I've decided to keep a written accounting
of this odyssey of a breeders life. After talking with a perspective
puppy buyer or someone new to purebred dog sports, they often comment,
“I had no idea there was so much involved in breeding dogs!”
We'll also give you a running total of the expenses we encounter
to illustrate how profitable breeding a litter can be (NOT!). We hope
to illustrate some of the things that sets a reputable breeder apart
from the “average joe”
We tried this same breeding back in February using surgical artificial
insemination. Several early morning trips to the vet for progesterone
tests and $800 later, we came up empty handed and very disappointed.
We decided that we would try again the next time Giddy came into season,
and this time find a way to get her to Texas for a “good old fashioned”
Well, always punctual Giddy, comes into season right on time. While
I'm less than thrilled with the prospect of puppies in the winter
and so close to the holidays to boot, Giddy's biological clock
is ticking, so we set the wheels in motion. We have to decide how to
get Giddy to her beau, Fred who lives in Texas with his owner, Dana
Massey. Just to make things extra crazy, I'm scheduled to move
in with my friend, Janine this weekend. The problem? Sky and Lucas,
Janine's Siberian and English Pointer, both intact males. While
each of these handsome boys have a lot to contribute to the gene pool,
Giddy is already promised to another dog and she's not the type
to sleep around. We're not taking any chances though, so Woody
is off to Ft Collins to stay with a family friend and I'll be
sleeping on the couch at my current digs until Giddy is safely delivered
to Texas. The sacrifices we make for these blessed beasts!
We're not leaving anything to chance this time around so we'll
start progesterone testing early next week to pinpoint her ovulation
August 2: Giddy's first progesterone test, includes an office
visit - $80
August 4: Giddy's 2nd progesterone test - $50
We're not having any luck finding Giddy a ride to Texas and the
weather is simply too hot to ship her by plane. So, it looks like we
(meaning Giddy, Mattie, and myself) will be taking a road trip to Texas
this weekend. All of my “traveling friends” are unavailable
this weekend, so I'll be doing the drive solo. Oh joy! Is there
a better way to spend 3 days in the August? A good friend has told me,
“The reward is commensurate of the amount of pain and suffering
endured.” This is going to be one hell of a litter!
August 7: Giddy's 3rd progesterone test - $30 office call, $40
overnight shipping, $50 lab testing.
August 8: I'm home from Texas, 3 days and 1800 miles later. In
retrospect, I'm extremely glad I went. Not only did I get to spend
some quality time with Fred, but I also got to see first hand, where
Giddy would be staying and rest assured that she would not only be well
cared for, but also be kept safe and sound. A private, air-conditioned,
indoor suite with it's own private, secure, open air sun porch,
and several secure acres to romp around before retiring to the “honey
moon suite” to get down to the business of making puppies. No
shameless tryst at the “No Tell Motel” for this bitch, no,
Giddy's going to wined, dined, and romanced!
$240 gas, $110 2 nights hotel
August 9: Giddy's 4th progesterone test - $30 office call, $40
overnight shipping, $50 lab testing. Dana was gracious enough not to
charge us to deliver Giddy to the vet for the blood draw.
August 10, 12, 14: Dana reports successful ties on all attempts. Giddy
is settling in to the new routine and having a grand time. I miss my
snuggly bed buddy! It looks like Woody may have found a new home. .
. The Schneider family has fallen under his spell. I could not ask for
a better home for one of my gray kids. I am elated! Mattie's wondering
what's happened to all the gray dogs. . . Don't worry Mattie,
you're here to stay! $1000 stud fee, $100 boarding
Giddy's 5th progesterone test, just to be sure that she did actually
ovulate - $30 office call, $40 overnight shipping, $50 lab testing.
Dana was gracious enough not to charge us to deliver Giddy to the vet
for the blood draw.
We're heading to Kansas City this weekend where Dana's going
to meet us to return Giddy. While we're all there, we'll
be competing at a dog show and Weimaraner Specialty. Dana was already
attending the dog show, so she didn't charge us to bring Giddy.
