Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Clara is inside

It seemed like such a void not to have a black dog inside so I brought Clara, Annabelle's daughter to the house. She stays in the puppy room with Tilly now. It is good to come home in the evening and have a black girl greet me. Clara looks so much like her mother that it's incredible. It makes her very happy to be inside also.

Clara has a lot of the similar traits as Anna also. She has a wonderful even temperament and is very kind. She is a bit more independent minded and doesn't seem to want to come as quickly when called. She likes to sniff and be a typical Labrador.

It does my heart good to see a black dog be in the house again.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Enjoying watching the puppies

The puppies have graduated to the large paddock where they have more room. They had started to outgrow their small puppy paddock. It's nice to watch them stretch out their legs and run and play. There's a lot of young dog behavior starting with the boys picking on the girls. However, Maya and Crinkles seem to be able to hold their own.

The puppies are now absorbed with chase behavior and pouncing. They will all take off, run as fast as they can and try to catch another one of the puppies. Maya is usually a good target but she decides when she has had enough and lets them know it.

I've also separated them by moving the puppies into separate kennels. Maya and Crinkles stay together, two of the boys stay together and a third boy rotates out to be by himself. They were simply getting too to fit into just two kennels.

I can't wait to take them to doggy park.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Cleaning up nails with a dremmel tool

I use a dremmel tool with a sanding attachment to neaten up nails. I think that the method is much better than cutting a nail with clippers. With the dremmel tool, you simply apply the sanding drum to each nail and then go back over the nails again until they are the length that you want them. The trick is to not sand too long on each nail because you are sanding away the nail and the friction of sanding makes it hot against the nail.

I start out by using clippers on the young puppies and then switch to the dremmel tool when the puppies are around 5 months of age. They quickly get used to the sound and feel of the sanding drum. Be sure to wear safety glasses and a grooming shirt because the dust from the nail debris can get into your eyes and will get on your clothes and hair.

Once the nails are done, repeat this about every week until the "quick" has receded and a nice short nail is the result.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Many thanks

I am grateful to all who sent emails of condolence about Annabelle. She will always be in my heart. It's nice to know that there are people who care enough to write. For those of you with get of Annabelle, I am especially grateful that you cherish your days with them. One never knows when something will take them away from us.

Our Labrador community is a small one when you think about it. One always hears a lot about the gossip and the bad stuff that is said about people in the sport. I like to think about the good things that people do and that the sport is filled with people who care about their dogs, much more than winning. Winning is the icing on the cake for me. It has never been about the ribbons and the accolades; but having a sense of accomplishment that a small kennel, such as the one we have, has produced some nice dogs that have made me and others happy. In my wildest dreams, I never thought that we would accomplish the things that we have or that I would be a judge. I always think back to my early days and watching at the dog shows, wanting so badly to be a part of something but knowing how hard the road would be to get there.

Thanks again for your words. You make me smile during the most difficult of times.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Surry's High Hopes

On Saturday, Surry's High Hopes was euthanized. Anna had been getting weaker and had lost more weight. Charlie had to help her up and down the stairs and finally it appeared that the time had come. Drs. Shong and Rockwell kindly did their job and Annabelle was wagging up to the time that she lost consciousness. She will be cremated and buried next to her dog and cat friends at Surry.

Annabelle was from the first litter of Ch. Castlewood Whyaskwhy at Surry. Her sire was Ch. Tabatha's Drifter at Dickendall JH who had the most wonderful temperament. Anna was definitely one of the sweetest dogs that I have ever owned. She was such a love and enjoyed being with the people she loved. She was a wonderful mother to her babies and seemed never to want to stop nursing them. We are fortunate to have Ch. Surry's Rolliing Thunder and Surry's Eclipse, two of her get, here at Surry.

I'm not sure what else to say other than she was loved and will be greatly missed.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Thinking about how great dogs are

As the years have gone by I've had many wonderful loving dogs. These have been companions, show dogs, obedience dogs, and trained for hunt tests. But most of all they have been loved and adored by me and their owners. I have only run into a couple of people over the years that I wished that I had never sold a puppy to. It wasn't that they were bad people or unkind, they just weren't right to have a dog. Dogs shed, they make mistakes occasionally, but how many people are there who are as wonderful and forgiving as a dog? I can't think of many at all. Dogs love you no matter what and Labradors have that unique quality in which they can talk to you with those eyes. Their expression tells it all.

