Saturday, June 21, 2008

Our Getting-Married Daughter's Life with Our Labs

This is my all-time favorite picture of Sarah, our Sweet Girl Child, and Baxter:


And in seven short days the wedding bells will ring for her. As you might expect, we're neck-deep in last-minute details and all the little things we now realize we forgot to do.

One of those was to pull old pictures to scan for the PowerPoint loop we're displaying at the reception. The loop will include photos of Sarah's growing-up years co-mingled with photos of Chris's (her fiance's) growing-up years, followed by more recent photos of the two of them together.

So DH and I spent hours yesterday pouring through boxes and boxes of photos and albums we haven't seen in years (I never was good about organizing my photos, and don't even ask me about scrap-booking!). We had great fun (and surprisingly few tears) reminiscing about our human kids' childhoods.

In the process, I found old photos we've taken of our Labs -- a great reminder of just how integral they've been to our lives (DH's and mine) and those of our children.

Permit me, if you will then, to indulge in a few memories as a tribute to the gift we have in our human and canine kids alike. I think the following photos will warm you heart nearly as much as they do mine.

This first batch is specifically a tribute to our Sarah Girl, whose huge heart, tenderness toward all things living, and exuberance for life enrich all who know and love her (more than she knows). She and our Labs have been buds for a long, long time:

In the last two years with Kenya as a pup, Mamma Elsie, and Elsie's newborns:



With the Baxter Boos and Ridge!


With the Elsie pup back in 2005:


With Baxter, as a little squirt, back in 2003


And what's really fun, is that our soon-to-be son-in-law shares Sarah's heart (love, tenderness, etc.) for living things (I suspect that's why he's starting med school). He and Sarah were a great help in socializing the pups from Elsie's last litter:





And with helping Kenya with her transition to our family two years ago:



All of our kids have loved all of our Labs through the years (and our Labs have loved them). I wish I could post photos from when they were young, but my scanner is giving me fits. So this first batch will have to do.

We're thoroughly tickled about the wedding, and we love Chris to pieces. Of course, any suitor wanting to marry our daughter had to pass the Lab test and the Cottage test (he had to love both, and the Labs had to love him), and Chris "passed" with flying colors. :o)

We couldn't be more pleased. :o) :o)

So join me, won't you, in wishing them well as they start their new life together! Med school is no picnic, especially as newlyweds and on top of an out-of-state move, but they'll have the Baxter Boos with them in Maine to smooth rough edges along the way (we'll miss you, big time, Boos!).


If you feel like inundating them with well wishes (that would be fun), feel free to e-mail them or send e-cards to Sarah (sarah.esherick@gmail.com) or Chris (cjwatras@gmail.com). Be sure to tell them your from LabTails. :o)

They're great kids starting a good life together; I'm glad one of our Labs can join them along the way. :o)

Thanks for indulging me. It's a bitter-sweet time.

'Til next time,
Joan

Monday, June 16, 2008

Announcing Master Green

Regular Reader knows we're "losing" Baxter -- our big galoot of a couch-potato black Lab, all 110 pounds of him -- in July when he moves to Maine with DD and her new husband. Baxter is our neutered male and a wonderful family guy -- I'll miss him terribly. He's my Boos!

But it will be a good move for the Boos (he thrives on 1:1 with his humans), and he will be a needed comfort for Sarah and Chris in Maine, especially for Sarah while Chris gets used to med school. The young couple gets married in just two weeks, then goes on their honeymoon (to St. Lucia) for a week, then returns here for three weeks, then moves to Maine where Chris starts grad school. It's a bunch of transitions for them in a very short time (Sarah just graduated from UDel two weeks ago), and Baxter will be a loving constant for them through so much change.

Regular Reader also knows that our long-term plan for Stoney Ridge Labs (our small breeding endeavor) was to eventually invest in a black male Lab for siring litters when we retire our current stud, Ridge.

Well, folks (drum roll, please...), we found our new studly. Here he is...all three-weeks-old of him, Master Green:



Master Green (called so for his green ribbon -- as yet unnamed) is coming to us from the folks who adopted our former Mr. Blue (now called Copper) last fall: Sundancer Labs, out in Arizona. Theresa, the Sundancer gang's "mom," took this photo of Master Green and sent it to us just last week. For more litter photos, you can track their progress at the Sundancer Labs' planned litters page.

Here are a few other shots, compliments of Theresa:



That's him there flat out on his back -- sleeping just like Elsie and Pinot. :o)

It looks like Theresa and I will be double in-laws (she has Copper, from our Elsie/Ridge litter, and we'll have Master Green from her most recent Ellie/Max litter). We're family twice over!

