Saturday, December 30, 2006

First walk outside for puppies

Gabby's babies went for their first walk out side today since they are now 5 weeks old. The weather was warm and sunny. The babies bounced around and all the tails were wagging. It was quite a wonderful thing to see. They are adorable puppies! All have quite outgoing personalities and love people. I enjoy watching them pounce on things and run around. Sticks and leaves are especially interesting.

Friday, December 29, 2006

It hurts to sit

I was able to stand and walk today but sitting was very painful. My thigh is swollen, has a large hematoma on the side and is generally very sore to the touch. Now I'm hoping that I'll be better in time for the New Year's Eve row! Just doing the chores is touch and go today. Hopefully, some Ibuprofen will help. I think that I'd better get some non-skid down on the ramps.

The puppies are all fine and being adored by their mothers. It is almost time for the Gabby babies to go outside for a walk. The weather has been glorious.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Fall down and go boom

I was out at the kennels this evening putting down the food for the dogs. I generally wear my Muck shoes that are rubber soled and impenetrable to clorox, dog poop and other nasty things. I must have been hurrying along a bit too fast because the next thing that I know, I'm on my back on one of the ramps with a searing pain shooting through my left thigh. It was like stepping on a banana peel: one minute upright and the next crashing to the ramp. I thought for a moment that I would vomit with the pain but gradually got up and hobbled up to the house with tears in my eyes. I guess that I have a very deep hematoma because there is a large knot and swelling on the outer thigh. I know better than to scurry up the ramp because there is rubber matting and it gets very slick with algae when the humidity is high (which is 75% of the time!). Anyway, I'm taking a Darvocet and going to bed. I hope that I can walk tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ghost town at work

Back at work today and it is pretty much a ghost town. I was able to work on a couple of manuscripts and get some things done. It was hard to concentrate though as the weather outside was beautiful. Tonight was also a party given by a member of our rowing team. It was fun since she used to run a restaurant and the food is always awesome. The people were interesting and her dad was especially interesting since he knows a lot about Guam and Hawaii. All in all a nice day.
The puppies keep us busy as they need constant changing and feeding. Gabby's babies are gobbling up the food and Clara's are getting on in size as well. I will have some new photos to post very soon.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Boxing day

The day after Christmas always seems a little lack luster. Today was no exception for me. I felt as if I needed some time to just think and contemplate gratitude. When things get that way, I head to one of my favorite places: Station 12 at Sullivan's Island. I just walked the beach, sat on the old rusty swing set, visited the very special hammock, and the table rock where I can watch the cargo ships go past. I like to sit with my binoculars and watch the ship traffic into Port Charleston. It's a nice spot, although a bit cold and very windy today. It's nice to spend an hour or two writing in my journal, watching the birds and waves and generally chilling out.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas day

The day started with a little bit later since I was able to sleep in until 7 AM. Then, it was out to take care of the dogs and puppies. We ran an errand of good will, picked up the in-laws, opened presents and then had a nice dinner. By around 4 PM, I was ready to crawl on the couch and take a nap. I hope that everyone had a wonderful, peaceful day.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve row


One of the rowing crew called today to see if I wanted to do a Christmas eve row since her dad was in town and wanted to go out. He is from Wisconsin and the weather here was like summer to him. So we had four for a crew on the gig and took it out on a slick calm afternoon for a row up the Ashley. There were quite a few people on the water, and everyone shouted Row Ho Ho to us since they know the pilot gig from the Christmas Parade of Boats. It was a beautiful afternoon, no wind at all, and a good ebbing tide going with us on our way back to the slip. We then walked around City Marina to look at the many yachts tied up. I've decided that one of my favorites is the Hinckley Picnic yacht which is reasonable at around 30 feet. It has beautiful lines. There were a lot of fiberglas clorox bottles which are the really ugly big yachts with the snubbed stern. No clean lines on those!

The puppies are now eating solid food and enjoying bouncing around the box with their toys. Gabby's babies are now 4 weeks old. Clara's babies are doing well and still eating like little pigs. I must say that this has been a bit overwhelming to have 2 litters so close togetherl. We are definitely done with puppies for a while!

