Archive for August, 2008

Sunshine is Returning to Dogville

It has been an interesting week. With Emma involuntarily sidelined from the care of her pups with her breast abscess, Barb and I have had to put most of the week’s plans on hold and just do puppy care. Due to the excellent veterinary care of Dr. Steve Feldman and his associate Dr. Dolan, Emma is thankfully on the mend. Her abscess is resolving and her energy and spirit have returned. She still doesn’t understand why we won’t let her go down to her pups. She mournfully cries every so often and listens for sounds of her puppies at the basement landing. We thought hard how to help her. My idea of bringing up a pup for her to smell and lick didn’t work. So I gave her a towel that we used to wipe off the pups after their milk bath ( see later in blog). She walks around the house with this, and sleeps with it on the bed or in a crate. She still cries but this makes me at least feel a little better.


It’s hard to know if the pups miss her constant attention of licks and nudges. With their needs satisfied by Barb and myself, they are growing nicely and taking more of an interest in the outside world. Their howls continue at night, but don’t worry to our waiting family clients, this is just pack behavior.


The need of a golden to bond and share your personal space is apparent the way the litter behaves. When they are not eating or drinking, they group together whether in the whelping box or the smaller white transfer box.


It is very amusing to see them crowd together for a nap. One by one they group together until there are 4 or 5 bodies on the ground floor. Then the rest climb aboard with the last few trying to get to the very top of the pile before they run out of energy and just settle where they are.


Barb is an avid Red Sox fan and the pups were introduced to a little commercial brainwashing today. They were let out of the box to romp around the little attached porch area. While I favor NY pinstripes myself, they made themselves right at home on the blue and red blanket.

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Of course the puppies are not the only dogs needing their daily dose of attention. The bigger girls know something is different in our household because we are spending an extraordinary amount of time in the basement. They still demand their daily run, and fun activities. The recent sunny weather made for a nice afternoon watching them frolick in the backyard pool.




Recently Berna sent us some photos of Mulder having some water fun with his golden family. Last year he couldn’t swim because of the preparations for the National Show competition. Now that he is the ultimate champion and is retired from the show ring, he can have fun like his siblings. He is the one swimming with the white bumper. Not a bad life he has earned, studding and playing.


It certainly is a “Dog’s Life” for these lucky goldens.

As far as the pups go, with the early cool weather upon us, I doubt they will be able to enjoy the kiddie pool before they leave us at 8 weeks. That doesn’t stop them though from enjoying a little frolick in their milk dishes.



Thank god the pups have the same drip and dry coat their older brethren are blessed with. With a little toweling and a little grooming with a puppy brush, they have that so cute look again..


We are open for visitors again. Please call and schedule with Barbara.

Emma’s Medical Setback

Our lives suddenly got more complicated here this week. Emma came down with a bacterial infection in one of her breasts (mastitis). One minute she was fine, then another minute she refused her lunch and developed a temp to 106 degrees (normal for dogs around 102). A quick trip to the vet resulted in an antibiotic and extra nursing on that breast.

The pups had just started on puppy food in mush form.



Initially all went well. We brought her home and attempted to get the pups to keep her breast empty. I sat with her and now know a new meaning to the word “box lunch”!


Her temp came down and she started to act like herself. Unfortunately the breast wouldn’t empty properly and a large hard lump the size of a lemon formed. Another trip back to the vet today revealed the development of an abscess. This was drained, and a second antibiotic added. To add to Emma’s misery this meant she had to give up nursing as this added antibiotic can affect puppy’s cartilage development. So now poor Emma has to wear a hood to keep her from licking the abscess, has to stop nursing all at once, and can’t be in the box with the puppies. This means a very unhappy golden mother who has no idea why all this just went down today.

She is still an amazing sport as she manages to smile despite the hood..


Our youngest Lucy came over to me for some reassurance as Emma banged her way around the kitchen knocking her siblings and the furniture around with the hood.


