Several months ago we made the decision to breed Cleo. I would like to say that making the decision to breed our dog is something that we did not take lightly. I feel at this point most of the developed world is aware that there is a serious problem with unloved, discarded and often times neglected dogs. So many end up in kill shelters or in situations they should absolutely never be put in. Quite frankly it's heart breaking. But a responsible breeder takes every step possible to make sure that those results never happen to the puppies they breed. Accomplishing that requires a ton of due diligence on the breeders part. It starts by making sure that the puppies are set up with the correct people and furthermore that those people are immediately set up for success with their pup. It will always be a continuous venture by Jim and I remaining in contact with the puppies owners so we can be an available resource.
Pairing Cleo with the right male was incredibly important as we are breeding for a purpose. Both Cleo and the stud we chose for her have been hunted and tested at high levels, passed their health clearances, an immense amount of time was spent reviewing their pedigrees, breeding co-efficients, hunting styles and personalities. In the end we feel this breeding between Cleo and Doc (VC Sharp Shooters Doc Holliday) WILL produce highly intelligent, cooperative dogs that will excel in both the field and water. Not to mention they will be excellent family companions.
Geof and Doc volunteering their time at the NJ Wildlife
Youth Hunt earlier this month
Doc is proudly owned by Geof and Karen Ferrer of NJ. He is one of their four GSP's. Three of the Ferrer's four shorthairs including Doc are NAVHDA Versatile Champions. For those of you who are not familiar with NAVHDA and its testing levels owning one VC is a feat in itself but owning three is down right impressive.
Doc is an absolute machine in the field. I mean come on, his nickname is the magical beast! He is intense, athletic and enthusiastic. He ranges out, has flashy solid points and his fieldwork is completely polished. Quite frankly he is pleasure to watch work. Through NAVHDA Doc has earned a Natural Ability Prize 1, three Utility Test Prize 1's and a Versatile Championship. (Doc is available for stud to approved dams. Please check out my Links page for more info on that).
When we bred Cleo to Doc he came and lived with us for 2 weeks. We were happy to have him and he proved to be an excellent house guest....well for the most part. He did lock me out of the house once! But he is probably one of the most naturally well mannered dogs I have ever seen. We loved having him around and can't wait to see what he passes on to these pups.
This little guy is an exact clone of his daddy. He has been dubbed Mini Doc.
A liver and Roan female clearly in a milk coma
Cleo went into stage 1 labor around 3pm on Tuesday, November 26th on her 59th day from first tie. We knew she would be within 24 hours of stage 2 as we had been monitoring her temperature and she had finally dropped to 98.1 degrees. The next 24 hours were pretty intense mainly from the anticipation of what was to come. Cleo was incredibly restless and between Jim and I taking turns staying with her we each banked about 4 hours sleep. The next day on Thanksgiving Eve (Wednesday the 27th) Cleo grew increasing restless. She wanted to go outside every 10 minutes. She drove us crazy by her constantly trying to crawl under the deck. In prime time nesting mode she did everything in her power to divert us and make a beeline for it. Around 4:15pm her water broke and we rushed her into the whelping room we had set up for her. Cleo started having hard contractions within 15 or 20 minutes and everything seemed off to a good start.
However we did run into issues early on in the evening. Cleo had hard contractions for about and hour and half when they suddenly stopped. Jim and I knew without saying much it was time to call the vet. We absolutely did not want to risk Cleo's health in anyway. This is where I throw out if you think you want to breed your dog you better be damn prepared for things to go wrong.
We immediately reached out to Mill Pond Veterinary Clinic in Quakertown, PA. Cleo and Luna have been going to Mill Pond since they were puppies and its also were they attend daycare a couple times a week. We knew we were rolling the dice as Mill Pond had closed it's doors for the day but when we left a message Dr. Thayer called us right back. We explained our situation and she asked us to bring Cleo in as soon as possible. Our biggest fear was that Cleo had a stuck puppy or worst case scenario she would need a C-section. We were pretty rattled when we rolled in the door but we were greeted by 6 staff members who put us right at ease. Dr. Thayer did some quick x-rays and told us the pups were not stuck and that luckily none of them appeared to big to be passed. They gave Cleo a shot to bring on her contractions again and within minutes we shared the magical moment of Cleo's first born with the amazing staff at Mill Pond. It would have been awesome for us to have been home like we originally planned but there was something poetic about being surrounded by the other people in Cleo's life that love her and know her on a daily basis.
Soon after that first liver and roan female greeted us she was followed by a black and roan male. We then made the decision to pack up and head home before anymore puppies were whelped. I want to take a second and say that we are incredibly grateful to Mill Pond, Dr. Thayer and her staff. They could have easily pushed us off and told us to go to the local 24 hour emergency vet. After all it was the eve of Thanksgiving. But they didn't. They brought us in and they were enthusiastic about sharing our big moment with us. It's like we hit the lottery having a vet that treats our animals like they are their own.
The yellow one has the mark of the devil on her head like her mother
Cleo ended up whelping 8 beautiful healthy puppies! Four females two of which are liver and roan and 2 that are black and roan. She also had 4 males, one of which is liver and roan and 3 black and roan males. The pups are tanks with the largest one weighing 1lb 3oz at 3 days old and not one single pup weighing under a 1lb 1oz! There are no runts in this litter!
All of the puppies are spoken for and we will be keeping pick female and she will be my gun dog. It's extra exciting that all you readers will watch her grow up from the moment she was born. Fingers crossed she's not nearly the shoe chewer her mother was and that she doesn't have the propensity for destroying jade plants like her Aunt Luna! Keep up with our puppy shenanigans by following us on facebook at: Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer