January 7, 2008
& Palmer had
boys and 5 girls!
The "Shomberg Open" Litter
A few photographs of the new borns. Click on image for a larger version.
"The Pup-Date" from the "Shomberg Open"
Monday, February 11, 2008
This past week has seen a flurry of activity as the puppies are now moving into
their "I'm the leader" mode. Frankly, we have a new leader just about every day
and that is pretty normal for this age. They have to find out where they fit
into the pack just as they would if they were dogs in the wild. Normal progression
finds each puppy striving to find his or her rank and continues in the weeks ahead
until someone typically moves to the front of the line; usually a bitch.
I find it interesting to always hear people giving me reasons why they feel one
gender is better than another as they give me their "I want" list with regard to
their puppy. And no matter how much I try to tell people that the females are not
the most affectionate, and "no" -- they aren't always nurturing and soft, it
always seems that there are those few who feel they know far more than I do after
36 years with these dogs. Then there are those who always want the same dog that
they had years ago because he/she was so wonderful. Make no mistake; God doesn't
deal in "duplicates" here any more than he does with humans. And so, I watch the
story un-fold and I study that pecking order carefully because in the end there
is a great deal at stake when I place these puppies in the arms of a new owner
who doesn't have a clue as to how this puppy's mind works.
This morning found me rescuing Birdie as she went exploring and caught her legs
in the rungs of the baker's rack in the kitchen. She was terribly upset and I just
had to give her kisses and hugs to assure her that all was well and she would live
to see another day. Then we had slip and slide through the poop time with all of
the boys finding great fun in trying to see who could make the most footprints all
over the kitchen floor. Their sense of timing is amazing as I am quite sure that
they wait to see when my back is turned to begin their games. Tee was on her own
and didn't need anyone or any puppy to oversee her. She is definitely her own
"being" and doesn't care much for having anyone or any other puppy trying to
curb her activities. Pulling apart the cardboard soda containers made for interesting
playtime as bottles roll and that is just the best fun.
In their new kitchen playground, I find them under the edge of the cupboards,
pulling at the edges of the tablecloth, and examining every available nook and
cranny to fill their time with excitement, as toys take a backseat. And, oh yes,
then there is the refrigerator cord that for
some reason is attractive to every single puppy in every litter I have ever bred.
Go figure! Like I really need a GSP with a curly coat! So, as I do the two-step
to make my way across the kitchen I am followed by these little souls who, in the
span of mere moments, can make me question why I go through all this, and then can
fill my heart and make me laugh. Well -- at the end of every day, as I watch them
curl up and fall sound asleep, I realize that they only do what they need to do in
order to learn about their world. Just as it is with human children it isn't about
the mistakes they make along the way, but more about the learning experiences along
life's journey. As for us it's more about how they enrich our lives just by being
in it. How lucky are we!
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
The puppies are growing so fast and time is passing so quickly that it is hard
to imagine that they will be leaving in 4 weeks. They have been so sweet and
easy to this point but I do not kid myself into thinking that it will be a walk
in the park as they now have their feet under them and are moving quickly. They
no longer take measured steps but move quickly to their objectives and seem to
investigate every little thing they encounter.
During the wee hours of this morning I was awakened by sounds that didn't seem
"normal" and so I bounded off my makeshift bed (the sofa) to see what was happening.
Having only a night-light and some ornamental lighted greenery on the TV cabinet
to give me some light, I looked into the dining room and saw puppies running
everywhere. An escape! Now, if you think that catching 11 puppies in a darkened
room at 3 a.m. is easy -- think again. I chose to keep the lights down because
Monroe was with her brood in the same room and they were quietly sleeping with
mom so I felt it best to keep the chaos to a minimum. I am quite sure that the
whole scene would have made for comic relief as I scurried around the boxes,
the lamps and my puppy supplies snatching up wayward pups and returning them
to their "yard" and the safety of their box. They seemed to enjoy the adventure
and I was given a multitude of licks and kisses in return. Finally all 11 escapees
were back in their enclosure. I was able to return to get a few additional hours
of sleep, which isn't the greatest on a sofa unless you happen to be a man who has
just eaten Thanksgiving dinner!
