Alice’s pups meet the cat….

Filmed playtime with Alice’s pups today and Fritti made an appearance.  I love this cat. He is such an easy going boy and a great socializer for puppies.

Good Shepherd Farm – Alice/Sawer pups – week 7

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Ivy/Rudy pups 7 weeks old….

They’re almost ready to leave.  It’s been a tough week but these babies have given me the gift of laughter and eased my heart so much. It’s amazing the changes they go through in the last weeks.  It’s like watching a flower unfold;  the difference between the bud and the full bloom.  The characteristics we noticed in each pup early on are still there but they are richer and more easily observed.  We had fun bringing everyone in the house for a little personal time this week.  The reactions varied from mild concern to no concern at all.  Those pups who initially were a little worried about the strange new environment, quickly found their feet and demonstrated the kind of resilience I like to see.  I’ll be treasuring this last week. I will be sad to see them go but at the same time I’m so happy to be passing on a little bit of Ivy and Rudy to their new owners.  Little legacies indeed.

Alice with her adopted pups

Carnelian and Opal

Amber

Jasper

Jade laughing

Hey, Coral! Your ear is inside out!

Hey, Turquoise, yours is too!

Carnelian...looks like he's blowing raspberries at Maya!

Pearl

Agate - queen of cinderblock

Tiger

Onyx and Garnet (the two that resemble their mother the most.

Amber and Peri with Garnet behind

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A litter of legacies…

Many of you know this but some may not have heard….

On Thursday we lost our beautiful mother Ivy to an accident.  The mailman pulled in our drive to turn around and for some reason Ivy felt the need to run him off.  This wasn’t typical behavior but the fact that she had pups here made her a little more concerned about intrusions into her territory.  The mailman didn’t see her and she was hit and killed.  Her pups, at 6 weeks of age, are old enough to get along.  They are eating well and really hadn’t been nursing that much.  Thankfully Alice is here to step into the other mothering duties.  The two seemed to have an arrangement to raise their pups somewhat communally so Ivy’s babies will not be without the influence of a mother.  It’s been an incredibly difficult week but we’re doing OK.  As I sit surrounded by all her puppies who scamble into my lap, chew on my jacket or tug on my shoelaces, it’s hard to dwell on death and loss.  They are so full of life and hope and I know that Ivy will live on in each one of them.   That’s one of the reasons I chose to breed; to pass on the legacy of these dogs so that others can experience the richness they bring to our lives.

Good Shepherd's Blacksheep Ivy 2006-2012

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The 6 week mark…

It’s hard to believe that in just two short weeks these guys will be going off to their new homes.  Of all the pups in both litters, there are only a few of Alice’s pups left to place.  This last week saw the pups growing not just in size but in confidence as they experienced more new things.  They have regular romps outside their pens and have been having fun exploring all the nooks and crannies around the buildings and playing in the tall grass of the hay field.

Romping through the hay field

They’ve visited the barn and the goats and have had an opportunity to play with the bottle kid.  They’re also showing more interest in the chickens and will go to the fence and watch them.  The cats so far have decided to keep their distance so we’ll work on that this week and bribe Fritti with to come play with them.  Another thing we’ve started on and will be continuing is bringing the pups individually into an unfamiliar area of the house to visit and see how they handle strange surroundings.  With 22 pups it’s a process that takes a while!

Alice showing her pups how to nurture

We’ve had several visitors out to see pups so they are meeting and being handled by different people.   They are now staying outside overnight.  The weather has been fairly nice for a midwest spring and we’ve had a number of nice sunny days.  When we do have rain and wind they hunker down in their shelters and stay warm and dry.  They are all eating really well and although their moms still nurse them, they really don’t need the milk.  Ivy and Alice share mothering duties.  It really doesn’t matter whose pup it is.  Ivy is more of the disciplinarian, Alice is more indulgent (this goes back to that post about the difference in mothering I think).  Ivy also prefers to stay outside as much as possible to keep watch over the pups.

Moms and pups (Alice is nursing everyone!)

I took some video of them playing outside and if you can bear my amateur shooting, you may be able to pick out your favorite.

Good Shepherd pups – Spring 2012 – 6 weeks

Here are 6 week pictures:

Ivy/Rudy pups

Jade

Onyx

Opal

Amber

Coral

Agate

Pearl

Garnet

Carlnelian (with Jasper and mom in background)

Turquoise

Peridot

Tiger's Eye

Jasper

Alice/Sawyer pups

Treacle

Duchess

Cheshire

Queen

Tweedle Dum

Gryphon

Tweedle Dee

Jabberwock

Mad Hatter

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Alice/Sawyer pups….5 weeks old

Well, we’ve seen some blossoming and changing of personalities here this week, most notably Duchess who is not quite the sweet thing that I made her out to be earlier.  I remarked to little Queen (in one of her quieter moments) that it appeared that she and her sister may have exchanged brains!  Duchess is definitely asserting herself more with her litter mates and I would now place her just below Queen in pack order.

Duchess

Queen

Treacle and Cheshire are more middle of the pack but with a little spunk.  Treacle seems to have a curious adventurous side, Cheshire likes to play with the toys and seeks them out.

Treacle

Cheshire

Hatter is Cheshire’s counterpart in the boys.  Tweedle Dum who I pegged as a more mild, sensitive pup has blossomed into a very outgoing, playful boy always seeking my attention.

Mad Hatter

Tweedle Dum

Jabberwock and Tweedle Dee are still “bubba” pups; good natured, outgoing and affectionate.

 

Jabberwock

Tweedle Dee

Gryphon has retained his bold, adventurous, confident spirit but it doesn’t seem to be in as much contrast to his litter mates as it was in the beginning.  Either he’s mellowing out a bit or the others are spunking up.

