Archive for February, 2009

Quieter Times

This week has continued the welcome trend to a more civilized existence for all here in our household. Everyone sleeps in the bedroom, and we have been averaging only one wee hour visit to the backyard now for the puppy. The pack’s inner alarm clock is still set for 4:30 to 5 AM, but I get a lot of early work done before leaving for the office or hospital at 6:30 to 7 AM.

I was hoping to take all six to the high school this weekend in the truck (too many squirrels out already to walk them), and see how everyone fared running together for the first time. The rain today, instead of snow,  nixed that idea. Barb had bought some new stuffed animals for everyone to play with at Ocean State Job Lot. The buffalo bones and antler chews are more favored, but the cost is prohibitive to have frequent hand outs of these items. With the stuffed animals, there is a lot of competition and jealousy for the toy they don’t have in their mouth at the moment. So you have to be watchful that tempers don’t rise and a fight erupts. This day everyone was well behaved..

We are anxiously waiting for the necessary two more weeks to pass to see if Riley has conceived. As I was pulling the camera card to create this blog, I came across several new photos of Mulder, our champion stud, walking and playing with his son, Rocky. These were taken when Mulder was at our home three weeks ago.

Rocky is growing by inches in height and length every day. At a quick glance, he is sometimes hard to pick out from his sister Lucy of an earlier litter. Being the two youngest goldens here, they often pair up to play.

Here Barb caught Rocky in a more Halloween like moment the other night..

And finally for this week’s news, Barb caught our dogs enjoying a new configuration in their napping on our leather chairs. Doesn’t seem to matter that they are literally on top on each other at times!

Hoping everyone reading this finds time for a restorative nap this week!

River Walk and Peace Returns to Dogville… Almost

My cousin Ron and his Barbara recently sent some photos of their Sandy and Maggie out for a nice stroll along the Housatonic River. Now this is the relaxing sort of walk you can have if you only have one or two Goldens with you. Looks like a nice change of pace I might enjoy sometime.. But I would feel badly about leaving someone behind. They make such sad faces and dejected barks when they are not going with the pack.

Back here in dogville, we have returned to mostly G-rated behavior. Lucy is the only one in heat and that is subsiding. We had been getting up between three and four AM with the puppy still, who would not stop barking until we let him out of his crate, and cuddled him for awhile. This was not a good habit to continue. So with me on call this weekend, Barb brought the fourth crate upstairs and put him in our bedroom with the rest of the gang. And lo and behold, he slept through the night. So we will try this again. Goldens are such social animals that they really pine when they cannot be with their kind or ours. A non interrupted night’s sleep would be a luxury as I am back on call tomorrow. The only downside is that our bedroom is starting to look like a dog crate warehouse…

Unfortunately, this morning I have to write that Rocky was up and barking at 3:30 AM, coinciding with the chimes from our grandfather clock. Then the other five had to be let out at the same time. A fifteen minute interlude that then settled down for another two hours before our dog household stirred again. All this to be expected I guess when your hobby  grows to the point that it has its own special requirements of separate space and another level of commitment.

Dogs in the Hood and Other Goings On

As I sit down to write this post today, Sunday afternoon, a sense of calm finally pervades our home. Barb and I have just weathered the “perfect storm” in dog adventures. Riley, Emma, and Lucy are still in heat but their mating fevers have peaked. Rocky has recovered nicely from his neutering operation performed last Monday. Riley had two artificial inseminations in the middle of the week that went well. Mulder, the lion sized champion stud has been returned home to the Cape after spending five days with us. The amount of energy expended keeping everyone separate, fed, happy, and exercised was enormous. Both of us now realize that our house is not set up to handle this much dog. As my cousin Ron remarked to me, “we were seriously outnumbered”. Without formal kennels, your home takes a beating. Previously, all our girl’s heats came farther apart, and we never had a puppy, never mind a male in our home at the same time. Our mentor, Berna Welch, expressed some of the same sentiments having lived through three simultaneous litters last year resulting in 35 puppies. She is now puppied out emotionally. Our sense of calm however, arrived just today. As I look back on the week, we were more frazzled than anything else…

Sunday we went to the Cape and picked up Mulder. What a large happy go lucky golden. With all the estrogen floating in the air in our home, he never really sat still for me to get a good profile shot so these two photos were the best I could do.

Rocky did well with his neutering operation on Monday. Unfortunately he had to wear an e-collar for most of the week to keep him from licking his stitches. Never having worn a hood before, he was constantly banging into the other dogs as well as the furniture. The only easy time of it was when I took him out for a solo walk.

Riley had a “natural” artificial insemination on Tuesday and then a surgical insemination on Thursday. She then had to wear a hood for three days so that she would leave her incision alone.