We were lucky the pups were old enough to start puppy food this week.  So we just have added an expensive  milk supplement to the gruel. And then Barb decided after trying unsuccessfully to bottle feed a pup, that it would be simpler to just add this special milk to the bowls. They took to this very well as you can see.



Almost like a bunch of kittens around the milk dish. The daily weight becomes much more important now to be sure each one gets their share and continues to grow.

Obviously the amount of work just increased dramatically for us. I have to keep Emma away from her pups and occupied, while Barb becomes the new mother to the pups. Fortunately I am home this week to share the load with Barb.

The puppies though are doing great. All are growing and they just love to pile together in a snuggly group after eating.


We are sorry to announce that all puppy visits are canceled until Emma returns to good health. Her illness has no bearing on any of her pups’ health. She may have actually gotten her infection from some bacteria lurking in one of the nursing pups mouths.

Thank you for your understanding.

End of Summer Activities

As August draws to a close, the pace of life here has not slowed any. Our litter has been with us three weeks already but it seems like only yesterday that Emma gave birth. All the pups are thriving.


Visitors are starting to be scheduled and come over. Other life events are unfolding…

Barb and I have had a little disagreement over the use of the backyard pool and the dogs. They love to swim, but they have no regard for how dirty they are before they enter the water. Barb works hard to keep the pool crystal clear. And I can see her frustration when one jumps in and leaves a brown dirt cloud behind in the water. So we thought of a nice compromise. We purchased a small plastic pool/tub for the puppies to use when they got bigger. After our daily runs, the dogs come home filthy from rolling in the mud and whatever smells bad on the fields. So now before we go in the house, I just fill the smaller pool and the dogs get clean as well as cooled off. And everyone is content after being toweled off; Barb, the girls, and myself.




Notice how progressively dirtier the water becomes.

Two days ago our humble backyard was the scene of an advertising shoot. Our neighbor, Theresa, and her captain of Operations (our son, Brian) have a fine jewelry business. Their company is called “One Pearl” after the philosophy of transforming a life as a result of their charity donations. Go to their website for a more complete view of their mission and products. In fact, they donate a good portion of their profits to charity causes that Theresa finds dear to her heart. The advertising company decided to to use our backyard setting, our daughter Kristen and her friend Emma, and a puppy. The weather that day was magnificent, and as you can see from the photos, the supporting cast and background was excellent. We wish their campaign much success. Thank you Graham for these excellent photographs of the shoot!




The pups are doing very well. I can’t believe I have been sleeping on the basement cot for already three weeks. Theresa is also our stand in midwife to help Barb when I am not around.


She was kind enough to babysit while we went to Boston yesterday to visit 3 of our four children who happened to be in the same place for the day. Kristen had plenty of puppy hugs before she went back to Boston.


We are down to one unassigned puppy. We hope to finalize that new home soon. One new behavior that I haven’t seen much before has been the pups howling at night before they settle down to sleep.


Emma and Mulder have been bred together before, but this seems a somewhat new activity. When one starts, several of the others follow suit. Although their volume is not loud, this vocal behavior must hearken back to some deep seated ancestry from their wolf origins. After a minute or two, it is over, and everyone lays down and drifts off to a peaceful sleep.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that today is our wedding anniversary . 35 years seems to be an awfully big number to get my thoughts around. As far as how we will spend it, well let me say that 35 years ago on this day, if I was asked what we would be doing 35 years from now, I would never have imagined to be spending my day doing.. a colonoscopy prep. Yuck.



Happy Anniversary Barb! I am very glad you said yes so many years ago.

Puppy News Week Two

Everyone here in dogville is just fine! I am getting used to sleeping on this lumpy cot in the basement, and the interrupted sleep is just like being on call, although with a lot less stress. When the background squeaks change in volume or urgency, I become wide awake and on my feet to find the unhappy critter. Usually a pup has just lost it’s way and needs help finding mom and its box mates. With this being Emma’s third litter she has a quiet confidence that was missing in her prior two pregnancies. She is careful about each of her offspring and if she wants my attention, she will start with a low whine until I respond. The pups are now almost two pounds each and feel like plump guinea pigs when you hold them. Their eyes have not opened fully yet, and they still don’t react to noise. So our anxious army of waiting visitors must be patient a little while longer.

