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.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

J&A's Brittanys - Something To Chew On

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Quincy - CH J&A's Heart of Seumas JH in a playful moment!

As I write I am surrounded by my wonderful family of Brittanys.  Some lay nearby, another looks out the window for John to return. The youngers dart back and forth from one window to another watching the birds and squirrels. Every day is a new delight for them.  The dogs are unaware of those things that are on most of our minds.  

This winter has been kind weather wise  So far anyway. There have been a couple of significant snowfalls here in Maine. One of them left us with over 30" of snow!  The other only about 12".  The temperatures are certainly not warm but compared to prior years could actually be considered mild.  Heavy rains and winds washed most all of the snow away. 

My heart and my spirit are heavy so I'm very thankful to have my dogs.  Let's take a bit of a detour here before focusing on what's coming up with J&A's Brittanys for 2021, shall we?

Above all, I am thankful to have strong faith in the Lord. A faith by the way, which has only grown stronger through my life from each disappointment, sadness, and yes, each miracle I have seen.  Did you know that the definition of faith is "the EVIDENCE of things not seen, things that are hoped for"?  It is complete trust and confidence in God alone.  For me, it's not faith in a 'higher power' nor is it in people, places, or things.  If you've followed this blog for the past 11 years or so you are familiar with some things which have increased my faith.  Many prayers of faith have been prayed and there have been many answers.

I'm thankful to live where we do, and to be retired.  I see the weariness in the faces of family and friends whose jobs and lives have been so negatively effected by the virus. There are those in our life who have had it and fully recovered. It's so sad that life as most know it has been shut down. Fear has encroached and intruded into the normal every day life and routines of far too many.

And then there is all that occurred surrounding the elections. As if the virus and the resultant shutdown have not been hard enough to deal with. Hypocrisy abounds in our government. Our leaders display the same behavior that they disdain in others. They set rules up for us to conform to yet fail to follow them. While not dwelling on that which some may say "it is what it is", I definitely have strong feelings about what happened November 3, 2020. If the integrity of the election was not so questionable it would simply be just one president I voted for that didn't win.  I've voted in every presidential election since 1972, and believe me not all my candidates won. But life went on "as usual". And life will go on this time too, however I have grave doubts that it will be  "as usual". 
Paying attention to the current political scene which, by the way, also effects the virus, means also paying attention to random and unsupported claims. It means honing those critical thinking skills, using logic, researching sources of information, analyzing for ourselves what is boeing reported over the vast expanse of social media, the Internet, cable news, network news etc.  This only needs to be mentioned once but in an attempt to silence all conservative voices, critical thinking skills are now needed more than ever.  (But not as much as having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, a relationship that begins the moment of realizing our need for Him, admitting that we're sinners, and by faith receive Christ.)

Now to a subject near and dear to all of us - Brittanys!  Oly & Holly's puppies are going on 5 months old already.  There are frequent photos and updates from most of their new families which are so enjoyable for us. The pups are not only beautiful and in great homes, but new friendships as well as prior ones continue to strengthen and grow. ATB really is like a family! A friend of ours says to "love what you do and do what you love".  In the case of our breeding program of close working gundogs that sentiment is especially relevant! 

Consider for a minute how much advance planning occurs prior to an anticipated breeding of two animals. First the purpose of bringing a pair together should be clear to the breeder. What do you intend to accomplish and why? This is a decision left up to each individual breeder however the overall reason should be to improve the breed; either upon your own line or the breed in general. Once that's decided and among other things, there is the inevitable waiting for the future dam to come into heat.  That's actually where we are right now with True and Toph.  Toph has yet to come into heat but I have to say I'm thankful for that! 

Last fall when the Autumn Treasure's went home I was exhausted emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  This was not because of the work involved with meeting their needs. In fact, having them to focus on really did help me through. My sister passed away unexpectedly in October. And of course I was still missing my girl Treasure. Not to mention that it was very hard for me to say goodbye to our son and his entire family as they moved to North Carolina. Some of you seemed to really understand what I was going through and blessed me with so much kindness through your beautiful flowers, unexpected gifts, cards, thoughtful notes and your prayers. 

God is good and the timing is now right to actively prepare for and anticipate our planned breeding with True and Toph. We're all looking forward to spring puppies so Toph, it's all up to you now! By the way, "Aunt Julie" has already started to crochet her beautiful puppy blanketsAnd granddaughter Alana has already made plans for remote learning from our house so she can stay with us and help raise the pups. 

My personal hopes are high this year for getting Revere back in the ring and finishing his bench championship!  I also hope we can get him back into field trials. Each one in our crew will be busy with various interests based on their level of training and age. Our Brittany club here in Maine is moving ahead with plans for a hunt test, a show, and field trials. Even so, I'd have to say one of my favorite pastimes outside of hunting season, is simply spending time with the dogs down to our small farm pond, weather permitting. As I always say, there's nothing fancy about us.  What you see is what you get! 

