Thursday, May 31, 2012

Far and Away

Another early morning and another puppy to the airport. Thankfully this time the trip was totally uneventful. Tezlin was the last puppy to go and although I am happy to have my life back to 'normal' I was a little sad to see her go. She had a long day which started with me at 2:30am this morning and although I was very tired for the entire day, I didn't have to spend it in a crate being loaded and unloaded from planes. She left Halifax at 7am and arrived in Calgary at about 9:30am, she then waited (patiently I'm sure) for a connection to Kelowna and safely arrived in her new family's arms at 11:30am. What a weird day for her!

Tezlin was sweet, smart and eager to please and I'm hearing from her BFF Hailee that she is carrying on that tradition in her new role in a single dog household ... that will take some getting used to since she's so used to having to avoid the long legs of her parents and sister. Puppies are generally so trusting that they can simply accept whatever is happening to them, it's part of the reason it's so important to not abuse that trust. The puppies I place with people are often just like Tezlin and have little issue adjusting to their new lives and accepting that this is what is happening now. With the reinforcement of treats, praise, hugs and love there isn't a chance in the world they won't think you are the greatest person on the planet ... and try to take advantage of you!

Best of luck and hugs and kisses to Miss Tezlin, it was great to get to know you one on one (which is hard to do with a litter of 9) and I'm positive you are going to love Kelowna, plus you will get to see your Uncle Hunter (Halo x Zuli 2009) on a regular basis ... he will be sure to keep you fit. For now though you can enjoy the bones and the comfy beds and all the hugs that two children (and I'm sure their parents) can give out!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Incredible Shrinking ... Chair

Emma, who live in Calgary, is growing like a weed just as her siblings are doing. I have Tezlin here and although I know she's growing it's hard for me to see because my perspective is a little off since I have 3 adult dogs here and she always looks small in comparison. However, when you see a puppy against an object whose size and shape doesn't change, it's easy to see the accelerated growth. Emma lives with a 4 year old who has a pink princess chair, or rather had one, since Emma has decided it is the perfect place for a nap. Puppies that play hard, especially when they live with a small child, sleep hard too. She looks like she's passed out from a hard night of partying.

A few days later and she still fits, but not as well as she used to. She spent a day playing with a young Great Dane and went straight to her chair for a nap afterward. I got word from Michelle that playing with a Great Dane puppy is definitely a good way to wear out a naughty puppy. No kidding.

I'm not sure if Emma has noticed her chair is shrinking but as an adult it will fit her head quite nicely. Michelle got her a lovely (and expensive) dog bed but Emma prefers this little princess chair. It's the same as buying pricey dog toys only to find that the empty paper towel tube is the most amazing toy ever.  She probably likes this chair because it sort of holds her. Or did.

Her Little Person, Wynn, hangs out with Emma while she naps. That is one unconscious puppy. They can sleep in the most amazing positions and for a very long time it's like puppies are made of rubber. I'm curious to see how Emma deals with the shrinking chair - I wonder if there is a larger version of it ... or Michelle will just have to buy Emma her own La-Z-Boy. It's been done!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Big Love

This weekend was a big event for one of the Invictus puppies because it was his first show. Jax lives in Newfoundland, just recently welcomed little sister Vesper into the fold and headed to his first dog show yesterday. He was late coming to the game but he is smart enough to figure things out and I was reasonably confident that he wouldn't disgrace himself. His owner Natasha has put a lot of work into him so we were hopeful he would do okay, or at least not trip anyone!

His brother Luke is old hat at this dog show thing, his first show was about a month ago when he got a fourth in group for his very first point. The shows these two dogs attend have low numbers because of the location and often times the only way to finish a championship is to place in group. So in this instance the placement in group is less about the ribbon and all breed status they would get, it's more about the Championship points they will earn. In some areas of the country the Ridgeback numbers are high enough that they can compete against other Ridgebacks and get points at the breed level, but for these two they only have each other and the group.

Anyway, Luke was on one point before this weekend and hoped to increase that after it. He did just that by getting a group placement yesterday for another point. He is such a good boy for his Mommy Stephanie and if things work out I'll be able to see him, and his brother and sisters, in the Fall. He shows so nicely and it is only due to the hard work his mom has put in and tireless dedication to his training.

