Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Why does the website turn the pictures sideways? And why only on some days and not others?! One of life's many mysteries!

All is well -- if very busy -- at Puppy Central. Yesterday Galen called us "Poop Central" as the little ones potty a lot. However, they are doing a great job going outside to potty so early housetraining is going well. I was standing outside in the dark this morning in barefeet (brrrr) as the puppies went about their early morning business, but that was way better than cleaning up messes inside!

We have two matches to report and also another intro! Jonn has agreed to let Ledger come and share his heart with Marley. I am sure that Ledger will love life in Frisco, Colorado with Jonn.

You already have met Terri some in the Blog -- she is the one who sent me her Nikon when my original Nikon had to go in for repair (it is still not back!) and Terri also wrote the lovely summary of her visit. Here is Terri's official intro:

"Hello, I'm Terri and I live in Portland, Oregon and really it doesn't rain here as much as we say it does! Currently we are having a glorious fall, the October weather has been fabulous, perfect for puppy potty training. Let's hope it stays that way for another four or five weeks at least so we can get a good start with the new Kaibab puppy and have no muddy paws at 3:00 am in the morning.

I live in the city about 4 miles from the heart of downtown, but our little neighborhood community and town center have a feel of their own. My 1920's house is only on a 50 x 100 lot, so the yard for a dog is small, but there are lots of wonderful places to walk and hangout. Portland is known for it's good local coffee shops, brew pubs and restaurants and many of them have outside patios that welcome dogs... so those are some of the of the places we'll be walking or bicycling to with Kaibab puppy!

Bicycling has long been a part of my life and one of the things I plan on doing with puppy is pulling her behind me in a bike trailer that I custom made just for transporting dogs (in addition to getting groceries!). It is also convertible into a draft cart, so when puppy grows up enough to be ready to do draft work I will have a cart all ready for her to use. There is a wonderful farmer's market 4 blocks from my home and I go every Saturday, May through November. Having the dog pull the cart to market will be a great way for her to do her ancestral work as well as being a fun way to introduce kids and adults to the idea of a working dog and berners in general.

This leads to how I found Mary-Ann and Kaibab's wonderful working berners. My first berner Siskiyou, whom I cherished dearly, passed away last spring, she made it to the amazing old age of 12.5 years! Knowing how much effort and time it would take to find a breeder whom I totally respected from the many points of view that were important to me I started my search fairly soon after Siskiyou passed away. That was a very hard thing to do, but my work schedule allows me lots of time in October and November so it meant either find a breeder who met my goals with a litter due early this fall or wait until next fall. The thought of waiting what at that point would have been a year and a half for another berner seemed unbearable! So I jumped into the search with both feet and an aching heart.

Starting with well over a dozen breeders who came recommended from various people and numerous emails later Mary-Ann hit the top of the list in all things I wanted in a breeder and in her line. The most important to me besides a pup from healthy lines was a breeder whom I could stay in contact with throughout the life of the dog and whose breeding ethics I respected, and the best part, she had plans for a litter(s!) arriving this fall! I flew out to Salt Lake City to meet her and her berners mid-summer and to give her a chance to meet me and my partner Jon. And after hoping and hoping and hoping that I made the cut for one of her puppies, I am thrilled to have the honor of bringing one of her precious pups home with me in just one short week. It feels like it's been a year and a half just in the amount of excitement and waiting. And what a special joy it was to get a chance to meet the puppies as five weeks old with a fast road trip to Montana in early October. They are all so cute and full of zest (and sharp teeth)!

I am a strong proponent of all things sustainable and environmentally responsible, so Kaibab puppy will be living in a household that is kept as free as possible of chemicals and other toxins, I garden organically and eat foods that are local, organic and sustainably produced as much as possible. My puppy will get that kind of diet as well (homemade) in addition to seeing a licensed DVM who also practices holistic/alternative medicine and therapies. Vaccinations will be as minimal as possible as well as other toxins such as flea treatments won't be used. I firmly believe that that approach played a significant part in Siskiyou's longevity.

Kaibab puppy will get to go on lots of adventures, hiking and camping and weekend trips to the beach and mountains. We also plan on doing obedience and hopefully learn a few things from Mary-Ann's vast experience in that arena. We are so excited that the National BMD Specialty will be in Portland in the spring of 2009. If any of you come out West for the event I am happy to provide tips on what to do and where to eat in our wonderful city.

Kaibab F puppy will be joining Thistledown Y puppy who arrived here recently! She is 18 days older, her name is Thistledown's Yaina Ochoco (meaning mountain willow, and the Ochoco's are an Oregon mountain range) and with the blessing of both Mary-Ann and Carri of Thistledown ours will be a two puppy household, rather unusual. It will be lot of work, patience and learning on my part to make sure each puppy gets special attention and gets the most out of life. There will be many challenges no doubt, but I have two wonderful people to ask for advice and to learn from.