Our main deciding factor in attending the dog show was the fact that
we were going to be there to get Giddy anyway so we'll add the
cost of the gas - $140 and 1 night hotel - $70.
Giddy looks GREAT! She even managed a Best of Opposite Sex win at the
dog show! One of Fred's sons wins the Specialty and another goes
WD, BOW to finish his championship. Both are handsome young dogs!
I don't know if it's a sign that she's pregnant, but
she seems to have filled out in all the right places and looks really
good! She's acting like she's starving, this morning she
tried to steal toast right out of my hand!
Always svelte and slender Giddy is quickly losing her girlish figure.
“Auntie Janine” has taken to calling her “tubular”
and “Miss Fatty Pants” due to the fact that she no longer
a waistline. Sept 13 – target date for the ultrasound to confirm
the pregnancy. Fingers crossed!
Pregnancy confirmed!!! We have puppies on the way! Yippee!!! Now taking
applications for both competition and companion homes. Click on the
Puppy Questionaire link on the Whelping Box page. $65 ultrasound
Running Total = $3015.
Wait! There's more! Here's some things that we paid for
Hip and Elbow Xrays - $135
OFA Certification – $35
Thyroid testing - $115
Eye exam - $30
CERF - $35
Dog show entry fees - approx $800
Dog show travel expenses - $??? in the last year alone we've traveled
to California, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Kansas.
We're in the home stretch now. Giddy has traded her girlish figure
for that of a mother. Despite the extra pounds, she's looking
radiant. Excitement is building as we can feel the little critters moving
around in there. Giddy is spending her time lounging around looking
pitiful - “Do I look fat?” “Are you SURE we already
had dinner?!” Me, I've gone into “nesting” mode,
cleaning and organizing like a banshee, collecting supplies, reviewing
applications, and trying to get the house ready for the coming invasion.
Not helping my stress level this week, was the clogged drain leading
to a flood in the laundry room. I wasn't planning on introducing
the puppies to water until the 6th week. . . . We have a plumber scheduled
for tomorrow and he will hopefully rectify the problem quickly and without
too much damage to the already bruised pocketbook.
We picked up the WhelpWise (www.whelpwise.com)
equipment today and we were able to locate several of the puppies heartbeats
with the Doppler. Thunkathunkathunka. All the heartbeats were strong
and steady. Tomorrow, we will start monitoring uterine contractions
twice a day to pinpoint when the whelping process will start. This will
save us from turning into a nervous wreck, staring at the poor bitch
anxiously waiting for any sign of contractions, and minimize the amount
of time off from work. It will also tell us if anything is out of the
ordinary, necessitating intervention.
Whelpwise Rental - $360
Emergency Meds - $50
Misc whelping supplies $250
Running Total = $3675
We've been monitoring Giddy's uterine contractions for a couple days
now. She's having 1-2 small contractions per hour. This is the beginning
stages of labor, shouldn't be long now!
Giddy caused a bit of a panic today. The monitor picked up some big
contractions that were lasting a long time. The reason we panicked was
because we didn't have the whelping room together yet. My plan for a
new whelping box went out the door around 5pm and we quickly pulled
the old whelping box out of the garage and set it up. By 10pm we were
organized and ready for puppies.
False Alarm! Giddy's back down to 1-2 mild contractions per hour. Guess
I'm off to work today.
Went to work again yesterday. Our late night session picked up a few
more contractions, so we were told to monitor around 4 am to see if
we were on track. That showed that Giddy was in labor - FINALLY! I called
in to work and hopped in the shower, I likely would not get another
chance today. By the time I was showered and dressed, Giddy was beginning
to have some strong contractions. The first puppy, a girl, arrived around
10:30am. Subsequent contractions produced no puppies and after a few
hours the Whelpwise data indicated that a puppy was stuck and the technician
told us we should head to the vet. The remaining pups were delivered
What an emotional rollercoaster the day has been. From the elation
of bringing a new life in the world, feel its tiny heart beating in
your hands and see it take its first breath, to the sickening fear of
that you may lose a precious friend and loyal companion. We were in
good hands and Giddy came through the surgery and began attending to
her brood as soon as the anesthesia wore off. I slept next to the whelping
box and woke to the puppies contentedly nursing. Giddy is proving to
be an excellent mother.