Jax was only entered in 2 of the 4 shows because it was felt that 4 would be too much for his first time. He certainly made up for lost time! Jax won breed in both his shows and placed in group - a 3rd and a 4th - each show so he is now on 4 points. It's always nice to get a breathless phone call from an owner ecstatic about how their dog did. It's so gratifying to know that you've sold not one, but two people, a couple of lovely dogs, and that they are at the shows and doing very well for being 'newbies' - both the dogs and the handlers! Congratulations to both handlers and I am looking forward to the next adventure! And photos ... hint hint.

We'll see how Miss Fancy Pants Cora does at her first show in Lunenburg in 2 weeks. She has turned into a Teenage Drama Queen at 11 months and doesn't think she has to listen to anything I tell her. She is so funny, if I correct her for something she just shrugs her shoulders and roll her eyes - or would if she could. She's a 14 year old girl in a drop dead gorgeous Ridgeback body and she knows it. I'm trying not to strangle her and I hope she survives to the next show ...

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Tezlin is the last puppy standing. Poor kid. Soon she'll be on her way to BC but for now she is being scarred for life by her family. These days she is getting smacked around and abused by her Mom, ignored by her Dad and teased and tormented by her sister. Her only consolation is her foster sister Esme whose joy of life is infectious and spreads far and wide ... well, to a Very Small Ridgeback anyway.  Although it doesn't look like it both of these dogs are having a marvelous time wrestling on the bed. Yes, that black mass of hair is a dog and Tezlin (or Tez as I have been calling her) knows which is the sharp end!

That's the sharp end. They don't just do this on the bed, Esme will wrestle with her anywhere and it's pretty cute to see Tez disappear under the mass of black coat Esme is currently sporting (she's getting groomed this weekend to prepare for a show in 2 weeks, don't tell her). Esme always knows which way is up and although Tez doesn't always get a good lick in through all that hair, she sure tries!

When the fun and games are over Tez takes a breather on her sister's feet. She's a little charmer this one, I will be sad to see her go. She is so accommodating, smart and confident I have no doubt she will settle in to her new home with ease. For now we get to enjoy the presence of only one puppy ... what a nice break it's been!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Letters From Home

As expected Raylan is taking over his new home with the confidence and attitude I expected. He was a bit of a force here and I am sure there is no chance he won't be the Boss Dog in his new home. Uncle Archer is a bit mortified but he'll come around once he realizes that Raylan is another Ridgeback. They never play quite as well as when they have one of their own kind to wrestle with and once Raylan puts on a few pounds I can well imagine Sandra's house will be full of the typical Ridgeback smackdown! Obviously this face can do no wrong and I'm sure he's never going to get into any trouble. Sandra tells me he slept on her bed snuggled into her neck for the first night ... and the rest of his life!

Sandra's house, like mine, is a Dog Zone and they are allowed on the furniture which is good since Raylan has clearly made himself very comfortable. We'll have to keep this photo in mind for when he's grown and compare how the couch shrinks ... they have a habit of doing that.

I don't have any new photos of Tezlin for today but she is adjusting very well to life without her domineering brother. Cora is playing with her under the table while I type and last night Leeloo was beating her up and Tezlin was telling her to stop it which she hasn't done before. She's become a lot more confident without her siblings here and her personality has had a chance to shine. She will be headed to her new home in a couple of weeks and although I will be sad to see the last of the Raimi x Leeloo puppies go (mostly sad because it's another 3am wake up...), I am happy to know her new family is eagerly awaiting her arrival. Not long now!

