Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rescue and its importance

Photo credit: Eugene Mah

The folks at Wild Heir Labrador Rescue had a booth near the Coastal South Carolina LRC tent at the recent Charleston Kennel Club show. There were several dogs available for rescue including the boy shown above. There were T-shirts for sale and lots of information on Labrador Rescue.

I think that the Wild Heir site states the reason for Labrador rescue well:
"For the past 16 years, Labrador Retrievers have been the most popular breed of dog in America. Because of this fact, there is an ever increasing (and astonishing) number of homeless and abandoned Labrador Retrievers across the country. For instance, in 2006, the American Kennel Club recorded 123,760 Labrador puppies registered. This figure does not represent the registration stats of other breed registries, such as UKC,CKC and about a dozen other lesser known pet registries, many of which are accompanied with Internet puppy purchases. Not to mention “full-blooded” Lab puppies for sale with “no papers”, such as those found in newspaper ads, flea markets, and pet stores. With a conservative estimate of 250,000 Lab puppies born each year, our job can seem overwhelming….

Labrador Retrievers are loving, loyal dogs who make wonderful family pets. They can also be emotionally and physically "high maintenance" pets, just like many other dog breeds. Many people purchase Labs not realizing their training needs, as well as their daily need for exercise and human interaction. These are the Labs that may eventually be abandoned at local shelters or surrendered to rescue organizations."

So if you get a chance to do so, think about adopting a rescued dog. Or volunteer your time to foster one or give a monetary donation to a rescue group. There's really not enough good things that can be said about those who help out and rescue animals. Thanks for all that you do!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A relative of the Labrador?

I saw this neat statue of a Newfoundland at the Chesapeake Maritime Museum. It stated that it was a progenitor of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever. The Chessie is a tough dog and it's always been stated that it took an especially hardy dog to brave the waters of the Chesapeake. Back a few decades ago, there were huge guns that were mounted on skiffs that were used to down multiple birds. They were like boat-mounted cannons. The hunters needed dogs that were capable of going out and retrieving all of these ducks, in particular going after cripples first and then back to pick up the dead ones.

The museum stated what has been the most popular thought on the origin of the Chessie. That story involves the 1807 shipwreck of an English ship bound for Poole, England. The crew and two puppies survived the wreck: a brown male named Sailor and a black bitch dubbed
Canton in honor of the rescuing ship. But unlike what was stated at the museum, it was more probably that these puppies were St.John's water dogs, no doubt bound for Lord Malmesbury's estates, which at this time was developing the prototype for the Labrador Retriever
breed. These St. John's dogs were sometimes referred to as the lesser Newfoundland.

I have also read that the two puppies were on an English ship that was enroute to Newfoundland, while carrying a load of codfish. As its sailed into the Chesapeake Bay to pick a partial load of lumber, it wrecked and these two pups were saved as it sank.

I don't think that it's known whether Canton and Sailor contributed as much to the breed as they are credited with, or even whether they were bred to one another at all. But the hunters in the area wanted not only a fanatical retriever for the hard conditions but also a coat that would blend in with the marshes. The coat color of Chessies has interesting names such as dead grass.

Some of the other breeds believed to have played a part in the Chesapeake's development include coonhounds, Curly Coated Retrievers, Irish Water Spaniels, and setters.

I suspect based on what was available at the time that the St. John's Water Dog played a part in the background of the Chesapeake, just as it did for the Labrador. I can also see the Curly Coat gene in the background of the Chessie. I'm just glad that the Labrador temperament is what it is. I'll take the fun loving Labrador over the tougher Chesapeake any day.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Upcoming CSCLRC show

The Coastal South Carolina LRC is having its annual shows this coming Saturday and Sunday. We have an excellent entry this year with about 170 Labradors entered. That's really outstanding for a supported entry.

I've got four entered at the show, including Tilly and Stella in Veterans. I think that Tilly will enjoy being at the show on Saturday. She always liked dog shows. You don't have to be entered to come to watch the show. I think that there is a small parking fee charged but other than that, you can see many different breeds. Judging for Labradors will start early and go most of both days. And on Saturday night there will be an oyster roast for exhibitors hosted by the Bowrons at their farm on Wadmalaw.

So if you want to see lots of Labradors, come on out to the Fairgrounds at Ladson and ask the parking attendant where the Labradors are being judged. There will be dogs from all over the country at this show. It should also be a fun time!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cold and rainy

It's weather like we've had this weekend that makes me want to stay inside and be warm. I actually like winter in SC, much better than summer but the rain that comes down in torrents makes me glad for fireplaces and fleecy blankets.

I actually got to see snow in my recent visit to Virginia. It was a first time in a long time that I have actually seen the white stuff stick to the ground. But then it turned to rain and was all gone by the morning. I remember deep snows when I was a kid and how quiet it was the next morning after it had snowed all night.