The puppies have also had their first kitchen experience, which always makes for
fun and quite a few clean-ups. I was prepared months ago with numerous mops, buckets,
a swiffer and loads of paper towels. But somehow -- you're just never ready for 11
scampering pups as they take over your kitchen as they run in 11 different directions.
These puppies are so outgoing and so on-the-move that I have no doubt at all they
will give their new owners many interesting adventures as they grow to adulthood.
They are independent and good-natured and enjoy being held by whoever chooses to
shower them with attention.
I am beginning to see the pecking order evolve as various puppies compete
for their ranking within their pack. I am very aware of their efforts at
one-upmanship and though it is a very normal course of events, it will surely
be interesting in the weeks ahead to see who becomes the leader and who challenges
that rank. In the meantime I simply enjoy watching personalities become more
apparent and shower them with the love they need and deserve and this is the
very best part of being a breeder.
Monday, January 28, 2008:
At week three the puppies are growing fast and are now becoming much more steady
on their feet. They now prefer to walk out into their "yard" to eliminate and it is
comical to watch such little souls as do their big dog thing. Being short and so low
to the paper makes it all the easier. Even during the night they scramble out of the
box and I hear tiny feet tapping across the paper and then back again. What smart babies!
Maggie continues to stay with them during the night and they are all quite quiet
and content most of the night aside from an occasional play period when one puppy
seems to think everyone should be up and playing. It only lasts a short time and then
everyone is back to mom and bedded down once again.
With eyes open since last weekend they now have a pretty good idea as to what and who
is in their world. They play with one another and ears and tails are favorite objects
to bite. Sure-footedness isn't their strong suit just yet so we have a great amount
of rolling one another throughout the box. It's never boring to watch them play and
it amazes me when I begin to see personalities emerging. Toys now added into the mix
will grab their attention and provide added stimulation needed at this age.
Avalon is vocal and easily registers her complaints when provoked, as she is no
shrinking violet. Tee is more ladylike, quiet and observant as she watches everything
and everyone around her. Augusta is a cuddler who loves to give kisses and she just
loves to be held as do Ryder and Woods; both very affectionate and outgoing. Eagle is
just happy to be alive and he is so easygoing and pleasant. Fairway is somewhat more
quiet yet playful and she too loves attention whether it is from a sibling or me.
Irons has found his "bark" and he makes sure that everyone knows he is up for play a
nd Bogey is always ready to join in; a very loving little guy and accepting when being
held for nail clipping, etc. Birdie was very vocal when born but has since become a
more mellow spirit. She loves to be held and spoken to softly and will fall fast
asleep in your arms if you choose to hold her for very long. Caddy is just a
sweetheart and he simply loves attention and comes to me when I call him, which
is pretty good for 3 weeks old. But, he knows he is going to get some cuddling
so he is always ready to oblige and he shares his kisses readily.
I am very impressed with their sweet temperaments that are evolving at such an early age.
Their structure is just lovely and I find myself admiring everything about them.
When you see good shoulders and fronts, long necks, level toplines and beautiful heads
at this early age, you can be assured that this was a strong combination that has brought
forward the best characteristics of both mother and father. I am thrilled with these
puppies and Steve, Bev and John are equally impressed by the quality that is so obvious
as we watch them develop. "Grandma Stephanie" is so far away in Alabama and she is just
longing to see them and hold them; wishing that we lived a bit closer. She too is happy
to know that they are happy, healthy and so much loved and she stays in touch frequently
to hear about them and be told about their latest adventures. It doesn't hurt that these puppies are just so darn sweet and fun to love and it makes my "job" so very wonderful in every way.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008:
The puppies' eyes have almost all opened and just a few will completely be opened by day's end.
