spring and new life.

Silver was picked up Saturday by her new owner, and though we will miss her, we know she is going to a great home with a fellow musher. It is a sweet sadness, but I know we will see her again at events and such.

Saturday I spent some time in the yard with the fence, and finished up abour 3/4 of the back where Samantha and the pups have dug out. Happy to say that we haven't had a jailbreak since, but I'm sure our self satisfaction won't last. Samantha and Freya both came in to standing heat over the weekend which has made life a bit tricky, but not unmanageable. With Yukon being our only adult intact male, it has been fairly easy to keep the girls separate from him. The boy puppies haven't really figured out what to do, but we keep them supervised when the girls are out with them. The girl puppies we have kept a close eye on, as they will be due for their first heat in a month or so at the earliest, but the pheramones might trigger them early.

We have a kennel that we put Yukon in for a few hours a day in the morning so that Samantha and Freya can run around the yard and sort of socialize with him through the fence, but most of the time he is inside when they are outside and vice versa. It is a canopied kennel, so plenty of shade, water and food. With Demon and G'kar neutered, life is a lot easier and the girls get to run and play with both fixed males and all the puppies (6 left, 4 that we are still looking to find homes for).

The rest of Saturday was spent either grilling, socializing with the pups, and enjoying the weather.

Sunday was crisp and chilly in the morning, so while Yukon was in the house and the girls were out, I thought that a quick morning run would help settle him and me for the day. He was excited and happy when I brought out the harness and put him in it. We went for a quick 2 miler, but by the time we got back the temps had risen nearly 10 degrees! Both Yukon and I were hot and ready for a long cool drink! Lucky for me I can shed a sweatshirt, but poor Yukon just needed to cool down, so we fired up the AC and let him relax in the cooling house as he drank out of the water bucket. When he had cooled down, he was very eager to get out in to the yard (mostly because his girl Freya was out there), so I walked him to the kennel. Poor boy being frustrated, but no puppies this time!

I spent a few hours scooping and cleaning up bits of things that the dogs and puppies dragged out of the house and had a ball tearing in pieces and leaving around the yard. Kind of like my own nasty easter egg hunt. But with $75 burning a hole in my son's pocket, he just had to go out and buy a video game. To my astonnishment, when Jim called the game store, it was open! Ah well, off to the showers and then the game store.

It was such a lovely day though, that when I got back, I dug out our shade pavillion and set it up in the side yard, dragged out our viking chairs, and a cooler for a table. I put a puppy harness on Moon and she, Jim and I sat out in the side yard enjoying the weather and the scenery (we live in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains). Moon had a ball chasing butterflies and I believe moles or beatles in the grass, and Jim and I simply enjoyed the cries of the hawk family, the woodpeckers, a few cardinals, a host of wild turkeys, and many other birds we did not identify. The temperature was around seventy-six degrees and there was a nice breeze blowing.

After a while I fired up the grill again for hotdogs and hamburgers, and we had a nice grilled supper. The only downfall of the weekend was discovering Moon had a flaw that will keep her from the show ring if we are unable to get it corrected. For some reason one of her eyes appears to be a "Lazy Eye", and doesn't follow and focus as well as the other. We will take her in to the vet to ensure it is not genetic and to see if it is correctable. This is the first time it has been noticeable, so I'm hoping it is correctable. I will be doing lots of research this week though, to see if this is an underlying symptom of something else.

Friday, April 2, 2010

April 2nd Kirby Einstein

Kirby is our cute little puffball, and when he's not busy playing with Silver, he is Mr. Personality. I think he should run for office. I mean, how many politicians do you know that when they can't reach a nice juicy hamburger will look across the kitchen, find a suitable chair, walk on their hindlegs and push the chair to the counter to get the hamburger? Usually they make a law that someone has to bring them a hamburger, and that someone has to work at minimum wage and pay for their own health benefits. Failing that, they will discuss the best method for decades on how to go about getting a hamburger, squander millions in taxpayer monies, and finally declare the effort not worth the money spent. (can you tell I've worked for the gvt?) Give him time, and Kirby would solve world hunger, or at least the growling in his stomach.

Did I mention Kirby is a smart little guy? Well, not sure if he has good taste, but he is smart and knows how to get what he wants. He doesn't always know that what he wants is not always a good thing. Kirby loves to follow me around (remember what I said about taste?), even when I go to take my shower. So I put him out of the bathroom, close the door, and get in once the water is warm. Kirby, though, thinks I'm doing something cool and he wants to be a part of it. Now you know what I mean about taste. Kirby tests the door, figures out how to open it, then saunters into the bathroom. He can barely see me through the frosted glass, but sniffs along the bottom until he finds a little crack between the outer casing and the glass door. He wiggles his nose into the gap until he has shoved the door partially open, puts his head in and shoves the door out of his way and jumps into the shower with me. Kirby then realizes he's getting wet and starts trying to lap water as it falls on him out of the air until his coat is sodden. Then he jumps out with more than a little prompting from me, shakes water all over the bathroom and happily strides off to find some other way to get into trouble.

April 2nd April Fools?

So, yesterday was April Fool's day. After the puppy outing, and working Sunday, late Monday and late Tuesday, and missing out on the Conformation class Wednesday, I admit my humor left a bit to be desired. I'd been working diligently to husky-proof the fence by taking 24" wide chicken wire, sewing it to the chain link about 6 inches up and bending the rest along the ground as a dig-barrier and weighting it down with stones from the river and bricks (from the hardware store). This has consumed my waking moments when I'm not working, and Wednesday I smashed my arm with a brick which has left a nasty bruise and a lot of pain. Freya had started her bleeding heat, and this did not have a good affect on my overall demeanor.

Jim logs on to IM and messages me:
Jim (4/1/2010 10:20:33 AM): Guess we are having freya puppys
me (4/1/2010 10:20:42 AM): !!!what???
me (4/1/2010 10:21:36 AM): I can't leave the house for 10 mins....
Jim (4/1/2010 10:21:46 AM): As I was taken a bathroom Break Kurby wanted out out and pushed the fence aside .. when I got out Fraya and Yukon where stuck together

Now all manner of unkind things are running around in my brain, one of them being I need to take Freya to the vet and get her fixed before there are puppies. Freya doesn't need that kind of stress, and neither do I. No dog should be bred more than once a year, and I certainly did not want any more puppies for a couple of years while we show Princess and Moon.

Jim let me stew for a while, trying to think about what to do when finally this comes across:
Jim (4/1/2010 10:23:18 AM): April Fools.....

At first I was mad, but how can I be when he so completely had me going? Good one Jim. Sometime in the future, there will be revenge.