Sunday, December 9, 2012

The official Timbreblue cocktail!

Timbreblue is proud to announce that one of the top 25 cocktail bars in America (GQ) -- The Whistler Chicago -- has named a cocktail after Timbreblue Whippets. One of the bar's co-owners has a Timbreblue puppy in the family, and he based the recipe on the "greyhound" cocktail, with a twist to make it more whippety. Check out The Whistler at the link below, and if you're in Chicago, stop by for a drink -- and make it a Timbreblue!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tips for an Emergency Vet-Free Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a whippet's idea of heaven. All those smells! All that food! All that company! All the opportunities to beg and steal!

Unfortunately, Thanksgiving also pays for new additions on many emergency clinics. To protect your dog and your pocketbook during the holidays, keep the following in mind:

Many holiday foods are fine in very small amounts, but can make your dog very sick if given too freely. Turkey and duck are fatty meats and too many scraps can cause pancreatitis. This goes for beef, chicken and pork fat too. Pancreatitis is potentially life-threatening, with symptoms including severe vomiting, diarrhea, reluctance to walk, pain and crying, irritability, restlessness, and refusing to eat. If you see any of these signs, get thee and thy whippet to an emergency vet pronto. Pancreatis can be fatal. If your dog has ever had a bout of pancreatitis, don't give him any scraps at all. Stick to his regular diet. I know he will tell you he's going to die without turkey leftovers, but the opposite may be true! 

Nuts and chips are not only high in fat (see above warning) but also are very high in sodium. Another no-no for dogs. Macadamia nuts are deadly and often found in mixed nuts.

No chocolate! Dark chocolate is the worst, but none is good for dogs. It contains theobromine, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased urination. These can progress to cardiac arrhythmias, epileptic seizures, internal bleeding, heart attacks, and eventually death. Don't panic if someone gives the dog an M&M, but be sure chocolate is out of reach, including wrapped packages that might be under the tree or candy on a guest room bedside table.

Put all aluminum foil, wax paper, twine, plastic wrap, and other items used to prepare or store foods in an outside garbage can with a well-fitted lid. Even the best whippets are talented thieves and when the food is this good, they'll try anything to get to it...including eating the paper it was wrapped in. Intestinal blockage is another emergency vet goldmine.

It goes without saying that turkey bones are very dangerous for dogs, Any bone that splinters can lodge in the esophagus, cause punctures internally, or set him up for an intestinal blockage (see Emergency Vet Goldmine #2 above).

Watch not only for a well-meaning guest slipping the whippet a forbidden treat, but also for counter-surfing. If a human is not in the kitchen and/or dining room, neither should the dog be! Yes, he may usually be completely trustworthy around food (or so you say), but with a steaming turkey glistening with juices on the counter? Get serious!

If you're expecting company, make sure everyone knows you have a dog or dogs and what the rules are. It might be best to crate him or put him in another room while guests are arriving and making trips back and forth to the car for gifts or food. A door opening ten times in five minutes is an invitation for an unplanned game of chase!

Keep an eye on your dog and make sure he's comfortable with all the hoopla. If he's being badgered by children (or adults!), tactfully rescue him from the situation and give him some time to himself in that other room or crate. Just as for children, too much stimulation is not good for a dog. Whippets are generally very good with children, but they do have their limits. Nevermind the emergency vet, you definitely don't want to end your Thanksgiving Day in the emergency room with a niece or nephew who just didn't know when to quit! 

Finally, just a few more reminders:

No drinking for the dog -- alcohol can be extremely toxic for animals, and besides, who wants to see the dog dancing on the table with a lampshade on his head? Seriously though, some boys/men of a certain age/maturity seem to find it very funny to get the dog schnockered. Don't let them.

If you bake bread, be careful to keep the dough away from the dog. Bread dough rising inside the dog's tummy can make him very sick.

Stuffing may seem harmless enough, but if it is made with sage, garlic, onions, raisins, or chives , it's not healthy for dogs.

Avocados, all parts, are bad for dogs.

Xylitol, the artificial sweetener used in some chewing gums and candies is poisonous to dogs. Check that bedside table in the guestroom again.