Thank you for your interest in All Things Brittany. Take care and God bless - John, Ann & crew

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

J&A's Brittanys - From the Archives (True & Toph pups)

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J&A's Keeper of the Stars of Acton SH - "TRUE"
J&A's Birch Spring Breaking New Ground JH, NA 107 Prize 1 - "TOPH"

"The Patriotic Litter" 2018

Hamilton - 6 Weeks 

Banner - 6 weeks

Patriot - 6 weeks

Betsy - 6 weeks

Rocket - 6 weeks

Hope - 6 weeks

Revere - 6 weeks

Spangle - 6 weeks

Sam - 6 weeks

Franklin - 6 weeks

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

J&A's Brittanys "Autumn's Treasures" - 6 Weeks Old

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Here's a few random candid photos of the pups at 6 weeks old!  Update follows the pictures.

In two weeks the Autumn Treasures will leave their first family here and begin the first day of the rest of their lives.  The time has flown by and the pups have undergone tremendous changes on many levels.  

At 6 weeks old they are fully weaned and eating 3 meals a day.  Holly still interacts with her pups and enjoys playing with them.  She also will correct them and remind them that nursing is pretty much off limits although she will sometimes let them have a little snack!  We let her lay the ground rules as far as how much interaction she wants with her puppies.  Our experience has been that the pups greatly benefit from spending time with their mother.  She can teach them things that will benefit for them during their entire lifetime. Things such as bite inhibition, respect, and more. When she has been away from them for an extended time and returns, Holly will carefully go over each and every puppy.  

The pups have been exposed to so many things!  They enjoy playing with each other as well as with their toys.  They are entertaining with their 'crazy puppy spurts' otherwise known as the 'zoomies'!  Recently John put up the outside puppy play area for their enjoyment.  Covered with artificial turf and safely enclosed it includes a puppy activity center, a tunnel, crates to crawl through, and a raised dog bed.  

This litter is absolutely beautiful and if our situation were different now I would definitely keep a puppy.  But wisdom and common sense must be applied above all because we have our wonderful senior dogs who are more than deserving of the time and attention that otherwise would have to be poured into the life of a young puppy.  They don't realize they are seniors and on any given day they are running around, playful, and spry.  Most are still actively hunted and all enjoy time in the field.  They are all really still puppies at heart!

It's going to continue to be extremely busy between now and when the Autumn Treasures go 'home'.  We have the puppy aptitude tests, microchipping, vet visits, introduction to quail and more.  They are learning to go to the bathroom in one area although far from perfect.  Suffice to say, they get 'sponge baths' frequently! They respond to my voice and are learning to sit and wait instead of jumping up.  The foundations are being laid for their continuing education which is so important.  

On a personal note, updates and photography have taken a backseat the past couple of week.  I am sad to say that my sister recently passed away at home after a brief illness. I was fortunate to spend some special moments with her prior but it's still a shock to all of us. She is at peace and for that I am thankful. Having 11 beautiful puppies to snuggle with and to keep my focus on has helped my heart and been a blessing in disguise. 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Sunday, September 27, 2020

J&A's Brittanys "Autumn's Treasures" - 2 Weeks Old

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Each day brings something new to discover about the pups, even at 2 weeks old!  Several puppies of Autumn's Treasure's have started to open their eyes and I suspect by mid-week they will all be open. They always remind me of little panda bears at this stage. It won't be long before their vision becomes clearer and they will start to be aware of their surroundings for the very first time. Their reactions are so funny as they look around. Sometimes they are quite baffled at what they see. 

As the first two weeks of the puppy's life concludes, so will the neonatal stage. They entered the world blind, deaf, and neurologically undeveloped. There is very little difference between their brain activity from the time they sleep or when awake. I have followed the early development exercises which actually help their nervous system mature quicker and also to enhance certain learning skills. 

With eyes opening the Transitional Period begins. This is from 14 - 21 days of age and these pups are on schedule! Right now, coordination is NOT their strong point but that will come with time. That's fine with me though, they are comic relief in a time when it is needed most. All of the puppies are up on all four of their wobbly legs and trying to figure out how to make it all work together. They bump into each other, roll up and over their littermates bodies, and when their energy runs out, they collapse wherever they happen to be. There is increased brain activity right now in contrast to the quiet near reverent first weeks of life in neonatal puppies and their bodies are responding!

Of course one of the best things about having puppies is when you can sit on the floor with them and be in the middle of a puppy pile! They are very close to climbing up and over and I expect at anytime to see a puppy out on the floor. When that happens it's our cue to extend the height of the sides to contain them just a wee bit longer. As the puppies have started to move about more in the whelping box they also are beginning to eliminate on their own. I put a puppy pee pad down today just for curiosity sake in the box. I was pleased to see evidence of a few puppies peeing on it already. 

In about 5 days or so their ears will begin to open. As we approach this period we are mindful of loud noises around the puppies. The first time that I notice their reaction to sound is an exciting one for me! I begin to gently clap my hands to see if they will turn their heads in the direction the sound is coming from.

I have loved the neonatal stage. Spending hours observing the puppy's every move with just the glow of the overhead heat lamp is one of my favorite things to do. Listening to their breathing, weighing them, making sure Holly is settled in her duties. Our care for them will continue increase and Holly will eventually 'hand off' her duties and the real work begins. Even so, it's a labor of love and I knew what I was getting into. I am hopelessly devoted and look forward to each and every stage of the next 6 weeks.

As always thank you for your interest! Take care and God bless you and yours. John, Ann, Holly and pups, and the entire ATB crew. 

Monday, September 21, 2020