Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Wow, it's been a whirlwind of activity around here this past week and I couldn't be happier to report that all eight of our beautiful puppies have found homes. Not just ANY homes. I could not be more thrilled with the homes that they are going to. Truly it's a blessing just knowing how much they are already loved and anticipated in their new homes. Every new owner with the exception of one, have been previous Labrador owners and/or they still have a lab of varying ages at home. This is a huge relief because they absolutely know what to expect and look forward to it happily. Yellow gets to ride on Alaska Airlines to his new home on Friday. He is going to a wonderful family in Sitka, and they are both teachers so they have the summer off! What could be better! He also has another Lab brother named Steve to play with. I'm so happy for him. Turquoise is also going to a family of teachers who live in Eagle River. They have been coming over to visit him and I'm so excited for him and all the love and attention he's going to receive in his new home :) Getting to know his new family has been really fun for us, they have a 12 year old daughter so he'll still get his 'kid time'. White has found a wonderful new home that has another young Lab for him to play with and love - yea White! Sweet Mr. Green is going to a wonderful family who has had Labs for years and not only do they have three daughters but they live very close to us and walk the same trails in Kincaid park so it is a given that we will get to see him in passing from time to time :) Orange has officially been named "Titan" by the Sire's family and went home today (early I know) because they will be bringing him back for play dates this week and hopefully beyond. Lavender, our only little girl is going to a wonderful family who lost their older Lab a year ago and they have waited a year to get a new puppy. They have two young boys who will be loving on her. Lavender will be up to the challenge of two boys since she's gotten a little rowdy with seven older brothers! Our very near and dear friends, Rene and her son Nathan are getting Blu and they are keeping the name Blu. They live close to us and Blu will get to stay with us until July 4th which will be wonderful for us and Ruby since she won't lose all her puppies on Friday. Even better is that we see each other often and Rene's son is close friends with our kids (not to mention that she is one of my closest friends, lucky me!) so we will get to keep Blu in our lives. Blu will be their first dog and they are excited and preparing for the big day. Jorah has named Red, Cooper, short for Kupreanof Island which is where our cabin is. She has been reading and studying up on puppy training and I only have optimism for what the future holds for the two of them. In short this has turned out to be one of the best things that we've ever entered into as a family and I can only give all the credit to God. We are blessed. We will update with new photos when the puppies go home on Friday.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Well it is that time . . . the puppies are getting ready to go to their new homes and we meet this exciting time with both happiness for the puppies and their new owners and sadness as well since we love them ALL. Seriously, every puppy is sweet and special and I'm glad I don't have the job of trying to pick one to stay with our family. I'm in love with each and every one - big surprise :) Since our oldest Daughter Jorah is in charge of most of the puppy care and she has been chomping at the bit for our seal of approval, she will be the one to pick a new puppy for our family, which will be her dog. I don't think she got to pick really, I think Red picked her. He began following her around more than the other pups and that was all it took. She fell in love. I have to say I'm happy with her choice in boys. For her "first love" I couldn't be happier! I hope prospective owners have the same experience because if they have to choose without the puppy picking them . . . well it may take a while. They all have a way of special sweetness and it's not easy to pick a favorite. All that being said, here are the details: Lavender has been spoken for and so has Red. I believe the Sire's family has chosen Orange for their daughter, Alexis. I will know definitely about Orange later today or tomorrow. All the other puppies are still available. They are scheduled for their first shots on Monday, June 13th. They will be able to go to their new homes on June 19th, Father's Day, when they will be eight weeks old. What a Fathers Day gift they will be! :) Born Easter morning and going home on Fathers Day. I will be putting new photos on shortly. Yea for the Puppies!!
