Archive for wendyllbehrend

What a difference a day makes . . .

7 September 2020

This is Piccolo’s second litter and I had complete progesterone results to compare from her first litter, as I studied her numbers with the hope of targeting a potential whelping date.  Incredible that I had matching numbers for two cycles with which to work – and I was able to identify the exact arrival date, but not the time!

Piccolo’s puppies in utero. It’s a bellyful! 2 Sept 2020.

Midwife Mattiace arrived on Friday, just before noon.  Her participation is always highly appreciated, valued and anticipated, as she’s been with me for several litters and has seen me at my best and at my worst.  As always, she arrived loaded with victuals including my favorite bocconcini, pasture raised meats, chipotle marinated chicken breast and hot dogs for Labor Day.  NORMALLY, Lady Cheryl brings my absolute favorite scampi – but this time?  There was no time to make it.  Cheryl’s even more of an angel to have come to help THIS TIME, as she’d just returned from a 19 day trip out of town and had family obligations the day before driving to Stowe.  But true to form!  She arrived on Friday at noon and found me during the tail end of puppy preparation.

Andy, Julius and WB. 23 August 2020.

We ate well that evening, even better than expected, as Jen, Andy, Paige and Julius came over for a barbie in the courtyard and they brought even more culinary delights, not to mention a cooler full of micro brews.

Without the micro brews the night before and without a full stomach, the arrival of the puppies might have been a bit less chaotic, as I woke up stressed out, not having had a chance to get the puppy scale or the emergency supplies into position.  The whelping room was a little too warm – as I’d not managed to finesse the ideal whelping room temp – and I was out cold, thanks to the soporific effect of the hops in whatever it was Andy served me at dinner which I willingly drank.  ;>)

Scampi and puppies – what could possibly be more fun?

Friday evening was my first night on the blow up mattress in the kitchen hallway.  Piccolo wanted to sleep upstairs with Cheryl, which is where Pic and I had been sleeping for the duration of her gestation – and I’m of the belief that within reason, you give the pregnant dog what she wants including her choice of bedroom.  Lights went out (and I mean OUT) around 11pm?  Pic woke me around 1am to potty but I couldn’t find her and she couldn’t open Cheryl’s bedroom door . . .  so, Cheryl must have opened it for her, as she made her way down the stairs & right to my bed and I let her out to potty.  Back upstairs she waddled and into Cheryl’s bedroom and I gratefully hit the pillow again.

Incubator and oxygen concentration units set up and ready to go, at the flick of a switch. 4am, 5 Sept 2020.

Next thing I knew, I thought I heard, ‘We have a puppy’.  The call to arms came around 3:40am and I was still hop-influenced, knowing that I’d not finessed the whelping room – but Cheryl’s participated in enough whelpings to know that if she picked up the puppy?  The mummy dog would follow her anywhere.  So, down came Cheryl, puppy in hand and with lovely Piccolo eagerly following her human guide.  The whelping room was waitin, although I was NOT – but I had my hands on the puppy scale by then, my clipboard had been ready for days as I’d been taking behavioral notes and then, Lady Cheryl and I took our positions to wait for the next puppy.

We named the first puppy Surprise! and took our positions in the whelping room to wait for the second puppy to arrive.  Within 45 minutes, we had him.  By 8am, we were through; exhausted, exhilarated and excited to have landed them all.  That was ‘Day Zero’ and it was September 5, the day estimated by my progesterone analysis!  (In my world, the birth day is considered to be ‘Day Zero’, with the first full day of life considered to be ‘Day One’.)

Today is Day Two.  It is September 7 and 48+ hours from birth, everyone weighed in this morning having gained an average of 30% since birth.  We have our working names – they’re not great but each has a story.  Surprise! was the first to arrive and I love her working name.

Satisfied and exhausted, our dear Lady Piccolo and her puppies by Leo. Day Zero, 5 Sept 2020.

We’ve started to finesse who might be going where, based upon the wishes and wants of our peeps.  We have wonderful peeps; folks who believe in us and who have the patience to give us the time to breed, raise and deliver their new family members.

Our work has begun.  We remain in quarantine until Columbus Day weekend.  If we have your application, whether for early or late 2021, know that we will next be accepting visitors by appointment during the last two weeks of October 2020.

Congratulations to Leo and Piccolo!  We are so pleased to welcome their puppies into this world.  Hey, Leo!!  You’re a daddy, big boy!

Yours truly and with love to all!

WB.

 

How I spent my summer by Piper

24 August 2020

Piper in paradise, on her summer holiday. 20 July 2020.

In early June, I received a call from a good friend who had managed to cross the border from Quebec into Vermont, make his way down to NYC to grab his daughter and return to Stowe.  His daughter wanted out of Manhattan (for good reason) and found herself solo in a house that she knew well, on a great property but very much missing interpersonal interaction.  So, she asked for a dog.  These folks have Whittaker (Billie’s brother and Yogi’s sire) and have had Tibetans for many years.  Every family member knows the importance of brushing a TT, immediately attending to snarls and the importance of keeping the coat clean, if you want to enjoy a happy healthy Tibetan Terrier in full coat.  So, I offered the lovely Pipes to his daughter and sent her on a summer holiday up in paradise.  She’s only ten minutes away and I’ve enjoyed my weekly visits for the best cappuccinos in town.  ;>)

Maxfield Parrish Piper. Sunset over Mount Mansfield, 2 July 2020.

Recently, I received the letter below from the lovely Pipes and wanted to share her story with all of you.

