Another year coming to an end. They seem to be going by quickly. As I recap this past year with the kennel, it was pretty hectic and busy. First off, Belle Starr started limping and it took two months to find out what the problem was. Turned out she had a chipped bone in her knee and when the surgeon in Great Falls (great man) did a c scan and found it, he went right in and removed it. She healed up with no problems with that. Then even though she wasn't to come into season until fall, she decided to come early and give us 11 pups on October 5th. This was one busy night and day and then for another two months after that. Fred and I took turns being nurse maids for the first month 24/7 and then up several times during the night to check on them after that. We kept charts on who ate when and made sure that they had momma time. At 3 weeks we started supplementing baby cereal with puppy formula to help Belle Starr out. At 4 weeks Belle Starr was very sick and we ended up weaning them and put them on baby cereal with puppy formula and slowly added in soaked puppy food. Gradually we took out the baby cereal and fed them soaked puppy food (soaked in water) and added puppy formula. until they turned 8 weeks old. Each pup had their own little dish and we fed them 2 at a time if both of us, or if only one, they ate 1 at a time. Quite a process as we marked each one off a chart as they ate. My teaching skills and chart making abilities helped in this area. At 8 weeks the pups were using the doggie door, and mostly potting on the pee pads, and crate trained. At 6 weeks we took away the pee pads and used towels for their pee pads. They liked tearing them apart and dragging them in their bed. Not good with 11 puppies depositing tootsie rolls all the time. At this point we were busy just keeping the room clean for them along with the feedings. They rewarded us with lots of love and laughter. We took to spending time in their nursery room each day sitting with them and working on the no biting and just being companions. At 8 weeks the pups started leaving one by one to their new homes. With each puppy a few tears were shed. I can relate it to having your children grow up and go off to college. You know they will be just fine, but will miss them. Each one had their own little personality. Bones (black boy)was the little rolly polly who was very smart, liked to eat, and would be checking things out instead of playing. He was the first to ask to get out of the crate at night to go potty, the first to drink from the water bottle, and one of the first to use the doggy door. He is in Frenchtown with a wonderful family who will give him lots of love and fun times. Samone, (Purple girl) one of the little black girls was a sweet and smart girl. She was a lot like Abby (orange girl) and we had to make sure they didn't lose their colored collars or we wouldn't have been able to tell them apart. Samone is in Chatteroy and has a new friend Nahlah. Abby is in Superior keeping her family busy as she has a German Shepard buddy Jazz about the same age. Then there were the Blues Brothers numbers 8 and 9 born. These two were my only black boys and were born close together and I called them the twins for they always seemed to be beside each other. When I got the colored collars, I put the dark blue collar on one and the light blue collar on the other. Those two then became the Blues Brothers. They are really sweet boys and were also on the mellow side. Dark Blue is in Spokane with his new buddy Hank, an older lab and a loving family. I'm sure he is quite spoiled. Baby Blue as we called him or light blue is in Kellogg with his new loving family. I'm still waiting to hear what his name will be. Shadow's dad was named Bleu, so he could take after his grandpa... Then there was Buttons (Red) a light colored cream male who was just a sweetheart. He was very mellow and casual but if the other pups picked on him, he would put them in their place. Buttons is living the good life in Missoula and is being very spoiled as well. Montana (green girl) was a lot like Buttons, she's a lighter cream and a very mellow girl. She's just a sweetheart and she as well is living the good life in San Jose with trips to the condo at Lake Tahoe. She is with a wonderful family who is giving her a luxurious life. When one flies up from California and drives their puppy back home tells the whole story. Awesomeness... Then we have Jessie (know as Nessa or lavendar girl). Jessie left us once and after a week she came back to us. The situation wasn't ideal and after a couple of visits to the vet and a lot of love, she is now in her new happy forever home at Newman Lake. Jessie was the elegant first born and was a mellow lioness. I say a lioness for she always sat proud with her legs out in front of her. Just a beautiful girl who is very smart and goes with the flow. She never complained and loved being held. Many times I caught her sleeping on Fred's lap when I would get up in the night. She will always be in our heart as the first born pup. She also had a slim face with unique coloring. She is almost a caramel color and where her fur meet in the middle of her nose gives a look of a stripe down it. Then we have Ribbon Girl ( Pink Girl) who is with us and her name is Princess Laylah. She is known as Stinky Pink. Laylah was the last born and came an hour after we thought Belle Starr had finished. We teased her of upsetting the balance between black and cream, and male and female. On the second day of their life she was apart from the others and not very active. So, we put a pink ribbon around her neck and made sure she had extra mommy time and attention. She came around and surpassed others in size at 2 weeks and is now a healthy trouble maker. Her legs are long and she is a lean machine. She also is very vocal and can climb high mountains (shelves, fences, etc.) and we have our work cut out for us. But, she is a beauty and very smart. We fell in love with her and decided to hang onto her and I'm happy we did. She will take extra training but I believe she is going to be awesome. My first thought was to show her, but with her long legs and athletic ability, I feel she would do better in field trials and shed hunting. So, that is my next step in my lab life. My sweetest little black girl Millie (yellow girl) was the smallest and quietest of the black girls. She never caused any problems and melted ones heart whenever picked up. Millie is in Kalispell and hoping to become a trauma dog. She has the quality to become one of the best. Loved that Millie and I'm sure she is being loved on as I blog. Last but not least is our Storm Trooper (Brown Boy) who is a lighter cream and a very mellow boy. His also is staying with us. He and Princess Laylah have become best of buds and entertain each other. Trooper is hoping to become a therapy dog. I also find him in the night sleeping on Fred's lap. He is in training and has all the qualities to become a great companion for others. Each one of these eleven puppies touched our hearts in different ways. Five white, six black, five males, six females, and all beautiful pups. Belle Starr and Shadow did an outstanding job on giving us such a wonderful litter of pups. The Belle Starr is slowly becoming the girl she was before pregnancy. She got down to 53 pounds when she got really sick and she is now back up to 63 pounds. Her hair fell out and she is in the process of growing back a beautiful shiny black coat. We will just be happy when her tail hair comes all the way back. So as we close this 2015 year we can look back at a lot of excitement and blessings. Wonder what 2016 will bring?