Day 10 – Today’s Photo and the Origins of the Breed

Here is the photo of the day, focusing on the details of just one baby. They still are mainly eating and sleeping. Take a look below for more info about the origins of the breed.

from the website: …the Airedale Terrier was shaped by the conditions and events engaged in by the people owning them. The Yorkshire man, mainly factory workers, wanted a practical dog, one that could be useful in whatever type of hunting available. On Saturdays, a large crowd of men would watch with keen interest and bet on the results of a waterside hunt on the banks of the River Aire for water rats. No doubt the winners of large stakes were bred to more often, since word of mouth was the most powerful advertising of the day. Unlike many kenneled dogs of the day, these dogs were the companions of their owners and their intelligence was developed by living in their owners’ houses where they were treated like one of the family. During the day, when the men were at work, the dog would be left to protect the home and family. After work, the dog and master would go out for a walk on the riverside-as hares, rabbits, pheasants, partridges, and grouse were all said to be plentiful at the time. Master and dog would look for something to supplement the family’s supper, and quite probably, getting onto the gamekeeper’s grounds to do it!

Use the link above to read the full story!


Day 9 – On Being Responsible

Responsibility – it’s a big word. Especially when you plan to bring puppies into the world. First there is the homework: researching bloodlines, health clearances, and temperament. Then there is the part where the visualized and planned becomes real, at approximately 2 am, as they arrive one after the other. After feeding, vetting, and appropriate developmental care, then comes the placement into new families.

Look closely at the photo below.

It’s a big step and I for one, cannot look at one of these sweet, vulnerable little faces and say, “You will live in a garage.” For the next one, “You will live at the end of a chain in a back yard.” What about the folks who think the puppy should somehow know to stay in the yard: “You will run out into the path of a car and be hit, mercifully dying within seconds.” Worst of all, is the puppy I would have to go nose to nose with and say: “You will live a short, unhappy, pain filled life and be euthanized at the pound.”

Pieces of Eight - Day 9

No, for each of these puppies, I do screen calls. I do my level best to talk to people and make sure they know how much is involved in raising a puppy. I do offer the support needed to make it happen, and finally, I do offer to take them back if it is not working out due to events, family dynamics, or whatever reason, at any age. I have taken back a 9 year old dog, shipping him back from AZ.

Before you plan on a puppy, plan on its care for the next 10-15 years. This is a little dark in mood today but “responsibility” is on my mind while I am reading this book:

The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption   The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption
by Jim Gorant


Day 8 – Keeping Warm and Toasty

Train coming through! When puppies are doing well, there isn’t much to do. They sleep and grow, coming through like a train and you better get off the tracks! Right now they live in a little world of their own, where it is warm and dark and pretty quiet. Remember–the eyes and ears are still sealed shut.

Occasionally Dora leaves them to go eat her puppy food which she needs for the extra protein, vitamins, and minerals. Or she needs to go outside for a quick break and more water. Then she is attentively back, always lying with them to be sure they are getting all they need. Dora is a wonderful momma dog.

Years and years ago I had a dog that wasn’t like this. She would produce some colostrum for the first day or so and then her milk would dry up and vanish. The first litter I didn’t understand why they nursed all the time but still kept losing weight. Finally, before they became too starved, I figured out what was going on and had to supplement with puppy milk replacer until they were two weeks old and could start lapping at the dish. If I hadn’t the entire litter would have died.

Did you know the lapping reflex is NOT developed until about the 12 th day of age. Because of these experiences, I know this! Yep, every 4 hours, day and night, for about 12-14 days I did the feedings while she cuddled with them but didn’t have any milk. They turned out to be fine nice Airedales.

Stupid me, I had to go and breed one more litter from her and then found out that it was the same deal the next time too!  Lesson learned.

Day 7 – Successful First Week Completed

Here we are at the end of the first week. Starting tonight in the early morning hours each puppy will be a full seven days old. This first week has been about growth and weight gain. That will continue and even accelerate as the next seven days will see MANY changes in development.

