Monday, July 27, 2009

Control: It's an Illusion (Aka, the Kenya-Bean has a Mind of Her Own)

Kenya, it seems, has a mind (and body) of her own.

She's also seen fit to remind us that "the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray." - Robert Burns.

Yup. Apparently we humans have far too inflated a view of ourselves. We seem to think we can plan and scheme and, if we invest enough strategy, effort, and knowledge, we can ultimately get our desired results.


How silly we are.

The latest round of remind-us-we're-puny-humans-and-any-control-we-think-we-have-is-just-an-illusion came in the form of planning for fall puppies.

We've done this before. Successfully. We've watched countless heat cycles, read biological indicators, avoided pregnancies when we wanted to protect our girls, and ensured conception when we thought the time was right. Timing the dogs' matings (or avoiding mating during prime times) has never been a problem. Nuts? Yes. A problem? No.

To boot, for this fall's planned litter, we have a notify list of over twenty people (people who want to be notified when Kenya is pregnant). We've already received three completed placement questionnaires (but didn't take any deposits -- never do until the pups are born) from people who seriously want a pup this fall.

We prepared. We did all the necessary screenings. Kenya's OFA certs came back well ("good" on hips; "normal" on elbows). She and Ridge passed their eye-certifcation exams with flying colors. No issues. Everything was good to go.

We had our plans.

Kenya, it appears, had hers.

Our Kenya Bean, for the first time, didn't cycle the same way as she has in past heat cycles. Mind you, this is not Kenya's first heat -- more like her sixth. This time was different.

In heats past, she made it obvious when she was ready to mate. Her day-counts (we count days from the onset of their heat cycles to estimate when conception is most likely to occur) have been well within the norm (20-to-22-day cycle, prime between days 10 and 14). She'd do the normal-for-a-Lab-in-heat attract-the-boys dance and would cock her tail to signal her readiness.

This time she's barely spotted. This time she's not cocking her tail. This time she wants nothing to do with the boys.

Not that the boys don't want her. They've been going nuts.

But Kenya's not interested.

Maybe it's that Elsie was in heat simultaneously (a couple days ahead of Kenya in her cycle). Maybe Kenya's just not feeling well. Or maybe, for some reason, Kenya is experiencing a longer-than-usual cycle and isn't yet prime, though by our count she's at day 15 right now. We've been putting Ridge and Kenya alone together now since her day 11 (last Thursday), and she won't have anything to do with Ridge. Period.

Oh, and she lets us know she doesn't want anything to do with him, too. Sweet, happy-go-lucky-always-wiggly Kenya morphs into snarly-get-away-from-me Kenya when Ridge gets close (poor, confused boy is only doing what Kenya's phermones are telling him to do). She's been behaving this way since we started allowing them to be together five days ago.

I'm beginning to realize we may not be having fall puppies after all.

Aaargh. You would think this would be easy, that nature would take its course.

It's not.

I don't know what happened (or what's happening). Maybe our counts are off (but we were checking her daily for spotting, and didn't find any until 15 days ago). Maybe we just lucked out with Elsie (our little always-ready-to-mate-would-be-a-breeding-machine-if-we'd-let-her girl). Maybe Kenya is just having an "off" cycle (she not at all flirtatious this time like she has been before). There've been no indicators from her, none, other than the onset of spotting.

Maybe she's just picky.

In any case, we planned a fall litter. And now it looks like it won't be happening.

And I'm reminded again of just how little control I have over anything.


This isn't the first reminder of my lack of real control, nor will it be the last. It's not my first disappointment, nor is it the first time things haven't worked out as I'd hoped and planned. I've learned to live with our other unexpected outcomes. I've even learned to embrace a few and have grown thankful for them. I trust there's a reason for this outcome out there somewhere.

So, though disappointed, I'm at peace.

I just dread disappointing all those people out there who were hoping for a Ridge-Kenya pup this fall.

Now it looks like we won't have pups until next spring. We'll find a new sire for Elsie over the winter (her next cycle six months from now), and then will get Tuc certified next May, for a Tuc-Kenya pairing next summer.

That is, of course, only our plan. We'll have to see how it all pans out.

I guess that makes me a pan-theist, eh? I believe it all pans out in the end.

'Til next time,


Cindy Del Vecchio said...

Well said.

JackDaddy said...

Maybe she's waiting for Ridge to propose! :)