Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dog show weekend

I am heading to Savannah tomorrow to show Izzy and Amelia. I'm hoping that the weather will be decent on Saturday. Right now, it isn't looking too good for tomorrow but luckily, I'll just be traveling. At least the weather appears to be cooler. I'm tired of having summer temperatures now that December is here.

The puppies are doing great. I plan to get more photos up soon. Thankfully, Gabby is a great mother and takes good care of them.

Our row last evening was perfect! There were 8 people as crew and we were power rowing up the Ashley River and back. It was a beautiful night and the water was calm. I just sent out a notice for a New Year's Eve row to Shem Creek that should be fun.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sleeping in regular bed

Last night, I was able to move back to a regular bed, sleeping in the new wing for the first time. It felt strange, like sleeping in a hotel. Although the new wing isn't totally completed (minor stuff on punch list), the bed is wonderful and the new mattress felt so good after sleeping on the platform bed in the puppy room.

The babies are doing well and are scooting around the box. Gabby is a very careful mother and takes excellent care of the babies. I am glad that the whelping is over and that the babies are doing so well. I like for them to be around a week old and from that age until 3 weeks all is so easy because the mother takes care of everything!
Life is good....

Monday, November 27, 2006

In the puppy room

The puppies are doing great, growing and eating like little pigs. I am sleeping out in the puppy room on the platform bed. It will be nice to be able to spend a night on the new mattress and bed that is now installed in the new wing of the house. I'll go back to work tomorrow, and Charlie will be home to watch over the little ones. The good thing about sitting puppies is getting a lot of reading done! I think that he has already gone through a couple of books.

A friend stopped by today to visit and it was a nice diversion from reading and sleeping. I look forward to getting back to work!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A milestone

Today Charlie and I have been married for 30 years. We didn't have much time to celebrate but some dear sweet friends, Eugene and Yaenette, came over to baby sit the puppies and Gabby while we went to dinner. Yaenette asked what was our secret to such a long marriage.

I really don't know as there have been times that have been enormously happy, times of enornmous sadness, times of frustration, times of peacefulness, but through it all there has been the idea that we have been friends and that we have respect for each other. I also think that because we have worked together (our offices are on the same hall) ever since we were married, it has been important to have activities that we appreciated but didn't necessarily share. I enjoy excercising of all kinds and, of course, showing the dogs and now judging. Charlie enjoys woodworking, fishing (which I also enjoy) and gardening (which I like too). So there are things that we share together and things that we do separately.

Charlie has always been very supportive of the dogs but doesn't like dog shows and would rather be at home than in a social situation. I enjoy meeting people and feel happy being in crowds or alone in the woods. He is quiet and I'm more outgoing. It's yin and yang for the most part.

I'll share with you the prayer that was written on a plain sheet of paper in the anniversary greeting that Charlie gave to me. It is the prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

All is well now

After a much needed cat nap, I've settled into the whelping room which is where I'll sleep for a week. The babies are doing well and Gabby loves being a mother. I doze off to the buzzing sound of the babies as they nurse. I've had a couple of hours worth of breaks to get some shopping done during the "tax free" day today. The puppies aren't left alone which is good.

I'm sorry about the ones that didn't make it but there isn't a thing that can be done to bring them back. Sometimes things just don't go as one would like. It's a humbling experience and I'm not sure how many more times I want to go through the stress of having babies.

I'm getting a lot of reading done while I watch the babies. The room is warm and comfortable, as much as one can expect. After a few days though, I'm ready to sleep in a normal bed and have a bigger space to be in.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A long night

Gabby's delivery of puppies turned into a marathon. We thought that things were going well with the first puppy coming at 4 PM on Thanksgiving. We stayed up all night delivering puppies with the final count being 6 living babies: 2 yellow girls, a yellow boy, a black girl and 2 black boys. Unfortunately, we lost several puppies that were DOA. No amount of resusitation that we did could revive them. It appears that Gabby's uterus wasn't contracting as it should which meant that some of the puppies likely drowned in amniotic fluid after the placenta had detached. It is sad but one of the things that can happen during whelping. We are grateful to have the six babies that are here. I should have some photos up soon here and on our web site. Now, I need some much needed rest.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Puppies are arriving

We had an eventful Thanksgiving with Gabby starting delivery of her puppies at 4 PM this afternoon. So far, we have a black girl, a yellow girl and a yellow boy. All are doing well. She is a wonderful whelper, never straining and just pushing out the babies with ease. I'm hoping that all will be done by later this evening so that this isn't an all nighter.

