Archive for Health and Wellness

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.


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


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.


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.


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!




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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 (  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:

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.

Ask the Vet Tech: How to decide whether your dog needs to see the vet

072113 Henry Ava and CoachToday, we have the pleasure of a visit with our Vet Tech Jen from Vermont and we’ve asked her how to determine when to take an animal to the vet who is sort of out of sorts . . .  but maybe not unequivocally so.

And why do you think your dog might need a trip to the vet?

‘I woke up this morning and Rocket wasn’t at the bottom of the bed.  I called and he didn’t come.  I found him on the couch looking depressed.  He got up and went outside and did his morning business normally.  But I still wasn’t convinced all was well.  He picked at his morning breakfast but not with his usual gusto.  I felt comfortable enough to start my routine for work but when I got out of the shower, I found that he’d vomited.’

The questions: Do I call into work and take him to the vet?  Can he wait the two hours, until the vet opens, or do I need to rush to the Emergency Clinic?  or do I just wait it out, trusting that he’ll be fine and go to work?

Our vet tech offers the following: There are a LOT of things that have to be considered, before rushing to conclusions.  Is this an isolated incident or a pattern of incidents?  Did he vomit once or multiple times?  Might he have consumed something he shouldn’t have?  What was in the vomit and how much?  How is he acting, since the incident?

Vomiting can be very scary but sometimes, it is an appropriate response by the dog’s body to rid itself of what shouldn’t be there.  A good conversation with a vet tech or DVM can help determine whether a trip to the vet and medical intervention is necessary.

This particular story is a true account in which the conversation with the technician revealed that the young Tibetan Terrier had been eating pine needles and vomited up a ‘hairball’ of pine needles and was acting fine, once he rid his body of the foreign material.

No appointment needed.Rocket and Henry Happy 031115

However, when in doubt, call your vet.  Have a conversation and follow their advice.  Better to be safe, than sorry.  It’s never a problem to call!