Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sign up for our Facebook Contest!


Check out our Brand New Sweepstakes contest! We are giving away a 6lb bag of Diamond Small Breed puppy food, a home made fleece blanket, and a large squeak toy! Just follow these steps:

1: Click this Link:
2: Enter your email and click submit!
3: Share with your friends and receive 2 extra entries for each friend that enters. 

The contest runs from 3/25/14-5/6/14, the winner will be announced 5/6/14.
Even if you don't have a pet or don't use Diamond Brand dog food you can still enter and donate the prize to a local Humane Society or Shelter. Good luck to everyone!

Friday, March 7, 2014

How Our Waiting List for Cockapoo Puppies Works

During the Spring and Summer months and during certain Holidays we get really busy with families wanting to adopt our Cockapoo puppies so we generally develop a waiting list. People have paid attention to how fast our puppies are adopted and they have learned that the sooner they reserve in advance the better because that way they don't have to worry about not getting a puppy when they want one. As soon as I post online that we have a waiting list for puppies I get flooded with questions, people often want to know how long our list is and they always fear that they won't get a puppy. It's really hard to give specifics on exactly when a person on our waiting list will get a puppy because it all depends on what they want, how many puppies are born, and what color/sex combination they are. I'll have people call me wanting specific answers and I feel bad because I always have to tell them it depends on the litter and I have to wait until they arrive before I can go into specific details. Here is an example, I am hoping that it helps clear up some of the common questions I get:

When a family reserves a puppy in advance I ask them to tell me what they are looking for which would be color(s,) sex of the puppy, and if they have a certain time of year that they would prefer getting one. Here is an example of a waiting list that I would have, I will explain how it all works as we go through it.

Family #1 wants a Red Female only and they don't want one until June
Family # 2 wants a Red, Buff, or Apricot Female starting in May
Family #3 wants a Red Male only, any time of year
Family #4 wants a Chocolate Male, any time of year
Family #5 wants a Black Female, starting in May
Family #6 will take any color/sex as soon as possible
Family #7 will take any color female as soon as possible
Family #8 wants a Parti or Merle Male or Female as soon as possible
Family #9 wants any color Male as soon as possible
Family #10 wants a Chocolate Female any time of year

Okay, so the above is my pretend waiting list and lets say it's February 16th and I have a litter of puppies born with a total of 3 Black Females, one Parti Male, and one Chocolate Female and they will be ready for home the beginning of April. Once I know what is born I go to my waiting list and see who is on it and what they are looking for. Family #1 is instantly skipped over because they don't want a puppy until June, Family #2 is skipped because I don't have the color/sex that they want, Family #3 is skipped because I don't have the color/sex they want, Family #4 is skipped because I don't have the sex they want, Family #5 is skipped because they don't want one until May, Family #6 is contacted first because they will take any color or sex as soon as possible, so they went from being #6 on the list to #1 because of what was born in the litter. So lets say Family #6 takes a Black Female, they are happy and now off of my list, leaving 9 families left on the list. I will now contact Family #7 because they will take any color female, so lets say they too take a Black Female, they are now off the list, leaving 8 families left. I then contact Family #8 and tell them I have a Parti Male, fabulous, they are happy with him and take him, one more family off the list and now I am down to 7 people waiting. I skip over Family #9 because they only want a Male and he was adopted by Family #8 and I then contact Family #10 and tell them I have a Chocolate Female, they are happy and adopt her, leaving 6 families on a list that was 10 long. So now I have one Black Female available and no one on my list wants her so I then post her on the website for the public to view and adopt. The remaining people on my waiting list will be contacted when my next litter is born as long as the puppies match what they are looking for. From my example you can see that if you are more open minded about a color/sex combination you can go from being #10 on the list all the way up to #1 because other people are very specific about what they want and you are not.

I hope this example makes it more clear as to why I cannot specifically tell you when I will have a puppy for you, it all depends on what you want and who is born. I also hope that it makes the number of people on my waiting list less scary because your turn in line can change, again, all depending on what I get for puppies.

I have said this a million times but I will say it again, we do not know what color or sex combination we will get until the puppies are born! Our dogs have a ton of different colors in their bloodlines, we do this on purpose so that we can get a nice variety of colors and each litter is a nice surprise!

Please do contact us if you want to reserve a puppy in advance, we take deposits anytime.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tail Docking: Long and Waggy Tails are Welcomed Here!

