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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!

 

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.

 

 

When the nights become days and the days become nights

Questa’s sire Yogi in show coat. July 2019.  Very handsome and prolific sire!

It is quite normal and has become part of my routine to be up between ~ 12:30am and 3:30am every night.  It’s either the ladies down in the AGA room who ‘boof’ for a potty break . . .  or dear Piccolo who comes to the gate between the kitchen and my dining room/bedroom to make her request clear.  As I’ve said innumerable times in the past, it’s a good thing that I live alone!  The doggies need care 24/7 and long ago?  I happily signed up to be the caregiver, laundress and chef extraordinaire.  ;>)

Beckham x Ziva’s puppies out for their first adventure. 30 November 2019.

Ziva’s puppies are seven full weeks old and they’re quite mature physically.  Still finding their emotional ‘sea legs’ and trying on all sorts of behaviours including biting something soft, until they get a blood curdling scream.  I think we’re almost past this stage, as I’ve come to the rescue more than a dozen times and by now?  They’re on the brink of realizing that it’s not fun to be on the receiving end.

Koko’s puppies are only four days behind Ziva’s puppies chronologically, but they are hard to tell apart visually from their older friends.  All are on straight kibble & water, 4x per day.  Carrots and apples come next.  Both litters are producing tootsie roll stools and I am very pleased about that.  The Royal Canin kibbles I use seem to yield smaller and less fragrant tootsies than other kibbles we’ve tried, ESPECIALLY the salmon based kibbles.

Look hard! There are five puppies nursing on Lady Piccolo. Oskar x Piccolo.

And then, there are Piccolo’s five beautiful babies who are still nursing: two females and three males.  Today is Day 19 for them.  I only wish that I could handle more for the wonderful forever families out there who are waiting ever so patiently – but three litters is my max.  This time?  It’s more like two, as the first two are only four days apart – but the laundry doesn’t lie and it feels like three litters to me!

But what is life without the occasional upset? Even with apparent total quarantine for the youngest litter, one managed to catch an upper respiratory infection.  How now, brown cow?  Well, apparently, his mummy Piccolo must have brought the germs into their whelping room and for whatever reason? He caught a cold.  Three .1ml doses of Clavamox later?  The apparent congestion seems reduced and it truly is 24 hours, since I noticed it yesterday morning.  I know that with humans, we think very seriously about whether to ingest antibiotics and I, for one, prefer to ‘tough it out’.  But when the patient is 18 days old with newly opened eyes?  Give me the drugs!

This morning?  We had our second outdoor snow experience with Ziva’s puppies.  The first car training with outdoor snow fun happened on Saturday, this past weekend.  With Koko’s puppies about four days behind Ziva’s?  Car training will begin tomorrow.

Winter is upon us. Maple Street in Stowe, Vermont, December 2019.

We didn’t get the 20″ of snow they got in southern Vermont and boy! would we have liked that!  But the 2″ dusting we got makes for a pretty morning and shortly, I am off for my solo walk to town.  Wishing everyone a terrific day!

 

Weigh ins, feedings, laundry, indoor/outdoor play; REPEAT

Our lovely GRCH Piccolo and her five babies. 26 Nov 2019.

The lovely Piccolo has hit her stride and seems to have settled into her maternal routine and is FINALLY back to eating her kibble.  Here she is, comfortably nursing her brood of five in her whelping box.

Ziva’s enjoying playing individually with the October born puppies, whether hers or Koko’s.  We let them out individually to scamper around the perimeter of their Xpens.  It gives them a great opportunity to taunt and tease their littermates, as they test out their newfound freedom.

And Koko’s enjoying outdoor sunshine and the best that the Maple Street kitchen has to offer.  She has learned that patience pays off in the kitchen.  What could be better?

A life without puppy poops on the linens, I’d say!  ;>)

Oh, how Leo loves being the center of attention! With a bunch of 8 year old girls in Newton, MA.

