A blog mainly about WHOODLES with some regular dog stuff too!
A few thoughts and ravings about dogs, dog breeding and the people involved with both!
Plus some other things.
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February 2014

New individual pix of pups on the website. Click on photos to go to the puppies' pages.

Going Well        Feb. 23, 2014

The in and out of the nest has lost its appeal... probably because there is almost no room out since the box takes up 90% of the space in the pen. However, I am feeding the three little pups canned food twice a day and do it outside the box so they can eat without their bigger brothers and sister trying to horn in. Even at 4 weeks, these babies can tell time and let me know when they are supposed to be OUT. They dive right into the food, lick the plate clean and then pay attention to Clooney and the other two dogs outside the pen. Well, there are Clooney and THREE others but Boon is never interested so the pups pretend he isn't there.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the other six pups are usually asleep. Some of them just sprawl wherever the mood overtakes them, while some choose a spot according to individual priorities/

Mission Accomplished        Feb. 21, 2014

This is the smallest of the three medium size pups or the 6th largest in the litter (try to keep up.) He learned last night how to get out of the box and now has it down pat. He also knows how to get back in which is pretty amazing considering his size... but he's been practicing on his mama's food bowl.

Two other pups have managed to get out but have not repeated, even though Houdini has tried to talk them into it.

And a few moments later...

Minor Injuries for My Computer        Feb. 20 (almost 21,) 2014

So I met with the gentleman who is going to make my computer well again and he is going to have it done for me by tomorrow evening. At which time I plan to drop off the one I'm working on right this minute. And when that one is healed, I'm letting him see what he can do with the one that won't start at all. The only one he isn't going to even look at is my IMac. Very nice fellow who explained some computer system/browser/brand stuff to me like I wasn't too stupid to understand it. Which I did as he was spelling it out, but now have no idea about any of it. However, I'm sure he is still shaking his head... and maybe grinning... at the bombshell I dropped in the middle of his explanation. I asked if it cost to upgrade to new versions of browsers and he said no, you can just do it by downloading. Then I said "I'm on dial-up." I swear his jaw dropped.

The pups are planning an escape
Took these pictures this afternoon while Emy was outside.

And this last one is of the biggest pup... the girl... and the smallest... a boy instead of the other girl who now is just slightly bigger.

Computer Problems        Feb. 19, almost 20, 2014

Word of warning. I am using a laptop I retired 3 years ago because the keyboard, and a few other things, are gafunk. For one thing, I can't backspace. Which means cutting and pasting and starting over. It's taken me all day to get this site to load... it usually takes me a half houtr (told you) or so with the NEW laptop that now won't load IE period so I'm not in a good mood. The new one is going to the computer fixerupper tomorrow to see if it can be made whole again. If not, I'll start the search for a laptop withOUT Windows 8 and WITH a dialup modem. And don't email to tell me you can buy one of those usb thingys with the portable dialup modem... I tried them twice... two different ones... and yes, I know it is ME, not the thingys but I can't get them to work. I am well aware I cannot deal with electronics... video players, dvd machines, new tvs with or without remotes, microwaves for anything besides popcorn and heating water for tea, etc... and they all hate me and conspire against me. I hear them late at night... and sometimes around noon... laughing at me.

ANYWAY, the point is my email is barely working and I may not get back on here for a few days, but all is well.

The pups are really into solid kibble and there is enough scattered around the nest I really wouldn't have to put any in their bowl for a week. Their bowl, by the way, is a normal big bowl now, like the DOGS have, except it is ceramic and sits on the floor. (My adult bowls are metal and elevated on platforms.) Emy has been eating all the food out of the puppy bowl... haven't filled hers since Monday... so I send her outside, fill the puppy bowl and make her stay out of the pen until they eat all they want and go back to sleep. And tonight I filled Em's bowl with adult food, so we'll see if she goes for that and leaves the babies to theirs. I've also put a small bowl in the nest with water in it. The pups all dunked their faces in it, coughing and choking for an hour after, and learned to lick the drops off each other's faces and now they've gotten the idea. Can housebreaking be far behind?

Been in the 60s the last couple days... SUCH a relief... but with rain, so my quagmire of a road is now free of ice but has turned into a swamp. My car looks like I've been offroading in it... and I guess I have. First thunderstorm of the year last night/early morning. Another expected tonight. Close to 70 tomorrow. Rain supposed to be out of here by midday Saturday AND temps, will being down from what they are right now, are staying well above freezing except at night, for the next 7 days. I hope you are all safe and well.

