Monday, 27 October 2014

Lodger and her little aliens

Watching and waiting for the girls to come into season, I am expecting them to all come into season in the next month and I think they will be pretty much on time as they have all started doing loads of scent marking wees on their walks, which is normally a pretty good indicator that their seasons are not too far around the corner.

Spirit will be going to Morse, which should hopefully give us a litter of phantoms, blacks, apricots and possibly reds. Audrey is going to a rather nice Russian boy, who resides in N.Ireland, this should give us a litter of apricots. I know that I am going to want to keep a pup from both these matings, but I am firmly keeping my sensible head on and will only be keeping a pup from Audrey, as it will give me an apricot pup with an unusual pedigree, which is one of my breeding objectives, and I can easily repeat Spirits mating at a later date and keep one then :-)

The kittens are now out and about and starting to explore, both are going to be super bold boys. Emily is enjoying her job of playing with them and these lucky boys have a great home lined up, together :-)

Monday, 13 October 2014

25 Years of living with the best dogs in the world :-)

I have just realised that this October marks the 25th anniversary of my living with Std Poodles! My love affair with the breed started on a family holiday to Devon (lived in Sunbury, Middx at the time). Whilst on that holiday we visited the White Hart Hotel in Moretonhampstead and sitting in the bar, looking like they owned the place, were 2 std poodles, a black and a blue. This was the first time I had seen poodles in the flesh and I was immediately smitten. My problem now was that I still lived at home and my parents did not want a dog, I just saw this as a minor hurdle.

I started mentioning the benefits of the breed, especially the fact that they didn't moult (a major point as I have had quite bad asthma all my life) and eventually when I asked my mum, if you were going to have a dog, what breed would you get? she answered, a poodle. I took this as a green light :-)

Not long after this, my parents went away for a weeks holiday. I got on the phone and started looking for a puppy (bearing in mind, there was no internet, I had no knowledge of the breed and my main criteria was that it should be local as I didn't drive), I got lucky and found Pauline Gibbs, Montravia Poodles, who lived about 20 miles away from me, and she had a litter of blacks who were ready to go. I persuaded a friend to drive me there and I came away with Montravia Donna Carlotta, or Josie as we called her. Needless to say, my parents were less than impressed when I told them I had a puppy, but fortunately they allowed me to keep her. Josie was a lovely, uncomplicated girl, she and I enjoyed obedience lessons with her and we competed successfully at a low level

It was 4 years later that Josie was mated, to another Montravia dog and my soul mate, Lilly, was born. Lilly was an incredible girl, fantastic temperament and a true athlete. Through her I met my best friend, Rosie and she introduced us to the sport of dog agility. Lilly was a complete natural and was probably one of the best poodles competing in the sport at the time, held back mainly by my inexperience she still managed to compete at intermediate and advanced level (as they were then). She was also a phenomenal water dog, and had I known about the sport of dock diving we would have had a go at it. The video clips are from the very beginning of her career (with Rosie and Rhonda's auntie, Libby in pairs), a show towards the end of her agility career and her last ever show where she came 4th in her class.

Lilly had her 1st litter of pups without incident, but her 2nd litter, to the same sire, had a problem. At about 4 weeks old it became apparent that they had a problem walking and that their front legs were not right, long story cut short but some of these pups had to be put to sleep at about 3 months old and two had ulna osteotomies ( surgery which involved taking a slice out of the ulna, which wasn't growing properly, to allow the radius to grow normally). The two were Bertie, owned by a friend, and Peggy who I kept myself. These two pups saw several specialists, including the now well known Noel Fitzpatrick (who was working out of a rented room at another vets practice, he has come on a bit from that!) and were made as comfortable as possible, living pretty normal lives with the help of numerous supplements and anti inflamatories. Both Peggy and Bertie made it to 10 years old when they both developed tumours and had to be put to sleep. Their issues were the catalyst for me looking at diet and vaccinations as possible causes of health issues and it was when they were pups that I started to feed a raw diet to my dogs.