Monday, May 14, 2012


It was a sad goodbye to Raylan yesterday - Invictus Justified (yes, I bucked the alphabet system for him) but since he's going to live with Uncle Archer and I will get to see him quite often, it wasn't too hard. He is such a little character and I gave Sandra specific instructions to not let him take over their house! He possesses a little more confidence than he really has the right to for such a young boy and I suspect in no time he'll be the boss dog in the house at the very least.
Now I am only left with Tezlin who barely seems to have noticed Raylan's departure. He was a big personality so I suspect she is happy to have her time to shine. She spent last night in a crate in my bedroom for the first time and slept without complaint right up until 5:30am when her mother started whining about being fed. Leeloo has an internal clock that dictates feeding time and it cannot be distracted! I can usually tell her to knock it off but since Tezlin was probably awake and thinking about peeing in her crate I decided to get up anyway. A bad habit to form with Leeloo who will remember tomorrow that she was fed at 6am today!
This will be my last litter for at least 2 or 3 years and that is simply because Cora is still a puppy and Leeloo doesn't need to have any more litters, I'm not the kind of breeder to do a triple back to back in the name of greed. I promised Leeloo no more litters and I like to keep my promises - especially to the dogs. The next promise I need to fulfill is finding a property that allows them the room they need to run and play in a safe environment - no more anxiety driven walks trying to prevent them from bolting after wildlife! I'll also be heading to some shows in the next 6 months but only to meander toward Cora's championship and to Special Esme to keep her sharp while her show coat grows in (only 3 more years to go!).

Head over to Wee Bonny New Scotland if you want to follow the stresses of house hunting in Pictou County and life in Nova Scotia. It won't be all dogs all the time but it will be an interesting adventure that friends and family can enjoy vicariously.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Full Throttle

It was nice to get the dogs out yesterday at Shelley's so they could have a big gas and race around about 20 acres of cleared land. It is always gratifying to watch them run at full speed across the fields knowing that not only are they getting exercise and topping up on Happy Dog Experiences, but also later that night they'll be dead to the world and I can concentrate on getting some things done!

Raimi and Cora 'shared' a stick for a little while. Neither of them are big on sharing so this was a noteworthy moment. You'd think Boy would teach his daughter some manners but his are just as bad, if not worse, than hers.

Cora definitely isn't passing on any sisterly advice to her brother and sister who were trying to play with her and her hard won stick. Try as they might she always kept it just out of reach.

Never mind, they have each other (although not for long) and spent several minutes playing in the middle of the field together getting in some quality time before Raylan heads to his new home. They were awfully cute rasslin' out there by themselves!

Leeloo followed their example and had some fun by herself. She is thrilled to be done with the puppies and her body is returning, if not to its former glory, at least a shadow of it. Only a few more weeks and it will be hard to tell she ever had a litter.

It's going to be Esme's turn next and she doesn't know what she's in for! She also spent a lot of time collecting grass in her coat and bringing it home for me to sweep up.

Cora is slowly becoming an adult and although I'm sad to see the puppy in her disappearing, I am happy to see what a lovely girl she is becoming. Her first show is in about 4 weeks and hopefully we will be able to attend ... more on that if you make the jump to Wee Bonny New Scotland.

The Boy will always retain some of that puppy quality I think. He is perpetually joyful and full of the kind of Happy of which puppies seem to be comprised. He loves Shelley's house the most probably because it offers him a chance to open up the throttle and show off his speed. Maybe one day soon we'll have enough land so he can show off on his own property ...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Beautiful Creatures

I have neglected to update on the two puppies I still have so today I'll post some totally amazing photos I took of them today at my friend and co-worker Shelley's house. 

Raylan continues to amaze me with how darling he is. I am sure he is going to be a better and improved version of his father and that can only mean he will leave broken hearts in his wake. I am so grateful to Sandra for providing him not only with a wonderful home but also for allowing me to attempt to attain his Canadian Championship. It goes without saying that this puppy takes my breath away.

Leeloo doesn't care how handsome he is, she just likes to beat him up. Soon this will be Archer's job and then shortly after that I'm sure Raylan will turn the tables and beat up Archer, who is kind of a sissy.

Not to be outdone by Raylan, Tezlin is showing herself to be quite the little looker. She certainly knows how to strike a pose. She is a pretty confident little girl and is demonstrating the stable and mellow temperament all the puppies seem to have. So much so that someone asked me if her puppy was drugged! No, I don't drug them (although sometimes I want to).

She spent some time racing around in the dandilions (and eating them) and obviously enjoying the sun which we haven't seen for several days.