Hi Wendyll,

Oh boy, oh boy (or should I say Oh girl, oh girl), was yesterday fun!  We went on a hike at the ski mountain.  We were planning on doing the Haselton trail but once we were about to start, SR changed her mind and we hiked Switchback the whole way up to the top of Mount Mansfield, the tallest mountain in Vermont!  The Haselton trail is a woodsy trail and there are river beds and some challenging parts for us small ladies.  Switchback is a cat track in the winter, so we knew it might be a bit easier in summer, even though I’m so good at walking on any surface (except water).  It was so hot, SR thought it would be better to hike up a real ski trail that she knows blindfolded and can ski backwards, forwards AND EVEN while spinning in winter.  SR didn’t let us spin though, because she didn’t want us to get dizzy.  I think she made a good decision because we were able to move to the side when we needed a break in the shade & for water, and we didn’t have to lie down in muddy areas if we needed a break.  She also knew at every point, how far up we were.  She was my sherpa!

Shade break. Summer 2020 in Stowe, Vermont.

We had a nice break in the shade.  SR always asked me to stay in the shady part while we were hiking instead of the direct sun.  I was so pooped, I plopped down.  SR took off a frisbee thingy from her bag and I told her this is no time for games, stop trying to make fetch happen, I’m not interested in your tennis balls or your frisbee.  But then she showed me it was a bowl!  And she took out her water bottle and poured me a nice drink.  She told me we were halfway up the mountain and that we already passed the steepest part.  After our break I told her I wanted to continue to the top, since hiking up is easier than going down, especially since it was about to get easier and we were so close.  Why give up now but still have to hike the same amount either way!

So we continued on our journey, with frequent water breaks.  That girl is so demanding, she kept stopping and asking me to drink water.  Drink your own water human, I want to get to the finish line.  But I drank the water and then tipped the bowl over and onto her shoes to tell her come on, let’s go already.  She doesn’t like wet feet either but she wasn’t mad at me, because really, who could ever get mad at my cute face.  I can get away with murder – well the murder was of a worm poking out of the ground but that’s a story for another day.  Ok, I’ll tell you the story now.  I like to attack/play with worms and then roll on top of them to celebrate.  And if I remember where it was, the next day?  I pee on them.

We found mini strawberries on Mount Mansfield!

Taking in the view with SR. Summer 2020.

We made it to the top of Gondolier where I saw the waterfall!  We saw a Lab and its humans hiking down in the distance, but I’m a very good social and physical distancer – so, we steered clear of them.

Then, we made made it to the tippy top!  We took in the views but decided not to hike to The Chin.  I’m so happy we made it to the top.  I love my hikes with SR!  This one was better than the one we did up to Sterling Pond from the Notch.

We took the gondola down.  I have a top secret special pass that lets me on.  There were signs that told you where to stand in line to get on the gondola that made sure every group physically distanced themselves from each other.  You were only allowed to stand next to a sign and then go up to the next sign once that sign didn’t have people next to it, and only 1 group per gondola.  There were no people so we walked all the way to the front where a man in a mask put hand sanitizer on SR and then we went inside.  He didn’t sanitize her feet but only her hands, which is silly in my opinion because it’s her feet that get dirty from walking on the dirt.  My front paws AND back paws get wiped down but now I’m going to tell SR to only wipe my front paws going forward, or maybe they don’t need to get wiped at all because they don’t touch my face (except when I’m rubbing my face with my paws which I only do sometimes which SR thinks is too cute and then she tries to scratch the part she thinks is itchy).   All the windows were open in the gondola but SR still wore her mask inside.

On Golden Pond – except up here? We call it Sterling Pond. Summer 2020.

We got back into the car and SR blasted the AC.  I sit so regally in the car and have my face in view of the AC to get the breeze on my face.  I was told my brother Whittaker likes to put his front paws and face on the front center console between the seats so that his private parts gets the full blast of the AC breeze.  He seems like a funny guy.  Maybe one day we will get to smell each other and play.  But he’s stuck in Montreal with Freddie and his humans and I’m keeping SR company down here in Stowe.

We got back home and my tongue is normal size again!  I am very excited for a bath this week.  Maybe SR won’t tell me to get off her bed right after I jump on after she just changed her sheets next week when I’m nice and clean again.  I was just helping out with the chores though, I needed to make it comfy for her.  I guess that’s why she showers before getting into her bed, too.  I supervise her to make sure she’s ok in all that water and she told me it’s a bit creepy when I stare at her in there, so now I just lay on the bath mat and look the other way but listen to make sure she’s ok and that she doesn’t forget to use soap.

Clean and ready for bed. Camp sure is great! Summer 2020.

Hugs and kisses,

Piper B.

Obviously, Piper’s having a terrific time in paradise and so, we’re going to visit on Wednesday.  And because Piccolo is in quarantine, I’ll be going with Jen, Andy, Paige and Julius for a play date.  We’ll be sure to shoot video for YouTube, as the kids are going to have an opportunity for HUGE play on ten fenced acres with two ponds, gardens and huge shade trees.  Great fun WILL be had by all and we’ll keep you posted.  Enjoy what’s left of summer 2020!

Yours truly,

WB.

Kristof arrived, Questa x Ziva puppies have left and Koko & I have begun agility!

18 July 2020

Hallo, peeps!

Paige, as always, perfectly groomed with my hoodlum Campari, always ready for an athletic adventure

Never a dull moment, over here at Kensington Palace.  I kid you not.  Since I last reached out to you, Campari has left and gone to Kentucky, Questa was wicketed at 16″, Xtremely Yvette has returned, Kristof has arrived from Slovakia, Piper has gone on holiday, Ziva’s been re-homed and her puppies have left for their new forever families in Nashville, Virginia and Massachusetts.

And on top of that?  Yogi’s moved in with the lovely retired ER nurses who have Emmett and Sophie up in Milton, VT.

Oh, and we drove 3100 miles to breed Leo x Piccolo.  Holy cow.

Pre-Covid. Cooking together and enjoying the porch!

You want to see pictures?  I’ve got some to share.  And videos, too.

Meanwhile, here’s the update:

Leo was bred to Piccolo and she’s showing signs of the breeding having taken . . .  sleeping a lot and being REALLY cuddly.