I've known people who never had an animal as a pet nor did they ever really understand dogs. These people are missing out on one of the greatest creatures ever. I think that there is something missing in people who don't like animals, especially dogs.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Update on Annabelle

Anna is still holding her own but getting weaker and thinner. We are still getting food in her and she is still wagging her tail. Every day it's hard to know when will be the day that she gives up but for now it hasn't happened. Lymphocytic liver cancer must be a quick type of cancer because she went from a very healthy happy dog to one that started to lose weight and stopped eating. We are feeding her Hill's AD which has a ton of calories. She also gets a lot of Neutrical at every feeding. I wish that I had better and happier news to report.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It's official

I received news that I am now a regular AKC judge for Labrador Retrievers. It's been over a year since I applied. In order to become a regular judge I had to complete 5 provisional assignments and be observed on three of those assignments to make certain that I had proper procedure. Now that I've completed the provisional assignments and received good scores on my procedure, the AKC board approved my regular status.

This is very exciting for me and it's been a long-term goal for me. Now after this approval, I'll be able to apply for other sporting breeds. I'll probably apply for Weimaraners next. It generally takes about a year to complete another breed. I've done Sweepstakes twice for Weims so they seem to be a good breed to try for next.

Anyway, it's another part of enjoying the sport of dogs.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Puppies and their moms

Today is Mother's Day. Although I don't have any human children, there are the dogs. Fortunately, they didn't wake up too early this morning. I'm thankful today for all the wonderful dams that we have had and their wonderful puppies. Breeding is a tough job and a very emotional and stressful one. I'm always sorry to have to put the girls through the whelping process. I'm sure if they could speak up about it, they would choose to eat and sleep, rather than give birth and raise up puppies. Thankfully, I don't have to think about any puppies for a while and am just going to enjoy the ones that I have.

I got back very late from judging in MA. Hartsfield in Atlanta was closed due to a large storm so there were many delays and planes circling. The plane had to go to Columbia to refuel and then back to Atlanta. I finally and luckily was able to get home by 2 AM. What a day! But I had great dogs to judge and very friendly exhibitors. I loved my Best in Sweeps bitch and the chocolate boy that went BOS in Sweeps was a wonderful example of the breed. Anyway, it's nice to be home for the weekend and have a few days off before the next travel time.

Hope that all the puppies are good to their human mothers today.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Made it to Massachusetts

I'm at the Labrador Retriever Club of the Pioneer Valley's specialty show today. Right now, I'm sitting in a hotel waiting to be taken to the show site. Unfortunately, I wasn't as organized as usual for this trip since I forgot my rain coat and it's supposed to rain on and off today. I think that I've had too many things on my mind lately what with a lot of projects at work and worrying about Annabelle. I seem to be burning candles in a three-dimensional direction instead of at both ends. Anyway, I'm sure some kind hearted soul will share a rain coat with me.

I'm looking forward to the day in spite of the weather. But after judging, it will be a long day as I don't get home until 11:30 tonight. I would rather do anything than have to go through Atlanta since that is always iffy. I just hope that I make it home and don't get stuck at the airport there.
I'll provide more information on the show later.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Going off to judge

I'm heading up to Mass. to judge sweepstakes for the LRC of the Pioneer Valley. I've never been to this show before but have always heard that it is a wonderful specialty. I'm looking forward to meeting the club members and mainly seeing some lovely dogs. The Northeast always has lovely Labradors and the competition is fierce.

With this weird weather we're having I'm hoping that the weather up north will be good. I think that this system is moving south which is fine with me. Get past and dissipate is what I'm hoping for. There will definitely not be any rowing tonight as there are 3 foot seas in the harbor. Not even the tugboats are working today.

Well, until I get back with news from the specialty, have a good week.

