Welcome to the ATB blog "J & A's Brittanys" where we love to write about, share stories, post videos and pictures featuring our beautiful, well bred Brittany family bird dogs. With their established and recognized hunting heritage our dogs also measure up to the breed standard regarding health, appearance, movement, and temperament. Enjoy the stories of whelping puppies, tips on field training, bragging rights on accomplishments, sharing joys and sorrow, announcements and as the name implies - ALL THINGS BRITTANY! With a love of God, family, friends, and dog we welcome you.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Jack of Hearts Parting Shots (Photos)

No comments:
"...I hope life treats you kind
And I hope you have all you've dreamed of
And I wish to you joy and happiness
But above all this, I wish you love..."

We love these puppies in a special way. You all know why.  Of course we can't 'bring Jack back' and it's not like he hasn't sired many, many litters through the years.  But here he is again. 2 years after his passing at the age of 12 and 5 years after he was "collected, frozen, and stored".  These will be the sweetest Brittanys who are deserving not only of being loved and well cared for, but are deserving of every opportunity to live out the purpose for their very existence - the joy of being a family's bird dog.  I will treasure in my heart always the memories of how John and Jack worked together flawlessly in the woods and in the fields. Walking down by York River on a warm autumn day just watching the two and the only shooting I did was with my camera.  I will always remember my own first day in the woods with Jack as a puppy in the fall of 2005.  The moment he detected scent his entire body froze.  No training, that was to come when he was older. Just reaction.  There were so many birds that I always believed he was intoxicated by it!  We happened to notice the direction his head was turned and where his eyes were focused.  John slowly walked in to what was to be a huge covey of grouse (partridge). As surely as Jack's mother taught me the behavior of woodcock my first time out, so did Jack show me the excitement and challenge of grouse hunting. Indeed.  Jack lives on.

Pups at 8 days, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 8 weeks.

ARROW - now Auggie

BEAUTY - now Shaye


DUDE now Rusty






Friday, September 27, 2019

J&A's Brittanys - Hanging With Puppies

No comments:
Hanging out with Beauty, Hawkeye and all the pups.
Tomorrow is opening day for Maine's bird hunting season.  This morning John is helping with the state's pheasant stocking program in Southern Maine, something he thoroughly has enjoyed doing for many years now.  The email arrived from IF&W last week indicating the date, time, and locations.  I was going to go with him but as everyone knows I am NOT a morning person. This is especially so when we have puppies.  Last night I hung out with the Jack of Hearts litter of 9 until midnight. This morning I am working through my pumpkin spice coffee and relaxing briefly while trying to catch up here!

Evenings are a special time when there are puppies. At 8pm I turn the lights down in the puppy area and make sure that the music is set to something relaxing.  During the day when pups are not outside there is always something playing.  They have listened to westerns, situation comedies, talk radio, sound effects, and of course lots of music. Yesterday I actually turned the t.v. to face the puppies because a couple of them were sitting there looking up at the television! As their energy dwindles and their playful, typical mouthing and biting comes to an end they will crawl up into my lap. I will cuddle each pup one by one and gently place them back into their box. Timing is critical as I don't want them to wake up for another round of puppy playtime! At least not at midnight.

Pretty soon photographs and memories will replace the reality of 8 weeks of loving, nurturing, and caring for Arrow, Beauty, Carly, Dude, Eclipse, Flint, Ginger, Hawkeye, and Ike.  As surely as every planned breeding we have ever done is special in it's own right, the Jack of Hearts puppies is even more so.  John and I remain in awe. While Jack was alive, he was a frequently used stud dog not only for us but for other breeders who are focused on a close working gundog.  Everyone always knew what to expect and that was especially so with this pairing with Holly.  Yet even at 7 weeks old we felt these puppies exceeded our greatest expectations. I don't believe there was ever a happier litter.

For starters there was only to be 4-5 pups born according to the ultrasound. We know ultrasounds are just to confirm the pregnancy in most cases.  And because this was an artificial surgical insemination using semen frozen 5 years ago, we didn't expect 9 and our reproductive veterinarian were as surprised as we were. Good job JackDog!

