Friday, August 27, 2010

The Poop Mat

Louise, the puppies sire's owner had suggested using foamy bath mats in the whelping bed.  She said they helped keep the puppies clean.  

She was right.  However, with growth comes poop - and lot's of it!  The puppies are starting to defecate on their own, even doing a crab walk squat.  While a lovely developmental milestone it means that there is poop everywhere.  Rather than a localized spot that is easy for Reba to clean up, there is poop spread from one end of the bed to the other.  As the pups grow I'll plan to have a toilet area and a sleep area in their pen.  But we're not there yet.

Where we are is me having a battle to keep things clean.  Every second day I take the mats out, lay down extra thick newspaper, and spray the mats off.  I follow this with a wash using an antibacterial dish soap and then hang the mats out to dry.  

I'm sure I'll soon lose the battle but I plan to keep trying!

Growing Puppies

My little darlings are growing!!  I swear I can see the difference each time I look at them!  Last night Tank even started to open his eyes.

Puppies:  Top Left: 3, 1, 7 (Tank).  Middle Left: 5, 2, 4. Bottom: 6.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Bucket List

Have you heard of The Bucket List?  The Bucket List is the list of things you should or want to do before you die.  Accomplishing some things on my list mean sacrificing others to achieve the goals.  How do you choose?  In no specific order here's the list to date.

  1. Travel to every continent in the world except Antarctica.  Specific countries or places on the list are: Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica, Amazon River, Northwest Territories (Canada), Alaska, a wildlife refuge in Africa.  Places I've already been: Europe, Cuba, Maui, many places in the USA and Canada.
  2. Win a major competition - be it with the horses or dogs.
  3. Get my Masters degree.
  4. Skydive
  5. Zip line over a rain forest.
  6. Climb a mountain with or without rock climbing.  
  7. Learn how to Salsa.
  8. Learn how to speak French fluently.
  9. Run a marathon.
  10. Travel across Canada - see every province.
  11. Go on a polar bear tour. 
  12. Write a book.
  13. Walk the Great Wall of China.
  14. Learn how to dive (even though I'm terrified of water).
  15. Breed a champion - be it horse or dog.
  16. Sit on a porch with the man I married and watch my grandchildren play. (Yes, I know a few variables outta my control here.)
  17. Volunteer in a third world or developing country.
  18. Ski in the Alps.
Some things I've already accomplished:
  1. Take Ballet.
  2. Fly in a helicopter.
  3. See the Redwood Forrest (California).
  4. Ride a scary roller coaster (okay, so it wasn't that scary for most people - but I don't like roller coasters so the fact that I was even on one was amazing.)
  5. Team Rope
  6. Make the perfect chocolate cake, cinnamon buns, chocolate chip cookie.
  7. Learn how to make pie, jam and can.

And that's all I've got off the top of my head.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nose to the Grindstone

It is time to put the nose to the grindstone. It is time to rejoin the land of the living and start getting stuff done! It is time to hit the road. The trial road. I have decided to give myself a bit of a timeline in working with the dogs. And as added incentive I'll be entering some trials to fully motivate myself. Nothing like a little public humiliation to get one moving!

For Tessa, there is the FarmFair trial held at Northlands just before the Canadian Finals Rodeo. Really, other than needing a bit of a tune up - this is a reasonable and relatively easily achieved goal. After all, she's pretty handy in an arena.

For some added pressure, er, incentive, I've decided that Reba's first trial won't be next summer. Nope, it's going to be this November. In early (and I do mean early, as in the first week) November the fine folks at Lloydminister Agriculture and the Saskatchewan Stockdog Association host an arena trial. I (in my infinite wisdom) have decided that this will be Reba's first ever trial. Now all I have to do is teach her the commands for walk up, come bye, away to me, and there. Really, minor... Or not.

The nice thing about Lloyd is that it's a young dog friendly trial in that you can help your dog if needed. I figure I have two months. If I spend 10-20 minutes 5 days a week Reba should have enough buttons on her to go to town. It may not be pretty - but first trials rarely are. And it gets my rear end moving on finishing her. Her bonus is it gives her a nice mental break from the pups. See? There really is a method to my madness. Let's git'r done!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Be Still My Heart

Are they not lovely??  