Some baby pix to make you smile
First is the GORGEOUS 3 days old daughter of Havre de Grace and Tapit

and then, the 7 days old son of Balance and Frankel

Big BIG Step        Feb. 17, 2014

About the equivalent of kids graduating from high school... the pups have discovered FOOD! Usually this occurs between three and four weeks of age... and that is where the Nine are. Because they can't get out of the nest to snoop around in their mom's food, which is puppy kibble, and I don't want to put Emy's bowl IN the nest... nine pups will tip over the bowl and have food everywhere... today, I decided to put a small ceramic dish of food in where the pups can get to it. The results:

When Em came in from her afternoon outing, she got in the nest, sniffed at the remains in the bowl, sniffed all the pups and then laid down with a big smile on her face.

A big step for Emy occurred a few days ago when she came in from playing outside with sister Peri and went wandering around the house instead of getting in with the pups immediately. When she did come in the room, PERI was in the nest, lying down with confused puppies climbing all over her. (She looks like Mom and smells like Mom, but she doesn't have milk...?) Mom got in the nest as well and did NOT give Peri a piece of her mind. A couple minutes later, Grandma Diamond stuck HER nose inside the pen and Emy did not take it well. She jumped up and ran her off with no doubts in her mind that she was not welcome.

THIS week, Emy probably would not object to any of the dogs coming in for a visit.

Happy Valentine's Day        Feb. 14, 2014

Pictures of the pups. But first some observations... there are 3 little pups and 1 MUCH bigger than the rest of the litter. The other 5 are 4 that are pretty much the same size and 1 slightly smaller. The smallest in the litter is a girl. The largest is... the other girl. The 2 little boys are darker than the all the others in the litter. The pups are MUCH more active which means pictures are not going to be particularly satisfying from here on out. In a few weeks, when I start trying to get good individual pictures, I'll also post some of the totally unacceptable ones just to give you an idea. Today, just to get 3 marginally interesting shots, I took 32 pictures.

First, the 3 little ones... girl-boy-boy

Then, 3 boys

Finally, the other 2 boys and the big girl, in that order.

Snowfall and Pups Getting Big        Feb. 13, 2014

Since I know most of you are here to see photos of the babies, how about this one taken a few minutes ago.

They turned 3 weeks old last night and are doing everything 3 weeks old pups do... eat, sleep, poop, eat, sleep... you get the idea. All 9 are up on their feet and walking with varying expertise. They all push up onto their feet every time they want to go somewhere, rather than crawling even a little bit. Their eyes and ears are open and they can see and hear so they usually know exactly where mom is without having to sniff for her. So far they haven't done a lot of barking at unexpected sounds in the room which is cute but can get annoying quickly with so many mouths. I've seen a couple of them head wrestling (while lying down) and even sitting next to each other, trying to wrestle. Since their coordination is lousy, they tend to fall over as often as they knock another pup over and usually decide sleep is a more enjoyable activity.

Outdoor dogs...
Bob and Lula hunting down the bad guys hiding in the woods... underground.
Bob is from Peri and Sparky, Lula is from Maggie and Cisco.

And here is Montana in Manhattan yesterday and today.

Montana's mom is Diamond and Brogue is her dad.

And speaking of yesterday and today
we have about 7-8 inches of snow on the ground at my level. The storm started right on schedule just after noon yesterday and came down heavy off and on for the next 24-26 hours. We're supposed to get some more tonight and maybe again early Staurday, but temperatures are going to the 40s and then the 50s for most of next week, so things should get back to normal in a month or two. Right now, everything is closed. The roads, except for major thoroughfares, are dangerous and most people are staying home. The two interstates here are clear... on/off ramps not so much... but once you get out of the area, are snow and ice covered. This is the most snow I've seen at one time in the almost 14 years I've lived here. I talked to a friend in Augusta GA, where I was before moving here, and they are without power AND have several inches of snow, covered with a layer of ice. Never saw any accumulation when I lived there. We are much better prepared for it here.

My Deer are Back        Feb. 8, 2014

My deer disappeared over a year and a half ago. For a many months, I didn't see any of them. Then I would see one or two at a time, infrequently and usually half way up the hill. I figured it was because the natural gas company... or maybe it was the guy who owned the land and was leasing it to the gas company... had all kinds of big, noisy equipment on top of the ridge. Logging is very invasive. I know, from talking with my neighbors and from the way all that constant clamor made me feel, that that we humans were affected by the activity and the traffic in a place where usually the most disturbing thing that happens is a dog comes by chasing a rabbit. I'm sure the deer were terrifically unhappy with the situation and moved along the ridge to where things were quiet.

A few months ago, before Thanksgiving anyway, the log trucks disappeared. The equipment hasn't come down, probably because they plan on using it this spring farther along the ridge. But it's been quiet. Back to normal. And all week, every time I stepped off the deck, I could hear animals moving away quickly through the woods. Friday, instead of running off behind the house, a doe and this year's fawn went leaping down the driveway and then up the road. Yesterday, there were a couple adults without fawns... don't know if they were bucks or does... grazing in the front of the house when I went out to go into town. And today, when I pulled off the blacktop onto my "trail," there were five adults, again no youngsters, in the field. Instead of bounding away into the woods, they just walked toward the middle of the field and watched me drive by. Once I was past, they went back to grazing.