Tail docking or cropping is the act of intentionally removing part of an animals tail. This practice, depending on the type of animal, is often done by a licensed vet, a breeder, or by a farmer and can be done in various ways ranging from cutting to banding and burning. Because I am a dog breeder I am going to focus on tail docking in dogs. For canines tail docking is originally thought to have started way back in the Roman Empire, and the most popular reason was to prevent working and hunting dogs from being hurt by the animals they were hunting or by their long tails being caught in the underbrush they were traveling through. In more modern times tail docking was made popular by people thinking it made certain breeds more attractive when they had shorter tails and also during the 1950's rules for pedigree dog shows established standards requiring docked tails for particular breeds. For example, a Cocker Spaniel would be required to have a docked tail and would not be "show worthy" if they had their naturally long tail.
The debate over whether tail docking is ethical has a long history, for a time it was totally acceptable to have a dog with a docked tail, people fully expected certain breeds to automatically have their tails docked when born, and some of that is still true to this day, but I have found that more people have shifted to the other side and prefer their dog's tails naturally long and not docked. I'm not sure that everyone adopting a dog with a docked tail is fully aware of what a painful procedure it is. I think most people like to believe that their dog, when first born, was taken to the vet where it was given  medication and the tail was removed with minimal pain, but the truth is most breeders do it themselves with a knife or tool similar to a nail clippers and the puppy is not given any type of pain medicine. The tail is cut off, the puppy screams, and a powder called 'blood stop' is put on the wound to stop the bleeding. If done wrong it can cause infections, bone can be exposed, and it can later lead to future issues throughout the dogs life.
(The above picture was downloaded off the internet to show tail docking, I do not dock tails, so it is not my personal picture!!)
Having dogs and other animals with tails my entire life I fully realize that the tail is something much more than a cosmetic feature, it is a way for the animal to communicate their emotions with you and other animals. If a dog is scared where does the tail go-right between their legs. If a dog is happy and excited, where does the tail go-all over the place and they usually wag it as hard as they can to express how excited they are. If a dog spots something they aren't sure of or that they want to point out, where does the tail go-usually straight out in a 'pointed' position. If a female is in heat and she is put in with a male, where does the tail go- up and to the side to tell him she's ready to breed. Studies have also shown that even though a dog may be wagging their tail, the direction and pattern of that wag may express different emotions and signals that we, not being dogs, don't understand but others of their kind do.
In the early 90's in the United Kingdom the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons ruled tail docking to be unethical unless it was done for medically necessary reasons, not simply cosmetic. Vets found guilty of doing tail docking for cosmetic purposes face very high fines and potential time in jail. In 1987 Norway banned tail docking, in 2006 it was banned in England, Scotland, and Wales and other countries that have banned the practice include Australia, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Sweden amongst many others. I wonder if America will ever change its breed standards and also participate in the tail docking ban?
                   (Again, not my photo, I downloaded it off the internet to show tail docking!!)
We raise Cockapoo puppies and do not dock their tails. A Cockapoo is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle and Cockapoos are born with naturally long tails. Cocker Spaniels have a breed standard and are known to have docked tails and I have found that people go either way with Poodles, some breeders automatically dock tails and don't think a Poodle is 'right' without it being done while others leave them natural. We sometimes raise Cocker Spaniels or Poodle puppies when we want new ones for breeding and do not dock either breeds tails. We recently just had a litter of Cocker Spaniel puppies, we were hoping for females but got Males, so we sold them with naturally long tails and were happy to see that people accepted them for who they are, tails and all. I do on occasion have people call me inquiring about a puppy and tell me that they don't want one if it doesn't have a docked tail and I am fine with that, I respect their opinion, but they will have to go elsewhere for a puppy because I will not do it. I have found customers that were unsure about their puppies having a long tail now really appreciate that we did not dock them and I get a lot of comments from people thanking us for not participating in the practice. If you have a dog, or a cat, or another animal that has a long tail sit down and pay attention to how they use their tail and you will see it is much more than a cosmetic feature.
                                                              Cocker Spaniel with a docked tail (not our dog)

                                                              Mini Poodle with a docked tail (not our dog)
                                   One of our Cockapoo puppies, look at that beautiful tail :)
                      Another one of our beautiful Cockapoo puppies with a long and waggy tail!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Your Pet