Puppy 5, 2, 6

Puppy 7

Puppy 5, 2, 6

Left top corner, clockwise: puppy 4, 1, 7, 3 (under)

Eat, sleep, poop.  The life of a puppy.

Need a Nap

It seems things are speeding up in my world.  Everything is happening at once.  When Whiskey came home I noticed she was a bit lame on the front.  Checking her out I discovered she had scratches.  Scratches is common during wet, rainy periods.  Sam (vet) confirmed it when she was out preg checking her.  (She's in foal - looks like a late May baby!!)  She gave me some suggestions for treating it.  That was over a week ago.  We've had a bunch of rain the last few days so the treatment plan had to be placed on hold.  

Yesterday, I started washing her pasterns with soapy water (antibacterial dish soap), followed by towel drying the areas and applying Panalog Ointment (a antipuritic, antifungal, and antibacterial cream available at the vet).  Today I ran out of Panalog so I'll be running into the clinic.  This time I'll get them to mix up some scratches cream for me.  (Which has the Panalog in it.)  

While all this is going on Reba has had diarrhea.  Yesterday, I ran into the clinic and picked up some Progut (think doggy Pepto Bismal), and while there Sam thought she should also go on an antibiotic as a preventative measure.  Last night Reba was extremely restless.  She just would not settle.  I've been going to bed at 11 or 12 pm.  I set the space heater for 4 hours (it's been excessively cool here).  Last night Reba woke me up at 1 am.  I opened the door and sent her out.  Only to be woke up again at 3:30, 4:30, 5:00, 7:30, 9:00, and 10:30.  Something's obviously bothering her. 

Worried I checked her bag to make sure it was still soft, took her temperature and weighed all the babies.  I wanted to make sure things looked relatively normal - otherwise I was hauling her into the vets today.  She seemed ok.  And the pups are definitely getting enough to eat!  They are gaining like crazy!  It's so neat to sit and watch their little personalities come out and see them grow.  Did you know even puppies have "dreams" and talk in their sleep?  I had no idea having never been around such young babies.  (My family has always been very focused on spay/neutering of pets.)  They even wag their little tails.  Some are quieter and some are very vocal.  

Today while I treated Whiskey, Reba ran around outside.  And maybe that's part of her problem.  She wants to be with her people and doesn't want to miss out on the action.  All I know is that I'm TIRED!  Tonight I'll wait until she's done nursing, then if she wants to (she always has the choice) I'll take her and Tessa for a walk.  Hopefully her tummy feels better and I get a proper nights sleep.

Who knew having animals would be this exhausting?

Monday, August 16, 2010

PUPPIES: Here, There, Everywhere!!

Here are the first pictures of Reba's puppies.  They are devilishly difficult to take pictures of - but I promise better pics will be coming soon.  

Pups were born August 15, 2010.  The final count - Seven!  That's three more than I thought we'd have based on the vet check/x-ray.

Puppy 1 - born about 11:30 am, Female.  Weighing 323g. 

Puppy Two - born 15 minutes later.  Female. 290 g.

Puppy three - born 15 minutes later. Male. 340 g.

Puppy Four - another 15 minutes later - Female. 304 g.
Puppy Five - born 1.5 hours later, Female, 238 g.

Puppy Six - born 30 minutes later, Male. 330 g.
Puppy Seven - a surprising final addition - we didn't actually find him until morning but figure he was born at about 10:00 pm.  She seemed more restless and there was some fresh blood at that time.  And Male.  (On the left.)  And he's the biggest of them all at 407 g.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


After a long a restless night, Reba had a very clingy morning.  I had been locking her in the pen with her whelping bed as I wasn't interested in surprise puppies at some other location in the house.  Because she was crying, I let her out.  And watched her run into my room and begin rooting on the dog bed by mine.  