Standing around and looking pretty may be over-rated in some circles but for Tezlin it will never go out of style. I have a feeling both these puppies are well on their way to looking more like their Daddy in body and bone but tempered with their Mommy's face and darling eyes. It just doesn't get better than that unless you actually get to live with Leeloo and Raimi.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Voyage Home

While everyone else is settling in to their new homes and making themselves adored, I still have Raylan and Tezlin here who give me my daily dose of puppy breath. I sure will miss that but I won't miss still chasing them with a mop! We are making progress in the house training but two at once can be a challenge. Add to that the turmoil of trying to sell and looking to buy a house and I may have bitten off more than I can chew. Ah well, sometimes the only way around is through.

Zeke knows that the fastest way to a person's heart is with puppy dog eyes and he has that down to a science. He certainly has Megan and  Matt wrapped around his paw and I have no doubt it will be easy for him to get whatever he wants, including being burrito-ed in a special binkie ... his mother's son, is Zeke.

Vesper entered a home where her full brother Jax already lives and his nose was a little out of joint for a while when she arrived. It can be hard for the resident dog who has only ever been the Dog of the Hour to accept a little usurper into the household. Never fear though, they usually work out their relationship on their own and with a little encouragement and some timely corrections, napping on the couch together becomes a reality sooner than you imagine.

Rue won't have to worry about a current dog taking her spotlight, she has that all to herself in this house! She even has a big red pouf to destroy. Look at all those little petal shapes ripe for the picking. Can't wait to see what that looks like in a few months. For now it's a cute little photo op and she looks very comfortable! Rue will no doubt get the best of everything, as will the rest of the puppies, and I am looking forward to seeing them grow into upstanding representatives of the Ridgeback breed.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I didn't post yesterday because I was exhausted and absolutely had to go to bed. I feel even more tired today but I know people want to see the babies in their new homes to make sure they are allokay. I've been attempting to prep my house to go on the market so between that and sending off 7 puppies it's been a crazy few days for me. I am accustomed to having all kinds of time to myself so to have give that up has been very hard. Good thing I don't have kids!

Word is coming in from the various homes and the puppies are settling in great. Everyone seems to be adjusting very well to their new lives and enjoying the solitary attention that they were not able to get when in a litter of nine. Emma loves her new bed and crate and although her 'sister' Zoey thinks this little usurper can go right back where she came from, I'm confident they will soon be best of friends. Fortunately Michelle has a good support group of RR owners (and Invictus owners) in Calgary to help Zoey get used to the idea of Emma!

Luke the Cocker is coming around to the possibility that Peggy is going to stick around. Peggy is already heading out for field trips to the construction site where her Mom and Dad are building her a new house ... I mean, themselves a new house. I'm pretty sure Peggy will 'own' that joint in no time!

Kenzi made is safely to Newfoundland despite the fog and delays and will no doubt get to meet up with her sister and two older brothers for play dates. Her mom Kate got Kenzi as a surprise gift for her partner but the day before she was due to pick up Kenzi he had to leave for work for 2 weeks. Oh well, at least he'll come home to a house trained puppy!

And I know everyone wants to know how little Kota is doing. She is marvelous and ridiculously spoiled by Christy. She will meet up with Emma for playdates and is already booked in a training class with her sister. Kota is getting used to the idea of being singularily spoiled and I'm sure she is not going to mind being the only child one bit! More treats and hugs for her! More updates on Zeke, Rue and Vesper tomorrow, the photos are inaccessible right now and I have more house prep to do tonight before bed since I have a showing in the morning. Hugs to all my distant babies and thanks again to the dedicated homes who are taking better care of Leeloo and Raimi's babies than I could have possibly imagined.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Flight Plan

