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
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!

___________________

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.

Our Silly Luna

Luna Never fails to make us laugh! She comes in the house and one-by-one removes her favored toys from the toy box. As she removes each one, she will parade it around and show it off, then lie near it, admiring each in turn, before she goes on to the next.  She covets her toys.  If her toy of choice is below another in the box, she’ll move the top one aside, then choke herself to get the lowest one. Some we keep outside, and she has her stash there too. This takes most of the day, and by the end of the day, the den is filled with toys, and a contently sleeping dog!

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.

“Hybrid” Dogs

This makes me furious! We spend endless hours making sure our breed is improved and protected, we spend more money than you want to consider, doing health clearances, so that we minimize or eliminate the chances a puppy will suffer in their lifetime, justifying a cost, and people without care, beyond that of the almighty dollar, bastardizes our established breeds.

Do you have a “hybrid” that you love? Good for you for loving your dog! You are not “the problem”. It’s breeder is!

Hybrid. Because hybrid sounds cool. Because hybrid doesn’t sound like mutt, or mongrel, or… just simply mixed-breed. Hybrids are typically produced through human manipulation to produce something uniquely different, like mules (horse and donkey combo), ligers (lions and tigers), or plant hybrids. True hybrids are often sterile, as they’re from differing species, and lack chromosomes that compliment each other. The animal shelters are filled with mix-breed dogs. Save yourself $2000 and get one, because typically, that’s what the shelters are filled with.

Please, bear with me and get through the following:

The Labrador Retriever has been the #1 popular breed in the U.S. for 26 years running for a reason – they’re smart (but not so smart as to out think you), athletic (without being athletic to the extreme) family and other animal friendly. The Lab is a versatile dog, who is as happy to be a couch potato, as they are working in the field. A Lab is strong (emphasis on strong), athletic and muscular. They’re usually larger boned, and weigh more than they look. Labradors have a coat with two layers to keep him warm, dry and comfortable, but it sheds a lot. They are known for destructive behavior such as chewing furniture and woodwork or digging up the yard. They are a gentleman’s dog. Content to be a pet at night, and hunt in the day. Health issues include canine hip dysplasia (CHD), and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), which is canine elbow and shoulder dysplasia. They also occasionally suffer from distichiasis, exercise-induced collapse, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, tricuspid valve dysplasia, and entropion. Many of these are discoverable now through DNA testing, and affected dogs are never bred.

Pointers (for this example, the German Shorthaired Pointer) are very active dogs, who belong with an equally athletic owner who will take him running, biking, or hiking. Did I emphasize active enough? A walk around the block is not even a warm-up for a GSP. Some can be aggressive with strange dogs, and some are determined chasers of cats and other fleeing creatures, often with deadly intent. They are tautly-muscled, and *extremely* athletic. They’re finer boned than the Lab, and lithe. They are known for “separation anxiety” (destructiveness and barking) when left alone too much. They are hunting machines, who can be one so fixed on the hunt that no recall can get their attention.

Their known health issues (which are bred against by reputable breeders include gastric torsion, hypothyroidism, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD), von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD), entropion, and pannus, and major issues such as lymphedema, and occasionally cardiomyopathy, ectropion, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Again, their breeders do DNA testing, and affected dogs are never bred.

Imagine if you will, the finer bony structure of a Pointer, with the heavy musculature of a Labrador, causing bone and joint pounding. A bone/muscle mismatch. A dog with a downy undercoat, but the extremely short top coat of a Pointer, setting the dog up for freezing in cold water, and a knotted mess of endlessly shedding fur, on a dog who is very oral and full of anxiety over being left alone for the day, mixed with a dash of heavy-muscled hyperactivity that wants to be friends with other dogs , but has a sudden urge to fight, without the innate caution of a Pointer on the approach of another dog. Confused. Now add all of the breed genetic problem propensities, most doubled up, because no genetic testing is done by these “hybrid” breeders, and then add to that different medical problems known to those distinct breeds, which now combine into one poor dog.

Will all of the breed traits combine in every puppy to create a genetic nightmare from head to toe? No, but I promise that some will, and all will have some piece of it.

I love my breed. Reputable Pointer breeders love theirs. Each of us does the best we can to breed the best our breed has to offer, and know how to work with the more difficult traits each breed has. Specifically, we have the advantage of being able to best select homes for our puppies, so that owner and dog are happy.

Please don’t be duped into thinking that the breeders of these mixed dogs have done their due diligence, and have many years of application (in my case, 38 years).

You get what you pay for, and yes, there is a sucker born every minute!

BTW, the people who took this add out want $1800 for their mix-breed puppies. Go to the pound! There are lots of mix-bred dogs waiting for homes.

 

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.