Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Busy Week and Another Family

The week is certainly getting busy! This morning we have puppy temperament testing, tomorrow is eye appointments and Thursday morning is the vet home visit. Galen has agreed to go with me to the temperament test so that he can video tape, but it may be too dark inside the building so I cannot promise that we will have video to share. However, I will post later on the results.

It is now nearly impossible to take pictures of the puppies in the morning because they want to be in my lap or somehow attached to me, neither of which makes for good picture taking. Even if someone is looking at me at a reasonable distance away, trying to get a picture before another puppy bites the camera or me is a challenge. And so this is to explain why there are not a lot of pictures this morning :)

This is Whitby. He is a very personable fellow and likes to follow me around and whine at me so that I will pay attention to him. Given that there is no chance I will keep him and therefore I will be his grandma, I feel entitled to spoil him and so of course I reinforce his behavior by petting him :)

I am struggling with the decision of Sydney or Jamaica. I love how much Sydney looks like Cadi...

But Jamaica is adorable as well...

This is extra sweet Sutton -- he is the Geneva of the boys.

This is very pretty Ireland. She and Jamaica are a lot alike in terms of personality.

It is time to review our families and meet another one. You have met the people who are getting show boys: Jennifer and Ralph in Oregon, and Kay and Sue in Arizona. You have met Barb, who is getting either Sydney or Jamaica. Gail and her husband will be taking either Sutton or Toronto. Finally, you met John and Kristine, who will be taking Ireland or Geneva.

I wanted to share how it came about that John and Kristine surprised me with a puppy request. John's mom, Cindy, would have loved to have a puppy and she was working on her wonderful husband. I was trying to assist with these efforts, which caused my husband to say, "you guys need to leave that poor man alone!" Recall that Cindy currently has two Kaibab berners plus her daughter's small dog and an old poodle who had his leg broken by her first Kaibab berner, Cruiser, when she was an exuberant puppy.

However, Vic has temporarily reached his limit of patience and dog hair, and so somehow managed to withstand the pressure; he wants to wait a couple of years before adding another berner to their family. I got a very creative and funny email from him sharing that information -- and then the next day I got an email from yet another Heintzberger with the subject identifying it as Vic's curve ball! I was quite intrigued by this, as you might imagine.

Poor long suffering Vic. Son John was writing to ask to be considered for a puppy and of course I was delighted! John works with his dad and so while Vic is not getting a puppy at his house, he is getting one at work and does anyone want to bet that Grandma Cindy is not going to be having her new furry granddaughter over for visits since they all live within ten minutes of each other!? I am lucky that Vic is such a nice person or he might never speak to me again ;)

I had forgotten to tell you all that when we met John and Kristine but think the whole situation is pretty funny and wanted to share it with you :) So now we are all up to date and if you are good at math, you will see we have two families left to meet. Today we are meeting someone who is not so new to you -- Joan.

I met Joan when she was looking for her first berner and we have been friends ever since. After Joan got Simon, she worried because she recognized that nobody had just one berner and sure enough -- soon she added Bella to her family. When Cadi was a little puppy, Joan announced to me while sitting in the front yard playing with Cadi and her two littermates that she wanted her next berner to be a Cadi puppy -- you just have to know Cadi to understand why Joan and others have said that.

As Joan mentions in her intro, we have worked together for some years now but she is too modest and did not tell you that before we got the palliative care program going, she developed a pediatric and adolescent program at the clinic in Salt Lake that serves homeless families; in fact, they just named the pediatric clinic after her in honor of her years of work there! Joan is a wonderful example of someone who understands the importance of service to others, and I am not alone in admiring and respecting who she is and the work she has done. We are very thrilled that Cadi cooperated and had a perfect boy for Joan and her husband.

You have seen her pictures on the Blog but here is Joan's official intro:

"I met my first Berner some 30 years ago when I was a vet tech at Colorado State University, but it wasn't until 2001 that I got my first, Simon. I met Mary-Ann in the process of finding Simon, and have been grateful on so many levels for our friendship. Simon was a wonderful HUGE berner with a funny sense of humor, so gentle and sweet. He unfortunately harbored all the worrisome genetic predispositions of berners: he was an orthopedic disaster, and died too young at 7 1/2 last May of histiocytic sarcoma.

