Last week I took Belle Starr and Shadow to the vet for checkups. Belle Starr to make sure she was good after her ordeal and Shadow for he is too thin. The vet put Shadow on different food and said to leave Belle Starr on the same food and cut her back some. The way of my world. I have to watch every calorie, and Fred enjoys all that bad for you but yummy stuff. So I can relate to the Belle Starr. I spend time yesterday reviewing dog food formulas to find a good match for Shadow. I have been feeding Grain Free Victor Salmon, which is an excellent dog food with lots of good things in it. The vet put Shadow on Hills Healthy Advantage Formula with grains. Of course when you buy that at the vet's office the price tag is high. So in researching to find something similar to it I discovered that Kirkland Signature Adult Chicken is a fairly good match. It has high fat with good carbs. So like people there isn't one best formula for all dogs. I am mixing in the new food with the old for Shadow, Cassie, and Storm Trooper to see if I can add some bulk to them. Sorry Belle Starr.. .#Vets #Diets #Healing at Happy Labs Kennel

January Fur and Dog Diets

 I don't know what it is about January, but seems to be the longest month ever.  On good sunny days I walk the dogs and get exercise.  They are in the house a lot and tend to shed lots of extra fur.  So that keeps me busy vacuuming and cleaning. I believe they are shedding more because it has been so cold and they spend that extra time in the house where it is warm. The English Labs tend to have more fur than the American Labs and they love the snow.  Belle Starr and Abie both can roll and play in it for great lengths of time.  While Shadow who has some American in him, gets colder quicker and you don't see him rolling in it very much.  Storm Trooper is like his dad that way. Cassiopeia is full English and has lots of fur, but even though she likes it outside, she doesn't roll in it like Belle Starr and Abie. Funny canines. They all have their little different personalities, likes, and dislikes.  I took Belle Starr and Shadow to the vet for checkups.  I had Belle Starr checked over to make sure she was in good condition after losing the pups.  She looks great and is in super good health.  With an enhanced tail, I might add.  Shadow on the other hand is too thin. (The reason I took him in).  Sounds like the people in our house.  Fred eats everything and all the time.  Super thin...  I diet and watch what I eat. Need to lose weight.  So I am cutting Belle Starr down on the food that she is eating.  (Victor Salmon and Sweet Potatoes) for she is doing great on it.  It is grain free.  So with Shadow the vet is having me add Hill's Advantage Veterinarian Formula to his Victor to see if it helps with the calories and nutrition retentionSince Cassiopeia is thin as well, I am adding the Hill's to her diet.  It has chicken and grains in it.  I'll post how it works.  One never knows what is really truly the best thing to feed them.  I guess the best way is to try several things and see what works best.  I did read an article once that suggested to mix up brands of dog food so they get all different kinds of nutrition.  Which is good if you gradually add the other dog food so they don't get sick. During these past four years I  have had learned so much and yet there is so much more to learn.  It is interesting as I gather information from big breeders to vets and on how they don't exactly always agree on things. So, once again I just do what I feel is best with the knowledge I have and move on.  I work really close with the vets on the breeding part of it. A good month to research and read to make kennel life better.  

In Everyone's Life a Little Rain Must Fall

Not sure who wrote that, but it is so true in all aspects of life.  After the long process of breeding Belle Starr she didn't keep the puppies.  A week ago the vet said she saw one and that it didn't look very healthy.  This prepared me for our visit yesterday when we didn't see any puppies.  For some unknown reason, she absorbed the pups or pup.  The good thing is that she is very healthy and that wasn't the problem.   We will try again next cycle and hopefully have summer puppies.  I have been told by breeders that this is the way to go.  At this point they really need to convince me.  Just the cost of the stud fee is huge, plus puppy pacs, shipping semen, vet bill for the male to extract the sperm, and the vet bill on this end, plus the stress.  Not sure this experience has been the best.  Hopefully I will change my mind in the future.  I'm hoping to at least get my money back.  But most important is that I have people waiting for their fur babies. In the meantime, I will love on the Belle Starr, do a couple of shows, train the pups, and do some therapy visitations.  It is so cold that I am just a little anxious to have some sun and warm weather to get the labs out for a lot of hikes and exercise. So on my way home yesterday I bought some flowers for Belle Starr, but mostly for me.  Love my Labs and worry when things don't well.  