Layla is with us for another three weeks, as her VA humans asked for her to be trained and socialized with her pack of aunties, while Lady Melanie recuperates.

Weeds have taken over my dwarf conifer garden but I am committed to evening weeding for the next four nights and believe that I will win this battle, too.

Kristof with his beloved Tomas. In Slovakia. Hope he likes these US of Amerika.

The Crested Polish ladies are suffering with the stress of overnight road construction and some of their eggs are misshapen.  A sign of stress and not something of which I am proud.  M’ladies!  Dreadful.  No matter how many ‘day old’ apples and veggies I can buy at Market Basket?  It’s not enough.  Stress in all of God’s creatures leads to deformity.  I am convinced.

Lady Bernadette had a birthday this weekend and we want to toast her good health and fabulous attitude.  She helps us in ways more than she knows.

And we also toast handsome Andrew and his lovely lady, JL.  They’ve encouraged me to get into the agility ring and next?  Andrew and I are going to compete in Conformation together.  He will show Kristof and I will show Yvette.

Next week, Questa and Campari will compete in Pennsylvania.  There are something like 90+ Goldens, 70+ Frenchies and ~ 6 Tibetans entered.  Good to know that we’re still under the radar.  ;>)

Piccolo’s ultrasound is scheduled at Dr. Rossi’s on 12 August.  Ssshhh.  Don’t tell anyone.  ;>)

Love to all of you!  Please let me know that you are well.  You know that we LOVE hearing from you.

Yours truly!

 

Hey, everyone – Annabel’s famous! From Facebook to television!

26 May 2020

Luke and Moseley (one of Annabel’s brothers) paddle boarding in Massachusetts. They live in Northampton, MA.

I know that many of us scorn aspects of Facebook and some refuse to participate.  Myself?  I find that it’s a great way to reach out to folks who are interested in what I’m doing but may not know me personally.  I use Wagging Tales at Kensington as my more ‘intimate’ platform for sharing stories with Kensington peeps.  It’s a closed page, designed for members only.  And there’s the Kensington Tibetan Terriers page, where I post the comings and goings of my breeding program and everyone can stay informed.  And then, there’s my personal page, where my friends from all aspects of my life are joined and can learn of my more personal daily ‘comings and goings’ – but never any politics!

Annabel with Claire Coppola, taking Best of Breed on 11 October 2015.

There is a Tibetan Terrier group page on Facebook and for the last couple of months, we’ve been following The Misadventures of Annabel.  Annabel is a gorgeous example of our breed and her daddy, Michael (GRCHG RinChen’s Blazing Black Icon) was the #1 Tibetan Terrier in the US in 2013.

I bred Annabel, because in 2013, Claire Coppola approached me and suggested the idea.  Claire had seen my lovely sable Coppi (CH Kensington’s Copper Goddess) in the show ring and it was time for Claire to find a gorgeous female and ‘prove’ her #1 US TT GRCHG RinChen’s Blazing Black Icon, Michael.  Claire wanted to know whether I’d consider using him as a stud dog, as he wasn’t yet ‘proven’ and it took me very little time to say, yes, as he’d already caught my eye in the show ring.  And frankly, I was being approached by the woman who bred the #1 2013 US TT.  Think about it.  ;>)

The lovely Miss Alice, with newly born Michael x Coppi puppies. 9 December 2013.

So, I bred Michael with Coppi and they produced five puppies, three of whom were sable.  Billie Jean was my pick, Whittaker was my mentor’s pick and Annabel was Claire’s pick.  Ironically, we all got what we wanted and that NEVER happens, without some negotiation.  That Michael x Coppi litter produced three AKC Champions, one Bronze Champion and made Coppi a Register Bitch of Merit in one litter.  Annabel was released as a puppy at ten weeks to go and live with Claire in New Jersey, earn her AKC CH title and then, she was bred.  In 2018, Annabel came back to me in Vermont and she re-joined her pack.  We loved having her live with us and I bred her twice, myself.  When it became time to retire her highness, I needed to find Annabel the most wonderful forever home that I could, so that Claire would feel good about the situation, too.

Annabel with Judi & Friends in her new forever home. May 2019.

Enter Judi Fisher of Panton, VT.  Judi came to visit us in Stowe with a friend of hers who was interested in a Kensington puppy and Judi wanted to ‘come along for the ride’.  Ironically, she fell in love with Annabel and when all was said and done, Claire gave us her blessing & Annabel happily moved in with Judi.

Then, came Covid-19.  And Judi’s blog on Facebook.  Annabel has an international following of folks who begin their days with Judi’s latest post and the cast of characters is amusing, while the content has me laughing out loud and regularly.  If you’re unfamiliar with Annabel’s trials and tribulations, you might like to watch the clip via the link below:

https://www.wcax.com/content/news/Tibetan-terrier-finds-fame-on-blog-570751441.html?fbclid=IwAR00BNsY-EG9Fo7re-1pjcibVZOVwelwH878AbQeFi_-PngaIlrSqrF1ADY

Whittaker, Annabel’s brother, watching his grandson at Westminster. February, 2019.

Judi’s made Annabel famous!  Tonight, I will watch the clip on the big tv in the living room with Billie (Annabel’s sister and one of my Westminster competitors), Koko (Annabel’s cousin), Piccolo (Annabel’s niece) and Piper, Annabel’s half sister by a different mum – but the same daddy: GRCHG RinChen’s Blazing Black Icon.  Kensington dogs love to watch television, especially Koko and Billie Jean.  Well, Whittaker, too.  And some of them sing, while others yodel.

I hope you enjoy the story.  It’s a charmer.

Yours truly!

WB.

Come ZOOM with us tonight at 5pm EST

21 May 2020

Day One: 6 May 2020. Born on Cinco de Mayo, they are Diego, No Way Jose, Poncho, Luisa, Fiesta and ???

