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, July 17, 2018

J&A's Patriots - 1 Week Old

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Here's a few cute and random photos of the beautiful puppies of True & Toph at the age of 1 week old!  

Monday, July 16, 2018

J&A's Brittanys: This Is Us

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Best way to spend a July morning!  

J&A's Keeper of the Stars SH ("True") on point.  CH J&A's Magnificent Obsession of Acton JH ("Hemi") honoring True's point.  They know John is looking for and about to flush the bird that True found and is pointing. They will hold and be steady to wing and shot.  One of the dogs will be sent to retrieve and the other will (should!) remain in place. Training is ongoing throughout the spring and summer, usually several mornings a week and sometimes on the weekend if friends would like to gather together with their bird dogs.

The picture above that our friend Paige took just a few days ago is a perfect capture of the genetics behind our puppies.  Truly it also just opens the door for a shout out to the Brittanys related to our puppies! True is sire of Toph's pups and shares the same mother as Holly.  Hemi is the sire of both Holly and Toph. The pups are our 4th generation of close working gundogs. True is a Senior Hunter and Hemi is a Junior Hunter at the moment. Sire of Holly's pups CH J&A's High Caliber Harris Special SH ("Bullet") is also a Senior Hunter.  Bullet is also the sire of our first and currently only AKC Master Hunter, CH J&A's Quiet Courage MH, NA Prize 1.   Both Holly and Toph are NAVHDA titled with NA Prize 1 awards.

We encourage people to, at a minimum participate in an AKC Junior Hunt test or a NAVHDA Natural Ability test.  Hunting season is such a short time.  Maine's bird season begins in 77 days. Our dogs will be ready.  Field trials are another great field venue with a more competitive edge as are dog shows.  (Although those who contact us are most interested in their next bird hunting companion and those seeking a "show dog" look to other breeders, our Brittanys are many times indeed 'show quality' and we're always looking forward to finishing our next champion!  I have a dream that one day a Brittany from our program will achieve the coveted title of Dual Champion, both a field and a show champion! Time will tell but in the meantime, it's all about birds, birds, and more birds!)

A Brittany is versatile and of such high intelligence they are capable to be trained for most any venue of dog sport.  It's fun to train and work towards a title whether in AKC, UKC, NAVHDA or other recognized organizations in the of seasons.  We're always available to help support and guide. So for those of you looking forward to your puppy, I hope this awesome photo will be your inspiration.  Even if you've NEVER done it before!

As always, take care and God bless, John, Ann and All Things Brittany

Saturday, July 14, 2018

J&A's Britanys: Patriot Photos & Names

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Toph's family wanted to give her puppies patriotic names in honor of the 4th of July.  They came up with  a list of about 18 names all related in some way to patriotism because we knew the puppies were due around Independence Day. Last night our daughter, son in law, and three children all had a chance to finally visit Toph and her new family.  And I had a chance to finally get 10 individual pictures of them with their new names.  It is going to be fun to follow Toph and True's Puppy Patriots Journey as well as that of Miss Holly Beth and Bullet's Timeless Treasures. Patriots will be 1 week old tomorrow and Timeless Treasures 3 weeks!  As always, thanks for your interest in our Brittanys. Hope you enjoy these photos.  Take care and God bless from John, Ann, and ATB.

Friday, July 13, 2018

J&A's Reckless Love

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All Things Toph

The Patriotic litter has gotten off to a great start. I think we've finally caught up on the sleep we missed those days up to and immediately following their arrival. Oh what a night! Now, in just a few days John and I have been able to help Toph adapt to her new role and at 5 days old she's doing a great job.  Pups and momma have been seen by our vets and are doing well.

They are gaining nicely and are very beautiful and sweet babies. Toph has a great appetite and is totally focused on the pups. In the beginning as is often the case she would not leave the whelping box even to eat though so we would sit on the floor and bring her food dish and then her water.  It was hard to even get her to get up and leave to go outside to relieve herself.  I bought her a small dog bed and she has figured out it's okay to sit down on this just outside the box.  It gets her out from under the heat lamp thus becoming much more comfortable. We've been giving regular updates to Maryann about how pups and Tophs are doing and they hope to be able to spend some time with them soon.  Our girls are so spoiled when they have pups when it comes to special food. So far their favorite has been pure natural vanilla whole fat ice cream!  They've also enjoyed cottage cheese, yogurt, steak, chicken, liver and of course nursing mother's pudding.  I plan to make my 3rd batch of that today.  Right now the puppies are demanding the most out of their dams so it's so very important to feed them as much high calorie, rich in calcium foods.  The third week is when the demands are the greatest which is just about the time we begin to introduce pups to solid food and the weaning process will begin.  Toph and Trues pups are just beautiful, smart, agile and active.  By the third day a couple of them had figured out how to maneuver themselves up onto her back.  I love to watch as Toph falls asleep with one of her babies curled up close. Shades of her grandmother Pippin (who becomes a great-grandmother with these puppies!)

