Karma's Stars of the Silent Screen - Released Jan 3, 2015
DiamondGCH Bydand In The Mood At Concordia "Curtis"
GCH Elfin Black Pearl "Karma"
The Premier release of our latest movie, featuring Karma's Stars of the Silent Screen, took place in the wee hours of Jan 3rd, 2015. Our theme was born as a result of Karma effecting this entire production in complete silence. Known for being a bit of a wuss, to the extent that sometimes a scream will actually precede contact of a nail clipper with a nail, this stoic production was a complete surprise, with the result that all the puppies will carry (temporary) litter names of Silent Screen actors and the registered names for the litter will need to reflect some association with Silent Films, be it an actor or a title or some variation alluding to Silent Films. The litter names were carefully researched to include only those stars who lived long, healthy lives, free of tragedy and (too awful a) scandal (some licentious behavior overlooked as, after all, they were STARS!
With a dramatic entrance on the stroke of midnight, the first Star was born. A lovely golden vision who was latched onto a nipple even before she was totally finished emerging. Nothing like grabbing the 'spotlight'. She will be called "Pringle" for Aileen Pringle, an urbane socialite who became a silent film star, was a darling of noted author H.L Mencken. She starred in more than 60 films and lived to 94.
A short time later, our leading man made his entrance. Black hair, robust and assertive, he will be called "Powell" after William Powell who, following the era of the silent films, successfully transitioned to 'talkies' and had a 2nd successful career. He is best known for his role as Nick Charles, in The Thin Man. He lived until 92.
Following an hour's intermission, Act Two began with the first appearance of a raven haired beauty who will be called "Pola" for Pola Negri, a Polish born star who was described as "smoking hot" and who was engaged to Charlie Chaplin but also had an affair with Rudolph Valentino (unsure of serially or concurrently.) Pola Negri lived to be 90. Our black lady has a small white spot on her chest, just like her Mom.
The Final Act was devoted to our 4th Star. Karma, while allowing me to 'assist' the first three stars, waited for a bathroom break to shove our 2nd lad onto the stage. When I returned he was out, cord cut, afterbirth gone and being cleaned up. He is a bright, flashy, small black/tan boy with white markings (feet, chest.) with a distinct tail. Halfway down it makes a left turn...kinky! This little clown could not be named other than "Chappie" for Charlie Chaplin, one of the most revered comedians, actors, producer/director of all time. Chaplin lived until 88. I can already see Chappie being named something like Elfin's Little Tramp.
Producer/Director Karma & the cast.
"Pringle" for Aileen Pringle
"Powell" for William Powell
"Pola" for Pola Negri
"Chappie" for Charlie Chaplin
"Where's the MILK???"
Scene 1 - Silence is Golden...also black and white and combinations of all. This has been such a peaceful, uneventful week without drama which is my favorite kind of scene. Karma, as usual, has been a wonderful mother, attentive to her puppies producing plenty of milk and maintaining a hearty appetite to sustain all. The little stars have been quiet and relaxed, nursing and sleeping and tolerating the superpuppy exercises that I cannot resist on inflicting on them. Upside down? On my back? Upright? Tickle toes! I told them that it's just rehearsals and that if you want to be a star you have to practice your 'moves'. Yesterday was their first 'make-up' session...they got their nails done! During this week Pringle and Chappie's pink noses have developed lovely pigment. Chappie's is black and Pringle's nearly there. I finally found a few white hairs on Powell...he is the blackest puppy ever...just hint of a white soul patch on his chin.
Karma showed some interesting appetite preference variations. She was off frozen raw for the latter half of her pregnancy as I was feeding her Wysong air dried raw foods but in the last three days she decided that only frozen raw would do. Then, after delivering, she simply HAD to have only Stella & Chewy's freeze dried raw. But today, she was back to my Karma the garbage disposal and she wanted everything in the kitchen.
Yesterday we had visitors and Karma was very gracious about sharing her puppies with the new 'audience'. Betsy came to visit from NoVA and Katy came (along with Harmony, their older 1/2 sister from last year but Harmony was not allowed to visit the new babies.)