We looked for and identified the desired traits in these pups from the very beginning.  Many were obvious such as natural retrieving instincts at 7 weeks of age. ( I believe in crediting the dogs that are behind these pups.  Birch Springs Wish Upon a Star, their great, great grandmother had incredible natural instincts, strong prey drive and more. This paring doubles up on our Wish.)  As the pups grew and matured they just kept getting happier and happier!  All pups get excited and are happy, that shouldn't be unusual at all.  But it was the wiggly butts with waggin tails that got me.  One of Jack's many memorable traits all hunting ability aside was how joyful he always was and how he made others happy. I see this in the pups. With Jack, all you had to do was gently scratch the base of his tail over his butt and he would immediately turn into a gleeful, happy boy!
Note  Miss Beauty's wet left ear as she sits next to Ginger.
Another thing that Jack always did was to suck on the ears of other dogs. Not just get them a little wet, but get them absolutely soaking wet!  It took me awhile to figure out why the hair on the ears of these pups were often drenched but last night the light went on.  I watched in amazement as a couple of the pups gently mouthed the ears of their sleeping littermates.

From the time they are born up until when they go home our puppies benefit from specific  'extra curricular activities'.  For many years we have used the Volhardt's Puppy Aptitude Testing for evaluation of a litter. I have also used the "Super Dog" (early neurological stimulation) which begins at 3 days old for newborn pups. If you're not familiar with this one here's a great article on it I also implement many suggestions found in the book "Another Piece of the Puppy Puzzle" by Pat Hastings as well as use her DVD called The Puppy Puzzle." The greatest benefit?  Well, while this utilizes the best possible use of time spent with each and every puppy it also allows for the human/animal bond to become solid. And above all - what could be more fun than hanging with puppies with a purpose?! Oh how I love these baby dogs.

Carly's reaction to a suspended bird wing for visual response.
We wait until after the P.A.T.s to determine puppy selection. From the start we ask puppy families to fall in love with the entire litter, wait until they  meet them in person to give us their top 3 choices.  Following the evaluations and based on what we know about each family we determine the best possible fit.  While it's true any puppy would be a good choice there are also subtle differences in each personality which a breeder is aware of.  We rarely guarantee a specific color or gender but do try very hard to honor someone's preference. This was a busy week. Microchips, PAT's and well puppy exam and first puppy shots. As of yesterday, everyone now knows which puppy they will be bringing home.  No one was disappointed. For the time being, I will enjoy hanging with the puppies and making sure to make the days count while we count down to the first day of the rest of their lives.

As always, take care, God bless, and thank you for your interest in All Things Brittanys.
John, Ann, and our amazing crew

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Joy of Becoming a Great-grandmother

No comments:
Updates about puppies and life here at ATB are frequently the subject and focus of my little blog here. As the Jack of Hearts litter is now 5 weeks old though there is something so much more exciting, so much more awesome, and yes even more important than anything I could share here about the puppies although I do share a bit about them at the end.

We recently became great-grandparents!! Our oldest granddaughter delivered the most beautiful little baby girl and we had the pleasure of meeting her for the first time when she was just a few days old. As surely as I can remember the joy of becoming a parent when my son was born, and then the incredible experience of holding my first grandchild when she was born now I have known an even deeper joy and love as I held her daughter!  To see my grandaughter and her husband so full of happiness, their eyes aglow with pride and love about being parents is truly beyond my ability to describe. Their baby, my great-granddaughter, is absolutely gorgeous. She's so pretty! And our entire family just rejoices at her birth, a family that has really gone through some 'serious stuff' over the past year. I'm so thankful to God for his faithfulness that extends from generation to generation. My heart is so full and it's overflowing by the pure joy of it.  John and I are blessed with two awesome kids, our son and our daughter and their families.  Between them we have 7 grandchildren who mean the world to me.  Time goes on and we realize how precious each moment spent together is.  Those moments are many in the beginning but then life happens and the times with each other are not as frequent as they once were. Schedules, work, obligations, and the whole cats in the cradle syndrome affects even the best intentioned family members.  My happiest moments are when the entire family is gathered together in one place and this happens on most holidays and birthdays.  I'm blessed that our sons family and our daughter's family are close in relationship. That is the same for my sister's adult children and theirs. We all experienced the reality of our immortality last December when John almost died from a massive heart attack. But God!

