Well, today is a very special day! In honor of a very rare occasion, the confluence of Thanksgiving and Chanukah, or as some folks have dubbed it, Thanksgivingukkah, which will not occur for 80,000 more years, Karma's litter theme honors both. Both Thanksgiving and Chanukah are holidays that celebrate freedom. In their cases, freedom of religion but, with our usual poetic license, we simply are calling the puppies Karma's Free Spirits. Their names all relate in some way to free spirits or the holidays.
Maize, our golden girl, is named for corn, the staple of the Native Americans which fed the Pilgrims who would have starved. The e will be pronounced, no doubt so Maizey will be what she'll hear.
Harmony is our black Irish pied...very flashy girl and her name came to mind as Stevie Wonder's Ebony & Ivory ran through my head..."Ebony and Ivory live together in perfect harmony..."
Miracle, a black girl with white markings (chest and back paws) honors the miracle of Chanukah, when the little bit of oil left lasted a miraculous eight days. I expect her to be a shining light that lasts a LONG time!
Willow, looks black/tan at this point but I think I see gold glitter which may mean that she will turn gold with black hairs, reminiscent of tree bark and the Willow is such a lovely, graceful tree.
Blake is a black boy with white markings. Blake is an old term for 'dark-haired' and there was an Englush poet named Blake who wrote a poem about Jerusalem ( I did mention the esoteric nature of some of these name origins, didn't I?)
Peta, is a black/tan boy, with liberal gold dust sprinkled over his head, neck, shoulders...he should turn some shade of gold with black. Peta is a Native American word for Golden Eagle...so a loose link to Thanksgiving.
Karma is very pleased to present her Free Spirits which were set free this morning via section as, in their efforts to be free, they stretched Karma's uterus too far for it to contract. Mother and babies are doing very well!
Free Spirits - 11/30/13
Free Spirits - Week One...
A whole week has passed since we were unceremoniously plucked from our Mom and landed in the real world. We have just grown and thrived and been a delight this week. So beautiful that it is hard to stop gazing at them. Each different, each with a unique character. Maize is so soft and warm and gold. She is sweet and calm and seems to be perpetually smiling. Harmony is so flashy with her stark contrasts. She is the feistiest of the girls, and purposeful in getting what she wants. Miracle is such a shiny black beauty, like black velvet, also calm. Willow's gold dusted coat is becoming more obvious and she is strong and solid. Blake is the largest, solid and black, soft but glistening. But he's not pushy, not a bully and doesn't throw his weight around. Peta is smaller, with the most interesting color which changes daily. From his tan points to his gold dusted coat...he's a picture still being painted. They are all the best puppies...eat, grow, not fussy at all. It's been a lovely week with the Free Spirits...it will be exciting seeing the progress and changes in the coming weeks.
We are ONE week old today!
Free Spirits - Week Two...
What a difference a week makes in the spirits. Right on schedule, day 10, they opened their eyes and the innocence just radiates out of the babies. Those smooth shiny coats are just starting to hint at the lushness of the long coats and a little frill begins to grow below their ears. Karma continues to be an outstanding mother, attentive and watchful but mostly trusting when babies are removed for photos and weigh in. They range from 1 to 1.3 lbs now...solid, pudgy happy babies! Superpuppy exercises are over, now we just cuddle and croon. It's been so much fun being HERE instead of at work all day...it really is hard to stop watching them.
Look at us looking at you!
Free Spirits - Week Three...
This week every day brings changes in the Spirits. They are mobile, sitting up, toddling around, much more aware of their surroundings and responding with interest and even a small woof or two. We have begun potty training even while they remain in the whelping box. A piddle pad has been added to one side of the box and covered with the coil scraper mat I use on the Potty Parks. This should give them a great head start when they move into the expen next week as puppies develop a substrate preference pretty early. The potty training began as soon as I noted spontaneous urination (in the first couple of weeks puppies need external stimulation, ie mom licking them, to urinate, which keeps the 'nest' clean. As they grow, they can urinate on their own and that is when we introduce them to the proper pottying material. They are doing quite well already with hitting the potty side of the box. They are, of course, adorable and their silky little coats are growing with little ruffles developing and they are so, so soft. zAll those sticking out ears have folded down where they belong now! Lacy (my former receptionist) came to visit on Thurs and, as is often the case with visitors, was pressed into service to make the weekly nail trimming quicker and easier (for me!) Thanks, Lacy! Karma is spending more time out of the box. When Pearlie, Pekoe, and Dipper join me in the bedroom, Karma has the rest of the house so she can get outside if she needs to (her space is landlocked in the kitchen otherwise but she has really cut down use of PottyPark, choosing to signal me that she wants to go out. Must be a reluctance to soil the 'nest') and she will often join us for a while when we awaken in the morning...she loves a good cuddle in the bed.
