Oodles of Noodles and some thoughts about Doodles and TToodles

19 February 2018

Michael - BISS - Bay Colony 2013

Billie’s sire, GRCHG CH Rinchen’s Blazing Black Icon, with Nina Wagner, Mark Desrosiers and the Judge. BCTTC Specialty 2013.

Titles are important in the dog world.  You can’t put an AKC Title on a dog without an AKC registration number.  And you can’t put an AKC registration number on a Doodle or a TToodle or any canine who is not a member of an AKC registered breed.  Doodles, TToodles and other cross bred dogs cannot be registered with the AKC and the American Kennel Club is the primary registration organization in the American dog world.  The same is true in England and other countries around the world.  Only pure bred dogs of a registered breed can be registered.

I am extremely proud to be an AKC Breeder of Merit and pride myself on both the genetic quality and conformation to the Tibetan Terrier breed standard of my foundation stud, dam and all of the TTs in my breeding program.  That AKC stamp of approval is evidenced by conformation titles like Champion, Grand Champion, Bronze, Silver, Gold and other titles that can be earned in the Conformation ring.  You can’t compete in the AKC Conformation ring without an AKC registration number.  There are no mixed breed dogs in AKC sanctioned conformation dog shows.


GRCHB Kensington’s 1st Dance with Michael (Billie), Non Sporting Group Placing, 5 Nov 2016.

Kensington Tibetan Terriers is committed to protecting the Tibetan Terrier breed standard through careful selection of a minimum of second generation breeding stock AND the stamp of titled approval from the American Kennel Club.

The quality of the offspring is rarely better than the quality of the parents.  This is why responsible breeders seek sires and dams to improve upon the flaws in their breeding stock.  This is the goal for which all responsible breeders strive: to protect and improve the quality of the dogs in our chosen breeds.

Genetic management is critical, if we are to maintain and improve the quality of our dogs.  Genetic testing confirms whether your breeding stock carries the mutations for which each breed is known to potentially have.  When you breed dogs of different registered breeds, you DOUBLE the potential for mutant genetic and physiological conditions for which you must test.  Doodle breeders should be performing the genetic testing and registering the results on the parents AND on the offspring, for the two breeds being combined.  But they don’t.  Additionally, because breeding dogs of different breeds is SIGNIFICANTLY more variable than an outcross, you end up with the potential for behavioral and genetic diversity more akin to breeding a miniature horse with a Clydesdale.  Will the offspring be ‘cute’?  Maybe.  But what have you truly got?  A great big question mark, when it comes to genetic mutations that are linked to breed-specific physiological issues.

GRCH Kensington's Oliver Twist, winning his AKC Championship title at nine months of age.

GRCH Kensington’s Oliver Twist, winning his AKC Championship at nine months of age in 2010.

Responsible Tibetan Terrier breeders are proud to be members of our National Club, the Tibetan Terrier Club of America (ttca-online.org).  Not all breeders choose to be on the Breeder Referral List.  I choose not to be on the Breeder Referral List, because there is much more demand for my puppies than there are available puppies, and I see no reason to stimulate demand for something that is not available.  Forever families already choose to wait months for a Kensington Tibetan Terrier puppy.

Moses Sire of Beckham

Markus Gisslen showing Ti La Shu, Just Magic for Tazz Jazz (Moses), Sire of Beckham, 2016.

The idea that someone could improve the quality of a registered breed by breeding a member of that breed to a member of a different breed holds no arguable merit.  I suggest this, because there is no governing body over ANY of these cross bred combinations.  And as with any profession, members of that profession CHOOSE to be overseen by their National organizations and apply for membership and proudly display that membership certificate for all to see, especially to potential clients.

There are no membership organizations for breeders of cross bred dogs.  And you will find cross bred puppies available from backyard breeders, because no registrations are required and no genetic testing, either.  Breeders of cross bred dogs are not held accountable to any standards by any entity.

Pedigree Beckham

Three generations of Tibetan Terriers behind Beckham, Shadeacre Fast Love at Kensington.  All registered and many international Champions.


Until such day as any of these breed combinations is recognized by the American Kennel Club as a valid breed in its own right, I will question the validity that ANY of the Oodle combinations is ‘better’ than a properly bred animal of a single registered breed.  Why even bother on trying to improve upon the Poodle?  You have color and size options already available.  Just ask Wendell Sammett.  And the Labrador Retriever?  It has remained the top breed in the United States, with 2017 being the 26th year in a row.  Clearly, this breed has an extensive and loyal following.

If, however, you are committed to seeking a Noodle, a Doodle or some other Designer Dog of the Day, do your own research.  Don’t make a decision based upon emotion or assumptions.  Visit the breeder.  Be sure the dogs are being raised respectfully and in clean conditions.  ASK to see the genetic testing histories on both sire and dam.  Go to the parent breed club web sites or to the AKC web site and research the health risks of BOTH breeds.  ASK which ailments plague the sire and dam – and talk to a groomer, before you make your final decision.  Groomers have a wealth of experience earned by working with many, many breeds and many cross bred dogs.  Their opinions are valid.  Do your due diligence.

I, for one, won’t ever suggest a cross bred dog to a forever family.  I would rather see forever homes welcome a dog or puppy from a national breed rescue program, first – and from a local animal shelter, second.  The TTCA National Rescue effort can be explored on our National club’s web site:  ttca-online.org/html/rescue.html

As for a dog from your local animal shelter, just think about the photos we saw on television during the holidays.  Please support your local animal shelter and rescue a dog in need.

Grooming tools for next year’s stocking stuffers and ‘some of my favorite things’

8 January 2018

Rudolf took a break on the porch. ;>) Think he’s going to be late for Christmas!