All Things Holly
The Timeless Treasure pups are 19 days old.  And just like that their eyes are open, their weight has more than doubled, they can hear, and they are up on all fours. Two days ago I started to softly say 'puppy, puppy, puppy', make a little smoochie sound, and gently clap my hands as I approached the whelping box.  I didn't get much of a reaction the first time. That changed today as I walked in singing to them the chorus to a song I absolutely love called 'Reckless Love' .
"Oh the overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God.
How it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leave the 99."
Suddenly several little heads bopped up and looked curiously around and I continued to sing this to them. They are truly awake!

Later on in the day I took them all out of their whelping box and set them out onto their mother's dog bed. This is a continuation of their early learning experiences as they are placed upon a variety of surfaces and touches in the coming weeks. Their little noses were buried in the fake fur covering as they detected their mother's scent.  A couple of them moved off the bed and onto the linoleum covered floor, the first slippery surface they have encountered so far. Their individual reactions were priceless.  Some wanted to turn around and get back on Holly's dog bed.  A couple others buried their head in the corner as if to say "make the world go away!". And there were a couple who just climbed off and walked unsteadily in the direction of the open door.  That is until they ran out of gas.  Pups of this age have brief, short energy spurts and when the energy runs out they just plop wherever they happen to be.

We've been blessed to have a "puppy
nanny" this week.  One of our granddaughters has been here to sit with the pups while we catch up on sleep or errands. Ivy's help is two-fold.  It helps the puppies get use to a different voice and being handled by other people while being part of our own going socialization. Late this afternoon Holly's puppies were introduced to fresh air as we continue to prepare each one for the first day of the rest of their lives.

Later on the pups were also visited by two more grandchildren and I look forward to more of these visits on a regular basis to see both litters of pups in the coming weeks.  I just can't believe how quickly time is going by.  The near reverent atmosphere of awaiting the birth has turned into a little more activity as the pups go from neo-natal to toddler stage.

This has turned out to be such a wonderful time of year for puppies.  I was very pleased to receive a compliment from one of our vets who makes house calls about the set up that we have and the health and well being of the pups. I hate poopy puppies and I hate having odor surrounding them.  This means it is a full time job to sanitize, disinfect, deodorize etc.  It is nice when our efforts are recognized!  I always say we are 'nothin' fancy here'.  But we do our best especially when it comes to the pups we're responsible to bring into the world.  In a week or so we're going to use roomy outside pens in the grass for the pups to enjoy on summer days.  I was looking for Lil Tykes outdoor toys and someone gave us for free one of their little forts with stairs and a slide. Can you imagine all these puppies scrambling and playing with that?  I also really hope to make one of those PVC activity centers. The thing is, the clock is ticking and the pups are developing.  I probably can never do all the things I hope to do but I will do as much as I can.  Already Hollys pup show the benefits of following the S.M.A.R.T. puppy program and I am doing the same with Toph's pups. I'm spending this summer exactly the way I want to spend it despite how very much work it involves!

The rest of the crew are doing very well.  John brings several to the field throughout the week and runs dogs with our friends.  They all enjoy a quick trip down to the farm pond for a quick dip and laps around the edges.  It's very low right now but it's just right for them.  The pups will get to check this out when they are older.

Something cute... our oldest grandson was asking if I was going to keep a puppy. I told him I wasn't sure and my main reason is because of Treasure having canine cognitive dysfunction. I don't want to take time away from her.  My grandson told me that I really should because most of our dogs are now in double digits. And he said when he gets his driver license he can come up and help out.  I'll think about this logic, Callum, I will think about it.

Thanks for your interest as always!  Take care and God bless, John, Ann, and ATB

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

J&A's "The Patriotic Litter" Is Here!