And just in case, keep a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide handy to induce vomiting if, after all your best efforts, your little Babyface Nelson succeeds in heisting the dinner. Dose is one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide for every 10 pounds of weight..This method will take roughly 15-20 minutes to take effect. If it doesn't work, you can give your dog hydrogen peroxide up to three times in a row. Do not induce vomiting if you think he has gotten into bones, however, as they may do even more damage coming back up.

Now go enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Training Treats

When training your dog, a great motivator is food! It might take a little trial and error to figure out what makes your dog go crazy, but you can have a lot of fun trying different "recipes". Some of my favorites are on the link below. I've included my "go-to" dog training cookie recipe here.

Liver Cookies

  • 1 LB raw liver, defrosted (any kind is fine, my dogs prefer beef or chicken)
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour (any kind)
  • 1/4 cup water (can increase to 1/2 cup if needed for consistency)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (optional, makes the cookies a little greasy but the dogs love it!)
Take a baking pan/cookie sheet with low sides and line it with aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray.
Blend the liver in a food processor or blender until liquefied. Add remaining ingredients, moist first, blending each until well combined. The consistency will be like loose cement. If it is too thick, add another egg or a bit more water. It should not be runny but not thick as mud. Spoon mixture into pan and spread evenly. Bake 30-45 minutes, test by inserting a toothpick in the thickest part -- it will come out clean when the cookies are done. Remove from oven and cut into small bite-sized squares. Allow to cool and peel cookies off the pan. Remove foil and put the cookies back on the pan, put in the freezer until hard. Store in the freezer for several months or in the fridge for 3-4 days. Thaw at room temperature when you need them. Dogs also love them frozen!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Little boys ready for new homes!

We have two little whippet boys who are ready to go to new homes. Both are "older puppies" -- one 12 weeks and one 16 weeks (ages approximate; I haven't actually counted weeks lately!) The advantages of older puppies are many: already leash trained, mostly housetrained (at least paper trained), almost completely crate trained, and past the "biting your feet with little needle teeth" phase! These two are well-socialized and outgoing...and they don't get carsick! Shots and worming up to date, of course.

Winchester was bred by Jo Pelton (Rajopa Whippets) and has been here for a couple of months. He's a very nice puppy we were thinking of keeping, but decided we really don't want to deal with more boys when the girls come in season! He is affectionate and snuggly but playful. Would be great in a home with kids or other whippets.  Winnie is close to 100% "old Appraxin" breeding.

And below is Trick. Don't let that sweet face fool you! He is full of himself and happy-happy-happy. Loves attention and loves to play. Trick was born July 10, bred by Rachel Gongre (Deco) and Todd Miller (Jomyr). I was a little nervous about bringing another male puppy here with Winchester, especially since Trick was younger and smaller. I shouldn't have worried! He holds his own with Winnie and everyone else around here. He is a lovable little guy who will do well in an active home, though he certainly has his couch potato time too.

There are lots more photos of them at our Picasa site

If you're interested in either of these boys, fill out our questionnaire and give Sharyn a call at 540-464-8046. I hate to see them go, but they need to get into their own homes.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Five weeks old!

The "Illicit Love" puppies are five weeks old today! We have photos taken at the beginning of this week on Picasa and Facebook. At this age, they are really, REALLY cute.

They've been weaned onto solid food -- we start with a mix of mostly cooked hamburger meat blended with canine milk replacement formula, then slowly move them over to kibble that has been soaked in warm water and pureed. We'll puree it less and less as the days go by, until they are eating soaked solid chunks of kibble, then eventually dry solid kibble.

As we begin feeding the puppies solid food and they nurse less, their mother (Juliet) gives over the cleaning-up duties to us -- bring on the newspapers! A litter of puppies goes through a truly shocking number of newspapers. We keep the whelping box and later the puppies' room very clean to teach them to keep their "den" clean, and make housebreaking a little easier. At this age the puppies are already gravitating to the back of the whelping box for bathroom duties, so that's where the newspapers are. This teaches them that there is an appropriate place to go, and it's not where they sleep.

Their puppy play has gotten a lot more exciting as their teeth have come in! They have little tussles with their siblings and it is hilarious to watch the little "puppy wars" that start so quickly and then fade off as one combatant falls over or loses interest. The puppies and their mother are teaching themselves "bite inhibition" -- as in, when you bite me, it hurts! They quickly figure out that when they bite too hard, the game ends. We also reinforce this idea when playing with the puppies -- when they bite, the game is over and we remove our hands. As the puppies age, their playful bites will get lighter and lighter as they learn this concept.

