Archive for April, 2007

Golden Daffodils and Mother Nature’s Plans


Back home from another 24 hour shift, I took my golden friends to the high school grounds again. I wasn’t looking forward to another mud adventure, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that everything had dried out since I had been there 48 hours ago. Everyone got to burn off some of their boundless energy and then walk home in civilized fashion.

The sun burst forth shortly thereafter so some flower bed chores became doable. Since our girls are my constant shadows, they kept me company. They ate their share of flowers and grass, but aren’t yet trained to distinguish the good from the bad.

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With this being the final day of April, the promise of May flowers and stronger sunshine is almost here. Lucy the pup followed the trail of the bigger dogs, taking in all the unfamiliar new smells and colors.

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As far as our breeding plans go, Mother Nature has forced a change. Riley is all set to be bred with her next heat to Rudder, the gorgeous male in the blog a few posts back.

However, I was expecting that Solo would not be in heat again until after her second birthday in June. We were surprised to find that she has come into season a little early. So this will force her breeding heat to follow this one since she can’t get her OFA clearance until her birthday in June. So for everyone waiting for our second litter from now, this will mean probably no pups on the ground until fall at the earliest. Being an obstetrician I am used to the unpredictability of mother nature. However, I can understand the frustration farmers must feel when their livelihoods are so dependent on events beyond their control. We ourselves are only passengers on this wild ride called life, though we sometimes delude ourselves into thinking we are directing events.

Here is Solo standing with her mom Emma, our five year old. Emma still hasn’t regrown her coat yet from having her pups four months ago.

Saturday Adventures and Polyester Goldens

Today was a beautiful early Spring day here in New England. Balmy, daffodils in bloom, and a green appearance to the landscape that was refreshing after last weekend’s greys, and still gloomy mud season in Vermont. Got home from hospital call and the dogs were rearing to go. Went to our favorite fields at the local high school. Thought the water from the rains earlier in the week were gone but found out differently fast.


The dogs run in a pack a little ways ahead of me so they can really “run free”. The advantage is that they get a lot of exercise, but the disadvantage is that sometimes this leaves me late in arriving at their latest group decision.

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They have their favorite spots where they know the water is the last to dry up. Full family participation seems to be required.
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I have to admit I was a little disconcerted at the amount of dirt they managed to cover themselves with. And especially what my Barbara would say when we got home. (Click on the photos to enlarge if you want to see what a “two toned” golden looks like)

However, I know a secret that most people don’t know: Golden retrievers have drip and dry coats! So we found a puddle that had clean water and most of the mud fell off.


Then I let them run free on the fields sprinting after each other. That air dried most of their fur.

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Then it was a mile walk or so back to home, so they dried a little more…  (never mind the difficulty taking a steady photo walking five)

And voila! At home in the kitchen, after a quick toweling off, they had a community drink and looked darned respectable compared to an hour prior.

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Then it was out to the backyard for some quiet time..

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Like human children, they seem to enjoy watching their parents work in the yard rather than participate! And I could almost hear them thinking… wonder when the pool cover will be coming off…

Water Dogs

We are very happy here in dogville that the sun is finally out and Spring is starting to blossom. The Nor’easter we endured last week dumped enough water on us to make our dogs think they were amphibians rather than Goldens. It’s a toss up between what is harder to endure: a week of constantly muddy feet or wet dogfur. Still, these little crosses make the good times feel all the sweeter.

I took Riley and Solo to Vermont over the weekend to see how much damage we had suffered up there with this last monster storm. Both females are about two years old and best friends. Usually we have the whole Golden family with us, and the older ones keep the younger ones in line with obedience and response to commands. Riley and Solo alone though, pretty much acted as two year olds with lots of spirit, adventure, and doing what they wished rather than what I wanted. The snow melt was in full force and there was ponding wherever there was a patch of level ground. They loved running through the woods sniffing for game only as much as exploring the new water features. Still, they made me laugh with their antics. The weak sunlight shone off their golden coats in an amazing way, and I just marveled at how beautiful they both looked in nature’s backyard.

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Of course back home we had Lucy our four month old also following her instincts to swim and explore. We had so much rain last week that there was a pool on top of the pool cover as well as below. Lucy took full advantage.

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Only a golden puppy could find so much adventure hunting a floating leaf!

We also got great news today! Riley passed her OFA clearance. All her credentials are finally in place and now we just await her next heat for the breeding to occur. That heat should be arriving in several months. Our fall litter hopes now seem much closer to reality. Solo turns two in June and then she will have her OFA clearance done to complete her credentials.

Who the Boys Are

We are hard at work sorting out the potential mates for our Riley and Solo. This will be the first litters for both of our females. Presently at the top of the list are three most excellent males with great personalities. All have top of the line medical clearances.
The first is “Rudder”. He resides in the Eastern CT area and is owned by the breeder of Goldenjoy Kennels, Cindy Jones, who sold us our first golden over twentyfive years ago.

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Next is “Abbott” from Pebwin Goldens at Cape Cod. Berna and Peter Welch do an amazing job with their very large family of retrievers.

Third up is “Mr. T”, also of Pebwin Goldens at Cape Cod. These two photos taken from a distance do not do him justice.
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And then next winter we will return to the amazing “Mulder”, the Westminster Winner of 2004 and the Eastern Regional Champion of 2006. He was the sire of our Emma’s last litter and is now the father of our last nine beautiful goldens.

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So for all those folks who are awaiting our fall and winter litters, be rest assured we are proceeding with the utmost care to assure you a beautiful golden in appearance as well as health and personality.

In My Daughter’s Eyes

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Tomorrow is our younger daughter’s 24th birthday. She now lives out of state, and so we were celebrating it here this weekend. Not being a shopper, I was trying to think of some way to make this birthday special for her. So, after she left, I pulled out the old photo albums and lost myself for awhile in the memories that resurfaced from years past. I realized how our goldens have intertwined themselves into all our outings, adventures, and big occasions over those same years. They always managed to bring a special element to everyone and everything whenever a crowd gathered. Kristen, being our youngest child, was around the most when we started breeding as a serious hobby. Our older children were already away at schools. So we have lots of photos of her helping with the pups.
I have picked out some of those special moments with our different litters. If you will bear with the sentimentality of a father looking back on those long gone years, I think you will see how special our goldens have been to all of us here. Along with the work that Kristen put in to help.

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I hope Kristen will be pleasantly surprised (and not mortified) to read this blog episode tomorrow morning.

Mom and dad wish her a birthday filled with “golden” moments, and happy reminiscences of the memories these photos have brought to us.

And to our readers, we hope that sharing our photo moments with you will trigger thoughts of your own adventures with your goldens. Whether already cherished memories or dreams of adventures to come, they all start with the love of this amazing breed.

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