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
A bit needs to be shared about Mom at this point because we are all on the lookout for her prodigy. Ruby is first and foremost a talker. A LOUD talker; snorter and whiner. She isn't shy about letting us KNOW how she feels. She is also overflowing with love and energy and her presence is felt, (and heard) the moment she enters a room. She is lacking any quiet subtleties and would probably make a terrible hunting partner. She likes to follow us room to room, which almost landed her the name 'Shadow'. She is VERY serious about her pack. When I drop off one of the kids somewhere she looks at me like I'm crazy and she cries for them to get back in the car. She is very happy when her whole pack is assembled and unhappy when it isn't. She doesn't drag out her disappointment though as that would go against her happy-go-lucky nature. I think her loyalty is what makes her such a good Mom. She is incredibly attentive to her family, regardless of human or canine status. To say she loves food would be a gross understatement. She happily lives up to her nickname of 'Hoover'. This nursing thing is right up her alley because she can eat all day and night - sheer heaven for Ruby. Nearly every discretion she has entered into since puppy hood has been a direct result of her deep affection for food. Welcome to the club Ruby!! She is an incredibly reliable alarm clock. Her stomach dictates what time in the a.m. she will come a-snorting. She usually begins this morning ritual by getting her big black snout right up into my peaceful sleeping face. This is when she starts to snort (softly at first) she is nothing if not considerate. Along with the snorting comes the tickling of her whiskers on my nose. This is immediately followed with a load 'thwacking' noise produced by her thick, bullwhip of a tail. She prefers to thwack her tail on wooden things like the door or dresser which produces a nice LOUD rhythmic noise. As if this wasn't enough to get my eyes open she then starts to shake her collar vigorously, clanging together her dog tags, just for good measure of course. Somehow this noise doesn't make me angry. Impossibly she somehow manages to convey her happiness through this noise. Happiness at another new day, another opportunity to eat, another chance to love and be loved. All this happiness comes through to me in her snorting, and cavorting. Amazingly I somehow 'catch' her enthusiasm. Call me crazy but it's a fabulous way to wake up. Much better than any old obnoxious alarm clock. Anyone can have one of those. Not everyone can be blessed with a happy, pig-snorting pooch. After I drag myself out of bed I am greeted with a new, more excited round, of snorting and butt wiggling accompanied by her tail beating on my bare legs. I can't imagine how this ISN'T painful for her when it's SO VERY painful for us! It never appears to cause her pain or slow her tail down one bit. I think she channels extra power to her tail by way of frantically wiggling her hind end. She puts so much power in the wiggle that she's able to turn her tail into a weapon. I'm amazed she can stay upright on all four paws due to her exuberance. Even when she's in a more mellow mood she still walks with her rear end happily sashaying to and fro and her tail bobbing from side to side like a happy flag. It's nearly impossible to look at her and not smile. When I describe her as 'snorting' I am NOT exaggerating. If you didn't see her and know that she's a Black Lab you would absolutely guess that we have a pig in the house. This works great for me because I've always wanted a pet pig and so now I have a dog that sounds like a pig and eats like one too. It's like two pets in one. Lucky, lucky me! Her special snorting talent works against her stealth when it comes to stealing food. She gives herself away every time. She snorts whenever she sniffs, and she's SO obviously loud that we can HEAR her intentions before she can commit the crime. It's priceless really. We can hear her snorting out the goodies on the kitchen counter and can intercept her specialized 'hoovering' techniques before the food gets wiped out entirely. Yesterday I was running errands and Micah Jake was on 'puppy duty'. He called me alarmed and said, "I heard Ruby snorting and then a brand new loaf of bread was missing from the counter." Along with this information was the fact that when he found Ruby downstairs she somehow had bloodied the top of her nose. The blood is still a mystery but it was easy to determine the fate of the loaf. Guess those puppies ran her dry again . . . *sigh*. Ruby has ways of earning her keep. She makes a wonderful 'pre-wash' cycle for our dishwasher. If we miss any morsel of food on a dish or silverware during the loading process she makes sure to complete the job for us. Thank goodness for that super duper heat cycle that sterilizes the dishes. Along with all the talents I've mentioned so far, Ruby came to us already adapted to noise and lots of children. Praise God! Darrah was three when we got Ruby and she's not a 'gentle' child. She plows into Ruby from every direction and angle. Ruby just rolls over and lets Darrah cuddle into her. Darrah uses Ruby's tummy for her personal foot warmer. So thin is the line between the two that I have a hard time telling where Ruby begins and Darrah ends. They are like two puppies together. Her patient demeanor has been a requirement to her survival in our house. I chalk a lot of this up to the fact that Ruby came from a home. Not a large breeder. They just had the one litter and three kids (along with lots of friends) to raise the puppies. She was exposed to all the normal chaos of a busy household. She fit into our home like it was meant just for her. This is what we want to accomplish with Ruby's puppies as well. So needless to say, it will be interesting to see if any of Ruby's pups get her 'endearing' talents. Only time will tell . . . . Happy Mother's Day Ruby :)
