Archive for October, 2006

Emma and Mulder’s Great Adventure

What an amazing weekend we have just had. Covering hundreds of miles from the Cape and back, and then again the next day. For someone like me who gets bored driving any distance, this was quite an achievement. I left in the wee hours (3:30 AM) Friday morning. Forified with extra strong Dunkin Donuts and a lite country radio station I had never heard before, I joined the thousands of truckers plying their trade on our highways. Whoever said our country runs on our trucking system was sure correct. Made it to the Cape just before sunup. There I met Berna Welch and her magnificent animal Mulder. She informed me that he had just placed first in the Eastern National Dog Show last month. So his reputation and value continue to grow. I also met his mom, a gracious thirteen year old lady with a face as white as artic ice. Berna and her husband Peter are caretakers of fifteen goldens at the moment and I was a little in awe, knowing how much work our four are.

So Berna entrusted Mulder to my care and I started back to Connecticut to meet Barb with our Emma at the Suffield Veterinary Hospital. I promised Berna I would not leave Mulder alone for one moment and we made the trip nonstop with no mishaps. Upon arriving there I was privileged to walk Mulder around the enclosed area to stretch his legs. Never having been to many dog shows, and certainly never having seen such a valuable animal up close, I felt like one of those celebrity groupies. His sweet personality is only matched by his amazing lion sized presence and looks.

We met Dr. Anne Huntington, the veteran and very friendly infertility expert, and then we all went into a small room where the specimen was obtained. Emma was there for Mulder to smell and it was quick and painless for all. A microscopic exam was done and Dr. Huntington reported Mulder’s count to be ONE BILLION critters per drop of semen. That is a number that humans can’t hope to match! She then took Emma to the surgery suite where an anesthetic was administered. A small incision was made in her abdomen and then her pelvic organs were explored with a scope. A few small cysts were found and removed and then Mulder’s semen was injected into her uterine horns. Emma recovered nicely and then we brought her home to rest. Mulder stayed overnight at the hospital since we have Solo here in heat also.

Saturday morning we went back to the hospital and the vet on call for the weekend, Dr. Powell, obtained another sample from Mulder. She then placed a scope in her vagina and tried to place a catheter into Emma’s cervix. However Emma had a stenotic opening and it couldn’t be done. So instead she left Mulder’s sample on the doorstep of her cervix. This was done via video monitor so we could watch. Amazingly, the equipment she uses is very similar to what I use every week in my practice to correct human female issues.


Then we dropped Emma at home and traveled back to the Cape in the middle of that blustery rainstorm. Berna told me I shouldn’t put Mulder’s photos that I took, on the web until it’s proven Emma is pregnant. Bad luck she said and she’s superstitious. So I will settle for showing Emma at the hospital. On her end there is no luck involved whether she conceives this time, only pure science and the miracle of technology.

On the way home we stopped in Worcester, MA. to pick up Barb’s sister’s golden, Bailey. One of Abby’s offspring, we will be watching him for the next two weeks while Lynne is away. Bailey is a loving gentle soul with very light feathers. Arriving home in the late hours of Saturday evening, everyone found their sleeping spots.

This morning came early again. Dogs don’t do Daylight Savings time. While outside doing their morning duties, Emma kept going up to Bailey and sniffing his tail end, then looking at me. Bailey is neutered so I wasn’t concerned about the end of Emma’s heat.

BaileyandEmma2a.jpgWhen Emma did this about three or four times and each time then looked over at me, I finally got it. She was saying in effect… What happened to my FABIO?

So another day starts here in dogville. Emma is scheduled for an ultrasound in four weeks, and then we will know the results of this weekend’s labors. I learned quite a bit about canine female anatomy, and we met a lot of very special dog people.


Golden Autumn Morning

One disadvantage of having all your dogs sleeping in your bedroom is that you are at the mercy of whoever feels the most energetic and wants to start their day early. The good news is that for us early bird risers, sometimes you find an absolutely amazing New England morning that leaves you breathless. If I am not working, the dogs coax me outside at first light.

GoldenAutumn1.jpgToday was one of those golden mornings. Stunning colors on a blue sky background with a cold bright light accenting everything. Chilly crisp air without any frost.The girls had a ball, as usual.

Someone recently asked how we keep our dogs so lean. Several of our neighbors run their dogs a good number of miles per day, but they still seem to put on a few pounds over the years without being overfed. After some thought, the answer is here in these photos. My knees have long stopped allowing me to “run” with them in hand. And if you have a pack, they encourage each other so they are always racing here and there.


For every mile that I walk/run with them, they probably do two, and at a fast pace. The route we have taken for the last fifteen years involves covering all the fields at the high school here in Farmington at least several times. Being early morning, you rarely encounter anyone else and the school kids are all inside.

Since they have all walked together from being pups, they don’t stray and they listen pretty well. (excepting of course our recent encounter with a large raccoon on the soccer field. We all survived including the raccoon, although I suffered cuts and bruises on my hands. Lesson learned is not to run them without full gloves on, fingerless ones don’t protect you well enough. And thank god the raccoon wasn’t rabid, just out for a walk like us apparently.)