We have had puppy families come to visit and that has gone so well. I have so many pictures to share! Speaking of pictures though you won't see any of our great-granddaughter here on this public blog so you will have to be happy with those of the puppies many which I post on Facebook. In the meantime you may enjoy revisiting The Art of Raising a Litter which I wrote last year

There is also good news from recent dog shows in Union, Maine! Toph (who is loved and owned by our daughter and family) won a 3 Point Major, her first major every and was handled by our granddaughter Alana. I'm so proud of this team!  Toph has had very limited showing so it is exciting that this brings her more than halfway to winning her AKC Bench Championship.  (Three of her littermates have also recently finished their championship as well!)  We're especially proud because Hemi is her father. You may remember that Revere earned his first major back in July at the Vermont shows we went to.  That was only his second time out and he too will have limited showing.

I really don't have much down time to sit and write as much as I'd like to.  Quite frankly I am exhausted!  Weaning is just about complete and the pups are eating 3 meals of puppy food daily. I am getting them outside in the fresh air as often as I can.  They have had many visitors this past week including most of their soon to be new owners.  Keeping the pups as clean as possible is a 24/7 job as Miss Holly has turned the reigns over to us.  Up until 4 weeks of age momma will keep the nest clean and still nurse them.  Then at 5 weeks of age she only wants to be with them for minimal amounts of time. The pups have not only been introduced to a lot of new people but also to new sounds and activities. They love their new puppy toys!  I am using a clicker with them on an informal basis in hopes of teaching them to sit.  One day soon they will also be exposed to a game bird wing and eventually a real live bird before they go home.  I look in the mirror and the exhaustion I feel shows. But it's all good, a true labor of love as far as I'm concerned!

Thanks for your interest in J&A's Brittanys.  And yes, there is limited puppy availability but I do not know for how much longer.  Please contact us via our website if you are interested. Take care and God bless, John & Ann

Saturday, August 24, 2019

J&A's Brittanys Awestruck

No comments:
These are but fleeting moments in the overall life of these puppies
I find myself capable of spending hours gazing at them in awe
What words can I use to describe what my eyes are blessed to see
There are none.  So I simply offer glimpses.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

J&A's Jack of Hearts - 2 Weeks Old

No comments:

Wow it is hard to believe these beautiful puppies are 2 weeks old already!  Our overall average weight per each puppy is 2 lbs. Of course there are those who a little less and those who are a little more. They are up on their feet and trying out their 'sea legs' staggering around like a drunken sailor!  I love watching the wobbly legged young puppies learn how to balance their bodies on their newly discovered legs. 

The stage up until the pup's eyes open is considered the neo-natal stage. If you are reading the books we have recommended you'll be familiar with  this developmental period as noted in "The Art of Raising a Puppy" by the Monks of New Skete.  There are a couple of pups whose eyes are completely open already! There are others whose little eyes can be seen peeking out through the little halfmoon slits where there eye openings are developing.  I almost missed one of them because it was a liver and white puppy whose eyes opened first. Those pups just remind me so much of little baby panda bears in the beginning. For now I keep the curtains drawn for a few days shielding the pups from the bright morning sun. Just think of what it feels like to come from a darkened movie theater and walk out into the sunlight.  That's what it must be like for the puppies.  Speaking of light I have started to reduce the amount of time they are under the infrared heat lamp.  That too is part of their acclimating to the world they will live in. John created a great way years ago to safely use overhead heat lamps.  Ironically, even though it is summertime the pups area I like to keep their area above 90 degrees in the beginning. This is not only to prevent them from becoming chilled but because they cannot generate their own body heat but it also helps to prevent certain viruses from thriving. The puppies behavior in the whelping box indicate to us when the heat lamp needs to be adjusted. 
Holly is such a meticulous mother!  Her 'nest' is spotless.  This will definitely change in the coming weeks.  Holly does not like to be away from her puppies for long at this point in time. It did take her a few days before she'd even lay out onto her dog bed. She would lay under the heat lamp despite her own discomfort. Lately she simply stays within earshot of her puppies. Our whelping area is uniquely set up away from the hustle and bustle of a multiple dog household so she does not have to deal with the curiosity of others in our pack. 
It's been fun to watch these very young puppies respond to the daily specific and intentional handling exercises of the Bio-Sensor puppy program. They are so accustomed to having their paws gently touched that the first time I clipped their toenails there was very little struggling involved.  I begin clipping toenails at about 4 days old and will do it a couple of times a week. Part of this is because I believe it helps desensitize them to the inevitable regular nail clipping throughout their lifetime.  I also do it with Holly's abdomen in mind.  

