Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Surprises from whippets

Everyone, including me, likes to talk about how wonderful and affectionate whippets are, but it's good to remember they are also "kill hounds" and to live with one means the occasional...surprise. This came last week from my friend Cheryl in California.
Subject: Did Big Mo do it again or did Woot take up the sport?

Hi all

Late this morning I was greeted by a wet and dead field mouse right on a pillow placed in my path to the bathroom.

Does this give Big Mo 5 squirrels, 1 scrub blue jay and umpteen + 1 small rodents or does this mean that Woot has learned the family trade, so to speak?

I rather think the latter as Mo has previously brought in only the trophy sized kills - the squirrels and the blue jay. Also it was Woot who ran over and playfully tossed the little bugger's carcass for me after she heard me gasp and ran to see if I had found the prize.

Hear tell that one of them, Loki (Button), has already taken down some gophers.

So......you might consider telling the small creatures that live near you that there is an assassin in their midst. Unless you have gophers of course and then you might as well keep it a secret from them as long as you can.

Big Mo took her first trophy just before age one and went into season the same week.

Just so you know.

Hope you have a pleasant day with no startling discoveries.



And a followup the next day--

Subject: Now she's gone too far!

Before I tell you how bad Woot has become, I want you to know that I've received emails from the families of all but one of the puppies telling me that their pup is also a hunter. From gophers to squirrels to field mice - nothing seems to be very safe.

Woot has gone too far with this though. She's gone from -0- to 60 in less than a week. There were the two field mice left in the hall for me on consecutive days. A couple of days ago I was about to go to sleep when I saw that she had left one on the sheet! Eeeeekkkk!

And today as I was brushing my teeth, who should trot happily in the back door and down the hall towards me but Woot, with her nice juicy catch in her mouth. I could not help but give a startled noise and a horrified look.

She stopped dead in her tracks, looked at me a moment and then turned around and took her prize back outside.

I think she may have gotten the message.

And I think I must have some field mice in the compost pile or somewhere. Doesn't seem to be just the odd transient mouse.

Still slightly disgusted,


Monday, October 20, 2008

Four weeks old and way too cute

The puppies are four weeks old today and at possibly the cutest stage. Well, until next week.

At right is how they look most of the time. They're just starting to play. They actually started last week, but it was more bumping into each other and biting. Now they actually look, focus, attack!

We have a webcam on them a few hours a day (when it is working, which it is not today) and there is a chat room with the cam. That has been great! We've had webcams for several litters now, but this is the first time the puppies' prospective owners have been able to "meet" and talk to each other...loads of fun. It also allows me to get to know our new family members better before they come to pick up their puppies.

We're using Yahoo, but combined with our satellite internet service (all we can get out here other than dial-up) it has been a whole lot of trouble. I hope we'll find a better service soon.

Here's Razzle, our blue brindle boy with one of his favorite toys.

They're walking pretty well now, usually able to make about seven or eight steps before crashing.

Last week was fun. Week three is when eyes open and they start to become aware of everything around them. The first time one comes staggering towards me when I step into the whelping box always tugs at my heart. Of course, now, only a few days later, they are all stampeding, tails wagging, because they have figured out I am Food Lady.

We start them on solid food a little earlier than many breeders, and the only reason I can give is that I feel sorry for their mamas! They are so big at three weeks that they can't all fit at the bar at the same time, and she always looks so put-upon. So Saturday they had their first meal, and it looked more like mud wrestling than eating for a few meals.

But they have the hang of it now and are wolfing down four meals a day.

They all get lots of lap time every day and now we're taking them out of the box for some floor-time play too. They're having a ball exploring everything in the room, but they don't stray too far from Mama.

This next week we start to see personalities and then we'll begin to tentatively figure out which puppy would be best suited to which home. We try to give each owner a choice of at least two or three, but we do guide the choices based on our observations of the puppies' temperaments. You don't want the wildest one in the bunch to go to a quiet couple who want a couch potato, or the most reserved one to go to a home with three kids.

These are the happiest days I have. There is simply nothing I love more than raising puppies. It's a lot of work and a lot of mess, but the joy of getting these little fellows ready for their new best friends to pick them up in a few weeks is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.


Nathan needs a home

Actually I know of several adult whippets who are available to new homes, but let me tell you about Nathan first.

In August or thereabouts, I posted here about three dogs I picked up from another breeder...which story I will try to finish tonight.

One of these guys is Nathan, who is now ready for his best friend to show up and take him home. He is eight years old and was returned to his breeder a few months ago due to divorce. He is in fine health, though he has a very slight cough sometimes, which we are told is due to scarring in his lungs from almost drowning as a puppy. It sounds higher than lungs to me, more like damage to his esophagus from a choke collar, but whatever, it doesn't interfere with his quality of life at all. His heart sounds fine and he is heartworm negative.