Still no personality differences–each puppy spends their time eating and sleeping. Still with eyes and ears sealed, blind and deaf, they seek their mother if they feel her nearby. Next week that will all change!



Day 6 – It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s Super Puppy!

Today the puppies are getting new ribbons because they have grown so much! Some were getting a little too snug. As usual, they already had a fresh change of papers. Dora is eating well and is a very attentive and loving mother. I looked all over the house today and I cannot find the camera—-argh! I know you want a new photo of them and I promise to get that up tomorrow, just as soon as I find the blinkety-blank camera!

Meanwhile, you might like to know that the puppies are already doing exercises to be smarter and healthier. The military developed a program for newborns based on brain development research in canines. Check out this link for the essentials:

If followed during the first 10 days, puppies can have the benefit of better cardiovascular performance, better adrenal gland response (source of adrenaline), better response to stress, and more resistance to disease. All I have to do is to handle each puppy individually in different positions and to provide a “cold” temperature for a few seconds each day. This can only be done from the third day until the sixteenth day, after which this particular window of opportunity for brain development closes.

Tomorrow, new photos–Promise!

Day 5 – Chubby Puppies

It’s almost 10 pm and I am getting soooooo tired! I’ve not had a full night’s sleep for a few days now and my business is busiest during the holidays so I’m really feeling it now. Big day today, lots of work, and part of a big day tomorrow. The puppies are looking very chubby in the tummy. All eight are strong and growing well. I’d like to write more, but I have to sleep. Yep, still checking in on them a few times at night. G’night, all.


Day 4 – Musing on Miracles

Today, Dora gets a much needed bath. Our Pieces of Eight are all doing well. I’m continuing to look in on them two or three times a night. I feel like a Border Collie as I round them up into a tidy group. This makes sure that no one misses a feeding and falls behind in weight gain. The big news is that Dora’s milk has come in. You might ask, what have the puppies been living on for the last three days? Answer:  Colostrum or “first milk.”

Colostrum is one of nature’s true miracle. It isn’t like regular milk, being higher in protein, thick, stickier, and much more work for the puppies to get from mom; I think it might be comparable to trying to use a straw with a very thick cold milkshake but the puppies don’t have the option of using a spoon!

Why a miracle? Well, the some of the protein consists of complete antibodies to diseases to which Dora is immune. These are in the form of long complex chains of protein. Dora will only produce them for the first 48 to 72 hours, then it becomes just normal nutritional milk. The puppies’ immune systems are very undeveloped and if they were attacked by a disease they would probably just die.

Here is the miracle: These large chains of proteins are much too large to pass though the walls of the digestive tract. BUT, just for a short time, say, 48-72 hours after birth, the puppies have large “pores” or openings in their digestive tracts that will allow these chain to enter whole and entire to protect them from any disease from which Dora is immune. It’s like a semi-truck parking where a Volkswagen would normally fit. If they do not get any colostrum, they probably would get sick. If you give a puppy colostrum when it’s too late, say, 4-5 days old, they won’t be able to absorb it.

So now the puppies have an easier time of nursing and get full tummies more quickly. They are protected by the passive (acquired) immunity until 8 or 10 weeks old. They can sleep more and they grow when they sleep! You can almost see them growing. What’s in that milk now? Almost 10% fat, 7.5% protein, almost 4% lactose.  Everything a baby canine needs to grow big and strong. Think about that as you drink your fat free milk!

Day 3 and Nicky’s Introduction

Up again at 1:00 am to do my equal rights feeding supervision. Everyone looks good. Dora just rolls her eyes at me as though to ask what I am doing at this ridiculous hour of the morning. Checked again at 5 am, then up for the day at 6:20. Lots of folks checking in for Thanksgiving today and I’ve got to be ready!

While I am working, I will leave you with the introduction to Nicky, father of our Treasure, our Pieces of Eight. What can I say–I’ve watched too much Pirates of the Carribean.