Now that we’re into the New Year, the pressure is off.  The holidays are behind us, my kitchen is finally clean and it’s time for re-grouping.  I’ve figured out the trophies for our next Bay Colony Tibetan Terrier Club supported entry in Springfield, Massachusetts on April 7, 2018 and, on occasion, ordered ‘one for me’.  That latter part is the fun part.  And, actually, I have been known to buy two or three extra grooming tools to have on hand for visiting friends and new peeps, as a lot of these items are inexpensive and impromptu gifts are just plain fun.

Cheryl and Yogi James. 13 November 2015.

New TT owners might not know where or which grooming tools to buy for their canine companion.  Way back in the beginning?  I was told to buy a pin brush – and a slicker brush – and these are both mandatory things to have.  No one ever told me to buy a comb.  I can’t remember where I even got that idea.

While I’ve been ‘maintaining’ the coats of my TTs for a long time, I have also relied on a weekly professional grooming appointment for many years.  Each of my Tibetan Terriers has been in rotation, but it is not as difficult to maintain the full coat of an adult Tibetan Terrier, as I’ve thought.  Really, all it takes is five or ten minutes daily with the right grooming tools and a bath, every couple of weeks.  Quiet time with your furry sidekick is something you’ll both enjoy, as long as you stay on top of it.  And if you have osteo arthritis in your hands (as I do), just take it slowly.  Gentle, as you go.

In the grooming department, there are lots of tools available.  The essential equipment will fit into your grooming corner.  I can guarantee that any of these tools will make grooming time with your TT easier and more enjoyable.


Three way Greyhound combs come in colors!

Combs:  Greyhound combs are the top of the line and are a name brand.  Available from Ashley Craig in England, they last practically forever and have been manufactured in England for more than 90 years.  My first comb is still in use and was purchased in 1992.  They are electrostatically finished, to reduce static electricity.  greyhoundcomb.com

Specialty rat tail and face combs from Madan.

Another brand I like very much that is available domestically is manufactured by Madan.  They make a variety of specialty combs and brushes, too.  This particular distributor seems to have the best inventory available and ready to ship.  toplinepet.com

Madan brushes come in colors, too.

Brushes:  Madan pin brushes are smaller and come in fun colors.  Trust me, after ten minutes on the table?  A little fun is welcome!  toplinepet.com

A wooden pin brush from Chris Christensen.

Chris Christensen brushes and grooming tools are wonderful, too.  My first Chris Christensen brush was received as a gift from a new puppy owner.  Now, I use both wooden pin and metal pin brushes.  The wooden pin brushes are great for puppies AND for doggies with sensitive bodies.  And I love their Ice on Ice detangling leave-in coat conditioner.


Les Poochs brushes are terrific for mat detangling and finishing.  Yes, they are expensive – but, my gosh, they work beautifully.  I only wish I had known about them 25 years ago.  I am also using their shampoos, these days.  lespoochs.com

Grooming tables: champagnetables.com  This company sells an extra tall table that is great for TTs and tall people.  I love mine.  We use it as a judging table in my basement show ring.  They are expensive – but the durability is worth it to me.  And it keeps unnecessary junk out of landfills.

Bathing tubs:  I use the kitchen sink in the AGA room, when the puppies are young.  It is great year-round – but when the weather is warm?  I use a portable tub in my outdoor shower, where we have hot and cold water.  You could use this portable tub ANYWHERE that you have a threaded spigot with hot and cold water OR in a bathroom where you have a hand held showerhead.  It is sturdy, durable and lightweight.  flyingpiggrooming.com

This is just a smattering of grooming tools I have in my grooming corner.  If you have tips or favorite products that I’ve not mentioned, please submit a comment.  We can all learn from each other.

As for leads and collars, they come in many materials – I have a variety on hand, whether for early leash training, walking to town or the show ring.  My absolute favorites come from Paula Hogan.


Paula Hogan’s rolled leather collar for coated breeds.

Paula fabricates a rolled leather ‘choke’ collar – I call it a ‘slip’ collar – and it is THE BEST to keep the long hair protected on a TT.  Even if you clip your dog’s coat and keep it short?  I love her rolled leather collars, particularly because they fit multiply sized doggies!  (But that is in my world.)  In your world?  The quality of the bridle leather is beautiful and it comes in a variety of colors.  And her leads?  They are unmatched in quality and ‘hand’.  Plus, they are of good weight and that makes it easier on arthritic fingers and hands.

PictureAnd I’ve recently learned of some wonderful gift items, too, like the Tashi book.  Susanne Roderick is the author, a lovely lady who splits her time between Massachusetts and Florida with her family and her beloved TT.  Susanne has recently published a charming book based on the heritage of the Tibetan Terrier.  It is beautifully illustrated and sensitively written.  Terrific for reading out loud with children.  Please check it out at susanneroderick.com

And now that I’ve finished sharing these thoughts, it is time for Billie, Ziva and Koko to take their turns on the grooming table, as it snows outside.  A quiet afternoon, here at Kensington.  We shall make the most of it.

Happy New Year, all!


The tragedy of breeder rescue situations

9 November 2017

We have them in every breed: situations where things have gotten out of hand, the animals are neglected and somehow, the humans don’t see it; won’t admit it; and resist help.  And there is no need for me to include a photo similar to what we see on the television during the holiday season.  They are terrible photos.

Last week, I got pulled into one of these situations and lost my life for five days.  The tearful frustration that eventually led to my bowing out of the challenge was precipitated by many deep feelings and, ultimately, a sense of powerless anger.