I'll put up photos as soon as things have calmed down. We had a nice Thanksgiving even though we had no idea that the babies would be arriving today. I know that there are many things to be thankful for. Here's hoping that all the babies and Gabby do well.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Snow in Charleston!

It was a rare sight this morning to see snow coming down on Wadmalaw. There were big fluffy flakes. The dogs were loving the whole cold, snowy scene. They have houses filled with straw and came rushing out to greet me. They bounced around for a while until I got their breakfast ready. Then after wolfing that down, they went into their houses with only their noses exposed!

The photo shown here is the view from my office out to Charleston Harbor. There was sea smoke, lots of white caps, and the wonderful snow. Now, that has changed to a pounding rain. Unfortunately, there will be lots of beach erosion. How would you like to be at a mooring in a nice sailboat, with a warm heater going, riding out the storm?

Last night, we had the first fire of the season. Sitting by a fire, reading the paper, and enjoying a relaxing evening is a rarity anymore. I'm grateful for those small things and the quiet times.

Gabby is huge but still eating. Her temperature is still normal and hasn't begun to drop or fluctuate. Hopefully, she will wait until AFTER Thanksgiving but who knows???

Stay warm and hug your dogs.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Simon finishes!

Yesterday, I received news that Simon, from the Angus x Stella litter, finished his Ch. with his third major win. Simon is one of three boys who finished from the litter. His brothers Gilmour and Barrett finished earlier this year. Because it's so hard to get a Champion title on Labradors due to the sheer number that it takes to get a major, it is thrilling to have 3 from one litter finish. Stella was from a litter in which four finished. Simon's owners, Steve and Geri Lubinski, are thrilled about the completion of his championship. They plan to have him out at selected shows as a special, competing in Best of Breed.

I hope that everyone will be safe with the approaching coastal storm. It is supposed to be a rough few days with high winds and major surf advisories. Safe travels to everyone this Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A busy weekend

It seems that finally with Thanksgiving coming, I'll be able to be at home and not out of town. This past weekend was one in which I traveled again with the dogs. Meddle and Pink seemed to enjoy themselves though and were full of themselves in the crisp mornings. The weather was clear thankfully and eventually warmed up during the day.

I've decided that I need to get my puppies out more and get them accustomed to the noises and other dogs that they will encounter at dog shows. It's hard when the only things that they encounter are a bunch of squirrels! Perhaps on the home weekends, I'll take them to the dog park at the Isle of Palms where it is enclosed and they can run and play. The James Island Park is nicer and beautiful but it isn't fenced. Also there are more dogs there and they really need to not feel overwhelmed.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A nice dinner

I was invited to dinner at a friend's house this evening. She used to own a couple of restaurants locally, and I would regularly go to her restaurant to have dinner. She rows with me in the pilot gig on Wednesday's and has a lovely home on James Island. She had her friend Linda Annas Ferguson over for the dinner. Linda is a published poet and will have her most recent book out soon. You can read about her poetry and talents at www. The dinner was wonderful and Linda's reading of some poetry was moving. It nice to have made new friends and hear their viewpoints on life. They were interested in the dogs and what goes into being a breeder. A lot of sweat and hard work and tears would be a good summation. Perhaps there's a poem in there somewhere.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Gabby is getting bigger

When I got back from Boston, I saw Gabby and it appeared that she had enlarged greatly just in 2.5 days. She is happy as a clam, eating like a pig and generally looking beautiful. Her due date is Nov. 23 so I am already getting anxious. She is enjoying all the attention and getting extra cookies. She has never had a problem with whelping before so I'm hoping all will go okay. One never knows so it is best to be prepared. Hopefully, all will go well. Whelpings can be a marathon and sleep deprivation seems to be the norm. I'll have information about Gabby and updates on the whelping as soon as I have recovered.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Judging in Boston

I enjoyed my judging assignment in Boston. The venue was wonderful and I was glad to have only a short walk from my hotel to the show site. Although the show was inside, the weather was very nice. I enjoyed seeing some nice dogs. I also was grateful that I had no trouble with Boston traffic and driving from Boston to Fitchburg.

I heard from Elizabeth Bowron that Gilmour went BOS on one of the days at the Raleigh-Durham LRC specialty. That was a nice surprise!

Gabby is getting bigger and looks as if she swallowed a watermelon. She is due in another couple of weeks. I'm hoping that all will go well.

