Whose bright idea was that?

Labradoodle:

If Wally Conron had known what was going to become of the labradoodle, he wouldn’t have bred the dog in the first place. It was 22 years ago and Conron, now 81, was working as the breeding and puppy-walking manager for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia when his boss set him a tough task. A blind woman from Hawaii had written asking if it they could provide a guide dog that would not shed hair, because her husband was allergic to it. “I said, ‘Oh yes, this will be a piece of cake. The standard poodle is a working dog, it doesn’t shed hair, it’ll be great.’ I tried 33 in the course of three years and they all failed. They just didn’t make a guide dog. Meanwhile, the woman in Hawaii was getting older and the boss was getting on my back.”

Conron decided there was one possibility left – take his best labrador bitch and mate it with a standard poodle. They created three crossbreed puppies that needed to be boarded out to be trained and socialized, but nobody would take them – everyone wanted a purebred. And that’s when Conron came up with the name labradoodle. “I went to our PR team and said, ‘Go to the press and tell them we’ve invented a new dog, the labradoodle.’ It was a gimmick, and it went worldwide. No one wanted a crossbreed, but the following day we had hundreds of calls from people wanting these master dogs.”

The labradoodle proved to be a brilliant dog for the blind, and the woman in Hawaii was happy. Job done. So what was the problem? Ah, says Conron, it’s how the dog has been used and abused, and sold under false pretenses. “This is what gets up my nose, if you’ll pardon the expression. When the pups were five months old, we sent clippings and saliva over to Hawaii to be tested with this woman’s husband. Of the three pups, he was not allergic to one of them. In the next litter I had there were 10 pups, but only three had non-allergenic coats. Now, people are breeding these dogs and selling them as non-allergenic, and they’re not even testing them.”

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Cabbage Leaves and Mastitis

I have had several new canine mothers with mastitis.  For many years, the only thing I could do was apply ice packs or heat packs to give her relief, waiting for antibiotics to work.  One day, I found another source of help…

Seven years ago my youngest daughter had her first baby.  A few days later she had so much breast engorged that she was in agony.   We’re talking skin splitting hard and swollen.  She had a reasonable amount if redness.  I was worried she was quickly progressing to mastitis.  She was pale and crying.  We had tried warm compresses and cool.  Nothing helped.  Her daughter could hardly latch, let alone nurse well, because of the intense engorgement.  I couldn’t convince her to seek medical help, her husband felt helpless too.  She was in so much pain, we *all* felt helpless.   She wanted to wait until the next day to seek medical attention.

I had read that cabbage leaves help with engorgement and early mastitis.  Now, I am an old ER Nurse, and I am mighty fond of traditional medicine, and skeptical of various home remedies, and respectfully cautious of others.  Some is pure bunk, and some work, even to a dangerous degree if a patient doesn’t disclose that they’re using them.  So, I was skeptical at best.  BUT, I suggested her husband go buy a cabbage.  I challenged her (as a Physician’s Assistant, she was more than skeptical too), saying it surely couldn’t hurt anything, and figured it would give us a good laugh later for having tried.  She dutifully packed some in her bra and went upstairs in tears of agony (literally) to lie down.  One hour later, she nearly skipped into the room!  “I’m SO much better!!”.  Her previously pale complexion was pink, and that look of agony gone from her face!  Her tissue was far more relaxed, no longer red, and the baby was finally able to nurse.  I was astounded, as was everyone else.  No placebo affect here, as nobody thought it would help at all.

So, medical opinion is mixed, as to it’s anti-inflammatory properties.   Some Dr’s advise it.  Some say it is bunk.  An extract of cabbage in ointment form was tested, and had no positive effects.  It seems to only work in leaf form.  Cold, room temp or cooked doesn’t seem to make a difference (but I am sure cool feels good on that painful area).  Some sources caution that it should only be applied 20 min/3 times per day, or milk production is affected.

