Monday, December 31, 2007


Well, the fireworks tonight had a couple of the dogs a bit anxious. Most of the ones at Surry were hunkered down and didn't have to listen to it up close. However, I heard from someone who has one of the girls that the fireworks in the neighborhood sent his girl hurrying back to the house.

Some Labradors don't like loud noises. I can remember that Stella would always put her head down when she was in the group ring because she didn't like all the clapping. She definitely wouldn't make a good gun dog. I'm not sure whether it's just anxiety over the noise or whether she had more sensitive ears than some Labradors.

It's best to not subject your dog to fireworks if the dog is anxious about loud noises. Leaving the dog inside and perhaps even it it's crate is the best idea. Dogs feel safe in their crates. And with a cover over the crate, it's even a better safe haven.

Hope that everyone has a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happily rowing

During my time off from work, I took some time to go rowing and sailing. The weather was fairly warm, although fog rolled in on the weekend after Christmas. It's nice to get out on the water, anchor the sailboat, and then row to shore to explore some of the places around Charleston Harbor. Crab Bank is a favorite anchorage as is Cummings Point.

These are great spots to get photographs, although Crab Bank is a protected rookery that is only available for human visitation after October and through the winter months. In the spring and summer, it is inundated with pelicans, gulls and other water birds. No dogs are allowed on Crab Bank but you can bring dogs to Morris Island.

Morris Island has a great beach for exploring and looking for shells and shark's teeth. You can walk for several miles and not see another soul in the winter. In the summer, weekenders come with their motor boats and like to cook out or party at Cummings Point. It can get a bit noisy but the winter months are sheer bliss.

If you want to camp with your dog in the winter, there is driftwood near the beach. There is no potable water so you have to bring that as well as any food or supplies you might need. I haven't tried camping there yet but hope to soon. Also, the Morris Island Lighthouse is a beautiful sight on the ocean side of the island. It's a hike but worth it to see the old lighthouse. It's now being worked on to stabilize the base.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Greyhound site visit

Star, the greyhound, and her humans came to visit Surry today.  They looked things over and asked questions that they were required to ask.  This is all in preparation for adopting a racing greyhound.  The local Charleston greyhound group has people who come to your house to inspect and make sure that you'd make a good owner of a greyhound.  

Star seemed to want to stay.  She came in, walked around and then flopped out on the floor in the kitchen.  She seemed genuinely sad that she had to leave.  And when her owner called for her to come on down the steps of the front porch, she went down and then trotted right back up and looked at the front door.  I think that she liked the good smells and the doggy noises at Surry.  

I learned that Star had been raced until she was 5 years old.  After that, she injured a hock and was retired.  The way that she raced around the front yard indicated that she still had the greyhound speed.  It was beautiful to watch.  

So if I'm lucky, there'll be a brindle female coming to Surry within the next couple of months.  With so many greys being put down every year, it's nice to know that one will have a home with all the happy Labradors here.  

Monday, December 24, 2007

Waiting for Santa

All the gifts have been delivered and the dogs are snoring in their kennels.  Tilly is inside sleeping on her dog bed.  The cats are tucked in for the night.  And I'm heading to bed as soon as I finish up on the computer.  

It's Christmas Eve and although all may not be well everywhere, it's my hope that you and yours have a wonderful Christmas.  

Wishing you a Merry Christmas from all the Surry Labradors.  

Friday, December 21, 2007

Doggy gifts

What do you get for your Labrador at Christmas?  They don't need one of those fancy coats to keep them warm.  They have oily double thick Labrador hair.  They don't need fru-fru collars with diamonds.  

But they do like soft thick dog beds.  And peanut butter doggy biscuits.  Or a new chew toy or a greasy knucklebone.  In fact, I think that our Labradors enjoy getting canned dog food with their kibble and some turkey skin and juice over their kibble as much as they enjoy anything.  They put their head down in their bowls and never look up.  Lots of lip smacking good eating going on.  

Whatever you get, I'm hoping that you and your dog have the best Christmas ever. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Love those Doggy Christmas Cards

We've gotten many photos from our puppy owners over the years. I have saved all of them. Some of the dogs have crossed the Rainbow Bridge while others are still enjoying life on earth with their owners. It's really special to hear from people how much they love their dog. It seems that some people really enjoy staying in contact and telling us how their dog is doing. Most of the time the news is good. And the dog is pictured right along with the rest of the family. And that's the point--they are part of the family.

The photo above came from Ann and Paul Key. It shows Neilley (aka The Pinkster) on her sleigh. She seems to be enjoying being dressed for the holidays. Neilley was very small at birth and there were worries during the first week whether she would make it or not. But she learned to nurse from a bottle and has grown to be a beautiful girl who is much loved by Ann and Paul.

Happy Holidays to all of you and your canine friends.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Greyhound adoption

Well, I've put in an application to adopt a retired racing greyhound. I decided that it would be good to go this route because there are so many greys that are euthanized every year. And Cayenne and Cooper who hang out with Stella also had a big influence. They are sweet and seem to enjoy the company of a Labrador.

So the next step will be a home site visit. I'm reading a book on adopting the racing greyhound. There are physiological differences between Labradors and greyhounds for sure. Anyway, after Christmas, a couple who have a retired grey will visit Surry and take a look around. If approved, then there is the next step of finding a female who is a good match for us.