I think I have a better understanding of these rescue situations, now.  One can’t deny that some form of mental illness seems to play a part, as does a ‘hoarding’ orientation.  Surrounding ourselves with the unconditional love of multiple dogs: they don’t judge us and we feel very much loved.  And as for whether there is a monetary component to these rescues?  It’s unclear.  In 2014, our breed had a large US rescue of 31 Tibetan Terriers where money hadn’t been an issue – but we also have rescues where money is a real problem.  The common underlying element I’ve seen is that the human seems to lose the power of discernment and there is a disconnect between true reality and what they ‘see’.

WB loving 14 year old Mia in Hopkinton, MA. 2006.

14 year old Max on the couch. Popponesset, 2006.

Way back in the beginning of my journey in this breed, I fell deeply in love with my first two Tibetans; littermates, one male and one female.  They both lived to 15 and passed, within one month of one another.  It broke my heart but I didn’t lose my way, as I’d already brought the foundation pair for my Kensington breeding program into our lives and these two young TTs helped me through my grieving.  It was right then and there, I realized I didn’t ever want to go through the death experience again.  And the only way I saw to avoid future death experiences would be to re-home my animals, when the time came to retire them from my breeding program.

I took matters further and vowed to myself never to either become a rescue situation or let my pack grow to a size beyond that which I could lovingly manage.  So, instead of grieving at death, I grieve in anticipation of each of my beloved animals moving on and into new forever homes at retirement.  But it is a ‘softer’ grieving period, as the animals live on and their departure allows for the arrival of a new puppy in my pack.

Is it easy?  No.  Is it painful?  Yes.  How do I plan for it?  I leave it up to the universe and inevitably, the universe presents options and I treat each one as a real possibility.  Toward that end, I’ve been sharing these inquiring forever families who are looking for older Tibetan Terriers with peer breeders, as I’ve learned that the practice is healthy for me and we must share our learning with our friends.  Together, this practice of re-homing retiring dogs can help to keep our breeding packs smaller and reduce the number of annual rescues.

Georgie Girl, now retired and splitting her time between Naples, FL and Concord, MA. 2012.

Along the way, too, there are the puppies I choose to breed and raise.  I’ve been asked many times, ‘How do you give them up?’  Well, I look at my forever families and see the joy that these puppies bring them and my circle of peeps widens, with each litter.  So, I’ve come to think of myself as the ultimate ‘foster’ mom.  I try to stay in the moment and enjoy each dog, each day that we’re together.

And I remain committed to keeping only puppies who are better than my best-bred-to-date.  That keeps the bar high, my brain properly focused and some semblance of order in the pack.

GRCHB Billie on the table at Westminster. 2017.

I do not want a large breeding program, as my mental health requires diverse interests and activities.  And I do like to keep control – ha! – over my pack.  Puppies keep you humble, as you just can’t control everything.  And nursing mothers?  They are a joy to care for and to watch.  When I get a puppy who truly speaks to me?  The older animals help to raise the baby and together, the pack swells and shrinks rhythmically over time.

Oliver in Charlestown, enjoying the breeze. 2017.

In about two weeks’ time, my beloved Oliver will be leaving us for his new forever home in New Jersey.  GRCH Kensington’s Oliver Twist is my pick from my first litter and my first Grand Champion.  At 8 1/2, he is no longer in my breeding program and so, it makes the most sense to have him enjoy his mature years with two devoted humans, where he can be pampered, well cared for and no longer bothered by teething young puppies.  And soon?  He will bring joy and share love with his new humans.  We have so many friends who rotate in and out of our house and our lives – some match our breeding cycles and come to help with new puppies – some come up to visit annually during a particular season or for particular events.  Oliver has been the meeter & greeter extraordinaire.  Of course, he will be missed.  But I would rather hear of his future antics while he enjoys good health, than lose the plot and have him suffer from being one of too many in the pack.

Oliver’s new home in NJ, come Thanksgiving. 2017.

Oskar, Izzie, James, Coppi and Georgie Girl have all come and gone, before Oliver.  Each has been very happily re-homed, beginning in 2010 when Oskar left.  I love when each of these animals comes to board with us.  And I love accepting invitations from their humans who live throughout New England.  I get to see my kids again and they always make a big fuss over me.  These dogs enrich my & our lives and I only want the best for each one of them.

Out for a snowshoe with my good friend, Kate. Stowe, 2017.

In the end, we must take care of ourselves, so that we are able to nurture those around us who depend upon us.  Caring for yourself is not selfish in a bad way.  It is selfish in a good way and necessary for being ‘leader of the pack’.  Asking for help does not imply weakness.  Rather, it implies that you know your own limitations.  Asking someone whether they need help?  That’s a demonstration of love.  And knowing one’s limits and being able to identify when you’re getting too close to the edge?  THAT is when we learn to ask for help from our peeps.  Through collaboration, we can make it a better world.  And I have yet to not feel good, after being asked for help.

Going forward?  Know that you can ask me for help and I might just ask you for the same.  ;>)

There’s more to life than dogs. Really!

10 September 2017

This post has been inspired by the imminent change in season up here in Vermont.  And it has been equally inspired by a visit to the Stowe Farmer’s Market today.

Mac, Teddi and a young Aza. Princeton, 2014.

When temperatures shift and the early morning weather requires Patagonia, Arcteryx or the like, our faces wear smiles in Vermont.  We do not dread the upcoming winter.  Rather?  We look forward to it, as do my Tibetan Terriers.  A cold weather breed at heart, they’ll soon be greeted by snow and smells of winter.

What to do with duck eggs on a Friday afternoon. 8 September 2017.

I move from outdoor grilling on the porch and into the baking kitchen.  This past Friday, Lizzie called me, as she had six fresh duck eggs and asked, ‘What shall we do today?’  I have a great recipe for a cardamom pound cake and that is exactly what we baked.  And we invited friends over for a great piece of beef, baby Brussels and a lively salad.  Soon, we’ll be drying sweet potato chips and beef liver in the AGA for the doggies . . .  and my Pete’s Greens deliveries will resume, along with my osteo arthritis.

