Monday, July 30, 2007

Zelda and the guinea pig

Labradors are great dogs in general but when you see the photo above, it's hard to not smile. If you look closely, you'll see that Zelda is actually licking the guinea pig. Linda Davis wrote that Zelda is really good friends with Cosmo, the male guinea pig shown above. She often lays by his cage and puts toys in it. After Zelda was spayed, Cosmo would lie next to her and snuggle up to give her a pep talk:"I know this is tough but I know you can do this. I'm here for you if you need me". I don't think that I've ever seen a Labrador and a guinea pig snuggle up but Zelda and Cosmo appear to be best buds. What great dogs these are!

Friday, July 27, 2007

A new Am. Can. Champion

I got the word from Gerri and Steve Lubinsky that Simon (Ch. Surry Ol Salt Surf n' Turf) finished his Canadian Championship in five shows. They were very excited to have their first Am. Can. Champion. Simon looks very similar to his brother Ch. Surry's the Madcap Laughs. These two boys and their brother Ch. Surry's Umagumma at Fortune were the three puppies that finished out of Stella's litter to Angus (Ch. Dickendall Buckstone Thunderstruck).

Many congratulations to Gerri and Steve and Simon!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Puppies go to the vet's office

I took five puppies, Isabelle and the black cat Abraham to the vet's today for various vaccines and check ups. The puppies are great when they are in their crates but getting them to come out of the crate is a different issue. The girls like to go all the way to the back of the 36 inch long crate and turn their head the other way. So I have to crawl inside the crate and try to get a leash around their neck. It's great fun!

Then I lift each one down, and with some I have to move their legs from the spread out position (as in "No way am I leaving this crate!"). So after lifting 5 dogs in and out 4 times, I was more than a little dirty. Thank goodness there is a good chiropractor that I go to who helps with back strain.

Abraham has lost 2 lbs which was really good as he was one fat cat last year. The puppies did great in the office and they are little porkers at around 75 lbs.

I really like how Dr. Shong and Dr. Rockwell treat the animals. They hug on each one, give cookies and generally love each animal. They make all the trouble worth while and the puppies just loved them.

Now off for a good shower!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Annie Cogo

I had meant to post this last week but didn't. Annie Cogo, Windfall Labradors, died July 9 after suffering a massive stroker. Annie had been in the breed since the early 1970's. However, she really became serious about breeding in 1990 when she and her husband Rob built their home and kennel in Michigan and purchased two bitches that made Labrador history. One was Ch. Tabatha's Windfall Abbey JH who won many specialties.

Perhaps Annie's most famous bitch was Ch. Windfall's Black Piper WC who was one of the top specialty winning Labradors in the history of the breed. Annie also had several nice boys and the current popular Windfall stud is Am. Can. Ch. Windfall's Pipe Major.

Annie liked typey Labradors and thought that people should be able to recognize the dog as a Labrador, not as a generic dog. She was a character who enjoyed sending jokes to her email buddies. She also was a talented artist with an artist's eye. Annie was a frank person who was willing to provide information to anyone who asked her. She seemed to greatly enjoy the people and the dogs that she encountered.

I'm sure that there will be a tribute written about Annie and her Labradors in the Labrador Quarterly or International Labrador Review.

Friday, July 20, 2007


One of the laurel oaks next to the kennel died this spring. It was a huge tree and had been doing well but in spring there was no new foliage and eventually all the leaves dropped. I'm not sure what killed it. There are a number of fungi that kill oak trees and there are borers that do considerable damage. I know that it was an old tree so perhaps it was susceptible to a disease of some kind. It appears that the heart wood was rotten.

Anyway, the oak had to be taken down because branches were starting to fall in the kennel area and nearby paddock. The tree had become a hazard and in every wind storm, another branch would fall. I was getting anxious that a large one would fall on the kennels or on my head as I went back and forth to the kennels. So yesterday Van's Tree Service came with several trucks and what was once a wonderful tree was reduced to a pile of logs. I examined the base and the rot had gone completely through the entire heart wood.

I really miss that tree. There are hundreds more oak trees at Surry but I always mourn the loss of trees. The stump remains and looks like a table. I'll put some potted flowers on it to brighten the place where the oak tree lived.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Spiders everywhere

I don't know about you but I'm not fond of having spider webs across my face. I like spiders but don't fancy the idea of running into webs every morning when I go to the kennel. There is a huge healthy crop of golden silk spiders this year at Surry. These spiders are sometimes called Banana Spiders because of their yellow bodies. They weave very strong webs which look like a gold thread in the sunshine.

Generally, you'll see the female because she is much bigger than the male. She is about 3 inches long, and the male is only 1/2 inch long. The webs are a work of art and are huge. I can't tell you how many I've had draped across me thus far. Thankfully, the spiders rarely ever bite people.
The bite is supposedly similar to a deer fly bite but these aren't aggressive spiders so I've never been bitten by one.

