Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas

"My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?"
~ Bob Hope

As Christmas draws near, I want to wish all those who read my blog a wonderful day, no matter where or how you spend it. At our house, we'll have nearly all our family (which isn't that large to begin with). We'll be missing Erikka and Chris who live in Miami and were unable to make the trip back to Illinois this year. Our youngest is coming home from college. Our oldest, his wife, and daughter live here in Macomb but will be staying overnight on Christmas Eve. Our granddaughter is 3 years old, so Christmas morning will be especially joyful for her when she FINALLY gets to open all those presents she has been patiently eying for the past couple weeks. To be honest, I have admired her restraint.

The puppies will be 6 weeks old on Christmas Day. Puppy pictures (taken at age 5 weeks and 3 days) are posted with this narrative. The single puppy is the tiny female. She is the light of our granddaughter's heart because she is so tiny and obviously easy to tell apart from her littermates. Too bad her parents won't let her have a dog! Imagine, my son being raised with dogs his whole life and now preferring a cat! She has to get her "dog fix" when she visits our house.

The picture of the two puppies is of the other females. The one of 4 puppies is of the males. Everyone is happy and active. Their mom has decided that if I'm going to feed them that I should also have the privilege of cleaning up after them! Oh boy…

Merry Christmas to you all, and in the words of Charles Dickens' Tiny Tim, "God Bless Us, Every One."

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you … and the warmth and love of family and friends at Christmas.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Puppy Update and Other Things

Christmas has definitely "hit" our house. The tree finally managed to get up and decorated. The presents made it from shopping bags and delivery boxes into "piles by person" on the bed and floor of one of the bedrooms, then into wrapping paper or gift bags and finally under the tree. The office Christmas party—complete with white elephant gift exchange, an annual event that all of us at my office look forward to, is now a fond memory. We have a bunch of great cooks around here who outdid themselves again this year.

Boris, our Russian Blue cat, is confused by all the changes in our routine and in his house. He dislikes change to his environment and routine so he is upset a lot lately. Being a cat, he is interested in the tree and packages and evidently fancies himself a present because we often see him nestled among the gifts napping. He leaves the tree and ornaments alone, thank goodness. He leaves the majority of gifts alone except for the ones in gift bags. He is fascinated by the tissue paper and has managed to "fringe" the edges of all the tissue paper he can sink his teeth into. I decided it was a losing battle, so wrapped most gifts instead of going the easy route and sticking them in gift bags. As a friend at the office is fond of saying, "That ain't the hill I'm dyin' on."

So, this has been a crazy week. Getting information about puppies posted kept getting pushed to the bottom of the list! The most recent pictures are posted at the top of this narrative. The puppies were 4 weeks and 3 days when the picture was taken on Monday.

So here is what's new with the babies: First, they've been moved from the 3x3 puppy pen into a 3x6 puppy pen. Now those of you who know about such things might be raising eyebrows and asking, "3x6?? Never heard of it." Well, I had not either until I had a wild idea in the middle of the night. (That happens to me frequently as my subconscious ponders a problem). Anyway, I decided to see if I could put two 3x3's together into a 3x6 by removing a side panel from each 3x3 then attaching the two pens back together. Note that I say "I" but really it was a "we" thing as my husband did the heavy work while I mostly watched and directed!

Cutting lumber as center reinforcements for the floor grates was necessary, as was a bag of large zip ties.

Now the puppies have a large area to play in. Their piddle pads are at one end and blankets for sleeping at the other. Best of all, they are off the floor, which in spite of the efforts of our furnace, seemed way too cold for puppies, no matter how many layers of newspapers and blankets we used. If anyone who reads this wants to try it with a couple of 3x3's, let me know and I'll send a picture and a description of what we did.

I started weaning the puppies today. It's sooner than I generally begin weaning, but Secret is getting tired of them. They are getting curious about the food in her bowl, and she is getting protective of her food and not wanting to share, so... today she got a break and the pups got some mushy looking stuff that evidently tasted great because they dug in and ate with a passion! They were still excited to see mom when she came back to spend the day with them! They mauled poor Secret and she gave me a look that said, "And this will be over when???"

As Christmas approaches, so does Belle's first birthday! She and her litter mates were born on Christmas morning last year. Oh my, what a mess that was as we prepared for company and took turns delivering puppies. What beautiful little gifts Flame gave us that day. The girls: Holly, Spirit, and Belle. The boys: Nicky and Decker. Holly and Belle are the only two whose owners kept their Christmas-y names. I know all 5 of these puppies continue to be blessings to their people.

As 2009 nears its end and we get ready to greet 2010, I wish you all the best. In case I don't get back to you until after Christmas (in spite of my good intentions), I'll share a New Year sentiment that a friend sent me this morning in an email message:
"May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts. 


May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills. 


May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!


May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be those of joy.


May the problems you had forget your home address.
May 2010 be the best year ever!"

And if I don't get back to you next week, have a joyous Christmas with friends and family!