Gryphon

One thing I have noticed is that all these babies have a real tendency to play with their paws.  They slap each other and swipe the air much more than Ivy’s pups do.  I find this interesting as this is one of Sawyers favorite gestures when he plays.  One of his nicknames is “Slappy Man” as a result.  Are such things heritable?  I think maybe so!

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Ivy/Rudy pups….5 weeks old

Personalities this week have stayed fairly consistent with the exception of little Carnelian who came into his own this week.  He still consistently finds my lap but but he is no longer the mild pup that avoids his big brothers and sisters.  He’s right out there in the thick of things letting the others know that he’s got enough spunk to take care of himself.

Little Carnelian (Carl) who is bigger in spirit this week

Peridot’s leg issue resolved itself and he has become more active but still seems to be a middle of the road pup with a sweet nature like his brother Jasper.

 
Peridot

Jasper (Pearl in the background on the cinder block)

Turquoise and Tiger’s Eye are still really similar.  They are asserting themselves a little more in play but are not over the top in their dominance displays.

Turquoise

Tiger

Of the girls, Agate and Garnet are still definitely in the upper end of the pack order being pretty assertive and bossy with their litter mates.

Agate

Garnet (who is the spitting image of her mother)

Pearl is up there too but I don’t notice as quite as many scuffles involving her.  Same with Opal.

Pearl

Pearl

Opal

Coral is very middle of the pack.

Winding down after playtime

Onyx, Jade and Amber fall in that middle to low end of the pack having more laid back, mellow temperaments.

Onyx

Jade

Amber

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5 weeks old….The world is a big place!

This past week has been a fun one.  The pups adjusted to their outside digs pretty quickly and although they still come in at night (our nights have been in the 30′s), I think they’re getting to the point that they could sleep outside pretty soon, especially if mom is there to watch over them.  They like their roomy pens which allow for much more freedom to romp and play.  Plus they can accommodate visitors so much better!  If I can’t find the kids, all I have to do is look in the puppy pen! This is great because although they are kind and careful with the pups, they are typical children and can get loud and silly and all that is great exposure for these babies.

The poultry pen is directly across from the puppy pen, so they can see and hear the ducks and chickens.  They’ve started noticing the free ranging poultry and have been experimenting a little with moving them.

Pearl and Agate notice the ducks.

Onyx

I love this next series of shots.  This was the first time the chickens were out in number with Alice’s pups.  Alice wanted to put the silkie rooster away and it seems little Duchess is trying to help.

The pups are also getting more time with the other adult dogs.  ”Auntie” Maya is fascinated with them  and Sawyer is especially interested in his pups this time around.

Playtime with Maya

Dad trying to scare his kids (not really)

Sawyer demonstrating how to roll in the dirt.

We also are doing some supervised mingling of the two litters.  It’s a lot of pups when they’re all out together!  the adult dogs help us keep track of everyone.

Puppy play group!
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The difference in mothering

It’s been interesting watching these two mothers.  Both have great maternal instincts.  Both are very interested in the other’s pups…to the point of mothering them.  But Ivy definitely has that experienced mother vibe about her.  She’s like the mom of 8 kids (ahem, that would be me) who loves her kids but doesn’t get uptight about every little squeak they make.  So, pup yipes in a playful scuffle with a litter mate and Ivy says, “Suck it up, you’re fine, go play.”  Alice by contrast is the infatuated first time mother who is doting, tolerant, gentle and very attentive.  We had friends (not real familiar to Alice) stop by a couple of weeks ago and popped down to look at the pups.  Ivy was under the impression they were there to lavish attention on her and praise her for her superb puppy producing skills.  She was more than happy to have them handle her babies so she could take a break outside.  Alice on the other hand was a little more put off by strangers wanting to see her babies, much like that new mother that is reluctant to hand her precious offspring off to just anybody.  She was in the pen with her pups and although she said hello to our friends and allowed them to pat her head, she warned them away from the babies.  She is more than happy to let her family relieve her of any puppy duties so it’s more about protection of her brood.   I have to say I can relate to both attitudes.  I was a fiercely protective new mother and over time I’ve learned to relax and realize that kids are pretty resilient.

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Easter morning….

What a lovely day!  We were blessed with a birth this morning; a timely event to mark the celebration of life and re-birth!   Nellie (who we didn’t think was due for another week) gifted us with a good sized buckling.  When I left she was still drying him off and getting acquainted.  I’m pretty sure he is a single.

Up on his feet for the first time....look how tall he is!

We noticed her in labor during chores so I hung around the barn and did some cleaning up while keeping an eye on her.  Our beloved barn cat, Fritti Tailchaser, was curled up under the rabbit cages.  We had warned him that it wasn’t the best place to nap…..

Fritti's gift from the "Easter bunny"

Here’s the wise guy  in the above picture.  His name is Joe and he is a Champagne D’Argent.  Champagnes are a large meat breed with a beautiful silver ticked fur.  They are born black and lighten up as they mature.  My daughter will be showing Joe in 4-H this year.

Joe

Ivy having some words with the wise guy.

And last but not least, one of our Ameraucana hens.  This is Meg 1.  (not to be confused with Meg 2 who looks very similar but is not nearly so tame).  I love this chicken.  She comes when you call, lets you pick her up and is so beautifully colored.  Ameraucanas are also known as Easter Eggers for the colored eggs they lay.  Meg 1′s eggs are a pretty blue/green.  She decided to make a nest in the stall where Nellie was kidding.

Meg 1

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Video! Pups 4 weeks old and outside…

One of both litters:  Good Shepherd Pups – Spring 2012 – 4weeks old

Alice’s pups:  Good Shepherd Alice/Sawyer pups – 4 weeks

Ivy’s pups:  Good Shepherd Ivy/Rudy pups – 2012 – 4 weeks old

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