I'm sure that the Labradors will wonder what a stilt legged dog is doing at Surry.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Is your stud a dud?

Labrador males are very sweet. But they are also noted for being horny. Sometimes I have to laugh as one of the males will decide that it's time to grab one of the girls and begin humping their head! It's a lot of misplaced passion I guess.

Maybe it's fortunate that Labrador males are studly because that makes them easy to collect for semen. But even though you may be able to collect your male there are other things that you need to consider, such as whether the sperm is healthy.

Unfortunately, low sperm count and malformed sperm can occur in dogs. And infertility is also something that occurs. The causes of infertility in male dogs are divided into two main groups, congenital infertility and acquired infertility. Congenital infertility is present at birth and is caused by abnormalities in chromosomes. Those dogs that are affected cannot produce sperm.

Acquired infertility develops during the dog's lifetime. There are several causes, some of which can be rectified. For example,incomplete ejaculation, usually occurs because the male dog is uncomfortable in the breeding situation. Males often won't "perform" if there are unfamiliar surroundings or if the female is aggressive. There can also be obstruction of the reproductive tract that can result from an infection or inflammation. Prostatitis can often cause a dog to not produce sperm. And then there are hormonal abnormalities such as hypothyroidism that can affect fertility in the male. Another culprit is heat. Male dogs that are kept in kennels and sleep on warm surfaces can become infertile because heat damages sperm.

If infertility is suspected, have your dog evaluated by a vet who will examine a sample of semen for sperm count and morphology. Treatment may be necessary, either in the form of antibiotics or heat reduction and perhaps changes to the diet. If the problem isn't congenital, then there is hope that with proper treatment, the testicles will return to normal functioning within about 60 days. So it is possible to turn your dud into a stud with proper care and patience.

Examination of semen should always be done before shipping semen or doing a breeding.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Tobias is home

I picked up Tobias on Sunday. He seemed very glad to see me and even happier to be home. He had only met Deacon when the Deacon man was a puppy. Now Deacon is almost as big as Tobias. They played and played together.

Tobias has really good manners and enjoys playing with the ricocheting puppy. This morning it seemed as if Tobias hadn't been away since early fall. He went right up into his old kennel and wagged his tail.

I'm just glad that he is home. And he never has to go to a dog show again.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Is there any other breed?

I've loved Labradors for a long time. They are wonderful dogs. And their silliness is something that is really endearing. Over the years I've thought about other breeds.

I did own a German shepherd as a child. She was a great dog and one that I enjoyed doing obedience work with. Later, I also owned a Rottweiler who I also did obedience work with. Zoe was a tough girl though and had to be muzzled and Ace'd before going to the vet. She didn't like being stuck with needles and would get that black look in her eyes which meant: LOOK OUT. She and I had an understanding though and we enjoyed 9 years together.

Now I'm starting to think about getting a greyhound. I've been fascinated with the two rescue ones that a friend has. They are quiet, gentle, and seem to be good house dogs. I've learned of an exceptional breeding of a top ranked greyhound and am thinking about getting one of the puppies. Let's just say, I'm very interested. I don't see many of them at the dog shows but would want to show any puppy that I get. I am also interested in lure coursing but will have to explore more about that as I have 3 cats and am not interested in having one of them become bait for a greyhound.

I guess that more will be revealed in time!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bess at the beach

Justin sent along these photos of Bess on her first trip to the beach. Labradors are natural water dogs but going to the beach is a special treat. Not only do they get to wade, wallow and enjoy the water but there are generally other dogs to greet and lots of people around to give scratchings. Every inch of the beach has to be sniffed, peed on, or otherwise checked out.

Just check the beach rules when you take your dog there. Some beaches have leash laws, dog tags, and restricted hours. Also, be sure to pick up after your dog so that all dogs can continue to enjoy the privilege of going to the beach.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Holiday warnings

It's getting to be that time of year when the house is decorated, all kinds of good food is being cooked, and guests are visiting. It's also the time of year when you have to think about how your dog is reacting to everything.

Labradors don't stress over much but sometimes with a disruption in routine and a lot of guests, they can act out. Chewing on household items (generally the most expensive couch, rug, or heaven forbid a light cord) is generally a sign of stress or boredom. Make sure that electric candles and the Christmas tree don't become food or a fire hydrant for your dog.

Counter surfing is another thing that can occur during the holidays. The turkey has been cooked, the stuffing and other yummy items are on the counter and then you're distracted by a phone call or a guest arriving. This can present a golden opportunity for the Labrador sport of counter surfing in which the Labrador puts paws on the counter and proceeds to either pull dishes off or gets the whole turkey on the floor. Not a pretty sight.

It's also tempting to give your Labrador left overs from the table. A few pieces of turkey or some green beans will be okay, but too much rich food can cause the DD's or dreaded diarrhea. The DD's can sometimes be accompanied by the Urka Gurkas (you know that great sound that dogs make when they are heaving), all of which generally occur in the middle of the night and on the most expensive rug that you have in the house. Best to be conservative on the table scraps and save yourself an expensive rug cleaning bill.

The Holidays can be a fun time. Make sure that your dog is not forgotten in the hubbub.