Our walks this week were as complicated as the football plays at the Superbowl. The combinations were 1-1-5 to 1-1-3-2, to 1-5. This morning we saw a coyote about three hundred yards away from us at the High School Fields. It looked very well fed and about the size of one of our dogs. Thankfully it moved off before our girls got too much of a scent. Otherwise I could have been pulled into yet a new crisis.

From the untracked snow, I could see there had been no other dog walkers out to appreciate winter’s charms. Riley, by herself, still had her natural smile on..

With all the mess of the three heats, the dogs going in and out, and keeping the boys separated from the girls, we sometimes lost track of the puppy. Chewing the kitchen footstool was not too bad, but when Barb started putting ducktape on our rather new family room table, I knew we had lost the battle.

But here we are, Sunday afternoon, and all is peaceful. Rocky has his spot on Barb’s chair. The girls are gathered together on the kitchen floor, and I am writing this blog. Barb had a well deserved “girls weekend away” and so it is just the dogs and me.

Looking forward, we wait for about four weeks to see if Riley has conceived. Since there are no easy doggie pregnancy tests, I will do an ultrasound to look for puppy sacs. In the meantime, the heats have to finish, and Rocky has to recover fully before he can resume his play with the other girls. And Lucy still needs her hip Xrays next month to get her motherhood clearance. So lots of adventure to come, but hopefully in smaller, swallowable doses…

Dogville 7, and Arctic Frisbee Skills

Well it has been quite a week and quite the day today. Three of our dogs are now in heat.. Emma, Riley, and Lucy. Despite the added mess, it has been several days without a dog fight. It seems now that their cycles have arrived, their tempers have fallen. A very nice change. We have been taking Riley for her progesterone levels. She is now at 2.7. She needs to be over five before her insemination can be done. Barb will bring her again tomorrow for another hormone level check. Riley has been a very good sport at the Veterinary clinic. Always smiling..

We hope the surgical insemination will occur about midweek. Just about the same time as the next storm!

With the arrival of Lucy’s heat we will have to postpone her hip Xrays for a month. Estrogen has been known to cause ligament relaxation, and so the word on the street is not to take any XRays with a heat in progress. This XRay is all important for Lucy’s breeding career, and so we will wait. Here is Lucy relaxing on a bed with Rocky.

This morning we went to Cape Cod to pick up Mulder the lion hearted champion from Berna and Peter.

We had a very nice chat before the return trip from our mentors and friends. Mulder is nine years old, and spends his time now romancing the fairer sex. When we brought him inside our home, the smells of our three receptive females definitely caught his attention. Rocky got to see his father for the first time, and he accompanied him around the backyard. I don’t know if he was paying attention as he watched his dad mark our backyard by urinating at the boundaries. Rocky has an all important appointment at the vet in the AM to be neutered.

By doing the surgical insemination, we are placing our money and hopes not on chance this time, but science. Barb and I have both agreed that 7 Goldens with three in heat and two who are intact males is a little much for our mental health.

To top off the excitement and overwhelming number of dogs here at the moment, my main computer failed last night. I use that one to process the photos, and run the blog as it has the fastest processor. So this blog is short on photos along with my patience.

Luckily one of our neighbors, friend, and client, Ken had sent us a week ago or so some photos of his Rosie showing her skills with Arctic Frisbee. I have never done this sport, but it appears that Rosie really loves it. I will add Ken’s comments after the photos, so if anyone wants to try this, they will have the basic rules..

“Mike –
Thought you might enjoy seeing how Rosie (Lucy’s sister) enjoys this cold weather. She truly thrives on playing frisbee.  As soon as you say that word her ears perk up and she dashes for the back door.  Autumn (Rocky’s sister) is learning quckly too – – but will need a little more practice before she can leap and catch the frisbee like Rosie in mid-flight.  It’s fascinating to see just how strong the retrieving instinct is in these dogs.  When I noticed just how high Rosie was leaping to catch the frisbee I checked with Dr. Feldman to be sure I wasn’t challenging her hips or legs. He gave me his blessing.  If you should ever use any of these pictures on your blog please point out the importance of not throwing a frisbee at a dog to play catch.  There is even a warning on the package. As you can see – – we throw the frisbee away from Rosie and let her chase after it.  She actually out runs it and then leaps to catch it.  About 15 – 20 minutes of this workout and the girls are ready for a nap !
Ken Muccino”
Here is Autumn learning from her bigger sister..
So this upcoming week Barb and I will again be focused on “everything golden”. We hope these dedicated efforts will pay off in the near future for our very patient waiting clients.

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