A few people have inquired about this litter -- all of these puppies are spoken for at this time, but sometimes plans change, so it's possible we might have a puppy available closer to the time when they go home (when they are 10 weeks old).

Unfortunately since we breed so little, we don't have enough puppies for the inquiries that we receive. We are happy to refer you to another breeder who might have puppies, though, so please feel free to inquire. We also have a couple of older puppies who have been waiting for their perfect homes, I will post about them separately.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Boys...and a Sex Change

Okay, not really a sex change, but I did post a picture of Rake (fawn boy puppy) and  label him as Tryst (fawn girl puppy).  So, first the correction.  THIS is Tryst.

And THIS is Rake. I think you'll understand how I got a bit confused.

The second boy, Rogue, never gets mixed up with the others. He looks like a very sloppy painter's drop cloth.

Here are a couple of especially cute ones from today. They're gaining weight and doing well. More tomorrow!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Illicit Love: The Litter That Whippets Planned

Juliet (UKC Ch Timbreblue Loves a Romeo) was supposed to be retired from the whelping box and getting herself in shape for a career in freestyle dancing with our friend Bev Crawley. But in July, Blue that silver-tongued devil from her past, (Appraxin Amulet Avant- Garde) talked her into one more time for old time's sake, and the results of their hanky panky arrived in our whelping box Friday night/Saturday morning. The next one of our girls who decides to whelp when I have a combined gastroenteritis and very bad cold may well find herself in South Carolina at daughter Jo's house for the duration! That was one miserable night, which is sad, because I usually really love birthin' babies.

Anyway, the final total was not Juliet's usual 12, but only seven...thank you, Jules! Five females and two males. It doesn't get any better than that. Three fawns, one blue, one black, a black and white parti and a blue fawn and white parti. Here are the girls, and I'll do a separate post for the boys in the morning. 


And one more of Vixen because it was too cute to leave out.

Juliet is as serene and happy as she always is when mothering. I have never had a whippet who loves having babies as much as she does. Well, except maybe Chippy, who has been taking care of our "foster kids" (see previous post). She goes out with them, eats with them, plays with them, and has been teaching them how to be responsible dog citizens. (We still have a male available from that litter, by the way.)

Back to Juliet: She did have a little nervous spell this afternoon -- didn't want to stay in the box and when she was in there, kept digging up the bedding and losing the puppies in it. Very un-Juliet-like I gave her some liquid calcium and she settled back down. I wonder if that trick works for human mothers.

Tomorrow, the boys!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Puppies at Timbreblue again!

Although Jo and Derek raised a litter of puppies in December, we have not had a litter here at Timbreblue Virginia in over a year. While we still don't have a litter of our own, we are "babysitting" six puppies for a dear friend who is struggling with some health issues. These pups are very closely related to our own breeding and in fact look  just like one of our litters! For those of you who keep up with bloodlines and pedigrees, this litter is almost 100%  Appraxin. They were bred by Jo Pelton of Max Meadows, VA -- Jo has only two whippets of her own and the co-breeder, Patty Pelton, has just three, so these puppies have been well-loved and socialized.


We have had them here for about three weeks now and they are just delightful. We're treating them, of course, just as if they had been born here, and will place them in homes just as carefully as we place our own. Because we've gotten so attached to them, we'll be happy to provide support to their new owners just as we do our own, so in addition to having their "real" breeder to call on, the owners are welcome to call us as well.

The puppies' mother is Rajopa Dynahmight Dance At Appraxin  (Dynah) and their father is Rajo Appraxin Song And Dance Man (Logan).

Just like Timbreblue pups, these guys come with AKC registration application, microchip, toys, chewies, and books, a leash and collar, as well as handouts on puppy's first night home, housetraining, crate training, etc. As honorary Timbreblue family members, their owners will be invited to our annual reunion (this year October 13 in Harrisonburg, VA) and added to our email list. Our puppy owners truly are our family and they get to know each other through the years, many of them swapping dogsitting and playdates.

The puppies are well paper-trained at this point and are learning to go outside this week. We call it "housetraining readiness."