All is well, here at Maple Street.  Thanksgiving is only days away and Piccolo’s puppies will be two weeks old that day.  There are five of them: three males and two females . . .  and they keep Pic and me MORE THAN BIZZY!  I still have the baby monitor on their pen, so that I can hear any nighttime calamity . . .  but they’re all happy and quiet.  We’ve got the temperature stabilized, nursing is happening predictably & every four hours – and everyone’s digging Jazz Piano on Pandora, while yours truly plays in the kitchen.  Life is good.

Meanwhile, we await the second television broadcast with a Kensington Tibetan Terrier up on the big screen – please watch with us on Thanksgiving Day!

Here we are: like mother, like son, thanks to Photoshop!

Questa took Best of Breed down in Oaks, PA on 16 November 2019 at The National Dog Show.  THIS is the dog show that is televised annually at 12pm on Thanksgiving Day.  Watch it on NBC.  They are airing it in every time zone at 12pm.  Tibetan Terriers are in the Non Sporting Group.  We already know that he did not place in the Group – but that’s ok by me.  He’ll be up on the big screen!  Questa is out of a Yogi x Billie breeding and he has a number of brothers and sisters out there including Gryffin and Bodhi.  If you’ve got the time?  Please ‘watch’ with us!

Meanwhile, it’s back to the laundry for me right now.  I am changing pen linens today, so that I can have a couple of hours off on Thanksgiving to WATCH THE DOG SHOW on NBC!  Join me at noon on Thanksgiving Day, as we root for one of Kensington’s finest.

Woof.  ;>)

You’d think I had it made, playing with puppies all day . . .

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

I’m REALLY clear that I’m wonderfully fortunate to have an opportunity to live my passion during my retirement by breeding & raising the dogs of my dreams in a place that’s clean and beautiful.  And that is exactly how it looks, from the outside. . .

With or without a litter in the house, I begin my day between 5 and 6am, if not earlier. Usually, it’s the sunlight that wakes me. These days? It’s Piccolo who ‘boofs’ at midnight, again at 3am and by then?  I walk down the hall to the other mums in the house and let them out, too, hoping that between the three of them?  They’ll let me sleep until 6am.

This morning, I got lucky – but it was a tricky day.

Sable Louis in the Puppy Warmer incubator and Oxygen Concentration equipment. Staying warm, as he dries. Newly born!

Last evening, we lost the second sable male and Piccolo & I each had emotional reactions.  I cried and wished the little animal well on his spiritual journey . . .  and Piccolo washed him, so that he’d be clean for his trip.  This morning?  She and I were both despondent.

I was in a bit of a trance walking down to the big doggies to let them out into the snow – but was crystal clear that I needed a triple Nespresso this morning.  Piccolo appeared out of sorts and stuck very close to me, through my morning routine.  She walked with me to the laundry to grab the fresh load and bring it back to the kitchen for folding.  As soon as I put the basket down?  She burrowed into the basket and emerged with the pink monkey.  Piccolo took her monkey dollie back to the whelping room with her puppies.  The poor little dear curled up around the dollie in the corner under my desk, in the same manner as she does with her live puppies, and I couldn’t help but think that it was a substitute for little Ralph.

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

We got through the day and tomorrow will be another day.  Questa’s in the ring down in Springfield for the first of four days of Conformation competitions.  Ziva and Koko’s puppies are now five weeks old and starting to act like precocious puppies.  Lord, help me!  There are nine of them!  And I spend 15 minutes with each of those puppies every morning, handling them & letting them play individually on the towels that ring the puppy pens.  In this way, they begin to show me their unique puppy personalities.  I make notes and use these notes, as I begin studying each puppy with the forever home lifestyles we have ‘on deck’. 

From yesterday morning to this morning, weight gain was great for three of Piccolo’s puppies but not so great for the other two.  We now have five vigorous and apparently healthy puppies from Oskar x Piccolo.  I think the latter two will have plenty of time on the nipple overnight tonight, as I gave Piccolo some freshly cooked liver from The Frozen Butcher and the B vitamins, iron, minerals & other trace elements will be good for her pretty little head.

We will have a better day tomorrow!

 

Kensington’s first FIFTH GENERATION litter has hit the ground! Welcome GRCH Piccolo’s puppies!

So many thoughts about an opening line for this post – not sure which one to choose.

The lovely Lady Piccolo and her seven babies. Day One: 15 November 2019.