Saying goodbye to a pet is one of the hardest things I've had to deal with in life. My pets become my family, they are like children to me, so I cherish every moment I have with them and it's absolutely heart breaking when it's time to say goodbye.
 Last fall my father's 14 year old Golden Retriever wasn't doing well, her hips were getting bad, she wasn't eating well and we could all see that her quality of life was fading. I brought up the subject of putting her to sleep a few times with my dad, and like any pet owner, he was hesitant to do it, but I reminded him that he had to put her needs ahead of his own personal feelings. Finally he could see that it was her time and he took her in to be put to sleep, even though it was hard, he realized that she was in pain and wouldn't be getting any better. About a week after he lost his dog, his wife also passed away, and we could all see he was lost-everyone he had been taking care of had left him in such a short amount of time and he was left with a sad and empty house and no one to care for. When Sally, his dog, passed away I asked him if he would be interested in getting a new puppy and he said he wanted to wait awhile, his wife was sick, and he didn't know if a new puppy would make things harder and he also wanted some time to heal from losing Sally which I understood. When his wife then passed away and I could see how lonely he was I asked him if he would now be interested in getting a puppy? He wasn't sure but did mention it a few times and seemed to be on the fence about it....

I grew up on a farm and have had animals my whole life so I've been through the entire process of getting, and then losing, a pet several times throughout life but the hardest one yet was my house cat, Stinker. I got Stinker as a kitten when I was about 10 years old and he was my shadow- he slept with me, was always on my lap, loved to be carried around, and watched me change from a child, into a teenager, and then onto an adult. When he was about 10 years old I started to notice some changes in him, he wasn't eating as well, was getting constipated, and losing weight so I brought him to the vet and, after some testing, he was diagnosed with kidney disease. Of course I was devastated with this news but the vet told me we could get him on medication, switch his food, and do other various things to keep him comfortable, but it wasn't a battle I would ultimately end up winning, I just had to appreciate the time I had left with him. I did what the vet said, I got him on meds, changed his food, put water bowls all over the house and kept a close eye on him, even checking into getting him a kidney transplant. For awhile he was really good, but he did also have his bad days where he wouldn't eat and was very lethargic and sick which always reminded me that my time with him was limited. I continued to take him to the vet for regular blood tests and, as his disease progressed, he had to get IV's to refresh his system which really helped him out, but again, was only a temporary fix. Luckily with my animal experience I was able to do the IV's at home and handled all of his various problems quite well but it still was so emotionally draining to watch this disease progress, and at times I felt helpless. When he turned 13 he had lost a lot of weight over the years and it got to the point where I had to give him IV's more and more often and I finally had to sit down and ask myself whether I was keeping him alive for my own selfish reasons or if it was time to put an end to his suffering and let him go. In the end I decided that his quality of life had gone down to a point that he had more bad days than good and that I had to say goodbye. I called my vet and she agreed so I took him in the next day and had him put to sleep, it was one of the hardest days of my life!

When you take a pet in to be put to sleep it's an extremely sad thing to have to go through but the vets work very hard to make it as peaceful and humane as possible. I said I wanted to stay for the process (you don't have to watch if you don't want to) so she gave him a sedative which worked almost instantly and that gave me a few minutes to say my goodbyes. When I was ready she gave him the second shot which stops their lungs and heart and he was simply gone in a matter of seconds. When you lose a pet there are a lot of options as to what you can do with their body, cremation is a common one, you leave them at the office and the vet clinic takes care of handling the details and when the process is finished you can come back and get their ashes. They have a wide variety of earns if you are going to keep the ashes, or you can also choose to have the ashes put in a communal burial plot. If you don't like the idea of cremation you can also take your pet home and bury them where you choose. Pet cemeteries have also become widely available in areas where you can purchase a plot and bury them and have a grave marker, similar to human cemeteries. We all have our own ways of dealing with the process of losing our pet but it certainly is nice to have some options as to how you want to remember them.

When I got home after putting Stinker down I didn't even want to walk in the house, I knew it would feel empty and seeing his toys and bowls all over the house would just make me cry. I sat outside for awhile and just thought about how we had such a good life together and how I would never forget him, and I was glad his suffering was over.

 A friend of mine had a litter of kittens born a few weeks before Stinker died and she asked me if I wanted to take one, and my first thought was no, how could he ever be replaced?! Didn't I need some time to heal? How could I just move on from one cat to another right away? I also thought about how empty my house felt, how I was used to having a kitty by my side and how I missed being purred to sleep at night. I eventually went and saw the kittens and took two home, a brother and sister pair, and I am so glad I did!

