Sire: CH Bydand In The Mood At Concordia " Curtis"
Jr CH Elfin Black Pearl aka "Karma"
I was planning to breed Karma's sister, Lark, to Curtis when she came in heat. In the meantime, Karma came in heat, one month shy of her 2nd birthday. She had all her health testing, including prelim hip rads, had completed all requirements for a certified Championship and was just waiting til she turned 2 to get her final hip rads to complete her CHIC requirements. Because she was on an 11 month heat cycle, we decided to breed her so she did not have to wait until she was 3 for a first litter (it is the opinion of respected theriogenologists that bitches are better off having their first litter at a younger age.) So, Karma was bred to Curtis when progesterone testing indicated that she had ovulated. Whether it was timing, youthful vigor, or just good genes, she whelped seven beautiful, vigorous puppies right on schedule and with a minimum of muss and fuss.
Usually, bitches go through a series of stages, working their way up to labor. Pre-labor can last for hours, even a day or more. The girl nests, maybe pants, stops eating...then pants some more, usually heavily, trembles, nests some more then finally begins having contractions. Once contractions begin in earnest, a puppy usually follows within an hour, more or less. Karma forgot to read the book. Thurs morning she ate breakfast then, 2 hours later started having contractions. No panting, minimal nesting, within an hour, push, holler, a puppy! From 9:30 to 1:30 Karma just kicked back, then contracted, out popped a pup, back to chilling. After the first one, she was practicing silent births... she made it look easy.
Since Karma is a real character, I thought it would be a fun theme for her babies to be characters from some of my favorite mystery authors. Hence, Karma's Characters...
1. "Kinsey Millhone" Gold Female, white snip on forehead
2. "Lincoln Rhyme" Black Male, white locket on chest
3. "John Corey" Black Male, white from chin to belly, wht back paws
4. "Alex Cross" Black Male
5. "Bree Stone" Black/Tan Female
6. "Amelia Sachs" Fawn Female, White splash on head with king's mark
7. "Kathryn Dance" Fawn Female, smaller white splash on head
Karma contemplates her future...
Karma thinks pups are more fun outside her!
Karma's Characters...the preface!
Chapter One - Introductions...
Karma and the characters have breezed through this week without any plot twists at all. All the babies are thriving, growing well, and enjoying their super puppy exercises. Every night, before bed, they are held supine, head up vertical, head down vertical and have their little feet tickled. We bond by sharing breath...they get to know me from the beginning and associate me with good things (to help provide balance to the 'bad' things I'll have to do them from time to time, like vaccinations, baths, etc.) Yesterday they had their first nail trim...Karma said "Thank you!"
Karma continues to be a model mother. With first time litters you just don't know how a bitch is going to react or how well maternal instinct will kick in. Karma's great...relaxed, laid back mothering. She doesn't care if people look at the puppies, no signs of nerves at all. When we had a gate oops and the other dogs flooded the kitchen, she stopped them short with a simple LOOK...and they all stopped cold then obediently highttailed out of the kitchen. No one was going to mess with Karma. Karma's pups are in the kitchen (as her sister, Lark, is occupying the usual whelping room)_ so I put up a series of gates called 'configure' gates which have been just great. I have an open floor plan and these gates can fit across wide openings...this way I have crowd control and they also work great to keep my little toddler grandchildren in a safe, secure area. See picture below...
The coming week should be our easiest week of puppy rearing. The puppies have passed the critical first week and Karma will be doing all the work...I've been very fortunate to have my friend, Nancy, here to help raise the puppies. Nancy lives in California but also has a house in Goochland and she kindly offered to come til July so we have four hands instead of two to raise this crowd of babies. Nancy has day shift while I'm at work...she loves puppies! Nancy has a Havanese, named Aggie, who gets along with all the dogs...and she loves puppies, too.
Updates are usually done on the weekly anniversary of the puppies' birth but, since Karma had hers on Thurs and Lark on Monday, I'm splitting the difference and will update both on the weekends.
Gates facing the kitchen. Puppies are around the corner to the right
Gates to sunroom...dogs are in feeding crates eating dinner.
