Sunday, July 29, 2007

Since Baxter returned from the cottage, and Elsie got over her initial tummy discomfort and lethargy, the canine kids have all returned to their typical behaviors:

Ridge still hides toys from Kenya.

Elsie still sits like a polar bear (I wonder how long that will last).

The Kenya Bean still wants (and gives) lots of kisses.

And the Baxter Boos, ever the gentle giant, seems bemused by all the fuss.

Isn't that they way of it, though?

Good news, bad news, job finds, job losses, pregnancies, terminal illnesses, births, deaths -- it doesn't matter what the event or how great or small: Life ambles on.

As one country song writer puts it, you can't fence time.

Nor would I want to.

I suspect at this point, neither would Elsie.

So, life is returning to some sense of normalcy here. Well, for the next two or three weeks anyway, just until Elsie gets her x-ray and we find out how many pups she's carrying. Then shortly after that we'll move into whelping mode (building the whelping box, acclimating Elsie to it, gathering all the necessary supplies, taking Elsie's temperature every twelve hours, clearing our schedules for the impending birth, etc.).

And we'll await her delivery.

Eight weeks after that, the pups will be gone, and we'll be family of five humans, four Labs, and one cat again.

And life will continue to wend its way.

Knowing it does and will makes me want, even more, to savor moments and make each day count - to enjoy this season and its lessons now, whatever they are, because this season, too, will pass.

It's truly a gift when we learn to treasure our days, whatever they bring. It's one of the many gifts my Lab kids and human kids have given me, and still do.

It's a gift I value and try to hold on to. And I'm doing so more effectively as the years go by.

The funny thing is that enjoying-the-moment isn't something we have to teach our Labs or children: they know it instinctively. But we, as adults, have to relearn the practice.

We have to relearn (or perhaps, recapture) wonder.

So I'm relearning and savoring, and thanking God for Labs and little ones.

Where would we be without them!

'Til next time,

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Whadya Think?

Is she or isn't she?

With how big and pink her nipples have become in just the last week, we're pretty sure she is!

And check out the belly bulge:

We think our little girl is going to be a mamma! :o)

What do you think? Are we imagining things?

'Til next time,

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Baxter's Away Playing at the Cottage

Sweet Daughter Sarah (SDS) and her significant other, Chris, took Baxter with them to the cottage this weekend.

Yup, just the Baxter Boos. Nobody else.

Sarah and Baxter are buds. Can you tell?

Ridge, Elsie, and Kenya are sorely depressed. The funny thing is they knew when Sarah and Chris were leaving where they were headed. And, boy, were they disappointed when they couldn't join them in the car!

Poor canine kids.

But it's good for Baxter to get his 1:1 time with SDS (they really are special buds). And it's good for Sarah, too.

At least it's cool here now, so all three don't need the trip. And we won't have to worry about ear infections or limber tail in Elsie or Ridge (common after trips to the cottage, and something we want to avoid with Elsie in case she's pregnant).

But all three are acting more subdued than normal. Even Kenya (aka, wiggle-butt-peanut-head). I think they miss Baxter.

The pack's just not the same without him!

'Til next time,

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Looking Likely - Part 2

THREE MORE WEEKS!!!! That's how long we have to wait for x-rays.

The vet's office said they'd x-ray her after Day 47.

Geez-Louise! That's, like, only two weeks before she'd be ready to deliver!

They said that when they verify her pregnancy, they want to count how many puppies she's carrying so they wait that long since the pups' spines will be developed enough by then to count them. And they don't see any sense in testing now and then both (to spare both her and the pups).

I get it. And, I guess I agree. Reluctantly.

But I'm a Nervous Nellie. This is Elsie after all.

So we're treating her like she is pregnant (regular, moderate exercise; healthy diet; keeping her from being stepped on by the other canine kids, giving her the attention she needs).

She sure is acting like she's pregnant, laying around even though it's delightfully cool (only in the 70s this weekend -- a rarity in July here).

I mean, she doesn't even rise to greet us like usual.

She does play and run and such, and she's alert and attentive, and she still opens the back door on her own, and she still rises to bark at other dogs and strange sounds, so she's not sick.

But she didn't eat breakfast this morning.


Do pregnant canines experience fatigue and morning sickness the way humans do?

I wonder.

It's going to be a VERY long three-more-weeks until x-rays.

I hope I can stand it.

'Til next time,

It's Looking Likely...Gulp!

Well, we're at 25 days since Elsie and Ridge first mated (they mated twice), and the books and vet manuals tell us that you really can't tell if a Lab is pregnant until at least 24 days after mating, more definitively after 28 days (when the pups spines have started to develop and you can actually see them on an ultrasound).

So Don is calling the vet today to set Elsie up for testing (I have to adjust our countdown clock above once we have the ultrasound date).

But it's sure looking like she may be pregnant:

  • she's acting differently: she seems tired and more low key
  • her teats are looking a little bigger (but not engorged)
  • she looks wider (from above, not below)
  • she seems a little insecure (she needs more touch and closeness)
  • her belly feels firmer

Big gulp.

I hate not knowing for sure.

We'll keep you posted!

'Til next time,

Friday, July 13, 2007

Their Interest in What We Do


That's the term I'd use to describe our Labs' interest in everything we do.

And now that Elsie is no longer in heat, people have become interesting again.

Especially to Ridge.

As I've blogged before, I really believe he's finally made us his own (after coming to live with us as a three-year-old, nearly three years ago).

And it shows.

There's simply no containing his interest in our activity (even simple things like reading a magazine, pictured above).

It's almost as if, after two years of testing us out and finally realizing he's safe here, he wants to show us he can be a real Lab (not that he ever wasn't one; he's always been a great dog).

He seems to want to show us he can be affectionate and enthusiastic and people-oriented, too, just like the others.

He can even love to be touched (something he wasn't too keen on when he arrived).

But it seems he thinks he has lost time to make up for, so now he does all those things with abandon -- with enthusiasm that exceeds the normal Lab zealousness for all things human.

"Look, Dad! I can be a real Lab!"

Silly Ridge.

He's been a "real" Lab all along. We've loved him like one since the day he arrived.

And that love seems to be paying off.

Call me irrational, but I think our love is being returned.


'Til next time,

Monday, July 02, 2007

Countdown Clock


So we know Elsie and Ridge mated (successfully tied) twice during Elsie's prime fertility period.

And we know Ridge has successfully sired other litters with other females.

And we know Elsie is in prime health.

But we don't know if she actually conceived as a result of this mating, and we won't for another few weeks.

So, for my sanity, and so I don't have to keep counting days on the calendar, I've added a permanent countdown clock (from ClockLink) at the top of this page just so we'll all know when it's time for Elsie's pregnancy test.

And then, if she's positive, I'll change the clock so it counts down to her due date.


Otherwise I'd be leafing through the calendar almost every day, driving me and everybody else crazy.


Can you tell I'm nervous?

Man...if it's like this with my canine kids, I wonder what it will be like when our human kids start having kids.


'Til next time,

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Peace and Quiet



Can you hear it?


There it is: the sound of...silence!

Well, almost.

Better put, it's the absence of Ridge barking, moaning, howling, rasping, groaning, whining, and pacing to get at Elsie.

Even after he "got at" her.


Elsie must be past her fertile stage. And Ridge is sane once more. He's even eating and sleeping again.

Poor boy.

He can be a victim of his own drive.

Oh well.

I suppose there's a lesson for me in there somewhere, if I'd take the time to look.

Nah. Not today. I'm driven to meet a deadline. ;o)

'Til next time,