At Elfin the nursery is an accurate description of our puppy rearing facilities. Our philosophy is that puppies, like children, deserve a safe, enriched environment with plenty of opportunity for socialization so that they can grow into adults who will be welcome in our society. They are encouraged to play and explore and learn both inside and out. Their nursery is in the front of a large open room whose back half is the kitchen so they are constantly exposed to activity, noises, smells (mostly delicious...grin), people and the other dogs. By 4 weeks they have been introduced to the outside in our puppy proof playground that includes grass, concrete sidewalk, brick patio, steps and a porch. They have a variety of playground 'equipment' including balls, tunnel, beach chair, concrete block 'bridges', skateboard, teeter totter, etc. Nothing like fresh air and sunshine to grow happy, healthy puppies. Because we live out in the country, we have to import more people so we frequently invite friends and people interested in the breed to come visit and play with the puppies. I used to have to borrow kids but now have 2 adorable grandchildren to help!
Raising puppies right is a LOT of work...it's time consuming both physically and mentally. In addition to socializing and caring for the physical needs of the babies, a good breeder will spend a lot of time screening homes so that she can find the very best home for each puppy based on the mutual needs of the puppy and new owners. A good breeder takes responsibility for the puppies she produces throughout the puppies' lives. And the effort does not end when the puppies leave for new homes...support for owners is critical to the success of placements. At Elfin a good percentage of our puppies are sold either to repeat buyers or to people who have been referred by happy owners who adore their dogs. We must be doing something right. What makes all the hard work and effort worthwhile is the satisfaction of knowing that I been able to help others know the love and joy that a happy, healthy Silk Dog brings to our lives.
Have we never had an issue? Health or otherwise? I wish! But, no one can ever guarantee that she will never produce a puppy that may end up with a problem...all we can do is make the best breeding decisions we can, always work to improve, learn from mistakes, and stand behind ALL the puppies we bring into this world. No breeder wakes up in the morning and says, "Gee, I sure hope I have an unhealthy puppy to bring misery into someone's life..." but, what separates a good breeder from the pack is how she handles a problem when it arises. Some try to put the blame on the owner or on outside issues...anything but accept the possibility that they have produced a puppy with a problem. And it may very well be that an owner did not follow recommendations but that doesn't mean they need to be sent on a guilt trip, either. Just as no breeder hopes to produce a health issue, I doubt that a properly screened owner wakes up and says "How can I screw up this puppy so I can complain to the breeder?" The Golden rule is truly precious and one that I do my best to live by...and always, my first allegiance is to the dogs...their best interest has to come before any other motivations. They bring us such joy and ask for nothing in return except to be loved and cherished (well, ok, let's be real...they want us to be their slaves...but I'm trying to be nice here...grin.) Buying a puppy is a major exception to the statements that you 'can't buy love' or 'money cannot buy happiness!" You can! It's called a Silk Dog.
Meet The Parents
BGCH Tyburn Woods I Get Ideas @ Concordia "Crosby"
CH Elfin Kathryn Dance Gets Her Man "Dance"
Dance's Defenders Debut -09/09/2016
Dance's Defenders -have arrived on site...
Talk about 1st responders...we had calculated a due date of 9/11 give or take 24 hrs but we were off by a day. Dance jumped into the whelping box in the forest yesterday afternoon, her temperature had dropped to 98.9, and she classically refused dinner. Around 7 she got down to business and, at 7:19, the first puppy arrived. She wrapped up the scene at 10:55 with #6 and then settled into the post whelping mothering routine. Dance's pattern is to spend some time vocalizing and talking to me, then she gets a thoughtful look, then starts with contractions and has a silent birth. Repeat x 6. Sometimes I wish I knew what she was saying, sometimes I think I'm probably better off not knowing...grin.