Free Spirits...let freedom ring!
Karma's Free Spirits - 12/28/13 - FOUR weeks...
Four weeks bring big changes to the Spirits. Last night, they had their first meal of solid food. It was a simple meal, a Stella & Chewy's Rabbit patty, freeze dried type, reconstituted with hot water and mushed. It was not only 'well received' it was eaten with relish and the bowl licked clean. No one walked in it, no one walked away until it was gone. Then, this morning, they moved out of the playpen and into the new puppy pen. Just to keep it from being complete culture shock, the whelping box was moved in with them, but the barrier dropped and a towel wrapped brick step added to help them get back in. The pen is equipped with both a piddle place and a PottyPark, and completely lined with pee pads. The pee pads will be phased out over the next week or so, as they get better and making it from box to the potty places. The Piddle Place is a low potty, perfect for this age puppy. Within the next couple of weeks they will be able to get onto the PottyPark. Today they had both breakfast and dinner of rabbit patty. Of course this means that by tomorrow, that 'real' food will be passing through so Karma will likely take a pass on cleaning up puppy poo so it'll be my shift for 'clean up in aisle 1!"
At this age, they are beginning to develop personalities. We had lots of visitors yesterday and today and the puppies were pretty enthusiastic about meeting people. Blake found his voice yesterday and did a lot of talking to people. At one point he had a flash mob going with everyone woofing at once...in 6 part harmony! Will be interesting to watch them evolve! Their coats are beginning to grow ruffles and they are super soft and shiny. Thursday I noticed that, when they were sleeping, they segregated themselves by color. (See pix)...but it may have been coincidence as the next time I looked, they were all in one big pile! Here are some candids and their 4 week portraits!
The new digs
A pile of puppies
Waiting for Happy NEW Year!
Karma's Free Spirits - 01/04/2014- soaring high at FIVE weeks...
Well, Happy New Year everyone! The Spirits continue to blossom and grow and develop into little doglets. They run, they play, they wrestle and boy, can they wag those happy tails. King of the Mountain on the PottyPark is a new favorite game and they are refining their potty skills nicely. We are down to 2 pee pads and, within the week, should be eliminating those. Not my favorite stage as they tend to step in accidents, get stinky, then the baths begin. We are going to start practicing stacking this week so when they get their soaps they'll know how to stand up and not scrunch up! The Crime Team has been to visit several times for social hour. The Spirits have such soft, silky coats and they are growing plush and lush. Harmony's ruff makes her look like some Elizabethan character! Maize is the smallest, followed by Miracle, then Harmony. Willow, Blake & Peta are all the same weight now (2lbs 9.5oz.) Karma is still being a great mother so they are not very dependent on solid food. They get about 10 minutes to eat what they will then I let Karma back in and she circles the bowl, eating up their food while trying to keep her belly out of the way from their lips. Won't be too long now before they experience their first rejection...Mama don't love us no mo'! Sniff.
Happy New Year from the Free Spirits!
Karma's Free Spirits - Week 6 - 1/11/14...
Eat,run, jump, play, pee, poop, sleep, eat, run, jump, play, pee, poop, sleep...it's become a marathon puppy olympics as the spirits find their feet and find their wings and learn to soar. They remind me of a flash mob...they synchonize and flow together. Very responsive and interactive with their environment, they get so happy when they see people, or other dogs, or, look there's a squirrel (well the squirrel will have to wait...the one downside is that they have not been able to get outside yet. Hoping with tomorrow's sunny day and mild temperatures, we MIGHT have an adventure outside! We're doing very well with pottying, although we still have piddle pads because the Crime Team, who are a week younger, have moved in and they still need the 'bridge'. Barb came over today and ably assisted me in trimming feet, rears, boy bellies, eye hair, and nails. Next Fri she's coming back and I'm going to teach her how to bathe puppies...grin. Big help to have 2 more hands even though these puppies have been SO good about grooming and they were mostly very cooperative about photo session today. Ok, Miracle and Blake were a bit of a challenge as they wanted to play with the camera! These kids are, as a group, a happy, outgoing, good natured bunch! Size ranges from little Maize's 2.2 lbs to a three way tie between Willow, Peta, Blake at 2.9 lbs
Learning to fly...FREE!