Those vigorous little nursing puppies use their feet to knead and hold onto Holly's abdomen which inevitable becomes tender as their demand for food increases. It may seem early to be talking about weaning but Holly will cue me as to the best time to start. Weaning is teaching the puppies about a whole new way of eating. Our method is to introduce them to a puppy saucer pan containing a combination of Gerber baby rice cereal mixed with warm water and Goats Milk Esbilac. It's messy but it is fun!  They climb in and get covered head to toe. And then it begins. 

The next day they are offered Purina Pro Plan Puppy food that has been pulverized in the food processor and moistened with warm water. It doesn't take them very long to become accustomed to the solid food and as this is going on Holly will be nursing them less and less. But for right now she is being fed a special diet and allowed to eat as much and as frequently she desires.  The demands the puppies place on her are great and quickly deplete her.  As of late Holly enjoys the supplementation of her meals with steak, chicken, or hamburg. Not bad, HB!

We're truly experiencing the calm before the storm right now!  By this I mean to say things are fairly uneventful with the pups. This will change and very, very soon.  I'm sitting here next to the whelping box and watching as one of the pups is raising themselves up onto the pig-rail.  A pig-rail is a board that goes around the inside of the perimeter designed to prevent a puppy from being crushed by it's mother. It's just a matter of time before one of the pups is strong enough to raise themselves up and over the side of the box.  Consequently, John will attach higher side panels to prevent this.  Holly will still be able to get in and out with ease but pups will stay inside until they are old enough to handle the expanse of the entire whelping area.  Eventually, the whelping box will be removed entirely and the room will once again be transformed.  The puppies will have free access to the entire gated area and they will love it!  This will be where they explore, climb, run, play, and have a ball just being puppies. We will add a litter box filled with alfalfa pellets and they will learn to use it to eliminate, making clean up in aisle 7 much much easier!  Sometimes we also use shavings in the area which keeps pups clean and smelling fresh. That's when they are much older! As the pups grow and mature they will be taken outside and allowed to explore under close supervision.  We have eagles here so it is not possible to just let them out and run free as we once did. But that's okay. There is also a really nice outdoor pen where they can be in covered shade.  As they get older they'll get to have a kiddie pool, toys, and an activity center.

I'll start to put the pups on a grooming table daily as soon as their legs support their bodies fully.  This is a great way to get them ready for vet visits and also for the necessary grooming of the Brittany.  No formal 'stacking' is attempted until they are older.  A breeder can gain a lot of information about the structure of a puppy by observing it closely, especially the way it stands on the table.  Structure, conformation, and a thorough understanding of the breed standard should be important to every breeder.  Knowing why a Brittany possesses this or possesses that goes way beyond the show ring.  

Sometime, when the pups are around 4 -5 weeks old they will be briefly visited by their new families. We really never want to know which particular puppy someone may be interested in until they visit and meet the pups. It's not fair to anyone to make that decision prematurely. We take puppy selection very seriously and ask everyone to simply fall in love with the entire litter! There's always going to be that one puppy that stands out to everyone but that one puppy may not be the best fit for everyone.   We do ask people to let us know their top 3 picks AFTER they've met the pups. At 7 weeks we perform a formal Puppy Aptitude Test, the results of which narrow down the best puppy for each family. John and I review the results of the PAT's as well as the information we know about each family and within a few days, everyone knows what puppy they are getting and are always happy with the results.    

Last but not least, pups will be introduced to bird scent while still in the whelping area.  Then just before they go home we will put a pigeon out to observe their instinct. We know that we will see glimpses of instinctive pointing, instinctive honoring, instinctive retrieving, and strong natural desire surface. 

The 8 weeks truly do fly by.  Right now it may not seem that way especially if you are one of the families waiting for that day when pup goes home!  Speaking of which, if you peruse this blog you'll note that there are pages here specifically geared to bringing a new puppy home. Additionally we have amazing handouts for our new puppy owners to bring home with them. 

Guess that's about all I have for now. That's enough!  Now... back to that delicious puppy breath ... AHHHH....

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

J&A's Jack of Hearts - 1 Week Old

No comments:

"If I could make days last forever, if words could make wishes come true. I'd save every day like a treasure and then, again I would spend them with you..." 