I plan on naming my puppy Kaibab's Fuzzy Peach! There is a story to that name, and it is courtesy of Mary-Ann and my partner's 18 year old daughter and a box of peaches from Oregon! Her call name will be Peaches and she will join Ochoco in stories of their adventures in a blog, taken from Mary-Ann's wonderful idea of the F litter blog. You will find stories of their adventures at"

Terri is going to welcome Sula into her family -- the world's waggiest puppy! Another match has been made but the owner has not gotten the email yet -- at least I have not heard any happy screaming from Utah this morning -- so we will wait until she knows before we announce it.

In today's pictures you will see more adventures at the agility yard where we walked last night. Kinsey boldly went up the full height teeter and about gave me a heart attack! Darby is in the tunnel and also posing nicely on that storage box. Rosebud is blurred but lovely standing alone. Madison is in two pictures -- she is trotting towards the camera and also in the round bowl! How comfortable can that possibly be?! We also have the Montana Puppy Moving Company -- Galen picking up Sula and Lolo-Faith who were being stragglers on our hike -- no doubt they just wanted to eat dirt, which is a favorite puppy activity these days.

The vet is coming over this afternoon to give Lolo-Faith a thorough check-up, complete flight certificates for the puppies who are flying to new homes, and to vaccinate puppies. We do a very limited vaccination schedule with the puppies and so this is their first vaccination and it is just for parvo -- we do not do combination vaccines. Parvo is a significant and real threat to puppies and we wanted them protected before we take this show on the road -- in TWO DAYS!!! I will be sad to see the puppies leave but am so looking forward to seeing all my friends in Utah and especially my HUSBAND!

Have a simply glorious and perfect day -- that is within your power, you know!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

News of Zack's Cause of Death

Today I got word that Zack died from Systemic Histiocytosis. This is not as aggressive as Malignant Histiocytosis but it is still sad news. I have thought a lot about what his cause of death will mean to me as a breeder, and so I was somewhat prepared when I got the news.

Cancer is a leading cause of death in humans and in dogs – we simply cannot get away from it. There is no line or pedigree in berners that is free of the histiocytic diseases; if we eliminated all dogs who were close relatives of dogs who died of one of the histiocytic diseases we would stop breeding Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Information is a double-edged sword. Knowing something generates a consciousness that eliminates the “ignorance is bliss” option. But knowledge is power – it gives us the opportunity to make thoughtful decisions. I sometimes wish I could live in a blissful world, but I do not – instead I live my life constantly trying to know and understand things.

There is no doubt that berners are at increased risk for cancers and especially the histiocytic ones. These cancers are thought to be polygenetic in nature, meaning that there is not a single gene responsible for the development of the diseases. I wish I could avoid all cancer in my dogs’ pedigrees but the only way I could do that is by plugging my ears and singing, “la la la, I can’t hear you.”

And so Zack has died of a common berner cancer – just a few weeks shy of eight years. He lived an average age for a berner, which is to say he died much too young. He brought many wonderful qualities to these and other puppies. I wish he had not died of Systemic Histiocytosis but he did. I will not change what I plan to do because of his cause of death. If I tried to avoid cancer in a berner I would just need a stuffed one from Costco.

What I will do is what I always do – I will watch for patterns or clusters. A single case of this disease or any cancer – even in a parent – does not scare me like a cluster of cancer does. There is no evidence suggesting Zack is in a cancer cluster, and so we will move forward with Zack kids in our breeding program, always mindful of the need to continually collect information on all of our dogs – no matter how that information complicates our bliss.

We appreciate that Lisa Ebnet values information as we do, and that she is open with information. We express our condolences to her and Sean on the loss of a magnificent dog, and we are honored to carry on his legacy in our special puppies.

Rest in Peace Sweet Boy.

Three More Days!!!

Last evening Galen and I walked the puppies up the long driveway to the agility area. The puppies had a wonderful time playing, and it was a lovely evening. They make us laugh -- they are so funny and playful. They found a fleece tug toy and that was a big hit, especially with Sula. She is the one running with the toy and she is playing tug with Kinsey; Galen calls Sula and Kinsey the "twins" because of their similar appearance. Lolo is in the pines and Dawson is the one who is a little blurry but that is such a pretty picture of him with the light on his head.

The Montana Stick Moving Company is back to business with an added "express delivery" service -- both Rosebud and Darby are demonstrating that service in the pictures. There is a pretty close-up of Sula, and a nice one of Rosebud standing like the future show dog that she is and also one of her standing with a stick. In the puppy group, it is Kinsey facing the camera.