There was the thought that sleeping on the tile floor of my office last night next to Piccolo and her new puppies reminded me of traveling in Europe in the early 80s by Eurailpass and sleeping in some of the MOST uncomfortable positions on night trains.

There was the thought this morning that I was losing my first puppy out of the litter and it was only constipation-inspired lethargy.  All he needed was a fanny irrigation, a bowel movement and a drop of Karo syrup by mouth to get him revved up.

And there was the thought that Miss Piccolo seemed to have found her groove, after having lost it last night – although, you can’t lose something, if you’ve never found it, right?  ;>)

Can you count the skulls in Piccolo’s tummy? Monday, 11 Nov 2019.

Tuesday evening, earlier this week, I thought for sure that the puppies were coming within 24 hours, as Pic went off her food at 4pm and that’s ALWAYS been the sign to date with every one of my girls.  Down in Wyndham, New York, Lady Cheryl hopped into her car – arriving in Stowe before 11pm – and no action.  I slept on the floor of my office with Piccolo in the whelping box, thinking that we’d have action – but it never came.  And the lovely Lady Cheryl went upstairs to her room for a restful night’s sleep.

Wednesday morning?  Piccolo ate a healthy breakfast of poached chicken, mashed sweet potato, Monterey Jack cheese, Helm’s dried liver and Golden Delicious apple.  Shot my expectations to hell and Cheryl & I proceeded to just live through the day.  But Wednesday evening?  I had my doe eyed girl acting like she wasn’t EVER going into labor and so, I decided to bring her to my VT repro clinic and have a progesterone blood draw done to see where she was on the downward progesterone curve that happens before labor.

She came in at 2.5ng/ml and Dr. Cindy Pratt estimated 12-36 hours, before we’d have puppies.  That was at 7:30pm Wednesday evening and all I needed was a number, so that I could manage the household and know whether I had to sleep on the tile floor AGAIN on Wednesday night.

Sable Louis in the Puppy Warmer incubator and Oxygen Concentration equipment. Staying warm, as he dries. Newly born!

Well, I didn’t have to do that and so, Piccolo and I slept on the blow up mattress in the dining room.  She woke me up on Thursday at 4am panting and I knew that ‘all systems were go’.  By 6am?  I got Cheryl out of bed and said, ‘We’re on’.  And by 9am?  We had our first puppy: solid sable Louis, butt first and all 9 1/4 ounces of him.  As in humans, the ‘water breaks’ and it breaks for each puppy.  Solid sable Louis was first – then, solid black Dolce (another male) – then, boldly marked B&W Pierre (another male) – then, Ralph who is sable with bold white markings – then, Chanel who is black with a pearl necklace – then, sable Kate with white markings and finally, Calvin, our black boy with four white paws.

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Kate’s delivery was the most memorable, as it took 23 minutes for her placenta to emerge after most of her body and during those 23 minutes, she kept going for the nipple to nurse – but couldn’t quite reach it, while her little umbilical cord stretched as much as it could.  That, I’d never seen before and I believe she is a seriously food driven little rascal who is both vigorous and beautiful in structure.

Scampi and puppies – what could possibly be more fun?

Every litter makes me nervous and I maintain that this is a good thing.  These are the words that come out of my mouth – but I think I’m always trying to convince myself of this.  Lady Cheryl was an angel to come and help, as she is experienced in the art of whelping and always brings scampi for dinner.  The girls know her well and love her energy; we are so grateful for her friendship.

Last night was our first night with new puppies in the house and I slept on the tile floor next to Piccolo in the whelping box, yet again.  She’s a first time mum and is learning the ropes, as she goes.  While potty training has been a recent issue, she woke me every 90 minutes last night to pee.  Making milk for the puppies requires that she drink an awful lot of water – so, in addition to fresh water, we feed her a soupy mix and make sure she has ice cubes available, when she needs a break from the warm heating pad.

It is unclear whether we have puppies available from this litter.  If we do, we have only one or two males.  If you are interested in a Kensington puppy, please know that we are planning three breedings for 2020 and expect our 2020 puppies to begin coming available in late Spring.  Applications are required, as are visits and deposits – and puppies are offered in the order of the dated applications and by the wishes and wants of our forever families.

