Monday, 26 January 2009

Getting not a lot done

Sunday morning I have to say I was knackered and didn't get up 'til 8am. Despite having lots to do at the house I wanted to give all the dogs a really good run and ended up heading up to Hest Bank Kennels for Teals' beginner Agility course. There's a long waiting list for the beginner courses and we were lucky to be offered a place and I really didn't want to miss it so while the timing was terrible we went anyway. She was ok, she has done a few bits at Joy's house...a line of jumps, tunnel, mini dog walk etc but she just didn't get the 'doing jumps on lead' concept. I don't really blame her, Teal is so rarely on lead and she's never asked to 'work' on lead so she just wasn't sure what was expected from her. Her tunnel was great and we did some contact work on a down plank...she was driving really nicely down to her toy. I am planning to train Teal a running contact as opposed to the 2on2off that I have taught Faith. I am hoping to buy a dog walk to have in the garden at the new house which will really help with training. We'll see how we get on with that! lol I took them all for a good run on the 'beach' before we went home. I say beach but it isn't really, it's more of a foreshore I guess but the tide was in so they got to have a swim in the sea. You can see on the photos how much the seawashed turf area is being eroded by the sea. There are little channels and gullies cut up into the grass area all the way along...the dogs have great fun charging around and jumping the channels and pools but they're all so 'gung-ho' I do worry someone will break their neck! I feel much happier on the sands at St Annes!

We got home just in time for puppy visitors, lovely people who chose one of Lori's boys. Just one boy left to find a home from Lori's litter now. They're are a lovely bunch of pups. I can't believe how quiet they are, it really doesn't feel like we have 9 of them in the kitchen. They're just really happy, contented puppies. Must get some new piccies of both litters!

The Big Trip North

When Joy had said she wanted to use Bond I had offered to drive up to Heathers with her. It's a journey I've done on my own a few times from our house (320 miles and approx 5 hours) but I do a lot of driving and actually quite enjoy it and Joy lives another 200 miles and 3 hours south of me so it's actually quite a mammoth trek from Fritwell to Roy Bridge!! In typical Wren style she comes in season and needs to be mated on one of the busiest weekends she could pick!! A week before we move house, my Nan's funeral is on the Friday morning, I have 2 litters of puppies at home and the weather really isn't that great either. Still...a promise is a promise and I really wanted to go see the two litters of Spark puppies that Heather has at the moment too so off we went. I took half of my dogs with me, leaving Gemma with the cockers, the girls with pups and the girls in season (and Squirrel of course).

We had a pretty good journey up but we did experience an awful lot of weather!! lol Everything from beautiful blue skies and sunshine to fog, snow, sleet, rain and strong winds, changing every 5 minutes...that's Cumbria and the Scottish Highlands for you I guess!! We did however get stopped by the police just outside of Crainlarich, I had a headlamp out (had been fine the day before!) so now I have to get a new headlamp fitted and certified by a garage to send off to them and also produce all my documents at a police station in the next 7 if I haven't got enough on at the moment!! lol

We took the slightly more scenic route (in my opinion)...heading up the A82 out of Glasgow takes you along the banks of Loch Lomond and up over Rannoch Moor and through Glencoe on the way to Fort William. Simply stunning scenery.

Coming down into Glencoe on our journey up...

As usual, a warm welcome and good food awaited us at Roy Bridge, it was nice to see Ron and Heather and all the dogs...but especially Mercy, Bond and Spud. Mercy was really pleased to see me which was kind of nice but also made me realise just how much I was missing her, I really love that little dog and she's been gone for over a year now. Spud has matured a lot since the last time I saw him, he is of course Wren's litter brother but they're not really that alike. He does just have the most gorgeous appealing head, I can't quite think who he reminds me of, if anyone it's probably his grandfather Sunny. Anyway, here's a pic I took of him in his favouriote spot...stood on the cabin roof so he can peer over the fence...funny lad.

We got two good matings so fingers crossed for some scrummy pups in 9 weeks time. This litter is going to be quite interesting...Wren could easily have all black/white pups but a plethora of colours is red, blue, tricolour, sable, seal...anything really!! lol

We got some stacked pics of Daisy's puppies...just 4 weeks old so some were a little more willing than others. I was really taken with both blue/white puppies but they're all really nice. Here's some snaps of them...

And this is the blue merle bitch we all liked from Evie's litter too, what a cutie!