We have Questa x Ziva’s puppies in my kitchen office and they are sixteen days old, today.  Puppies are born premature and incompletely developed, which is why the mum licks them to evacuate their bowels and urinate for their first few weeks of life – their senses of sight and hearing are not fully developed until weeks after birth – and their skeletal and muscular physiology is immature, too.  Hence, the ‘guinea pig’ look, until they are five or six weeks old.

This afternoon, we’d like to invite you to meet our little buggers.  They’ll probably be a little ‘whiny’ – they might be sleeping – but it’s an important time in their development, as their eyes are beginning to open!  Ziva is proud of her babies and if we’re really lucky, she’ll join them in the whelping box.  But if not?  I’ll have her and them on a flannel blankie and you can meet them, while we maintain our quarantine safely.

All of these Kensington puppies have forever families and there are back up homes, if anything changes.  Piccolo’s not yet come into season and I’ve decided that just might be a good thing for me!  It will give me a couple of weeks in summertime between litters and maybe I’ll work on my tan lines.  ;>)

My sweet Cara Mia, born in 1992 and she left me in 2007. My little 16 pound Shalimar girl. I miss her, as I miss all of the sweet doggies I’ve lost.

Meanwhile, I know that a number of you are grieving the recent loss of a beloved dog and I wanted to point you toward a grief support group that is run by a terrific organization with whom I study specific veterinary topics through webinars.  If you’d like to explore the offerings by VetVine, please check this out: https://www.vetvine.com/article/657/vetvine-virtual-pet-loss-support-services

The link above will take you specifically to their grief support services – but you can also sign up for fabulous webinars about Lyme disease, kidney issues, nutrition and its link to disease – all sorts of things!

I’m going to keep this short – as I’d like to get this announcement into your mailboxes pronto.  Here’s the link to the ZOOM meeting:

Topic: Meet Questa x Ziva’s puppies
Time: May 21, 2020 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/9265423738?pwd=aUpnbjVhOVBzK1g3RGRhMC9jRUVBZz09

Meeting ID: 926 542 3738
Password: Kensington

Hope to see you later!

Yours truly,

WB.

Just when you thought you knew what came next . . .

7 May 2020

First minutes of life, out of the sac. Look at that head! Yogi x Annabel. Nee Bianca and now Susie. 18 March 2019.

Unlike my mentor Nina Wagner, never did I ever think that we’d use C-section as a tool in my breeding program.  But when you get a singleton puppy?  The puppy doesn’t secrete enough of the hormone that stimulates first stage labor and so, the procedure is very often used to get the puppy out safely and protect the life of the mum.  If you wait too long?  The puppy can begin to deteriorate and then, you have a dead puppy and a sick mummy dog.  Since it’s OBVIOUS that I wouldn’t ever want such an experience?  We had our first C-sections in March 2019, with singletons in Koko and Annabel, the ‘traumatized TT’ (if you’ve been following her posts on FB).  Annabel is Billie and Whittaker’s littermate, out of Michael x Coppi.  Those C-sections in March 2019 were my introduction to the world of repro surgery and every one has been a fine experience.  Until Ziva’s C-section on Cinco de Mayo, 2020.  Successful, yes.  Took a year off my life?  Maybe two.

Day One: 6 May 2020. Born on Cinco de Mayo, they are Diego, No Way Jose, Poncho, Luisa, Fiesta and ???

And it is now behind us, Tuesday’s C-section that brought six healthy and beautifully formed puppies into the world.  Thank you, Dr. Kelleher of Broadview Animal Hospital in Rochester, NH.  We had to go this route with my New Hampshire repro practice, as my Vermont repro practice wasn’t offering full repro services, especially surprise C-sections, and Ziva came early.  And of course, now?  They’ve just announced that they will be resuming full repro services, come Monday, 11 May 2020.  Just my luck!  Missed out by one week!

Lady Izabela played a pivotal role with the arrival of Kensington’s latest litter.  Not only did she care for Ziva and her babies during the three hour ride home from Broadview?  She cooked & fed me, managed the other four doggie ladies in the house and brought us flowers.  Izabela helped me manage ‘re-entry’ and covered for me, while I showered and napped on Wednesday morning.  I’m operating on three hours sleep last night, two hours sleep on Tuesday night and maybe three hours sleep on Monday night, when Lady Ziva experienced her most uncomfortable moments.  With so little sleep, I take lots of notes, knowing that surely!  I won’t remember much about these early days in the new puppies’ lives.

Izabela, our lovely Lady in White in Stowe with Billie, her girl puppy Campari and the lovely Piper, half sister to Billie (both out of Michael). October 2019.

The babies have gorgeous chests and I think they’ll all mature as charcoal or silver, just like their mum and dad.  Questa has now been ‘proven’, as we say, and that is important for his career as a fine stud dog.  My friend Earl Miller is using him this week with Dude’s mum, Bronte.  Questa’s in Kentucky with Yvette (Beckham x Ziva) and our handler Rebecca Bradley, while she shelters in place with her mum.  And Becky did all of the driving to and from the repro vet for Questa’s collection and shipment of his freshly collected and chilled semen.  Fingers crossed for a beautiful litter out of Questa x Bronte, come July 2020.

So, what else do I have to report?  I believe that these puppies are all spoken for – but it might be that we have a male available, as many of our peeps live in other parts of the country and while Mr. Virginia is excited to move forward and can drive to pick up his family’s new baby, it’s not clear that everyone else will be able to.  If we do have a male puppy available, I will let you folks know with a blog post, so that we can keep his availability reasonably private.

Today is Day Two and we have named three of the puppies.  We have Diego, No Way Jose and Poncho.  Poncho is fun to say and will be easy for the puppies to recognize, with its hard consonant and long vowel.  I’ve been thinking Lucia and Fiesta, for the females, and that leaves one more name needed for a boy pup.  In time, it will all become clear!