In mid-July, I'm flying out to AZ for a quick overnight to pick up Master Green and carry him back with me on the plane -- he'll be just over eight weeks old then.

And this way, Baxter, Sarah, and Chris will all get to "meet" him before they move. And we'll have over five weeks to acclimate him here before Elsie would be due with her next litter (we're expecting her to go into heat any time now).

It's great timing, and we're thrilled to be getting a Sundancer Lab. And Master Green fits the bill for our investing in a sound, solidly pedigreed, black Lab male from a wonderful breeder.

And from what I hear, he's quite a kisser!

:o)

We'll keep you informed, but so far so good -- Master Green seems to be developing nicely.

So are we crazy or what?

And, not to worry: no one will ever replace the Boos in my heart. I'll just have to create a new spot for Master Green (truth be told, I already have)! ;o)

'Til next time,
Joan

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Panting Faces



So, do you think it's hot (or humid) enough for us?

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Few Fun Pool Photos (with Pinot's commentary)

I'm a good girl, I am!





















I even hold the hose for my Mom.





















I'll betcha didn't know I could shoot laser beams from my eyes!























And when I'm crazy, I'm only half crazy! :o)

The Ear Factor


Pinot's Pool Fun Instructions

First you carry the hose over to the little blue pool:




Then you make sure to place the hose in just the right spot:



Next you snuggle in to enjoy the spray:




When the water gets too deep or cold, you just get rid of it!




And if you happen to knock the hose out with the water, start all over again!

:o)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

An Eventful Few Days

So... I last posted Monday morning when it was hot.

Later Monday morning we discovered poor Kenya had lost her wag (from the cool-water bath Don had given her Sunday PM). Cold Water Tail; Broken Wag; Limber Tail Syndrome -- you know the drill.

Poor thing was miserable (more miserable than I've seen any of our dogs EVER when they've had Limber Tail Syndrome). She even whimpered.

Sarah (the soon to be married human child) sat with her.
















Don sat with her (she's panting in distress in the photo below).

















I sat with her; we all took turns. She really wanted human contact, and kept looking at us with those big brown pleading eyes, seeming to say "make it stop hurting."
















And her tail and hind-end were completely still (that's just NOT her).

So we limited her activity, kept her with us but separate from the other dogs (to keep her calm), gave her baby aspirin, and let her rest for all of Monday and into Tuesday. It's just as well -- it was still dangerously hot here -- too hot to do anything anyway.

But Kenya seemed to rebound well, though not completely, by Tuesday afternoon (she returned to being our wiggle-girl). Baby aspirin and rest really did the trick.

Tuesday was hotter still (heat indexes to 108), then wild storms blew through knocking down trees and power lines all over our region.

We went without power from Tuesday evening through last night (thousands are still without power as I write this).

So I spent a good bit of time unloading freezer contents into coolers packed with ice so we wouldn't lose all our food in the heat.

And I spent a good deal of time getting water.

You see, no power here means no water (we have a well, and the well pump operates on electricity). It also means no central air.

On one of the hottest days of the year.
  • When ALL the kids were home (nobody away at college)
  • When ALL the kids are eating at home (no more meal plans)
  • When various kids had various other people here
  • When we were supposed to getting the house cleaned and ready for wedding visitors (ah, too bad; no electricity means no vacuum -- shucks!).
  • Oh, and also while DH was AWAY in Vancouver on business (poor soul missed all the excitement, again!).

And we have BIG humans AND five Labs to keep hydrated. :o)

Good thing we have a van. :o)

Today, things are back to relative normal. I repacked all the food from the coolers into the freezer and fridge.

Then I dumped the leftover ice:















You woulda thought it was Christmas -- Elsie, Kenya, and Pinot couldn't wait to get at it! You'd think their little pads would get cold -- geez!














































Ahhhhhh...., but as far as they're concerned, there's nothing like ice-cold ice on a hot, sunny day (it's high 80s today -- finally a break!).


















Stay cool (and safe!).

'Til next time,
Joan

Monday, June 09, 2008

Heat Health

It's 90 degrees (F) already, and it's only 10 a.m.

Yuk.

Heat indexes for today are supposed to top 105 degrees.

Double yuk.

So, in honor of our early, ridiculously hot, heat wave (especially for June), I thought I'd refresh myself on heat-health for our canine loved ones.

Here's what I can recall:


1. Water, water, and more water. :o) Yup, keep 'em hydrated, even if that means using a fresh-water-filled (clean water, folks), gigunda, blue-plastic water bowl (hehe):


























Oh, and the more the merrier!


























