Yoga position for sleep. This is Blitzer. ~ Darja Krivonossova, Estonia
Dachshund breeder Darja Krivonossova posted this super-cute photo of one of her "Huntaks" puppies. Thank you, Darja, for permission to copy it to my blog!
Unfortunately, I must report that the patter of little half-pints will not be heard here this summer. Neither Taya or Tasha became pregnant by Owl. It is very disappointing to all of us.
As Owl was becoming older, I had his semen evaluated in February 2013 and it was good. But with both of these girls failing to conceive, Owl's fertility is today a looming question. I have an appointment for Owl with Dr. Robert Hutchison in northeast Ohio coming up on June 19. Dr. Hutch is known to breeders nationwide for his expertise in canine reproduction. We will see the results of the evaluation and make decisions based on that. I AM planning to mate Taya again in her next heat. At this point, though, I do not know who the male will be. I will keep you posted.
For the first years after I'd begun feeding Kiki the (formerly) stray cat, I really regretted it. Mostly because of Owl's obsession with ending her life but also because she uses wood posts on my porch to file her nails and she sometimes poops in the lily bed. BUT, there is nothing like a good farm cat to keep the rodent population under control. I see Kiki with mice and voles often enough to be reminded of it. I was reminded again this morning when I took the dogs out and she was having a chipmunk for breakfast on the porch. We startled her and she dropped it and hightailed it under the porch. Viljo snatched the awesome snack and boy did he enjoy it. Lip-smacking good, he said!
Thought I would post this 15 second video of Viljo at about 5.5 months the morning he caught a vole. He was as happy as a piggy with turnips!
And today is Taya's second birthday. She and her four sisters and one brother were born in Denmark at Kennel Tranevang. We are very grateful to their breeder Lise-Lotte Schulz. Many thanks, too, to Marie Gadolin who provided us with a number of photos and comments about each pupster. It was not easy, sitting here in Ohio, and trying to decide IF a puppy and WHICH puppy.
"Puppy" became "puppies" and half the litter is in the US. Taya is with me, Tasha is with Cliff Shrader and Cheryl in Louisiana, and Thor aka Seymour is with Derek Smith and Jennifer in Virginia. We are all VERY GLAD to have them!
Their sister Terra is at home with Lise-Lotte.
The photo is Taya, two weeks after coming to the States and a few minutes after a warm August tracking session. We walked to the pond for the first time and she, at 10 weeks of age, went right on in. It tells a lot about her nature.
Happy Birthday to the T litter!
May as well just say it. Taya is not pregnant. I am very (VERY) disappointed but I am not going to whine about it. I have been disappointed before and good things came later.
There are several reasons why having a litter of puppies is so important to me.
First, ultimately all I do in the dog world is routed through the perspective of a breeder. I do not have many litters but breeding is the lens through which I see just about everything else in dogs. In August, it will be five years since I had a litter, and they were born in Mississippi. The last litter born here was in July 2008. Yet everything I have done in the past five years, including acquiring Viljo from Finland and Taya from Denmark, and all the trials and tests, has been with a view to breeding my interpretation of excellent, fieldworthy, standard longhaired dachshunds.
Longhairs have their place in the working world and I am committed to seeing them there. As I said to Cliff Shrader this spring, "no puppies, no future." Well, no puppies this time.
Second is that I was not breeding this litter for a pup for myself. I have four dogs and that is plenty for me to manage as they should be managed. But I have had several people on board the wait list for puppies - for months. These are tracking and performance homes with really good people. It is not fun to disappoint them.
There is one more thing. Owl, Oslo, and Odin are the only possibilities to continue the eight generations that I have worked on, and with, for decades. I would really hate to lose that connection. And they are going to be 10 years old in June.
I had a repro vet do a semen eval on Owl in April, 2013. The evaluation was fine. I have no reason to doubt in the spring of 2014 that Owl is not capable of producing a litter. We will see what happens with Tasha.
A number of people have asked me if Taya is pregnant. Unfortunately, I do not yet have an answer to that question.
Or, I should say, the answer is "I don't know."
With Taya's due date next week, how is it possible for pregnancy to be so up in the air at this late stage of the game?
First of all, I did not have an ultrasound done to confirm pregnancy. With one exception, I have never done it. While it is nice to confirm that a dog is pregnant, especially on a highly anticipated or long-awaited litter, I usually figure that I will know in a month or two anyway. Besides that, ultrasounds are not infallible. Stan and Tina Knoll had one done on Nadja and were told that she was not pregnant but Nadja whelped three puppies. And Diane Webb and John WIllmore had an ultrasound done on Olive that showed two puppies. Two weeks later, the fetal sacs were empty. The puppies had been absorbed.
Through the weeks since the two matings with Owl, Taya's vulva has remained enlarged, and she has had a slight amount of clear vaginal drainage that has clumped hairs together and provided me with great hope that she is in fact pregnant. In the past, this type of discharge has been an infallible sign.
And her nipples, while not yet large, have never decreased in size to what they were before Taya came in heat.
I have prided myself on being proficient at determining pregnancy by abdominal palpation at about 30 days. But this time, my findings were inconclusive. I found myself doubting my fingers. "Yes." "I believe I feel a puppy there." "One, I think." "But did I really feel a puppy there?" "Maybe not." Like a broken record. As I have said, it is like I want this litter too much!
The last photo is Taya this morning, at day 57 or so. (All the photos were taken this morning.) She followed me with her eyes but remained in the position that allows me to point out a couple more things.
First, you can see that she is in marvelous "bloom". The fantastic sheen to her coat and extra-good physical condition are typical of a bitch during a pregnancy that is very much agreeing with her.
Second, see how large and solid she (often but not always) looks lately when she is sitting or curled up. I have noticed all along how "thick" she appears in the area of the lower rib cage.
Then she stands up and the bulk pretty much disappears. She has just as much waist today as she did two months ago. Sometimes she appears almost thin. And to date, I have neither felt a puppy move or heard a heartbeat. And, Taya knows, I have tried!
So, that is why I have to answer the question with I don't know. It has been a rollercoaster ride for weeks. She is. She isn't. She is. She isn't. She is. She isn't. She is. She isn't.
Taya is handling the mystery better than I am.
Abdominal x-ray on Friday will provide THE clue.
I posted this on Facebook for 'throwback Thursday.'
Marta's second (and last) litter was by the Swedish import Hound's Kashmir who was out of venerable old hunting lines. Four males and three females were born in June of 2004. It was my O litter and I was working on coming up with O names. These were days before my photography went digital, so I had to wait to see photos. When I got this batch, I studied one particular photo of the four males together. The expression of one pup caught my eye. I said, hmmm, he looks like a wise little owl. Which is true to this day. I'm pretty sure you will know which one I am talking about.
I have been saying that Seiko is owned by Tina Knoll, which she is. Today, Tina's daughter Laura wrote to me, "Seiko is actually owned by me, too. I just needed some credit on my awesome little puppy."
Yes, you do, Laura! Pleeaase accept my apology.
Today in eastern Maryland, Taya's conformation was V rated (rated Excellent) by DTK judge Andreas Tornau from Germany. Herr Tornau evaluated the conformation of 30 dachshunds at the fall zuchtschau of the North American Teckel Club. As some readers know, the DTK (German Dachshund Club) requires an official conformation evaluation of Excellent or Very Good before a dachshund can be approved for breeding. So this was the next step on the path to having puppies from Taya in the spring. I plan for this litter to be dual registered with both the AKC and DTK.