This week the weather really turned cold but the heated bed under the whelping box along with the 'cocoon' effect of surrounding comforter/pillows insulation has kept the interior warm and cozy. Just to be on the safe side I added a room heater set on 72. During the first week of life, puppies cannot self regulate their body temperature so we have to be very careful not to allow them to get chilled. Now, temperature regulation is not so critical as they have some fat insulation and can maintain body temperature under reasonable conditions. We are enjoying this peaceful time, with the stress of whelping behind us and the ramping up of activity as the movie actually gets underway.
Pre-rehearsals for the Silent Screen
Scene 2 - Good & Naughty... this week finds the little Stars of the Silent Screen auditioning for their first film roles. The movie is Good and Naughty, the year is...1926 and the film is about an attractive interior designer who must try to make herself unattractive to get a job in a firm where there is a policy against hiring attractive women. Excuse me??? (We've come a long way baby!) The starring role (spoiler alert) went to Pola Negri, who could NEVER pass for unattractive for long.
The Stars have been practicing very hard, emoting without noise. In the studio gym they finished up their superpuppy exercises and also had lessons in wiggle, wiggle, STOP wiggling, during sessions with the salon staff who did their nails again yesterday. They are getting much more mobile and are experts at finding a seat when the lunch wagon, ie milkmaid, rolls onto the set.
Their major accomplishment this week was opening their eyes to the world around them. Precocious Pola was first, followed a day later by Pringle and Powell, with Chappie coming along another day later. Everything changes at the moment when you look at a puppy and those dark pools look back at you...lost in the depths of 'you are so beautiful...to me...can't you see...you're everything I've asked for, you're everything I need...you are so beautiful, to me.' RIP Joe Cocker.
Karma continues to be a marvelous stage mother. Her appetite is in full swing. An example of her daily intake. Morning 5 Stella & Chewy's patties followed by Pawtree Chicken/Sweet potato kibble. Dinner, 1/4 cup Grandma Lucy, 2 Stella & Chewy's patties, 1/4 lb Darwin's Natural Selection beef, egg yolk, salmon oil, Pawtree Superfood and NuVet. After that, she'll finish whatever Pekoe leaves over. Then there is the lamb lung bedtime snack. And she lost all her pre-puppy fat...good shape!
Good and Naughty..>Pola Negri gets the lead!
Scene 3 - The Last Command...
In 1928 Hollywood, director Leo Andreyev (William Powell) looks through photographs for actors for his next movie. When he comes to the picture of an aged Sergius Alexander (Emil Jannings), he pauses, then tells his assistant (Jack Raymond) to cast the man. Sergius shows up at the Eureka Studio with a horde of other extras and is issued a general's uniform. As he is dressing, another actor complains that his continual head twitching is distracting. Sergius apologizes and explains that it is the result of a great shock he once experienced.
The film then flashes back ten years to Czarist Russia, which is in the midst of the Communist Revolution. Grand Duke Sergius Alexander, the Czar's cousin and commander of all his armies, is informed by his adjutant that two actors entertaining the troops have been identified as dangerous "revolutionists" during a routine passport check. He decides to toy with them for his amusement. When one of them, Leo Andreyev, becomes insolent, Sergius whips him across the face and has him jailed. He then proceeds to steal Leo's companion, Natalie...and it's all downhill from there.
Fortunately, our handsome young Mr Powell, is nothing like his role in this movie. This has been a growing, developing week for our young stars. We have begun learning the etiquette of the dressing room, which has now been divided into bed and bath. Half the whelping box is lined with a sherpa sleeping mat and the other half with piddle pad, half of which is covered with the coil mat we use on the Potty Parks. They have been peeing appropriately on the pad...very nice! This is the first step in sending puppies home that have a great headstart in the housebreaking department. They have been introduced to plush toys, squeakers, and are becoming very responsive to sounds and much more aware of their surroundings. They are doing very well with weekly nail trims...those little nails get so sharp!
I wonder how the butterfat content of Karma's milk would test out. I swear she gives cream as her puppies are such little plumpers! Coats are growing...this week we should start to see some swirls and cowlicks developing which is the beginning of that Silk coat growth. As you can see, Pringle's pigment is now jet black and lovely! We had so many cute photos this week that each star has their own page. Time to get their portfolios ready! This is their last week in the whelping box. Next week they will move into the kitchen...from dressing room to 'set', let the acting begin! Soon, we can start posting movie trailers...