Took the dogs for a good run up the forest at Spean Bridge before we set off home Saturday lunchtime...I am so jealous that Heather gets to run her dogs here every day, stunning views and perfect for free running a pack of boisterous collies!! lol

We hadn't been on the road for long before we got to Glencoe, lots of walkers out everywhere but the search and rescue helicopter was scouring the moutain side as we drove through, we had wondered whether it was a training exercise but then heard on the radio that there had been an avalanche and tragically 3 people killed. Stunning scenery but treacherous in those sorts of conditions. The snow started to get much thicker as we headed up over Rannoch Moor...

...but we were soon back down out of the snow and had a clear run all the way home with no stops.

Finally home safely and it was great to see Squirrel after all the worry. Kitten was a bit peeky though, vomiting and running a high temperature. I think she may have picked up a bit of a bug but I've put her on some antibiotics and she's eating again and seems a bit brighter but she's not yet back to her usualy 'giddy kipper' self so I'll just keep an eye on her, poor little Kitty-Kat. Joy just had a quick coffee and then headed back down to Oxford where a couple of junctions from home her headlights failed...would you believe it??!! Bloody good job we hadn't taken the Berlingo up to Scotland or we would have been in trouble! lol

A rather stressful couple of days...

Thursday was a really busy day, had Gemma and Joy coming up after work...Gemma was coming to look after my dogs for the weekend while Joy and I went up to Heathers in the Scottish Highlands to get Wren mated to Bond. As well as packing stuff for the house move next weekend and my Nan's funeral on Friday morning there was a lot of stuff to sort out before we left but we were pretty well organised; what none of us had counted on was Squirrel doing a dissapearing act!! I think that was one of the most stressful evenings/nights of my life...the weather was horrendous...cold, wet and windy and she was just nowhere to be seen. She's not one for wandering and is a real 'home bird' so I was sure someone must have picked her up. It would be nearly 30 hours before Gemma finally tracked her down. Having rung all the kennels, dog wardens, police, vets etc Joy and I had set off up to Scotland and left Gemma looking for her which was a real wrench but common sense said it didn't need 3 of us to sit and wait for news. We were driving up over Rannoch Moor when we finally got the news that she'd been found...what an enormous relief!! It was as though we'd left our hearts and minds back in Treales 'til that point and it was hard focusing on where we were going and what we were doing. She'd been picked up by a girl that worked at the pub in our village and taken back to her flat in town, thankfully one of my neighbours had seen her pick Squirrel up else I don't think we'd have got her back. That had been my biggest worry, she's such a friendly and well behaved little dog, someone could be tempted into keeping her. It turned out that I had loaded her into a top crate in the van with Teal and Drake then gone back in to get the others, she'd climbed over the partition (as only a little terrier could!) into Mac's crate next door and hopped out of that open door and gone for a little nosey round the village...I'd driven off without even realising she wasn't in the van!! A valuable lesson learned and thankfully a happy ending. All credit to Gemma for tracking her're a total star mate, can't thank you enough :)

A long farewell

Have had quite a lot happen over the last few days so am going to be doing a few posts to catch up!!

The passing of my Nan is one of those strange moments, where you feel obliged to be sad but actually I don't feel that sad about it. My Nan had always been a very bright and vibrant woman but in the last 10 years or so she had been very ill and lost a lot of her lucidity, that was the really sad part, we'd been losing her gradually for a long time. Although I never spent a huge amout of time with her over my life I do feel as though I owe her a lot. Certainly my love of animals and particularly dogs comes from her. I remember all the dogs she had when I was a child...shepherds, springers, the little yorkies she bred and more latterly cairns, she was never without a dog and that was the thing that pained her the most when she eventually had to go into a nursing home so I usually took one of mine when I went to visit and I swear she was more pleased to see the dog than me! lol Although I will miss her, I have been missing her for a number of years already, if that makes any sense. I have very strong memories of her and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to know her, things could have been very diffferent.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

As promised...

...the stacked pics of 'the lads'; thanks to Tania for taking them and Francine for mailing them over!! These puppies are bred by Norman Johnson (Wildfell) and sired by our Oz.

'Hummer'....went back to Belgium with Tania and will be trained to compete in obedience

'Drift' has gone to live with Cathy Loughrey who also owns his uncle Fen and great Auntie Celty. He will also be trained to comepte in obedience...

'Archie' who has also gone to an obedience home!

Francine also sent us this pic...

...this is 'Hutch', one of the puppies sired by Spark. He has been chosen by the Belgian National Police Dog Unit to be trained as a Cadaver Dog, we wish them all the best with this special little man. :)

Monday, 19 January 2009

A busy weekend at home...

Had another busy weekend with one thing and another. Tania came over from Belgium to collect her new puppy from Norman, 'Hummer' is the chocolate and white boy from Oz and Brackens litter.
Archie, Hummer and Drift...3 naughty boys!!