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

Last to mention is the latest Canine Chronicle national standings in our breed.  They were just released TODAY through October 31, 2019 and our boy Questa (GRCHB Kensington’s Questa o Quella?) is now ranked #9 Nationally in our breed against all other TTs competing in AKC Conformation.  We hope to have him finish in the Top 10, having bested his mum Billie who finished #14 in 2016.  All very exciting and we are forever grateful to Rebecca Bradley, Questa’s wonderful handler, for loving him and handling him to the top of his game.  Whoo hoo!

Piccolo has seven puppies in the hopper!

12 November 2019

The lovely GRCH Kensington’s Pic, Pic, Piccolo! Littermate of Penny and Paisley. DOB 24 August 2017. Au naturelle in the snow. Stowe, VT.

And yes, we knew she was pregnant.  But yesterday we learned and saw that our dear GRCH Kensington’s Pic, Pic, Piccolo! is carrying seven very well developed puppies!  Obviously, we won’t know gender or coat color until they’ve arrived, dried and we’ve had a chance to study them – at least the markings will be quite apparent, upon arrival, and those markings will help us tell them apart.  As we bred sable Oskar to charcoal Piccolo, we’re hoping for at least a few sable coated puppies.  Fingers crossed!

Ziva’s puppies are several days more than four weeks old now and have begun their weaning onto a gruel of Royal Canin’s Starter kibble and water.  The proportions of kibble to water are very important at this stage, as the puppies’ digestive systems are not yet totally mature.  We present them with their gruel three times daily, while Lady Ziva continues with her sporadic nursing.  I actually think she prefers nursing at night, when the house is quiet and the lights are low.  Whatever she’s doing has to be more than enough, as her puppies are growing about 4 to 5% in their body weight daily.  Coats are glossy black with small white markings.  Eyes are bright and heads are gorgeous.  I am very pleased with our Beckham x Ziva puppies.

Day Zero: Sunday, 13 October 2019. Lady Ziva and her babies.

Koko’s puppies will be four weeks old tomorrow and so, they’ve recently been introduced to a canned Starter Mousse slurry.  The starter mousse slurry is the first step in the weaning process.  Next comes straight canned starter mousse and finally, the gruel of crushed starter kibble with water.  Koko is a wonderful mum, when it comes to staying with her babies to feed them and keep them warm.  But same as last time?  She’s just not that interested in keeping her babies’ butts clean and so, that job falls to me.  We call it ‘irrigation’ and since puppy stools are pretty loose, it dries like cement.  More than you wanted to know?  Oh, you have no idea how much there is to this process that you don’t want to know!  Irrigation baths are just the beginning.  ;>)

Leo at two months of age. He and Campari could be twins.

Leo was here boarding for five days, during which time we had him successfully collected and his semen evaluated.  He’s shooting live ones, whoo hoo!  At fourteen months, he appears to be mature with all of his parts in the right places and we look forward to using him with Lady Piper, come spring.

Life is pretty good, today.  I slept well and am still on top of the laundry.  We cleaned one of the puppy pens yesterday morning and had a full load for the doggie Bosch.  Being efficient always gives me satisfaction and being able to fit everything in the machine keeps my house smelling neutral.  And my dear friend Lady Cheryl arrives tomorrow to help with Piccolo’s whelping, during which time my current routine will go to hell.

Lady Tracy holding Billie’s three puppies by Oskar, with Leo in the middle!

The heavy wet snow is still falling and the roads are quiet.  The only traffic going by seems to be the snow plows and an occasional commercial vehicle.  I continue to clip puppy toenails but really need Lady Tracy’s help.  I can handle the fronts with my jeweler’s headgear – but it’s tricky for me to do the little rears and having a second pair of hands makes a huge difference.  Lady Tracy raises birds, so she’s well experienced with toenail clipping of tiny creatures.

It takes a village!  And I am grateful to have the village of Stowe, Vermont in which to breed and raise our Kensington Tibetan Terrier puppies.  Thank you, friends!