Because the litter was due on 9/11, I'd been thinking of a theme that was sort of linked somehow but still uplifting and not mired in sorrow and horror. I'm glad she did not wait for that day. The theme is based on Patriotism, Liberty, Freedom, Altruism, and Humanitarianism. All registered names will have something in that vein in them. Examples might be Elfin Born In The USA, Elfin Lady Liberty, Elfin Let's Roll, Elfin Free to be Me, Elfin American Pie, etc.For litter names, tied into 9/11, but in a positive way, I've chosen names of search and rescue dogs who spent tireless hours at the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, seeking survivors and giving succor to the broken people there. Meet Dance's Defenders:
1. Ricky - Ricky is a gold sable parti boy. He weighed 6.4oz. His namesake is a rat terrier, the smallest SAR in NY on 9/11. The name was chosen because Ricky was a white dog with black splashed markings and, when my boy was born he looked black and white. Tricky Ricky! The original Ricky was adopted by Janet Linker and a member of the Puget Sound Urban Search and Rescue Team. After arriving at Ground Zero, Ricky and another rescue dog, Thunder, were given the night shift. Since Ricky was so small, he was able to reach locations that larger dogs couldn’t. He had the ability to climb ladders, run complex patterns for recognition, and could determine the difference between living and deceased people.
2. Cowboy - Cowboy is a black Irish Pied boy. He weighed 6.2oz. His namesake was a FEMA certified Border collie, also an Irish pied. He was deployed at the World Trade Center and searched with the Border Collie's unique focus and drive
3. Ditto - Ditto is a black/tan Irish pied boy. He weighed 5.4oz. His namesake was a Doberman/Australian Cattle Dog mix. Ditto was black/tan...deployed at the World Trade Center with his handler Elaine Sawtell
4. Rookie - Rookie is a black/tan boy. He weighed 7.4oz. His namesake was one of the SAR dogs on the scene in NYC...a German Shepherd, black/tan with his handler Joaquin Guerrero
5.Morning Glory - Glory is an Irish pied girl. She weighed 6.4oz, Her namesake was an Australian Shepherd.The real Glory was black/tan and deployed at the Pentagon with her handler Jane Servais
6. Jake - Jake is a black/wht markings boy. He weighed 6.2oz. His namesake was a black Labrador who was found abandoned with a broken leg at 10 months of age and was adopted by Mary Flood. He repaid that kindness by working as an SAR dog for 10 years. He was deployed at the World Trade Center on 9/11
The Defenders on the scene.
Week One - Early Puppyhood Development...our hearing has not developed yet and our eyes are still closed, so we had NO warning that school starts early around here. It seems as if we were JUST born and then BOOM...the drill instructor shows up at 0800 and we're working! Biosensor exercises to stimulate our little brains!
All right you DAWGS! On yer back...hold it! Heads UP, hold it!, Bottoms up (seriously?) and hold it. Tickle toes, tickle toes? Really? We dodged one bullet...we didn't get put in the frig to chill out. And it wasn't just once...here we are minding our own business, doing newborne puppy things...eat, pee, poop, sleep, repeat...and here she comes again...Rise and shine, recruits! Whew...life is gonna be interesting here!
So this goes on, day in, day out and then, this morning, special treat. First, mug shots, then weigh in (we all gained, yay!), then pedicure...we did not know we get a spa day. We forgot to tell you that Tues was a really "special" day. Aunt Jood came over (now known as Aunt Judas) and held us for 'dew claws'...sounds benign, eh? It's NOT. Two of us had little dewclaws in the rear and those need to come off so Doc (Dr No? Evil villain) decided that we should not suffer alone so everyone got their front dewclaws removed,too...we were pretty good, squeak, squeak, wha' happened?...back to sleep. So, anyhow, back to today...we were SO happy that a pedicure only trims our nails...no more toes going bye bye. We were so relieved! And then, after all that, we got kisses and hugs and snuggles. Life is good for Elves! Finally, Mama Dance came back (she did not want to watch...actually she not only wanted to watch, she wanted to intervene so Doc made her wait out of the Forest. (the Forest?) Yes, we were born in the Forest...perfect place for Elves, right? The forest is a little room behind the closet in Doc's bedroom...shades of Narnia... that's decorated to look like a forest. We'll be forest critters for a few more weeks then move to civilization. See you next week (literally cause our eyes will be open by then!)
