This is Hal and his BFF, Abby (Sparkler). SO cute! Both of them.

Thank you, Kathy!

Thank you, Kathy!


Daisy July 17.jpg

rePete has a better recall than most dogs.



Claire and Daisy.


Claire has kindly refrained from going into season just yet — adding in the trip to breed her on top of everything else might send me straight into unraveled.

However, she is at eight months now so it will be any day. Maybe a few days away might be a blessing — washing dishes in the bathtub is no picnic, I assure you.

Happy Thursday to ALL.

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.

Claire Changes Things Up

Hang on to your hats, Friends, because we received some pretty awesome news.

Sparkle hat.jpg


Claire OFA elbows (1).jpg

Claire’s original elbow rating on films done in January was a unilateral Grade One (DJD). I repeated the films four months later for these reasons:

  1. Both elbows were normal at 12 months.

  2. Both of her parents — and every one of their littermates (n=13) — have normal elbows.

  3. It was just one elbow and a Grade One, DJD.

  4. The opinion was not unanimous — one of the three radiologists who rated the elbow said it was normal.

None of those things means the original results were wrong but taken together, it seemed prudent to wait and repeat.

And so we did.

This time the opinion of the OFA experts was unanimous — all three radiologists who rated the elbows said they are normal.

I cried many happy tears.

But how are we to understand what happened? And how can we maintain confidence in OFA results when results can change in four months? I called Dr. Keller, the OFA’s Chief Medical Director, and posed those questions to him.

In his opinion, the positioning of the 25 month films created the illusion of a potential issue in one area due to shadowing. The 29 month films were positioned optimally and showed the area clearly, revealing no issue.

Why, I asked, were the 25 month films read at all if positioning was at all problematic. The answer — because they were considered good enough to read by the radiologists.

Huh?! And Yikes.

I met with my veterinarian to review the films and to get her opinion on all this. And that is why I think she is awesome and I want to be her best friend: Because I knew I could talk to her about this and she would be perfectly fine.

She studied the films and then agreed that there was a very slight difference in lateral positioning (how flat the elbow was) that created a wee bit of shadowing in the 25 month films.

We all learned a few things — here are my take home lessons:

  1. Positioning matters — a lot. And even really great veterinarians and their staff can have a slight shift of positioning that can cause issues.

  2. If you get failed results, call Dr. Keller at the OFA to discuss the positioning — was it optimal? He is very accessible. (Note: I did call him in January and he did not mention a positioning issue — I think the issue may only have been apparent with comparison).

  3. If there is reason to question results, repeat the films.

  4. It is a very good thing to have a questioning mind.

  5. Claire can be a MOM!!!!