Captive audience...all wondering what Karma's getting to eat.
*************************************************************************************************************************** Karma's Characters - 9 days old
Chapter 2 - Moving Right Along... After last week's excitement, we are looking forward to some calm, fun, uneventful development. Karma's characters have continued to grow and thrive and now look back at the world around them. Yes, all eyes open and awareness is developing. I am now greeted with little puppy muzzles nuzzling as they investigate their limited world. They are also getting to know Auntie Lark who has a new mission in life...to abscond with Karma's puppies and add them to her brood. Karma, with her usual good cheer, accepts Lark's intrusion to a degree, deterring her only with the 'look'!
The superpuppy exercises are now done (during the first 2 weeks puppies are rotated through a series of planes...supine, head up and head down and there little feet are tickled.) Tomorrow will be spa day...nails done again and rears checked as they are also developing coats now. Little ruffles and waves appear with each day showing more and more preview of the glorious Silk coats to come.
For this week, I have divided the portraits into girls and boys...also note that Lincoln Rhyme, called "Lincoln" last week is being called "Rhyme" this week...still trying to decide which to call him...vote for your favorite if you wish...grin. With three gold girls (yes, all the 'blond' girls are ending up gold as their color develops and warms, I'm just glad I can tell them apart! ANd Bree, the black/tan is just developing the little tan eyebrows characteristic of this pattern...the camera flash brough them out...look for them!
Here is the cast of characters...
Chapter Three - Movie Rights?... Karma's characters lined up for their auditions for a possible mystery movie! It appears that Cross wants a speaking part (although it was actually the beginning of yawn...grin.) This week has been the one where raising puppies is ALL fun. Mommies are doing great, eating up a storm, taking perfect care of their babies and doing all the work. Karma's kids have moved out of the whelping box to the next phase...entire playpen with a bed and potty facitlities. The PottyPark training begins with just a piece of the grass on the floor over piddle pads to absorb the urine. The babies just take to it naturally and they are all toddling out of the bed onto the grass to potty. Karma is still taking care of solid waste (and will until they begin eating on their own) but they do urinate voluntarily and now in the right place.
Coats are growing, soft and silky and they are responding to us with kisses and even some tail wagging. Aunty Lark is still very interested in their development and visits often but is no longer trying to co-opt the puppies. She even shared a bowl of food with sis Karma...I was amazed as Lark is NOT into sharing food. Karma is such a laid back girl...Lark can be in the pen with the puppies and Karma just lets her visit. Lark is not quite so sharing with HER babies...grin...but Karma has enough on her plate that her interest in Lark's brood is casual.
Yesterday Karma's kids had nails trimmed, bottoms of their feet clipped, butts clipped and the hair in the corners of their eyes trimmed (the better to see eyes!) They were all very good for the grooming. I'm looking forward to this holiday weekend...visitors on Sat to meet and socialize the babies!
Next week they will move out of the playpen into the expen...their world expanding! This book is a fast read...seem to be flying through the chapters! 05/27/2011
Use the facilities, please!
Auntie Lark comes a callin'...
*******************Karma Comes by Night starring......The Girls
Nothing mysterious about CUTE!
*******************************************and The Boys!
And the male leads...
Chapter 4 - There Goes The Neighborhood... At the end of chapter three our little family was rapidly outgrowing their little efficiency apartment. So mama Karma hit the streets in search of roomier digs...and, she found it! There was a bedroom, a private nook and, most important, LOTS of potty area. There was a lovely view and a security fence to keep out prowlers. Best of all it was right next door to sis Lark so the kids could have play dates! So, on Wed, they moved in and the little characters are having a blast with room to play and a big "yard" to explore. The best part is that this new house came with a caterer who delivers three meals/day! Gourmet meals! The mommy dogs LOVE their puppies...best, when the puppies are eating their gourmet meals so the new digs have a gate that can be closed to keep the mommies out until the babies eat their fill.
