Join us this afternoon for a zoom video call

13 August 2020

Good morning, all!

We had our ultrasound down at Dr. Rossi’s in Salem, Massachusetts yesterday and left with a thumb drive that I can’t wait to watch!  In these Covid times, I’m not allowed inside the clinic to sit by Rossi’s side and count heartbeats and this is something I sorely miss.  But I have hope and you can hear the news this afternoon, should you be able to join us for our second zoom call!

I’ll open the call at 3:30pm EST and we can spend the first thirty minutes catching up.  Then, at 4pm, we’re going to have a special guest join us from Royal Canin to discuss and answer questions about the BIG TOPIC of canine nutrition.

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

Meeting ID: 926 542 3738

Passcode: Kensington

I look forward to seeing and chatting with you all!

Yours truly,

WB.

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

18 July 2020

Hallo, peeps!

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

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

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

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

Pre-Covid. Cooking together and enjoying the porch!

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

Meanwhile, here’s the update:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours truly!

 

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

26 May 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours truly!

WB.

Come ZOOM with us tonight at 5pm EST

21 May 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meeting ID: 926 542 3738
Password: Kensington

Hope to see you later!

Yours truly,

WB.

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

7 May 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ramblings to keep us all entertained . . .

15 April 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OMG. I saw this and thought it was hilarious.

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

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

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

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

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

Yours truly,

WB.

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

10 April 2020

Canadienne Emilie-Claire sings ‘Seule ce soir’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ziva’s March 2019 puppies by Yogi.

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

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

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

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

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

I certainly HOPE SO! April 2020.

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

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

Woof.

 

 

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

29 March 2020

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

Leo and Molly, 25 March 2020.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The THREE PRONGED APPROACH

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

REPELLENTS

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

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

PROTECTION

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

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

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

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

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

TREATMENT

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

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

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

Yours truly!

WB.

 

 

Here we go, again . . .

4 March 2020

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

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

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

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

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

BROADVIEW Progesterone comparison chart

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

Mark Desrosiers with Ziva, Best of Breed win. 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woof.

And what do you do with your free time? ;>)

22 February 2020

Isn’t it a curious expression, ‘Free time’?  I wonder what the etymology is of this phrase.  You know what?  I’m going to check . . .

Well, this is very interesting and it explains why ‘leisure’ rhymes with ‘pleasure’, when spoken by an Englishwoman.

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

Apparently, ‘free time’ is time available to one’s self when not working.  It is something you have in your ‘leisure’, and the development of the word ‘leisure’ during the last few centuries is also associated with the development of the word ‘pleasure’; hence, their rhyming pronunciation.

So, there you have it!

I have been enjoying ‘free time’, since our litter of Oskar x Piccolo puppies departed en masse on January 16th, 2020.  And what have I done with that ‘free time’?  I have been to the Post Office several times, caught up on my personal laundry, packed up the aero bed and removed it from the dining room, washed the tile floors in the living and AGA rooms, washed all of the cage banks and prepared them with fresh wee wee pads, washed and sterilized all plush puppy toys, run all of the rubber toys through the dishwasher, dried chicken treats in the AGA, made sweet potato chips on the AGA, replenished the freezer inventory of rare loin lamb chops and blanched green beans, tried a couple of new recipes, given up wine for two weeks . . .  I don’t know that these things sound like ‘leisure’ or ‘pleasure’, as I go back and read the list.  But I can assure you that having a clean fragrance free house and empty laundry room give me great pleasure!

Oskar x Billie’s litter of three. Shot by Kate Carter. November 2018.

Earlier this month and with more of my ‘free time’, I drove down to Pomfret Center, CT to bring Questa home for a couple of weeks.  Our boy turned two years of age on 8 February and needed to have his hips XRAYed and sent in for evaluation/registration by the OFA.  We also need to get him collected/evaluated/frozen for the second time, as a fellow breeder wants to use him later this month and I’d like his pipes to be cleaned and see what he’s shooting, before it’s time to perform for Bronte.

Last week, with more of my ‘free time’ I drove down to the Boston area to visit the grooming operation of one of our forever gals who has a littermate of Piccolo’s and to take care of a couple of errands.

He can sire, but he can’t drive. ;>)

And last week and with more of my ‘free time’, I drove up to the Canadian border for my NEXUS interview.  It has arrived and will allow me TSA Pre-Check/NEXUS expedited boarder crossings, as I prepare to bring Kristof (the Erbosedition puppy from Slovakia) into the US in April 2020 and continue my recreational jaunts over the border to Montreal, with more of my ‘free time’.  ;>)

Snug as a bug in a rug. Leo! Same breeding as Campari = Oskar x Billie. DOB 6 Sept 2018.

Meanwhile, my waiting game continues.  Past experience and cycles indicate that Ziva will next come into season in March, Piper in April and Piccolo, in May.  We’re going to skip Koko’s upcoming cycle, as I like to give the girls a season off periodically – and we’re shooting for lots of sable coated puppies with these next breedings.  Leo is at the top of the list and frozen semen from Oskar will be considered, if logistics with Leo become difficult.  Questa x Ziva is something I’ve wanted for her last breeding, but I don’t know that we’ll be able to swing that.  Questa x Campari will be a 2021 breeding and once Kristoff arrives from Slovakia?  His sable coat color genes will replace Leo and Oskar’s in my breeding program.  We’ll be able to accomplish two things with our Erbosedition boy: a genetic outcross and getting back to coat color diversity, as we had in the beginning of the Kensington breeding program.

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

I am excited for spring!  It has been wonderful to have been able to take a break and get my house back in order.  Lady Cheryl’s bedroom has been prepped and is ready for her next visit and the laundry hamper is empty, thanks to all of the ‘free time’ I’ve had.

We’re ready for visitors and look forward to breeding & raising our upcoming 2020 litters for the Kensington peeps who’ve been waiting so patiently.  As soon as there’s news to share?  Trust me, I’ll be eager to share it!

Thank you all for the trust and confidence you’ve placed in me.  We very much look forward to sharing future joy with you!