Saturday, September 27, 2008

Small Miracles

Good Morning Puppy Fans!

The sharp teeth are arriving and soon our sweet, sleepy puppies will be transformed into land sharks. The way a puppy signals distress is by crying, but remember that these are still very young and developing babies. So what will be happening soon is one puppy screaming in pain because another is piercing her ear. Unfortunately, the biting puppy does not put it together that she should stop what she is doing – this is a skill they develop with time and experience. This is not a gentle stage of puppy development!

Our puppies are allowed to bite and mouth us. We believe that the work of Dr. Ian Dunbar makes sense – that puppies need to learn bite inhibition (or gentle “biting”). Since mouthing and biting is a normal part of puppy development, it is not okay to prevent it but it is okay to give the puppies cues that they need to literally lighten up. Right now they cannot understand those cues, which involve very normal verbal expressions of pain, so we just let them chew and if it hurts we extract our fingers, toes, or whatever and redirect the puppy. We are seriously entering this mouthing stage – I need to stock up on band-aids!

The puppies walk so well now and are actively playing. They are very social and enjoyed their visitors last night, although they were sleepy. The puppies are awake more but still spend most of their time sleeping. Armand, Cali and Kate arrived just after the puppies had all practiced singing “Ode to Dinner” and worked on perfecting their biting so we had sleepy puppies for our visitors – but they do not bite when they are sleeping so that was not all bad! I want you all to know that Cali and Kate had studied the Puppy Cheat Sheet and correctly identified every puppy!!

Today’s pictures are pretty cute, if I may say so myself (which I just did). We have Kate getting a licking from Darby, and Halo is nose to nose with Rosebud. Kinsey is watching Rosebud play tug with the fleece, and a sleepy Halo is surrounded by babies, including Madison who is looking at the camera. The kittens are very interested in the puppies, and the feeling is quite mutual as you can see in the one picture.

Armand, Cali and Kate came all the way from Salt Lake City to spend the weekend with the puppies so they will be back over today. However, they are not the winners of the “farthest distance to visit puppies” contest. Tonight we are picking up Marti and Megan at the Missoula airport! This was a last minute trip as Marti has been watching ticket prices and managed to get an amazingly cheap deal from southern California. It is nice that Kate is also here – Megan and Kate are both 13 and have met, even though they live in two different states!

Many of you know the twins, Molly and Megan. Last May, right after competing at the National Specialty, Megan lost her beoved berner, Anna, very suddenly. Their family spent a small fortune trying to save Anna’s life to no avail. We were all heartbroken -- but especially Megan.

Anna is the aunt of these puppies – Halo and Anna have the same mom. Kim and I are giving Megan one of these girls – not to replace Anna because that would be impossible – but to help carry on Anna’s spirit in Megan’s life. We all hoped that Halo would get pregnant and she did. Ultrasound said six puppies – we had eight. We hoped there would be girls and six arrived. Anna had a swiss kiss – five of these girls have swiss kisses even though neither of their parents do. Today Megan arrives to meet the puppy that Anna has sent to her.

I hope you find a miracle in your day.


  1. Bravo Mary-Ann!
    Your thoughtfulness and kindness gives me goosebumps. Keep us posted as to which pup we will see Megan with in the show ring.

  2. After a long day of soccer and Cub Scouts, not only is my spirit lifted by Berner puppy pictures, but your beautiful gesture. With tears in my eyes I wrote a check to the BEHALF Anna fund, even though I had never met Megan or Anna. I am sure that Anna has picked a good one for Megan, maybe with a little input from Sherman and the Big Fellow.