The puppies of Jack and Holly are doing exceptionally well as we now begin their second week of life. Their well being at this early neo-natal stage is primarily measured by their daily weight. I like to see at least an increase of one ounce or more per day and the Jack of Hearts puppies has been very consistent in their weight this first week. A good rule of thumb for our puppies is to see an average weight gain of one pound per week and these babies are spot on! Holly is an exceptional mother and keeps her puppies and their 'nest' very clean.  That's how it will be for the first 3 - 4 weeks but after that, she hands the full responsibility over to us so there is much to be done between now and then.  The puppies are under our watchful eye 24/7 as we stay right with Holly Beth.  Our life goes on hold when puppies are involved.  I feel if you can't dedicate the time it takes to raise a  litter of puppies, then you probably ought not to be breeding. It's a lifestyle choice which requires dedication and sacrifice.  It is always a labor of love and all for the love of the dog, both given and received.  Besides, in those first few nights of sleeping next to Holly and her puppies for me, there is also a sense of reverence and of the Presence of God.

The boys.
 A lot of development and growth are occurring already in the puppies.  Their movements become more deliberate with each passing day.  In the beginning they literally crawl and drag their little bodies across the area seemingly without purpose.  Then suddenly one morning you look at see that one puppy is beginning to use their legs to lift their little body up instead of dragging it.  For a few brief seconds they are actually walking until plop!  Down they go again. I was watching one of the pups treat the inside perimeter of the box as a race track.  Guided by the four sides the puppy seemed quite determined to  navigate the entire circumference. The times of being active are short lived as the puppies sleep most of the time. But when they are wide awake they are very busy.

The girls.
Puppy Love
This is the neo-natal stage where eyes are still shut tight.  They are aware of very little and their greatest needs are to be fed, warm, and kept clean. All of the pups are strong nursers.  I observe the puppies closely when they are nursing to be sure everyone is getting something to eat.  When there is a puppy that I feel isn't getting as much time as the others I simply take Holly aside and put that one puppy with her. Speaking of Miss Holly Beth she's always been somewhat of a fussy eater and more so now that she has puppies.  It is of utmost importance that she doubles or even triples her usual food intake because of the demands the puppies place on her. She is being fed Purina Pro Plan for puppies that is served up with either steak, hamburg, or chicken. I'm also feeding her cottage cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and nursing mother pudding.

The rest of our crew here are all doing well.  They are not allowed anywhere near Holly or the puppies. I think actually it is the hardest on Revere because he is accustomed to me being with him.  It is good for him though to spend more time with John. Even so, Revere is still just a puppy whose training needs to be ongoing and not hit or miss. When I've been away from him for any length of time he greets me by running towards me with his pig-pig toy insisting we engage in a game together! If I am with Holly and the puppies John always has the other dogs out and about enjoying the day simply being dogs. They are a very content pack and from the oldest to the youngest, they are all very very happy.

Well I think that's about all that I have in me to write tonight!  I have fallen asleep at the keyboard here and when I woke myself back up another hour had passed. I also had no idea what day it was! Sleep is a precious commodity right now and I am thankful when I can have several successive hours of it throughout the night.  But it's all worth it for this is such a short period of time in the overall life of a Brittany puppy. Take care and God bless!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

J&A's Brittanys: Can't Help Falling

No comments:
Wise men say only fools fall in love
But I can't help falling in love with you!

Holly lays nearby with her beautiful Brittany puppies. There is the most amazing suckling sound coming from one of the nursing puppies. That pup's obviously not going to miss out on lunch! Holly is going over each puppy fastidiously. She stimulates each of her babies to go to the bathroom and cleaning up any evidence that they went. Lovingly Holly Beth ever so gently checks their  tails and dewclaws following her exam with a kiss. The quiet whelping box indicates a contented, warm, fully fed litter. If the puppies erupt one by one into a chorus of protests or some kind we are anxious to find out why. Of course there is always one that is a little whinier than the rest and who seems to be 'crying wolf' a lot. Most pups are overall quiet at this neonatal age. That changes in a couple of weeks! Once in awhile something seems to please a puppy who will respond with one single joyous sound. It is when the intermittent solo debut develops into a full glee club chorus group that we investigate further. The only sounds of the current moment is music by Kevin Kern playing in the background, the hum of a ceiling fan, and the precious sound of nursing puppies smacking away. The pups surrounding temperature needs to be at least 86 degrees so we monitor that closely and have a supplemental heat source just for them. On the other hand we also use an air conditioner to control Holly's comfort. At this age their bodies lack the ability to regulate their own temperature.

