Saturday, January 10, 2009

Learning Opportunities All Around

I just got an email this morning with the subject, "blog, blog, we want the blog" and that leads me right into what I wanted to talk about today. Carol asked me what I have learned from this litter and I have been thinking about that for a couple of days. I do not think I have all the answers at this point, but it is an interesting question and one I appreciated.

The first thing I learned was from all of you. Since early September I have written almost every day. I have never imagined myself as a Blogger -- and what a funny term that is -- but I learned that people appreciated the chance to experience the day to day life of a litter, and so I wrote -- and write. About four weeks ago I looked back over all the posts I have written and it numbered over a hundred. It occurred to me that by writing a page a day, I had essentially written a book.

I have long had plans for a couple of books on grief, but could never really find the time or energy. But because of this Blog, I realized that I could easily write a page a day and that that those pages accumulate rather quickly. And so about 3+ weeks ago I started my first book with a goal of a page a day, and I have diligently written almost every day. My dad suggested I start with an outline so I did that, and am just writing through the chapters I outlined -- I am up to thirty pages, which is 60 book pages! The working title of the book is, "Beyond Cookie Dough and Kleenex: A Practical Guide to Surviving Grief."

And so the first thing I learned -- thanks to you all -- is that I could write a book a page at a time. I do not know exactly what to do with it when I am done, but that is tomorrow's concern -- today all I need to do is write a page :)

I have learned other things as well from this litter. I am reminded of my tendency to take on too much -- two litters in the first semester of a new job in a new place is crazy. Once again, I have to say how grateful I am to Galen!! And I am struck by my inability to do important things part way -- I take a lot of pride in doing this puppy thing as well as it can be done. I am sure it would be easier and less stressful if we did it differently, but instead they are now the central feature of the living room and our lives (thanks also to a very patient husband!).

I am challenged by the idea of having six dogs of my own, and have really reflected a lot on how I can do that and do it well. I am reminded by this litter that my husband is very supportive and tolerant, not only because he is living with these puppies but because he supports me in my decisions about this crazy dog thing. I have again learned that puppies are such good community builders, and that dogs are excellent bridges between people; it has made me excited about the idea of doing a private practice specializing in grief and using one or two of my dogs as therapy dogs.

And finally (for now), I have learned that the goal I set so many years ago is starting to be realized. As you all know, I really do not enjoy the puppy placement process. When I got Abra and knew I wanted to breed her, I set a goal of making my dogs and therefore their puppies known and desired by good people who wanted a typey, working dog. I believed that if I did that, I would have better home choices for my puppies and so I have worked very hard to show that I have exceptional dogs who are producing exceptional puppies -- and that I am breeding with integrity. As a result, my puppy placement options are exceptional and I really realized that with this litter. I cannot take all the credit -- I have been very blessed to work with excellent and ethical stud dog owners, and with really wonderful puppy owners. But that I have been able to realize this goal set so many years ago -- thanks to so many people -- is something I really learned with this litter.

Okay, that is enough for now -- I know you are ready for some adorable puppy pictures! I literally just took these pictures before I started writing this morning so they are truly hot off the digital camera :)

This is one adorable face -- Whitby.

And so is this -- Toronto.

Here is Toronto and Sydney having a showdown.

The showdown continues...

You have not seen cute Sutton in a couple of days -- here he is.

Jamaica is starting to look disheveled as she gets more fur, and in this picture she looks sleepy and peaceful -- looks are deceiving!

Ireland is really a pretty girl and a lot of fun.

Hudson -- what can you say?? Grandma Trish says WOW.

Geneva is many people's favorite now -- she literally follows you around asking to be picked up. She is very small and so cute.

And once picked up, she is perfectly content to sit in your lap and watch television, like she is doing here with Galen.

We will resume meeting families tomorrow but my question to you is this: what have you learned from this litter?

I hope your day is one of insight and integrity. Thanks for your visit.


  1. Mary-Ann, I hope you keep blogging after the Glitterati depart for their new lives. I can't tell you how many times your comments have made an impact on me and my thinking. The times I took a deep breath and thought - is this a problem or an inconvienience? The puppy pictures are a definate bonus, though! I hope one day to be able to meet you in person.

  2. The realization that I have uncovered:
    I tend to be drawn to the "underdog" -- if there is ever an underdog in a Kaibab line! With the F litter, Faith was my pick from day one. With the G Litter, Geneva was it. I don't know if it was due to the possible health issue (Faith being so small and Geneva blowing bubbles from her nose) or the fact that they were just so cute. As an owner of two very health-challenged Berners, maybe that is it?! Or maybe it goes back to my choice in careers -- a teacher in a poverty stricken, inner-city school where no one else wants to work....

    Anyway, my awareness also includes the desire to have a therapy dog, who can also do some agility. Neither of my two can do agility (severe ortho problems), and at this point, they are not up to therapy YET (fear issues that are slowly resolving).

    Thanks, Mary-Ann, for encouraging us to dig deep and discover new things about ourselves and those around us. I always thought I was unlucky in getting the sickly pets, but now it is very apparent that I get the ones who need me the most.

    However, that doesn't change my desire to have a Kaibab pup!

    Sandy in VA