The lovely Ms Aileen Pringle!
The dashing Mr William Powell
The raven haired beauty, Ms Pola Negri
The talented Mr Charlie Chaplin
Scene Four - El Oso Que Fuma Cigarros...this week the cast is working on a small, indie. spanish sub-title flick about a Cuban bear who smokes cigars. They've been practicing their Spanish sub-titles with enthusiasm! Of course no one can seriously rehearse in the dressing room so the stage has been opened up and the Stars are spending time on stage, getting the feel for open spaces and the 'audience'. Under supervision (very careful as Stage Mama, Karma, does not let fans get too close) the rest of the Elves have been permitted to view the activity on stage. This week, despite the silent movies they are making, Pringle & Chappie showed they have singing talent. I was playing my native american flute for them when Pringle threw her head back and sang...and then Chappie joined in on harmony.
Today the whelping box came out of the dressing room as Powell and Pola walked out the door on their own while we were in town. Pola was curled up in a donut bed when we got back but adventurer Powell was a bit challenging to find..of course, adjustments were immediately made, raising the bar and rearranging the digs. By the end of next week, the dressing room will be taken down as they will be far too busy on the set to spend any time there. They'll have to sleep in the on set trailer (crate) which they already test drove today.
Pringle is the first to grow cowlicks, the beginning of that gorgeous Silk coat. And she was the first to try a bit of 'solid' food. Karma is feeding them so well that they are not really hungry yet but food will be offered from now on and they will eat when ready. Their world is expanding...tails wagging, practice playing, toys...oh boy, new stuff! This is when it really starts to get fun!
Scene 5 - The Sweetheart's Waltz... The Stars of the Silent Screen have been hard at work this week! They moved onto centerstage in record time returning to the dressing room for only one night before going full time. At first the entire stage is covered with absorbant pads but, as the days go by, the padding shrinks leaving more open stage as they learn to toddle farther before relieving themelves. They are still small enough to pile up in the crate that Karma uses to jump in and out of the stage area (something she is doing less each day.) The transition from nursing to self feeding continues and they are eating well, a combination of Stella & Chewy's and Darwin's raw beef. The day begins with Native American flute music during breakfast. After breakfast there is discussion about roles, character development, exercises to improve balance and stage presence. As the plot develops, more character roles become clear. Just this week, our male leads have been given their roles. Mr Powell will be playing a dark, handsome Italian rake from Rulei. We call him Rulei so he remembers to stay in character. Mr Chaplin, wise little fellow, will be playing the Jedimaster, Yoda. (yes, this IS going to be a fascinating movie!) Ms's Pringle & Negri are still researching characters...so, for now, they will continue to use their names.
We had a spa day on Fri. Feet bottoms trimmed (helps with traction), rears trimmed, nails done...we have a lovely 95 year old stage assistant to help with the grooming sessions...thanks, Mom! This week, we also worked on method acting. The puppy sound effects CDs play at intervals during the day, exposing them to many varied sounds, like crowds, sirens, motors, people talking, thunderstorms, traffic, trains...dogs barking. Out here on the country set, we have to import both people and noises. We have lots of visitors lined up to play pass the puppy for socialization. They just get cuter every day...wagging, wrestling, bouncing! Tomorrow (Sunday) will be a special day! It's going to be 65 so we're going outside! Time to meet grass and fresh country air!
Rehearsing for Valentine's Day!
Scene 6 - Gee, honey, you smell GOOD!...it's been a great week for the stars. Last Sunday there was a brief respite from Winter with 70 degrees and sunny so they finally got a fun outting in the yard. Icing on the cake? Visitors to play with in the sun. Since then, they've been able to go out every day, even when it's brrr, cold, although those exursions are brief. There's just something about grass that stimulates puppies so pottying is always a part of the outside times.
This week all the Stars have assumed their character roles, which they will keep through their life's performance. Pringle is Kama, Sanskrit for 'Love" and an homage to her Mom, Good Karma. Powell, as mentioned last week, is Rulei, for his new Mom's family's hometown in Italy. Pola is now Amy, Amy is a character played by Pola Negri in The Secret Hour. And Chappie remains Yoda...which just suits him so well...he is crazy cute and can look so serious at times.
