Another K-9 Road Trip

It’s never easy knowing you’ll be driving for two days with a puppy. It helps to have an older dog along.

We’ve been on the road with Luna and 15 week old Riley since yesterday.

It is hard for a puppy to get the hang of going potty on leash, walking on the leash, and being crated in the vehicle for long periods of time, but this little girl took to it all quite naturally. We let them be together in one crate some of the time for company and comfort, and in separate crates for eating and rest.

In the hotel, they co-inhabited, and we’re the perfect hotel guests. Quiet and using good manners:

If you are traveling with a pet (or two), be sure to follow a few steps, so that hotels that are pet friendly will remain that way!

  1. Pick up after your dog (a plastic bag in your pocket will assure easy waste pickup)
  2. Keep them quiet (no barking, which will disturb other guests)
  3. Keep your pet in a crate when you are out of the room, to prevent damage to floors or furniture.
  4. Never bathe a dog in tubs or showers!
  5. Make sure not to leave evidence of dogs behind (clean up fur or wood shavings that may have escaped your crate).

Traveling with a pet can be fun and rewarding.

Luna Stacking Lessons Aborted

First, I had a foot surgery that stoped our daily lessons, then the weather changed, preventing me from continuing once I could ambulate. The Dr. gave strict orders about keeping the dressing dry. A canvas, pen toe boot is not conducive to keeping it dry in about six inches of sticking snow. After a week of snow on the ground, I decided her lessons would have to wait until spring! — sigh!

This was our training area view the past several days:

Luna Stacking Lesson 2

Some days you take three steps back. Today is one of those days. Luna had no interest in the bait, declined to hold still, would not position her feet, gave me squinty eyes and pinned back her ears (her favorite thing when someone is trying to make her do something other than play). So, we focused on standing still, and not crouching up on me. A few successes, and I called it a day, ending with her just standing still. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day!

“You can’t make me!”
“I can’t. I just CAN’T”
“I won’t pay attention! I won’t look at you! I think I am being tortured!”
Nope… I won’t open my eyes, and I won’t lift my ears!
“This is all you’re going to get!”
DONE! I’m *so* exhausted from that 15 minutes of torture!

Luna Stacking Lesson 1

Luna needs to learn to stack for showing! She’s a wild child, who runs up on me and thinks she needs to stack with her nose touching my knees. She’s not a baby anymore (even though she acts like one!). So… every day, we’re going to practice being a show dog. First lesson, is to simply stand still away from me. Style and finesse is not the object. We’ll work on just one thing…stand still away from me. A barrier on the ground (a hose) will be her target that says “do not cross!”. We’ll do no more than 15 minutes/day, end on a success, and have a play session after.

Here we go…..

Nope, don’t cross the boundry!

Better!

She’s letting me get further away:


Much better!

Now, without the pipe, and we’re done for the day!

Sacred Duty

We have been asked how we decide on homes for the dogs we place. The answer is simple. We believe the right home exists for every dog, and the right dog exists for every responsible person, but not all dogs and people are right for each other. It is our responsibility to select wisely, and that is where experience and God come in. I trust that we will be sent people we need to speak to, but that doesn’t mean I’m being sent people who need a dog! My husband tells me I spend more time talking people out of a dog than into a dog. I think he’s right!

We have been blessed with some of the best placements we could have prayed for, and the reason, is that we ask hard questions, make hard observations, and critically evaluate the dogs in question. I can not count the number of calls I have received from prior placements, telling me that the dog died of old age, that it was treasured, and provided a family with a life filled with love. At that point we know we are blessed. We have had families who, in 38 years in this, have as many as three dogs from us pass away well in their senior years. My heart is full when I hear their stories, even if through grief.

Our placement decisions are a sacred duty!

———–

Job 12:7

“But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.”

Dogs can tell you a lot about people. We watch people and dogs together. Nothing is set in stone until an animal demonstrates to me that these are the people for them!

———–

Psalm50:10-11

“For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine.”