Dan, as cowboy, and Annette, as cowgirl. Halloween in Stowe, 2013.

So, to the day!  Everyone’s quiet here and that means that they’re all comfortable and well fed.  Campari’s on a week long play date with her friend, Miss Paige, and the lovely Lady Annette will be coming up for the weekend to help, I do believe, and staying over at Birch Hill with her man, Dan.  So great to be part of a community that helps me to breed and raise some of the most wonderful Tibetan Terriers on the planet.  I absolutely could not do what I do, without the love, support and care that my friends provide to me and my pack of thieves.  Thank you, all.  Let’s do another ZOOM call soon and I can introduce the new puppies to you all, personally.

Ramblings to keep us all entertained . . .

15 April 2020

How this girl stays bizzy. Obviously, this linen closet indicates WAY too much time spent in the laundry!

So, today may as well be Sunday, after yesterday’s ‘Sunday’, and before tomorrow’s ‘Sunday’ . . .

I’ve been cooking, washing & ironing bed linens, grooming dogs, making doggie treats and cleaning my house, with not much else to do.  Next on the agenda is to vacuum the carpeted stairs to the second floor and maybe even Spot Bot them.  And last night?  I went to bed with a blank head.  It was the weirdest thing but as I was drifting off to sleep, I lost track of the thought I had in my head and there was nothing left in its place.  I had nothing in mind.  I don’t know that I can remember a time when I had nothing in my head, just before dozing off.  We all yearn for a more complex lifestyle and for things to ‘get back to normal’.  I realized that my next credit card bill is going to be considerably lower than usual, as there’s been no dining out, nevermind impulse buying.  I’m following orders and ‘staying put’.

Veronika with Kristof (on the far left) and his littermates.

Those with the responsibility to do so have begun strategizing on how to get the show back on the proverbial road and how to slowly open things back up.  I know that they’re soon to do it in Vienna, Austria and that is especially exciting for me – you want to know why?  Because my friend and fellow TT breeder Veronika Kucerkova bred a sable male TT for me who was born in December 2019 and is now happily playing with his littermates outdoors in Slovakia, as we all wait for international air travel to eventually open back up.  Once that happens, we’ll be able to resume planning how to bring our new boy Kristof to Montreal and then, from Montreal to Stowe to join our pack of ladies.

TTCA 2019 National Specialty in Boxborough, MA. Award of Merit for GRCHB Questa, handled by Rebecca Bradley. Very exciting! May 2019.

It is ideal to have a stud dog in residence and that is how I started my breeding program.  Kensington’s foundation stud was CH Shalimar’s James of Kensington.  He sired his first litter in 2009; born on 19 March 2009.  GRCH Kensington’s Oliver Twist was my pick out of that first litter and he went on to become Kensington’s first Grand Champion.  Since then?  We’ve bred a bunch of Champions, five Grand Champions, two Bronze Champions and GRCHB Kesnginton’s Questa o Quella? is five points shy of achieving our first Silver Grand Championship title.  All very exciting but not helpful, if you don’t have a boy in the house when the girls come into season.

So, I chase boys around New England; something that would thoroughly embarrass my mother, if she were still alive.  But they are boy doggies – not humans – and I think that would embarrass her more!  As I’ve just about had it with ‘the chase’ (and the driving), I bred Questa to be our in house stud dog but he’s so gorgeous and successful out on the Conformation circuit, that he spends more time with his handler Rebecca Bradley than he does at home with me and the girls.

Kristof, as a very young puppy. Great chest, lovely movement and strong shoulders.

Having Kristof in the house will accomplish the goal of having a resident stud dog and as an Erbosedition boy?  His mostly unrelated pedigree will allow me to use him with all of the Kensington girls and then, breed whoever I keep in the future to the fabulous GRCHS Questa in order to maintain genetic diversity in the Kensington line and take advantage of Questa’s gorgeous structure and temperament.  Veronika’s Tibetans are similar in ‘style’ to mine and that means that I shouldn’t have to manage too many ‘surprises’ out of the future Erbosedition x Kensington breedings.  It sounds like a terrific plan to me and so, we are moving forward.

Who would have guessed that Alpha wanted my Christmas peppermint bark? ;>) 16 December 2018.

That said?  I now fully believe that the Questa x Ziva natural breeding on March 9th took, as Ziva’s belly is expanding nicely.  We await Piccolo coming into season and hers will be our second litter of puppies to release this summer.

Please know that all of our 2020 puppies already have forever homes and we don’t expect to have any puppies available to new applicants until 2021.  It takes time to develop a breeding program and also, an incredible amount of time to plan and raise a litter.  Literally, it starts with a seven or eight month cycle – then, the breeding – then, nine weeks for gestation – then, nine to ten weeks for socialization of the puppies and then?  Your new life with your new puppy will begin.  Even if I could speed things up, I wouldn’t be able to do it my way, with more than three or four litters annually – and that’s why Kensington peeps choose to wait.

I have scheduled Ziva’s XRAY for Wednesday, May 6th, down at Broadview Animal Hospital in Rochester, NH to count puppy skeletons.  This is going to be a very long three weeks!  She’s eating like a horse and stole raw beef off of the counter, yesterday.  Chunks of raw beef were air drying, before freezing, slicing and drying them in the AGA for special beef treats.  Well, Lady Ziva stretched tall on her hind legs and got at least four chunks into her mouth and down the hatch they went!  Pregnant girls often get into things and I’ve lost chicken sandwiches, raw salmon filets and other edibles off of the kitchen counter in the past.  You’d think that I’d learn!  But, non – apparently, I have yet to learn that lesson.

OMG. I saw this and thought it was hilarious.