If you're interested in one of them, fill out the Timbreblue questionnaire (Jo does not have one online), give me a call at 540-464-8046 in the next few days and together we'll decide whether he would be a good match for you. We already have two of them tentatively promised, but there are four males still available as of today: Winchester, Remington, Tula, and Barrett.

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Champion Henry!

Well, whoever crossed their fingers for us, it worked! Henry (Ch Sporting Fields Move On, father of Rini's litter from 10/19/2010) finished his AKC championship yesterday in North Carolina. He spent just ONE weekend out with professional handler Michelle Queen, and on the second day of the dog shows he won Winners Dog for 3 points -- that elusive major. We're so proud of our pretty boy and grateful to Michelle for taking good care of him (he slept in bed with her) on the road.

Ch Sporting Fields Move On "Henry" with Michelle Queen

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Chasing majors

To become an AKC champion, a dog has to earn 15 points. Of those 15, he has to have two "majors" which are 3 points or more at a single show. These majors have to be earned from two different judges. The way they calculate points is by how many dogs he beats. For example, in Virginia, defeating 7 dogs is a 3 point major, defeating 10 is 4 points, and defeating 14 is a 5 point major (the most you can earn at one show).

Our Henry "Sporting Fields Move On" -- father of Rini's first litter -- has 14 points with one major. We're hoping to finish his championship this fall, so that his kids and grandkids will have another champion in their pedigrees. We've entered him at some shows in North Carolina in the middle of June, and hired a professional handler to show him.

They just released the entry numbers for the shows and they ARE majors! So that's two chances that Henry will have to get those elusive majors. We're crossing our fingers =)

Sometimes it can take months or even years to find the right judge on the right day, so I'm keeping that in consideration and will keep trying if this first weekend out doesn't turn out to be the magic combination. But maybe you could cross your fingers for us, just in case!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Easy Chicken Jerky -- No special equipment

With the recent recalls and warnings about Chinese chicken jerky, it makes sense to make your own chicken jerky treats at home. You can control all of the ingredients, and you can make as much or as little as you need.

If you haven't been following the news about Chinese dog treats, we do not recommend giving your dogs ANY treats or chewies imported from China. There are many cases of sick and dying dogs resulting from ingestion of Chinese treats, jerky, and chewies. READ LABELS. The only treats I personally consider safe are those made in the USA, and preferably made in your own kitchen.

Chicken Jerky


  • Chicken breast fillets (watch the sales ads for bags of frozen chicken breasts)
  • Garlic powder (just a dusting)
  • Preheat oven to 200F
  • Spritz a baking sheet with cooking spray, or use a sheet of parchment.
  • Rinse chicken breasts, trim off any fat, and pound flat with a meat mallet, to approximately 1/4-1/2" thick. Slice into strips if desired. Dust very lightly with garlic powder for flavor.
  • Place chicken strips on baking sheet, spread them apart so they are not touching.
  • Bake for 2 hours, checking temperature with a baking thermometer every 20 minutes to ensure even cooking.
  • Remove and cool on wire racks. Slice into serving sizes as desired. Cooking time may vary -- Treats should be completely dry, not soft at all.
  • Serve when completely cool. Will keep in fridge for 3 weeks, freeze in zip-lock bags for up to 8 months.

Warning! Dogs LOVE chicken jerky! Keep your fingers at a safe distance. =)


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Payton Helps Out in the Shower

The Irrepressible Payton
 This post came to a whippet email list from our dear friend (and Party's breeder) Dwight Caffee in Oklahoma. It is simply too good to keep to myself!

I woke up this morning - It's gonna be a great day -

e all know that whippets will accompany you to the bath if you don't shut the door - WELLL I didn't get it all the way shut the other day -

I was in the shower and I heard the door slam open - Payton had entered the room with his usual gusto - he doesn't do anything calmly - everything is in a grand style and with enthusiasm - as I said I was in the shower -

About that time he decided to join me, so under the shower curtain and into the tub he came, wagging his tail so hard his whole body is wagging - he's getting soaking wet and bouncing around the tub like a whirlwind - here I am - trying to stay on the no slip pad - on 1 1/2 legs trying to find something to hang onto - get rid of the bar of soap and wash cloth without dropping it where I might step on it and me yelling like a banshee for him to get out - it's a crowd for a person and a 50ish pound rambunctious whippet in close quarters -

