Archive for January, 2009

Golden News Aplenty

It has been more than a trying week here in dogville. We now have Emma and Riley in heat, along with Rocky, a non neutered male pup getting his first smells of the fairer sex. Our two year old Lucy is no longer passive, and instigates these riots at times. She is due for her own heat very soon. Our dogs are blessed in that they have free reign of our home, and only go in their crates for time outs and to sleep. However, that closeness has turned into quite a burden this week for Barb and me. The added testosterone seems to have hightened everyone’s tempers and attitudes. We are averaging about two dog fights a day now. They can erupt at any time without warning. Everyone is napping at our feet and then suddenly, a cross eyed glance, and chaos erupts. The cold weather isn’t helping as you can only let the girls out for so long. Sheesh.

The good news is that Riley’s long awaited heat has arrived. Preparations are underway for her surgical insemination when she ovulates. We have our first appointment with the Suffield veterinary clinic tomorrow. Dr. Huntington there specializes in canine infertility.  We will do a series of progesterone levels to time her ovulation. Berna Welch of Pebwin Goldens gave us the good news that her champion stud, Mulder, is available and ready. Soon we will be making the three+ hour trip each way to pick up Mulder and bring him to Suffield for his part in these proceedings. We will keep everyone appraised of Riley’s progress as we move forward.

Our son, Michael, sent us an email from Florence where he is now working. It seems that a sportswriter for ESPN just lost his beloved golden and wrote a compelling story. Please see this link if you are interested: Be prepared to shed a few tears.

On a closer note, I would like to acknowledge the loss of a great neighborhood golden named “Bo”. Despite his valiant efforts including the loss of a limb, a cure was not to be. We send our golden prayers and condolences to his family.

We are thankful that one of our pups from Emma’s last litter was there to make his last few months more enjoyable.

I do not want to have this blog totally filled with sadness, so I will change gears and celebrate some of the life and times of our animals. Just as our blog readers have followed and enjoyed the goings on of our dogs, Barb and I get to hear and see the stories unfolding of our friend’s, client’s, and patient’s animals. Here are a few of them..

Lisa recently sent us a photo of her new golden puppy sitting in the recycle basket calm as can be.

Cindy continues to amaze us with the antics of her golden Kati and her feline sidekick Walter. From holding hands to napping in unusual poses, they are quite the pair.

One of the latest stories is from Teresa, a nurse in the Delivery Room. The other night on call she was sharing with me the interplay of her 9 year old 98 pound golden “Chance” with their newest family member. “Molly”, is a three month old Irish Jack Russell. Teresa has horses and needed a better mouser than Chance. I will let the photos speak for themselves..

Don’t worry about the teeth. I am told it was just pretend.. The proof:

The bow they both took at the end of this sequence. This shot is an award winner somewhere!

And notice Molly’s coat. An unusual color and texture, typical of the Jack Russells from Ireland.

Jessica has been sending us photos of her beautiful Dobie “Hannah”. Unfortunately she has been having serious orthopedic issues, and has fought through a number of surgeries with no end in sight. We will say prayers for Hannah as well.

On a different topic.. On a prior blog in the midst of another storm I wondered about dog sledding. I googled the topic and got caught up in some amazing websites of personal quests and adventure. It was the next day that I went into one of my offices and saw some new photos from my partner Maria. There she was having her own dog sledding adventure with her mixed husky. She actually had gone north and taken some lessons about cross country skiing with her husky helping her along. I just had to share them with you..

Boy that looks like fun. There just aren’t enough hours in the day though for some of us to sample all of life’s adventures..

Finally, I have to announce that Rocky our special little puppy, and golden to our son Michael’s family, has lost his claim to being the “perfect puppy”. Barb claims it is due to the corrupting influence of the pack. I think he is just showing his youthful curiosity and teething stage. In the space of about ten minutes this morning, I found evidence of his presence or caught him in the act.

From paper to rugs to wood, everything seems edible to him!

It is hard to stay angry though when the dust and energy finally settles. Then the goldens look angelic and very very cute.

Who would guess from these poses of Rocky and Lucy that they have any devil in them?

Have a great week!

Half the Weight but Twice the Distance, and Heat Update

As I left the hospital this morning after a 24 call, I was greeted by another winter storm. The good news was that there was no one on the roads as this is a holiday weekend. I was greeted by our golden fan club at our back door, one and all restless with the storm, and of course wanting adventure. Although my energy levels were flickering, I couldn’t deny them the highlight of their day. So I changed and out we went.