Reba it seemed was bound and determined to have her puppies in my room... I was equally bound and determined that the mess accompanying birth would be contained in the easily cleaned whelping bed.  It was a battle of the wills that Reba very nearly won.  As I sat with my book I watched her back arch.  Leaping up, I grabbed her collar and hustled her into her pen.  Almost immediately she began to whelp.

I had planned on giving her some space and just checking periodically to make sure everything was okay.  That was plan A.  What really happened was Reba had a bit of a freak out when puppy one began to cry.  She immediately began to dig like mad in the newspaper nest burying the pup.  I fished it out and placed into a rubbermaid container.  To help it stay warm I wrapped gel heat pads in towel and placed the puppy on top.  After each puppy, I moved them into the "nest" and tossed more paper towel into the whelping bed to try and keep it relatively dry.  I was a bit worried because Reba didn't seem to be overly interested in her babies.  

The fourth and final baby was quite listless when it was born so I moved it closer to her face and she began cleaning it, which helped it out enormously.  I sat gazing at these little creatures that had been placed in my care.  I realized if something were to happen I'd be the be all, end all for them.  Cleaning out the mess, I put down fresh newspaper and placed her babies in beside her.  And she began to dig wildly, causing a shriek of unhappiness from the puppies.  

Quickly grabbing them, I pulled the paper out and placed dog and puppies in the bare swimming pool.  This seemed to be okay for about a half hour when the shrieking started again.  Going back to check, Reba was out of the bed sitting on the floor beside.  Thinking maybe she had to go to the washroom I opened the gate - only to have her go running into my room.  

So we compromised.  I grabbed the bed beside mine and placed into her bed.  She settled into it, and I placed the puppies beside her.  And pulled my stool and sat beside her which seemed to relax her.  So far so good.  Puppies look like they're nursing and she's not as wired or stressed as she was.  Pictures to come soon.

Make that SIX little puppies - we just had two late arrivals!  Not sure who was more surprised me, or Reba...  

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Having just finished reading a post on the breeding horses I had a thought.  Am I being ethical and moral breeding Whiskey?  It's true the world is filled with unwanted horses.  But it's also true that (in my opinion) the vast majority of those horses come from uneducated breeders breeding unregistered horses.  Just take a look on Kijiji to see some of the most interesting breed combinations.  I have to ask:  what are those horses purpose in life?

Yes, a tremendous chunk of the reason I bred Whiskey is that she is no longer sound.  But you could also say that she (her genetics) are the last of a long, venerable breeding program from a historic ranch (she was purchased in the dispersal sale).  You could also look at her trainablility, personality and athleticism.  She is a stellar creature to be around.  And was a wickedly fun ride.  (I've NEVER had a horse pick up and do flying lead changes the way she can.)  Is she proven?  No.  But that's my fault and shouldn't reflect upon her ability.  

The stallion I'm breeding to is proven.  He's won money at reining events.  Plus, he has the added bonus of old genetics up close (he has King on his papers).  As well, he demonstrates an excellent disposition and high levels of athletic ability.  These are all qualities needed to make a performance horse.  

And this baby will be headed into the performance arena.  Preferably cutting, but if not suited to that world it will be trained in a discipline that suits it and be a constructive and contributing member of the horse world.  Responsible?  Or adding to horse overpopulation? 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Getting Close

Reba and I are getting closer and closer to having puppies.  According to my vet and information on the web when you have a pregnant bitch you should take their temperature every day.  When their temperature drops they will whelp within 12 hours. 

One of the websites about whelping stated that when the temperature drops below 99 degrees Fahrenheit then they will be in the pre-whelp stage.  Today's temperature was 99.5 F.  I'm predicting puppies around the end of the week.  Her official due date is Sunday.  

Soon, puppies are coming soon...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sad State of Affairs

Tessa has been struggling with incontinence.  This means I have been struggling with incontinence.  I had purchased some doggy diapers in size large - according to the package that was the size for a Border Collie.  The vet had also prescribed a medication to help Tessa.  Unfortunately both the diapers and the meds weren't cutting the mustard. 