Karma's Free Spirits - Seven Weeks 01/18/14 - The Wrath of Karma...
Several milestones met this week. On the 'good fun' side of the page we got to go outside every day! Some days, just for a quick trip due to cold weather. Like this morning...it was loud in here...10 puppies decided to have a singing out of tune contest so the ultimatum was given. Be quiet or go outside and 'chill out', literally. Out they went...10 minutes of racing around the yard and they were ready to come back in and settle down. On the down side, they have faced their first real rejection as Karma has pretty much weaned them. Mamamamamama...ggggggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Mamamamamamama..........run, jump, leap, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
So, yesterday, after a 5 hr marathon FIRST Bath day (thanks so much to Christie, who stopped by to visit and was pressed into service, and especially to Barb, who spent the day with me and who quickly learned how to bathe and blow dry puppies) I rearranged the pen to exclude Mama Dogs. So, what did Karma do? She picked up a toy weasel and carried it around whining then parked herself by the pen and whined so I put her in and she willingly nursed them all. Go figure. Curtain call? Encore?
In any case, yesterday we did nails, trimmed feet, bottoms, eyes and bathed and I have to say that, overall, outstanding bunch of babies...not a freak out in the bunch. Had a couple of dryer whiners but no hissy fits. Impressive for first bath. It is so nice to have clean, sweet smelling puppies and not a moment too soon! Today we had lots of visitors, including Brody and Lolly, a couple of last year's pups come to play with Dipper and Pekoe, while the humans oohed, ahhed, and cuddled puppies. Puppies enjoyed this a lot!
Tomorrow family is coming to visit and have dinner, including the puppies' favorite toys, my grandkids! And it's supposed to get up to 50 so long playtime outside to wear the puppies out before visitors come!
Hard to believe we are at the 8 week mark. The Spirits are developing into wonderful, active, attractive, athletic little dogs. The unfortunate weather here has prevented excursions to the great outdoors this week so we made a playland in the utility room where they can go wild and crazy! All that pent up energy is released in runlikehell, scoot under the shelves and, mostly, beating each other up! We've had a busy visitor week so they've had lots of social time. Sunday my family was here, grandkids entranced with the puppies and vice versa! Thurs Mary and her puppy smitten daughters came and served as human chew toys in the afternoon. Yesterday was their 2nd bathday and Barb (mostly), and I (a little) and Susan, too, got all 10 puppies clean and dry in less than 4 hrs. This included nail trims, foot, butt, belly neatening AND stacking practice. Soaped evals are next week and we want them to be familiar with stacking on table. We finished just in time for Nickie & Linda to come play with clean puppies! Nickie and Linda were coming to meet the dogs for the first time and Trace provided the comic relief by going out to dig for moles not once, not twice, but three times, returning with face, ears and feet dripping with red, wet mucky clay. Thanks, Trace...for proving that these are real dogs, not toys!
The Spirits are doing reasonably well with pottying in the right place. Having the younger Crime Team in with them has been a challenge for potty training as the younger pups are less reliable but we are working on it. Housebreaking is MUCH easier with one puppy than with 10 but I have observed every one of them getting it right much of the time. Grateful to the person who invented the Swiffer.
Tomorrow the Spirits will have their PAT. Wed is soaped Evals and Thurs well puppy exams, cardiac & patella evals, & BAER tests for all! And more visitors...lots of visitors! And MORE videos (be sure to scroll down to the videos...if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is priceless!)
The 'big' kids.
Karma's Free Spirits - NINE weeks old 02/01/14 - ready to spread wings and fly...