Barb’s days are spent close to home and basement. Any noncritical tasks that involve leaving the house are crossed off the to do list. A few of Barb’s daily tasks include weighing and checking each puppy’s health, monitoring Emma’s intake and health, cleaning the whelping box and area, and getting the paperwork and registration forms in order. Once the puppies get another two weeks behind them, the work will increase exponentially, as Emma will no longer take care of their toiletry needs and then we both will be on that duty.

Now enough talk, and to follow are some recent photos of everyone. I know many of you are used to almost daily photos of our prior litters. My time however has been torn into too many directions with the obligations of my professional and mission duties. Once a week is the best I can do at this time with a blog update..

Clients are still replying to our inquiries, so we have several pups still to be assigned. Keep the faith for those still hoping for an email.

When our little ones are not nursing, they are cuddling usually in a big pile. This is when Emma decides to get a little freedom and leaves them for awhile. Also notice how uniform the color and size is of everyone. That is one of the hallmarks of a good breeding program. You want predictable results in conformation, color, and personality with few outliers. We are off to a great start with this litter.


Here are Emma’s mothering skills at work.



The puppies are starting to get their leg strength built up. They still wobble like drunken sailors on leave but every day brings progress.


There is a lot of pushing and shoving at the milk bar on Emma’s belly. Since there are not enough chairs for everyone, one will be struggling to find his or her spot until another is sated and then falls off the nipple asleep.


Then there are those oh so cute moments when you catch one puppy having a little close quality time with his/her mom..


Signing off now for this week. Puppy squeaks to everyone!

PS: We are aware that several parts of our website are not functioning correctly. We will be moving to a better platform in the next month or so. So please bear with us. Our computer Gods do amazing work. We expect to always have our website reflect the quality that we bring to breeding these amazing creatures.

The Day Before, and The Day After…

Emma had her pups last Monday morning. Her adventure though began Sunday, a day earlier…


She had been getting bigger by the day as noted above, but on Sunday the poor thing looked like an overstuffed sausage.


She was more restless as Sunday wore on, and then she started to go into corners and scratch. We knew time was getting short and so we readied the basement. Out came the cot and up went Emma to settle in next to the whelping box.


With the human births that I have attended, there has always been multiple family members and medical attendants around. However, I have had the good fortune to spend the eve of Emma’s last two labors one on one in solitude in our cellar. Both times we spent the night crowded together on the small cot, her back and fur pressed against my chest. It has been a very unique experience sharing such a primeval ritual with another species. She is restless, and breaths in short panting breaths for hours at a time. The cot shakes with the force of her rapid breathing. Every so often her panting would stop and she would listen as if waiting for some inner signal. Beneath my fingers her babies were active. Hours go by. Occasionally she would give me a lick as if to say thank you for your support. Both of us drifted off to sleep for short periods of time, neither one of us changing our positions. Then on the morrow, about sunrise each time, she would get quiet, listen again, and then a large wavelike contraction would be palpable in her abdomen. Once that occurred, we moved to the whelping box and awaited the start of the birthing process.

Those events are described in the previous blog. After her enormous work, she enjoyed, deserved, and needed, a warm bath.


The following morning everyone began the daily ritual of the weigh in..


The other pups go into the little white box to await their turn..


Emma gets to bond with a little one on one time..


And after the whelping area is cleaned, everyone piles in for a snuggle before the next nursing moments begin again.


The pups have already been to the vet, and all are very healthy. We have contacted the earliest clients on our waiting list, and are very pleased to say that we have two families who have waited since our last litter almost a year and a half ago for one of our puppies. Their wait is over. We are moving down the list, but with vacations, it is hard to know if folks are getting their emails or phone calls. Over half the pups are spoken for now, with many more clients to go. If we do not get a response from the clients we have contacted this week by next Friday, they will lose their chance, and then we will contact the next people waiting. I am sorry we cannot satisfy everyone who has written us, but mother nature has given us what she has.

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