Bon came into season the morning we were packing to leave to run our first AKC MH test of the summer. While her timing was not great from a trialing point of view, it did mean that we would be able to still get the pups outside a lot and we had avoided my biggest fear – a winter litter!
After much mulling, and hundreds of K9data test breedings, I had decided to breed her to Manny - HRCH BISS Am.CH Beau Geste Being Ramiroz UD MH WCX** DDHF VCX. Manny was/is a dog that I had long admired for both his beauty and his brains. I had temperament tested a couple of litters he had sired, and loved what he brought to the table. So, a week later Bon and I loaded up and hit the road to MA. We had pulled progesterone on Saturday which showed she was close, but hadn’t yet ovulated, so we progesterone tested again in MA first thing Monday morning. We got the results back that afternoon that showed she had ovulated late Saturday or Sunday, so we headed over to see Manny and his owner, Susan. We also had to chance to visit with Chris Marinelli and her husband, Mike, who wanted to meet the pair.
Bonny and Manny took to each other right away and we got a natural breeding in pretty quick order. Another visit on Wednesday morning for another easy natural and we were on our way back home to wait and see….
We spent the next few weeks training as normal until finally the day of the ultrasound arrived. Everyone who saw Bon was convinced she was pregnant by her growing girth but I wasn’t committing either way until I had proof. Sure enough, we had puppies! At least 6, we were told. We spent the next month working to keep her fit, training her in as many different venues as we could, along with getting ready for the pups.
As her whelping date grew closer, we tried to make her as comfortable as possible but she was miserable. She was vast!! She pretty much stopped eating in the last few days and if you know Bon, you know how unusual this was. Only Bruce could tempt her to eat a few bites if he hand fed her. We took her into my vet as a check-up to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong and his answer was that she full to bursting with puppies.
Finally, her temp dropped on Friday and then her water broke on Saturday afternoon. Pat was driving as fast as she could from Michigan and we were all hoping she arrived in time. Pat arrived, followed by my friend and Road Litter Auntie Deb Brunner-Walker, but by that evening there was still little progress. We waited and waited some more. Everyone was getting worried so at some point early Sunday morning, Pat suggested we text Gayle. By some miracle Gayle heard her phone and advised an ultrasound to check on the progress or lack thereof.
My vet doesn’t have an ultrasound so we loaded her up and all our puppy supplies to a well-known 24 hour emergency clinic...where we were informed that we would have to wait as they had a sick dog that took precedence. We refused to let them take Bon to the back like they wanted to and instead monitored her in the lobby. While they can certainly do it all, I confess that I have never felt comfortable in that clinic and by this time we were all very anxious. So, I called my vet of many years, who also luckily answered his phone, and he agreed to meet us at his clinic for a c-section.
Forty-five minutes later, Bon was prepped and on the table. Sure enough, we had two stuck puppies who were jamming up the works. Thank goodness Pat was there, a trained OR nurse, who stepped in as Kevin’s right hand. Kevin warned us it was going to be fast and indeed it was. Thankfully, Kevin had also brought along his girlfriend because we sure needed those extra hands to catch puppies. We barely had one dry before Kevin was calling for someone to take the next puppy. Finally, there were all out – 12 lovely, active babies.
While Kevin worked on Bon, we worked on drying the pups, clearing their airways, and trying to count them. We thought we had 9 boys and 3 girls but it was impossible to keep them straight and it wasn’t until we were home that we actually knew the number of each sex – 7 boys and 5 girls!
Finally Bon was back together and while we waited for her to recover a bit from the anaesthesia, we cleaned up the OR and Kevin checked the babies. This wasn’t your typical vet experience where you wait in the lobby while the action happens – we were right in there, doing whatever Kevin told us to do. It was the most surreal and terrifying experience but someone was watching over us because we came home with 12 healthy babies and a sore, tired but intact dam.
Bon easily transitioned into her role as mom and took wonderful care of them. I won’t take you through each week – see their Blog if you want to relive it – but it was a whirlwind 8.5 weeks of raising those darling, precocious heathens…err… babies but so much fun!
Those puppies today are:
Mr. Brown - Audeo's Road Not Taken CGC, now known as Journey, has moved to Long Island with Karen and Norman Goldberg where he'll be doing obedience, agility, and definitely field. Mr. Brown was fondly nicknamed Downtown Jackson Brown by Bruce and is as wonderful now as he was then.
Mr. Wine - Audeo's Toll Road, now known as Token, has moved to Connecticut with Chris Marinelli where he'll be doing agility, field and obedience. Mr. Wine was the darkest pup in the litter and was the only pup we could never bottle feed. A sweet, determined little boy!