Being a dog breeder I hear stories of loss all the time, customers call me and tell me how they've lost a pet and it's time to get a new one. Some people take years before they are willing to get another pet, some people contact me within days of losing their dog, and others get a puppy before their older dog is ready to pass because they can't imagine life without one. The most common decision I hear is that they don't want to get a puppy the same color as their previous dog because it would be too much of a reminder of the other one, that I totally understand, Stinker was solid Black, my two kittens were not, Donavan is a Tabby and Abbey is a Mackeral Tabby, and it took me six years before I got another Black one.

I found getting the kittens was very therapeutic, I realized I wasn't replacing the one I had lost but was starting over with a new pair and it felt great to come home to a house that felt whole again. It had been a long time since I had kittens and the experience was wonderful! I finally had someone to purr me to sleep at night again, they were hysterical to watch wrestle and roll around the house, and I loved it that they had a special bond by being siblings and being together since birth. Those two little babies made the sadness of my loss not hurt so much and helped start a new chapter of my life. Donavan and Abbey are now turning 10 in March of 2014 and I am dreading the double digit ages because I realize that some day I am going to have to go through the process of losing not only one again, but two, and it will be just as heartbreaking as it was with Stinker. I cherish the time I have had with them and I hope that they will continue to live for several more years with me. One thing that I did learn with losing Stinker is that I wouldn't hesitate to go out and get another kitten when Donavan and Abbey pass, life is too short to not have those little paws running throughout the house!

As for my dad, an employee of his got a Golden puppy and told us that the breeder still had one available that was the color he preferred (he likes Dark Goldens which are hard to find.) I talked to him about it and he decided he would like to meet the puppy and possibly take him home. That morning I took him shopping for toys and supplies and I could already see a change in him, he was excited about something, and I hadn't seen that in awhile. When we got to the breeders house we walked in and I knew that Barron (what my dad named him) was coming home! He has truly been therapeutic and a blessing for my father, and I am glad he didn't wait too long to get one. Yes, the puppy stage can be very trying at times but it gives my dad something to do and to focus on, the house doesn't feel lonely anymore, and now that Barron is 72lbs. you can barely get in the door without noticing his presence!

Losing a pet is an awful experience and we all deal with it in our own individual ways, but I have found it's best to look back and focus on the good times that you had together and appreciate the place that they have in your heart.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Homemade Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Biscuits!

When I woke up this morning the temperature was -16 and with the wind blowing the last few days it has created wind chill temperatures close to -40 and -50, needless to say it is cold out and it's only early January! To help keep things warm I have done a lot of baking the last few days and decided to try making some home made dog biscuits. Due to the weather the dogs haven't gotten a lot of outdoor exercise so I figured this would help heat up the house and also give them an added bonus to their day! I found a recipe for Peanut Butter and Pumpkin biscuits, here is what it originally called for:

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup canned pumpkin, 2 tbs. peanut butter, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon.  Preheat the oven to 350 and whisk the ingredients together in a bowl, adding water as needed to get the dough to the right texture. Roll out the dough, cut into pieces, and bake until hard, about 40 minutes.

I made a few changes: I had a 15oz can of pumpkin so I decided to use the whole thing because it would otherwise have been thrown away and I also did not add the salt. As I was mixing things I added water to get the dough to the right consistency and then just added more flour if it got too thin. Pumpkin is very sticky so as I was rolling the dough out on the cupboard I kept the bag of flour out so that I could add it as necessary to keep it from sticking to everything.

 To create the biscuits I rolled out the dough, used a doggy bone shaped cookie cutter and placed them on the baking sheet.

 Because my treats are small I only baked them for 13 minutes at 350 degrees. Due to having a lot of pumpkin in them the biscuits are softer but did harden a bit after they cooled off.

