Archive for May, 2007

Riley’s Litter Update: May 2007


Hi. I don’t want any of our upcoming clients to be thinking that we have forgotten them. Some of you filled out the puppy questionaire months ago. So here is an update on Riley.

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She is looking great and feeling good. She is a big boned female with the heart of a gentle lioness. She weighed in at about 78 pounds two months ago, but with the increased exercise lately and watching the kibble, she is down to 72 pounds. We recently did a Snap 4DX blood test for heartworm, Lyme, and Erhlichea to be sure there wouldn’t be any weird infections that could make her breeding cycle a bust. She passed all with flying colors.

We just got an updated photo of her blind date to be, Rudder, courtesy of Cindy Jones of Goldenjoy kennels. He had a recent sperm test and is just fine. All beefcake!

So as best as we can possibly determine, we expect good results from Riley’s mating when her heat comes in in the next several months. I will be emailing the top eight folks who have submitted questionnaires by the end of this week and inquire as to their continued interest. We cannot at this time give you really a line number. Barb and I co-own Riley with two of our breeding friends. I had to do some old fashioned horse trading to get them to part with her. We all recently re-read the contract we signed two years ago. They each have first dibs on a puppy if they choose. So their decision could affect where people stand in line. At this time I do not believe either one will choose a puppy. Our average litter size has been nine to ten. The cost of one of these pups will be 1300$.

Our next litter mom, Solo, will have her hips Xrayed this summer after her second birthday in June, to complete her breeding requirements.

We continue to turn away potential owners to be sure that we do justice to those who have kept faith in us by waiting these long months.

Again, I will contact the top eight families on our list by the end of next weekend. If any have changed their plans, I will continue down the list. Once this is done, I will then notify the next eight potential owners so they know where they stand with Solo’s litter. Have a nice week.

Lucy Moments


It is hard to believe that our little Lucy (Miss Pink Collar) and the rest of her littermates are already five months old. Seems like yesterday that we were cuddling and bonding with everyone in the whelping box. With Lucy it seems that every fifteen minutes if not every five, brings a new adventure. She is constantly under my feet or trying to get involved in my daily chores. So I thought it would be interesting to share some of our recent adventures…


  • The Aquarium: We’ve had a fresh water fish tank for over twenty years. For the last five or so, our red tailed shark has gotten very big, and instead of being just pretty, he has gotten very hungry. Everything I have tried to add from guppies to larger fish has disappeared overnight, probably into his gullet. Not having the heart to toss him, I decided to take a ride. Half a tank of gas later, the owner of a specialty tropical fish store heard my story and brought me to a tank way in the back. Inside was a big red cichlid. Called a devil fish by some, it hails from South Africa. Five inches long, it has the reputation to become the boss of any tank. Inside the same tank were a number of black and white striped fish about four inches long. Called appropriately (I kid you not), “convict” cichlids, these beauties come from Central America. Feeling like I just bought Tony Soprano and his henchmen, I brought the gang home and added them to the neighborhood. Lucy sat in front of the tank and watched their movements fascinated. Overnight the fish count was the same as in the morning, so we are off to a good start. But I wouldn’t call it Mr. Roger’s neighborhood anymore.


  • These days, we (the girls and I) are up early and out front watering the flowers. Solo and Lucy compete for who can get the paper first when it is tossed at the end of our driveway.Then it is a tug of war to see who can claim possession. If I don’t intervene quickly, the paper becomes just another piece of fiber in their omniverous diets.


  • And then there are my poor flowers. Despite double fences, Lucy manages to squeeze into the beds and cause mayhem. She even likes chewing on Alliums which are members of the onion family. Hopefully in another month, she won’t fit through the fences.The only evidence of her having passed through (unless I catch her red handed), is the missing flower hole or the stick like flowers stripped of all their leaves.



  • The pool: The cover is off and that is about the only good thing we can say about that at the moment. The smell and the color of the water are nothing that would entice anyone for an early morning swim. Even the big dogs have not gone near it. Lucy however apparently fell in when no one was watching. Next thing Barb knew was that she came racing in soaking wet. And not smelling like a rose by any means. Looking back it seems that all our pups have fallen in and gotten baptized. I remember almost jumping in after Solo when she missed her step. Of course she did fine. These are water dogs after all.


      Notice how Lucy appears wet in several of the photos above while her family members are dry. A water bug to be for sure!


Planting Flowers

Nothing like the combination of a warm sunny day, colorful flowers, a pile of dirt, and my always present, four footed friends to bring me back to a state of inner peace. I filled the dog van with our usual order of annuals and perenials from Leonard’s Farm in East Hartford. At first the dogs weren’t too interested in what was happening. They just wandered about the yard and took in the interesting smells.

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The heat from the sun quickly warmed those thick golden coats, and cold water drinks were enjoyed by all. No fancy bottled water for these country girls.

When I brought the flats of flowers out of the garage, things got interesting. I guess if you are a dog, flowers are more than just good looking objects. They are also very tasty. So next thing I know they are fighting over the containers to see who could get the biggest share for a tasty garden salad.


