Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rainy Saturday Afternoon - Pinot, Elsie, and this Litter's Future

In addition to puppy play, Saturdays are often extended work-with-the-big-dogs days. Today, however, it's just too miserable outside (heavy rain and really windy -- blech -- like a noreaster). We haven't had a day quite this miserable in a long time, so we're stuck indoors, all of us: puppies, big dogs, and humans alike.

Since we're stuck inside, I couldn't resist taking this shot earlier this afternoon. Here's Miss Pinot, the puppy we kept from last year's Elsie-Ridge litter who is now a year old (14 months old actually), resting with Momma Elsie:

That's mom and daughter together! They're pals.

Pinot genetically is a full sibling of the current litter (same parents, just born a year earlier), and we couldn't be more pleased with how she's turning out: gorgeous (we think so anyway), smart, eager-to-please with a strong retrieve, snuggly like her mom, and super athletic like her dad -- exactly what we were looking for. Admittedly, Pinot is definitely not a show Lab (too leggy, too long-bodied, and her tail is too long), but breeding for show-conformity is not our top priority. Our priorities in breeding for certain traits fall in this order: 1. health, 2. temperament/people orientation, 3. intelligence, 4. retrieving instinct, 5. athleticism, and then show conformation (conformation to the appearance part of the Labrador breed standard).

Just for comparison, here's Pinot at 5.5 weeks old (last year's Miss Black -- the litter was a month earlier in the year so it was warm enough for us to take them outside at 5 weeks of age):

Quite a change, eh? The Pinot girl still has some growing to do (in the widening, bulking up way), so we won't really know for several more months exactly what this little girl is going to look like. But so far, so good. She's a little longer (from shoulders to hips) than her mom, but she's about the same height. And she weighs about 65 pounds (compared to Elsie's 80-ish).

Our Pinot was last years "Miss Black," and we have the same special tenderness toward her that we have toward this year's Mr. Black. Both had rough starts (Pinot's was a heart murmer that self-corrected by 12 weeks of age; Mr Black's was his weak suckling reflex, which seems to be a non-issue now). If Pinot is any indication, Mr. Black will be just fine in the long run.

Like I've mentioned before, we're going to be extra careful about Mr. Black's placement (we're careful with all the pups). We won't let him go until we find the perfect match for him.

Having said that, eight of the nine pups are now sold (though we're still weighing placements, and will throughout this week). What's really funny is that it seems we already have an ideal pup for each situation; individual pups seem to be matching up well with all the individual buyers' wants, requests, and needs. The puzzle pieces are fitting well together.

It worked out that way last year, too. And I couldn't be more pleased (and relieved).

So, all seems well. The puppies are thriving, their new families seem terrific, pups and families seem well-suited to each other, and the matches are working out well. We fully expect this litter to bring as much joy to their new owners as Sweet Pinot Girl adds to our lives every day.

And in just one short week, the new owners can meet their pups and the pups can me their new owners. And in just three short weeks, they'll be at their forever homes!

'Til next time,

1 comment:

Jill said...

Joan, do you hear from any of the other families who took Elsie's first litter? I'd love to know how the other dogs are doing. And Pinot is a gorgeous dog. If we ever decide to purchase a puppy, I know the breeders our family will turn to. However, we seem to have a penchant for rescued dogs around here. :)