I'm glad to see them. They add something to my day. Just like my neighbor's horses. They're there for me to look at and admire but I don't have to do anything for them. I hope I always have deer around and neighbors with horses.

We have a winner!
I've been watching Emy's puppies as they try to master Walking 101. Usually, it's one of the smaller pups who manages to get on its feet and stay upright while it makes it from one side of the nest to the other. Not this time. This time it is one of the biggest pups in the litter. Emy's bigger girl walked all the way around the box, staggering a couple times but not falling, and even stood perfectly still while I gave her her first body massage. When I picked her up and stuck my face next to hers, she immediately gave me a kiss. Ok, she was looking to see if my bare skin had any nipples on it, but that's the first chapter in Kisses 101.

Quick Studies        Feb. 8, 2014

Seems like the new digs are a hit with both Emy and her Nine. They have adjusted well. From Em having enough room... and the inclination... to sleep apart from the brood

to the pups figuring out where she has gone

everything is going well.
About the only one a little put out is Boon. He is used to things being nice and calm in the tv room, but now Clooney is bouncing off the walls because she wants to be with the babies. Several times Boon has jumped up and grabbed her and made her go lie down in the corner. At least she listens to HIM. Me, she ignores.

New Things to Learn & Do        Feb. 7, 2014

I haven't checked the pups this morning to find out what the girl/boy count is.... (That's a joke, folks. And I know it's on me.)

The pups had a rough afternoon and evening yesterday. Their new accomodations are about double the old which means mom can be IN the nest but nowhere near the pups.

This is a scary situation for them until they figure out how to find her when they need to, although she is going to them every half hour or so to feed and check bottoms. Lots of whines and whimpers, which Emy ignores much better than I do... better than Clooney too. She is in the same room and really REALLY wants to take care of those babies. Emy pays no more attention to Clooney trying to get in the pen than she does to the pups calling to her. And by the time I went to bed, everything, except Clooney, had been set to rights. Emy was tired of getting up and down and settled in on the blanket right after I took this picture.

The pups' eyes are open... they're learning to see. Their ears will be opening in the next day or so and they'll learn to bark. Listening will take a little longer than hearing. They are sitting up but walking isn't quite up to snuff just yet. By their 3 weeks birthday, they'll have all this under control and will be wrestling with each other and putting each other's ears, tails, legs, in their mouths, exploring the nest and discovering there is a world outside of it. Figuring out how to get on the other side of the 8 inch border will take a little more time... and the first couple times a pup gets out will happen by accident rather than planning.

I Blame It on My Failing Eyesight        Feb. 6, 2014

So the pups are 2 weeks as of last night. And this afternoon I got them moved to the bigger nest in the computer/tv room. Since there are too many to carry all at once, I decided to take the three girls first, get a photo, then do the six boys... after I put Emy outside. The problem is, no matter how many times I looked, I could find only two girls. There are still nine pups, but seven of them have stems rather than flowers. It didn't matter what I was using for light, the result was the same. So here is the photo of the girls, both of them... one large and one small...

and then the seven boys... a couple whoppers, a few mediums and two small...

Then a pix of the whole bunch with the three small pups in the lower left

When Emy came in from outside, I told her about the problem I was having and she checked it out for herself

Her results were the same as mine.
But she also agreed with me last week when I claimed there were THREE girls...

Where to Start?        Feb. 3, 2014

How 'bout YEA SEAHAWKS!? I know nothing about football except it ruins CBS' Sunday night line-up time-wise, but when the first person asked me who I liked in the Super Bowl, I said Hawks and I stuck with it even though everybody (everybody ) laughed at me. Who's laughing now?

Then there's the snow situation. As late as yesterday afternoon... after mid 60s on Saturday and an overnight low of around 40... there were still icy ruts and snow packed in my "road." I am happy to report that, thanks to 12 hours of heavy rain, the snow and ice are gone and the road is back to a quagmire.

Then there's the "nest" situation for Emy and Gang. Normally, I use inflatable vinyl wading pools but no one around here carried them this year so I bought (yep, BOUGHT) a large cardboard box... $11 with tax... which the family has outgrown. Today, I went to one of those moving/storage places and bought TWO even larger boxes (which I'll cut and paste) to the tune of $27 and change including tax. I'm going to get on the internet and find someone with swimming pools and buy out their whole stock.

Swimming pools and blankets. They're harder to fnd than stacks of clean newspapers!

Non-puppy pix
First is a Doodle from one of my last litters...
LuLu who lives in DUMBO New York ( kid you not... DUMBO *)

LuLu is happy to report her humans have had their first baby and, at seven years, SHE has found the love of her life.

And then there's Maggie and Alex's pup, Nelson

enjoying his first snow... and since he lives in Athens GA, maybe his last...
what with global warming climate change and all.