It seems that the mommies are getting that 60's feeling...like hippies in a commune, they are now pretty much sharing everything now. Meals, babies, houses...well, ok, Karma still doesn't enter Lark's house but Lark makes herself right at home in Karma's house and happily nurses whoever is hungry. Karma happily sits outside the house and lets her sis to the work and the babies are content to be fed by first available. The characters are into playing and wagging and kissing now...really turning into tiny dogs. They are doing great at pottying on the grass!
A video trailer will be available soon. Tonight Lark's kids came to visit their cousins...by next week it is entirely possible that all eleven pups will be living together...or not...the plot thickens! 6/02/2011
Karma surveys the new homestead
Check out the front yard!
Who wants chicken!!
Karma's Characters...4 weeks today!
Chapter Five - Expansion... Another great, fun week in Elfinland as the Characters and Legends continue to grow and thrive. The commune has expanded its boundaries in record time as this many little flower children need room to romp and play. Karma and Lark continue to co-mother, taking turns nursing and finishing the babies' left over food (which is becoming slim pickings as they increase solid food consumption. They are easily navigating the potty park now and a new BIG park is on the way which will replace the floor grass in coming weeks. The puppies are playing and wrestling, enjoying new toys, and very interested in their surroundings now. We have a big washtub to put them in during pen cleaning as their curiosity makes it slow going otherwise. Corey especially loves to play with the swiffer...no, no, Corey!
We have now introduced Embark, from The Honest Kitchen, an organic, human grade dehydrated food which looks like green oatmeal and is currently mixed with canned ProPlan chicken/rice. Its nickname is "Yum, Green Glop!" Weather extremes have caused field trip outside to be postponed but, hopefully, today will be the outdoor debut! 6/11/10
Room for RunLikeHell game!
The Nutcracker! Remember Mother Ginger?
Seven Shining Stars!
Chapter Six - Take a walk on the wild side... Six weeks old today...time is flying by! Karma's characters (and Lark's Legends) finally had their first excursion to the wide world outside and spent most of their time chasing the mommies around looking for a portable milk bar. Portraits are going to be delayed a couple of days as they dodged the 'first bath' bullet by way of a delay in the installation of the new puppy washing sink, but it should be functional by Saturday. We did memorialize their outdoor play with a couple of videos which are linked below.
The puppy palace now has a large and a small PottyPark so no more grass on the ground and all puppies are easily getting up and on the grass for pottying. The new puppy transport is ready for use which will facilitate getting all eleven in and out the door. Photos to follow this weekend! 6/16/11
6/19/11 News Flash...Baths happened, portraits up...scroll below videos to see 6 week portraits. For the rest of the weekend report, please go to Lark's Legends. We had a great weekend!
Clean and camera Ready!
Chapter Seven - Showing off... As character development continues, the cast has proven to be quite uniform...it's like we have 7 characters in the story with very similar personalities. The predominant trait is happy...secondaries are outgoing, adaptable, friendly, socially attracted, and fun loving. We have a daily routine in place...first thing we all go outside to potty and play while the housekeeping crew (of one) comes in to clean the playroom, change PottyPark mats, wash the floor and refresh bedding and toys. We take 'grass baths' running through the wet grass to clean our toes, then drying off on the walk or patio, finally ending up on the landing where breakfast is served. Then it's down the stairs again (we ALL run up and down the stairs now, no problem, to potty again then back in for naptime. Then Auntie Nancy comes to spend the day with us while Doc goes to work and we get to play games and go outside some more.
This weekend, though, we had special events time...it was the weekend of the big Silk Dog Show in Richmond and we had LOTS of visitors Sat and Sunday after the shows. We had the best kids come visit..Megan, Bethany, and Devan all came to play with us and they let us chew on (gum) their toes...love young, tender toes! Our daddy, Curtis, won Best of Breed both days (he's a REAL show off...he wins a LOT.) In honor of all the visitors we did our best to show off, too...strutting, playing, tumbling, running...we were on our best behavior snd turning on the cute charm. Doc said she was going to have to do TSA pat downs when people left cause we were so irresistable! The world's best groomer, Shantell, came Sunday to give us all baths and she and Auntie Nancy conspired to perpetrate this indignity on us...ugh...not our favorite part of the day but we were good little puppies and put up with the primping...sigh. Auntie Shirley brought the power washer and made all the decks and porches squeaky clean...and we're very good about NOT messing up the landing!