Merry Christmas to all and wishing you a wonderful day of happiness and peace tomorrow.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas rush

I finished up some shopping today, getting a few last minute things for some people on the island. Miss Margaret has been an institution in my life for a long while and is a grand lady. She isn't so well now and I hope that she will take care of herself by slowing down some.

The doggy friends also had to have some gifts so I stopped by Doolittle's and bought some doggy cookies for Berta's doggy kids and for Robin's two dogs.

I'm looking forward to a relatively quiet Sunday.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Last day at work before the holidays

Today was like a ghost town at work. Only a few people around. I got some things that required attention finished up. I also took a couple of friends to lunch and gave a tour of the lab to another person who stopped by to say hello. It was a quiet beautiful day. After work I went to Station 12 on Sullivan's Island to watch the ships go by. There is an old swing set down the beach and it is a great place just to sit and swing and watch the ship traffic. What a gorgeous day it was!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

back to work

I went back to work this afternoon and it felt good to be out of the puppy room for a few hours. Even though it has all the comforts, it is nice to be back at the office to get some things caught up. I have a lot of reports and various editing projects to do during the holidays. Not many staff are in today and even less will be in tomorrow, but it's nice to have it be quiet and to have few interruptions.

The puppies are doing well and Clara is being very careful with them. I'm going to actually try to sleep in my bed tomorrow night. She seems to be careful about lying down away from the babies and not sitting on them which is always a worry until they become big enough (1 week) for that not to happen.

The wind picked up today so the rowing was hard tonight. There were only four of us which made the going even harder since we were fighting the wind and tide. It felt refreshing to pull on the oars though. A good feeling of being tired at the end of the day.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Update on puppies

Last night I noticed that one of the little girls was congested. She seemed to have trouble breathing and was gasping some. That is never a good sign. I kept her warm and tried to give her a little Dextrose. I was up nearly all night with her. She was very weak and didn't want to nurse. She was the smallest at birth and at the time seemed a bit frail. I took her to the vet this morning and they put her on oxygen and gave her some lasix. Unfortunately, I got the call this afternoon that she had died. It is never easy with whelping. I am sad for the lost little one. The other babies seem to be doing very well and are having no difficulty. I just have to watch that Clara doesn't sit or lean on one. New mothers can be very clumsy and often don't pay attention to how they lie down. I hope to get some sleep tonight, although sleeping in the whelping room is very noisy.

Monday, December 18, 2006

All the puppies are doing well

Clara has settled in nicely with her large litter of ten. They are content, nursing away and seem to be doing well. I will likely have to supplement them some with goat's milk, even though she has plenty of milk. It's just that this is a large litter and milk production may not keep up with demand.

Gabby's babies are now eating their gruel. They are eating, stepping in it and generally making a mess. Happily though, Gabby comes in and cleans it up, vacuuming the pad. That will only continue for a few days longer as once the babies are on solid food, the dam will tend to wean herself away from them.

I went back to work today but Charlie was at home with the babies. This afternoon I gave a talk to about 50 middle school students and had fun. It was nice to get out of the whelping room and do something that required thinking about work. Tomorrow I'll be at home for the day.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The puppies have arrived

Today at noon, Clara's water broke and the first puppy, a black boy came squealing into the world. He was followed by 9 more babies. By 7:30 PM, we had four little black girls and six black boys. There was an eleventh puppy that we were unable to resusitate. All ten of the babies are doing well. Clara is being a great mom and I'm going to get some much needed rest.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Puppies are up and about

Here are some photos of the Gabby and Barrett babies at 3 weeks. They are up and about, doing some playing and generally being cute Labrador babies. We are going to start their gruel this evening which means that things will begin to get a bit more messy in the whelping box. Because Clara is due any day, we will be moving these babies to the garage near Tilly and Anna where they will have a larger play area and can be on shavings in another week. Very soon they will be up and about and ready to go outside for their first walk.

Tonight I'm going to go to the symphony to listen to the Christmas special. It should be nice. I have tried to concentrate on the happiness and joy of Christmas today. I haven't heard any news about my cousin but perhaps that is a good sign that things went okay with his surgery.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Hope for Rick

Today is a day of apprehension for me because my cousin Rick who was diagnosed over a year ago with glioblastoma is having another surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Rick and I grew up next door to each other. He was my primary playmate and mentor as a kid. I learned all kinds of things from him such as how to shoot a 22, how to shoot marbles, how to play baseball, how to cuss, how to drive a stick shift, and many more. He is 3 years older than I am and was a great instigator in a lot of things that I ultimately got blamed for by my parents. Neither he nor I have siblings so we are like brother and sister.