We've been eating very well alternating Stella & Chewy's freeze dried patties, Darwin's frozen raw beef and, this week have been introduced to boiled chicken breast and Pawtree chicken & sweet potato kibble. Today we tried Kefir and found it very refreshing. Kefir is a liquid relative of yogurt, rich in pro-biotics. Karma has been spending less and less time with the Stars...weaning is essentially complete. I think she checked the calendar, "Six weeks, that's it, the milk bar is closed!" She has returned to sleeping with me and the dogs as, this week, all barriers were dropped and the other dogs have been free to visit the puppies so Karma could return to them during the night if she wanted to nurse them. Dipper, BTW, loves the puppies and would visit them in the pen when Karma wasn't looking. All that changed today...see the photos below for reconfiguration of the theater...access is now closed to crazed fans (yes, Dipper, I am talking about you!)
Today was a big day...milestones! First bath, theater renovated so that other dogs can no longer hop in and out at will. The theater was broken down, steam cleaned and refurnished while the Stars played in their new play yard in the grooming room. Tomorrow our friends, Cathy & Les are bringing them a puppy gym which will go in the play yard so hope to get some fun videos next week. The Stars were amazing for their baths...we've been practicing stacking and have had regular nail trims, etc, so today, they had feet, bellies, butts, nails done and were so good. Friend Tommy was here so pressed him into service for first pup but, after that the rest were very cooperative. Freshly clean puppies are just SO sweet. Then on to their photoshoot and they did great again...photogenic and natural little hams!
The Stage has grown, new potties introduced
The great outdoors with great visitors! See Kama peeking out from Dave's leg?
That's what I said, three pups in a bed!
The complete cast...all stars!
Scene 7 - Shaping up...thanks to professional propmakers, Cathy & Les, the Stars have their own work out room/gym so they can keep tones while honing their stage moves. They love all the cool props that hang from the playbox with a great variety of textures and sounds. With the miserable weather we've had this week, the playyard has been a lifesaver in preventing cabin fever and also is a great place to hang out while the main stage is being cleaned!
Rehearsals are in full swing with practice in stacking and 'make-up' sessions, Saturday Spa days...they are such busy puppies. Even with the weather, Kama's Mom & Dad made it down to visit, as did Katy so we haven't been entirely isolated this week. Today's bath day was amazing. Maybe they took pity on me because they knew I was tired (in addition to the dogs, I have managed to adopt about three trillion wild birds who eat a LOT so I was out today hauling and mixing 170lbs of bird seed/suet/mealworms, etc and filling the 7 feeders while hollering at the horde of grackles who intimidate the little birds and hog the food...grr) because they were SO good. Nails, feet, bottoms, bellies trimmed, no help needed. They are turning into real pros.
Looking forward to tomorrow when the temps will be in the 40s, the sun will come out and the Stars can go shine out in the fresh air. Yes!!!
Thanks to Cathy & Les for the PuppyPlayGym!
February 21, 2015 --- 7 weeks
Kama, cue stage right!
Rulei-what's my motivation?
Amy-this is my irresistible face!
Yoda-how's my tie look?
Scene 8 - Let me OUTTA here!!... Oh, the weather has conspired against us this week and the poor little Stars were starting to get a little stir crazy. Snow, frigid temperatures, no way to get outside so we were very grateful for the play gym to keep them busy. On Tues, my friend Anita arrived with our new addition, named Patty, along with Patty's sister, Molly, who was staying with us for a couple of days before her new owner could get her. Patty & Molly are 5 weeks older than the stars but they blended right on in. We were finally able to get out on Wed afternoon and they just had a blast and wore themselves out....just in time for Thurs snowstorm that was predicted at 1" but ended up at 6". So Thurs night we opened up the two pens into one big indoor playyard for them and that relieved a lot of pent up energy as they have enough room to RUN....and run they DO.
Today, normally, would be their 8 week portrait session but, at 8 weeks they also need to get their soaps done. Due to the weather, my icy driveway, and the fact that the guys were here finishing the carport ceiling, we had to postpone the soap session to Monday so, portaits will be delayed. But, we did manage to get outside today, even though there is still some snow and we did shoot a video so, until Monday...here are the Stars in their very first "Performance in the Snow!"