GoldenAutumn3.jpgFor all of you interested in our Emma’s saga, here is the latest update. She has had three progresterone levels over the last five days, and is now close to ovulation. I am leaving tonight at 3 AM for the trip to the Cape to pick up Mulder, the champion stud. I have to have him at the Veterinary hospital in Suffield CT. by 10 AM Friday.

Both Emma and Mulder will stay there overnight and then we will bring Mulder back to Berna Welch on the Cape on Saturday. Then we keep our fingers crossed, and dream golden thoughts hoping for puppies just after Christmas.


Sad News

RonsEmma.jpg.jpgYesterday Ron and Barb reported that they had lost their beloved Emma to kidney disease. Seven plus years old, she is the first offspring of our Abby’s 27 pups to follow her over the “Rainbow Bridge”. At least she will be immortalized here in our blog (Please also see the prior posting “Sisters and Best Friends“).

However I will always remember her as the precocious puppy that Ron sent us a picture of soon after getting her from us. Here she is in that classic golden puppy pose… eyes bright, a golden smile on her face, and the world to explore and share.

emma2.jpg.jpgWe have lost five dogs so far in our relatively short time of breeding goldens. It is never easy to say goodbye. It seems to me that dogs have only three seasons of life compared to our four. Their Spring and Summer years are obvious. It seems though that there is no Autumn. For most of them, a sudden illness occurs that manifests itself as a change in behavior or appetite. The diagnosis is made and then they are gone before you have even a chance to adjust to the harsh reality of their illness. Their Winter is a short fierce storm that leaves us lonely and hearbroken.

The only saving grace is that our animals have no awareness of their end. They live in the moment and that is enough for them. Would that we had that luxury sometimes.

Our deepest condolences go out to Ron and Barb and their family.

Emma’s High Tech Adventure Begins

Emma is our beautiful four year old female. She has a very quiet and calm personality that matches her mother Abby. Surprisingly she is also the most alpha of our females but only demonstrates this when around our other goldens who are younger and more mischievous. She just started her heat this week.

Despite her Hollywood looks she hasn’t had much success in the breeding department so far. Our first efforts with her a year and a half ago resulted in a single female puppy. Solo is her daughter’s name and she lives with us. Solo happens to be in heat now also, but she has to have her conformation testing before she can become a mom. Solo’s father, Magic, died of cancer soon after Solo’s birth. He was owned by Barbara Biewer and Claudette Beaulieu, two very experienced and well known breeders in the New England area.

This past year we bred Emma to a magnificent male named Mulder owned by Berna Welch. His pedigree includes being the best of show winner of Westminster in 2004. Unfortunately, she did not conceive that time.


She has since had a negative infertility workup with a highly respected fertility vet, Dr. Anne Huntington, from the Suffield Veterinary Hospital. So with no significant litter results thus far, we decided to do artificial insemination with fresh and possibly frozen sperm from Mulder. He has sired a remarkable number of champions all over the country so the issue lies with our Emma. She has her first doctor’s appointment this weekend and the upcoming schedule will be planned. The one significant issue for us is the distance Mulder lives away from us. Berna is a four hour drive each way out on the Cape. She has been extremely gracious and generous to let us have her champion golden for the two days upcoming while the insemination takes place.

The results of our labors we hope will be successful, with the outcomes being top of the line puppies having great looks, personality, and heritage. Say a prayer for Emma and stay posted on her upcoming adventure.

Neighborhood Kids and Pups

Recently a friend called us and wanted to know if we had any photos of her sons at our home with our dogs. Back then her children were in high school and now they are in their mid twenties. After rumaging around on two computers and multiple discs I was able to find some. What a treat for that mom.

Taking photos was a hobby that started with the first of our goldens. Back then there were no computer cards, digital cameras, and photo software programs, and it was a laborious task to scan a photo, get it resized properly, and then add it to an email attachment. With each of our litters there has been a daily puppy photo that went out to our family, friends, and clients. I have to thank my interest and skills to the encouragement and mentoring of my Aunt Grace and Uncle Phil. My earliest memories of childhood have both of them with their movie camera recording every family gathering and occasion. They still have all of those tapes in organized fashion of all members of our extended family. They make wonderful momentos at modern events when a flashback of us as kids makes our children laugh and laugh.

Fortunately life in the photo world has become much simpler. When Celeste was designing our website, I handed over to her about 10 zip discs (which are now obsolete) and other photo logs from all our litters. She was able to pore over them and make some great choices about which images would showcase our dogs best. Despite those thousands of images, I still have a number of favorites that bring me back to those almost perfect moments in time years ago. Most of those key photos have to do with children and puppies. A perfect match that highlights the happiness, goodness, and energy of those early years in our lives. Here are a few noteworthy ones that I thought everyone would enjoy…
Just to show how quickly the passage of time has gone, here is a photo from our yard a year ago. Some of those same youngsters are now teenagers. Amazing how quickly pups and kids grow up.
In our neighborhood, we are now into the third generation of children with our own being the first. Of course that makes us the “old ones” on our block.There still is nothing that draws children to our yard as much as having a bunch of goldens in the front, especially if a litter is out playing. What a treat for all.

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