* DUMBO... that's Down Under the Manhatten Bridge Overpass in the NYC area

Snowed In        Feb. 1, 2014

Yesterday's temperature got up to a balmy 45. The snow melted off my car... well most of it did... and some grass is peaking through in the yard. Since I'd been housebound since last weekend, I decided I'd make a trip into town. Now, the fact that I had heard only one or two cars go past my place in six days didn't register as any kind of warning, so I ran out, the car started right up... damn car... and off I went. My first clue it was not the best idea I'd had since moving to Tennessee... almost 14 years ago... was when I started down my driveway and couldn't stop at the bottom. The way my drive intersects the trail I live on, it is difficult to see if anything is coming down the hill, so over the years, I've developed the habit of going slowly, coming to a full stop and craning my neck to the left to see if there be what passes for traffic. Yesterday, I slid right out onto the trail... noticing only one or two car tracks out there in what looked like a ski slope. I managed to steer the ol' Ford onto the trail, or part of it, before I slid over the side and into the ditch. Since I was already that far, and there was nowhere to pull over, I kept going. Slowly. The blacktop, when I got to it, was clear and dry. Might as well run up to the Sonic and get something for lunch before hiking back to the house. Good news, the car made it back up the trail to the drive without a lot of spinning, sliding, etc, but the drive did us in. I managed to get the entire car off the trail but that was it. Grabbing my double cheeseburger and coffee, I hiked up the drive to the house. Since I walk with a cane, there are some weird tracks in the drive.

Today's temp is supposed to be in the low 50s. Maybe by tomorrow I'll be able to get the car the rest of the way up the drive.

Cold puppies
Yesterday, I got an email from Steve who is getting a pup from this litter. He was concerned that the pups were cold... which is how my posts have made it sound... and suggested a heating pad for them, which might sound like a good idea. However, heating pads, even those made for dogs, can be a big danger. The controls on them aren't the best in the world and the last time I had one, it didn't have a timer. Heating pads made for humans do have timers and they shut themselves off after an hour or maybe two. I almost cooked a litter of pups some years back when I didn't check on them for more than an hour and the heating temperature had skyrocketted. I haven't used one since. But the thing is, Emy's puppies are NOT cold. They are disturbed when she gets up, even to change position, by the circulation of the air around them. Summer litters react the same way. Mom's body and hair keep them insulated and when that shelter is gone, they respond. A minute later, they are sound asleep again and stay that way until Mom returns.

This morning, for the first time, Emy went out and stay out for almost an hour. When I went to put her back in with the pups, they woke up when I opened the crate door, a first. Usually they sleep until she is back in the nest, nudging them awake. Overnight they've matured enough physically to notice the movement of the crate, rather than needing their mom to move them individually to wake them up. AND several of them are already trying to get their feet under them so they can walk rather than continue their imitations of slugs getting from one place to another.

They grow up so fast!

Whoodle families around Atlanta
I have yet another request from someone who wants to meet a Whoodle. Anyone interested in showing off, please let me know and I'll give you their contact info. Thanks.


Emy is So Smart         Jan. 31, 2014

I don't know about anybody else, but I am glad to see the last of January 2014. This has been a rough month all over the country and enough is enough. At least HERE, we are expecting several days of days and NIGHTS above freezing... starting tomorrow.

Now, for Emy...
Whenever she leaves the nest, the pups put themselves in a pile to keep warm. When she comes back, she usually gives them a sniff... which wakes them up... and then grabs something to eat and a BIG drink of water.(Manufacturing milk for nine hungry babies requires a lot of liquid intake.) Then she looks around for a SAFE place to lie down... at this age, puppies are easily suffocated if they are trapped under mom's body. Their struggles to get out or to get her to move are just tickles for her. Emy is smart enough to know she can't just drop down some place in the nest. And she is smart enough to know that some pups will be pretty far away from whatever spot she chooses. In the summer, I have never seen her do anything about it, but in the middle of this extremely cold winter, time and time again, I see her pick up the pup that is the farthest from where she is going to lie down. Then she gets herself settled... puppy still in her mouth (none of this nape of the neck business...) and lets the rest of the litter move in close before she puts the one she's holding down on top of the new pile. Very smooth and effective. Usually, from what I can tell, a different puppy each time. And several of them are getting to be a mouth FULL!

And something else... as usual, things are not the way I thought they were the first few days after birth. The smallest of the males is NOT a red. He is... right now... a black and tan. His actual colors are black and tan... like a Doberman. We'll see what they are in a couple weeks. Or months.

Interesting find in Borneo

This is an elusive Bay Cat... maybe the only photo in existence. I won't go into the details of how the photo came to be or how many years it took, but I will tell you, no matter how it looks, this wild cat is SMALLER than a normal housecat.

One Week Today         Jan. 29, 2014

Seven days and seven nights have come and gone and these babies are that much bigger.

