Friday, May 7, 2010

Announcing the "N" Litter!

Today, an ultrasound showed that Hunter is definitely pregnant--the vet count 6 or 7 beating hearts in their little sacs. Hunter was an absolute doll for the ultrasound, and I scratched her chin and chest while she patiently waited upside down in the V shaped foam rest on the vet's exam table. It reminded me so much of her mother Nike's attitude during the ultrasound--just soaking up the attention and being very patient. This will be her first litter (just turned 4 years old), so I hope she's as good a mom as Nike too!

   So, who's the daddy, you ask?

V Orus d'Ulmental, KK1a, SchH3

Well it was a really tough call, but I decided to try something different this breeding, and I did something I've never done before--I bred to a show-line male, V Orus d'Ulmental, KK1a, SchH3. He's breed survey class 1, a stamped, SchH3, and AD--that means that he was "recommended for breeding" by a German koermeister, passed his hip evaluations (and elbows, too), performed a 12 mile endurance test (the AD, which is a prerequisite for the Koerung), and has a schutzhund 3 title. He's a son of 2x German Sieger VA1 Vegas du Haut Mansard, a Sieger who is well-known for his working ability and sound temperament, and is linebred 5-2 on VA Max della Loggia dei Mercanti, a VA dog known for his ability to pass on strong working drives as well as his good looks.

When I met Orus, I was impressed by his confidence and clear-headed attitude. He showed strong ball drive as he played with his handler, Megan, and was aloof and neutral to my presence.

Too bad I cut off Orus's leg in this next shot--it would have been a nice image of him free gaiting with his beloved ball:

Blackthorn's Hunter, JHD

Hunter is OFA Good Hips and clear elbows and has an AHBA Junior Herding Dog title. I plan to do more herding with her and probably at least a BH title, but she had the poor timing to be born while I was in the midst of my schutzhund hiatus. She's a very calm dog in the house, good with children and sweet with strangers. She's got a lot of prey drive and loves to track. She's out of my Nike and the 2x USA Universal Sieger V Alex v Eisenhaus, KK1, SchH3, who is a Troll vh Milinda son.

Conformationally, she's very moderate and very balanced, although she could use a bit higher withers and just a bit more rear angulation (for my taste anyway--I prefer moderate rear angulation, but a GSD should have good "rear drive" and somewhat more angulation than most other breeds). She's an incredible agile dog, and always knows where every foot is as she goes over difficult footing.

So, I'm hoping with this litter to produce some beautiful puppies with confident personalities, plenty of prey drive, the ability to work at SAR or Schutzhund or herding or agility all day and then come home and relax on the couch all evening. I'm hoping for dogs who will love to work with their person, but who will be happy just to keep you company on quiet days.

The puppies should be black and red, with a lot of black pigment, but more extensive red/tan points than Hunter has. (Genetically, Hunter is bicolor/bicolor, and Orus is black&tan/black&tan, so all puppies will be black&tan with the bicolor recessive, which typically gives rich pigmentation and a large saddle area, like Nike, who is b&t/bicolor genetically.) I may get some long coats, which should make gorgeous companions. (As of this year, longcoats have been accepted for breeding by the SV in Germany.) I expect the pups to have very correct conformation--not as flashy or showy as their dad, but flashier than their very correct, very moderate mom. They'll probably be medium-sized adults--between 65 and 85 pounds for females/males.

Due date is June 12!

One of THOSE days...

It's 9:30 am, and already it's one of those days.

I don't know what time I fell asleep last night, but I turned my light off at 2 am, only to hear the repeated barking of my dogs out in the kennel. So, I get up, put on some shorts and shoes and go shut Lynx, Jubilee, and Kiva inside the indoor/outdoor kennels. I come back inside and .... don't fall asleep. I know I was awake at 4 am, but sometime after that I slept.