Thank you all for checking in on us.  Thank you for sewing & sending masks to me and for your cartoon text messages & letters by  mail.  We remain well & happy and I am grateful.  The stonemason will begin working in the courtyard next week to fix the big holes to China that Campari & Piccolo have been digging.  Campari went down a hole and got stuck under the porch floor last week and I had to remove the snow grate, in order to get her out.  FORTUNATELY, she did not like the experience and I do not think it will happen again with her . . .  but . . .  action needs to be taken and the lovely courtyard pea gravel will soon be replaced by a Vermont quaried slate patio that will be inpenetrable to doggie paws!

WB, caught in a Harry Potter moment with Mojo dancing on the floor and Leopold, in the crook of my arm.

Never a dull moment, up here at Kensington Palace.  Only wish we had a changing of the guard to keep me entertained.  ;>)

We hope that you’re all hanging in there, while safely sheltering in place.  This will soon be behind us and slow & steady is the way to go.  That is also the way that you climb a mountain.  ;>)

May you all stay safe & remain healthy.  Let’s ZOOM again, soon – that last time was fun!  Thank you for your interest in my breeding program and for staying in touch.

Yours truly,

WB.

How our lifestyles have shifted, for the moment . . .

10 April 2020

Canadienne Emilie-Claire sings ‘Seule ce soir’.

Emilie-Claire Barlow sings a lovely version of C’est Si Bon on her album Seule ce soir from 2012.  Translated, it means ‘alone tonight’, as many of us are during these curious times.  Lately, I’ve had my Google Assistant playing Brazilian Jazz and I get great bossanova, when I ask for Brazilian Jazz.  As I’m not an Alexa user, I may have lost half of you already.  Suffice it to say that my home lifestyle is much more predictable than it used to be and by late afternoon?  I am stir crazy, every day.

The Notch Road in Stowe. The original smuggling route between northern Vermont and Quebec.

How things have changed!  I spend my days with the dogs and they are LOVING that!  We’ve been hiking the snow covered Notch Road every morning and I rotate the older girls, so that everyone gets to come at least twice each week.  Now, we’re losing the snow and one of my forever families has graciously allowed me to walk their Stowe property, while they are sequestered north of the border.  I don’t have to worry about contact with any other humans and five times around the pond equals one mile.  Yesterday, it was twice around in one direction and twice around in the other.  This afternoon?  We’ll do five laps.

I cook as normal – well – sort of.  So far today?  I’ve made ghee, hollandaise sauce and am working on a white bean soup with smoked turkey.  I’m cooking through my freezer (and the lamb I bought in November 2019) and don’t go to the grocery store anymore.  Instead of my beloved Market Basket runs, I order online from Stowe Seafood & Meat Market (great veal chops), Stowe Bee Bakery (peanut butter cookies), Snug Valley Farm (for beef and pork) and Pete’s Greens (my weekly localvore veggie share plus dairy).  I’ve always had a fully stocked pantry – it’s how I grew up – with at least one freezer and a second fridge, and it’s finally proven to be my saving grace.  You’d think that I had food responsibility for six people – but, non.  It is only me and les chiens.  And most nights?  It is ‘Seule ce Soir’.  ;>)  Oh, but don’t forget the birdies.  My Crested Polish hens are laying four eggs daily!  (and eating all of my veggie and fruit scraps)

Rebecca Bradley with GRCH Kensington’s Questa o Quella?. In the ring at Westminster, 11 February 2019.

Before Becky left for Kentucky to be with her mother, we swapped Campari for Yvette.  On Monday, March 16, Becky left with Questa and Yvette.  Campari, my nine month old sable female, temporarily retired from her show career with both necessary Majors won and five points to go toward her CH title.  And Questa’s show career is on hold with the same number of points needed for his silver Grand Championship title (GRCHS).  All is temporarily up in the air, for now.  No dog shows; no TTCA National and no BCTTC Specialty in Wrentham.  But there is word that Camille is working on an alternative site for a celebration of the 2019 US Top 20 Tibetan Terriers.  And once we know where that will be held?  I will let you all know.  It is a wonderful thing to watch, with owners and handlers presenting some of the most beautiful Tibetan Terriers in the world for everyone to enjoy.  Last year?  Kensington peeps and fans shared a table and watched the parade in Boxborough, Massachusetts.  This year?  Questa will be in the parade, as he finished the year as the #6 US Tibetan Terrier.  I, for one, am hoping for a New Jersey venue, as it would be considerably easier than getting to Florida in June, where the event was originally scheduled.

Kensington peeps living their lives by breaking bread (and sharing libations). Naples, FL. 2019.

There are different things on everyone’s minds right now and each situation varies.  I’ve been taking calls from Kensington and Shalimar peeps who are wanting to formalize their estate plans to include their dogs.  I think this is ALWAYS wise and have a separate bank account with instructions for Lady Cheryl, for when MY time comes.  You should all think about this, as it is wise to have written plans for each of your loved ones, including those with four legs.  I have agreed to take a number of adult Tibetans, if and when need be.  I will be following the directives of the humans and preparing to open Kensington Palace to some new furry friends, whether that means this year, five years or even ten years from now.

Ziva’s March 2019 puppies by Yogi.

Additionally, I’ve been fielding countless inquiries (and I DO mean ‘countless’) from folks looking for a puppy because they are now sequestered at home for the foreseeable future and believe that it would be the perfect time to bring a puppy into their home lives.  But the problem is that demand for TT puppies has gone off the charts and none of the responsible breeders with whom I work has/have any puppies available now or expected to be available in the near future.  One breeder is pausing her program, until the Coronavirus pandemic runs its course and we find ourselves on the other side.  For her?  It makes sense.  But for me?  I am moving forward, as I feel an obligation to my peeps and really, really love what I do.  Please don’t take that away from me.