Their biggest complaint the last two days is the cold and the snow. They are all nice and warm, snuggled against Mom and she decides she needs to go outside. The cold air when she leaves makes them whine. Emy goes out into the almost zero weather and the 6 inches of dry flaky snow, does a little sniffing around, takes care of business, then comes back inside. By the time we get back to the bedroom, the snow has melted and her face, belly and legs are wet. I put her back with the Nine and they start whining LOUDLY. It takes a couple minutes for everyone to get comfortable again.

It's not easy being a week old.

All's Well         Jan. 28, 2014

Emy and the pups have settled into a nice pattern. She is with them 23 hours 30 minutes a day and they eat 23 hours 30 minutes a day and complain that they are being neglected the other 30 minutes.

The pups are growing like weeds. Em is eating at least twice as much as normal and counting the days until they have their eyes open, are on their feet and find the food bowl. I am going to have to move them into a larger nest pretty soon and will probably put them out in the tv/computer room which is the warmest room in the house. Since they will soon be climbing out of their bed and wandering around, and I heard on the news last night that there is probably going to be one or two more polar vortex events in the next couple weeks, warmth will be a good thing.

It has been snowing all day... for the first time this winter (at my level.) We had about a half inch of snow last weekend, but Sunday was warm enough to melt it all. This time, we're not supposed to get even close to freezing until Thursday or above it until Friday. BUT then it looks like nearly a week in the 40s.


Good News -- and Bad         Jan. 26, 2014

First, the sad news.
The smallest of the boys died early this morning. I started feeding him yesterday afternoon on the off chance that his sluggishness was just hunger. Little pups are often shooed away from Mom by the bigger ones. But he really wasn't interested in eating and that's never a good sign. During the night, Emy stopped making him stay with the rest of the litter and that is the worse sign a mom can give. They always know. She hasn't looked for him. Pragmatic.

The good news is more pictures
Four days old, the three girls first, then the six boys.

More pix on the website.

Ahhh, a Good Night's Sleep         Jan. 25, 2014

Lucky for me, Emy's pups seem to be quick studies. Some time during the afternoon/evening yesterday they figured out a way to get enough to eat without complaining about a little wait. Last night was quiet. That's not to say there was no whining. It's just there was no yelling. AND the winds switched direction and came out of the south/southwest which brought the overnight temp UP. It was 8 degrees, windchill around 2, at 11 PM but in the middle of the night it climbed to around 20. Practically balmy. I didn't even replace the hot water bottles in the nest. Emy is also adjusting quickly. Last night, at bedtime, she let me know she'd like to go outside again before lights out and this morning, she was ready to run out... [b]in the snow[/b]... with the gang. Of course, she comes RIGHT back in, but at least I don't have to pick her up and carry her to the door. Things are moving right along!

Speaking of sleep...
Scout, who moved to southern FL on Monday, is going to the gym with her new mom. Those workouts get to be a little much for a puppy.

No Room at the Inn         Jan. 24, 2014

Whiny puppies! Ten of them. All night. Not all at the same time, but somebody complaining all the time. There is just so much room next to mom's belly and that seems to be cause for debate among the pups. Even Emy was tired of listening to it. Luckily for me... and probably her... we remember this takes just 48-72 hours for the youngsters to figure out, then peace reigns... well, reigns most of the time... until the next crisis when eyes and ears open in about 2 weeks.

Bring on that polar votex!

Maggie and Alex's year old son, Boru, seems happy with the winter so far.
BAD dog!

Emy's a Good Girl!         Jan. 23, 2014

All's well. All's quiet... well relatively quiet. With ten babies, there is always at least one with a minor complaint about something. At this stage, it is usually another pup trying to horn in at the milk bar. And with ten pups, there isn't enough room for everyone along the belly at the same time. Plus, in an effort to keep all ten warm, Emy is curling around them, which tends to make a teat or two unavailable. But, since they ARE generally quiet, it means they are... all TEN of them... full and warm. (I trust everyone has gotten the message by now! Seven boys and three girls, all reddish, all will be... probably... blondish.) Emy is changing position every hour or so which I think is how she is making sure everyone gets a chance to eat. She moves around and those who have been on the outside of the pile now get to move in close while those who have been eating get to cuddle up to the backs of their siblings and take a nap. Smart dog.

The pups are on the small side... they had to be to all fit... but will grow rapidly now that there is room. They are all active. When I try to move some aside so I can change bedding or exhange water bottles, they scramble back to their mom. And they tell her vocally that I touched them! She's already stopped nosing my hand aside, but I had to pick her up out of the nest and carry her all the way through the house to put her outside. And she was done and ready to come back in before I even made it back to the bedroom. She's eating already... although after 10 placentas I thought she might not be hungry for a day or two.

So, so far so good.

Now We're Cooking!         Jan. 22, 2014

Emy was up all night in pre-labor and this morning started panting and heavy duty nesting.