Monday, May 07, 2007

spider and ant bites

I haven't had any experience with spider bites and the dogs but do know that fire ant bites can cause raised up places on the skin. The hair generally pulls away and a "bump" appears. Venomous spiders are a different story. The two that we have to worry about in the Southeast are the brown recluse and the black widow.

The brown recluse has a violin shape to the abdomen and is a dull brown in color. These spiders like dark places and are often found under lumber or in darkened corners of sheds or dog houses. Generally, a swelling will occur where the bite is. The spider's venom contains an enzyme that destroys cell membranes in the wound area with affected tissue gradually sloughing away, exposing underlying tissues. Within 24 hours, the bite site can erupt into a "volcano lesion" (a hole in the flesh due to damaged, necrotic tissue). The open wound may range from the size of an adult's thumbnail to the span of a hand. I've seen the results of a brown recluse bite in a human and it is a terrible wound. On a dog, the sunken, ulcerating sore may heal slowly up to 6 to 8 weeks.

Black widow spider venom is categorized as a nerve toxin. One bite can be sufficient to affect severely or even kill a small pet. The venom, a neurotoxin, generally affects small dogs more severely than large dogs. Signs of a black widow spider bite occur immediately after the bite. The primary prevention is to limit your pet's access to areas that might house black widow spiders.

I can't think of anymore lethal animals that the South harbors but if you think of something that needs to be posted that's gloomy and scary, send it along. I'll try to get some cheerful posts going shortly!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Puppies at the dog park

This afternoon Roberta and I loaded up the five puppies and took them on a trip to the Isle of Palms dog park. This is a fenced in doggy park and the puppies had a blast. They played with another 5 and 1/2 month old Labrador named Rufus as well as several dachshunds. The puppies chased tennis balls and generally ran and ran. They jumped in the water trough and seemed to enjoy getting as dirty as they possibly could. It was a great time. After about an hour, they were totally beat and slept soundly all the way home.

The Isle of Palms doggy park is one of the nicest because it is fenced and there aren't a lot of dogs that come there. The clientele are generally nice and the dogs have good attitudes. It's worth a drive for me to take the puppies where I know they won't get snarled at or hurt. I've been to the James Island dog park and it is much more of a free-for-all. Also, it isn't fenced. IOP park has a double gate which is nice and a separate fenced area for smaller dogs.

I don't think that the puppies will have any trouble getting to sleep tonight. I had to take a bubble bath when I got home because I was filthy from their jumping all over me. It was a fun time!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Another warning for the dogs

Plants can also pose a threat to dogs. Here's a list of some common plants that can be toxic. I was surprised to learn from a colleague that hosta plants can cause severe gastroenteritis. Her schnauzer ingested some and had a severe reaction.

If you notice vomiting or diarrhea and suspect that your dog has ingested something poisonous, don't hesitate to call your vet. It will be important to take a sample of what was eaten and approximately how much was consumed.

You can induce vomiting if requested by your vet. The recommended emetic is hydrogen peroxide, 3% orally at a dose of one tsp. per 10 lbs of body weight.

It's a good idea to order a book on canine first aid that includes a section on dealing with poisoning. I keep the book and an epipen on hand at all times.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Watch out for poisonous snakes

I thought that I would post my annual reminder to watch out for poisonous snakes this time of year. The weather is getting warm enough for copperheads to come out to sun. Some of you may recall that Charlie was bitten on the ankle by a copperhead in April 2006. It's his foot in the photo above. It was a painful bite and kept him in the hospital for a couple of days. Luckily, he suffered no renal problems from the venom.

While dogs do better than humans, venom from a rattlesnake can kill a young dog or puppy. We have put up fine mesh wire around all of our paddocks hoping to keep the snakes out. There are a number of venomous snakes on Wadmalaw. When I see one, I move it if I can to another location; however, all bets are off if one is in with the dogs. They have a peculiar bark that indicates to us that a snake is around. We like to see corn snakes, rat snakes, black snakes, king snakes, hog nose snakes, and all the other snakes that pose no threat to the dogs (or humans). We are careful now when we go out after dark and keep the dogs away from the edges of the woods when we walk them. Charlie also wears boots when he goes out in the evening or early morning. Be aware and take care!