Labradors love the snow and ice. I watched a couple of them playing and bouncing around in it. Butt tucking on ice is really neat also. They seem to enjoy the cold, no matter what kind of precipitation there is.

As for Tilly, Hoffa and me--well, we're going to snuggle under a blanket or burrow into a dog bed and take a snooze.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My birthday

Today is my birthday and I'm celebrating it back in Virginia where I was born. I'm not fessing up to how old I am. No point in saying that I'm at the point where age doesn't really matter as long as I'm still able to get up and get going in the morning. I have a few aches and pains, and my lower back gives me fits some times but for the most part, I feel good.

I think that years of lifting Labradors in and out of dog crates in the van have taken their toll on my back. I find that if the dogs let me lift their rear up into the van, then I'm okay. It's when they decide that they want to fool around and bounce off to the side that I tend to twist wrong and eventually pull a muscle.

Anyway, I'm having a happy day. No schedule in particular and only one Labrador with me who is a good girl. Lucky Capricorn that I am!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Update on Lil Hoffa

Hoffa, the greyhound, had her stitches from her spay surgery taken out today. She is doing well. She enjoyed her time at doggy park on the Isle of Palms yesterday. She ran and played with several other dogs that were there. I took a lot of photos and especially like the one of her at full tilt run.

She has adjusted well. She does well in the house--no accidents so far. And she seems wary of cats which is great. She is calm on the leash too. She does like to follow us everywhere. She likes to be right by our side. And she likes to sleep next to the bed at night.

I think that it will be interesting to see how her "off the track" personality continues to come out. She is playful and happy which is a great thing. It indicates to me that her spirit hasn't been damaged by her time training to be a racing greyhound.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Eye exams

The Coastal South Carolina Labrador Retriever Club hosted an eye clinic on Saturday. The new veterinary ophthalmologist diplomate from Mt. Pleasant did the eye exams. We took seven of the Surry Labradors to the clinic. All were clear with no problems.

For those of you who haven't taken your Labrador for an eye exam, the basic procedure is simple. The first thing to be done is to fill out the form that has registration and ownership information on your dog. It also includes date of birth, date of exam, and breed information. Then the eyes of each dog are dilated. After about 10 minutes, the dog can then be examined. The eye specialist will do the following things:

1. Examine accessory structures of the eye using a slit-lamp biomicroscope.
2. Examine the cornea; followed by the anterior chamber and anterior uvea using an ophthalmoscope. The iris is checked during this part of the exam.
3. Measuring the pressure within the eye and evaluating the drainage angle (to out-rule or confirm glaucoma).
4. A fundus exam of the lens, vitreous and retina.

The retina of the eye in Labradors can be affected by retinal dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy, the latter of which can now be diagnosed by a genetic marker test as well as the annual exam. The lens of the eye can be affected by cataracts.
There are also disorders of the eyelids that may occur such as entropion and ectropion.

It's important to have an annual exam of your dog's eyes. Because diseases of the eye may be inherited, knowledge about whether your Labrador has "normal" eyes is important in making breeding decisions. It is inadvisable to breed any Labrador who does not pass an eye exam.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

She's here!

Lil Miss Hoffa, the greyhound, arrived last night. She went for a long walk, sniffed the house, kept away from the kitties, and slept soundly. She whined for about 10 minutes before settling down on her large dog bed and going to sleep.

She has a little bit of separation anxiety but not enough to interfere with her eating. She chowed down last night and this morning. She's being fed Wellness Core because greyhounds tend to have a bit of a sensitive digestive system.

The Labradors don't know what to think. They seem fascinated by this thin, muscled creature who just eyes them and doesn't bark.

Today Hoffa is going into work with me. I'm trying to carry her as many places as possible so that she will get used to lots of strange things that she didn't experience while on the track. So far so good for her.....she is a cutie!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Greyhound adoption news

Lil Miss Hoffa was spayed on Friday and should be ready to come for a trial stay at Surry tomorrow. The photo above is from her track data base. She ran in 9 races but didn't do so well. Her foster mother indicates that she doesn't like to chase furry animals which is a blessing since there are cats, squirrels, bunnies, and sometimes small Labradors running around.

I'm a bit anxious about having another breed. But she seems very sweet and hopefully will adjust well to the routine at Surry. She will probably come into work with me for a while. And she will definitely have to be on a leash for about 2 years. Greys aren't like Labradors and once they see something they are gone in a flash.

In short, I'm looking forward to seeing her tomorrow. More news then.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Tilly and Stella

Here's a photo of Ch. Castlewood Whyaskwhy at Surry with her daughter Ch. Surry's Interstellar Overdrive. Tilly is now 12 but gets around remarkably well. Stella is now in Veterans at 7 years but is happy and gets lots of exercise through walks on the beach.

I know that Tilly's dad Can. Ch. Ranbourne This Bud's For You lived to be 15. I'm hoping that Tilly will have such longevity. Other than being a bit deaf, she is in great health and enjoys life. She still thinks that she's queen of the Surry Labs.