We have another introduction! I met Karen at the National Specialty and we discovered that we are both social workers so had an instant connection. Karen is taking the scenic route to Utah so has sent us her introduction in two parts from libraries in Colorado:

"I am on vacation in Colorado without a computer but found I could not go very long without a blog fix so here I am. My name is Karen, I live in Virginia Beach, VA (in the summer the Berners live on air conditioniong vents). Kaibab's F... will be my fourth Berner. Murphy is 8 yrs 11 months, Emma died of bloat about 3 weeks after I met Mary-Ann at the National Spec.
she was 6 1/2 and I miss her every day. Annie is 4 1/2 months, offed to me by Emma's breeder after her death. I am very pressed for time being on an express computer at the Boulder Library and having used most of my time on the blog. I plan to do everything with my newer new puppy. Conformation, obed, agility, drafting and therpay dog work.

Hi Again,

Today I'm at the Gilpin Public Library which has unlimited use free internet access computers:) So. I'd like to say something about my Emma, CH Shasta's Antidote To D Blues CD, RA, TT, CGC, TDIA and mostly my girl. Emma was a great therapy dog. She came to work with me (I'm an LCSW) and when she died my patients grieved as well. We also went to an elementary school where children read to her and to another school where 2 blind students worked with her and the special ed students read to her. I didn't realize until she died and the teacher of the blind students asked me to do a grief group that we had been working with one student 1/month for 3 years. He learned to read braille with Emma. I am currently borrowing a friends Berner for work but I really miss having my own girl.

My new puppy is a fireball. From Mary-Ann's descriptions I think she and Kinsey might be a pair. I talked with a friend who has her own 2 Berners and is graciously keeping Annie while I'm away. We warned her she's already a counter surfer supreme. So, blocked from direct access to the counter Annie climbed on the couch, over the half wall that separates their family room from the kitchen and onto the kitchen table which I'm sure she would have happily jumped off if not rescued by the teenage son who was supervising doggie dinner time. This is a long answer about who I am and what I hope to do wth Kaibab's Fortune Smilz On Me(I feel incredibly fortunate to be getting one of Mary-Ann's puppies) or Kaibab's From A to Z. Haven't decided on a registered name yet. Maybe blog readers can vote. I hope she will be a Versatility dog but mostly I hope she will bring joy to many peoples lives."

Okay, I will set up a poll so we can help Karen decide on her puppy's name -- make sure to vote! And I vote that you have a fantastic day, and that fortune smiles on you and that you get all the blessings from A to Z!

Monday, October 27, 2008

An Intro and a Match

The puppies are officially eight weeks old today -- we made it! They are definitely eight times the work that they were eight weeks ago -- maybe even eight hundred times!

The whining you hear in the YouTube video is Lolo in Galen's lap -- she wanted to chase after me and the other puppy, and Galen was holding her so she wouldn't - she did not appreciate that!

We have another new puppy owner to meet -- Megan. I have included a picture of Megan with her berner, Anna, who died suddenly last May right after we had all been at the National Specialty in Rhode Island; I took that picture at that show. Here is what Megan wrote to share with all of you:


My name is Megan. I am thirteen years old and I live in suburban Southern California. I have known Mary-Ann for about three years. My puppy will be my family’s fourth Berner and my second. My first Berner Anna died in May.

Anna and I did a lot of things together. She slept in my bed a lot, and barked at all the boys who came by our house! Anna and I learned agility together and Anna tried to teach me drafting!

My puppy will go for lots of walks and meet all the kids in my neighborhood and all my friends from school. She will go to lots of training classes with me and I hope she will love going to dog shows and being my juniors dog. I also want to do agility, rally, drafting, obedience and tracking with her. When I am at school she will nap and play with our other dogs, Maverick and Fiona and wait for me to come home and play with her."

Megan's dog, Anna, was the aunt to our puppies and we are happy that Megan is able to take one of these puppies. Megan came to Montana and picked Rosebud and Darby as her choices, but we have decided that Rosebud is a lot of puppy for a 13 year old and so we are looking at Darby and a couple of other choices for Megan. I hope you can meet Megan -- she and her twin sister, Molly, are very special girls and we love them very much -- you will too if you have a chance to meet them!

And now we have our first match!!! Lolo has found her forever home – with The Puppy Nanny! Galen has asked if he can have Lolo as his own dog and we have agreed to this. He has long wanted a dog of his own, and he is ready to take on whatever limitations Lolo might have.

I will say that since Lolo got her St. Francis medal (thanks to Lynn) she has really started to look better and better – it is strange but it is almost like there was a miracle. Her eyes look better and she is more active. Galen is already training her and she is doing great – there is nothing wrong with her little brain. I think Galen’s plan is to have a better trained puppy than Megan so he is getting a head start!

