Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday Tickler: Chessie, The Artist

My windows aren't dirty: that's Chessie's nose art:


'Til next time,


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Is She or Is She Not?

Here is Kenya as she is today (pictures taken this afternoon).  What do you think?

It's difficult to tell.

I honestly can't see a lot of change in her, but people who haven't seen her in a few weeks who see her now consistently react with "ruh-roh" or "puppies!" or some other version of "yup, she's preggers."

I'm still not convinced. LOL. Maybe it's just that I'm still vacationing in CDL. Or maybe others are seeing what they hope to see.

Who knows?  We sure don't!

We won't know for certain for a couple weeks yet, but you can be sure we'll let you know as soon as we do. :)

In the meantime, we'll wait.  Don'tcha just love waiting?

'Til next time,

Chessie's Coming into her Own

We didn't think it possible, but it appears Pinot no longer reigns as the fastest, most agile canine of our crew.

Yup, Chessie's growing up, and she is now giving Pinot a run for her money.

Like like her half-sister, Chessie has become an athletic, driven, focused retrieving force to reckon with. She may even be faster than Pinot (wow!) and is every bit the Energizer Bunny Pinot ever was. At eight months old, Chessie is now physically mature enough to compete on equal four-legged footing.

Okay, so Chessie is admittedly still puppy klutzy, but she's fast!

She's also fun and playful and eager to please, so she's developing into a lovely retriever.

The downside?  Well, ah..., the little Chessie Squirt has become quite full of herself, complete with an adolescent attitude of entitlement. Everything must belong to her, of course (isn't she special?!).

See that Nylabone over there?  Chessie thinks, mine!

The Kong?  Mine!

The retrieving dummy?  Mine!

The lead? Mine!

The Booda rope?  Mine!

That place on Mom's lap?  Mine!

All the water in the water bowls?  Mine!

Chessie's dinner?  Mine!

Everyone else's dinner? Mine!

Tuc's bone?  Mine!

Ah, but Tuc doesn't let Chessie get away with anything, much less claiming something of his as her own. And she knows it, too:

Heehee, someone has to keep the Little Squirt humble! :)

Chessie, however, doesn't like to be humbled. So when Chessie can't have what she wants, she puts on the pout. When the pout doesn't work, she eye-pleads for human parental intervention:

Silly, growing-up-too-fast Chessie!

Even after all these years it amazes me how like our human children our canine critters can be. It's a good thing the two-legged kidlets are all in their twenties; no more human adolescence to live through.

Canine adolescence, though, is full-steam ahead!


Nah, it won't be so bad; it never has been for us (human or canine). In fact, truth be told, I miss those adolescent years.

I guess we'll just have to keep those puppies coming!

Puppies? Did someone say puppies? It must've been my imagination. Regular Reader will recall that I'm happily vacationing in Complete Denial Land.

I'm not sure how much longer I can hold out there, though. I'll write more about that next time.

Ruh roh, indeed.

Until then,


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Oops Factor

Okay, I wasn't going to write about this.

But after thinking about it now for three weeks, I figure you all may as well nibble your fingernails for the next few weeks, too.

Ruh roh! (said in my best Astro-from-the-Jetsons impersonation).


As in what-you-think-it-is oops?

Yup. The big oops. As in a Tuc-Kenya oops (Kenya, left front, Tuc, right):

Now, before you start raising eyebrows in finger-wagging consternation, oopses happen to the best, most-well-intentioned, most careful of breeders. Testosterone-driven males just have a way of getting at those pheromone-producing-in-heat females.

In case you haven't figured out the oops yet, ah, Master Tuc is no longer an inexperienced studly (he's quite proud of himself, btw)...

and Madam Kenya may well be having puppies six months sooner than we'd planned.

We don't know for sure yet, though.  We'll see.

So, what happened?

We won't mention any names or lay any blame, of course, but an adult-middle-aged-slightly-balding-ever-the-optimist human male who happens to live in our house (and whose legal identification appears with mine on the deed to said house) was completely convinced that Kenya was far enough along in her heat cycle to be past any risk of willing mating.

LOL: After nearly 29 years of marriage, said human male still hasn't figured females out.