So, this is where the story really begins.

This morning, I started my medical marijuana treatment with 1/4 lozenge of the Merry Widow or whichever variety I’m on to keep my hands pain free.  I didn’t think much of it, other than to notice that I felt some side effects that I know will fall by the wayside, within a few days of consecutive use.

So, my hands were hardly even on my radar, when I got to the Farmer’s Market.  Rather, the bounty of the summer season controlled my attention and I tried so hard to buy selectively, knowing that I’d end up in the kitchen this afternoon as a prep cook with all I found in my bag upon my return.

September bounty from the Stowe Farmer’s Market. 10 September 2017.

I always start on the right at the exotic vegetable lady’s stand.  Today?  I bought pineapple tomatillos.  They’ll be terrific in a pork or ham glaze.  Then, continuing down the right, I bought some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, patty pan squash, kale, fresh basil and an Hermes coloured winter squash.  Beautifully coloured!  I think it was a Kuri squash.  We got them last fall in our Pete’s shares.

Google this farm! Buy his treats! BEST LIVER TREATS EVER! 10 September 2017.

Next stall was the Sage Hill goat farm lady and her cheeses.  Soon after?  The man who dries the most amazing beef and pork liver treats that have my doggies learning ANY new tricks.  And around the circle of vendors I continued, until I bumped into my rental clients who arrived yesterday and had their nine year old neutered apricot mini Poodle with them.  I know they love Farmer’s Markets and I’d told them about the man with his liver treats, yesterday.

He said, ‘We found the liver treats.’  She said, ‘It is the farm from whom we’ve been buying our beef mail order for the last couple of years.’ (Mary’s a retired professional chef.  Used to run one of Lydia Shire’s restaurants in Boston.)  Then, he said: ARE YOU INTO PASTA?  MARY’S BEEN ON A MISSION FOR THE BEST EGG PASTA IN THE WORLD AND SHE THINKS SHE’S FOUND IT.

Wouldn’t you know, it would have been my last stop, as it was on the left end, at the beginning of the circle of vendors.

Yet another way to ingest cannabinols. Suffer from anxiety? Eat this. ;>)

So, I made my way over and as another egg pasta fan, I notice that there are three offerings: Egg (as in plain), Tri colour (obviously coloured with veggies) and CBP.

Well, in MY world, CBP = Clear by Parentage.  It is a phrase we use when both sire and dam have tested clear of a genetic mutation.  CBP.  And I test every other generation, JUST TO BE CLEAR.  Pun intended.

So, this beautiful young woman with her two Tomgirl daughters is offering me a taste of the plain cooked pasta with Reggiano cheese and butter, and sharing her enthusiasm for the CBP pasta as a natural remedy for people with anxiety.

Pasta for people with anxiety and other issues?  Hmm.

I’m listening and I’m processing and I ask whether exposure to the high heat of boiling water might not undermine the effectiveness of the natural remedy.  ‘Oh, no’, I’m told.  ‘The CBP doesn’t deteriorate, when exposed to heat.’

And then, I hear this guy – cute guy, too – behind me with a lady friend saying, ‘Cool.  They’re using CBP’.  DEFINITELY NOT Clear by Parentage.  Is it the next rage, now that so many are practicing gluten free?

So, I turn around and ask him how he has come to be familiar with this, thinking that I’m really pretty well exposed to all new sorts of natural remedies . . .  and he says, ‘I’m a licensed grower in Massachusetts.’  And it all clicks.

CBP is a cannabinoid.  It is a marijuana product and marijuana needs to be cooked, in order for the cannabinoids to release their medicinal properties.  That’s why it is smoked and baked.  Butter confit of marijuana.  That, I’ve made.  But it has been IMPOSSIBLE to control the dose, until the introduction of medical marijuana.  Whether you’re on one side or the other side of this political fence?  Know that being able to control the dosage is vital, whether it’s Advil or THC.

So, I turn around again.  This time, the beautiful woman is smiling at me.  She asks whether I would like to buy any pasta?  And I’m smiling back at her.  She tells me that she adds 40mcg of CBP to each pound of flour.  I tell her that I’ve had my first lozenge this morning, in anticipation of the change of season and increase in my osteo symptoms – and, yes, I’d LOVE some of her plain egg pasta – but none of the CBP, thank you.  I bought a half pound and laughed & talked to myself, all of the way back to the car.

Never did I think I’d see the day when THC laced pasta would be for sale at the Stowe Farmer’s Market.  Cracked me up!  Lynne’s laughing and suggesting that when the officer pulls us over to ask why we’re driving funny – we say, ‘Oh, officer, we just had pasta.  Our special pasta!’  Too funny.

Non, thank you, RASTA PASTA. I’d like a nice Chianti, please. ;>)

At the end of the day?  I prefer a nice glass of red wine with my pasta.  Maybe a rose, if we’re doing a seafood dish.  Something I may well do this evening, when I cook my Rasta Pasta for supper.  It just cracked me up.  Thought I was so hip, back in 1974.  Now?  Holy moly; feeling anxious?  Eat RASTA pasta!  We’re still laughing and we haven’t even tried it.  ;>)

Let’s talk AIs (Artificial inseminations)

9 July 2017

Last night I brought my new friend Lynne Fardell to a gallery opening at West Branch in Stowe.  I’ve enjoyed and supported this gallery, since they opened.  It’s Chris and Tari’s and I’ve brought sculpture, paintings and stone into my home from their wonderful gallery.