So, when I had a litter following the episode with my daughter, and my girl got an early mastitis, I quickly turned to cabbage, and kept puppies working at keeping the milk flowing (thinking the next morning I would have her at the vet for antibiotics).  She had a slight temp, was swollen, red, restless (pain) and very engorged.  The next morning, she was resolved.  Now, maybe she would have been regardless, but I can only report what happened.   I will say, that no home treatment should ever replace proper medical treatment  As I said, my bitch was scheduled to go the the vet the next morning, however, she completely resolved.

My daughter (a PA in the Army) Responds:
“Trust me… this is something you should absolutely believe without hesitance.  I had frozen a wet towel and stuffed that in my bra… it did nothing but wet my shirt and bra and heat up VERY quickly.  The leaves had an IMMEDIATE effect.  The first thing I noticed was the intense cool and an almost immediate decrease in the pulling of my skin.  I was so uncomfortable, I’d been pulling my shoulders up to my ears and I was finally able to relax them (along with the rest of me).  It didn’t take long to warm up the chilled cabbage leaves, but they still felt amazing. 

Just try it when you have a bitch (or woman) who needs it. Some women say it doesn’t work for them, but I’m telling you, NOTHING else worked for me and it was more miserable than the birth itself. At least I thought so at the time. This was the ONLY thing that gave me any relief.”

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Preventing and recognizing mastitis in dogs

Check her mammary glands twice daily:

Prevention:

  • Trim puppy nails frequently.  Sharp nails cause breaks in the skin. Clean scratches with a mild soap and water, and be sure to rinse well and dry the area.
  • Observe that your bitch does not have a preferred side to lay on.  This causes inconsistent use of each teat.  Rotate her in the box to be sure she’s swapping sides she lies on.
  • Close observation of her mammary glands.
  • Keep fur around mammary glands trimmed in long-hair breeds.
  • Take a rectal temperature morning and evening.
  • Seek veterinary care for any signs of mastitis.  These infections get worse very rapidly.

Observe for the following (remember, mastitis is a bacterial infection):

  • Mammary glands lumpy
  • Mammary glands painful to touch
  • Mammary glands that are unusually warm or hot to the touch
  • Mammary glands with red, bruised, or purplish-blue areas
  • Reluctant to nurse puppies
  • Discolored milk or blood in the milk
  • Restlessness
  • Fever
  • Lethargy

LEGAL STUFF

Website Built by Blue Knight. All graphics , photographs, and original articles are the property of Blue Knight.  Permission must be obtained for use on other sites or for other purposes.

The life of a gentle soul.  Sweet Baby James!

James (Blue Knight Rebel With A Cause – Championship Major Pointed) was the sweetest dog one would ever have the pleasure to meet. His nickname, and “his song” was Sweet Baby James.  The first photo here was at 9 weeks.  The last play photos were taken just a few weeks before his death, just before his 11th birthday.  He made it less than a week past that birthday.  The last photo was taken when we said goodbye.  A mass on his spine took his mobility and life.  His favorite things:  Making a nest with toys.  Cuddling with mom (he was an unashamed mamma’s boy).  Swimming… oh, how he loved swimming!   Oh Sweet Baby James, how we will miss you!  Our heart’s are broken.

  James

Someone is going to be very happy!

One of my favorite stories goes back to Winnie Limbourne of Wingmaster Labradors.  I was reminded of that today,   Her granddaughter noticed Winnie looking in a microscope.  Now this young girl had been witness to many canine breedings and collections, so she had a reasonable understanding of how reproduction occurred.  She had never, however, actually seen a shipment being prepared for a bitch owner.

A shipment is carefully readied with test tubes, syringes, medical straws, and of course the precious cargo that actually makes the magic, all placed in special thermal packaging.  It’s important to verify life and activity before packing everything up.   Winnie told her to come on over and see for herself.  Young Tasha focused her eyes on the viewer of the microscope, and her grandmother turned the dials until Tasha indicated that she could see clearly.