American and Canadian CH Ikarus Vom Garnsee, German Import, Owner Handled Group winner

“Nicky” is a German import whose father, Int CH No
Doubt of Malton finished in 12 countries and was the 2008 World Show winner.

In Fall, 2009 I traveled to Germany to the von Garnsee kennel, where my signature dog of the 1980’s stayed for a year, CH Stony UD. I had been corresponding with them for months about their new litter. After 10 days, 4 airports, and 6 train stations, we made it there and back again. I’ll never forget my navigation of the train stations with Nicky, his crate, and three pieces of luggage!

Int CH Ikarus von Garnsee entered Canada for the first time in April, 2010 earning the first half of the Canadian Championship in one weekend and a Terrier Group First! He finished his American Championship handled by Allison Sunderman in Fall, 2010.

His first puppies will be two years old in Fall, 2012 and they are doing very well at many different endeavors, including Champions of the Heart. We feel very fortunate to have Nicky here with us!

Day Two and Dora’s Introduction

Day Two:

1:00 am – Set my alarm and checked on the little guys. Sometimes they get around the back side of Dora as she lays and there’s NO FOOD on that side. Sometimes one or two are peacefully sleeping and unaware that everybody else in at the milk bar.  So I Feng Shui the puppies around.

5:00 am – I checked them again; all’s well.

6:45 am – Up for the day! Fresh change of papers, feeding and exercise of everybody and now we are ready to help our customers up front with an Airedale, a Cairn Terrier, and a Springer Spaniel to groom,  two Labs to wash. We are also expecting 11 dogs to come in for Thanksgiving weekend and a cat.

While I am working, here a little bit about our momma dog, Dora:

Dora v. Buckower Polsterhof, OFA Excellent, AKC and KFT Registered

Dora arrived in the US in the early fall of 2007. Paul and I drove up to Detroit on the happy day we could meet the airplane in from Germany to pick her up. I know the owner, Hiltrud Brandt, of Dora’s father,  VDH/KFT/L CH, CH Jgd KFT Othello von der Laubenhaid, KFT 01/33657   HDF-A1, BH/VT, AD, FH I, VPG III, IPO III.

While traveling in Germany for other doggie reasons, I had met and watched some of his ancestors in the training clubs and been most impressed with their work and their breeder, Hiltrud. When Hiltrud let me know of the chance to acquire Dora, I moved quickly! I continue to be pleased and to appreciate the quality that her lineage brings to our Airedales here.

Here is a link for Dora’s father and the newborn puppies’ grandfather:

Roll Call!

Dora is an attentive mother and seems happier now that the whelping has started….. Here’s the whole story moment by moment, written as it happens:

It’s been a long 10 days for Dora and me. Her temperature dropped sometime in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Nov 20, 2011, so I knew that we would see the whelping commence within 24 hours.

About 1:00 am, Dora woke me with a few soft barks to go outside. My bedroom is next to her room. So we went–never argue with a pregnant dog! Then after much scratching around and rearranging of the newspapers…..Having thought I would have more time to do this before the puppies arrived, I start this blog at about 3 am.

2:30 am – the first arrives. Healthy strong female weighing 10 ounces. I have been raising Airedales for over 30 years and I have the old-school tradition of making the firstborn girl PINK. The ribbon serves as a name and identification on puppies that all look identical with some sort of durable, adjustable/replaceable identification. Curling ribbon comes in many colors and I frequently replace it to allow for growth.

2:55 am – the second, also a female arrives and she is slightly heavier, 12 ounces. She becomes PURPLE. I use a high quality electric scale that helps me to track the future weight gains in the critical first 10 days of life. For these puppies, growth = life, and we want to provide the optimal conditions!

The first four....adding KELLY GREEN and the first boy, BLUE

4:05 am – the third, a strong active female, 12.5 ounces, the largest at this point. Geesh! Is this some kind of trend? Three straight girls and I do have a couple of reservations for the other kind, you know–boys! Wait a minute… soon?

