Wednesday, March 10, 2010


We had some snow last month which is an unusual occurrence for South Carolina. The dogs seemed to enjoy the time that they spent in the snow--none had ever seen it before. The Labradors thought that it was great sport. The greyhounds weren't so sure.

The snow was gone by the next day, and now it appears that the back of winter is broken and spring is going to be here soon. The dogs are still in their winter coats but shedding is definitely happening. Soon we will be getting baskets of hair off each of the Labradors.

I have to say that the cooler weather is definitely what I prefer. I know that the dogs feel the same way. They are truly cold weather animals. Even the greyhounds don't mind going to dog park or the beach when the weather is cold. One would think that with such low body fat that they would be cold. But they enjoy walking in the water just like a Labrador.

All else is going well. We have had a couple of the girls spayed. Clara is enjoying being inside and Emily will be going to a new home this weekend. Life is just more manageable with fewer dogs and each gets more individual attention. They enjoy watching Charlie work in the garden which has preoccupied him now for several days.

I hope to post some photos of the dogs at the beach soon!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Hounds getting teeth cleaned today

Sorry for the long time between posts. It seems that time goes by so fast. I haven't decided whether to continue the blog or not since I don't seem to be able to devote as much time to it as I would like. Maybe I will just change the topic a bit to include more about all the dogs that are here. Our number of dogs is now 8 Labradors and 2 greyhounds. That seems so much easier than having around 15 that we used to have.

The greyhounds are getting their teeth cleaned today. Greyhounds seem to have particular problems with periodontal disease, often showing signs as early as two years of age. Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
Greyhound Dental Care
  • Bad breath
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Yellow or brown crust near the gum line
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Discomfort when the mouth or gums are touched
  • Possible decreased appetite or weight loss due to difficultly in chewing
Our dogs don't have teeth that look like those shown. But we have begun noticing some bad breath from them. So it was time to get their teeth cleaned. This generally becomes an annual thing for greyhounds. Because they are sensitive to anesthesia, it is best to have a vet who is familiar with the breed do the cleaning.

Here are some of the things that owners can do for any breed that will insure good dental care:
  • brush their teeth daily - even twice daily if you find that makes a difference. Experiment with different doggie toothpastes to see if your dog does better on a particular type.
  • get some anti-gingivitis mouthwash and wipe it along the gumline daily.
  • provide safe chew toys that are made especially for helping with dental hygiene.
  • learn how to scale the teeth. It isn't hard to do.
  • feed only dry food
  • check teeth regularly and keep up with appointments to get the teeth cleaned.

Monday, January 04, 2010

To Anonymous

Note: I received the following comment posted on December 25 regarding the death of Tilly. I did delete the comment on the post but wanted to highlight it here. It was sent by an anonymous poster:


I am wondering why you profess to be a dog-loving, ethical breeder when the truth is that your dogs NEVER step foot in your house (oh wait, you consider your attached garage the house) and you consistently sell temperament and congenitally-impaired dogs to unknowing people. Congratulations! You're a true testament to this wonderful breed. Poor Tilly deserved to live out her years in the confort of a loving home, but all she got was the hard, cold floor of a garage. Rest in peace sweet girl. May the gates of heaven show you all the life luxuries you missed living with the Wenners.

Dear Anonymous:
I am wondering whether I know you and how much time you have spent in my home. If you have, I know that you were welcomed hospitably. I wonder what I have done to you to deserve this comment. Maybe you were just having a bad Christmas. I don't suppose you would call me or email to actually let me know what the reasons were, but I would appreciate it if you would.

I'm wondering how often you visited my home over the 14 years of Tilly's life. Since it appears you have been there a lot, then you must know that the "doggy" room is heated and air conditioned, has three large dog beds, lots of toys, and music. You are right that while we were both working during the day, the older dogs spent their day in this room. Once we were home from work, they were turned out and at night come in the house. When my husband retired, Tilly and the two greyhounds were turned out in the paddocks for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Tilly especially enjoyed watching the greyhounds run around.

As far as selling impaired dogs with bad temperaments to unknowing people, I have had few complaints over all these years about the dogs. In fact, I have been most grateful that there have been so few problems. Tilly was a great producer and much of the soundness in the lines, I attribute to her. Again, I would like to talk with you since you seem to have much more information than I do. I think that it's rare indeed for any breeder to never produce a problem. In fact, I don't know of anyone who has not produced some kind of problem when breeding Labradors. These are dogs that we are breeding not machines.

About two years ago, after becoming an AKC judge, I made a decision to not breed anymore. It was a difficult decision. And it largely had to do with the stress of whelping puppies, seeing the bitches in labor, and worrying about the dogs. You probably understand this and know a lot about the trials and tribulations of breeding. It is a difficult and often heartbreaking hobby.

Well, I hope that you give me a call or email me. Maybe we can load up all the dogs and have them come to visit your house.

Best wishes to you in the coming year,
Elizabeth Wenner
Surry Labradors

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Chronic renal failure

I wanted to write about renal disease which is what Tilly had. Because of her advanced age of 14, there was more of a likelihood that she would develop renal failure as many aged dogs do. Over a year ago, we noticed that she was urinating more than usual. Blood workup revealed that she had elevated BUN and Creatnine levels, which are two products excreted by the kidneys. Elevated levels in the blood, also called azotemia indicated her kidneys were not functioning properly. She was also anemic at the time.