And just after 1 PM, produced the first pup of this litter... a "red" male.

I'll post later today with the final results, but don't look for a photo. She is very protective and I don't want to upset her.

We're up to 8
And since it's been several hours, that is probably where it is going to stand for this litter. There are 4 males and 3 females and I have not checked the last pup because Emy is tired of me sticking my hand in the nest and moving pups around. All of them are "reds," and most not particularly dark, which means they will lighten up to some shade of blond. If I had to guess, I'd say none of them are going to have "lace" like their mom and Aunt Peri. But, since it seems to be the lifelong ambition of every one of my dogs to prove me wrong, don't write any of that down yet.

The pups are relatively quiet, especially considering how cold it is. Emy is in the nest, with her back facing out, curled around them. They are snuggled up to her belly, protected from the cold by her legs and head, which she has laid over top of the pile, AND her long hair. I am SO glad I didn't clip her down even though she'll be an awful mess is a couple weeks!

A picture or two when Em deides to make her first... QUICK... trip outside.

Not Yet         Jan. 21, 2014

Emy is still pregnant. Remember when I did the ultrasound and the pups were so teeny the vet had to look a long time for them? Well, obviously, Em did not get pregnant the first day she and Boon were together. Because of the pups' size at the time of the sonogram, we figured they were NOT almost 5 weeks along, but just approaching 4 and Emy is about to prove us right!

Scout made it to FL
I kept her out of the crate for an hour at the airport here, but that time was added on at the other end. Still, she doesn't seem any the worse for her long day. She got to her new home, met her new family, and two hours later, posed for pictures.

Her folks said she slept, and snored, like this for hours.

All Quiet on the Home Front         Jan. 20, 2014

Emy had fairly calm nights the last two, a little more restless last night than on Saturday. And she had a normal dinner last night. She tends to want to be in the nest rather than loose in the bedroom, probably because she is too big to get herself up on the bed and doesn't care for the old tile floor. Shadow is usually camped out on the throw rug and pretends the infirmities of his old age keep him from hearing/seeing/understanding Em's "move over, buddy" hints.

Scout (PinkO) is on her way to FL.
Scout and I got to the airport way before 8 this morning and I was not particularly happy to find no one at the counter... or anywhere else on the concourse, for that matter. I rang the bell a couple times, without response, getting more and more irritated as time past and Sount was no closer to being checked in. Finally, a TSA agent came by, headed for behind the closed/locked doors to No Admittance Land, and I asked him to round someone up for me. He said the entire Delta crew was out back trying to get the airbus moved from the gate... by hand... and they were going to be tied up. I told him it was THEIR rule I had to be checked in at least 2 hours before the flight's sheduled departure time.... He went through the door and a few minutes later one of the counter people showed up. He said they were all out back trying to move the airbus... with 126 passengers on board... by hand which didn't impress me any more when HE said it than it did when the other guy said it. I suggested they tell the passengers to get off and lend a hand... after all, THEY were the ones who wanted to leave. Scout did get checked in before the cut off and I said I was planning to keep her with me for an hour or so, to save her some crate time, which met with no argument. The pup wandered around in front of the counter for a while. Nobody, airline/airport personnel or passenger, was around except me. About an hour before flight time, three people came in and went straight to the self-check-in kiosk, so I woke Scout up... she had fallen asleep under my chair... and put her in the crate so it could be "secured" (zip tied so the gate won't open) and moved to the back of the building before things got busy. And I went home. Now the hard part... waiting to hear she's arrived safe and sound.

Still Waiting         Jan. 18, 2014

As they say, no news is good news. Emy is still in brood mode. However, she has not eaten since yesterday morning... and only nibbled a little then... and has started "nesting" (digging in her bedding.) These are positive signs of whelping coming up soon. How soon is anybody's guess. I'll keep you posted.

Shipping and Delta Airlines         Jan. 15, 2014

But first, a puppy watch update
We are making considerable progress. Emy is pointed. By that, I mean she looks like she has swallowed a football and it is inside her sideways. This means the pups are moving into position for the whelping process. Stay tuned!

And now back to our originally scheduled post....

In summary: I'm shipping PinkO to FL. The flight time is less than three hours total. The pup has to be in a crate for AT LEAST eight and a half hours.
Read on if you want the whys and wherefores.

Scout, who used to be PinkO, is moving to Florida. Unfortunately, her new people cannot make the trip up here to get her, so she is going to fly. I've shipped a lot of puppies and it USED to be a no brainer for me. I've never had an serious mishap after turning the pup over to an airline. When I lived in Georgia, I had a choice of companies and nine times out of ten, I chose Delta. Up here, I have no choice and Delta is it. So, my complaint is with Delta... but, to be fair, all the airlines that are still willing to carry live animals (and there aren't that many) probably have the same general rules.