What a beautiful day today has been in Charleston! Calm water and blue sky. Wish that the rowing crew wanted to get together but everyone seems to be busy tonight. Hopefully, Wednesday's row will be good.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Exciting Raleigh-Durham results and off to judge

I'm leaving today to fly to Boston to judge at the Framingham KC show. I have a nice entry of 75 to judge. Because of judging there, I missed one of my favorite specialties, the Raleigh-Durham LRC. I heard from Elizabeth Bowron yesterday that Surry's Ummagumma at Fortune got a JAM at the specialty which was great news.

It was beautiful weather yesterday, too nice to be indoors anywhere. I got out at lunch and enjoyed the warm weather and the beach. The dogs are basking in the sun and seem to be enjoying the nice weather as well.

I'll hopefully hear some more information from Elizabeth on the specialty today. Hope that I get in and out of Logan airport without too much hassle.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Excitement rowing

With the big full moon tides this week and a northeast wind, rowing on Monday evening was exciting and strenuous. We had a crew of four and a good friend coxing for the first time in the pilot gig. He was a bit nervous about the whole thing but did admirably well with his female crew who pulled hard on the oars. We left the City Marina and headed into Charleston Harbor. It seemed that we were rowing hard for a long time and not going anywhere because we were rowing against the tide. We moved from the channel into the anchorage area and then practiced some boat maneuvers around the moored vessels. It was great fun and good practice for all of us. We rowed for over an hour without a break, nearly got carried by current into a can marker, got saved by backing water like crazy and had a good laugh over our adventure. We got back to the marina tired but happy. Our coxswain put the boat right in the slip and was pleased with his accomplishment. Tonight we go out again for another nightime row. I love looking at the lights of the city during these rows. The cool weather makes it perfect for a workout.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Photos from Labrador Fun Day

Eugene took some wonderful photos from the Labrador Fun Fest yesterday. The game photos are so cute! Take a look at them on his web blog at These photos will give you an idea of the great time that the humans and dogs had. Hope that everyone can join us next year!

Stella looks really bored on the grooming table. Everytime that she would be out running around, she would then go back to the van, put her feet up, and look to be picked up and put in the crate. How indelicate and embarrassing to be dressed in men's underwear!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Labrador Fun Day

Today, the Coastal South Carolina Labrador Retriever Club hosted our fall fun fest at James Island County Park. It was a great afternoon to be outside. There were retriever demonstrations, obedience demonstrations, fun games with the dogs, and a raffle for a couple of super packed doggy baskets. It was great fun to watch the young dogs do water retrieves for the first time. Some of them were like egg beaters in the water but then got the hang of it and did well. There was quite a crowd to enjoy the games and some of us even laughed our way through the games! All in all, I think that the public really enjoyed the day and the club members had a great time putting on the event. We look forward to other activities in the future. If you are interested in joining the club, you can download a membership form at

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Taj Mahal concert

Last night, I went to a concert by blues artist Taj Mahal at the Charleston Music Hall. A group from North Carolina, the Chocolate Drops, opened and played some wonderful blue grass and ragtime music. This group is very talented and the strong voice of the female singer is beautiful.

The place was filled when the Taj Mahal Trio came on. They put out some wonderful blues and the show was great. This blues legend knows how to turn on the crowd. I was hoping to hear Leavin' Trunk, Statesboro Blues, or Take a Giant Step. Although those weren't played, the band did Corrina which is another favorite. The Fishing Song was great as usual. Unfortunately, there were a lot of college students in various states of an alcohol haze on the main floor. I was happy to be on the balcony where I had a great view of the band and didn't have to look at the back of anyone's head (or butt).

It was an inspiring evening but being up until midnight during the work week isn't something that I want to do regularly!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dealing with elderly dogs

Tilly is currently our oldest Labrador. She is really in great health and doing well. Occasionally, she will get a urinary tract infection that causes some accidents. We dose her with amoxycillin and the infection will clear up.

Tilly is really a one of a kind girl. She was my first Best in Specialty show winner and has been an outstanding producer. She is funny, possessive of her toys, rules the roost, and in general is our "heart" dog. She hasn't slowed down much at all and I look forward to spending several more years with her in our lives. There is that bit of sadness though to see the ones that you hold so dear get old. Anna, Tilly's daughter, is nearly grey. Stella, another Tilly, daughter is getting on to be nearly 7 years old. Hard to believe that these were the babies that we birthed and cared for.

I've found that one of the hardest things about dog ownership is having them age and become infirm. The loss of a beloved animal friend is so difficult that there are times that I think I can't bear to lose another.