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12 Hours
24 hours
We are pleased to announce the arrival of Toph and True's10 beautiful new puppies born in the wee hours of July 8.  "The Patriotic Litter" and their mother "Toph" are doing well.  Maryann and our granddaughter were here for the long haul after I sent a text saying Toph's temperature had officially dropped.  All the puppies were born from midnight to 6 a.m., very similar to Holly's time table!  Speaking of Holly, she and her pups are quite amazing and I'll share a better update soon; John and I are still trying to catch up on sleep. Right now it is all about Miss Toph and her puppies. I do want to give a shout out to our granddaughter Ivy who came to puppy-sit Holly's pups so John and I could bring Toph and pups to the vets for neo-natal exam and procedures. I hope you enjoy these photos from the first 72 hours and when I get a chance I'll share more because afterall I only have about a gazillion photos of puppy photos which I have taken recently! I'd like to thank those of you in our puppy prayer watch group for your faithfulness in praying us through.  It means a lot.  
72 Hours.
There are 10 puppies: 1 liver and 
white girl 1 orange and white girl, 4 liver and white boys,
and 4 orange and white boys 

It's nice to know there are those who enjoy following our blog. It's been awhile since we've had pups to write about! Whenever I get a chance I'll share more and pick up my "From the Whelping Box"theme again. (We are playing Pandora, Kevin Kearn Radio and Relaxation Radio when I'm not listening to K-Love!) As always take care and God bless. John, Ann & ATB

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

J&A's Full Speed Ahead

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Just a brief update as many of you have privately messaged us to ask if all is well.  Indeed it is VERY well, thank you!

Toph's due date, according to our vet's prediction based on size of pup from ultrasound, was July 4th.  However, I have a tried but true method of determining due dates and my estimate was July 6 - 9.  Suffice to happily say pups of True and Toph are, as they say, "on the ground"!   John and I are basically working split shifts, we are like two ships that pass in the night with each one of us taking turns as needed to observe pups and their momma. I'd asked the owners and breeders of both Toph's mother and grandmother if Toph had "easy whelpers" behind her.  I was very happy to learn that they are and were. Toph's Stage 1 labor was so long after her temperature dropped.  We walked the emotional balancing board for many hours.  We are firm believers that you give the momma every possible chance for a natural delivery and understand that a lot of time and patience is involved. I didn't think Stage One Labor was ever going to end.  I watched the clock as I was aware of when our vets office closed. The very LAST thing I wanted to do was have to make a trip to an E-clinic. My experiences with middle of the night emergencies at an E-clinic are less than desirable as we've been met with a clear bias against breeders. Just sayin'.

Maryann was really hoping that the pups would be born on Hunter's birthday.  He was from our very first litter born in 1990. That would have had great significance especially to her as a first time dog breeder.  Toph's first puppy arrived just minutes after midnight and her last one as dawn was breaking. Oh what a beautiful morning!

Specifics and photos will be forthcoming once we have passed the 72 hour mark.  At this point all pups have gained weight and Toph is a wonderful mom.

Holly also is doing great.  Her pups are 2 weeks old already! Their eyes have just opened and they're up on all fours, walking around like drunken little sailors (no offense to sailors).  I like to see weight doubled by 10 days and from that point I want to see an average weight gain of 1 pound per week. I weighed the pups yesterday and was happy to see the weight average for the "Timeless Treasures" litter is 2 lbs. These puppies are absolutely delightful!

I have so many pictures it's not funny.   But I have very little time to edit and share at the moment.  I've been sitting here writing and dozed off several times. John and I are exhausted but you won't find us complaining. This is a lifestyle choice for us and while yes indeed, it's going to continue to get crazy busy over the next 8 weeks we also know how briefly the time flies.

The season of sadness has now turned into a jubilant season of "full speed ahead"!  For 8 brief weeks John and I will pour out our love, our time, resources and energy into the lives of these Brittany puppies. It has already meant several sleepless nights (said she who just fell asleep at the keyboard). John and I are well aware of how fleeting these moments in time are and before we know it these pups will know the first day of the rest of their life with their new families.  Speaking of these wonderful people who will soon open their hearts and homes to a new puppy, I have already shared the news with all of them and I know they are very very happy!

Stay tuned for some spectacular photos soon.  There simply is not enough hours in this day to share any of them at this time!

I am so thankful tonight that we have a God who cares about 'all things' that matter to us.  The slogan of "All Things Brittany" comes from the words found in the hymn of All Things Bright and Beautiful:

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

To that my dear ones I would add "AMEN" when I consider "ALL THINGS BRITTANY."

Take care and God bless.  J&A

Saturday, July 7, 2018

J&A's Brittanys All Eyes on Toph

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In the quietness of these early moments we watch, we wait and above all we pray with peaceful and joyous expectations. Father God please keep your hand of comfort upon your beautiful, lesser creature that we love and care about as the hour draws near we ask in Jesus Name.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

J&A's Fourth of July!