He is now having a very tough time with this terrible brain tumor. I haven't seen him since the summer but get reports from his wife Nat who gets a nomination for sainthood as she is carrying the whole burden of caring for him. I am planning to go to Virginia in January and am trying to be optimistic in spite of the dismal prognosis for this worst of all brain tumors. Rick is a very smart person who enjoyed life. It is hard for me to imagine him not being the vital person that I have known. My thoughts are with him as he undergoes the surgery today and the recovery in the days to come.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas frenzy

I wonder how many of you are rushing about trying to get all the holiday decorations finalized and fighting the crowds to buy gifts, etc. This year has been particularly out of whack because of having the new wing built at Surry and having a lot of trips for work and judging. I finally took the Halloween pumpkin off the front porch and began decorating for Christmas. I still have a bit more shopping to do but thankfully, have most of it completed. I sometimes think that the best thing to do is to go away for the holidays and make it a vacation. For example, just go to Sweden or go to Quebec or some other place that is cold and snowy. Here is Charleston, people were walking around in shorts yesterday. It doesn't make it seem too much like Christmas, although the city's decorations are beautiful! I am just trying to focus on just taking things slowly and not getting too caught up in the perfectionism and expectations of the holidays. Have fun!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Rowing in the fog

Wednesday's row was such fun as it was dead calm and the entire harbor was shrouded in fog. There had been a lot of ground fog all day but it really came in thick at dusk. We had the bow and stern lights on the boat as well as a Q beam. As we rowed up the Ashley River, the crew chatted about how the shoreline looked as it must have over 150 years ago since no lights from land were visible and you couldn't see any buildings. It was really a calming peaceful row.

The puppies are getting big and are up and walking about. We will have them started on their gruel this weekend. They are very cute and I will have photos of them up on the web and here tomorrow.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Clara is pregnant!

Over two months ago, I wrote about trying a breeding of Clara to Barrett. I didn't think that it would take as neither was very interested in the other. Well, much to my surprise, Clara is looking pregnant. She is a thick bodied girl but lately I've noticed that she appeared quite a bit thicker than usual. After giving her an exam, I have determined that either she is in a raging false pregnancy or this is the real thing. I believe that it is the latter. What this means is that Christmas week may herald another whelping! Things work in mysterious ways.

I heard from Anthony in New York that Surry's Division Bell had her puppies yesterday. Unfortunately, she had to have a C-section but Belle and the puppies are doing well. Anthony is pleased that all turned out okay. He had been up for 2 days watching her as she dug and panted. This was her first litter which is always nerve wracking.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas parade

I was out shopping this afternoon and got caught in the Mt. Pleasant Christmas parade. So, I parked the car and walked to see the fireworks and watch a few floats go by. The fireworks were great and actually quite spectacular. Near the front of the procession were the Budweiser Clydesdales in full hitch. They were just spectacular! The floats were fun and there were so many happy children watching the parade. I'm sure that most won't be able to sleep for thinking about Christmas. I'm actually starting to get excited as well.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Being contacted about breeding

Occasionally, I'll get an email or phone call from an individual wishing to breed their bitch. The calls that I'm speaking of are from an individual who owns a pet girl and wants her to have a litter. There is never any mention of clearances for hips, elbows, and eyes. Of course, my first thoughts are that the girl shouldn't be bred and should be spayed. I write back though and explain with as much kindness as I can that before any breeding can even be considered the bitch will have to have OFA clearances for hips and elbows as well as an ACVO clearance for eyes. I also explain as tactfully as possible about the expenses that go into just doing a breeding, notwithstanding having to whelp and care for a litter of puppies. Most of the time, I never hear back from the people and assume that they have found someone who will do the breeding without clearances. I would like to think that they have gotten the message and will decide NOT to breed their bitch. Only once or twice have I gotten the opposite request: to breed one of my girls to their wonderful male. Everyone loves their dogs and thinks that they are the best looking and smartest in the world. Most people who aren't breeders don't realize that there are many other criteria that need to be fulfilled before any breeding takes place.