We still don’t know whether Lady Ziva is carrying puppies from her March 9 natural breeding with Questa.  Our ultrasound appointment in Salem, Massachusetts scheduled for today was canceled earlier this week.  Ziva showed classic symptoms of pregnancy to me during the first three weeks and now?  Her appetite has returned and that is another indication that the breeding took.  Time will tell and if we are expecting puppies, they should join this world sometime in mid May.  I usually have an XRAY taken just before whelping, so that we can count skeletons and get prepared for what might be coming down the pike.

Would’ya look at those gams? Thighs of a hockey player on our Pic. Yogi x Ziva, 2017.

Pic, Pic, Piccolo! continues to have NOTHING BUT PLAY on her mind and she will be the next Kensington lady to come into season.  We have several breeding options for her and each would be lovely.  If Truesdale will do a TCI?  I’ll use frozen semen from Oskar and repeat her 2019 breeding.  If not?  We’ve got Leo and Guinness in the wings, but both are 19 months old and we run the risk of their not knowing exactly what to do.  ;>)

So, I begin my day with an inspection of Piccolo’s crate and nothing, yet.  That will change and I will be ready.  Social distancing will impact how we do what needs to be done and I am committed to that.  It is the best way to minimize exposure to yourself and everyone else.  Yesterday, I received two lovingly sewn facemasks with a roll of Scott SHOP towels that together?  Will keep me safe.  Thank you, Jay Dee!  Now?  I’m ready for the world and when the time comes to jump into the car with the lovely Piccolo?  I can do so, safely.

I certainly HOPE SO! April 2020.

This evening, we’re going to try a ZOOM video conference call.  I posted the details on the Wagging Tales at Kensington FB page.  But you are all welcome to join, too!  926-542-3738 is the meeting number and this will be my first time hosting.  The password will be ‘Kensington’.  6pm EST and I set the meeting up so that folks can join ahead of me and ahead of schedule, I do believe.  If this call works?  We’ll have another way to stay in touch safely and share our latest stories.  If nothing else?  I hope to keep the boredom at bay.

Here’s to getting through this safely and emerging stronger than ever, on the other side.  Stay strong.  We got this.

Woof.

 

 

Springtime is soon to be upon us and that means deer ticks . . .

29 March 2020

Thank you all for reaching out to check on us, during these last few weeks.  We are safe & well in our little house and grateful that so far?  Everyone we know is ok.  So, with those details behind us?  Let’s share a happy photo!

Leo and Molly, 25 March 2020.

Meet Leopold!  Leo was planning to move to Florida on April 13th to join his Kensington cousin Yoshi, out of Murphy x Koko 2019.  However, a couple of weeks ago it became apparent that we might not be able to get the little guy on a flight in the cabin with his hoomans, come April.  So, we had a couple of tearful conversations, switched gears and now?  I am planning to breed and raise a different puppy for these lovely Miami folks and will deliver her personally, come August 2020.

Instead of becoming a Floridian, Leo became a resident of Brookline, Massachusetts last week and has joined a family who has been in our breed for decades.  Leo switched seasons, leaving the snow up here and is now enjoying spring in Boston.  It is closer to winter up here in Stowe and even with trees starting to bud?  It still feels cold outside.

Freshly harvested ramps, from the Percy woods.  When carmelized?  They taste like sweet garlicky shallots.  Spring 2019.

The intoxication of spring after a lengthy winter is better than cocktails at 5pm.  Here in Stowe, we can forage for ramps, once the trilliums begin blooming.  Fiddleheads will soon be in season, too, and harvested from unfurling ostrich ferns.  Then, come the mushroom gatherers.  I have a neighbor across the street who brings me freshly foraged oyster mushrooms every spring.  What a treat!

We woodland foragers are a most amusing lot; hiking off the Rec Path and into the woods, with garden forks, pruning shears and fabric sacks in tow.  Sometimes, we bring plastic buckets.  I have learned NOT to take a dog along for these seasonal adventures, as they slow me down and pick up more flotsam and jetsam in the woods, than they do at the beach!

Fresh fiddleheads of the Ostrich fern and ramp pesto. Spring 2019.

While I look forward to the changing of the seasons, our traditional springtime activities will surely be impacted by these current and curious times.

The Corona virus is serious and we urge every one of our hoomans & peeps to be vigilant and obey the suggested ‘social distancing’ six foot rule with frequent handwashing (and moisturizing).  Stay inside your homes, be kind and love your friends, family and pooches.  Be grateful that we have electricity, food and water and try to take it down a notch.  Trust me, I get bored, too!  And that’s when we go for a drive in the country with the doggies in their crates in the back of the car.  I truly hope that none of you has lost or will lose a loved one to the Corona virus.  I feel like I’m living in a science fiction novel.  But there is hope and winter will soon be behind us!

Young Ben, enjoying our CH Oskar x CH Gigi puppies, Memorial Day weekend in Marblehead, 2016.

With warmer temps and budding trees come ticks.  Ticks are serious business and today, I want to emphasize that we stay clear on how important it is to repel the damned things and keep them OFF of our dogs and ourselves.

The THREE PRONGED APPROACH

  1. Repel
  2. Protect
  3. Treat, when necessary

REPELLENTS

CH Shalimar’s James of Kensington with some of Kensington’s 2015 puppies. At the farm on the Randolph Road; Morrisville, VT.

There are those of us who try to stay ‘natural’ and use plant-based repellents.  This is great, if they work.  For the folks who lean toward the ‘natural’ approach, know that the annual vaccine is a great protocol, as it does NOTHING to your dog.  Rather, it is designed to be taken up in the blood meal of the tick and that is where it does its work, as it kills the Lyme bacteria in the tick, so it cannot infect its next host.  I think if you’re going to try the ‘natural route’?  Consider the annual vaccine and do not discount the topical repellents.