Chris Curtis cut the stones and Tari Swenson sandblasted the caligraphic 1846

The boys (it took five) mounting the ‘other’ stone about the AGA alcove

I love living with art.  My art, these days, are my Kensington Tibetan Terriers.  Each is art-like in its physical form and movement.  My breeding program is an art form that uses both sides of my brain.  There are technical, intuitive, analytical and suggestive sides to what we do as breeders.

And toward that end?  That, which we’ve come to take in stride . . .  remains fascinating to others.  And I do understand just how weird it is to even think about doggie sex, nevermind ‘collecting’ a male dog.

The art form of my breeding program starts with sex.  Doggie sex.  You want to know about doggie sex?  I know you do; otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this.  ;>)  Here, we’re going to talk about AIs.  Soon, I’ll write about classic copulation and the famous ‘tie’.  In the meantime: AI stands for ‘Artificial Insemination’.  There are several types.  We’re going to stay focused on manual collection and insemination by tube and syringe.

The first time I ever witnessed a dog being ‘collected’ for an AI, Doc Truesdale wore his tennis whites.  Never in my wildest dreams, never! did I ever think that THIS MHC girl would be on her knees cheering ‘Get the girl!  Get the girl!  Come on, big boy; get the girl!’  Doc told me to do it and I would have done anything for him.  Still would.  ;>)

Doc was and remains amazing.  There HE was on HIS knees, doing the unthinkable and in his tennis whites.  Just off the court.  He did it successfully and I felt traumatized.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I WOULD BE THERE TO PARTICIPATE.  I figured that I’d hand over the money and someone would take care of it.

Oh, those were the early days.  I’ve since become rather laissez-faire about it all.

Today, I’ve got a new partner in crime.  Doc’s still down in Seekonk, Massachusetts.  He is a breeder vet and breeds Westminster quality Affenpinschers and Boxers.  Lynne Fardell’s a former Golden Retriever breeder and has been in TTs, for the last fifteen years.  Her hands are just as good as Doc’s; because she’s a clever girl – and she’s got history.  ;>)

My friend, Lynne Fardell

We laugh about our ‘times on the floor’.  But we’re also extremely serious.  We each take our breeding programs very seriously and study pedigrees back more than nine generations.  We put our puppies and dogs on the table and she runs handling classes out of my basement.  I welcome the help of live-in doggie au pairs and even more, the help of my dear friend Mary.  Mary is not a dog person.  But Mary has responded to my midnight calls and dashed over in her nightie to help me whelp puppies in the middle of the night.  She’s always said, ‘But I didn’t DO anything’.  Just taking the notes, as I call them out, is wonderful help.

But last night?  We were hungry and decided to hit the 4 Corners barbeque place for supper, after we left the gallery opening.

Mary wanted to know something.  She wanted to know EXACTLY what Lynne meant, when she said that Henrik had a huge penis.  And she wanted to know why I said that I didn’t want any of my girls near it for a natural.  She wanted to know why I said, AIs ONLY!  She didn’t fully understand and wanted to get clear.

So, Lynne told her.  Lynne said (and I concurred) that Henrik’s member was akin to that of a small pony and that Ziva’d had a reproductive wellness exam and was deemed to have a small vagina.  Her anatomy had rejected Charlie’s penis in 2016 and back then, I didn’t know why.  I didn’t know whether it was a tough hymen, a vaginal stricture or something else.  So, I took Ziva to the wonderful Dr. Michael Norris of Broadview Animal Hospital in Rochester, NH for a digital exam.  With humans?  The gynos use a metal or plastic speculum.  With dogs?  Up goes the finger.  Seriously.  It’s called a ‘digital exam’, for lack of a term more chic.  And it is very serious business.

Dr. Norris was clear: no stricture, no tough hymen – but a small diameter vagina.  He prescribed a stud dog with a small penis or an AI.

With a small vagina?  Norris told me that I needed a dog with a small penis.  Yogi’s small, his penis is small and perfectly sized for Ziva and the two of them actually seemed to have fun doing the nasty.  Five ties in 36 hours.  Five.  Unbelievable and not just seminal fluid.  I collected some of it myself to examine.  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10209335147966274&set=pcb.10211194576593873&type=3

Yes, I did.  Me.  Next step?  Lynne’s going to teach me how to collect Henrik, as he was ready to rock, right out of the gate – but gynormous.  I believe that I can do it and it will be great on several counts:

  1. My skill set will be broader;
  2. I will be more versatile, when confronted with the next stud dog with a large member and
  3.  It will be that much more comfortable for my girls.

Just call me madame.

Thank you, Ms. Fardelle.  ;>)

The value of hope

13 June 2017

Happy birthday to me! (Billie’s bro Whit, granddaddy to these new puppies).

It’s not anyone’s birthday, today.  It was our latest litter of Tibetan Terrier puppies’ birthday, yesterday.  Happy birthday, little ones!  And boy, did these puppies take their own sweet time making their way into the world.  ;>)

Time is a gift.

To have spare time, to share time with a friend; both are wonderfully valuable.  To remain hopeful when the going gets tough?  That is challenging.

To sit for 18 hours watching and waiting?  That is the opposite of having spare time.  It feels frustrating and value-less.  Feels a bit like you’re wasting time – but you are not.  And you think about giving up hope.

Watching a pregnant dam live through contractions and the repositioning of the puppies inside her?  It’s a longsuffering act of love.  An important part of the bonding that happens, when a human helps an animal.  A part not to be missed and an important part of the whelping process.

Billie with her 2016 puppies

Billie’s previous two litters were unusual, in that we lost just about half of the puppies each time and there was no early stage of labor.  Lovely, perfectly formed sable puppies.  Strong, apparently well developed and with good body fat – but they didn’t even make it being born.  Billie loves the cold and whelped the first puppies in her crate without a sound and without any apparent early stage symptoms.  Both times, I found myself surprised – but ready with a warm whelping box.  Both times, we had problems; problems I did NOT want to repeat.  And the continued challenge of these problems is that I cannot understand why they happened.  So, my new strategy was going to have to be all encompassing, in order to avoid them.