And so Lolo has her very own person and also a new name. Galen has decided to call her Kaibab’s From the Heavenz and her call name is “Faith”.

Pictures! You can see Lolo-Faith with her medal in one. Poor Halo needs her own medal -- that is all eight nursing and then I took a picture from above so you can see those cute faces. Ledger is helping out with the dishes by cleaning the yogurt container, and Darby is getting an evil look from Halo for climbing on her. Dawson is playing with my improvised new toy, and Madison is standing on a laundry basket; Madison is also featured doing her best imitation of a corgi! The three playing puppies include Sula looking at the camera, and Kinsey is with the red ball and also in the close-up with Darby.

I hope very much that you are able to see the miracle in your day. Thanks for visiting us!


We have a few videos up of individual puppies, and tomorrow we will put up a fun one we did of a walk today.

Final Week!

It is the final week that we will have all eight puppies with us – isn’t that hard to believe?! I think they are increasingly hard work so that I will be a little less sad when they leave. Right now they are all asleep in their pen behind me, and so is Noah, the Feline Puppy Nanny. On Saturday we were scooping puppies up to move them and Cassie grabbed Noah, shocked at his weight before realizing it was a cat and not a puppy.

The puppies are a blast. They frolic outside – that is the best word to describe them. They have so much fun together and just running around and exploring things. They leap and spin and hop and run and tumble. Everything is fun to a puppy – they could teach us all a few things about just enjoying life.

When they are inside they play ferociously with each other, chew on me and anything else, and just have serious fun being exactly what they are – puppies. This morning I was trying to take pictures and was being chewed on in various spots, the camera strap was being used to play tug by two puppies, and Ledger was jumping on my back, no doubt trying to grab my hair. They pile in my lap, making it impossible to take pictures until the thrill of my presence calms enough that they are willing to do something other than mob me.

I asked all the new owners to answer a few questions by way of an introduction to our F Litter community. Today I want to share the first introduction. Jonn first contacted me some months back and we began that delicate dance of getting acquainted. I was concerned that a footloose single guy might not have what it takes to be a committed owner of one of our puppies, but I checked his references and they were glowing. His vet’s office could not say enough about his devotion to the dog he lost last spring.

Here is what Jonn shared for his introduction:

“Small business owner in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Lots of snow in this area, 300+ inches/year from November-April. Frisco is a wonderful mountain town with a charming main street where my business is located. I live one block away from both! So lots of walks to the post office or coffee shop etc. Frisco is one friendly place and is truly small town living. I have lived here for 10 years and love it.

This is my first Bernese Mountain Dog.

Well the excitement for this puppy is hard to put into words. I had a wonderful Golden Retriever, Marley, who was laid to rest last April. He lived six years and was diagnosed with an under-developed brain stem at about one year. Although he was a "special" dog, he was perfect!! He also was a gift so I really didn't have anything to do with the process of getting him, he might of come from a puppy farm. Here is my segue...After some initial research on Berners and deciding that it was the dog I really wanted I sent Mary-Ann an email in July and here we are.

I have been blown away at Kaibabs breeding standards. Hence the satisfaction in knowing I am getting one of the best bred Bernese Mountain Dogs in the country. The dedication of Mary-Ann, Galen, Kim and all the others involved in this process is truly a testament to these standards. The blog, early socialization, feedings, naming the pups and on and on. It has been quite impressive to witness and be a part of. I decided my next dog would come from a reputable breeder, not a puppy farm, and boy did I hit the jackpot on this one!!

I feel like this will be one lucky puppy! Frisco is wonderful and very pet friendly. This area offers countless outside activities most of which your dog can join you in. Hikes, camping, fishing, a stroll to the lake or down Main Street, so he will have a very active lifestyle. Dogs are allowed in our banks, offices, patios of most restaurants and my bar! This little guy will basically be with me all the time. It is not uncommon to got to someone’s house to watch a game or have dinner and there be more dogs than people! He will have lots of friends! This will be a pet for me, but I look forward to training and teaching the dog so he is a well-behaved, friendly and outgoing Berner. I am simply a dog lover and cannot wait to have one by my side all the time.”

Thanks to Jonn for being willing to let you all know what a great home one of our puppies will have with him.

I hope you enjoy today’s pictures as much as I do. Lolo is in three – she is playing with Halo in one, playing nicely with Rosebud and then beating up on Rosebud. Darby is playing with Noah (the Feline Puppy Nanny), is flat with her ear up, and is also a close-up. There are two of Sula with toys. There are close-ups of Madison and Dawson, and Rosebud is next to my leg looking up.

Videos will be on YouTube later today -- I will post the link(s) on the Blog when they are up. I hope your week is off to a great start!