2. If the blue-plastic water-bowl method doesn't work. Try ice cubes. They're a favorite at our house year round.


















3. Shade, shade, and more shade. :o)

















4. Or keep them indoors in air conditioning during the heat of the day (don't forget to provide access to fresh drinking water indoors, too). They may not be happy, and they may be bored, but at least they'll be safe. :o)

























5. Remember how quickly car interiors and macadam surfaces heat up. Dogs left in hot cars die. And dogs walking on overheated pavement burn their pads, often before you realize how hot it's become.


Aargh.

Okay... this is officially NUTS! I've been trying to upload pictures and post today's entry on blogger for over four hours. Aaaaargh....

No more pictures today (sorry). I'll try again tomorrow. In the meantime, for more information on pet heat safety, check out these articles at AKC:

Canine Summer Safety Tips

Summer Safety

Don't Overheat Your Hound!

'Til next time,
Joan

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Pinot and Hose Spray

In this clip, son Daniel is taking the video while I'm running the hose.

Pinot, who apparently loves the water (yay!), really doesn't like the "shower" setting on the hose nozzle. She prefers the hard, straight stream (what we use to clean the deck) in full force.

My protective, mommy-heart fears that water on the straight-stream setting will hurt -- it seems so hard and fast. But Pinot loves it this way. As you'll see in this clip, when I switch the nozzle to the gentler "shower" setting (what we use to water flowers), she really doesn't enjoy it.


video

She's as goofy as a cat chasing a laser light.

What a girl.

But I will say that between the pool play and the hose play, she was good-and-tuckered-out for the long day indoors (we did all this water play before 10 a.m.). She wasn't even rammy. :o)

And that, truth be told, was the plan: plenty of cool exercise (not running -- too hot) in the morning, then rest inside through the heat of the day.

That will be the plan for tomorrow and the next day, too. We have heat warnings in effect until Tuesday night.

Yee haw.

I know -- 100-degree-plus heat indexes are nothing for your south and southwestern folks (or you readers out there from the Middle East, Australia, and Africa). But for us here in the mid-Atlantic states, it's HOT (and very early in the season for this kind of heat).

The humidity, most will tell you, is what makes it so uncomfortable. I personally think it's both -- the heat and the humidity -- especially if you're unaccustomed.

And for animals (and humans) it can be dangerous (heat stroke during heat waves here is common).

So we'll be doing morning pool play, afternoon slumbering inside in air conditioning, and late evening romps with the canine crew.

Oh, and they'll be eating boatloads of ice cubes (a favorite treat at our house).

At least the heat wave is this weekend (and not Sarah's wedding weekend, we hope).

'Til next time,
Joan

Pinot Tries Out the Pool :o) (Videos)

We're in the middle of our first (and quite sudden) heat wave -- indexes over 100 degrees (F), temperatures over 95 degrees (F), full sun, NO breeze, and high humidity.

Considering that our spring season has been quite cool (well below average temps), the heat comes as quite a shocker. Our bodies have had no time to acclimate.

Neither have the dogs' and that makes it that much more dangerous.

So we're romping in the morning (when it's only HOT, not dangerous) and staying inside in central air during the day. Then we romp outside again in the evening after it starts to cool off.

Yesterday mid-morning, on our first truly hot day, I pulled out the little blue pools for the canine kiddos to tucker themselves out in (I stack two for pawing/toenail factor).

Remember, this is the first time Pinot has seen the pool since last fall when she was a young pup still romping with her litter. Our early water exposures for the pups appear to have paid off.

The following clip captures her checking it out (notice Elsie in the background, too). Pinot is tentatively curious at first (but not shy in the least), then Elsie comes to help her out:


video


This next clip captures Pinot becoming more comfortable (Kenya and Ridge wander in on the action, too). She actually puts all four feet in the pool. :o)

And she LOVES hose spray (her incentive to jump right in).


video


In this next one, Pinot demonstrates her commitment to keeping the hose IN the pool. Elsie likes the hose OUT of the pool, but Pinot prefers to play with its spray in the water.

Then, once Pinot wins the battle of where the hose will stay, she goes to town keeping the pool empty so the hose water has a place to run (hint: her paws are faster than the incoming water). :o)


video

I can't wait to get her to the cottage to swim. And I'll just bet she'll jump from the dock.

With the wedding just three weeks away, I doubt we'll get to the cottage before July, but that's just as well. The lake water (spring fed and quite cold) doesn't warm up until July anyway, and we don't want to set these guys up for another cold-water-tail experience.

So in the meantime, the pool and hose will have to do.

You should see Pinot with hose spray. I'll post about that next -- no fear in her at all.

'Til next time,
Joan