Nathan is a gentleman in the house. He'd do just fine in a home with no other dogs or with a female. He doesn't like other male dogs. Well, that's an understatement. He really doesn't like other male dogs.

That caught us by surprise because he is so low-key in all other ways. He'll chase a toy and bring it back, but mostly he loves to just lie around on the sofa or go for walks. He's very affectionate and really loves to snuggle up next to me on the sofa while I read or watch TV.

We have thought very seriously about keeping this boy here as a pet -- Walt simply loves him -- but we have a male German Shepherd and another male whippet, and the possibilities of a fight are too great.

Nathan does wear a "belly band" to keep him from marking his territory in the house, but in a household with no other males, he probably wouldn't even need that. He's quiet, housebroken, crate-trained (though he is not above complaining about it when we put him to bed every night), leash trained, and just an all-round easy dog to live with.

He would need to be neutered when he goes to a new home, but his vaccinations are current, he's on heartworm preventive, and has no parasites. If you know someone who'd like to share a home with Nathan, please fill out our questionnaire and drop me a line at sharyn@timbreblue.com There are more pictures of him on our Picasa photos site

I often know of other adult whippets whose breeders are looking for perfect homes for them. If you want a whippet but are not up to the demands of a puppy, fill out our questionnaire and I may be able to put you in touch with someone who can help.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Puppies at almost-three weeks

This is the last week of unsullied enjoyment of puppies for me. We're starting the solid food on Sunday and then Candy will quit. Not everything, but she'll quit cleaning them. And that's when we go to 24 hours of picking up papers, robbing the recycle bins for more papers, and checking my clothes for puppy poop every time I leave the house.

Candy is still being a wonderful mom, but she is -- you can tell -- a little worn out. She no longer rushes to get back to them, but hangs out with me any time I leave the "nursery." I used to think it was because she had to go out, but mostly I think she just wants adult company. I remember those days! So she comes downstairs, visits with Dad, follows me out to the clothesline, settles in the living room for awhile, and then goes back to Mommy Duty.

Thank goodness, the puppies are all healthy and robust. gaining weight daily. They're all spoken for, I think, though next week is "deposit week" and sometimes people change their minds at the last minute. And then we have Juliet's litter due the 27th of this month!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bigger every day

The puppies are doing great! Did I say there were four boys and four girls? Originally I thought there were three girls, but during the first night, I think one had a sex change operation because we now have four girls and four boys and I know I didn't make a mistake that dumb.

Candy is being a great mom. She's getting just a little bored with them now -- they're ten days old and she thinks they should be doing something besides grunting and squeaking, but that's about all there is to them so far. Eyes should open any time.

There are pictures at Picasa and I swear I'll figure out how to add pictures to this blog soon...

Our annual puppy reunion is this weekend and we're expecting 50 or so whippets!


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The tomato-mozzarella salad mess

Here's a Barnaby story with a bonus....the recipe for a fantastic tomato-mozarella salad is at the end!
It was Saturday evening. Friends were over for dinner. The first
course was going to be a wonderful fresh tomato, basil & mozzarella
salad with pesto and toasted pine nuts. I had placed my lovingly
assembled salads around on everyone's plate, and left the dining room
for maybe 4 minutes to call people to the table. While I was gone,
Barnaby had quietly gone around to EVERYONE'S plate, tossed each and
every tomato slice on the floor, the basil leaves on the chairs, and
had eaten every single slice of fresh mozzarella and every single pine
nut from each and every salad. The moral of the story is either, a)
never leave food unattended with Whippets around, or b) Whippets love
fresh mozzarella and pine nuts, but NOT tomatoes or basil.

(Being a dog person, I would have been happy just eating what Barnaby
had left, but since our guests were NOT dog people, I thought I better
Layered Tomato-Mozzarella Salads
(4 individual salads)

1/4 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup Newman's Own olive oil and vinegar dressing
2 drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
2 cups (1 oz.) loosely packed baby salad greens
2 large tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), each cut into 6 slices
1/4 cup prepared pesto, divided
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 slices
16 fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 350. Spread pine nuts on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake 3 minutes (lightly brown).

Combine dressing with sun-dried tomatoes.

For each salad, place 1/2 cup salad greens on plate. Drizzle with 1
tablespoon dressing and 1 teaspoon nuts.

Place one slice tomato over greens.

Spread with 1 1/2 teaspoon pesto.

Top with 1 teaspoon nuts, 2 slices cheese and 2 basil leaves.

Repeat to make second layer, ending with tomato slices.

Drizzle with remaining dressing.

Garnish with additional basil, if desired.

Keep Whippets away!