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Order was slowly restored and the impatients and geraniums went into the ground. I put up double fences to keep the big dogs and pup out of the beds. But like the long nosed horse that manages to reach that patch of grass just out of reach, when my back was turned, plugs of flowers near the borders just disappeared from their holes. No one would admit to anything but the dirty nose gave her away. Yep our sweet little Lucy.


When the planting was done, the dogs all gathered for a little rest on the front patio.


Sitting on the rocker on the front porch with the girls keeping a protective watch out for trouble, I was at peace.


What an amazing contrast between the two prior days in my life. As the old adage goes, without the thunderstorms we wouldn’t appreciate the rainbows. And this was certainly a rainbow day!

Some Days Five Goldens Are Not Enough

These past two weeks have been particularly difficult ones. Two Friday nights ago, Barb and I attended a wake for the wife of one of my friends who is an OB/GYN physician at SFH. Only 44 years old, her valiant but unsuccessful fight against breast cancer left her two preteen children without a mother. Watching him stand there alone next to the casket, while the line of his friends snaked around the room waiting to speak to him, was made all the more difficult by the fact that mother’s day was only two days away. Having lived through the joys, as well as the hard times of having teenagers, it made me wonder how he would shoulder that responsibility and burden without the nurturing influence of his heroic wife.

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An almost impossible task in my mind, and such a loss for his two children.

Then in the office this week, it seemed that the social and family issues I was called upon to try and help with, far outweighed in numbers the medical issues. Multiple failed relationships, abuse: physical and mental, depression. suicide of a family member, along with the fall out on families dealing with alcohol and drug abuse issues took their mental toll on me. Most patients no longer have a long term relationship with their primary care provider, and most do not feel comfortable discussing intimate issues with their church leadership. So the OB/GYN serves the role the prior two used to fill.
While the uneducated person might think my specialty is a happy one, the dark side to happy newborns and moms is the daily occurrence of miscarriages, fetal losses, and imperfect or handicapped babies. On the GYN side, cancer, infertility, the implications of sexually transmitted diseases, and the ravages of aging in general add to the toll on a provider. You provide advice and comfort where you can without really any formal training. You listen, give a hug, but a little piece of you is burned up in the process. Only behind the next exam room door is another patient hurting and lost and with another unique story all her own. Somedays those filled rooms seem endless.
An added burden is that most people are clueless about our schedules. Criticized for my being behind because a patient set her tennis time too close to her checkup, I didn’t have the energy to tell her the patient ahead of her needed an extra ten minutes because she had just lost her spouse. Or the first patient of the morning coming in forty-five minutes late and not caring that her demanding to be seen will cause a ripple effect that affects everyone else after her. The patients that treat their visit here like just another fast food stop in their busy days are blessed without knowing it. They have their youth and their health, and forget that those have passed for others farther along on the same path.
People are way too self centered to my liking. The belief in a being greater than ourselves seems old fashioned to many. As a result, too many live selfishly in the moment. There are no rules anymore, and very few follow any values of substance. The country music group Heartland said it succinctly with their new song “Built to last”. “Nothing is built to last, The world is made of paper and glue, disposable honor, and replaceable truth.” Forgive me for sounding a bit like Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes. It has been that bad a week.

Lastly, most people view “Mother Nature” as a benevolent earth mother that does only good. I have a different view. She is a black she wolf with no regard to what is fair, just, or good. She shows no favoritism with whom she destroys, and if you aren’t vigilant she will take the largest piece of you she can. One’s only hope is keeping up with preventive health visits and good luck. When you reach my age and do what I do for a living, you develop a sense of vigilant awareness. Wisdom is too presumptuous a word, suspicious awareness is more like it. For often, behind even a minor complaint could lurk a life altering illness.

Coming home after a long day, Barb and the dogs greet me at the door. Pound for pound I don’t know anything that has more goodness than a golden retriever. Barb asks how my day was. My stock answers are: “the usual” or “busy”. I can’t remember the last time I said “it was a good day”.

Then I try to recharge my batteries to face the next day’s challenges by decompressing with the love and affection of our dogs. Only some days, five golden hearts don’t evenly balance out the misery of nature or the suffering caused by the human failings that I witnessed in the office. I don’t know how many more it would take..

The Tale of the Tails


Daily adventures continue in small doses while we await Riley’s heat and the excitement of breeding and puppies. The weather still delivers lots of rain and puddles and mud that we encounter on our runs. Even when it hasn’t rained, the heavy dew leaves enough condensation on the spring grass to make for very wet dogs.


Goldens wear their tails like flags. You can judge their moods and physical condition by the height and curl and thickness of their tails. Our Emma is still recovering from the enormous demands of having nine puppies and then nourishing them for four weeks plus. She is acting normally, but her poor tail is rather pathetic waving about in comparison to her other family members.

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Golden coats are thick and waterproof as you have seen from the prior recent blogs. They make ideal magnets though for every kind of branch, stick, bug, burr, poison ivy, tick, and even earthworms that they happen to brush against or roll on during their runs in the woods and fields.

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You never know what you are going to find when you brush them afterwards, except when they are wearing their stuck on green camoflauge in an obvious place.


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