This is also the time of year when requests come in for Christmas puppies. We never sell a puppy at Christmas, simply because there is too much activity and the concept of having a puppy as a "gift" isn't a good one. Puppies become dogs and are a lifetime committment, not a throwaway windup toy. There are many articles about why getting a puppy at Christmas is a bad idea. Here is a link to one:
The best thing to do is to give books about Labradors and puppy raising, study them and get the puppy after the holidays are over!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Seeing the Clydesdales

We rowed last night with all the Christmas lights on the pilot gig. The oars were wrapped in red and green lights and we towed a dinghy with a Christmas tree in it. Lots of people along the Charleston Battery were yelling out that it was a beautiful sight to see. We all yelled back "Merry Christmas".

After rowing, I went to Marion Square to see lights there and the Clydesdales. The lit trees and other beautiful things at Marion Square were wonderful to see. The Clydesdales were in their stalls munching on hay. They will be in the Mt. Pleasant Christmas parade which should be fun to watch, even though the weather is supposed to be cold.

The puppies are warm and snug in their whelping box. I keep the temperature about 72 degrees in there. They are toddling about now and able to crawl around the box. Soon their eyes and ears will open up.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Puppies are 2 weeks old

Here are the pictures of two of the babies taken yesterday. They are two weeks old today. They are fat and have great pigment. They scoot around the box and are chowing down like crazy. I enjoy watching them as they sleep. They are adorable and Gabby really dotes on them. She continues to keep everything spotless. I enjoy this phase when they are healthy and big enough to move about, yet still being taken care of by the mother. It is a pleasure to experience that.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Heading back to Charleston

After walking the dogs, having breakfast, and driving in pouring rain, I got back home safely. It was a very messy morning with a lot of fog and traffic. I did get the dogs to the Tybee dog park, when the rain was a bit less, and they ran around to play for a while. It wasn't a really good morning for kayaking but humans have to suffer through as well, although we tend to whine more than the dogs when it comes to rain and brisk temperatures! I had wanted to go to the famous Breakfast Club at Tybee but there was a long line and I didn't want to stand outside in the rain to wait on a table. Maybe that will have to wait until next trip. It was a fun time and the dogs seemed to really enjoy the exercise that they got.

I enjoyed a Christmas party last evening hosted by a group of friends. The candlelight tributes that were made were very touching. I'm beginning to feel a bit in the Christmas spirit, even though I haven't taken down my Thanksgiving decorations yet!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A full day

Today was really full. First, there was the dog show. Amelia and Izzy showed well, both getting around the ring without tripping me! They were happy in the ring and Amelia didn't even want to leave the ring. We won our classes which was nice.

After the show, I headed to downtown Savannah, got some lunch and then walked around to look at all the street vendors who were out on River Street. This was the big Savannah Christmas Parade day so there was a lot going on. I got some Christmas presents and had fun seeing the street mimes and musicians. After all of that, I headed back to Tybee to the kayak place and visit the lighthouse. I found out that there would be an open house put on by the Tybee Historical Society starting at 6 PM.

So in the meantime, I took the dogs to the Tybee dog park and played with them. They had a blast playing with a boxer and a Labradoodle. It was havoc!

Then, I went back to the light house, listened to Christmas carols, had some hot chocolate, went up all the 178 steps, took a lot of photos of the beautiful first order Fresnel lens, and then went back down to visit with Santa. I also toured the beautiful lighthouse keeper's quarters that was made great by a member of the historical society who explained a lot about what life was like and how the renovation of the quarters was done. I also went on the horse drawn carriage ride which was really fun and gave gorgeous views of the lighthouse and the quaint homes in the area. It was well worth the trip just to have this tour!

After a full day, it was nice to relax and read some before getting some much needed rest.

Friday, December 01, 2006

At Tybee

I arrived at Tybee and got my room at the Outdoor Inn. It is a neat place located right next to Sea Kayak Georgia. The Inn is basically a big house with lots of individual rooms and a common eating area where there are many charts displayed on the walls. The dogs seem to be enjoying the walk around the property. There is a huge porch off the back of the house that overlooks the marsh and a small creek.
I'm going to eat at a local seafood place tonight. Then, maybe check the Weather Channel to see what the AM brings in terms of the dog show. Hopefully, no rain!