So, said human male decided to take all six Labbies outside for retrieving exercise and fun.

At the same time.


In-tact Tuc and fertile-mertile Kenya included.

Kenya was, indeed, far enough along in her heat cycle for both Tuc and Kenya to happily retrieve without distraction. Okay, so (admittedly) said human wasn't too far off in his things-are-settling-down estimation.

Here's where the oops comes in.

Said human, nice guy that he is, decided to leave all six canine kids outside to play on their own.

At the same time.


In-tact Tuc and fertile-mertile Kenya included.

After coming inside, the next thing said human saw was a black pushmi-pullyu standing at the back door (think one long black Lab with heads at each end).

Yup. Kenya and Tuc. Tied.

Ack. On Day 16 for Kenya (by our count), and still well within the conception window.

This is the same Kenya who wouldn't have anything to do with Ridge except for our intervention when she mated last winter, the same Kenya whose ovulation we completely missed the year before because of her complete lack of interest in the boys (even when she was prime). Who'd of thought?  Well, obviously we didn't.


Is this what we'd planned?  LOL, not hardly. But what else is new? Life lately has been filled with things we haven't planned and never dreamed of (good and bad).

It's "the oops factor."

Sure, we wanted a Tuc-Kenya litter next year in late spring or early summer (wanting to give Kenya a longer break between litters).  That much was planned. And we expected to do Tuc's x-rays (which had to be rescheduled because he'd developed a cough right before his appointment, but the cough is long gone now). I guess we'd better get back to it then.

So we'll get Tuc in for hip and elbow x-rays in the next week or two (not expecting a problem; all looks great so far). And we'll get him to the ophthalmologist for an eye check.

And we'll wait to see if Kenya is pregnant.

In the meantime, I'll live quite happily in Complete Denial Land (it's a lovely place). Puppies, nah!  Not yet! No way.

And I'll ignore the fact that Kenya, in the past couple of days (three weeks since her tie), has grown quite want-to-be-in-our-laps oriented.  Hmmmm... she hasn't been that way since... well... last February.  

Ruh roh.

Only time will tell.

And until time informs us one way or the other, my fingernails will see a slow demise, and I'll (*cough*) patiently await the next "oops" life has in store. Maybe I'll even be better prepared (*double cough*) for that one. =o)

Stay tuned!

'Til next time,

P.S.  Oh, and did I mention that the puppies, if they exist, will be due between December 18th and December 23rd???  I'll head back to Complete Denial Land now. =o)

Monday, November 08, 2010

Easing Into New Seasons

So we're easing into Autumn here, and easing back into a semblance of stability (we hope) and routine (if there is such a thing; who really knows?).

I've finally found moments to relax and watch TV, and, don't you know, that's happened just in time for cooler weather. I never need worry, however, about cold toes or a chilly lap (yup, that's the real me with the very real and heavy Elsie and the very real and slobbery Ridge):

Frosty temperatures and warm-each-other-up snuggle times are part of easing into Autumn for us.

Cooler weather also means the start-up of our wood stove and of Elsie giving me heart failure every time she naps near the fire. I'd swear, with how close she gets to the cast iron, her fur or whiskers would singe, but the closeness doesn't appear to bother her. Maybe it's that slow metabolism of hers (she's our girl who loves napping in the sunshine even when it's 90s F and humid outside):

Maybe it's age (she's 6.5-ish now). Maybe it's maturity (very likely).  Maybe it's just a further emergence of her gentle, easy-going, unusually-calm-for-a-Labrador disposition.

Whatever it is, she's quite content to wile away the hours in her clearly claimed happy spot of glowing embers and radiating warmth.

Just as we're easing into Autumn, Elsie seems to be easing into a slower season.

 And we're quite happy to walk through this season with her just as she is.

Silly doggy. Sweet waddle butt wide load. Superb snuggler extraordinaire.

Our aging Elsie Bear.

May you know peace at the hearth stone, sweet Elsie girl. May you rest easy, free of all cares. May you find warmth and contentment in your place by the fire.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll join you there.

Here's to calmer, gentler seasons to come!

'Til next time,

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