This is your 2:25am wake up call. It was the middle of the night and all through the house all the dogs were snoring including 6 puppies. I got up, had a shower and let the puppies out for a play. Needless to say they were surprised to be woken when it was still full dark out. They ran around and I gave them a little snack. Then I loaded up Vesper, Kenzi, Kota and Emma and we headed for Halifax. It was raining, because why would I get to do this drive when it's clear and dry, right? I discovered partway into the drive that my high beams were not working so I squinted through the dark and hoped I didn't drive into the ditch. Mount Thom seems to be my driving nemesis and offered up thick fog and cloud as an added challenge but I beat that into submission. Once over the hill things cleared up and we made it to the cargo area with time to spare. While I sat there and contemplated 2:25am wake-ups I fiddled with the headlights to see if I could get the high beams to work (better there than hurtling down the highway at 115km/hr with 4 puppies (I don't own) in the truck)  and realized that although I'd turned the dash and running lights on, I hadn't turned on the headlights. Huh. I've used them countless times but I suspect that the hour of the day had something to do with forgetting to flick the button over one more notch.

Emma and Kota were the first to leave and I caught a couple more photos of their wide-eyed faces before saying goodbye. I was a little sad to see them go, especially Kota, but I know at the other end are people who are thrilled and so excited to add these two to their lives.

They arrived safely in Calgary and were greeted by eager new owners and I'm sure lots of photos will be forth-coming in the near future. Have fun little monsters, you will be unabashedly spoiled and loved in Calgary and I hope to see you one day again!

I had to kill about 3 hours before Kenzi and Vesper headed to St. John's so we went to Tim Horton's, had a coffee and tried not to fall asleep. I let them out to pee for a minute but since it was raining I didn't want them to get too wet - it can get cold in cargo and I didn't want them to catch a chill. They both had a big pee on the pavement and then Kenzi peed again on a towel in the truck ... never mind, the truck needs to get detailed anyway! Their flight was delayed by about an hour and while I fretted and fussed at work they finally flew to The Rock and were greeted by ecstatic new owners Natasha and Kate. I'm sure these girls will be well loved and hopefully I can visit them in the Fall. More photos of them coming as well but here's one final goodbye ... Vesper says "Please don't go!"

I am left with Raylan and Tezlin, both of whom were a little thunderstruck at being only one of two, not one of nine, in such a short amount of time. They seemed to be looking at each other and thinking "Who's next??" Soon enough each will be making their way to their new homes and I will finally have my life back ... and thrown into the turmoil of selling and buying a house!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Homeward Bound

It's been a busy day for me since I have a lot to do before listing the house in addition to placing the puppies with their new homes. I won't go into detail about my insane chore list but I'm pretty pleased I completed almost everything done. The backyard is just going to have to wait. In between all the chores there were puppies to send off to their new homes. The first to leave today was Zeke who is going to be living with Megan and Matt. He'll be nice and close to visit with his brother Raylan and sister Rue for playdates. Matt and Megan were very excited to get Zeke and I'm sure he is going to be a big handsome fellow! 

Shortly after Zeke headed for home Rue's family arrived to welcome her into the fold. Little Rue was a bit camera shy but it's a pretty big deal meeting your forever family for the first time. I'm sure she will be as spunky as her namesake and I know we will be meeting up again someday soon.

She even offered a kiss to her new Dad Ashley and I think with this kind of a start things will only get better from here. Best of luck to the two new families today, I expect lots and lots of photos and updates and hope to see you all before too long. I'm off to bed shortly, I have to get up at 2:30am to get 4 puppies to the airport and I hope their new families appreciate that I am missing out on some beauty rest ...

The Great Outdoors

I took about a trillion photos of all the puppies in the yard for the first time on Friday. They didn't all know how or want to do the stairs but with a little encouragement they managed to traverse the dangerous descent. Emma has been doing the stairs for about a week now so she showed a couple how it was done. She was also the first to the end of the yard where the ramp leads to the shed. I have a feeling that although she will be living with a 7 year old Ridgeback, Emma is going to be in charge in no time.

Rue experienced grass for the first time too and gave it a taste test. In fact they all did and grass gets the thumbs up from everyone for good eating. Rue leaves today so she will have the opportunity to sample someone else's grass!

Raylan is a pretty confident boy so he was quickly exploring the yard and strutting around like he owned the joint. His mom Sandra is on a cruise in the Mediterranean so he'll be with me a little longer. Good thing it's not too long otherwise Sandra might not get this gorgeous boy at all!