The forest again
We're a WEEK old!!
Week Two - I see you, you see me... our eyes have opened...it's amazing! We can't hear you but,we can see you now and you are BIG! Who knew that the parts we could feel were only a little part of you...those hands (and no, you don't have unusally small hands) are attached to a lot more of you. Soon enough we'll be able to hear you, too, and we'll get very conceited to hear how adorable and precious we are.! We have grown a lot this week and we had visitors already. Uncle Tommy dropped by and Mark & Barbara & Ann came to see us. The lid on the playpen has been raised to expand our horizons now that we can see where we are. The biosensor exercises are over and now all we have to do is cuddle and snuffle and snuggle (oh, and the pedicure but who wants to talk about that!) Changes are coming soon but Week two is a peaceful, easy week for puppies...all we had to do is eat, sleep, eliminate and get our peepers opened up. Mission accomplished!
Did we mention we learned a new skill this week ALL on our own?? Sure surprised Ms Doc today when she moved in for a nuzzle and we planted kisses on her...with tongue! Ooh, she loved that...she's easy, in more ways than one! And that was after she insisted on trimming our nails...we forgive you Doc...you're ok!
Mr UPS came yesterday and brought a new future toy...a pop up house attached to a pop up triangle by a tunnel and the house holds balls for us to rummage around in like a kids' ball pit. It's going to be an outside toy so we don't get bored by nothing but green grass!
Look at us looking at you!
Week 3 - We're walkin', yes indeed, and we're talkin'...lots of development for us this week. We not only can sort of focus, we can hear you now. And we can let you know we know you are here...Woof! And we are walking, if you want to call it that. Let's just say that this would not be a good time to run into a DUI checkpoint. To quote that great song, "What do you say to a drunken sailor..." But we are getting better at forward progress, in fact, we gave Doc a run for her money in portrait sessions by being out of the scene before she could hit the shutter button. Buh Bye...all except for Ricky, who was first up and still asleep...zzzzzzzzz.
Did we mention toys?? Yes, we got introduced to toys this week. AND a remodeling crew snuck in while we were sleeping. Our heated bed and snug whelping box and wrap around quilt, gone. Now we have a bolster bed AND a potty pad and, guess what...it has pee on it already. Damn, we're good puppies. Smart and sassy! Doc's going to have to call in reinforcements next week for pedicures cause we have totally mastered wiggle and squirm. We are enjoying our last week in the forest cause next week we're moving to the big room and we'll get introduced to solid food. Yummers...Mom will be thrilled cause we are hungry puppies and this will take some of the pressure off her. She's getting quite slimmed down. Til next week...we are back to defending our inalienable rights to sleeping, eating, pooping, & peeing!
We are the first line of Defense against boredom!
Week 4 - Movin' on UP!...This has been a BIG week for us cause we moved from the country (forest) to the big city...like Mid-Town. And it was quite a shocker. We had a lot to say about this one...Doc put on Sky Redhawk's Native American flute CD and we sang, chanted, howled and yipped like lil coyotes! And, first thing this morning there was a dish of really good smelling red stuff...and we had a great time sniffing, licking, and walking in it til Mom came along and licked the dish and us clean again. Solid food...Darwin's Natural Selections grass fed beef with organic veggies and fruit. Oh my!
Good thing Mom licked us clean cause we had the cutest little girls come visit today and we got to sit on their laps and they thought WE were cute! They were even cuter but we did our best to make them smile and we were really good at it. We've had lots of visitors this week. Yesterday Ann & Dick and Barb came to visit. And Uncle Tommy and Auntie Jood, too. Auntie Jood might get a new name, Auntie Judas cause she gangs up on us with Doc to trim our nails...wah, wah, wah...wiggle, squirm. But then they give us kisses so, we forgive them.