Winnnie:  “see those swimming things that look like polliwogs?”
Tasha:  Yes.
Winnie:  “Well, each one of those represents a puppy.”.
Tasha’s eyes got large and happy, as she looked up and said…

GRANDMA!  Someone is going to be VERY happy!!

this sample is in 10 day extender, and the focus is bad.  Sorry about that  It was the best I could do with my phone.

Click here for Video

 

 

We’re all dressed up for Halloween

BOO!! 

Every year we dress up the website for Halloween.  There are games on the Halloween page for kids.  It’s rather fun for us to browse those pages, as many of the dog photos are from dogs who left us long ago.  It’s like a little trip through time.  There are coloring pages, puzzles, and games there.   We hope you enjoy them.

This time of year finds us winterizing and getting the dogs ready for winter.  They’re Labs, so they’re happy with snow, but we always worry, and put up lots of wood for the wood burning stove in the kennel building (aka “the big dog house”)

Happy Fall!
Dan and Dian

Spring and summer 2018

Spring took a long time coming here in North Idaho, making growing our garden a bit difficult at first.  The starts all had a difficult time as we tried to harden them over.  If you’re interested in our “homesteading” efforts, you can see them on this Facebook page.  The dogs show up there from time to time:
https://www.facebook.com/bkhomestead/

The dogs did fine through the winter, as usual.  The truth is, we probably keep them too warm in their  ‘big dog house’ (they have their own wood-burning stove and two  backup electric heaters that we can deploy if necessary, or if we’re out of town.  Now, just so you know, the word “kennel” has legal and business meaning here in Bonner County, so please note that the word “kennel” here is not meant to describe a business – it’s just the big dog house.  We call their crates their kennels, we  call the building a kennel, and basically anything they’re told to get into, we tell them to “kennel”.   So, Dear Bonner County, please note that!  The kennel is so well insulated, that it maintains the heat very well, and mornings show all  of the dogs coming out to lay on the snow, either because Labs love to lay in snow, or because they need to cool off.  Heating the kennel is necessary for the water pipes.  We try to keep the dogs a comfy 55 degrees, which is the temp they do best at (warmer makes them pant).

We have had he dogs to the river.  Because of various surgeries and company this summer, we were not able to get them for a swim until recently, and boy did they have a ball!!   To see images of the seasons each year, be sure to click on our “images” link at the top.  I’m also adding a direct link here:
http://www.blueknightlabs.com/kennelcam/spring-summer2018/spring-summer2018.html

I REALLY have to get Mariah and Luna’s DNA’s sent in.  I’ll be doing this soon, so that we have them by the fall.

Believe it or not, Dan and I are in winterization mode already.  We’re not getting any younger, and it takes us time to have several cords of wood ready to keep the kennel warm.   We also want the split wood to have time to dry more.  One never knows how hard a winter nature has in store for No. Idaho.  Best to be ahead of the curve.

Rose’s TPLO surgery a year later

One year ago in March, I let four older puppies out to play in the snow, on our first sunny day.   They blew out of the kennels as if shot from a cannon, and three of them simultaneously body slammed Rose hard!  She came up on three legs.  We knew immediately what they had done.  They tore her CCL.  We had a TPLO done on her.  The recovery is slow, and as with all Orthopedic surgery, *full* recovery takes a year.   Well, here we are, one year later!

Sadly, we are having trouble showing you a normal gait, because … well… she’s a very happy, very silly 2 year old.  THIS does show you that there is life after TPLO, and that life is very good.

One Crazy Whelping

A Facebook friend recounted a harrowing adventure in whelping a litter, and it caused me to recount one of mine.

My most/least (you pick) favorite whelping memory started fine. She went in to labor, and delivered one puppy without ceremony, …and then nothing! Secondary inertia seemed likely, as she did nothing for hours. Absolutely nothing. Dan and I drove off our hill in the middle of the night, headed for the E-Vet, with me in the back with my bitch, sure we were headed for a c-section. Half way to the vet, she decided the time was right to start pushing. We pulled the car over, and a nice healthy puppy was born. We turned the car around, and started for home. She started pushing again. As she did, a car zipped past us in the fast lane, zig-zagged into the slow lane ahead of us, lost control and rolled over the embankment. The resulting dust looked like an explosion!