Mostly the spider wants to get away from you when you hit the web. I've taken down a few webs but haven't harmed the spiders. I'm hoping that the spiders will relocate out of a pathway and will continue to eat up any mosquitos that happen to be around.

In the meantime, I'm pulling spider webs out of my hair.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Going on the water

If you like to take your dog boating you may want to consider getting a doggy life jacket. Labradors are great in the water but having your dog jump overboard when you don't expect it can be scary. It seems that Labs like the water so much that they may get a scent and decide to take a plunge. I think that it's worthwhile to get a doggy life jacket to put on the dog when you are underway.

At this time of year, if you decide to beach your boat and let your dog run, be sure to check up on what areas are off limits. Crab Bank which is a Heritage Preserve and bird rookery is off limits to dogs and people for much of the year. There are other Heritage Preserves that are protected as well. It would be good to check with your local marine law enforcement agency (here in SC it is the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources) before you turn loose your dog on a beach. There are also leash law in effect so be sure to check on that or you may get a hefty fine.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Recommendations for vets

I've been asked by quite a few people who I recommend for vets. We use Drs. Shong and Rockwell at Bohicket Veterinary Clinic and have been doing so for years. They are close by and available when we need them. They are excellent at surgeries and are very caring people.

There are several things that we want in a vet:
1. We want a vet to be available when we have an emergency.
2. We want a vet to spend time with us and our dogs, explaining clearly problems.
3. We want a vet who respects the knowledge that we have as breeders.
4. We want a vet who is compassionate about the animals and passionate about the work.
5. We want a vet who is good a surgeries or who can recommend someone when the situation at hand becomes more than the vet can handle.

These are very important things to us. It's important to interview a vet and not assume that all have the same talent and abilities.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Using a rake

We just bought at new rake to get dead hair out of the dogs. It is a wonderful tool. I've always used a pin brush in the past but nothing, and I mean nothing, clears out hair like this rake.

Tilly has an abundance of hair when she sheds. This morning I was able to get about a pound of hair off of her. It reminded me of a sheep shearing. The hair was everywhere because the rake would fill up so quickly. I'm not sure where we got ours but I believe that any of the major stores will have a rake like the one pictured above.

I've always liked the slicker brush in the past but I'm now a doggy rake fan!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Charleston Kennel Club match

There will be a match on Sunday July 15 sponsored by the Charleston Kennel Club. This is an all breed match that will be held at Exchange Park in Ladson at the Exhibition Hall. I believe that Jim and Elizabeth Bowron (Fortune) are judging the Sporting Group and Labradors. If you want to see what a dog show is like, then this would be a fun event to attend.

Matches are like dog shows but are generally for younger dogs. They don't carry points so things aren't as stressful. Matches are fun ways to socialize and get your dog some exposure to being in the ring. They are also a good way for someone who isn't an accomplished dog handler to see how they like being in the ring handling a dog.

I have always liked matches because the puppies and people generally have a very good time. So see if you can make this event and have some fun.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

About bites

Vera will be going to her new home in another week. She is a gorgous yellow girl who has a slightly undershot bite. The AKC Labrador standard states that "the teeth should be strong and regular with a scissors bite; the lower teeth just behind, but touching the inner side of the upper incisors. A level bite is acceptable, but not desirable. Undershot, overshot, or misaligned teeth are serious faults. Full dentition is preferred. Missing molars or pre-molars are serious faults".

The Canadian illustrated standard for the Labrador is a good reference guide. It states:
Teeth are described in the standard as strong and regular with a level mouth. Most breeders have taken “level mouth” to mean a scissors bite. Although a level bite is acceptable it is not preferred. The standard says nothing about undershot, overshot, or misaligned teeth, but these
have always been considered by breeders as serious faults in a retriever. Missing teeth are also not mentioned in the standard. It is not uncommon to see one or two missing premolars in Labradors. In the past this has not been considered by most breeders to be a serious fault, but Canadian breeders and judges are becoming more concerned about missing teeth, particularly if this involves more than one or two premolars. Full dentition is preferred. However, as in all things related to the Labrador, the yardstick should be how this will affect work in the field.

Not only does an "off" bite keep a dog from doing well in the show ring, but being a recessive trait, it is also something that one doesn't want to perpetuate in their lines. There are lots of good articles on bite issues in dogs.

Here is a good site that shows photos of bite issues in Labradors.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


If you are buying fireworks, be careful that you don't cause trauma to your dog. Some dogs, even Labradors, don't like fireworks. Mine generally sleep right through them! However, I would suggest that you don't fire off bottle rockets next to your dog. The Fourth is a great time to have grill out time and just enjoy chilling. I hope that you and yours have a great holiday.