Cost of C-Section - $600
Saving Giddy's life - PRICELESS
Running Total = $4275
First image of the newborns! They weighed 9 and 13 oz.
Giddy is doing really, really well. You would not believe that she just
had major surgery; she acts like just another day. She is a wonderful
mother and is extremely protective of her brood. She's won't
leave the whelping box except to eat and go potty and even then, needs
some convincing. We're going to wait a couple more days to do
tails and dewclaws, we'd like the pups to all be close to a pound
and we'd rather not stress Giddy out by separating her from the
pups right now.
Learning to Spoon
The puppies had their tails docked and dewclaws removed today. I think
it was more traumatic for me than it was for them! They were asleep
before we left the vet’s office. Mama Giddy was not happy about
getting her babies back in different condition than they were taken,
but the puppies appear to have forgotten all about it, they’re
back to contentedly nursing.
Well we’ve made it through the critical first week of life and
the puppies have nearly doubled in weight, a great sign!
Mothering is hard work.
Snug as a bug in the ear...
We finished up the “Super Dog” exercises today. These are
a set of exercises designed to neurologically stimulate the puppies
during the time period before their eyes and ears open. The program
was developed by the US Military and the research was published by Dr.
Carmen Battaglia, AKC Judge and Advocate, and German Shepard breeder.
You can read more about this fascinating program at www.breedingbetterdogs.com or download the PDF here.
WOW! I can't believe that the puppies are TWO WEEKS OLD today! They
are turning into pudgy little piglets! The "little" girl is
leading the pack, weighing in at a whopping THREE pounds! I suspect
they will even out when they begin to eat solid food. The girl opened
her eyes yesterday and took her first peek at the world. Their development
is such an amazing wonder to watch!
Giddy is still very protective of the puppies, not allowing the other
dogs to get too close. She is beginning to spend more time outside of
the whelping area, getting some fresh air and exercise, but she is still
the sole source of nourishment for the puppies.
Gosh another week gone by! Watching puppies grow up is much like watching
a butterfly emerge from its cocoon. One day they are fuzzy little baked
potatoes and the next they are genuine little doggies! Bright eyed little
toddlers exploring their new environment. Growling, chewing, learning
to play. It’s truly evolution happening right before your very
Giddy is a devoted mother, she continues to dote on her babies. (thankfully!)
She is still just radiant. Her coat is full and shiny, she’s physically
fit with the exception of her swollen bosom, and she has a contentedness
that I’ve never seen in her before. It’s times like this
that I marvel at the wonderful creatures sharing my life. We’ve
begun to bring the puppies out to “watch TV” and get them
used to being handled. I promise to take more pictures soon.
Ouch! They have TEETH!!!!
The puppies had their first taste of real food today. They got the hang
of it pretty quick, after they figured out that you're supposed to EAT
it, not STEP in it. . . It was a unanimous TAILS UP! YUMMM!
Today the puppies had their first outdoor field trip. This introduced
them to several new surfaces, including concrete, grass and dirt. They
took the new experience right in stride.
Four Weeks Old! The puppies are now eating and pooping machines. They
are getting 4 small meals a day, specially prepared by Chef Christine.
Giddy is pitching in and helping wash the dishes and clean the kids
up after they eat. What a great helper she is! The puppies are having
a hard time understanding why the 24 hour milk bar now suddenly has
limited hours and can close at the drop of a hat. . . And the "bartender"
can be down right surly at times. "Geez! We just wanted some milk,
you don't have to bite our heads off!" Time to teach these puppies
some manners. . .
THE PUPPIES HAVE ESCAPED!!!
I woke this morning to find "Piglet" and "Peanut"
outside the whelping box. Made a few adjustments to the shallow side
of the box, but Piglet found she could still make it over the wall anyway.
She escaped from the box5 times this weekend! More than any litter we've
had, these puppies do not like being confined. Most of the time the
puppies are content with their immediate surroundings and gradually
begin to explore their surrounds. Not these pups! Turn them loose and
they are off to explore and investigate. They are very independent and
inquisitive. I think these little guys are going be a handful!