Organic sweet potato chips for snacks

Nutrition was an area where I thought I might improve my strategy.  This time during Billie’s last tri-mester, we fed freeze dried and frozen raw – something I’d not done with previous dams – and supplemented with puppy kibble & yogurt for the additional calcium & phosphorous, both mothers and developing puppies need for health and strength.  We even added canned Fromm’s to the puppy kibble and presented food every two hours, during the last week.  And of course, I made lots of organic sweet potato chips in the AGA.  If Billie was the least bit hungry?  There was going to be quality nutrition with probiotics in her face.  ;>)

We de-wormed with Panacure, three weeks PRIOR to whelping and on Days 1, 2 and 3 of life – both the dam and the puppies.  Had it been a parasite infestation?  It wasn’t going to happen again.  These things called ‘worms’ are often missed, as they are so common in the environment, a re-infestation can happen with exposure to leftover dog droppings in a field.  The eggs can live for up to two years – even in VT, with our extremes of temperature.  Between monthly doses of Interceptor and an aggressive de-worming protocol during pregnancy, we eliminated the possibility of parasites in this 2017 litter.

And we changed the sire.

Billie’s sire, Michael, with Nina, Mark and the Judge. BCTTC Specialty 2013.

As I racked my brain trying to think of any and all contributing factors?  Changing the genetic mix came to mind and I chose one of my bred bys whose genetic heritage was closer to Billie’s, both on her father’s and mother’s sides.  This, was going to be a breeding designed to maximize the heritage on her father’s side; an effort to produce a closer version of her father, Michael (RinChen’s Blazing Black Icon).  And we did it by breeding Billie to Yogi, a male sired by her brother and out of Georgie Girl.  Tempered with the best of my mentor’s breeding program and with my influence on her mother’s side, I thought this might just produce some magic.

He can sire, but he can’t drive. ;>)

And when the time came for me to begin my watch?  I had help.  And Billie had help.  She had three human hand maidens who studied her every move and kept vigilant watch.  Those first contractions at 9:15am on Sunday, June 11th?  They were the beginning of a true early stage labor and Billie didn’t go fast; she went s l o w.  Slowly, through the first 18 hours of discomfort and panting, as the puppies arranged themselves for their trip down the birth canal.  And at a moderate pace of seven puppies in six hours during her active labor, the puppies arrived.  Each was perfect, each was alive and each was male.

Billie and her seven boys, 12 June 2017

Thank you, Mother Nature, for sharing your humor with us.  I get it.  Everything in balance, at the end of the day.  But out of balance along the way?  It happens.  ;>)

And huge thanks to Lynne Fardell of Sunsi Tibetan Terriers and Cheryl Mattiace, chef extraordinaire and wonderful friend.  Your help to me and Billie was invaluable!

Now?  Welcome Mario, Bravo, Luigi, Rumor, Boca, Baci and Nero!  Our sweet angels who are vigorous, of sturdy size and bone – and alive!  All of them!  It is so exciting and a reason to hold onto that hope, especially when you feel like it’s slipping away.

We will be welcoming visitors again, later in July.  These seven puppies have already been reserved by deposit.  Our next breeding is expected to take place next week, with puppies available to their humans in October 2017.



We didn’t have to wait terribly long . . .

9 January 2017

Last night, the night began as expected, but did not end as we had thought it would.

Mark Desrosiers with Ziva, Best of Breed win. 2015

The lovely Ziva went from general discomfort and confusion to all out labor in about half an hour.  Of course, it was minutes after our most wonderful midwife extraordinaire left for her home – and I realized that we were going to have puppies very soon and just before midnight.

Fortunately, the house was prepared with two whelping areas and everything had been washed, sterilized and set up for exactly what was about to take place – but you can’t ever take anything for granted, in times like these.  So, I texted my thoughts and soon thereafter, placed the phone call asking for help.

Ziva’s puppies. 9 January 2017, 2:30am.

Things happened so fast that I barely remember Jen’s arrival, as Ziva was pushing on the first puppy and #1 and #2 popped into the world within minutes of one another and before the strike of midnight!

As things happen, we had an hour gap to collect our thoughts and then, six more puppies came, faster and faster, with less and less time between one and the next.  Shortly after 2am, we had the eight puppies who’d been seen and counted on the ultrasound in December and Jen gratefully returned to her bed, while I stayed up, setting newborns up in rotation to nurse and guide their new mother through the ropes.

Ziva nursing her new babies.

Well, after an hour or so of nursing puppies on her teets, Ziva began a new round of full on contractions at 3:30am and the next thing I knew, we had a ninth puppy!  A beautiful black male: healthy, with an easily recognized shoulder collar of white and four little white paws.  At that point?  I was devoid of clever ideas and named him Number Nine, thinking of the Beatles song, for inspiration.

Last time I remember pulling an all nighter?  It was similar circumstances.  In fact, it was June 2016, when Billie whelped her second litter.  Why is it that the girls so often ‘go’ in the middle of the night?  It is such a privilege, when they go during daylight.

We would like to introduce:

Zsa Zsa! Watchful, intelligent, quick as lightning and ready for action. March 2017.

The three boys and four girls of Kensington’s 1st litter of 2017; also, Ziva’s first litter with Yogi James.  At left is the lovely Zsa Zsa, with a favorite toy.

Welcome Zsa Zsa, Prince, Rio, Pinky, Phelps, Harper and Number Nine, with forever homes in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Colorado.  Tonight, we hope to sleep.  Tomorrow, the party resumes.  All puppies will stay with us for the next nine or ten weeks.  Whoo hoo!  Let the show begin.  ;>)

Progesterone Testing, at the other end of the cycle

23 January 2017

Newborn Tibetan Terriers; January 9, 2017.