Vet Week and Breeding Time

Probably the hardest part of running a kennel is breeding time.  I tell you when Belle Starr comes in season she sets off a cosmic reaction.  And that is with all of the other dogs.  They all go into this behavior that normally doesn't happen.  So we constantly create environment to keep all safe.  The only one who doesn't seem affected by this is the Storm Trooper.  Cassie was fine with Belle Starr, but would guard off Shadow if he came near her. And she loves Shadow.  (She may be just saving him for herself.)  So the Storm Trooper and Cassiopeia took turns being with Belle Starr while she was confined to the puppy room, which is a very nice area for a dog.  I took her in Monday the 28th and her progesterone level was low.  Then took her again on Wednesday and didn't get any results back from the vet.  So I quietly in a panic state called to see why I hadn't heard anything and she said she would check into and call me back.  Will the call back was to tell me the blood machine at the hospital was broke down.  On Thursday machine still down and vet said we should be okay and I made an appointment for Friday morning.  Friday morning on my way to the vet, I received a call from the vet and her readings from Wednesday were high and that I needed to call the owner of Hawk the stud dog to collect semen and get it shipped for a Saturday breeding.  So we took another blood draw for analysis and set up an appointment for Saturday breeding.  In the meantime Friday night our old dog had a bad spell.  We got him settled enough for the night and called the vet first thing Sat. morning. So we had a 95 pound dog to take in besides a very hormonal bitch to take in.  Since we couldn't lift Drake into my big Chevy truck and that Belle Starr and I couldn't fit into Fred's little truck we took both rigs to Missoula for appointments.   Crazy day.  They did x-rays of Drake and the puppy pac arrived by Fed Ex for Belle Starr and we did what we had to do. So it turns out that Drake has pneumonia with other complications and we bred Belle Starr.  What a bittersweet time.  It is now one week later I look back and see that we actually survived.  Drake is doing much better and Belle Starr has joined the ranks again as one of the calm pack. About puppies?  We won't know until after Christmas. In all of this craziness it comes down to Mother Nature.  Picture below is of the potential dad Hawk.  One handsome Dude... 


As I look back on the last litter it amazes me that we are in the process of breeding Belle Starr again.  The summer litter was easier with less puppies and they were very independent.  It was still hard to let them go when the time came.  They are all once again in awesome homes.  My favorite is getting texts and updates on each of the pups.  I even got to deliver Alaska Snow Star to Juneau Alaska.  What a fun and enlightening journey.  By meeting the family and spending some time with them I never will worry about Snow. I know she is well taken care of and having the good life.  As are the other pups.  We have Wrigley Fields Chicago in Spokane who gets to visit his older brother Rosco.  Then Sugar lives down the street and gets to spend time with Wrigley as well. Waffles is in Hayden and has Pancakes as an older pal. Duke is in Spokane and gets to spend a lot of time with his dad in construction. River lives in Otis Orchards and also has an older companion. Penelope lives in Spokane on the South Hill and is one smart cookie.  She has advanced in her training class. These pups will be 6 months old in a couple of weeks.  These pups were able to spend a lot of time outside having fun in the sun.  My summer was hectic with the litter and trying to keep up with grand kids, reunions, garden, yard, and all the other things that go with summer.  Probably why I didn't work much on my Blog and website.  But,  I did keep up with face book which is a lot of work as well.  It is always fun to reflect on the litters and just as important to hear stories of them and receive current pictures of them.  Awesome lab oweners... 

Loving the warm summer.

Loving the warm summer.