Be My Pillow
Giddy has developed a mild case of mastitis, an infection of the milk
ducts. This sometimes happens during the weaning process when the puppies
are not draining the milk from the breast and it gets thicker and clogs
the milk ducts. We're off to the vet for antibiotics in the morning.
Raising puppies is not all fun and games!
A couple days on antibiotics and Giddy's feeling better already, and
drying up. She'll be back to her svelte figure in no time at all! The
puppies slept through the night for the first time. . . At least we
think they did. . . Could be that we're just so tired we didn't hear
We had visitors today! Thanks to Shonnie, Brtittney, and Amanda for
giving the puppies the special kind of lovin only little girls can give!
The puppies soaked up all the attention and were very generous with
the kisses. It was a very busy day!
Let Us Out!!!
Christine trips over the puppy pen and comes crashing down on her knee,
OUCH! Bad bad Christine! Must have TWO working legs to chase after puppies!
Well I’m still limping, but after a trip to the doctor, determined
that no serious damage was done. We’re transitioning the puppies
over to 3 meals a day and we’re not pureeing the dog food for
them anymore, so that when they are ready to go to their new homes,
they will be eating breakfast in the morning, dinner in the evening,
and a small snack before bed time. We feed our adult dogs twice a day
as we feel it is optimal for digestion and keeping them on an even keel.
Giddy’s expert counter-surfing netted her a cheese cake. A WHOLE
CHEESE CAKE. One of Janine’s homemade, extra tasty, cheese cakes
that was destined for the Thanksgiving dinner table. . . . The only
just part of it was that she was pretty miserable the rest of the day.
NO turkey leftovers for you, Giddy!
The puppies had their first introduction to water today. We combined
it with a bath. Well, they didn’t spring gills, but overall they
did pretty well. We’ll try it again in a few days with a bit less
water in the tub. They did enjoy the extra attention they got getting
them dry and warm again though.
It’s SNOWING! We had a fine dusting of snow that continued all
day long, accumulating about 6 inches by evening. We took the puppies
out several times through out the day for short trips to test their
hardiness. Our little explorers trudged through chest high snow drifts
without the slightest complaint. We humans actually got cold faster
than they did! We’re really thrilled with these puppies, they’ve
got awesome temperaments and loads of personality. They are independent,
inquisitive, and confident in nature, and sweet, affectionate and cuddly.
They got their first parvo vaccination today and we’ll worm them
again in a couple days. They’re weighing in at about 10# each.
Well it’s been a busy week and time flies when you’re getting
puppies ready to begin their new lives in the real world. On schedule
Crate Training 101 - This class teaches the puppy to accept a crate
as his own personal safe haven away from the busy world. Once the puppy
is choosing to spend time in the crate of his own accord, we begin closing
the door for short periods of time. The puppy must be quiet before it
is allowed out of the crate.
Intro to Leash - In this class we take 2 puppies of similar weight
and strength and attach then together with a 12 inch cord. They learn
not to associate the pull on their collar with us humans, and to yield
to the pull of the leash.
Winter Fun, An Introduction to Snow - This class is taught by our resident
Siberian, Sky. Being a Siberian, he is an expert on outdoor winter activities.
This class includes: Identifying plants in their dormant state. How
to determine if snow is safe to eat. (Formerly called: Beware Yellow
Snow.) Class also includes instruction on the proper way to use a doggie
door to come in from out of the cold.
Stairs 101 and 102 - This 2 part class teaches the safe navigation
of stairs, both up and down.
Intro to Birds, Wake Up Your Natural Instincts - This class is on hold
until we can locate some pigeons or quail, or at the very least some
Show Doggin 101, From Whelping Box to Best of Breed - The basics of
Show Doggin; Stacking, Baiting, Hands on Evaluations, and Picture Taking
are covered in this fun class for future show stoppers.
Housebreaking 101, Save It For The Yard! - This class begins before
dawn with a wakeup call and the young ones are quickly herded outside
to potty. The class continues all day, with periodic “fire drills”
after meals and playtime sessions.