The puppies have had the best week yet. We got so much accomplished. Last Sunday the PATs were done. These are the puppy aptitude tests which help us assess personality tendencies that help match what home might be best suited to each puppy. It's not a pass or fail type test, not a right or wrong response. For example, a puppy that is sound/sight/or touch sensitive would be best suited to a quieter, more mature household rather than in a home with small children who might frighten/startle a sensitive puppy. These 10 puppies (we tested both litters the same day) were the most uniformly stable bunch I have ever had. And the majority of them retrieved the little crumpled paper ball...consistently and repeatedly. That was fun as my dogs have the 'if you wanted it, you should not have thrown it away' response. There was very little prey drive, good social attraction and none were 'high' activity level...mellow bunch of babies.
On Thurs they had their BAER test (hearing) (all have normal hearing as I expected) and their well puppy exams. All hearts and patellas are normal, boys have their testicles. They were pretty good about the BAER testing (which involves needles stuck through skin by ears and top of hear) with The Crime Team being more cooperative than the Free Spirits. I think next litter theme will be 'The Obedient ones!'
Friday we did the first round of Soaps...got through 6 puppies. They were pretty good...we'd been practicing stacks but wet soapy stacks aren't nearly as much fun. Even with a heater running and working at speed, the side views were dicey as we struggled to get all four feet on the table at the same time. Still, they were pretty good sports! Dionne and her Mom, Dinah came to see the puppies, and Barb (Miracle's new owner) was the photographer/rinser/dryer, jill of all trades!
Today we finished up the last 4 with Helen & Frank coming up from NC to help and they brought Crosby along and Cody (their new pup.) The puppies got to go out 3 times today...they have SO much fun outside...thankful every time we get a day that they can play outside. Yesterday they went out but it was 27 degrees so it was a 10 minute outing...they run, run, run and keep warm. Today they went out with the big dogs and Karma and Pearlie were teaching them respect for their elders. It's a hoot to watch and I videoed it and will work on that as soon as I can. Briefly, the puppy approaches, usually boldly, and the adult growls. If the puppy is smart, they go all submissive and grovel and flip over on their back. The adult mouths the the puppy, growling then backs off. If the puppy lies still, the adult does nothing. If the puppy gets up run (ie have fun) it gets chased down and has to submit again. These are such important lessons as they teach the puppies the proper way to approach other dogs so they don't get injured for being rude. It's one of the many reasons pups stay here for 10 weeks. Lots to learn to get a good start in life.
Next weekend, the Spirits begin their journeys...but it won't be a mass exodus as they will be leaving over a week's time and the Crime Team will be here for 2 more weeks.
This has been a busy week for the Spirits. Many milestones beginning with new found freedom of the large side yard. They learned to use the dog door in record time...what a thrill to tumble out that door, run down the steps and into the BIG dog yard. The side yard is right off the playroom so we have learned to run from the pen to the playroom then, at certain times, the door magically is unblocked and they can run to their hearts delight. This is great exercise for ALL. Yesterday I logged 2 1/2 miles and 22 flights of stairs rounding them up...whew. But they had a blast and, out of the confines of the small front yard, the adult dogs were much more willing to play with them...Karma and Pearlie spent a lot of time interacting, continuing their lessons in dog to dog etiquette.
On Fri my tech and her mom and 2 year old son came out...Kellan was so excited to see the puppies and they were just as happy to see him. Then, for the second time in their short life a 'BAD' thing happened to the puppies (the first was the BAER test/needles in their heads.) Microchipping and first vaccination. Owie. But, I have to say that they were real troopers...a couple of yips but for the most part they were amazing!
We knew the time would come and here it is. Tomorrow the free spirits begin their journeys to new lives. They have new names, new homes to settle down in and, new families to shower them with love. Peta is now Trav and tomorrow leaves for his new home in NC. He's joining my friend, Kay, and her three Silks and he'll be coming to our HSDAA shows beginning in March. Maize, now Libe, is leaving tomorrow. She is going to be dividing her time between NoVA and Panama. Willow, leaving Tues, will be spending time in both Newport News and FL. Blake is going to live in NJ on Fri. Miracle, now Inka, is going to live in Richmond, close enough to come have playdates with Harmony, who will remain here, making her show debut with Trav in Durham March 22-23. Anyone in the Durham area, do come see the lovely Silks strut their stuff.
It has been a pleasure and a privilege to raise these puppies for a wonderful group of people who will be sharing their lives. It has been so much more fun being at home with them full time...retirement rocks! It's great that they are leaving gradually...no need to go 'cold turkey'.