The kidneys are important because they filter out and excrete toxins from the body through output of urine. Tilly was drinking a lot of water and urinating more because her kidneys were damaged. The increase in water consumption is the bodies attempt to flush out the build up of toxins. The increased urination is caused by the increased water intake but the kidneys are unable to concentrate the urine so it is a almost clear in color with little to no odor.

Symptoms of kidney failure usually do not show until the disease is in an advanced stage – normally when the kidneys are functioning at only twenty-five percent function. By this time, it is often too late for treatment to do much besides make the dog more comfortable and help alleviate symptoms.

Tilly was given an influx in fluid over the past year. That helped to flush out her system. This flushing process, called diuresis, helps to stimulate the kidney cells to function again. If enough functional kidney cells remain, they may be able to adequately meet the body's needs for waste removal. Fluid therapy includes replacement of various electrolytes, especially potassium.

We also put her on a special renal diet which is low in protein and low in salt and phosphorus. Unfortunately, she didn't particularly like this food, and we resorted to cooking special meals for her and trying all sorts of foods to get her to eat. During the last two weeks she refused to eat or drink. We resorted to feeding her through an oral syringe with a calorie dense food to try to keep some weight on her and to give her subcutaneous injections of fluid to try to stimulate some kidney cell function.

Her heart, lungs and attitude remained strong. I think that was among the most difficult things because she still wanted to go for a walk and still loved being with us. However, she was in complete kidney failure according to blood tests done. So there was nothing left that could be done. It is hard to let go of our beloved dogs but when kidneys are worn out they can't be revived.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A sad day

Yesterday was a very sad day. After a year long struggle with chronic renal failure, Ch. Castlewood WhyaskWhy at Surry crossed the rainbow bridge. She was 14 years old and remained alert with a strong heart right up to the end.

I knew that this day was going to come but still wasn't prepared. As we took our final walk in the morning, she came right along with me. But renal failure had taken its toll (I'll write about this in a later post).

Tilly was quite the girl. I remember her as the boldest and baddest of the puppies that Gina Cheatham and Robin Moody had from their breeding of Ch. Sumo's Ahoy All Decked Out CD to Can. Ch. Ranbourne This Bud's For You. She bossed everyone from the time she was able to crawl. Tilly became my first BISS winner and produced BISS winners herself. Her son Ch. Surry's Brick in the Wall became a BIS winner which is infrequent in the Labrador world.

Yesterday was filled with a lot of tears, but today I am grateful to have had her in my life. She opened up doors to friendships, taught me that patience is a virtue and that dogs can be stubborn as mules. She was a grand old girl.

Rest in peace Tilly. I'll see you on the other side.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


The following is reprinted from Indigo Ravenwood's blog Shattered Prose. It really touched my heart.

"I’m a writer.

But it’s not all I am.

I’m also someone who rescues animals; strays to be specific.

Tonight I just want to be the writer. Because I don’t really know how much more my heart can take - how much more compassion, endurance or fortitude, I have left to watch another life slip out of my hands. Only to realize too little, too late and wonder was it enough?

I didn’t ask for this. Never in my wildest dreams did I foresee this for myself. Yet here I am, sitting with a heavy heart and trying my damndest to make some sense out of it all.

Counting slowly back through my memories, names and personalities remind me of the ones that survived, the strays I did manage to make a difference for.

I’m only one person.

They all had homes before me, a place where they lived and learned to be domesticated. The question remains, what happened to those homes?

They come to me broken and unsure if I’m trustworthy. Will I chase them away, kick them or scream at them? “Don’t come any closer,” their stance says, betraying the fear they have of humans.

Patience slowly wins them over.

I can’t describe the joy as unique personalities emerge and most importantly trust is gained. Eyes lit up in expectation and excitement to see you, until finally the one moment that gives way to all your patience, the rub. The classic don’t hurt me; I’m going to try to let you close enough to pet me move. And I melt.


Because the evidence of the road they traveled to get to me is there for all the world to see in each scar, the missing hair, the bug bites and the skinny frame from lack of food.

Yet for one moment they dared to trust and I was worthy.

I’ve seen this same scenario play out over and over. I don’t get it. I don’t understand how someone could cruelly pull up in a car and toss them out, or one day suddenly decide they weren’t worth the time and lock them out of the only home they ever knew. I don’t understand how someone can simply stop caring.

As a writer, I take my writing seriously. As a pet owner, I take their lives into account from beginning to end. There is no, I changed my mind they’re too much work. There is no, I don’t have time or patience for this.

Kittens and Puppies don’t stay that way forever, they grow up, they get old and they need to be taken care of every single day of their lives.

So the writer in me is using the biggest tool I have available to me – my words, to ask, please be responsible pet owners. Know what you’re getting into before taking that leap and falling for a pet that will be the recipient of whatever decisions you make.

If you think you have what it takes to go the distance, please consider a shelter or abandoned animal. All they want is to be loved. They never asked to be thrown away.

Maybe someday everyone who owns an animal will take that responsibility seriously and I won’t feel the need to make a heartfelt plea like this. I don’t know if my heart can take losing another stray, wondering if they had enough time to know someone cared. I’m only one person, one writer, one human being. Stop and think before you give a pet for a gift this holiday or any day and make sure you understand what that new puppy or kitten entails. Please…"

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Halloween Dog

Camryn, one of the Surry girls owned by Mardy, will be going to two Halloween parties this year. One of her parties will be at the Franke Home where she will entertain residents. Here is her cute costume:

I think that she will be a big hit at both parties.