Archive for August, 2007

Sharing The Fun


Our youngest golden is “Lucy”, and she is already eight months old. Until recently her attitude had been way reserved and quiet. Now that she is almost as big as the rest of the clan though, she has become much more playful and initiates mischief with the older dogs. In fact she usually will go from one to an other trying her playful attitude on each of her older family members until she has gotten a response from someone. From the photos below you can see just how varied her attitude is whether indoors or out.

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A very happy and well adjusted young lady I would say!


Bitter Pill

We just received some very disappointing news from the Orthopedic Foundation of America this week. Our Solo has evidence of mild hip dysplasia. This report immediately disqualifies her from being a breeding mom. So we have sheduled her to be spayed in two weeks time.


She will now join Lily as a best Aunt in watching our future litters arrive and grow. Despite our best efforts to maintain the genetics of our line using only top of the line breeding material, some characteristics occur due to random events and the polyfactorial nature of things. Solo’s father was “Magic”. Unfortunately he passed away soon after siring Solo, so further information is not available about any of his other offspring.

I feel disappointed for all those folks who have recently joined our waiting list. Our well thought out plans and two years of work for Solo to achieve her breeding pedigree have gone astray. And then we have the fact that Riley is overdue for her heat by about four weeks now. So mother nature has not been kind to us of late.

We still expect to breed Riley and then Emma with their heats, but I no longer feel as confident in our timetable. Of course if this breeding business was so easy, everyone would be doing it. It just makes our mission of getting these wonderful dogs into loving families a bit tougher.

Years ago when Barb and I weren’t as knowledgable about the importance of genetics and family lines, we answered a local newspaper add for AKC golden puppies. We fell in love with a puppy that we named Molly. Great personality and looks, we were blessed with eleven years of fun and companionship. The last two or three years were tough on her though because of severe hip dysplasia that had become manifest at about one year of age. Having to help her walk everywhere for the last few years of life reinforces to me the importance from day one of knowing as much as you can about the breeding history of the parents. And not settling for an unknown puppy while hoping that the future will be sun filled and long lasting. It will not be.

If there is a silver lining to Solo’s news, it is that her dysplasia is so mild that it will probably not be clinically apparent. That is the opinion of our vet who reviewed the films again himself and at first was wondering what disqualified her. I wonder also if the digital Xrays she had done are similar to high definition TV. Every blemish there shows due to the amazing resolution of the technology.

I feel a strong committment for all those people who have been waiting for a puppy. While my timetable may not be accurate, we still plan on having two litters when mother nature starts the heats of Riley and Emma. Both have passed all their clearances. Effective immediately, we have stopped accepting names of people wanting puppies. We have also removed ourselves from the search engines of the internet world. For those folks that recently joined our list, I would encourage you to visit the link on our website to Southern Berkshire Golden Retriever Club. Barbara Biewer, the president, is the person to email about available litters coming due. She is like the ultimate dog person and is involved in breeding, field trials, obedience, and running a very special golden retriever club.

On a Lighter Note

As you can see by the topics of the recent blogs, we have lots of small fry wildlife around our home. Recently I have been following the behavior of a grey squirrel in our backyard. I clearly remember the tale of the three little pigs and their houses of straw, wood, and brick. But I hadn’t thought this extended to squirrels. One little fellow has made a nest for himself in one of the bird houses in the backyard. He has a traditional nest about 100 feet up in the tops of a nearby oak tree, but likes to hang out in the birdhouse.


I’m not sure if he is motivated by staying dry or warm, but his decision seems like a smart idea to me. The hole in the birdhouse used to be the size of a robin’s egg, but you can see he has done some remodeling. It will be interesting to see if he starts storing acorns there with the change of the season coming.

So first we had a smart mouse that eluded our dogs by swimming into the waterfall rocks and hiding. Now a squirrel that likes to live in houses. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a chipmunk named Alvin singing from the birdbath stand soon. Evolution at work apparently.