For those readers expecting to see their photos, I intended a different set of stories for the blog this week, but with only fumes for creative activity, I have postponed them to next week.

In the past week, I have taken a new tack when walking the pack. I take three at a time rather than five and then one. My shoulders are doing much better holding onto only 250 pounds of dog rather than close to 400. With three on a leash there is also less chance of a dog incident. So first the three alphas ventured forth… Emma, Solo, and Riley.

I really love seeing their happy smiles against the white backdrop.

After they had their fill of a couple of miles of snow and hills, it was time to get the other three.

Lily, Lucy, and of course little Rocky are more subdued.

They don’t walk any slower but are easier going in nature. Their wide smiles made me know the outing was worthwhile.

I was happy to find my shoulders felt better at the end of our outing. Now the only problem are my knees complaining from twice the distance I had to cover today. Sheesh, aging is best tolerated in little doses..

Earlier in the week, I had taken Rocky out for some individual attention.

As soon as he saw our little neighbor Kayla, he had to go and make her acquaintance. Both Kayla and Rocky enjoyed this little side adventure.

At last, we have some breeding news to report. Emma is in heat. She is Not the dog we want in heat as she just had the last litter in August.  The importance of this is that Riley and then Lucy usually follow with their own heats a few weeks later. So we may be finally approaching Riley’s breeding adventure. Here is Riley again this week, sitting on top of  her favorite chair watching events unfold in the kitchen.

If Riley conceives, then we will let Lucy’s heat pass untested. After all the work and medical complications of the last litter we had, we decided we can only do justice to one litter at a time. So Lucy, if she passes her XRays later this month will be bred after her fall heat. At least that is our present plan, barring mother nature’s own wishes…

Artic Running Rules, and Rocky Sequel (The puppy not the movie)

It is another Saturday afternoon and every Connecticut Yankee is awaiting the arrival of our latest storm. I think this will be the third blog in a row written with wintry precipitation falling or on its way. The last two weekends brought frigid arctic winds to the fields where we run. Not much bothers these long haired Goldens due to their thick double coat.

So when deciding how cold is too cold to be out, I’ve come up with two simple rules. When I can’t feel my fingers anymore, or don’t have enough feeling to snap some photos, that is rule number one. I stayed out a little too long last weekend, and the pain of rewarming my hands after coming inside was not pleasant. The second rule is triggered when ice starts sticking to their pads. At that point the dogs spend more time cleaning their pads than enjoying the outdoors, so in we go.

Usually my hands give out before their pads ice up, so I have to make sure we keep up a brisk pace to get their energy expended as quick as possible. Not good for me and my “to do list” if they are still rambunctious when we return home.

Why venture outside at all? one might well ask. Well, the solitude is amazing for one thing.

There is absolutely no one else around to impede our adventure and enjoyment of nature’s frozen bounty. The silence, except for the soft whisper of the wind, is such a pleasant change from every other daily activity that seems to involve noise, lights, and conversation. The closest analogy I can make is to find yourself at the top of a ski mountain in a snowstorm where no one else is visible. Just you and the mountain. A feeling of peace steals over you and you feel closer to the earth, the sky, and God.

Of course there is always the danger of falling or sliding out there. And that is not just limited to humans. This morning Emma got careless and slid down the entire hill on her side.

Glare ice beats dog nails any day.

The other news here in dogville, is that Rocky has returned!!

Barb met our son half way between ourselves and Philadelphia (where he was attending MBA classes . It’s amazing that there is a website that will find that midpoint for you). Michael Jr is swamped finishing his MBA, closing out his present job, and starting all the needed tasks to get to Italy and his new position.   Rocky has adjusted very well to the pack, although his mom, Emma,  growls at him from time to time.

Barb thinks he is the “perfect puppy” and won’t let me take him with the rest of the pack to learn bad habits! Last night was his first night back in our house. He slept until 4 AM in his crate in the family room, but then started barking. This, of course, roused the pack sleeping in our bedroom. I got up and let everyone out. Rocky went upstairs with Barb and promptly fell asleep on the bed. Meanwhile I had the five awake and hungry and wanting to run. So I got a lot of work done between 4 AM and 8. We can’t run in the dark with the ice as I will surely fall and break something important.

I took Rocky out by himself after the older girls were done with their exercise.

So there you have our latest news.

I have no clue where Riley’s heat is, now two months overdue. I am sure Rocky as young as he is will clue us in when there is love in the air…

Now a final photo of the dogs waiting for that coming snowfall today…

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