Here's the thing... leaving here (TRI,) Delta flies to Atlanta. Period. Everything goes to ATL.and connects there for wherever. The flight from TRI to Atl takes an hour. Scout is going to Palm Beach. The flight from ATL to PBI is an hour and forty minutes. Total time in the air: under three hours. And yet, for Scout, she is going to have to be in the shipping crate for AT LEAST EIGHT AND A HALF HOURS..She has to be CHECKED in at TRI no less than two full hours before the scheduled departure time and if she is NOT completely checked in, the computer cuts off the process and she cannot go out on that flight. Delta told me to be there at least an hour before those two hours, or THREE hours before departure, because checking her in could take as much as an hour. (We'll get into why THAT rubs me the wrong way in a second. *)

TRI is a small airport. I mean small. We have one gate. (OK, we have two, but only one is used.) We have no cargo facilities. Everything comes and goes through the passenger counter. The desk crew also handles the gate... embarking and disembarking passengers and overseeing luggage and cargo on and off loading. I ship often enough that I know most of the staff. So I called and asked when they want me to be there with her. The guy I spoke with apologized all over the place for me... and every other shipper... having to be there so far in advance of the flight leaving... if indeed the flight is going to get away on time... and told me what I already knew, it was the fault of Delta's computer program. Which is, apparently, the only computer in the world that works more slowly than human beings. He suggested I be there a half hour before that two hour cutoff.

So far, the trip is taking 2-1/2 hours before the pup gets on a plane and 1 hour flight time.

Then we get to Atlanta. There is currently a MINIMUM two hour connection time. Sometimes, at the whim of the flight gods, that beomes a THREE hour minimum connection time for a week or a month. Now, there is a way around this requirement... you can pay more money and the last time I asked how much more, it was $100. However, there is no guarantee that the pup will be put on a flight out of Atlanta any sooner than it would if you didn't opt to donate a hundred bucks to Delta, and there's no refund if the pup doesn't get out on the next flight leaving for where it's supposed to go.

Now we have the previous 3-1/2 hours plus at least 2 on the ground in Atlanta, but the connection for Scout is two hours and fifteen minutes... so we're at 5 hours and 45 minutes.
IF all has gone well and everything is on schedule.

The flight to PBI takes an hour and forty minutes. But once it gets in, there is a half hour to an hour to much more to get the pup from the plane to wherever she is going to be handed over to her new folks.

Our previous 5-3/4 hours... plus a rounded off 2 hours 40 minutes means Scout is in the crate from 8 AM until at least 4:30 PM. Eight and a half hours.
Again, that's if everything works the way it's supposed to.

That is an incredibly long time for ANY animal who is not normally caged up, much less one who isn't. Add in all the stress of the unusual circumstances... the strange sights, sounds and smells and the previously unknown experience of taking off and landing... not to mention being surrounded by people that the dog doesn't know as well as being treated, at best, as a fragile box of something....

Most airlines have stopped carrying animals. Maybe they all should. Yes, it would make it difficult for people who live long distances from where the dog is going to or coming from and people who show and/or travel all over with animals. But we are not talking about strawberries or luggage. And every time I hear about a flight that is rerouted or spends hours on the runway, before or after the trip, I wonder if there are animals on board.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

* Now this is what irritates me about the amount of time it actually takes to check in. I do all the work. I call Delta up to two weeks ahead of time and reserve space on the flight(s) my pup is going to be using. I have to have an airbill... which I have to go to the airport to get (except I'm given a stack of them so I have them here)... and I have to fill the airbill out so when I get to the airport, they don't have to do anything but look at it and sign. All the info on the airbill... shipper's name/address/phone, receiver's name/address/phone, flight numbers and airport designators (TRI/ATL/PBI,) weight of shipment (including crate,) what it is (LIVE DOG,) a couple of codes, proper boxes checked for things like payment, and so forth... all this stuff on the airbill is entered into Delta's computer system when I make the reservation. I hand over the current health and rabies certificates. All the guy at Delta's counter SHOULD have to do is get into the right computer program... and sometimes this is a problem... input my airbill number and then retreive the shipping labels from the machine that is right next to the computer. Why should this take an hour or more? If the person at the counter is experienced at accepting cargo shipments, it takes maybe ten minutes. The fastest I've had it done was five and that was a couple months back, with a counterman I had never seen before who was filling in. The last few times I've shipped, the Delta agent has been stymied at some point because the computer won't work and has had to spend time... a LOT of time... on the phone with someone on the mothership.

This is ridiculous and unnecessary.

Back in the old days, we'd arrive at the airport... and I'm talking Portland (OR) International, a large facility... 15-20 minutes before departure, no reservation REQUIRED, and get the dog checked in and on board the flight. Those flights were generally on time, connections were made even if they were rushed, and the dogs arrived where they were supposed to go.

I'm wondering if the royally screwed up Obamacare website was built by the same guys who did Delta's computer program....