Mr. Teal - Audeo's Roadrunner, now known as Beep!, headed to New York with Sue Reuss where he'll be doing just about everything - agility, obedience, tracking, field work and anything else that Sue would like to try! On out morning walks, Beep would always grab on to my bathrobe and tug his way around the walk. I still miss that!
Mr. Orange - Audeo's Life Is A Highway, now Arvy, is off to Manitoba with Judy and Hugh Andrew. Arvy will be doing lots of obedience and is doing wonderfully in field work with Judy. He will be hitting the show ring one day. Handsome Mr. Orange always caught everyone’s eye.
Mr. Dark Blue - Audeo's Off Road Adventure, now Blaze, headed south to Maryland and now west to Colorado with Sharon Albright. Blaze will be doing lots of field and obedience. Mr. Blue is living up to his name as the adventurer as he was fearless on the equipment in the puppy pen. Gave me many a heart attack!
Mr. Green - Audeo Topmast King Of The Road, now Dean, has also headed to Long Island to have lots of fun in obedience, agility, tracking and field with Barbara and Anthony Verga. Mr. Green was inevitably in the middle of everything!
Mr. Bright Blue - Audeo's Long And Winding Road, now Tucker, joins his Aunt Luci and his owner, Fred Cuda and the Cuda family, in Massachusetts. Tucker will be getting lots of birds in his future when he joins Fred hunting. Tucker was one of the Blues Brothers – the trio of Bright Blue, Teal and Dark Blue who were usually up to mischief of some kind.
Ms. Raspberry - Audeo's Road To Razzmatazz, now Razzle/Razz, is off to do obedience with her new mom, Louise Bastien, in Quebec. Ms. Raspberry, who had a mind of her own, was also always into everything and she loved to eat!
Miss Pink - Audeo's One For The Road, now Cheers, headed west to British Columbia with Deb Girvin to do obedience, conformation, and maybe some field work. Cheers already has 4 points towards her Championship and from the looks of her videos is turning into a dynamite little girl. It was easy to get fooled by the pale pink collar she was wearing but that girl was a tomboy who loved to wrestle with her mother.
Ms. Lavender - Audeo Topmast Road to Ritzy, now Ritzy, is now a California girl. She will be doing obedience, field and tracking with Kim Portney. Ms. Lavender looked as sweet as they come until she was given a live pigeon…
Ms. Red - Audeo's Travellin' Roadshow, now known as Folly, is staying close by with her new owners, Ginny and Warren Chafe. Ginny and Folly will be doing lots of obedience, field, agility, nosework and tracking. Ms. Red, one of the biggest pups, was the first one out of the whelping box. She loved to eat and was pretty demanding about it!
Ms. Mocha - Audeo's Road Less Travelled, now known as Lila, formerly known as Smokin’ Mocha, is off to Pennsylvania with Stephanie Day. They'll be doing obedience, agility and who knows what else! Lila just became eligible to compete in nosework level 1 trials, having passed odour recognition tests for clove and birch.
I can’t end without giving a shout out to everyone who helped us – raising this litter was certainly a team effort. To Bruce, who agreed to let me do this. Thanks to Grandma Pat of course, who broke many speed records on her drive down from Michigan, and who kept me calm. I know it was hard for her not to be here full-time as they were growing up but she followed them closely from afar and sent tons of helpful advice. To my Dad, John, and my mother-in-law, Peg, who each came down to spend a week with us during the first three weeks to watch babies, and again at the end to see how they had turned into little dogs. Auntie Deb, mid-wife, chauffeur, photographer, bottle feeder, clean-up crew – whatever needed doing, Deb was there. Lisa Day, their personal professional groomer – do you know how long it takes to do that many toenails? Barb Jones came and spent a week with us during the last week they were with us when there was SO much to do between woods walks, training, socialization, getting ready for their evaluations, and sending them home. She was a god-send! And most of all to Gayle Watkins and the Avidog crew, Marcy Burke and Lise Pratt, who talked me off a ledge more times than I care to remember. Not only did Avidog temperament test the litter and guide me in their placements with owners, but they are largely responsible for making these dogs into the confident beings they are today. Gayle coached me every step of the way – from the moment until I first thought of breeding Bonny to today when I ponder breeding her again. There’s not enough wine or words in the world to express my appreciation and gratitude.
I can’t believe how quickly the year has gone by and how the pups have grown. It makes me so proud to see how much you all are doing with them and I’m so excited to see what they will do in the future. I love seeing their pictures and hearing their stories - thank you for letting me continue to be a part of their lives. We miss them but are thrilled they are in such wonderful homes. Please give them big hugs and I hope they have a wonderful day filled with all their favourite things!
Pam and Bruce, Bon, Dice, Cajun, Virgil and Emmie