Next up?  We are watching Piccolo intently and keeping notes that will become part of her litter file.  She’s still eating, although very selectively.  Once she refuses her favorite foods?  I’ll know to expect puppies within 24 hours.  Then, we’ll watch for the ‘doe eyed’ look – you know, the ‘deer in the headlights’ stare.  And soon, the panting.  And then, the contractions.  She is seeming very much like her paternal grandmother Georgie Girl.  Gigi was a terrific natural whelper.  Fingers crossed for puppies during the day!

I must prepare Piccolo’s whelping room today, as I have a hunch we’re going to see puppies within a very few days.  We’re going to use my kitchen office, as that’s where the incubator and oxygen concentrating units are located.  Oranges to Buddha and fingers crossed for vigorous & healthy babies!

Thank you for your support.

Technicolor Tibetan Terriers

18 June 2019

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Izzie and James, our foundation dam and stud. 2009.

(For the record, I began writing this blog post over one year ago, after venturing into the study and genetic testing of my personal dogs.  I have learned so much and yet?  There is still boatloads more for me to learn about this topic.  Wait ’til I get my microscope.)

In September 2006, Nina Wagner offered me a choice of puppies with which to begin my breeding program.  I vividly remember the two ‘red’ puppies who danced toward me, as I’d never seen that coat color before!  I asked Nina what it was and she told me that the puppies were red brindles.  Of the two?  One had better movement and so, I chose Izzie to be my foundation bitch.  Then, I had a choice of two black & white males and James was the little man for me.  We drove back to Vermont and introduced the babies to my old geezers Max and Mia – and the rest is history; actually, it is ourstory  ;>).

In March 2009, Alice Smith gave me a book to study: The Inheritance of Coat Color in Dogs by Clarence C. Little.  For many years, this book has been considered the pre-eminent book on the topic of coat color.

Talk about dense!  Little’s book is so technical, in 2009, I was barely able to manage the first 16 pages and I’d been a Neurology major at Mount Holyoke College, dreaming of becoming a neurosurgeon.  I believe Little’s book is written for geneticists – but I did get a couple of truths out of it, even back then:

Sweet little Bianca, not even 24 hours old. 19 March 2019.

White (as in ‘the absence of pigment’) is ultimately dominant genetically and black comes next.  After that?  My, oh my, so many genes and variations . . .  and then, we get down to recessive red brindle, if ‘brindle’ even exists in Tibetan Terriers.

Enter Hanne Mathiasen’s Tibetan Terrers – The Little People.  If you don’t have a copy?  Buy one!  It is a wonderful book that was published in 2006 and is a joy to read and share.  She’s also on FB, if you want to friend her.

In the beginning, I was sure about what to call different coat colors, as I had Nina telling me what they were.  I repeated what she’d taught me about the tri-colored (banded) ‘brindle’ hair and didn’t think anything of it, until after she’d passed and someone else corrected me.  This new person told me that red brindle = sable, not red brindle.  And they also told me that golden sable was the correct term for what I’d always called ‘gold’.  And that brindle didn’t exist in TTs.  And with that one comment?  I took issue and decided to venture into a study of the literature on coat color.

That’s Leo, front left. And Chewie, farthest back right. Two of our red boys. May 2019.

Dr. Helle Friis Proschowsky, DVM writes about the SABLE coat color on page 125 of Matthiasen’s book.  She also writes about the genetic tricolored coat and the ‘greying’ gene.  There are wonderful photos to study and compare how the different coat colors are described.  In the meantime, let me share some of what I have learned.

‘Many TTs have a wrong description of their colour, partly because breeders are uncertain about the colour names, and partly because some colours can only be determined when the puppies are small, while others appear later.’  This is a quote out of Mathiesen’s book from an article written by Proschowsky on page 124.  Many TTs ‘change color’ during their lives, with blacks going charcoal or silver and brindles going blonde.  The fact that a brindle hair is a tri-colored hair is also confusing, as keeping a TT in a ‘puppy cut’ allows only one color of a tri-colored hair to show; hence, a red brindle looking blonde, in a puppy cut.