We’re responsible for those things that are precious to their creator!

———-

We love these creatures we have been trusted with, and we are tasked to be sure the arms we place them in will care for and love them. That is our criteria.

Mom always said…

DON’T RUN WITH STICKS IN YOUR MOUTH!!!

Luna demonstrated this month, how a dog can impale themselves on a stick. For now, that’s what we think happened. She showed up in the morning with facial swelling, and the Vet found a puncture wound in the back of her mouth where the muzzle meets the upper jaw, behind the last pre-molar. It’s still possible that this is really a tooth root abscess, but the wound he found was bloody (not pus filled), and pretty large. It seems that she punctured it with a stick (that we never found). Antibiotics have taken care of it… thankfully!  Picture three is two days after antibiotics. This shows you how fast it can happen, and, with treatment, how fast it can heal.

Sudden swelling on the left side of her face.
A few hours on antibiotics
Much better after 24 hours on antibiotics.
Feeling much better!
A few days on antibiotics, and she was feeling great!

Dew Claw removal. Do we?

I just had someone ask me if we remove dew claws on our dogs.  I haven’t had anyone ask me that in a very long time.  The answer is no.  We did them on litters up until sometime around 2002, when other breeders were already starting to stop removing them.  My vet taught me how to do the removal myself.  I think she had a reason.  It was easy to take my 3 day old babies to the vet, hand her a basket full of happy/content puppies, then receive a basket of crying puppies to take home.  Doing them myself caused me to really think about what I was doing.   We always said it was because they could tear them up the leg, and that’s not untrue, but I had a puppy buyer once ask me “can’t they tear their other toes too?”  Actually, yes.  They can tear them severely, just catching a nail in a sprinkler head.  I finally realized that the truth was, we were removing them because it gave a clean look to the leg in the show ring.  That is no reason to amputate the toes of a newborn puppy!

Studies have been done that now show the important purpose of the dew claws.  They need them! They very seldom tear them, any more than they tear their other toes. There are indications that dogs without dew claws have more foot injuries and are more prone to arthritis.  By the time I was questioning why I was doing them, I noticed that fewer and fewer Labs had theirs removed. They were hunting with them, and showing in the ring (and winning) with them, and I believe in 38 years of being in Labs, I have only known one dog who tore their dew claw.

Here are a few links to help you understand the purpose and reasons for leaving them:
http://www.caninesports.com/uploads/1/5/3/1/15319800/dewclawexplanation.pdf
http://petcarefacts.com/blog/health/purpose-of-the-dew-claw

and the best example of how dogs use their dew claws:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4XflsMEk-k&feature=youtu.be

I hope this helps you understand why very few Labrador breeders amputate the dew claws of their puppies anymore.

Memory Lane

Just when I think I have finished the website revamp, I change something.  I had settled on a template I liked, then, at the last moment, I found the one I settled on, and am very happy with it.  I hope you’ll give me feedback to assist me in knowing what works best for the general public.

In the rebuilding of this website, I took a trip through memory lane.  I revisited Cher, our first Labrador, who was an awful example of the breed, but taught me so much.  Most important, it was due to her, that I met Winnie Limbourne (Wingmaster), Donna Smith (Donally) and Barbara Davis (Boldcrest).  …and the greatest of them all, Champion Bold Aaron CD WC!  Aaron changed my life.  Aaron was the greatest of all Labradors (in my newbie mind), and today, with far more education in the breed still stands out as one of the most influential Labradors in Labrador history.   The day Barbara handed me his leash and asked me to hold him is fixed in my mind.  Had she had me grasp the hand of the most famous person in the world, it would not have had more impact on me.  Every dog at Blue Knight goes back to that dog.  So many generations ago, that I don’t know who has had the most influence on my dogs, him, or my increasing knowledge.  Probably both.