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Happy birthday America / Puppies early scent introduction (wing)
Charting Toph's temp / Better than fireworks / Holly's break
In the past we often celebrated America's birthday on July 4th by hosting huge cookouts at our home inviting family, friends, and neighbors.  Often there would be well over 50 gathered together to enjoy all things barbecued. Some years were better than others and we would have Maine lobsters and steamers obtained right off the local, nearby docks of the Piscataqua River. We did the turkey in a garbage can thing, bean hole beans you name it we did it!  Our pool was opened up and supervised kids would have a blast!  Then, in the evening we'd either travel over to Portsmouth, NH to catch the fireworks over North Pond or stay put and enjoy gathering around our own firepit into the wee hours of the morning under a beautiful starlit sky.  We had a small, built-in screen house underneath our balcony offering a necessary reprieve from the inevitable onslaught of mosquitoes. Other ways we have celebrated the 4th include sitting on the beach in York, Maine watching fireworks, a trip around Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire on the Mount Washington boat, or cruising on a friends party boat with a group of John's co-workers while the fireworks exploded from lakefront homes. This year however was different.

This evening (or should I say this early morning) is spent in quietness and intimacy far removed from the explosions or partying that this day brings. The night is beautiful and God is an awesome creator.  The stars glisten and shine as a slight breeze blows. The rising moon is an indescribable color as it makes it way above the tree line. And it is good. Everything that God does indeed is good and we know that "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17 

There are other sights and sounds here and now that I wouldn't miss for the world. The miracle of life right in front of my eyes as demonstrated by Holly and her family.  The grace and beauty of nature as Toph instinctively prepares for the arrival of her own. All wrapped in the gift of love, respect, and admiration I feel for them.  They are special to God too! Take time to seek what is written about animals. We are to highly regard and revere their very lives, caring well for them. 

The pups are 10 days old, content, and fairly quiet. There are occasional mews, squeals of delight or agitation, and once in awhile an actual pint sized neo-natal 'woof' sound. Eyes are closed but they will open soon. Holly keeps them so impeccably clean at this point you'd hardly think they even ever pooped. This job of keeping them clean will be handed off to John and I in a couple of weeks and then some. I have been faithful to perform the early stimulation exercises with them daily and even added early scent introduction today using an actual frozen grouse wing saved after last fall's bird hunting!
I am monitoring Toph's temperature looking for that all important drop that stays below 100 degrees. I'm beginning to see a bit of a trend develop which sometimes happens.  Things are right on time.  She enjoys the slow, long walks I have been taking her own. Toph's usually full speed ahead but certainly that's not the case currently.  Regular updates are given to my daughter who owns her.  Toph is accustomed to frequent visits here so being with us is no unusual thing. 

And with that it's time to try to get back to sleep!  Thanks for your interest in ATB and as always take care and God bless.  John and Ann 

PS I have to thank our puppy watch prayer group for carrying us through in Jesus Name. So blessed. Please continue to pray also for Peggy and Billy.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

J&A's Timeless Treasures - 1 Week Old

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All Things Holly
Our first week with Holly and her beautiful 9 puppies has gone very well.  Their weight gain has been so good.  Average weight for the litter is 1 lb 2 oz.  The smaller pups balance out the larger pups.  They are moving around the whelping box like curious little hunting puppy dogs should. I have been loosely following the 5 S.M.A.R.T. puppy early neo-natal exercises and it's a lot of fun. At first Holly really was nervous whenever I reached for and removed a puppy. I sat down on the floor next to her and let her nudge, lick, poke at her pup while I was holding it.  After a few days she just looks at me with trusting eyes. Now I can go to the box, pick up a pup to weigh, exam and play with a little bit and Holly doesn't mind at all. But if they let out a squeal it's all over and she comes to let me know puppy needs to come back NOW!  Our vet friend stopped by again the other day, he's always full of great tips and advice. John and I are developing a schedule that works.

Puppy eyes should open in a few more days or so.  I can already see the teeny little line of demarcation, the slit where they will open. We have a few woofing puppies too!

All Things Toph
Yesterday was a fun day for Toph as some of her family came for a brief visit.  She loved seeing two of 'her kids' who sat with her and gave her hugs and belly rubs. Toph is doing her very best to stay comfortable.  It's cool and comfortable where her whelping box is set up. It won't be long sweet Toph.  I am looking forward to being on the other side of this where she is resting and nursing her puppies.  And not to rush time but also can't wait for the summer days of playing outside with puppies!

Hope everyone is managing to stay cool.  Remind me not to complain in the middle of the winter when it's below freezing!!

Take care and God bless... continued prayers please for Billy, for my friend Peggy, and for the puppies yet to be born, already born, and their dams.
John, Ann and All things Brittany.

Friday, June 29, 2018

J&A's Brittanys - Toph's Radiograph Oh My!

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Toph's radiographs.... 

Since there's a few more than anticipated - there are puppies available from this litter.  All Things True & Toph Link