The pace of Ziva x Yogi’s puppies’ growth has been steady, since they were born.  We have seven two week old puppies, averaging just a little over a pound in body weight.  Mr. Phelps is the biggest at 20 ounces and Rio is the smallest, at just under one pound.  Their coats are thick and glisten shiny black with accents of white, at their necks, on their forelegs and chests.  This litter is healthy and active, with a lot of bone.  They will be gorgeous Tibetan Terriers.  Eyes should be opening in a couple of days and with that comes full development of their senses of sight and hearing.  A whole new world looms ahead!

Still image from an ultrasound; March 21, 2016.

Some years’ back, we learned that the rise and fall of progesterone levels can identify specific biological happenings in female dogs.  With this information in mind, we’ve been using progesterone levels to identify ovulation and the theoretical ‘best’ times to breed.  With this next litter, we will see whether we can catch the dramatic fall in progesterone levels that will tell us how soon whelping will begin.  It would be wonderfully helpful to have a biological indication, in addition to the behavioral indications we watch for.  We are looking for a level of 2ng/ml of blood, which will tell us that we are 36-48 hours from whelping.  At 1ng/ml, whelping happens.

Image result for progesterone graph for ovulation in dogs

The AKC has recently developed a ‘Canine College’, through which anyone can take online classes and learn about many dog-related topics.  I’ve taken two of the beginning breeding classes and think it’s terrific to have experienced breeders sharing their experiences, along with the science that goes along with the stories.  These online classes can serve as that ‘second set of eyes’ we all want to have, when confronted by an unusual situation in the whelping box.

Jenifer Wagner was at my right side, this last litter.  She has been a great emotional support to me, in addition to her veterinary experience that always gives me the sense that we are ready for just about anything Mother Nature might throw at us.  I can’t thank her enough, except to say that without her help, it’s always much more stressful for me.

In the next three or four weeks, friends of ours will be expecting litters, too, and we look forward to being able to report on our experience with these new progesterone whelping indicators.  Every responsible breeder wants to be prepared and the more information you have, (I think) the better.


Waiting for the inevitable . . .

8 January 2017

So, here we sit.  It’s 4pm and I am in the AGA room in the antique end of the house with the lovely Ziva and her rotund belly, sweet Kodi, our rambunctious Lily Rose and ‘ever ready for a nose dive into the couch’ Oliver.

Ziva winning the Breed, under Becky

Ziva winning the Breed, under Becky

We await the arrival of Ziva’s first contractions.  And I am always nervous about such things, as I don’t want anything to go wrong.

This whelping will be a little different, as we’re utilizing a baby monitor at night to get used to Ziva’s normal nighttime sounds, so that I won’t miss a trick, as I did last time with Billie Jean.  I have been on 24/7 duty for 2 days and everything else is on hold.  Ziva is my focus, even with Billie out on the circuit this weekend.  She took the Breed yesterday but didn’t place in the Group.  I was disappointed – but someone else got to win.  Whoo hoo, for them!  ;>)

Since our last litter, we’ve switched repro vets, as I sold my Princeton, Massachusetts project last year – so now?  I’m way too far from Dr. William C. Truesdale in Seekonk, MA – and still too far from Broadview Animal Hospital in Rochester, NH and their WONDERFUL Dr. Michael Norris with his terrific repro vet techs – so, we’re working with LVVS in Hyde Park, Vermont for the first time and without any corroborating progesterone tests or gestational opinions from either Doc Truesdale or Broadview.  We’ve switched machines – from a Mini Vidas and two hour T/A – to sending blood out to an Antech lab and getting results 24 hours later, assuming that FedEx picks up.  And I’ve had that experience, too: ‘What do you mean, FedEx didn’t pick up the blood?  And I have to wait until Tuesday?  You didn’t know they weren’t going to pick up, the Friday after Thanksgiving?  So, I have to WAIT FOUR DAYS???  ARE YOU CHARGING ME???’

Seriously, caramelizing onions at a time like this?!

Seriously, caramelizing onions at a time like this?!

Not ideal – but, our new norm and we will get used to it and learn to work with the 24 hour delay.  And I’ve since told my evil twin to take a chill pill and so, she’s carmelizing onions and baking bread, to keep busy.  Better that, than, run her mouth.  ;>)

Once you’ve become accustomed to a 24 hour T/A, it becomes acceptable – even though I don’t think I’ll ever lose interest in the fastest T/A possible.  And progesterone levels are great determinants for determining both breeding windows and whelping immediacy.  However, with a 24 hour lag time?  I’ll be watching and listening to Ziva’s behavior like a hawk, nevermind hauling her off to have blood drawn tomorrow morning and schlepping the lovely through sub zero temps.

What, you worried?  I was fine!

What, you worried? I was fine!

So, here, we sit.

For the last three nights, I slept on the doggie couch, as Ziva was beginning to ‘stick like glue’ and I am also finessing house training the lovely Lily Rose.  So, if Lily barks the right way, I let her out, so that I can praise her for doing her business outside.  Now, the flip side of that is also true: if she barks because she simply wants out?  I holler back (as though she understands me), ‘Stop it!  Go back to sleep!’  Nine times out of ten?  I am right and my strategy works.

So, I continue to sit, practicing with the finely tuned ear I inherited from my mother and doing my best to discern the nuances among the many barks that come from a crate confined puppy in the night.  Honestly?  Every day, I question my sanity.