Check back Monday for official portraits! It's Monday...and this was a LONG day for the little stars. They had a serious spa day that included getting soaped photos for their portfolios. Then after a nap and a romp outside (yes, they are so excited that the weather has cooperated for a couple of days allowing multiple outdoor exercise periods) they got their portraits done. It was so good that the weather cooperated as the transformation of playyard to spa/photo studio required dismantling of their grooming room playground. Order was restored tonight. Oh, and our longest streak of a litter not shredding piddle pads broke today...amazing run to go over 8 weeks before shredding. So the paper piddle pads are gone, replaced with reusable, cloth pads which they took to with no problem. Yet another choice for toilet options. They really like the grass...which is a good thing! BTW, not sure if I've mentioned this but these kids like kefir and greek yogurt...and, right now, they are all peacefully resting to the soothing sounds of Sky Redhawk playing native American flute...I have two of these flutes and the puppies enjoy an occasional concert...or maybe they're just being polite.
Exercise in silent communication with the audience. What are they saying to YOU?
Scene Nine - Can you hear me now?.... And the answer is YES. Although we have found very, very few hearing abnormalities in Silks, we BAER test all our puppies to be sure that we do NOT inadvertently allow any hearing impaired dogs to contribute to our gene pool. While complete deafness becomes apparent in a dog, a unilaterally deaf dog may seem essentially normal. They may display some difficulty localizing sound but this might be missed without the BAER test. BAER stands for Brain Audio Evoked Response and it involves attaching electroded to the puppy's head and measuring the brain waves generated from tones played into each ear with an in the ear microphone. It is an objective test in that no one has to 'guess' if a dog can hear in each ear. Today the Stars had their BAER tests (along with their cousins from Williamsburg who came for their tests) and happily, all puppies have normal hearing.
We also held auditions which we call the PAT, or Puppy Aptitude Test. This was a test originally designed to evaluate temperament types in working dogs, specifically livestock guardians , guide dogs, and other working dogs. For the Silk Dogs, I consider the PAT to be a fun addition to evaluations as the puppies grow. As expected, the Stars are typical Silks, middle of the road in testing, mostly 3s and a few 4s. The test we use is the Volhard Puppy Aptitude test if you want to google for more information.
This has been a bust week in the 'let's go outside' department with more ice and snow but we've finally broken and the rest of the week should be suitable for RUNNING in the wind and we are very much looking forward to this. We have visitors coming and lots of socializing this week. The 'bad' day is Wed when microchips will be inserted but this is usually harder on me than the puppies. Mostly a yip and done and forgotten. They are such resilient little troopers!
Because I worked this morning and was busy all afternoon with the testing and exams, we'll be doing baths and portraits tomorrow so check back tomorrow night for beautiful, clean puppy pix!
Sunday March 8, 2015 And I thought yesterday was busy. The weather outlook has improved so that the puppies can go out several times/day so it was time to rearrange things to make it easier. I had been carrying them to the backyard in a big plastic tote but keeping them in it now is like trying to keep popping corn in the pot without a lid. So, I went out this morning and puppy-proofed the side yard which is just outside their playyard in the grooming room. The hazard there is a retaining wall that an enthusiastic puppy could fly off of so I put up an expen fence along its length. Now, all we have to do is remove the barrier (which blocks the dog door so curious puppies cannot just go exploring on their own) and open the door. The steps on the side landing, like all the other outdoor steps here, are 6" high and closed, designed to make it easy for the pups to learn to go up and down them and go up and down them they did! They had a blast running this big yard and Karma & Pekoe joined them for blitzing runlikehell sessions. Sun was shining and it got up to 60...puppy paradise. So glad that Tommy lined our entire fence with 1 x 1 welded wire so the pups are truly secure.
