Rocky Update!

Rocky feeling frisky after her bath

I thought this would be a great time to show off how our little Rocky is doing. Rocky is Luna and Will’s offspring and is over a year old now. She is loved and cared for exceptionally well at our good friend and neighbors (love you guys!).

They named her Rocky because she was the scrappiest out of the litter and the only female (she had to keep those boys in line!). She has grown into the sweetest girl with the most beautiful fawn red coat.

Jayron’s Up In Smoke–aka “Magic”

Her health testing has come back clear and we’re looking forward to her first litter in the spring with Jayron’s Up in Smoke a.k.a. Magic owned by Yvonne Poire of Full of Bull Bulldogs and Brenda Jackson of Bredan Bullies.

Here are a few pictures of Rocky as a pup and now.

That Was a Sneeze?

Daisy face post-sneeze

The first time I heard Dallas reverse sneeze I went into complete emergency mom mode (a.k.a. fully freak out and panic). It sounded horrible and nothing, nothing like a sneeze! It sounded more like a honking angry goose but way louder. If you have never seen a dog reverse sneezing, I suggest you google it. It’s pretty crazy.

Reverse sneezing is pretty common in our home and as I said, it is alarming to hear, but it is normal and nothing to be concerned about. It occurs when the dog’s soft palate is irritated. The soft palate can become irritated by many things such as:

  • allergies
  • household products
  • scents
  • having their collar pulled
  • excessive exercise
  • nasal mites
  • viral infections

These irritants can cause a spasm that triggers the trachea to narrow and in turn , the dog will try to get extra air into its lungs by stretching his neck and opening his chest. When he fails to get the air through his trachea, he will then forcefully pull air through his nose which causes the backwards sneeze.

Now I know I said that it is nothing to be concerned about but it may be a good idea to take a video of your pet in action and have your vet take a look at it to make sure that it is in fact just a reverse sneeze and not some other condition. Also, if it is something that is happening chronically then you may want to bring that up to your vet as well.

Reverse sneezing, also known as Paroxysmal Respiration, doesn’t require any medical attention. I’ve read that you can cover their nostrils which forces them to swallow which could help eliminate whatever is irritating their throat but I like to give “mom attention” instead. I try and soothe her by speaking softly and trying to calm her while gently rubbing her throat. It usually passes within 30 seconds although it does feel much longer.

Why I do What I do

Biggie with his fam!

People ask me all the time “how do you do it? How do you raise these puppies and then send them off to other families?!” To be honest, I used to wonder myself how other breeders did it. How could they say good bye to these little nuggets that they have been raising for the last couple months or more? Not until I started breeding dogs myself did I truly understand.

I am completely invested in my dogs. I am home with them 24 hours a day. They are my pets and my babies. I spend hours reading, learning, training, testing…doing whatever I can to make sure they are healthy and happy and living their best lives. When the puppies are born, I sleep in the puppy room with them and the mom for at least 4-6 weeks (although the last litter I was with them for 8 weeks). It is just like raising my boys when they were babies. You sleep with one ear and eye on those babies. It is the hardest job I have ever had next to raising my kids (although my husband and I think that raising puppies seems harder at times). And to be truthful, I am so tired by the end (waking up every 2 hours, cleaning up constant poop storms…it can take its toll on anyone after awhile!), that I am looking forward to a little break!

Tanti and Santi with their awesome new family!

I am so grateful for social media. It allows me to see my beautiful puppies grow with their new families. There is nothing better than to see a child snuggling with their new best buddy, knowing that they are going to grow up together and that I had something to do with that. Don’t get me wrong, there are tears every time I see them leave. It doesn’t get much easier. But seeing how happy the families are. To get feedback that they are loving their new family member and that their family is now more complete because of my hard work, fills my heart with love and complete satisfaction.

Experiencing Loss as a Breeder

Our little Wilma

I have hesitated to write this blog. It has been a very traumatic time in my home these last few weeks. Not many people are aware that we lost Luna and Will’s litter. All three. I am not going to get into why we lost them in this post. I will do that in the future when I am feeling stronger to talk about it. Today I want to talk about the emotional wave of grief that we experience as breeders.

People assume that my life is full of skunky puppy dog licks and snuggles. For the most part, they are right. I am very grateful that I have been given this opportunity to bring joy into my home and into the home of others. But there is another side (actually there are many sides that aren’t always discussed…but again…that’s another post). I have been lucky that we have had healthy litters and dogs and been without tragedy. I knew it was an inevitable part of a breeder’s life but knowing this was not enough to protect me from the pain.

I am a believer that Mother Nature knows what she is doing. When a puppy is born extremely weak or ill and can’t be revived, I believe that it is what was meant to be even though it is still hard to witness. But when a puppy seems to be thriving and you nurture, love and care for it just to watch it one day slip away, it is heart wrenching. Even as I write this, the words become blurry as I fight back tears. I love my puppies…every one of them. I will do everything possible to give them the best start in life. I will buy whatever machine and medicine it takes. I will call every vet and breeder I know for help and support. I will research every article, podcast and video available to me. I will not sleep for days as I listen to every little breath that comes out of those little bodies. Unfortunately, it sometimes isn’t enough.

Vile of plasma

They say with time, these experiences will become easier. I hope they are right, but I am not that confident. I do know one thing though. This will not stop me from my commitment to breeding the healthiest, most beautiful, sweetest bulldogs I can. I promise to use these times to learn more and add to my breeder’s “toolbox”. For example, we will be administering fresh plasma to each puppy during it’s first 24 hours of life (such a great start to a puppy’s life! I will do a post about that as well!) I’ve added a new oxygenator and have a plan for a progesterone testing machine. These are the tools that give me the confidence to give these puppies everything that they deserve.

Twas’ the Week before Whelping…

That is one sucky momma

We are one week out from Luna’s C-section (“you keep cooking those puppies up good in there Luna Loo!”) and it is definelty crunch time and we are all feeling it. Poor Luna is busting. I feel for her. She is bigger than she ever was during her last 2 litters and has been suffering from morning sickness from the start. I have been handfeeding her since the first trimester. Since she is isn’t feeling well, she is very picky with her food. We have tried everything. I usually go down a list of different food options until there is something that she will agree to eat. This morning (well late morning by the time she ate) I cooked her up some ground turkey and white rice. Thank goodness she gobbled that up.

New security camera set up!
The puppy area is Daisy approved

And although Luna is an amazing mom and bounces back super fast (she will be ready for bikini season before you know it!) I feel good about this being her last litter. She has done an amazing job and will continue to have an important part in our hearts, our home and our breeding program as well by offering socialization to future puppies from our other moms!

Roasting eggshells in the oven to grind them into a calcium supplement for nursing mom

Nesting is in full swing … for me that is. I can’t help but get excited and anxious as I try to get everything ready for the upcoming litter. I do this by getting the puppy area ready but also by researching and bettering myself any chance I get. There is always room for improvement and I have added a few more “tools” to my toolbox that I feel real good about.

This week is about making mum feel good and hopefully getting in some good sleep before the big day because you know that it will be hard to come by next week!