They are very active and are pushing themselves onto their little feet as they attempt
to go everywhere in their box and for some -- beyond. The past few nights have found me
"rescuing" wayward travelers as they chose to escape the confines of their whelping box
only to find they are alone and not at all familiar with the new surroundings. A half-hearted
wail tells me that they are anxious to return to their siblings and the comfort of the thick
warm bedding in their box. Maggie doesn't fret, as she knows that I am quick on the
re-location efforts and she just patiently lays with her brood as I return the little
adventurer to the box.
The are vigorous with their nursing and leave no plates un-attended at the dinner table.
The result is robust little critters with full bellies who are content to sleep
throughout most of their day. As always, Maggie is attentive to their every whimper
and every need. Being held close to my chest now seems to be a welcome diversion and
they easily fall asleep after a short session of appreciative licking of my chin.
As I speak to them I am seeing their ears lift and tiny eyes look at me as if to question
why I am actually speaking to them. It's very amusing to watch their reactions to my voice
as I speak to them in soft tones and cuddle them as they fall limp into my arms. They know
they are loved and feel safe and their body language assures me of this.
It is time for their "yard" to be assembled and added to their box, as they are now
capable of moving about and relieving themselves without Maggie's stimulation. This
means that they will very quickly learn to move from their box and onto the paper
surface in their yard when nature calls. Even at this early age there is a reluctance
to soil their bedding and this allows them to opportunity to move about and become more
comfortable in their enlarged surroundings. I am convinced that this also encourages
them with their eventual house training as they learn that there is a place to go and
a place not to soil. Their instincts are amazing, even at this very early age. It is
a simple matter of providing them with what they need to handle the situation now at
hand, albeit ever so small a task at the moment.
They are growing very fast and have tripled in size with a very healthy appearance overall.
They are beautiful and just terribly sweet. This is the very best part of my time with
them as they are incredibly dependant and still in need of so much care. It is my extreme
pleasure and a blessing to share my days with them and I am so very happy to oblige their
Wednesday, January 16, 2008:
Maggie and puppies are doing great and I am happy to report that they are growing
like little weeds and seem like a very content group overall. Weigh-ins were the
order of the day on Sunday and every single puppy gained at least a half pound and
some a few extra ounces more.
Our junior handler, "Tayler," who is also John & Bev's granddaughter,
assisted me with weighing and marking the book as we assigned a special name to each
squirming pup. We chose their names as it seemed to suit their personality and body
markings and feel that we now have individual personalities to watch over the next
few weeks. Matt & Mary will be taking some individual pictures very soon and so
you will be able to meet them and view their names. The puppy chart will follow so
that everyone will find it easier to know each one personally.
The puppies nurse regularly and Maggie has plenty of good quality milk as they are
thriving. Each of them now move about their box and they are already beginning to
push themselves up on their feet. Tails are healed and look great. I am also beginning
to see a great deal of eye movement behind their tiny lids as they prepare to open in a
few more days. It is when their eyes and ears open that I am able to begin seeing their
individual personalities as they evolve. This is when the fun truly begins.
Maggie is an excellent mother and their box is spotless as she cleans them
continually. Very soon they will be able to eliminate on their own and then
her chores expand as do my own. But as always Maggie is loving and attentive
and with every squeak there is a "check" to make sure that everything in their
world is just fine.
Looking forward to the weeks ahead I will try to make sure that you have the
opportunity to get to know every puppy and follow their antics as they begin
to know the world around them and the people who will love and care for them.
Puppies will be placed in exceptional homes where they will be loved and valued.
We welcome inquiries, but request that all interested parties first read through
the pages outlining our puppy placement practices
and philosophy. Priority will be
given to those who will provide the many opportunities for them to excel and
achieve their full potential. And as always -- they are to be "family
members" first and foremost.