Of course it was impossible to get a photo of the dogs with the squirrel. That would have been messy. So here instead, is a photo of our two year old Riley and eight month old Lucy chilling out next to me this week in the family room. They were very content to watch their family members at play in the kitchen.
Everyone here is anxiously awaiting the start of Riley’s overdue heat, as well as the report card on Solo’s hip XRays from OFA.


For Love of Maggie

Last week I wrote about our neighborhood losing “Maggie”. (Neighborhood Tragedy).

Our friend and neighbor Lynda wrote back: “Hi Mike. The words you wrote about Maggie touched our family. They prompted Max to write down his feelings which I would like to share with you. Julia wrote a little something too. Thanks again for all your help and support.”

So here is a tribute to Maggie written by the children who loved her, with some of their favorite photos.


By giving voice to our grief, we somehow move forward, yet can savor those special times that will forever be etched in the glass walls of our memory.

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Max and Ben:

Maggie was the friendliest, kindest and loving dog a family could possibly wish for. I remember the day we brought Maggie home a little over five years ago with her orange collar and her energetic spirit. From that day on Maggie was loved so much and always enjoyed life. She lived every minute up to the moment she died with the same happiness and energy. I will miss every little thing Maggie used to do. I will miss the way she would sit with her back legs spread apart. I will miss the way she would tell us when she wanted to come in and out by knocking on the glass front and back doors. I will miss the way she would play in our outdoor activities, whether it was soccer, basketball, or baseball. She would always get excited to play with us. I will miss the way she would lay with us on the floor and watch a movie on family movie night. I will miss sitting with her in “her” leather chair in the family room. I will miss everything about Maggie, from the way she used to squint at us as we walked up the hill to our house, to the way she used sleep on the bottom of the stairs waiting for us to come down and play with her. I will miss throwing the tennis ball and frisbee to her. But most of all, I will miss the way she loved us, how sweet she was to everyone, and the way she made me happy every day of my life. We may get another dog but it is impossible to take the place of Maggie. Maggie will always be in my heart.


My Dog Maggie. Maggie was my friend who liked playing paw, playing ball, and going for walks around the neighborhood. Me and my dad would take her swimming in the river and she had so much fun! We would throw a stick and she would start to get it but then forget to bring it back to us. This made me and my dad laugh. Maggie wasn’t a great retriever but was the best Golden Retriever. I loved her and I will never forget her. Love Julia.

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I was there at her end, and I walked by her home for five years with my own goldens in tow. She never failed to greet us on our walks up her street. I will always remember her however, as the precocious Miss Orange collar from her litter days. I can still clearly remember that special day when her whole family walked up the street to take her home.


Maggie you gave love, and were well loved in return. You are sorely missed, but you have given your family memories that would make your mother Abby proud. I hope you both are sharing happy moments on the other side of the rainbow bridge.

Early Morning Swim


August is well underway here and we just finished a week in the 90 plus degree range. Coming home from even a 6 AM run leaves the dogs warm and panting. With our abbreviated seasons in New England there is a smell in the air that fall will be rearing its head soon enough. So recently, when I had a day off, I spent the early morning letting the girls cool off in the backyard pool.



Solo is the waterbug, Riley likes to only get her feet wet, while Emma walks back and forth on the steps around the hot tub.


Lily just likes to soak up the sun’s warm rays while she watches everyone else having fun. Lucy the pup is still nervous about the water, and stays inside where it is cool.

Riley has made up this game where she takes her ball and drops it in the deep water. Solo then retrieves it and brings it back to her. Riley picks it up and puts it in the deep end where Solo then swims for it. This goes on over and over, and each seems to love their part.


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After the swimming is done, the dogs move to have an early morning snack. This consists of chewing the grasses in some of the bigger pots.


I think Solo’s smiley expression in the photo below sums up the start of this summer day. “Only 8 AM and look at all the fun we’ve had already”.

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