Today is day 11 and we have VERY chubby puppies! Still no open eyes yet. We are beginning to see some differences in the puppy's little habits. The kids are, of course, very anxious to have the puppies open their eyes and I admit I'm a little curious about this myself. However, being a Mom, I know that once their eyes open and focus, it will be a mere 'blink' in time before they realize they are in a box. A very nice box indeed, but still a BOX. Which quickly translates into a desire to escape the box. So they can keep their eyes closed a little longer, thank you very much! :) Before I launch into their particular personalities let me just say that I would love to have some favorites picked out - one puppy of each color would be nice. In all honesty, I love them all equally still. I will tend to think one is SO sweet and has to be the best of the bunch but then I pick up another one and realize that I was wrong and on and on it goes. They all have us equally whipped. I'll start with Mr. Green because his volume demands this. He is, I think, the biggest and most needy. He doesn't like to sleep on his back like all the other pups, (already bucking the system) AND, although he is the biggest in size, he is by far the 'littlest baby' of the bunch. It's adorable and endearing. He strings along a constant stream of little chips that have us attending to his every whim. Maybe he's the smartest as well as the biggest?? While Green is throwing his baby bulk around, it's Mr. Mellow Yellow who has the biggest head. He has garnered for himself the nickname, 'Butterball' and rightfully so. He is big; sweet as butter, and the lightest color of golden in the litter. He is neck-to-neck in the weight category with Green. In addition he loves to snuggle into our necks which is priceless. Next we have Blue. Blue was our first-born and is the 'butterscotch' color of his Dad. He is unbearably sweet and delightful. He was breach at birth and is most likely not going to do anything by the book. He has us wrapped around his paws. Blue also has a very vocal streak in him and is tipping the scales along with his brothers. Boy Orange is showing his own personality and is a love bug. He is super fun and loves to be held, showing his delight by sleeping on his back and snoring softly while he practices 'kung-foo' moves with his stealth black paws. We are expecting great things from Orange. Red Boy is a satiny sleek black boy who is sweet as can be. He is very serious about his groceries but doesn't make a lot of ruckus about it. He is on the quiet side compared to some of his more vocal siblings. He also likes to lie on his back and have his chubby tummy rubbed. He survived his first nail clipping like a pro and so far seems to be an absolutely delightful little chap. You can definitely say that we've started our 'socialization' early. Our White Boy is actually black of course :) He is wonderful. Just watch your paws and HIS! He is our resident 'daredevil'. I know, I know, how can a puppy that can't walk, hear or see be a 'daredevil'?? Good question, I agree, but somehow White has it covered. From his first few hours of life he has managed to wiggle, roll and squirm his way into potential disaster. The scale has never been tipped (literally) so many times. Strong arms are no match for White if he feels he has somewhere else to be. Let's just say it's a good thing he has padding and can bounce. Maybe he has some Evil Kenevil in his genes. No bikes for him! When White isn't practicing his moves he is sleeping and charming us like a champ. Our last boy is Turquoise. A color we had originally reserved for a girl pup but when the boys just kept -a-coming, our Turquoise ended up being a boy. He is golden and a perfect shade all his own. He is not as light as Yellow and not a darker Butterscotch color like Blue. He is uber-adorable and can be most often found curled up next to his Mom's head. He is a boy who knows how to love and appreciate where the food comes from, (smart, very smart). He is also huge, competing valiantly for the title of 'chubbiest'. He is fun to love on, because he becomes like a noodle in our arms. Last but not least is our ONLY little girl, Lavender. Saving the best for last of course :) Actually Lavender has been fairly quiet compared to her brothers. She has a air of dignity about her. At first we were concerned because she is so much smaller than her brothers. Our fears were unfounded as we learned that she is a tenacious little thing. She can plow her way through the puppy 'mosh-pit' without any intervention on our part. If all the food spots are taken she simply submarines her way down underneath all her brothers and finds what she needs. She is the only puppy who has perfected this technique. Not that we spend a lot of time watching them of course - HA! Somehow we miraculously escaped having a 'runt'. Good thing because we would be worried if any puppy wasn't holding their own. So this is the rundown on our puppy personalities to date. New photos are coming soon . . . . .