PROTECTION

There are oral and topical options.  The oral options generally require that the tick bite your animal.  The topicals are neurotoxins and the same compounds that get sprayed topically on bananas coming from South America by boat.  Your vet will have suggestions for what is ‘best’ in your area.  There is also an essential oil based spray that kills both ticks and mosquitoes for up to 30 days.  I’ve been using one called TickKillz – I might have the spelling wrong and I do NOT spray my yard myself.  Rather, for $90?  My pest people spray my 1/4 acre and it takes only an hour to dry.  We’ve had zero Lyme issues, since 2011, when my boy Oliver presented with symptomatic Lyme and that awful fever that fried his little gonads.  After that?  It was war.  Never did that fabulous boy ever sire a litter, as the fever took his sperm count down to negligible levels with high abnormalities.

Bobby and Ava de Brodeaux on the Essex River. A man and his dog!

I know that most of you wouldn’t ever consider participating in a breeding program but that doesn’t mean that you should disregard the potential for longterm ramifications of a Lyme bacterial infection.  Dogs can live with Lyme without obvious symptoms, until the longterm ramifications present themselves and you end up with a dog in kidney failure.  Where you have deer, field mice and tall grasses?  You will have ticks.

Anytime you consider a proactive ‘course of action’ for your pet, here are three questions I suggest you ask your vet:

  1. How many incidents of this malady have occurred in your area in the last year?
  2. Has the vet personally seen and treated a case of whatever you are discussing?
  3. How severe is the treatment?  If it’s life threatening?  Perhaps the repellent protocol is better.

TREATMENT

As I’m a planner and an Aries, I am constantly mindful of the options that might present themselves in my world.  One way to evaluate your situation is to do an annual spring SNAP test.  A vet tech can do it and in my world?  I think they charge me $26 per dog for the test (which is now a ‘four way’ test for all four tick-borne illnesses).

SNAP tests give a Positive or Negative result.  The course of action when exposure is detected is a 30 course of Doxycycline.  This should kill the Lyme bacteria in your dog’s system and alleviate symptoms fast.  There is a follow-up test that will tell give you another number for interpretation.  Between the two?  You should have a clear understanding of your situation.

Here’s hoping for a Spring season without Lyme disease!

Yours truly!

WB.

 

 

Here we go, again . . .

4 March 2020

Pipes, on the right. Dr. G, on the left. Planning to breed Piper next week.

Once again, it was off to New Hampshire that we drove yesterday.  Piper was a very good girl in her crate in the way back and the lovely Lady Ziva sat next to me in her harness and seat belt in the passenger’s seat.  At 28.4 pounds, my car knew she wasn’t a handbag.  ;>)

Yesterday’s blood draws down at Broadview gave us very important information.  By now, you all should know that I’m a data junkie and simply ADORE my spreadsheets, graphs and charts.  Yesterday’s numbers confirmed that progesterone levels are on the rise, we are pre LH surge (and ovulation) and I have previous charts to study, in order to begin preparing for breedings next week.  People often ask me why I’m willing to drive three hours each way for progesterones.  Well, I’ll give you the straight answer: accuracy and timeliness.

The rise and fall of hormones associated with reproduction in canines.

The Broadview Animal Hospital has four full time repro vets and at least seven full time repro vet techs – a TOSOH machine that delivers results in 20 minutes AND it gets tested and calibrated every two days.  It is accurate below .5ng/ml and above 30ng/ml – so, we’re covered, whether we’re working with fresh, chilled or frozen semen AND whether we’re doing natural, artificial or surgical breedings.  This is very important to me.  I want accurate information and I want it fast.  And I love working with a team of repro vets, any one of whom I trust.  And I get all of that at Broadview – so, it’s worth the three hour drive each way.

BROADVIEW Progesterone comparison chart

With Piper at .45ng/ml of blood, we might need three more blood draws on her to assess her peak fertility.  As I have only one previous chart for a breeding that did NOT take in April 2019, I’ve got less history to study with Piper.  But I can tell you that the love dancing between Koko and Piper has begun and I’ve got behavior to study now, that I didn’t have last year.  Piper has been with us in residence for close to 15 months and she has fully transitioned into the regal queen of our pack.  Leo x Piper is the plan.  Fingers crossed and oranges to Buddha for a litter of vigorous healthy females!

Mark Desrosiers with Ziva, Best of Breed win. 2015

Ziva was at .56ng/ml yesterday and I am guessing that we’ll catch her LH surge on Friday.  I’ve got both girls on the schedule for blood draws at 11am and with our Friday numbers?  I will make a ‘final’ plan.  From where I sit right now?  It is looking like an artificial insemination for Ziva with Questa’s frozen semen down at Truesdale’s, sometime early next week.  And if we’re lucky?  Natural breedings between Leo and Piper in Stowe.

Meanwhile, our weather is now milder and the chickens have started laying for their 2020 season.  We get between one and three eggs daily – well, sometimes we get none.  Gordon has dubbed them the ‘thousand dollar eggs’.  And as with a canine breeding program, the up front cost and effort is very high, with a very slow payback.  We’ve gotten twelve eggs out of my girls, in the last two weeks.  It’s going to take at least 2,000 more eggs to break even.  Hang on – let’s do the math: 5 hens laying 5 eggs daily?  Gonna take two years to break even.  ;>)

Campari in the courtyard garden. Turk’s Cap lilies started blooming today! 8 August 2019.

So, with spring around the corner and Daylight Savings Time coming up this weekend?  It’s almost time to start thinking about the gardens.  We have some lovely daylily beds on the eastern side and raised beds on the southern side of the house for vegetable and herb gardening.  Digging in the dirt is both a favorite puppy activity and my antidote for dealing with dirty puppy linens.  If Mother Nature looks kindly on us and holds the course?  We’ll have puppies, come mid May 2020 and I’ll be planting & sowing seeds before Memorial Day.  Sounds like the timing just might be perfect!

Fingers crossed and oranges to Buddha!  Here’s to healthy litters for Ziva and Lady Pipes and no surprises, along the way.

Thank you for your interest in my breeding program and for the trust & confidence you all place in me.

Woof.