 Once they were cool enough I took them out to the dogs and they were instantly devoured! They are definitely something I would make again, the recipe is simple and the dogs thoroughly enjoyed them.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Puppy Vaccinations

A lot of people ask me questions about puppy vaccines and I recently read an article on a website and thought it was very helpful. I have copied some of the original article and also added some of my own thoughts:

Vaccinating a puppy is one of the crucial steps in assuring they will have a healthy and happy puppyhood. The who, what, why, when, where, and how of vaccinations are complicated, and may vary from puppy to puppy. Always consult with your veterinarian to determine which vaccines are appropriate for your puppy. To better understand vaccines, it is important to understand how the puppy is protected from disease the first few weeks of its life.
Protection from the mother (maternal antibodies):
A newborn puppy is not naturally immune to diseases. However, it does have some antibody protection which is derived from its mother's blood via the placenta. The next level of immunity is from antibodies derived from the first milk, called colostrum, which is only produced from the time of birth and continues for the first 36-48 hours. After the first 36-48 hours have passed the puppy does not continue to receive antibodies through its mother's milk, so it is very important to make sure they are nursing well right after born. All antibodies derived from the mother, either via her blood or colostrum are called maternal antibodies. It must be noted that the puppy will only receive antibodies against diseases for which the mother had been recently vaccinated against or exposed to. As an example, a mother that had NOT been vaccinated against or exposed to parvovirus, would not have any antibodies against parvovirus to pass along to her puppies. The puppies then would be susceptible to developing a parvovirus infection. We vaccinate all of our dogs for Parvo so that is not an issue to worry about with our puppies, it was just an example.
Window of susceptibility:
The age at which puppies can effectively be immunized (protected) is proportional to the amount of antibodies the puppy received from its mother. High levels of maternal antibodies present in the puppies' bloodstream will block the effectiveness of a vaccine. When the maternal antibodies drop to a low enough level in the puppy, immunization by a commercial vaccine will work.
The antibodies from the mother generally circulate in the newborn's blood for a number of weeks. There is a period of time from several days to several weeks in which the maternal antibodies are too low to provide protection against the disease, but too high to allow a vaccine to work. This period is called the window of susceptibility. This is the time when despite being vaccinated, a puppy or kitten can still contract the disease.
When should puppies be vaccinated?
The length and timing of the window of susceptibility is different in every litter, and even between individuals in a litter. A study of a cross section of different puppies showed that the age at which they were able to respond to a vaccine and develop protection (become immunized) covered a wide period of time. At six weeks of age, 25% of the puppies could be immunized. At 9 weeks of age, 40% of the puppies were able to respond to the vaccine. The number increased to 60% by 16 weeks of age, and by 18 weeks, 95% of the puppies were protected by the vaccine.
Almost all researchers agree that for puppies and kittens, we need to give at least three combination vaccinations and repeat these at one year of age.
Consult with your veterinarian to determine which vaccinations your puppy should receive, and how often.

Some breeders prefer to vaccinate puppies with a combination vaccine at six weeks of age initially, with boosters given every three weeks until the puppy is about sixteen weeks of age. Feeling that this schedule will help protect the widest range of dogs. Realizing that with that protocol, they will be vaccinating some dogs that are not capable of responding, and will be revaccinating some dogs that have already responded and developed a protection. But without doing an individual test on each puppy, it is impossible to determine when the puppy's immune system will be best able to respond. Realizing that in the face of an infection, due to the window of susceptibility, some litters will contract a disease (e.g., parvo) despite being vaccinated. By using quality vaccines and an aggressive vaccination protocol, they can make this window of susceptibility as small as possible. This vaccination protocol may not be right for every puppy. Puppies that are not exposed to other dogs and have a very small chance of coming in contact with parvovirus, may not need to be vaccinated as frequently. At the same time, some 'high risk' puppies may need a more intense and aggressive vaccination program. It is best to work with your veterinarian on a vaccination protocol that is best for your individual puppy or kennel, taking into consideration your individual situation.
Against which diseases should puppies be vaccinated?
The AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents' Report on Cat and Dog Vaccines has recommneded that the core vaccines for dogs include distemper, canine adenovirus-2 (hepatitis and respiratory disease), canine parvovirus-2 and rabies.
Noncore vaccines include leptospirosis, coronavirus, canine parainfluenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica (both are causes of "kennel cough", and Borrelia burgdorferi (causes Lyme Disease). Consult with your veterinarian to select the proper vaccines for your puppy.
We begin vaccines when our puppies are six weeks of age and always recommend to our adopting families that the puppies continue to get boosters along w/a Rabies vaccine when their puppy is old enough. It is also very important to continue to de-worm your puppy, even though they have been de-wormed here. When our puppies go to their new homes they come with a vaccination history that has the names, dates, brand, and serial numbers of all vaccines and de-wormers they have received so that their new vet can see what they have had and continue a vaccination schedule as the puppy grows. Vaccines are very important, if you want your puppy to live a long and healthy life please be sure to keep your pets up to date on their shots.