Friday, April 29, 2011
We weighed our little 'brood' this morning and some of these 'sweet little pups' have gained nearly a pound in five days! How can this be?? All the information I have poured over said they can gain twice their birth weight in 7-10 days but, 5 days?? Holy Cow! Actually they look more like little piglets than cows. Their poor mother, Ruby, closely resembles the cow right now. Poor girl, the birth experience isn't so pretty for female dogs either. Although she has her sleek and gorgeous physique back - if you look at her from above her body. This is her 'shapely' view. All you have to do is merely glance at her from the side or rear end view and it looks like she has actual 'udders' hanging down. It is not pretty. The kids and I took her for a walk last night and as she ran around happily, Jorah asked if I could hear that horrible noise? I could hear it, (unfortunately) and it was her milk sacs? breasts? They literally were smacking together in a sickening and painful way as she ran. I tried to stop her from running just so I wouldn't have to listen to it, (selfish I know) but she acted oblivious to the obvious - so I let her be. Secretly I promised her that we'd never, ever do this to her again. Of course this was said under duress as I had to listen to the hateful 'smacking' sound. As soon as we were home and I had a puppy back in my lap, inhaling it's sweet perfume, I forgot all about that silly promise. We are on a 'puppy high' right now. Yes I actually do think that the combination of their smell; blinding cuteness; adorable sounds they make, and the feel of their warm silky sweetness, might actually be able to get us 'high'. Certainly it has become addictive. All you have to do is look around at all that ISN'T getting done at our house. Pretty much EVERYTHING. Except of course, playing with the puppies. We have that chore all buttoned up. Back to the issue of 'nursing obsession' - our puppies have it. Their bellies are so full of moo that they literally look 'sloshy'. Ruby just eats; drinks and nurses. At this rate by the time they CAN walk, their bellies will possibly have them 'grounded' and unable to do anything but roll. New photos are at the end of the blogs, just scroll down to view. Remember they are actually puppies and not piglets, you'll be able to verify by looking at their tails :)
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
I thought it would be so easy to breed a dog. Their instincts, fueled by mother nature, would take over and ta-da - we'd have puppies on the way, right?? Wrong, as it turns out. First off we thought we'd missed the window of opportunity because our girl Ruby was already having her period which for us humans means the egg's time has run out. Turns out this is NOT the case in the canine's world. Actually the spotting of red blood indicates that it's not quite time yet and we needed to watch carefully for the color of the blood to change to light pink. Supposedly, according to information obtained via the almighty 'google' search engine, when the color of the female's blood changes, then the magical time has arrived. So we still had time and thus began our search for a compatable puppy Daddy. We happened upon a family here in Anchorage, who like us, are in love with their Labrador and wanted to have one of his puppies to add to their family. We set up a time to meet and it turned out that Buddy and Ruby REALLY liked one another - big surprise. Buddy and Ruby both, ironically, weighed 72 lbs., another sure sign of destiny at work. Buddy is a beautiful butterscotch color and with Labradors the puppies will be born in solid colors, not spotty, so it's o.k. to mix and match colors. We were happy about this because Ruby is from a golden mom and a black dad so her and Buddy's puppies would hopefully be a mix of golden and black. Yea - we have found our future 'puppy Daddy' so this sounds like an open/shut deal right? Wrong again. Both of our sweet (a.k.a, innocent & virgin) Labs had no 'experience' at this kind of courtship. On their first 'date' they chased and played and resorted to an exorbitant amount of sniffing and licking - but no actual 'togetherness'. Nuff said. Date number two was a repeat of their first, but this time we went to Buddy's house and had the dogs in a more confined space in Buddy's garage. On their third meeting, Buddy's owner Darla, noticed that Buddy seemed distracted by her presence so she left the garage. Right away Buddy started paying attention to me in Darla's absence. So I left the garage as well. Thankfully Darla's two son's were available to stay and supervise the dogs and, like magic, once the garage was cleared of all other females, Buddy and Ruby got down to business and formed the sought after 'tie'. Buddy instinctively knew he was locked-in to Ruby and didn't struggle, (smart boy). Ruby however, wanted no part in waiting around so we had to hold her and keep her calm. This is why breeding dogs should always be supervised - there are actually 'safety' issues - who knew?? Success at last! Two days later we got them together again, this time Darla and I enlisted our husbands to help supervise (as all the females were staying out of the garage now that we figured out the magical formula) and success again! Two or three 'ties' are recommended to insure fertilization of the female. Now we were pretty sure that puppies would be on the way and as an added bonus, all the time we spent 'trying' with Ruby and Buddy was not in vain. We were able to get to know Buddy and his whole family a little better, which was a blessing. The more time we spent with their family the more we were happy that we found them specifically. Buddy also charmed his way into our hearts and we were more excited than ever to see how their puppies would turn out. Now we just wait and see . . . . . and keep our fingers, and Ruby's paws, crossed (literally) as we didn't want her to meet any other males which could cause disaster to all our plans so Ruby's freedom had to be curtailed in a big way, at least for a while.
This is our first (and last) litter of puppies. I say 'last' because we are not 'breeders' we are just a family who loves our dogs and decided to take this journey into 'puppyhood' for the experience and because our purebred girl, Ruby, is beautiful and a wonderful family dog. We are believers in not bringing more homeless puppies into the world and so this decision was not made lightly and would not have been made at all if we didn't have a papered dog that we bred with another purebred, very sweet male. Both Mom and Dad come from long lines of healthy purebred Labradors who are thankfully free of hip issues. We had people already interested in puppies before we began so that helped us in our decision. So all that being said . . . Ruby met Buddy and so the fairytale begins. Oops, I mean that I found Buddy's family on the internet and was thrilled that they also have a house full of children and declared Buddy their very best friend. It seemed like a match made in heaven so we got the two of them together and as time permits we will share our ensuing adventures.