Today the pups are introduced to the "Bio-Sensor Neo-Natal Puppy Training." Years ago I learned about the S.M.A.R.T puppy training program and started to use it with our Brittany puppies. Since we always handle our puppies from the first day it made sense to begin to help them awaken to the world around them in preparation for spending the rest of their life with humans who will love them. Holly is mindful in the beginning of the length of time one of her pups is out of her whelping box. That can be challenging when it comes to weighing the puppies or holding them so I make sure she is right there with them. I think she was curious about some of my handling techniques today but I reminder her we'd done this to her and she turned out quite well!

The puppies are  3 days old. The crucial
first 72 hours are behind us and have been uneventful. So thankful. And yes. "Can't help falling in love..." with what will in all likelihood be the very best litter of close working gundogs we have ever purposely bred. I don't mean maybe! In the meantime, John and I remain dedicated to laying the best foundation possible for these puppies as we have done for generations behind them. The inherent influence of both Jack and Holly will be strong of course. I can't wait to see those attributes surface that clearly are Jack Dogs!

Take care and God bless you and yours always.
John, Ann, and All Things Brittany

More Information

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Introducing the "JACK OF HEARTS" litter

No comments:

Monday, August 5th 2019 we welcomed the arrival of Jack & Holly Beth's greatly anticipated litter of puppies. We have nicknamed these beautiful 9 Brittany puppies 'the JACK OF HEARTS' litter in honor of their sire.  It is easy to be emotionally overwhelmed at the moment for all the right reasons due to all that is amazing about these puppies. My heart is full and I remain so very grateful to God.

Holly and Jack's first puppy arrived at 3:35 p.m.   Holly and I were heading out of the house together.  I had my arms full of various items to bring into the 'puppy cave' where the pups would be born. Instead of trotting along happily Holly suddenly squatted in front of me. Thinking nothing of it I stood there waiting for her to finish when I noticed that she wasn't just squatting to pee, she was bearing down as if ready to deliver a puppy! Her temperature had only just dropped that morning to 99 so we anticipated Stage One Labor would progress into the afternoon, evening, with pups arriving some time late Tuesday. I never imagined that Stage 1, 2, and 3 would happen all at the same time!

Holly was looking at me as if to say 'what are you waiting for?"  The items in my arms went flying to the ground and I instinctively reached in back of Holly who was still squatting and pushing while staring directly at me. I couldn't see but I could feel the warmth from the amniotic fluid being expelled which was surrounding the translucent bubble like sac safely protecting a beautiful Brittany puppy.  Holly stood up and after another push I knew her puppy would be born right into my hands.

Still attached by the life sustaining umbilical cord, I could actually see the puppy moving inside the translucent sac. Positioned naturally with it's head coming out first I knew that the pup could be left to dangle in mid-air while Holly's contractions continued if I didn't do something. All this time Holly seemed to understand I was acting as her mid-wife as she trusted every move I made. That is not always the case with every laboring dam.

Since this was taking place out on our front lawn there were no forceps or blunt scissors to help with the cord.  There were no towels to help hold a slippery puppy either. By now Holly had twisted around to see how things were going.  As her strong maternal instincts began to take over Holly was becoming more determined to help pull the puppy out.  It was time for me to act and prevent Holly from accidentally hurting her own puppy.

Gently but deliberately I pressed the thumb and forefinger of each hand as if in a pinching position and began to tear at the sac surrounding the pup's head.  As I did the pup moved and Holly wanted to become more involved. I knew one of us had to take care of 'cutting' the cord and so I strategically offered it to Holly while guarding the distance in between the puppy and where she would bite it.

With pup being clear of the sac, fluid, and detached from momma Holly I used my t-shirt like an apron to hold it.  Carefully I began to rub the pup to stimulate it and soon there was the most wonderful sound of a squealing puppy.  By now Holly's instincts were kicked into high gear and she wanted that puppy in her care right then and there. I watched as she pushed once more and the full placenta was expelled!

I really was afraid of slipping or dropping the puppy onto the dirt driveway.  Split seconds passed that seemed like an eternity.  Then. THEN! As if this wasn't enough Holly squatted right in front of the door to the puppy cave and was about to have another puppy! I quickly ran inside, turned the heat lamp on, placed the puppy in the box and returned to coax Holly inside.

Typically I will immediately wipe down and aspirate every pup as it is whelped.  When possible I will do a picture ID and weigh it too.  There is usually time enough in between pups to do this.  That was definitely not the plan for this litter. Fortunately there was time to begin to serve Nursing Mother's Pudding full of necessary calcium to Holly. I had only just made it that morning! She lapped it up.