We are doing really well coming out of bed to potty on the pads...our bed was completely dry for the last few days. We are smart little pishers, Doc says. We are starting to show some differences in personality. Rookie and Jake are first to greet people, Glory and Cowboy and Ditto are next and Ditto has a BIG mouth for the smallest one. No one is going to overlook Ditto. Ricky is the most thoughtful...we may have an introvert in the bunch but that can easily change in the coming weeks. I have always wondered if the thoughtful dogs (the one who take the time to size up visitors/situations) are not a little smarter than the 'social sluts' who greet everyone like a long lost friend...grin. Our coats are also starting to grow. Glory has a little cowlick sticking out off her hip...too funny!
Doc took videos today and FINALLY (on 10/16/16) got them on here. The first one is our first visit to the kitchen digs and our first time out of the whelping box in the forest. We were confused. The 2nd one is the next day when we moved there permanently and Doc's favorite flutist, Sky Redhawk, helped us calm down and fall asleep This is our nightly bedtime lullaby CD and it never fails! Doc met Sky in Santa fe and bought a flute from him...thank God she has his CD and doesn't try this herself!
Bellying up to the milk bar
Our new digs!
We're FOUR weeks old now!
Week 5 - Stretching our legs...this has been a great week for us as we have grown both in stature and skill set. Not only can we walk without falling over, we can wag and walk and wiggle at the same time! We are learning to walk those extra steps to the potty area so we no longer live in a paper lined home. And we are getting three square meals/day and still get to belly up to the (milk) bar...we are Dance's Defenders Double Dipper/Sippers! Someone must have put fertilizer on us cause we are sprouting coat, too! So much so that last night we got our first real spy day. Nails, then foot pads, butts, bellies, eyes all trimmed neatly so we have better traction and don't slide around. We sure surprised Doc with our amazing goodness during the trimming. We thought it was a game...buzzy thing on our feet while silly human sang "Tickle toes, Tickle toes, goodness knows we tickles toes!" It was so goofy we almost peed on her laughing. Would have served her right. We also got oral exams...no, not like we had to give a speech or anything, Doc peered at our mouths and pronounced that, so far, we had good bites. Course there don't have any teeth yet but I guess we have great gums.
Last weekend we had visitors! Cousin Edie and her grandson Henry spent the night and Henry played with us a bunch. And new Mom/Dad to be Carol/Jim just made us feel so special and properly adored. This Sunday we are going to have lots of visitors and we are really hoping for good weather cause word is we get to go OUTSIDE...not sure what that is but we are sure it will be fun. Not so sure about something else that's supposed to happen next week...what's a bath?
Update: 10/16/16 We had lots of visitors today...Glory's new folks, Barbara & Mark, Jake's new Mommy, Ann, and Ditto's new family, Teri, Gary & Daughter 'Licia! So we got to go outside and it was great...what fun!! See video under our portraits!
Look we are wee little real dogs!
Week 6- The Big Bang Theory or Our Universe Expands...Big changes this week and we mean YUGE! Our city digs have expanded as we are being so good about pottying appropriately and now we have an extra playroom which can be open to the main room or divided into a vacation cottage. In plain English it means crowd control cause we try to be SO helpful in the morning when it's time to clean up so we need to go somewhere else until the bathroom is cleaned up. This is also the interim arrangement to the next step which is learn to use the dog door and walk up and down the steps to the outside yard. That's happening next week!