4:15 am – the fourth, a BOY makes his debut. I swear the boys have a more muscular neck and slightly heavier looking head at birth. He is solid, weighing in at 11.5 ounce. Naturally, he becomes BLUE. My hand in the photo is palpating the presence of more than one more puppy by the feel of it.

Dora is taking a break, curling around the little ones. She has a privacy barrier so that my other Airedales cannot intrude on the new mother and babies. BELIEVE ME, she would’t like it! Her hormones are running high now to protect  and defend. She is fine with me changing her newspapers messy with birth fluids, weighing puppies, and offering her water. But I move quietly and speak softly to avoid any stress for her. Both our moods are “attentive.”

We have provided a high sided sturdy wood box, all bleached and cleaned days ago. The high sides prevent drafts on the babies and we use a heat lamp the first few days now that we are in November. Puppies do best with temps in the 80’s where they sleep.

Five and palpating Dora's flank (there's more!)

Did you know that newborn canines are very underdeveloped? Their brains have a smoother surface than the adult (we are told by the research veterinarians) and develop all the odd squiggles and shapes of a normal brain by the time they are 49 days old.Their eyes and ears are sealed shut and won’t open until about 12+ days old. They cannot shiver if cold or pant if too hot, so we need to keep a close watch on the environment.

4:50 am – next up (or should I say out) is the fifth, a female weighing in at 10.5 ounces. Her ribbon is YELLOW but I know I will be calling her Sunshine for the first few weeks of her life. She breathed her first breaths of air and immediately started looking for the milk. That’s a great sign. All are nursing.

6:oo am – Good morning! Ours sixth puppy is….wait for it….another girl! ORANGE; why orange? Because it was quick to grab from the ribbon box and an orange could weigh 11 ounces, couldn’t it?

Here’s a genetics question that I answered at Ohio State when I was taking the intro class. If there are 6 born in a litter so far and there are 5 females and 1 male, what are the chances of the next one born to be a male?

6:40 am – The sex of the seventh puppy is……..female! Weren’t the chances greater for a male to be born? No, not really. Each and every unknown puppy has a 50-50 chance of being born either sex.  It was a trick question. I almost fell for it during an exam many years ago! Her color is SKY BLUE and she weighs in at 9 ounces.

7:00 am – Dora is entering the home stretch and has the eighth puppy, a boy, and he’s RED–that’s ribbon color not puppy color. He isn’t any redder than the others. Weight: 7.5 ounces.

The Full (?) Crew of Eight, from left to right: Sky Blue, Red, Pink, Orange, Kelly Green, Yellow, Blue, Purple

It’s dawn outside and a cold rain falls. I cannot feel another puppy when I palpate but she is laying down and doesn’t want to stand yet. This is normal when puppies are being born–a survival characteristic. Their whole world IS their mother at this neonatal stage. Dora’s hormones are keeping her so close to her puppies that I will almost have to carry her out to go to the bathroom, which reminds me, she hasn’t gone out since 1:00 am and a LOT has happened since then!

7:30 am – Dora has been outside and taken care of business. She hustled back to her puppies after only two minutes outside and is now safely tucked in with her eight puppies. I thought I might have palpated one more puppy. It’s hard to tell now though she is having a few small contractions. That doesn’t necessarily mean a puppy as Dora will be ejecting any remaining tissue from carrying eight puppies. We watch and wait…..

8:30 am – Our business is open, Easdale: the best pet care. I’m lucky I can work from my home so I stay close. I’m luckier still to have Amanda to help me today. She just clocked in and is taking care of the boarding dogs plus a three morning baths for grooming and boarding client departures. Our website for that is and the facebook page:

Right now, I’m trying to get the photos into the blog while running back to see if there is any change for Dora and the crew of eight. Now I’m posting this, heading back to groom a tiny three pound poodle. Yes, I check on the puppies and Dora frequently. I should buy a pedometer and see how many steps I take today!

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