Sam (the vet) said that I would notice a difference after 5 days on the meds.  The evidence in the diapers showed they weren't making a big enough difference.  Which meant a phone call into the vet to get some new and stronger dope for the dog.  Lynsey (vet tech) had to call the dispensary to order the drugs as the clinic didn't have any in stock.  Because I didn't want to wait until after the weekend I drove into the city and picked up the drug from the pharmacy.

Tessa got her first dosage and another diaper last night.  Unfortunately the diapers which I've been trying to use just don't fit her particularly well.  Last night, after she had been out and diapered she came to the side of my bed where I was reading.  She wanted up for a cuddle.  So I hopped out, lifted her up, where she promptly snuggled into my side and lay down with her head in my lap.  When I was ready for bed, I put her back on the floor.  Only to freeze in dismay...  Can you predict what happened?

Tessa had leaked on my bed!!  Exhausted and emotional, I gave her some pets because she looked so distraught, changed my sheets and cried myself to sleep.  I was horrified and I hurt for her.  When she leaks it seems to upset or unsettle her.  It's as though she knows somethings wrong but can't seem to fix it.  (And I'm sure me being upset about it doesn't help!)  

Today, once more I drove into town and made the pet store loop looking for extra large dog diapers.  Tonight we'll try these ones out.  And wait for Monday to come and go when we should have a pretty good idea if the new drugs are working.  

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Little Help From a Friend

Watching Jeanne walk up to Izzy, toss her arms around her neck and catch her in 0.3 seconds made me say some not nice words in my head.  Smile firmly in place I trotted out to where she was at the gate, horse in hand.  Stunned, I asked how on earth she did that because that was NOT how the horse had been acting for me.  

We grabbed some brushes and Jeanne had some bonding time, then put Izzy through her "natural" paces.  I sat back and watched.  When Jeanne asked if I wanted to work on anything I jumped on it "Let's practice haltering!".  Heh, heh.  And yes, spunky monkey Izzy returned.  Breathing a deep sigh of relief, I was happy it wasn't me!!  

Jeanne and I spend a good portion of the afternoon working with her.  Trying to work her through this strange phase she's entered.  It was nice to have some help.  It definitely confused the horse.  She wasn't entirely sure which human she should be running from.  

We ended the day with Izzy haltered.  And I'll keep working with her on the haltering issue.  Hopefully it's just a phase that she grows out of soon.  Very soon...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wild Child

The darling, quiet and well behaved Izzy has morphed into a wild child.  *Cue music here*  She has suddenly and out of the blue stopped letting me catch her.  In fact, it's a bit of a challenge to even touch her.  This behavior is so unusual that it's left me befuddled.  Why?  Why would her behavior change?  I can't quite figure out what is causing her to act this way - but I sure don't like it!

She raced around her dirt corral while I played the natural horsemanship game with her.  I had to laugh.  My DNA typed, well bred AQHA filly really reminds me of my old Arabian show horse.  See for yourself.  Could you guess the breed based on the photo?

She does have GREAT movement for a quarter horse.  Some days I think she'd be better suited to dressage instead of cutting.  Too bad she's going to mature out around the 14'3 hh mark.  She'd make a lovely three day event horse.

The look on her face says it all, "Catch me if you can!!!!!"

Reba's Dad

On Sunday I hopped in my truck to go watch the always well run Lloydminster Arena Trial.  I had a great time soaking up the sun watching the dogs work the sheep.  One of the competitors was Corey Perry who owns Reba's sire Ben.

Ben is a great arena dog and has won quite a bit trialling.  I really enjoy watching him work and can see him in Reba too.

Ben is a good listener, responsive and is able to work his sheep quickly.  They led the open for most of the day, ending up second.  

Here Ben watches at the pen.  Waiting for the command to help Corey with the sheep.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Poor Tessa gets to spend her first night wearing diapers.  I bought her pretty diapers but it's still pretty undignified to have diapers on when you are almost 10 years old.  She is NOT impressed!  Let's see if they last the night or get chewed off...

Update:  The diaper stayed on!  And she seemed okay with it in the morning!