All Sold         Jan. 12, 2014

PinkO has found her perfect home! She is going to be moving to southern FL where her new mom has already bought her a pink polka-dotted bikini for pool side.

The flash makes her coat look a little lighter than it is now, but it won't be long before it is that shade.
Clooney is going to miss her, as am I.

The plumber made it out Friday afternoon and fixed the leak and didn't charge me any more.

Not only that, but I went out after he left and started my car, which had been sitting for 6 days. It started immediately, just like always.
Friday was a good day!

We Survived the Artic Vortex         Jan. 9, 2014

I'm thinking of having a bunch of t-shirts made up.

Remember the plumber was out last Thursday? Well, over the weekend I realized the wet spots weren't drying up because they were still being fueled with fresh water. Called the plumber first thing Monday morning and got an appointment for today. This morning... early... the water department called and said I must have a leak beause of my water consumption and the meter was active. I told them the plumber was coming out today and I'd let them know when he left. So a couple hours later, the plumber called and said they were overloaded with people with emergencies... which I well understand... BUT I may be in that situation as well and MY problem should have been fixed LAST week. (Or maybe my water consumption is up because my water RAN for 4 days to keep the pipes from freezing.) So now they're going to try to "work me in" today... or tomorrow... or maybe Saturday. The 1-1/2 percent Social Security raise I got this month had better stretch a    l o n g    way!

BRRRRRRR...!         Jan. 7, 2014

Yep, another weather report. This morning's low was -2, at noon it was 6. The warmest (WARMEST) room in the house is 45. The good news is it's going to be above freezing tomorrow and in the 40s and 50s for the next week. Just in time to save my water bill... I'm not letting the water drip or trickle... I'm running it in the bathroom and kitchen. Some of the dogs are camped out on top of hot water bottles even though they're wearing sweaters. And Crockett (my hairless dog) is wearing a second sweater over his usual sweatshirt. All of them were out to potty and pee and back inside in under 15 minutes this morning, well not the puppy. Since she wants to stay out and play, I made her stay IN. She's not speaking to me.

This is Emy's 3 year old son, Tucker, who thinks he's a Malamute...

Home Again         Jan. 4, 2014

So I couldn't get out yesterday... hill was frozen solid in the AM and a half frozen quagmire in the PM... and the gang had to spend a second night boarding at the vet. This morning, I knew I had to go get them, even if we had to park down by the paved road and walk hobble back up to the house, because the vet is closed on Sundays and another snow storm is supposed to get here tomorrow afternoon, following a brief period of rain. Since temperatures are going straight downhill after that, to as much as 10 below zero, and not expected to get above freezing again until Thursday or Friday.... I can't afford to board 5 dogs that long for no reason.

Besides, it has seemed rather strange around here the last two days with that many gone at one time, didn't really like it, felt like I was leaving things untended to
The dogs were happy to get home and immediately found their blankets and went to sleep. Too much activity and weird noises at the vet's, I guess.

New photo of Emy/Sparky puppy from Em's last litter
This is 15 months old Piper and her mom

Here's looking at you
A few people have commented on Emy and Peri's "clean" (as in shaven) faces in the new pix on the blog and website. Here's a reminder of what they look like hairy

               Emy                                        Peri

Here's hoping everyone stays safe and warm!

No Doubt about Emy Now         Jan. 2, 2014

Two weeks ago, when I took Emy in for her ultrasound, I had serious doubts that she was pregnant. And the sonogram photo I posted showed only two teeny, tiny fetuses which the vet had to spend some time searching for. About 9-10 days later, I glanced at Em and thought "Wow! She's really getting big!"

I had Peri scheduled for an ultrasound a week from today, on the off chance that Sparky got the job done even though he wasn't feeling well and had hours of surgery a few days later, but, I've decided to save the money (and even with MY vets, ultrasound ain't cheap) and let nature take its course.

When I let the dogs out in yesterday's now almost forgotten 45 degree, sun shining weather, five went out into the yard. A couple minutes later, when I went out on the deck, camera in hand, five joined me on the deck and camped out around my feet. I'll never learn. Eventually, I put Sparky and Squirt (a little PomPoo rescue) back in the house and sort of got firm with Em, Peri and Di.

Most of you know, Emy and Peri are full sisters... Em is 6-1/2 (which could account for her getting so big so quickly) and Peri just turned 3. Nine and a half year old Diamond is their mom and Brogue is their dad. The girls look so much alike... except Peri is 10-12 pounds less and an inch or two shorter... a 3 year old little girl at the groomer asked me how I could tell them apart. (She also asked if I had a sore arm because I was using a cane, but was satisfied when I told her I had a sore LEG and the cane was my third leg.)

Emy's reservation list has one slot open, for a female pup.
Just in case you know someone interested....

Once More into the Fray         Jan. 1, 2014

HAPPY 2014!

Rescues, Cupcake and Buddy, recovering after a great New Year's Eve celebration...