Tonight is another night.  Our favorite vet tech in the world comes for dinner and we will order out and have PieCasso deliver.  I don’t think we have puppies in the immediate future – so, I should probably run out to do an errand NOW.  Jen and I will practice with the baby monitor.  The heating pads are on and in position in the new baby nest & in the whelping box, should Ziva decide that the couch is better.  I do not believe the puppies will come tonight.  But Monday or Tuesday?  Maybe!

We will hope for a gentle and uneventful whelping, sometime soon.  Keep you posted.

How we raise our Tibetan Terrier puppies

We are all well up here and Gigi’s six puppies are hovering around two pounds – so, it’s time for their first deworming treatment.  I use Nemex II, a gentle de-wormer, on a 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 week schedule on the puppies . . .  usually, beginning at the 2 week mark – but Gigi’s puppies tend to be smaller and so, I like to wait until they are at least two pounds in weight.  The dosage is 5ml = 10 pounds.  And the oral syringes are quite small.  A dose of less than 1ml is really, really tiny and requires a special oral syringe.

All of the non-pregnant adults get the Nemex II, as well.  Remember, it is the dogs with whom your new puppy will interact who will expose your puppy to ‘the nasties’.  Mine don’t mingle with rescue dogs or frequent dog parks or play with animals from outside of our TT circle – so, my focus is on preventing Lyme, mosquito-spread conditions and, of course, distemper, hepatitis, parvo (the worst for puppies) and parainfluenza.  I also ask the vet to administer the oral kennel cough vaccine – but I don’t use heartworm meds.  There’s just too much cancer in dogs, it is on the rise and we don’t know from where it is coming.  We must protect against rabies, as it is wise and mandatory, if you plan to register your animal in your town.  This is the most serious vaccination and not to be ignored.

When thinking about vaccinations, know that all dogs get the same dosage, regardless of body weight.  This means that a Chihuahua is getting the same amount of vaccine as a Great Dane.  You can have your dog’s blood titered to determine the level of antibodies present, before you agree to a booster vaccine.  It is an expensive process, though, especially for rabies.

My rules of thumb are:

1. How many cases do I personally know of the condition, in the areas where we live/travel, as well as asking my vet about their experience?

2. Is the treatment life threatening or is it a course of antibiotics or other meds?

3. Can I protect my animals, either topically or by spraying my yard with non-‘chemical’ products?  I add this last question, as I spray monthly for tick and mosquito control, so as to minimize any exposure to Lyme carrying ticks around my house.  Tick Killz is the product my pest control people use – it is essential oil based in a soap spray, similar to what we use in the garden to control certain pests.  ( www.tickkillz.com )

Based upon the answers to these three questions, I then make my decision.  I always invite my veterinarian’s input – make sure you select a veterinarian who has at least one holistic vet on staff AND who understands what you mean when you ask for the vaccinations to be delivered away from acupressure meridians.  There have been correlations between tumor locations and injection sites – and while I have no personal experience with this, I like to know that my vet has enough of an awareness of alternative therapies, that this topic ‘rings a bell’.

When it comes to the selection of a puppy for a forever family, I do not let any of my forever families select their own puppy without my concurrence.  Not only does someone need to manage the collective and various situations, I must finesse my way through the puzzle of the best pairings of puppy with forever family situations. Understanding a puppy’s personality takes time.  This is my role.  And that is not even considering gender; the number of males and females is always a surprise and where gender is important to a forever family, there is no denying that Mother Nature holds all of the aces.  (I was going to write ‘trump cards’, but that seemed too close to being a political reference – so, sorry, all you bridge players!  We lose!)

When a family truly and sincerely wants to participate in their puppy selection, I require that they visit the pack at least two times after the puppies are six weeks of age, so that we can see them individually in action, as they try on different facets of their personalities.  They learn from each other, from me, from their mum, from their toys and environment – and from the older dogs in the pack.  One day, a puppy might present as shy and the next day, it might present as action-oriented.  Their socialization involves controlled exposure to sound, surprise, change of indoor and outdoor locations, change of containment and lots of crate training, which begins at four/five weeks of age, when they move out of the whelping box and into their first wire playpen.

I require that my puppies be crate trained by their forever families, as it truly sets them up for social success and aids in house training.  While it was unheard of, when I was a child – it is a terrific idea and something I wholeheartedly believe in.  Allowing a puppy free reign in a household is like allowing a human child full access to its environment.  Not only might the puppy or child have an accident; they can’t handle freedom, without knowledge of allowable boundaries.

My crystal ball isn’t always perfect and size seems to be the wild card.  With that in mind, I cannot guarantee adult size of an animal – but with the learning that comes from a previous breeding, my crystal ball is a little less foggy.  Gigi’s first two litters of puppies were on the smaller size – and the litter with the larger sire resulted in small to medium sized animals.  Billie’s breeding is a repeat breeding and her three boys were medium to large in size, even though she is a 20 pound bitch.  This gives me the confidence to expect medium to large animals out of this second breeding.

Ziva x Charlie is a first time breeding but my guess is that all of the animals will be medium to large in size.  To me, that means 25-30 pounds.  I say that mostly because Ziva is 26 pounds & 15 3/4″ at the withers and the TTs from Charlie to whom I’ve been exposed have all been medium in size.  So, medium to large as an estimate gives me a little wiggle room.

Once the puppies are born and have had their first wellness checks and dew claws removed, I will have real information and can begin my work for the forever families who have entrusted me to breed their new family member.  Sometimes, I feel powerful!  And other times, I feel powerless.  It keeps me humble.

Every day brings surprises and a schedule.  I am so grateful to be able to share my home life with this cast of four legged characters.  They bring delight and joy to me and I welcome sharing them with the best forever families who find me.

Please contact us, should you have a story to share or be thinking about bringing a Tibetan Terrier into your lives.  www.kensingtontibetans.com