Decisions, Decisions

rePete requested equal time on the blog.

Pete June 2019.jpg

This is Daisy.

Daisy June 2019.jpg

Let me give you a glimpse into the heart and mind of a Breeder. Since Daisy lived with Galen and Bethany for her first 2.5+ years (we co-own Daisy) — and may well return to them when they have a suitable housing situation — I am struggling between the desire to get various titles on Daisy or breeding her in August.

If I do titles first, I will not be able to breed her until Fall 2020 when she is 4.5 years. This is because our breeding plans always consider the National Specialty — we will not have a litter if it means missing the Specialty. And so it is this August or skip a cycle and breed Daisy in Fall 2020.

This is Claire.

Claire and puppy (stuffed) June 2019.jpg

I am in a similar boat with Claire. I either breed her soon or I wait until Fall 2020.

This is Sparkle with a scraped up nose — more on that soon.

Sparkle June 2019.jpg

Sparkle has not gotten pregnant — twice. Both times were high tech so semen quality could be the issue but I am concerned, to be sure. She is about to be six and so I figure I have just one more chance to breed her — that will likely be November.

I do not want to ever again be in a position of having such a wonderful girl and only having one litter from her as she nears the end of her reproductive life. That said, two litters is my limit with a girl but I want that second litter from Sparkle, who is the total Berner package — with a sparkly bow. And now we are down to the wire…

But what if I breed all three girls in the next few months and they all get pregnant?!

Think 101 Dalmatians.

What I have decided is this — Claire will be bred when she comes in season, which should be within the next six weeks. Hopefully I will know the status of her pregnancy before Daisy comes in season.

If Claire is pregnant, Daisy is off the motherhood hook for now. If Claire is not pregnant, Daisy will be invited to create my next puppy.

Sparkle will be bred in November regardless.

All that means show plans are up in the air — I do not compete with pregnant girls, and we stay home when we have litters. For someone who loves to plan, the uncertainties associated of what can we do when? is a bit disconcerting — but no doubt, good for me.

Breeding dogs well is definitely not for the faint of heart — for all kinds of reasons.


Breeding dogs well is not easy for so many reasons — a big one is that it is hard on the heart. I am sorry to share that Sparkle is not pregnant. There is no explanation because everything was optimal — next time we will involve the Magic Wand.

magic wand.jpg

This was hard news to hear and has taken me a bit to process. But I regrouped and considered and started planning because that is what you do in the face of Disappointment — no sense in sitting there.

I am determined and persistent. And I have other girls. Therefore, I hope to create my next puppy within the next 6 - 8 weeks.

That is why I breed these dogs — so that I can create the puppy of my dreams.

And maybe also yours.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Does TCI Carry an Infection Risk?

I previously mentioned this article…

Hollinshead and Hanlon (1).jpg

The authors’ study is an impressive one with large numbers and sophisticated statistical analysis.

And because I have written quite a few things myself, I know that authors of professional articles are just human beings like the rest of us — and so I wrote to the Corresponding Author with some questions; she was gracious and thorough in her responses.

In a Facebook discussion the issue of infection/pyometra was raised as a possible adverse event following Transcervical Insemination (TCI). As you might imagine, this chilled me to the bone.

I found one study that reported no post-TCI infections in dogs but the sample size was eight. While I am glad their study did not show any infections post-TCI, n=8 is not enough to inspire confidence.

The Hollinshead & Halon study was far more robust. Further, as a working practitioner as well as a researcher, Dr. Hollinshead reports having done approximately 2500 TCIs over many years.

Her response about post-TCI infections was not just small-n no but a very hard NO. Infections, including pyometra, are just not an issue with well-done TCIs.

She offered expected caveats — the equipment needs to be clean and the skill level of the practitioner needs to be solid, but she said, “The post insemination incidence of pyometra was so low in our study that it was not analysable.”

She went on to explain that the cervix is open when a bitch is in season, and that “…the uterus expels the bacteria and foreign material (dead sperm, extender etc) before the cervix closes and it becomes under the influence of progesterone.”

In other words, there is a clean-out system when mammals are bred because breeding is not a sanitary or sterile kind of thing. Mother Nature apparently knows what she is doing.

This does not mean Sparkle is safe from an adverse event but what it does mean is that if such a thing happens, it is so very much, much more likely that it is a coincidence rather than a consequence of the TCIs.

Remember — correlation is not causation. When two things happen together, it does not mean one caused the other.

Unless Lucky Socks are involved, of course.

Sparkle Lucky Socks (1).jpg

And so there you go — evidence from a solid source with a robust data set. TCI does not/should not create an elevated risk of infection.