The lovely AKC CH Copper Goddess. Mum to Billie, Annabel and Ziva. Grandmama to Yogi and Questa. Great grandmama to Piccolo and Leo. Her regal profile and fabulous coloration, courtesy of Oskar and Izzie. 2018.

Melanin is responsible for pigmentation.  It is present or absent in cells at the base of each hair follicle and is either black or red.  Both colors of melanin can be produced in a melanocyte, but only one at a time, according to Proschowsky.  This is what is behind the changing coat color in the TT.  Initially, the cell might have produced black melanin and later, it might switch to red melanin depending upon the genetics that are particular to each dog.  Or it might turn to charcoal or silver and I believe this would be evidence of two copies of the Recessive Black allele.  I have seen it in several of my dogs and their test results declare ‘two copies of the Recessive Black allele’.

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Izzie, CH Shalimar Izzie of Kensington. Our foundation bitch.

Proschowsky calls Izzie’s coat color ‘Sable’.  This is what I was taught to be ‘Red Brindle’.

There is a greying gene and it is a dominant allele.  Animals either get the greying gene or they don’t.  It is less common to NOT have greying in a dark coat.  (I wonder whether this is an expression of Recessive Black, as most of my black TTs turn charcoal and some with silver, at and after maturity.)

Proud mummy dog. Bellie with her puppies on their birthday, 22 September 2018.

Proschowsky discusses a Particoloured coat and this is our classic jet black and bright white coat, with a lot of white.  Not a ‘ticked’ coat, which I have seen and think it is beautiful.  Best described as very finely enmeshed black and white, almost like stippling.

There is also a genetically Tricoloured coat, where versions of black, tan and white comingle on the dog but in a particular pattern.  Genetic tris are most easily identified as young puppies by the tan at the base of the tail and above the anus.  It is quite obvious, when you see it.

And a Grey or Silver or Charcoal coat that is evenly colored was most probably a black coat at birth that greyed later on, sometimes early and sometimes later.  Gryffin was born jet black with some white.  By six months of age, he was thoroughly silver and a surprise to his breeder and his humans!  (I believe this is the phenotype expressing a recessive black genotype.)

Introducing Billie’s three puppies by Oskar!

Now, The Tibetan Terrier Book by Jane Reif uses different language to describe these same coat colors.  And beginning with the black coat, Jane introduces the idea of the ‘Buddha mark’, a touch of white on the head or chest of a black dog – not mentioned at all in Mathiasen’s book.  This mark is thought to bring ‘luck’ to the dog and its owner.  I interpret this as a detail of ‘coat pattern’ and not ‘coat color’.  And what Jane Reif brings to the discussion is the fact that there are several very highly qualified stewards of our breed and they use different language to describe the same thing.

When my fuse got lit about the lack of brindle in our breed comment, I decided to get serious and bought a microscope.  Soon, as in sometime this summer, I intend to do a visual exploration of coat color at the microscopic level.  I bought the most interesting microscope that will run off my phone and allow me to take photos of what is under examination.  I am so excited.  Soon, we’ll be able to broaden this discussion with photographs to compare and discuss.

With Billie’s most recent and final litter of brindle, black and black & white puppies, we’ve welcomed Campari into our lives.  She is what I’ve been striving for, as a throwback to our foundation bitch Izzie’s coat color: red brindle or sable, depending upon from whom you learned how to describe it.  She doesn’t have a Buddha mark (not to be confused with the Kiss of Buddha kink in your TT’s tail) – but she does have a big white collar, white blaze, white muzzle and the always entertaining white tip of the tail.

Leo, ne Rocky. Seven months old and stunning. 10 April 2019.

Going forward, I have more of my TTs to test and am about to test my second red brindle/sable boy.  I am lucky that my foundation bitch born in 2006 is still alive & healthy.  My plan is to test Izzie, Coppi, Leo, Campari and our new puppy from Slovakia . . .  all in an effort to better understand the genetic mechanics behind the coat colors I’m breeding.

Thank you for hanging in there with me.  I am developing a spreadsheet with photographs and genetic test results and would love to have more data.  If you have thoughts or breeding experiences to share, please do so by personal email to me at wendyll.behrend@gmail.com.  For the record, I have been using genetic coat color tests from vetdnacenter.com