He finally decides to get out but the shower curtain is on the inside of the tub - he was convinced that he
got in that way he could get out the same way - so he puts his front feet on the side of the tub and holds down the shower curtain and jumps out anyway - down comes the whole thing rod and all - out onto the floor a very wet Payton, shower curtain and rod tangled up - he extricates himself and leaves the room shaking, running thru the house and throwing water everywhere -

Meanwhile I'm still yelling at him and trying to get out of the tub without slipping on the tangle of  shower curtain, so I'm half way out and hanging on for dear life to stay upright and here he comes again and jumps
back in the tub - the water is still running so he is getting wet again and shaking more, that 2X4 tail wagging like hell beating everything to death and getting the whole bathroom soaked, floor to and including the ceiling -- he jumps out again and I caught him with a towel and at least got some of the water off of him by the time we got into the kitchen - I was chasing him down buck naked still dropping wet myself - finally got the shower turned off - rehung the shower rod and curtain, got back in the shower to finish MY shower and the water was cold - nuff of that - I don't do cold showers - took 6 towels to mop up all the water-

and that was just the start of my day -

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Drinkwell pet fountains -- a great way to keep fresh water available 24/7

I am often asked about products that I recommend for our puppy owners. I try to recommend items that are easily available via online shops and not too expensive. This is the first of a series of posts that I will share with you to let you know what works in our home and what we recommend. I invite comments and thoughts from readers about what works or doesn't for you, either way.

As breeders, we advise puppy owners to keep fresh water available 24/7. Sometimes this is easier said than done, especially when a hyperactive puppy can drain a water bowl in a couple of quick minutes. It can also be difficult to keep a water bowl full and fresh in a multiple dog household, such as ours. If you manage to keep enough water on-hand, it often develops that weird algae scum stuff and then you end up having to scrub water bowls every time you turn around.

I recommend the Drinkwell pet fountains for dog and cat households. We have used Drinkwell fountains for over six years (the same exact fountains, they last forever) and are delighted with them. I have tried three brands and find Drinkwell is the longest-lasting and best made of the water fountains available today.

As an added benefit, if you prefer your pets drink filtered water, the fountains have a carbon filter to purify the water they drink. You need to plug in your fountain for it to work, but they have fairly long cords, so you can stretch it around a corner if needed. It's a two-prong plug, so if you need to plug it into an extension cord, you can do that.

The Drinkwell fountains have a reservoir that you fill from the tap.Our main fountain is the "Big Dog" size, and it lasts two or three days in a 5-dog household, so it would last about a week for a smaller household. The reservoir bottle is inverted, so it keeps the water sealed and fresh until it is circulated through the fountain. When it enters the fountain, the water passes through a carbon filter to purify it, before cascading through the fountain opening into the bowl below. Many dogs and cats prefer to drink the "waterfall" and others prefer the bowl. You can adjust the flow of the fountain to make the stream faster or slower. We also keep the smaller "Original" sized fountains in the bedrooms where the dogs sleep at night. I usually end up refilling the smaller fountains every night before bed.

Maintenance of the Drinkwell is quite simple. Every 2 or 3 days, I unplug our fountains and take them into the kitchen. I dump all of the water out of the fountain and reservoir, and then spray the fountains out with the spray nozzle on my kitchen sink. The pressure of the spray dislodges any "water scum" that may have accumulated. I spray carefully around the moving parts, like the paddle that adjusts the flow speed. I put some fresh water in the reservoir bottle and shake it around to rinse. Usually that is all that is required to keep the fountains clean and working well. You can spray the carbon filter with your spray nozzle or firm pressure from the sink to rinse it thoroughly. I replace the carbon filters once a month. A refill pack is about $2 per filter.

Once a week I take the whole thing apart (which is easier than you would expect -- directions are included with the unit, and once you have done it you know how it goes together) and scrub with soap and water. I keep a scrubby sponge under my sink for the pet fountains. The whole scrubbing endeavor takes about five minutes from disassembly to final rinse. I rinse the whole unit with my sink spray nozzle. Fill the reservoir with water, pour it into the bowl, then plug in the base and allow it to circulate through the unit. Then fill the reservoir again and invert it in place. Ready to go!