As all of that was was happening, I failed to see it, because I was assisting the puppy from the birth canal.. but of course, I felt the braking, heard the gasps and swearing from Dan. I had that puppy with its placenta still in hand, and I looked up and saw the billow of dirt to our right, as Dan pulled our car over. I now had two wet puppies, one still in my hand, one in my lap in a towel, and one older sibling in the warming box, and my bitch starts pushing yet again. Now, I was an ER Nurse, and should have immediately leaped from the car to rescue the driver, but that accident looked like it had to be a fatal crash, and I had lives counting on me where I was. I yelled at Dan to go see just how wounded the driver was, because if he/she was already dead, I wasn’t leaving my dog! He could do CPR as well as me if necessary. If anyone was alive, I would assist.

Just as I said that (as I was trying to cut the cord on that puppy before the next appeared), a woman runs up the embankment and runs almost into our car. Dan and I both yelled “how many in the car, and do you need an ambulance?” She screamed “just me, don’t call the police” and starts running down the freeway in the center of the slow lane on foot, drunk as can be. We called 911, and a CHP Officer nearly materialized before our eyes. I yelled for Dan to call my neighbor to come get me and leave her car for Dan because he had to give a witness account. I told him “You witnessed this, I didn’t!!! I need to get out of here!” Dan called Leslee. I helped deliver puppy number 4. Momma relaxed. More were coming, but she clearly needed a break from her jet propelled prior three.

Think this story is crazy enough? As Dan is talking to the CHP, who had run after the woman and returned with her, my neighbor’s truck almost screamed past us. She pulled over in a cloud of dust just a ways ahead of us. I swear she opened her door and piled out before the dust settled, and ran toward us in her nightgown, robe, and slippers. She runs almost headlong into the Deputy screaming “WE’RE HAVING PUPPIES!!!” She tossed her keys at Dan, and without so much as an adios, jumps in my car, and drives us home, leaving Dan, her truck, the very confused looking officer and the drunk behind.

Hi-Yo, Silver! Away……..

—-

We lost Leslee some years later to cancer. Gosh I miss her, but remembering this story gave me a great laugh and a wonderful memory of her.

Mid-Winter Spa Day

Snow is on the ground, and our increasing temperatures have turned walkways into ice. Every day, one or two of the dogs come in and get undivided attention. Today was Miley’s turn. Last week I noticed she was getting pretty dirty, as the snow starts to melt and mud season is starting, Miley, being yellow,  is the first to show the effects of a wet winter thaw (her yellow daughter will likely be next).  Miley also takes great pleasure in rubbing her body on the chain link in her kennel, transferring black carbon onto her coat.  It’s nearly impossible to wash out, but seems quite easy to rub into the coat.  I couldn’t take it one more moment. Today we’ll be having a winter spa day!

Filthy Miley!

Miley, we’re off to the bathtub!

Yes, it’s warm water from the kennel water heater.

Our booster bath tubs are a Godsend.  Yay for not having to bend to ground level to wash a dog!  We can move it close to the large kennel door, and put the drain hose under the closed door, allowing it to drain outside, while keeping the kennel fairly dry and warm (except for the obligatory wet dog shaking, which manages to wet a six-foot circumference). She was so dirty, we couldn’t even work up suds with a ton of shampoo.

No doubt someone is going to ask what doggie shampoo we use, so this is where I tell you to listen to your Vet if you want to be sure, but in truth, we use human shampoos. I use baby shampoo on the face (no tears), and whatever shampoo I happen to have laying around on the rest of them.  I DO NOT ever use a conditioning shampoo or a conditioner on a Lab. Their coat is supposed to be hard to the touch to properly shed water. When I am shampooing for a dog show, I do it a week or so before the show if they need a bath at all, and I usually use T-Gel shampoo on the blacks, to get rid of dandruff. If a Lab isn’t visibly dirty, the best bath for a show is just a good swim or hosing down. Yay for a wash-and-wear breed!