Bella, from Mary-Ann's B litter, is my second berner. She adores me and is so sweet; my favorite story about Bella is being at the farmer's market with Bella standing face-to-face with a toddler who was screaming in delight and clapping her hands on Bella's face, and Bella stood there with a smile and her tail swinging happily to and fro.

Mary-Ann introduced me to basic obedience, tracking, and carting . I used to show horses many years ago, dressage and hunters, but was so disenchanted with the whole process that I have not rushed headlong into the dog show world (despite Mary-Ann's kind nudges!), but who knows. Kaibab dogs do love to work!

My household includes, besides me and Bella, my husband, Pradip, and 2 kitties, Mousie and Frankie. We live in Salt Lake City next to a small park that is the de facto dog park of my neighborhood, so we have built in twice daily socialization with usually a few of about a dozen regular dogs. Salt Lake City is a great city, as cities go, to get to the mountains and foothills for hikes, which is one of my "balancers". I am a palliative care pediatrician, which means I work with kids with life-threatening illnesses and their families, helping them with things like medical decision making, psychosocial and spiritual distress, and symptom management at the end of life.

A mutual desire to improve care for dying children is another thing that binds Mary-Ann and I together, and in fact it was on a dog walk with Mary-Ann when Bella and Halo were little pups that we discovered this shared passion, and the seed of my current life work was planted and nurtured. I am glad to have had Mary-Ann as a colleague in clinical work and research ever since. I love my work, and don't harbor other people's grief, but I must find lots of those "balancers" to keep me, well, balanced - things like hiking with dogs! So, I have great expectations for my Glitterati pup - help me stay centered, be a friend to Bella, work as a therapy dog, and maybe open that door to dog showing a little wider! Hey - how about Kaibab's Great Expectations? Call name Pip? I don't know... think I need to know who I'm naming first!

I have learned so much from Mary-Ann, about dogs, integrity, relationships. Imagine getting to work with her every day, like I did for a few years! I have been lucky enough to be of some help delivering both the F and G litters, and in other tiny ways like going along to eye exam appointments, and I look forward to many more years of Kaibab dogs and Mary-Ann's friendship."

We are so lucky to have such great families for our sweet puppies! And to have such loyal friends as all of you :)

Thanks for your visit. I hope you find time today to provide some small or large service to another person in honor of Joan and her new puppy.


  1. Joan, it is nice to finally "meet" you and we look forward to really meeting you this weekend. It is wonderful that these puppies have such great people but even more wonderful that families have people like you and Mary-Ann to help them when they are really suffering. You both do tremendous work. We are all lucky to have a Berner (or two) to help keep us "balanced"!

  2. All
    The thought of another berner in the house is like having more children. I picture myself as the old lion, shaggy mane and all sitting under a shade tree, quietly swatting flies and waiting for whatever walks by...no need to run.
    The picture has changed. As I sit here quietly pieceing this puzzle together, I realize that a very smart wife and very clever son and his wife have pulled a sheep over the old mane. very clever. I hear Kim laughing somewhere.... Vic

  3. Dear Joan and M-A,

    I am inspired by your work and the transformational programs you have developed and made commitments to in your communities! Immediate thought: Oooh, I wonder if they might take a practicum student to work in their clinic!! Of course I am already fantasizing about living in Salt Lake City when I'm still not sure I'll be moving there or not, but a girl can dream, right?

    In all seriousness, it is heartwarming to hear about the programs you've started and maintained. Many of us in service roles dream big about starting our own center or program that attends to what a community needs in a creative and unique way. You have made it happen, and that is no small feat. Kudos!

    -- Liz, Sam, Kiko the dreaming pug, and Lily Girl the cat

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. This is for poor Vic -- I feel your pain friend BUT once you have seven (7) berners living at your house, then we'll talk!


    P.S. I tried to get them to leave you alone but I have no power -- I am sure you know the feeling.