I'd like to say I'm making a long story short but the fact of the matter is Holly whelped Jacks puppies in less than 3 hours. Did I mention there are 9?  John had left for a brief time for a scheduled appointment before all this happened. We never dreamed Holly would have her puppies before he returned and he wasn't even gone that long!  We stayed in touch through our cell phones  in between each puppy. I made  He was on his way home and when he walked through the door the first 6 of the 9 puppies born were all nursing.

Holly had a brief whelping pause of just under an hour at that point.  I was able to check out each puppy to be sure all was well.  And it was. One thing I was thankful for is that all the whelping supplies were on hand, sterilized, and well organized. Everything was in it's place.

After her whelping pause Holly continued to labor again, quickly delivering three remaining puppies.  X-rays taken on Friday had revealed there would be 9 puppies and sure enough.  As soon as the last puppy was born Holly Beth started to settle.

The pups now are over 24 hours old and just doing so well. They have already started to gain weight. They are indeed strong and thriving.  Holly has been getting pampered. Showered with love, affection, attention, and even spoon fed special foods she is doing well.

Holly is an amazing mother following in the pawsteps of her mother Treasure and grandmother Wish. Likewise Wish followed in her own grandmother's steps. 

There's a roll away bed within a couple of feet of Holly and her puppies.  There is a Pandora Playlist called "Relaxation Radio" playing. It's lovely. It's warm and cozy for the puppies while remaining comfortable for Holly.  There is the adorable sound that newborn puppies make.  In the quiet of this puppy cave there is a sense of peace. All is well. I know it won't be long before the atmosphere is charged with excited Brittany puppies discovering the world around them.  A world that goes beyond their whelping box with momma Holly Beth.

And then there is Jack who, thanks to the miracle of modern science, lives again through these puppies.

Thank you Lord for who You are. For how You work in our lives. For Your faithfulness towards us in every season of our lives. You watch over and protect all that concerns us.  We don't place a greater value over our family upon our  dogs but we do recognize Your hand at work in All Things Brittany.  I do ask also that You will continue to be with us all, and especially as we await the arrival of our great granddaughter in a couple of weeks. There are always needs in all of our lives. Always concerns and worries.  I am thankful that for just a brief time I can seemingly make the world go away caught up in this quiet place.  We are still in the early days of the lives of these puppies and I do realize we must take one day at a time. But as we do, I will always lift my eyes to the hills for I know where our help comes from. Tonight I am weary but so very happy about these puppies.  I am also very tired and my eyes are closing while my words are running on.

Good night all. Take care and God bless.


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

J&As Brittanys: Revere's 1st Year in Review

No comments:


Psalm 108:2  is the inspiration for Revere's AKC registered name :
My heart O God is steadfast! I will sing and make music with all my soul.  Awake harp and lyre! I will AWAKEN THE DAWN singing praises!  I will praise you Lord among the nations. I will sing of you among the peoples for great is your love, higher than the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.  Be exalted O God above the heavens, 
Let your glory be over all the earth!

Revere was one of several pups I had my eye on in True & Toph's litter.  As the weeks went on I narrowed it down as I became certain of gender and color.  Still, I did not make my final decision until AFTER their 7 week Puppy Aptitude Test and health exams.  If we were to keep a puppy that puppy had to be the total package no ifs, ands, or buts. I had a purpose and a plan regarding this pick puppy. Having the benefit of knowing what True produced previously with a different dam, there was no doubt of the potential in all of these pups but pups change dramatically from week to week.

I knew what I didn't want and I realized that there are certain stages of development that show you the adult dog and stages that mean absolutely nothing.  Keeping emotions out of a puppy selection was key. I did what I tell all of our puppy families - fall in love with all of the puppies and narrow it down to three. There was no magic, no instantaneous bonding with Revere at that age.  I treated all the pups equally not favoring one over the other.  Every day from the time they were two days old I faithfully worked to stimulate their senses and intelligence. I practiced the Rules of 7 and the Bio-Smart Puppy program.  They all started out the same but I trusted God that there would be that one puppy.  And... I was prepared to pass the entire litter up if I didn't see that one puppy and even turn to another breeder for what I was looking for.  This was also our daughter and grandaughter's first litter so it was exciting on many levels.