Bath time is an important time for us. You would be surprised how even while petting and playing with a dog,  you can miss a suspicious lump or a cut. We’ve made it a practice to use bath time to do a critical hands-on exam, to physically go over each dog, feeling every inch of their bodies for any physical anomaly that may have come up. Once wet, and underneath that thick coat, we have found things our hands never detected before. It’s a good practice. All Miley had was that healing scratch under her left eye (she scratched her eye a couple of weeks ago and lost the hair around the scratch), and the scars on her chin that she has had for a long time (that’s another story for another day).

Our industrial blow dryer makes fast work of drying a dog, and quickly gets rid of shedding hair.  It’s far better than a brush!  I’ve had this dryer for better than 15 years.  It is one of our most valuable possessions.  Her groaning in response to being dried, spoke to how good that forceful/warm air stream feels.

As I type this, Dan is still out in the kennel trying to clean up the fur it blew off Miley, onto every surface of the kennel building.  That’s one downside to winter baths – you can’t blow dry the dog out in the snow.

After a lot of soap, rinsing and drying, a nicely clean Miley ran to the back door and thought briefly about rolling in the mud next to the steps. I caught her just as she was headed for it and a firm “NO” stopped her (thank heavens).  What is it about being clean that a dog can’t stand?   It never fails that a sparkling clean dog will quickly roll across the lawn, in the bushes, in mud, or in a puddle.

Miley, you are a very bad girl sometimes!

Attention to the feet comes after the bath.  Hair on the bottom of their feet probably keeps their feet warm in the snow, but when the paths turn to ice, their hairy feet have little traction ability.  Skipping in the ice or wood floors is an invitation to injury.   It has become habit, that after a bath,  we check feet and nails.  As you can tell, Miley was WAY overdue!

Miley, look at those hairy feet!! They’re naturally grown slippers.

One down. Look at the difference!!

Her back feet have graduated from slipper status to snowshoes.

After a trim, comes toenail clipping. Much better!!

Now she can show off.  There is nothing like the feeling of having a shower and pedicure!

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The dog bath is found at:  https://www.boosterbath.com/

The blow dryer may be found here:  https://k9dryer.com/product/k-9-ii-dog-dryer/ – shop around for better pricing  on similar items.

LEGAL STUFF

Website Built by Blue Knight. All graphics , photographs, and original articles are the property of Blue Knight.  Permission must be obtained for use on other sites or for other purposes.

A New Year – Welcome 2018!

We have snow on the ground, icicles on the eves, and the air is crisp. Winter marks a time of quiet here. We and the dogs gravitate to the nearest warm spot, and use this time for quiet time and rejuvenation.

We had Rumble spayed on Jan 2nd. She has given us, and friends, a few young ones to run on. I hope they inherited her sweet/eager to please temperament and her beautiful expression. Spaying her was like closing a door, and a little sad, although it was due (she’s eight).

James (10), Rumble(8) and Miley(8) are the last three on a group of dogs we brought with us when we moved to Idaho in 2009. The girls were just babies! Little did we know then, that medical problems would bring us to the reality that we must place a large number of the dogs we came with. Our dreams seemed shattered. We gave away some lovely dogs, because that was the right thing to do, but a lot of us went with them. We hear from their owners often, and they are living wonderful lives. What more could we ask for?

We naturally wind down as we age, and that’s true for everything. We continue on, but at a slower, more subdued pace. So it is for dog fancy as well.

We have no intention of disappearing, and we have several young dogs to carry the torch. Each one of them goes back to our original dogs. They carry on the hopes and dreams that we had when we began. They represent nearly 40 years of hard work and careful planning. Mariah, Luna, Dahlia, Rose and Amaya are the living legacy of all who came before them.   This is their time!

Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 tells us:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

LEGAL STUFF

Website Built by Blue Knight. All graphics , photographs, and original articles are the property of Blue Knight.  Permission must be obtained for use on other sites or for other purposes.