6:30 am, I am woken by Jasper knocking books off the shelf next to my bed. Yelled at cat.
6:35 am, ibid
6:38 am, ibid
6:47 am, ibid

7:30am, am hot, 2 cats sleeping at my back. did not yell. stuck leg out side of blankets
7:36am, hot, sun in my eyes. roll over
7:46am, phone call. friend sick, canceling morning plans; i'd called her and canceled them last night. i don't mention this.
7:48am, jasper, knocking books off shelf, yelled at cat
8:06am, macha in tv room crate, barks once. i get up, let dogs out (Hunter, Coal, Nike, Macha, Ruffian, Flint); Jasper tries to escape
8:08am, let terriers inside to protect me from cats while I try to go back to sleep
8:11am, dogs in yard bark
8:12am, hear sound of truck pulling into yard
8:14am, mowers start up
8:16am, bring dogs back in house so mowers can mow fenced front yard
8:18am, buhhh
8:30am, sit at computer, write check to mowers
8:40am, go outside, see mower do a double take at something he mowed over, give him check, he says he just hit a cable, wanna see?
8:45am, buhhhh
9:01am, brush teeth, turn on tv
9:02am, no tv
9:03am, buhh
9:05am, put on shoes, go look at cut cable. satellite cable severed
9:25am, call DishNetwork, growl at Coal to get out of my face, voice activated system cheerfully decides I want to talk to billing
9:26-9:34am, finally convince cheerful male AI that I really do want technical support. AI cheerfully tries to get me to reboot my satellite box, say REPRESENTATIVE to talk to someone. AI doubts me. REPRESENTATIVE, I growl again. AI repeats, I think you said REPRESENTATIVE, would you like to talk to a REPRESENTATIVE. I visualize punching him. I growl.
9:35am, talk to human, MIRACLES HAPPEN--repair guy can come out Friday. Today, Friday--between 8 and 12 am. This is good. $95. Would I like to sign up for $6 a month and only pay $15 for today's visit? I try maths: 8 years so far, 1 visit so far. 6 x 12 = 36; 3 years = $96 + $15. No, no service plan.

At 2:30, I have a vet appointment to ultrasound Hunter to check whether she's pregnant. I don't think I'm getting back to sleep this morning.

ETA: 9:55am, DishNetwork dispatcher says no go on the 8-12 am, but can do this afternoon. When I'll be at the vet's....
10am, vet appt reschedule for 11!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Will It Float?

(Originally posted on my LiveJournal in May 2007.) 

Nike has a mission. A calling. A game? It is called, "Will it float?"

She is determined to test the properties of numerous substances throughout their lifetimes. Because she is, well, a dog, for the most part she has concentrated her studies to the properties of dog toys. For the purposes of her studies, she has classified bones--bovine and cervidae--as toys. In her exhaustive studies, she has found a remarkable amount of substances that do NOT float.

Using materials at hand, she obtains a sample substance and goes to the largest nearby body of water, in this case... the pool. Standing crouched at the edge, she places the substance down. She then watches it intently, carefully studying the item and, as best I can determine, meditating on the most likely results of her testing. She then, most carefully, nudges the item into the water. WILL IT FLOAT?

Energized by this exciting experimentation, she runs along the edge of the pool, looking diligently for signs of any possible floating tendencies. For items with neutral buoyancy, the answer is not so easily determined. For example, the Mutt PuckTM, although advertised as floating, is more neutrally buoyant. It tends to ride just submerged, rising and falling at the whim of the "current"--such as it is.

Other items, to her great dismay, merely sink. Quickly. Without hope of recovery.

Nike is a genius. Somehow, much against my will, I have been drafted into her science experiments. This week alone, I have served as her laboratory assistant, recovering from the bottom of the testing medium the following: 1 Mutt Puck, 2 bones, 2 nylabone frisbees, 1 rubber/latex frisbee, the bottom half of an Extreme Kong, a Kong treat ball (Stuff-a-Ball), a  Cool Kong floating toy on a rope (doesn't float so well, sadly, once the foam core has been removed--yet another example of how thorough a scientist Nike is, and what a genius to discover the falsehood of this advertising claim), a Kong Dental, and 2 lacrosse balls.

Nike is mad. You know how one definition of madness is repeating the same action again and again, hoping for a different result? Yes. That is Nike. She is compelled to make absolutely sure that her previous test results were accurate. I can say with great earnestness, although perhaps not stringent scientific honesty, that that Extreme Kong does not float--and it will not ever float. But Nike refuses to believe.

I have taken to hiding things from her. I'm just hoping she doesn't start going for the pool furniture.

That's my dog--the mad genius scientist, Nike.

(Update: I have now also had to remove several items of pool furniture from the pool. Nike claims she had nothing to do with this turn of events.)