Many of my first mentors in Labradors have now passed on.  I miss them terribly.  It’s probably the typical lamenting that all people do as time passes, but they all represent better days gone by – a more innocent time in Labs.  Those were the days when everyone laughed, everyone smiled, everyone cheered, everyone imparted knowledge freely, and they were generous with it.  I don’t recall any of them referencing a dog in the ring in anything but positive ways.  My friend and mentor, Winnie, told me “Never fault judge a Labrador [looking for the negative].   Always find the best features on the dog.  Anyone can fault Judge, it’s cheap and easy.  If you want to be a good judge of the dogs, find the positive, and the one with the most positives is the dog that should take the ribbon.”   I will never forget those words.  Every generation has “the greats” in the breed … people who have had an immeasurable impact on the breed.  Just over a week ago, we lost another of the ‘old’ guard.  I pray there are always those sorts in the breed.  I suppose their will be, but like every aging person, I sense the best are gone.   I pray the influence of each of them can be found on these pages.  I tried.

I revisited in my mind, Sugar – our first Champion.  I never got a puppy from her, and her only daughter (a singleton) was owed to a breeder for finishing her for me.  The sale of that girl to another country nearly killed me, I’d have sold my house to get her back, but the choice was not given to me.  That wound is well healed, and there are no bad feelings, but I guess there is a lingering lament.   Sugar taught me so much, and was such a wonderful girl.  When we lost her to cancer, her Veterinarian cried harder than I did.  So loved was our Sug!

Adam!  Ch. Blue Knight Classic Genesis.  When I think about him, I can still feel the coarse waves in his coat.  He was a silly, sometimes unruly, always sweet and tender with my grandkids.  Always.

Casey, the love bug.  His was the best temperament of any Lab I knew, and he passed it on to his many children.  He was a clone of his father, Ben (Wingmaster’s Just Another Fella), and best friend to our grandson, Aaron.  The relationship between those two was something quite special.

There were dogs we shared our lives with who did nothing in the ring, except shared our lives with us.  I can still sense what running my hands through their coats felt like and remember the sad last moments with them.   I could go through them all here on paper, or just lump them all together as memories of wagging tails, big-muddy feet, lots of shedding, silliness and love.  I do not regret a single moment of my time with them, except that their lives are never long enough, and each takes a piece of me with them, and each that comes into our lives, fills the void left by their predecessor.

I look at these pages, and I can smell newborn puppies.  That’s often how I remember each dog here.  I know them from their first breath.  Many go off to homes, and their families become family.  I just spoke to one today.  His family has had three of our dogs.  His first when he was single, the next to he and his wife, and now, with two children, he has his third Lab.   Another family, was a young Marine and his wife.  I get photos of their children, one who has been to her prom now.  They have had three of our dogs as well.  Another couple has also had three of our dogs.  I hear from them often.   Not long ago, I received a email from a couple who included photos of their still living 15 year old dog and their young children, thanking me for a lifetime of love.  Those emails make my heart jump for joy.  We have sold puppies to famous people, and just normal folks, and each of them bring memories of first kisses and ‘going home’.

Labrador Retrievers have filled the lives of my children, and their children.  Every one of our eight grandchildren have had a Labrador in their lives.    The impact of the Labrador on my family is immense.  Our family memories have, and always will, include Labradors.

I hope that you find, within these pages, a feel for the impact of these dogs on our lives, and that we have imparted some of the knowledge these dogs have given us, but mostly the love they freely give.   If I have missed the mark, and you don’t find those things in these pages, I want to know.

In Hot Pursuit…

We received a update photo this week on Blue Knight In Hot Pursuit At Alibi (Chase) at 5.5 months. He is owned by Julie Oghigian (Montview Labradors) and Kim Jacobson (Alibi Labradors).  We’re excited to see how this boy performs in the ring.  Best wishes to Julie, Kim, and Chase.

Multi-BISS GCH Laurglen Ardent Rogue at HySpire JH RN CGC
X
Blue Knight Perfect Storm  (CH. Pointed)

Chase is a black who carries chocolate.