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Show Results, Puppy Update

Mira and I attended the shows in Belleville, IL this past weekend and came home with no points. She took a third and a fourth place in her class. It was disappointing of course. I was hoping to come home with a new champion, but then, so were a lot of other Lhasa owners. The competition was keen. Many lovely Lhasas were entered.

We had a great time though, for a number of reasons. First, it was the first time Mira has ever gotten to go to a show with me by herself and she enjoyed having all my attention. When Mira started showing last January, I was still trying to show Dancer (who was so scared on the table that I finally had to give up on her. Showing her was just not worth her going into panic.) Then, of course, Breaker was ready to show, and then I was taking Breaker, Mira, and Belle in May. This was a nice change for Mira who loved being the center of my attention for the entire weekend. I liked it too. She is a neat little dog!

Secondly, I was thrilled to see so many Lhasa friends. People came from MO, OH, WI, TN, KY, and IL (I may even be missing some states). We had our own impromptu "specialty." This was the second year for a great turnout at the Belleville shows, so it may become a habit. I hope so. We had a lot of fun. Ronnie Crowder finished his male, taking majors on both Friday and Saturday. Sandy Copeland's bitch finished, taking majors on Saturday and Sunday. It was a wonderful early present for Sandy, whose birthday is this week. Jeannie Cleary's puppy bitch took a major on Friday and Jeannie's male won the major on Sunday.

Third, my Shiba Inu friend Jane showed Mira. I am still in the surgical shoe and limping around so thought it best that I not go into the ring and be a klutz. Jane agreed to show Mira -- as long as I groomed her! Jane did a fantastic job showing her and Mira looked great with and responded well to Jane. I enjoyed the opportunity to watch Mira from ringside and evaluate her performance. She looked great and showed well.

Speaking of Jane, I have to add that we had a thrilling time on Sunday first when her male Shiba puppy took WD for 2 points, and then a few minutes later when he won Best of Breed over five Shiba specials for a 5 point major! He'd also won 2 points on Saturday. Not bad for it being only his second weekend of showing.

We also managed to squeeze in a couple hours of Christmas shopping Saturday night. It needed to be done! The holiday is sneaking up on me. Our tree is not even up yet!

On the subject of puppies, the "kids" are growing and looking great. The most recent photos are at the top of this post. The picture with 4 puppies is of the boys; the one with three is of the girls. They get cuter each week! The little girl is growing. The supplemental feedings are doing the trick. When I pick her up now, she immediately starts sucking. Talk about "conditioned response!" LOL! One of my friends at the show recommended Tomlyn's Puppy Vitamins for the puppy, saying she had had great luck using them when she had a situation similar to mine. The vitamins must be tasty because the puppy was smacking her lips after the first dose!

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Puppy Update

My website has an article on it that refers to Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten and applies his list to showing and breeding dogs. Since the puppies were born I've especially been aware of the item "Be Aware of Wonder."

Here is what my article says under that item: "As a breeder, you are a god -- your decisions on which dog and bitch to breed affect not only one particular litter of puppies but also the lives of the people who purchase your puppies, not to mention the future of the breed itself. Be conscious of the wonder of it all. Too many breeders see puppies as little dollar signs, rather than as individuals that may have a profound effect on the future. Who's to say that that tiny 5 oz. puppy won't someday become the breed's top winner or top-producing champion? Be aware of the possibilities and the wonder of life."

On November 13, I helped Secret bring seven new lives into the world and since that time I have worried over them as I watched each new step in their development. I have been in awe of the miracle of it all, from removing each puppy from its sac and cleaning it to making sure it was nursing and now to watching as they grow and take on individual personalities.

I've especially been amazed by the "runt" puppy, a little girl that I have come to respect and admire a great deal. She is as cute as can be, quite small compared to all her siblings and a few days behind in her development compared to them (e.g., her eyes opened three days later than everyone else's). She is also very determined! I started supplementing her with puppy formula and a bottle when she was three days old. She loves her bottle and goes after it with a passion. She also nurses when the bigger puppies are not pushing her out of their way and off the nipple. The big lugs! She is not above pushing back, not realizing her pushing has absolutely no effect. She does not give up.

The most recent pictures are posted at the top of this post. The picture with 4 puppies is of the boys. The picture with 3 is of the girls. The tiny one is on the right.

With each litter I am aware that not only will these dogs impact my life but also the lives of the families with whom they will live for the next 10-15 years. It's a huge responsibility and one that hits me at the oddest times. You'd think after 36 years it would be like second nature. I do each breeding for myself, hoping of course that the result will be at least one dog I can keep to show and later add to the breeding program, yet also knowing that I cannot keep them all and I am raising puppies for others to love and care for.

The puppies are now nearly 3 weeks old. They are cute, cute, cute and so much fun to watch as they grow. Most are now trying to get up on their feet and walk rather than crawl. They are an active, yet quiet litter (thank goodness). Secret is a good mom, but I'm sure she is counting the days until I start weaning them so her duties will be over. Seven is a lot to take care of and the bigger they get, the more "mobbed" she'll be feeling at dinner time!

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you!