None of the specialists that I saw about the pups could link the problem this litter had with a hereditary cause, so, bearing in mind that the 1st litter had been normal,  I decided to breed one more litter from Lilly as I really wanted to keep a pup from her to continue with my agility. I decided to play safe and use a completely different dog, but it wasn't to be and at 4 weeks old those beautiful pups started to show the same symptoms. This time I knew what had to be done and made the heartbreaking decision to have them all put to sleep, something I will never get over.

It was around this time that Rosie decided to get her 2nd std poodle and I went with her to see the pups, owned by Anita Bax. This is when I fell for toy poodles, prior to this I had always viewed them as nervy yappy dogs, but Anita's little back toys were just incredible, so bold and full of mischief, so I put my name down for a pup when one became available. Daphne was the pup that became my 1st toy, a cracking little girl who could jump from the ground straight into my arms. She was alo trained in agility, and was a great little dog, but her size was against her as she struggled to tip the seasaw and often had a real job to push through the cloth tunnel!

Daphne was the mother of my tiny toy Betty, who we lost earlier this year. This was to mark the end of my toy breeding as I have not met any other toys with the same spirit as my black girls (I know there are others out there, but I have yet to meet them)

I also have to blame Anita for introducing me to apricot std poodles, I saw her with her puppy, the future Ch Taladayga Miss Scarlett, at a ringcraft class and was besotted. I knew I would have to have a puppy from this girl. Just over two years later Scarlett had her pups, but I had just been widowed and was in no position to take on a puppy, so it was another two years before I fulfilled the need to have one of Scarletts pups, Rhonda was the beginning of my beautiful apricot line. I waited 4 years to get the puppy I wanted and am so glad that I did, I still maintain that it is worth waiting for the right pup and if necessary traveling miles to get it, as you are hopefully going to share your life with this dog for 12+ years.

I don't have any digital pics of my early dogs, but will try and find some prints and scan them in shortly. Needless to say, I hope that I will continue to own std poodles for another 25 years.

Friday, 10 October 2014

A bit of an emotional week

Boswell left us yesterday, he joins a family who already have a std poodle and an elderly goldie, he is such a smart pup and so eager to please. Normally when the pups leave at 8 weeks I find it fairly easy to wave them goodbye, having cleared up after them for several weeks, spent hours playing and socialising with them, and getting up at the crack of dawn to start their day, I am ready to get our home life back to normal again. However, once you have just one pup left they become a real member of the family, you see them as an individual, start doing basic training with them and start to see the dog that they will mature into, this makes it much harder to say goodby, no matter how good the home they are going to is, so today I find myself missing my little shadow, missing the fact that he could nip through the gate without me catching him and missing him offering behaviours for rewards. I have to remind myself that he will be relishing all the individual attention that he will now be getting, and the fact that I couldn't devote the time he deserves to be spent on him. So along with all the other pups that have left Itzapromise, I take pleasure in the knowledge that he is making his new family happy.

Just as a point of interest, you can see how the colour on these pups differs from a black, in the 2nd photo, not only is his face pale, his coat has a definite brown tinge (usual in blue pups)

At the beginning of the week we lost a much loved member of our household, Attila the Hen, Attila (a light sussex chicken) joined us 8 1/2 years ago with a brood of chicks, so we must assume she was at least a year old when we took her on, in the time that she was with us she proved to us just how delightful chickens can be, not only was she a very regular layer but she also reared a brood of chicks or ducklings every year, because she was so friendly she would frequently bring her babies into the house to show them off (we eventually had to fence the chickens off in the garden, as housetraing a chicken is not a task I am up to!!), she would 'help' me when I was digging the veg plot, virtually sitting on the fork whilst I dug to ensure she got any worms and would come running whenever anyone went up the garden. Towards the end of last week I noticed that although she came running for table scraps, she wasn't actually eating any, she just encouraged the chick that she had hatched this spring to grab anything tasty. By the beginning of this week, although she appeared happy and was still scratching around the garden, she had dropped a huge amount of weight and was starving herself. Normally I am fairly practical with my hens and a friend comes round to dispatch them and then feeds them to his ferrets (humane and avoids waste) but I couldn't do this with Attila, so she went to the vet who euthanised her and she has been buried in the veg plot.
On a brighter note, Harleys kittens are doing very well, growing fast even if they are a bit naked. We have given them nicknames, Julius and Brutus as they were born by caesarian section