It is Taya in the photo with Teo pup.
Newest photo of Teo (foreground) who turned 7 months on Oct 12. It is hard to believe that I have had him six weeks already. Teo is a cool pupster with many layers to his character. He is high energy and thinks quite a lot of himself, strutting often like a little prince! He is spurlaut, has good ground clearance, moves very efficiently, is highly attentive, weighs 19 lbs, and has the most coarsely-textured top coat I have ever had on a longhair. I love all these things about him and more. The biggest surprise to me is that OWL is spending the most time playing with him! They are looking something like kindred spirits.
It is Taya in the photo with Teo pup.
After running errands, I attempted to take a short nap this evening. Since I hadn't fed the dogs yet, it didn't work too well. I noticed the after-the-storm light through the window was interesting. So I got up from the couch and one at a time invited the dogs to take my place for an impromptu photo shoot. Didn't have to twist their paws, Owl and Taya had been trying to sleep on me on the couch anyway! First photo is Owl, next two are Taya, then Nexus, and Viljo. They are good dogs, good friends really, and I very much enjoy them all.
Sometimes you just have to laugh. After their digging and wall-wallowing snake expedition, I made some coffee and walked into another room. Taya, eyes closed, was lying with ball tucked in safe. I thought of Robin Mousseau's photos of her Trouble and got my camera. When Taya heard me click it on, she opened one eye. haha! She closed it again. Then Owl, coveting the ball and whining softly the whole time, came and said to me, would you PLEASE make her give me the ball? (Nine other balls and toys scattered around and he HAD to have the one Taya had.) Owl will tear down walls for snakes but he won't go for a ball that Taya has! That's just been the case the past couple of months. Taya is now a mature, well, you know, little bitch. Owl may be driven but he's not dumb. : )
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.
While Tasha is in Ohio to be mated with Owl, Cliff Shrader and I visited Jennifer Fry and Gretel in Columbus. Before this weekend, Tasha and Taya had not seen each other since they were eight weeks old at home in Denmark. But they get along fabulously and have played hard. It is quite interesting to see that the sisters are so similar in habits, expressions, size, and even their voices.
Thank you, Jennifer, for the visit and photos!
Taya was entered in her first field trial today. I really debated putting her in because I didn't think she was quite ready. She has been out on rabbits five times and all those times were within the past 10 days. Stan Knoll talked me into it and I filled out the entry form 10 minutes before closing time.
After a very good first series run, Tayter was called back High of 17 Open Bitches and went on to Win the class. Yay Tay! (There are no runs for Absolute this weekend.)
I have decided not to enter Taya tomorrow or Sunday. She may be pregnant, the weather is going to be warmer than we have seen in five months, and I want to develop her a bit more before she competes in the fall which is what I originally had planned for her.
But I am very pleased with how Taya handled herself and her running mates today!