So, after our wear the puppies out session, it was time for baths. Rick & Bette came to help (Kama's new parents) and we got Kama prettied up then did Rulei. Then we ran out of time as we were having more visitors soon. A delightful family with a 10 year old girl came to visit and the dogs were just in 7th heaven. There isn't much that the dogs enjoy more than piling onto a 10 year old girl. She was a little intimidated by the welcome but quickly adjusted and then was loathe to leave. Very sweet! After they left, I finished bathing Amy, Yoda, & cousin Patty. Then it was cleaning time...lovely clean Stars require lovely clean dressing rooms so everything was stripped and steam cleaned and refreshed and new beds, toys put in and then it was time for portrait sessions. Guess what...I'm tired...grin...so nothing fancy tonight. The Star's adorableness actually needs no enhancement. We had such fun today...they are all fast asleep and I am looking forward to being there soon. So, Elfin presents, Karma's Stars of the Silent Screen in all their glorious, unadorned cuteness!
Presenting Elfin Kama Pringle Freer "Kama"
Presenting Elfin Harlow's Eternal Love "Rulei"
Presenting Elfin in The Secret Hour "Amy"
Presenting Elfin Silent Star Master "Yoda"
Scene 10 - The Road Show...The time has come to get this show on the road. The Stars have had 10 weeks of intensive training, rehearsals, previews, test audiences to allow their natural talent to grow and prepare for the real production. They have done so well. They have charmed everyone they have met, made people laugh, entertained children and have developed a social network following. They have learned how to get on stage, exit stage right, create outdoor plays, to navigate steps, and how to play 'keep away' (a game that extends recess by avoiding retrieval by that big human thing.) They have learned their stage names and how to come when called (when they feel like it.) This morning they found out that going out in the rain is not high on the Silk Dog agenda so ALL came willingly back to the door and asked to be let back in, except for Rulei who has mastered the dog door so let himself back in.
And, this morning, the inevitable happened. Yoda's new manager came to take him on his first road trip to PA as he is the first of the stars to begin the most important role of his life...initial reviews are excellent. Traveled well, arrived intact, pottied appropriately, ate dinner...here's hoping for a quiet, peaceful night of slumber. The rest of the crew here is a little quiet tonight, perhaps missing our little comedian. Yoda was our comedian...our Charlie Chaplin..funny, cute, lovable, irresistable, charming......she sighs, missing him.
Normally, this would be the last update...10 weeks is when pups usually leave. But this cast will be easing out of here over the next few weeks. Next week, Rulei's folks arrive and he'll be flying (first class, no less) to MN a week from Tues. Kama's staying until April so will be joining us for the Tarheel show. In a way, this easing out is easier than cold turkey...grin. And, of course, Amy is staying to play to the hometown crowd, along with Patty, her older cousin who came to join the cast a couple of weeks ago. They are working very hard to gain acceptance into the Elfin clan. Can you say "bitchy"? Yes, it's true...the little girls are learning to grovel and ingratiate. If they can win over this tough audience, they will truly shine anywhere!
The Road Show...
Week 11 - Epilogue ... Well the movie had a happy ending and the audience went home smiling. What more could we ask for? How about having some of the cast members hang around for a while, relaxing, growing, developing even more talent! Kama & Rulei spent the last week just relaxing and enjoying beautiful weather after a cold, snowy winter, hanging out with sis Amy, and cousin Patty. The daily routine begins with an early romp in the yard, followed by breakfast, another romp, then naptime. NPR during the day, flute serenade at bedtime. Kama & Rulei each got to go for car rides, individually, to prepare them for their trips home and they did very well, settling right into their carrier. Rulei's folks arrived today from MN and spent the afternoon with us, soaking in the warmish sunshine (well, compared to MN anyhow) and enjoying the puppies antics outside. All puppies got baths and nail trims and feet trims today so are sweet balls of fluff. Tomorrow Rulei and Patty will go to Stony Point, our outdoor, dog friendly mall, for leash practice. Amy & Kama will stay home as they're just going to get their first shots tomorrow so are not ready for dog walking yet. Next week Amy,Kama, and Patty will go to their first dog show! That should be fun! Our little Starlets are spreading their wings...soon to soar!
PS: Got a great report on Yoda's trip home and a picture of him enjoying the attention of 3 gorgeous grandchildren. Belly rub x 3. Lucky puppy landed in puppy paradise!
Kama loves leaves!
Rulei LOVES the camera! Lusting after the lens cap