Yesterday something new and interesting happened called bathers. OMG, you would not believe this...first, Ricky was sound asleep when he was unceremoniously scooped up. Still yawning through nail trim, foot pad trim, belly/butt trim and eye trim then, just when he thought he was done (as was previously the case) water, water, everywhere. Sudsy, rinsy, wrapped up, then the hot hair blew and he closed his eyes waiting for the sand thinking "Saharan winds Wow!". The rest of us were blissfully unaware as he didn't come back to warn us. We were wondering why he was hollering...it was because he was suddenly alone in a strange place (which we now know is also ours and a fun place to run and play.) One by one we were selected, inspected, disinfected (not literally) and incarcerated til we were all done. Then, to add insult to injuy we were asked to hold it and smile for our portraits. Oh right, big smile...sure, no problem. Feh. But, I guess it was worth it cause we got to play outside and Doc told us that we were extraordinarily great little puppers cause we did NOT holler during our baths and blow drys...we were impressively well behaved. Did we mentioned that Doc washed and Auntie Jood (Judas!) dried? We forgive them both, though cause Doc loves us and Auntie Jood brought us the most delicious, fun chew toy ever...it was called Gracie and she had the most fun hair!
This week another big change is that we got to meet ALL the big dogs. Mom is ok with it and everyone's been nice to us. Patty especially, finds us irresistible and she jumps into our pen when Mom's not in here and plays with us. Patty's going to be a good Mom some day cause she LOVES puppies!
And, finally, we are getting our new 'forever' names! In our photo you can see our new names. Ricky's folks are coming Wed to see if he will tell them what his new name should be. By the time we go home, we'll know who we are! Next week begins 'come for cookies' so we'll be hearing our names a LOT.
Gracie visited us
Our house on left...through the door to new playyard
Auntie Jood drying Ricky...puppy burrito
Freshly bathed and sweet smelling!
Week 7 - Running with the Big Dogs...We have really grown and matured this week. And Mother nature has been SO kind to send us wonderful weather so we're able to go outside every day and run and play. We got to run with the big dogs and we got our first lesson in 'don't bother big dogs and if they say no, it means no!" Patty and Pearlie and Mom are very patient with us. Pekoe is busy being pregnant so avoids us like the plague. Dipper...hmm, she 'splained to Nikki that she was being too pesky and made Nikki cry...wahhhhhh, call the wahhhmbulance! We've had visitors almost every day which is really lucky cause Doc boogered her back on Wed and we have heard things out of her that no puppy should ever hear. But, we have tried our best to be very, very good so she doesn't have to bend and twist and say bad words. Wed Ricky's new folks, Carol & Jim came and he got christened which his new name...ta da....HIGGINS! We decided it suits him perfectly and, when he's not looking, we whisper "it's the Professor!!' Nikki's Mom, Barbara came over to meet them. We have the nicest new folks...everyone is always smiling. I guess we make them happy. Today we met Stacy, friend of Dickens' Mom, Ann. She loved us, yes, she did. Tomorrow Nikki's Mom and Dad are coming to visit
We are getting really good at pottying outside...something about the smell and feel of grass that can just make you wanna...well, you know! Last night we started working on our first command. We got introduced to turkey liver that Dickens' new Mom brought for us. The only time we get it is when Doc calls "Come for Cookies!" and if we go then, we get turkey liver. It's really, really yummy. Speaking of yummy, we are members of the clean plate club. For dinner tonight we had a 1/2 lb of Darwin's beef, 1 primal freeze dried beef, and a 1/2 of a Stella & Chewy's Duck,Duck,Goose and we ate it ALL.
We are doing pretty well at pottying on the piddle place and pads. Doc says with 5 boys, we are doing really well cause 'boys are slower to get proper pottying'...whatever! And we got a new ocean house, tunnel and ball pit outside but we haven't really learned to enjoy it yet. As soon as we get 'into' it, literally and figuratively, there will be video. So Auntie Jood came over yesterday and we got another bath. Last week when we got our first one, we did great. Figure oh well, weird things happen but yesterday we told Jood....WHAT??? AGAIN??? Nooooooooooo, stop it. But we were still pretty good. Doc put drops in our eyes to protect them from shampoo...mineral oil. Well, they were big drops and we have little eyes so if our hair looks a wee bit punk this week, tha's why.
Next week, we have a big, big adventure planned and we'll be too busy to update so look for the next chapter the week after next! See ya!
Now we all have our forever names!