(I'll add some stacked pics of these later)
This is Norman's youngster bred by my friend Laura Cunningham up in Scotland, CorrieDhu Bute

a very gentle and affectionate boy.

Tania also took Sea home with her (very sad face)...very hard to see him go after he has settled in here so well but I'm looking forward to seeing him again at the European Flyball Championships in May.

We also went to Batleys to pick up some more puppy food but ended up spending a fortune on a load of new toys (as usual!), at least the toy box has been replenished after half of their Christmas toys have already been destroyed! I was very careful choosing things that aren't so easy to puncture/shred/disembowl and the new 'oinky' pig is only allowed out for supervised play! lol I'm most impressed with a couple of 'wiggly giggly' minty dental dumbells, they make a fun noise but are sturdy and fairly indestructible, I bought two sizes but of course Squirrel only wants the big one!!

We had lots of visitors to see Lori's pups, they are really developing into great little characters now, you can imagine with 7 boys in the litter there's quite a lot of 'rough-housing' going on now! Tania helped to take some stacked pics of this litter, they're a bit young but it gives some idea of overall body shapes etc. The little red boy number 4 has a blue eye so he is not going to be suitable for the showring but will have a lovely agility home instead, he's a real sweetie. Girl no. 2 is almost the spitting image of Lori at the same's quite uncanny!

Kittens' pups are growing nicely but still too young to be showing any personality. The smallest in the litter, the little 'mini Kitten' girl is the first to open her eyes at 12 days old :)) the others should all follow suit over the next couple of days and they should be up on their feet and getting ready for starting weaning over the next week too.

Have done very little packing at all this weekend! Less than 2 weeks now to D-day!! lol

Saturday, 17 January 2009

A wonderful timewaster...

never tire of watcxhing young puppies play and interact with each other...
Here's Loris' lot now 4 weeks old...

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Doesn't time fly!

Loris' pups are now 3 weeks old and very active. They are now down in the kitchen in a large pen when there can soak up the sights and sounds of our busy house. They're enjoying playing with their toys and each other. They are also now well on the way to being weaned, eating 3 good meals a day.

Here they are during their pre-breakfast play...

and here they are eating breakfast...

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Turning into real puppies...

Loris' pups are now 2 weeks old, they're quite forward for their age but I always think the two week mark is the point where they stop being little furry slugs and start turning into proper little puppies. :)

Eyes and ears are now fully open and they're starting to take much more notice of each other and their surroundings.
Taking more notice of me (and my camera!)...

They're starting to 'play' with each other...mouthing and wrestling and making funny little growls and barks already...

They're also starting to cut their teeth... we'll start weaning over the next week and try to take some of the pressure off Lori. She really is such a good mum, all nine pups are fat and well fed and spotlessly clean at all times which she manages with the minimum of fuss.

Some bitches seem to take to motherhood very naturally and Lori is one of these; just like her mother Kes, granny Sian and of course great granny Spangle before her.

Will get some individual pics of them all this afternoon before they have their first worming dose and nail trim. Am really looking forward to the next 6 weeks watching this lot grow up and start becoming proper little dogs. :)

Friday, 2 January 2009

Happy New Year!!

I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and all the best for 2009. I'm so busy at the moment with the pups and packing etc that I am being shockingly bad at answering e-mails, updating the blog, taking pics etc so you'll just have to bear with me for a while I'm afraid.

Thanks to everyone that has been in touch for all your New Year messages and photos and stuff, I do really appreciate it :)

Thought I'd share a few pics with you...
This is Scot (Bryning Black Grouse) out on the beach over New Year. (Loving the reflection in the water!)
pic by Hazell Brown (thanks mate)

This is Nevis (Bryning Crazy for You) with his 'housemate' Rosie (Nice of You to Combye Red Rose). He is of course a Bond grandson (Ethan x Dottie) and Rosie is a Bond daughter bred by Danielle Boushouwers in Holland...they have strikingly similar heads and expressions don't you think?
(pic by Judit Novak)

Here are the latest pics of the Spark puppies out in Belgium at the Vlassenhout kennel. I couldn't be more pleased with the way they're shaping up and all the merles are looking to have nice dark eyes and good pigment, just like daddy! :)

(Pics courtesy of Vlassenhout Kennel)
Take a look here for more piccies.

More 'Spark-lers' arrived up in the Highlands over Christmas and New Year; a mix of blue merles, blue/whites and black/whites. Hope to get some pics of those pups when Heather gets round to taking some! lol