Peggy, who is now at her new house and making friends with Luke the Cocker, took her time about getting up on the ramp. To her credit she never quit and tried very hard for quite a while to climb up. She might have looked for an easier way but sometimes you just have to go through a challenge instead of around it. Best of luck to Peggy who I hear got to sleep *on the bed* for her first night (and chances are every night from now until the end of time).

Every year the town does a garbage pick up and you can put out trash that they don't normally take in the course of regular pick up. Rue found some bundled bamboo and bits of wood that I hadn't moved out of the yard yet and commenced flossing. Chewing on garbage is much better than anything in my house!

Kota and Peggy thought about going back up the stairs but changed their minds. Up is much easier than down but once you go up it's hard to get down so they opted for continued play in the yard. The size difference here is pretty apparent. Peggy was 15 pounds at the vet and Kota was only 9.5 - she was also almost fully half the weight of Kenzi who was the largest puppy at 17 pounds.

Kenzi doesn't know she's a big boned girl. I think she is secretly a marshmallow on the inside despite outward appearances - she reminds me so much of her Daddy Boy in size and attitude. She lets you know what she thinks of something but once you tell her she must behave she gives in pretty easily, she just needs to know for sure who's calling the shots.

Leeloo is calling the shots! Despite her considerable size compared to her siblings, Kenzi is still no match for her mother who was happily chewing on and beating up her kids in the yard. She doesn't let them nurse and gives a bit of a growl when they approach her tummy but otherwise she is being very good. Except for the unmitigated smack down that she just can't seem to resist.

I'm not very sentimental when it comes to placing the puppies, especially the ones who get picked up in person. Once I see the puppy enveloped in someone's loving arms and being hugged and kissed, I don't worry so much. It's the ones who are flying I worry about and not because they are going on a plane, it's because they are travelling alone. To walk away and leave a puppy who has trusted you from day one is a little more difficult. I don't rest easy until I hear that they are safe and sound in their new owner's arms. They always come through with shining colors and are never the worse for wear but even knowing that doesn't make it any easier to walk away from a face like this. Oh, little Kota.

Of all the puppies I will find it hardest to walk away from her. Despite being born half the size of everyone else and staying that way throughout her growth, she is one little fighter. I imagined she'd be spunky, naughty, high energy and a challenge and in fact she is, only it's tempered with softness, femininity and a sweet temperament that draws you in for cuddles. This is the very thing that is most dangerous! Her new home has been warned of the heart-melting effect this puppy has!

She doesn't take crap from her siblings either so I have no worries about her being able to take on the world. Vesper will be on the opposite coast from her but I bet she'll never forget being beaten up and told the-what-for by a sister half her size. None of them will!

Vesper is destined to enter the show ring but for the next few months she can just smell the flowers and grow into a pretty puppy. She will have her big brother Jax to show her the ropes not only in all things Newfoundland, but also in the show ring. I am hoping to be at her first show in November, on the end of her lead, we'd have a gas together in the ring that's for sure!

Zeke is one of the puppies who leaves today too and he is going to get to visit several siblings in the future. For the puppy owners in the Martimes who may not know it, there are organized Ridgeback walks every month in the Dartmouth area and it's a great way to meet up with fellow Ridgebacks ... most of them are related! It's a great group of people and a wonderful way to compare notes and allow siblings to meet up for a romp. There's also a group in Calgary, on Facebook they are called Rhodesian Ridgebacks of Calgary and they are hoping to organize walks as well - those ones are 'hosted' by Michelle who is getting Emma. Lots of Invictus babies can meet up there but of course everyone with a Ridgeback is welcome.

Tezlin may not be able to make it to the Calgary walks but she will get to visit her Uncle Hunter in BC. Maybe she will turn into the mountain biking nut he is! Hunter is in fantastic shape and taking a Ridgeback through the woods and over the dale while you bike is a great way for everyone to stay in shape. I'm sure Tezlin will have a marvelous time and I'm doubly sure Hunter will be thrilled to have a Ridgeback to play with!

So this is it ... the last photos of the D litter puppies all together in one place. In the next 24 hours they will be scattered across Canada. It's crazy to think they were so small only 8 weeks ago ...