Lovely and well loved Characters
Chapter Eight - Are we being drafted??... Ok, things are getting weird around here and we're beginning to wonder if we are going to end up in the Army! Last weekend we had fun and visitors. This weekend we had testing...like which branch of the military are we suited for. Well, we sure fooled THEM cause we are lovers, not fighters. First, on Thurs we had the "PAT" or Puppy Aptitude Test. We have lots of 'tude. Our 7 puppies with one brain thing continued as we all had such similar scores on the various exercises and almost all 3s and 4s.
(ed note...these exercises are designed to give us some insight into personality/temperament potentials. Not a 'pass/fail' test but a tool to help us help a puppy to reach its full potential. Extrovert/introvert, socially attracted/independent, sound-sight-touch sensitivity, stability, etc are measured on a scale of 1-6. Silks should be mostly in the 3/4 range on the exercises...moderate dogs, neither aggressive nor timid.)
Then, yesterday, just when we thought we'd enjoy a holiday weekend, Helen and Frank and Jackie show up and it's back in the 'soup' for us. Whoever invented the game of slather an innocent puppy with thick soap then make them 'stand pretty' on a table while Doc shoots pictures of 'nekkid' puppies...is NOT our good buddy, fer sure! Yuck, yuck, ick. We did our best to mess up the game...'hey look at me, I'm a camel/pretzel and have no bones in my backlegs..." Then Nancy tried to blow us away with the dreaded hot air blow tube. And THEN, they think we should sit pretty for portraits. People are really STRANGE.
About our portraits this week...please excuse the 'bed heads'...in their zeal to get 'soaps' they got a little messy with the mineral oil (which was supposed to go in our EYES, not on our heads) and forgot to wash our faces/heads...but, no matter how hard they try to mess with us, the cute simply can NOT be suppressed...we are irrepressibly happy puppies!
We are the best, happiest puppies anywhere!
Chapter Nine - Gradually Graduating... Bet you thought you'd never get this week nine update (and you were almost right as we close in on week ten!) This has been such a busy week doing stuff that there wasn't any time to tell about it. Last Friday we all took our first road trip to Cardinal Animal Hospital for BAER testing (as is there was any doubt us little eagle ears could hear...ha!) and vaccinating and more inspecting and interesting experiences. We sang ALL the way to town...poor Doc's ears! We were the best puppies ever, however, once we got there and got some breakfast. And we sat very still while being hooked up to electrodes and having weird sounds stuck into our ears and we did not make a single peep when we got our shot! Everyone told us how CUTE we were and then Auntie Jackie took Amelia and left! Poor Amelia missed the photo shoot...sniff. Sat cousin Plum and sis Dance went back to Cardinal to get more soapy pictures and they behaved much better the second time. We didn't like soaps cause we get wet and slathered then we're cold and shivery inside so we looked like little camels last week. Second time 'they' got it right...outside in 90 degree heat, dunked in very warm water, slathered then stacked on a table where the sun was shining and it was warm and we were much more relaxed. Rhyme got the same treatment today and was a very good boy!
This will be our last picture all together (cept for Amelia) cause most of us are going to new homes this weekend. Airplane rides, car trips...new and exciting experiences. Honey and Rhyme are staying for a little longer cause their new families are 'outta town'. We have been the very best puppies ever...
This is what Rhyme looks like buck nekkid!
And we all sat together on the bench...
Epilogue - the Characters depart... As the characters slowly ride off into the sunset, the one thing we no is that there is no mystery about their future. They will be loved and grow into beautiful/handsome dogs who will bring their owners much joy. The stage is emptying as the cast leaves the building...one thing they wanted to share before going their separate ways is this video of them playing a farewell concert. Look for another book in the Elfin series later this year, or next...