The question also was whether or not I was up to meeting all the needs of a young puppy. It is not fair to welcome a new pup into a family only to relegate it to a crate or total confinement during it's most critical development stages.  Even though we have multiple dogs I know the importance of letting a puppy develop and grow with as little influence from the others as is possible. Well we know the rest of the story - Revere was my pick choice, a decision reached with great objectivity but one I couldn't be happier with.

I'd slacked off a lot regarding my own actual physical involvement in the ring and in the field. Not intentionally but because even after two total knee replacements I still experience mobility issues.  Health wise I'd deliberately worked hard to take off about 30 lbs which I have now kept off for over a year. The struggle is real.

We knew that Revere possessed amazing natural hunting ability. When very young we set a chuckar out and let a totally untrained puppy do his thing. He didn't sight point but his body reacted instinctively to the scent of the gamebird which was about 5 feet away in the tall grass. The bird actually walked up and around Revere who stood as solid as a rock, still not seeing it. Eventually the bird ran directly in front of Revere's vision. He quickly surmised that was the desired object of affection and did what every young bird dog puppy should be allowed to do at the initial awakening - chase the bird with glee across the field!!

None of us could have been prepared for what happened in December when John almost died from a massive heart attack. Life as we knew it went on hold for quite a few months.  Praise God that he is a strong, determined survivor and that together we are here to enjoy many more years together doing the things we love with our family, our friends, and of course our dogs.

Ongoing training is so extremely important for a young puppy.  Revere and I started our first formal classes when he was about 5 months old.  Our classes were interrupted for several months because John's needs came first.  Our daughter kindly kept Revere until John was settled in back at home. I have an awesome trainer at Inspire K-9 in Alton, NH and she worked so hard with Revere and I to bring us up to speed. The effort paid off.

In the spring John began to resume some of his favorite activities and a group of friends gathered at the field one weekend. We had about 12 dogs with us, many who were related.  And Revere showed me his stuff in a big way. I liked what I saw but I also knew I wanted his first year to be all about fun and not about restrictions in regards to what he is taught. Not right now.  I also liked what I see regarding conformation so we took up handling classes in addition to the other classes we attended.  We've been busy!

Badda boom no matter what I have asked of Revere he has complied. We have developed into an amazing team if I say so myself.  We nailed the NAVHDA Natural Ability test with very little preparation on a day that it was cold and pouring rain.  He excelled at the CMBC spring pointing breed field trial and earned all his juvenile points.  He worked so hard to successfully complete the requirements for both Canine Good Citizen and Trick Dog Novice titles.  I entered the CMBC dog show 'just' to support the club and he went away with Best in Sweeps. I hadn't shown a dog in about 3 years.  That motivated me to enter shows in Vermont and see what happened. He won a 3 point major!

Revere, like all young dogs, is not without his behavior issues. But we're working on them together and will continue to do so.  Revere reminds me about zest for life, about futures, about possibilities, and to never give up.  He also reminds me that his grandmother and great grandmother, two of my best dogs, are getting old and that to honor their contribution means I move ahead with him.  FIVE generations of J&A's Brittanys on the ground and more to come.

I am a proud breeder and sometimes you just have to be the one to give yourself your own shout out.  Sometimes you have to swallow your pride as things change around you and keep pushing the envelope even further. People change.  Seasons come and go.  And I have a puppy that when I look at him I can clearly look back and see all the hard work, the planning, the sacrifices, the commitments, the joys and yes even the sorrows that are behind him in his pedigree. 1986 until now.  It's been an amazing ride and I expect it's not over yet.

To God be the glory. Enjoy the photos. There WILL be more!
Humble beginnings at 5 days old.
Neo natal Revere 6 days old
2 weeks old he's sucking on my fingers
2 weeks old my eyes are open!
3 weeks old already a striking expression
5 weeks old and Revere stands square unsupported
6 weeks old I'm liking what I see a lot
8 weeks old - prophetic pose!
1st Place Open Puppy (Ann) & Derby (John) for his juvenille field points - 10 months old 

NAVHDA NA 105 Prize 11 title 11 months - he was awesome for me.
Canine Good Citizen & Trick Dog Novice titles 11 Months. Hard work but we did it!

Best in Sweepstakes (first dog show) 11 months - a wiggle butt but a cute one!
3 point Major win - 1 year old - (2nd set of shows).  Unexpected but he sparkled that day!

To be continued!