Week Eight - So where did you go??... you may have been asking yourself, hey, what happened to Week 8?? Well, something very special happened last week. We packed up the big Cocoon (Mercedes Sprinter) with 6 puppies, 6 dogs, and 2 old women and set off for VA Beach to the Havana Silk Dog Association of America's National Specialty. It would have been an amazing feat under the best of circumstances but I was also having some significant back pain which did not improve (understandable if you've ever experienced the non-stop action at a National Specialty. The puppies turned out to be great little travelers but I'll let them tell you their side of the story.
You are not going to believe this but one minute we were playing out in the yard having a really good time and the next we were in the belly of a giant beast which took off and whisked us away from home. Seriously...it ate us and then took off! Somebody, not mentioning names, urped a little bit, and someone whined for a while but then the warmth and vibrations in the beast's tummy lulled us all to sleep and we didn't wake up til the beast got tired and quit running. Next thing you know it spit us out into wheeled pods and then we went into a tiny room that flew up to the 5th floor and then we finally landed back in our pen...only someone changed the kitchen all around into something totally different. It was very confusing. We finally got dinner (whew we were HUNGRY) and then nothing happened. Doc, open the gate we want to run into the grooming room and run and run and slide under the shelves and wrestle! No matter how loud we asked, we did not get our way. In fact, when we got really loud, the lights went off and everyone left so after a little while we just gave up and went to sleep.
Everything got a LOT better after that first night. We were there from Thurs to Mon and you would not believe how many visitors came to see us and cuddle and coo. We got so tired out that we didn't hardly fuss at ALL any more. Higgins met Pepin, his new older "brother" and Pepin even gave him a kiss. We got to play with Gracie & Emma and Benjmin...oh, we just had the best time. And Patty told us that she won a trophy and big ribbon...go Patty, she's our best older 'sister' friend.
On Monday we went back to the beast but this time we knew that it'd be ok and we didn't fuss at all...just slept all the way home but boy were we happy to get back to our yard...runlikehell!!! So, that's what happened to the update...we were busy on a big adventure! We did get a few picture souvenirs!
Week Nine - Home Sweet Home and catchingup... well, we got home from last week's big adventure on Monday and thought we'd just take the week off an relax. Wrong. The bullet that we dodged last week (soaps) caught up with us yesterday. Let me tell you that soaps is not a bubbly spa experience. First unceremoniously dunked under the water...oh no, not another bath!...would that we should be so lucky! Just when you think you are soapy enough and expecting a nice rinse you get plucked out of the bath onto a table where Auntie Judah the perv was trying to take nekkid pictures of us while Doc (no Doolittle) was all like 'stand up straight' and 'hold still' as if we were going to cooperate...ha! We weren't sure whether Doc was laughing or crying when she was looking at the results. But then Auntie Jood got back into routine and got us all dry and fluffered up and let us rest...hope that's a once in a lifetime experience (it's not)
We outgrew the little photo studio so got to go out to the "Florida' room for our photos...it's way more fun out there and we got a new pal to pose with. After we were done we got to try to kill him while he sang thank you for being a friend while flapping his ears at us. Doc did a video which MIGHT find it's way here eventually. Anyhow. this week we are going for an album so you can see us bigger than in a montage.Push play (that sideways triangle) to scroll through the thumbnails. Doc says her back still hurts so can't sit here much longer taking dictation. We are wonderful, funny, gorgeous babies even if we did try to rip off everyone's clothes today. Banner's Mom Cass and our little human sisters Aerin & Isla came to visit and Toby's new human sisters, Lauren & Licia, did too. We heard us being called land sharks and we were getting lessons in being polite but we were just so excited to see everyone. Our mom, Dancer, is teaching us not to bite her...humans gotta learn to say no, too...they think we are so cute that it's hard.
This will be our last complete update as Boomer is leaving early and it just wouldn't be the same without him! We are looking forward to our next really BIG adventures...as we venture out into the world to our new forever homes! It's been FUN.