So many qualities to love about our dogs; and, two of my favorites are their in-the-moment consciousness and their resilience.  You can learn a lot from a dog when you quiet your thinker, watch, and take it to heart.  Obviously mental health leads physical health, at least quite a bit of the time.


8x10 IMG_2783


Aoife looks grand this morning, and even jumped off our bed herself.

Us monkeys could cry over our losses for days, weeks, months, or even years.  But that wouldn’t change anything, except for maybe how we get out of bed.




The Twists & Turns…


Just last weekend we were celebrating our Best In Show win.  There has not even been time enough to write about that, and now already we are swallowing the grave reality of losing an unborn litter of puppies…

Who pushed me off Cloud-9?  …Life-it’s-own-self, of course.


Again I ask, please do not question me on the whys and wherefores of this unfortunate turn of events.  I have all too many questions and far too few answers.  You can speculate if you are inclined, but there is no answer that can satisfy a mother who has lost her child.  Sometimes there is no good answer.


Let It Be


My beloved is resting on the couch beside me; home safe, and we are ready to mend.  …For that I am thankful.

The outpouring of love and support from friends both near and far has been overwhelming, and gratefully appreciated.  …For that I am thankful.



Giving Thanks… aka ThanksGiving


It is always important to give thanks, and be mindful that there is a hidden treasure in every unexpected turn no matter how it looked when it first hit your radar.



Little Miss Can't-Be-Wrong

Little Miss Can’t-Be-Wrong

To be honest, when I first brought Aoife home, breeding was the furthest thing from my mind.  She was, after all, my first beloved Kerry Blue; before which, I had no prior experience.  So the fact that 5 years had rolled by was no surprise…


But now I had been seriously considering breeding Aoife at her next heat.  For no one can deny that Aoife had many desirable qualities.  And it was toward that end that I had all the important DNA tests done back in April.

For purposes of planning, the calendar remained a bit of a mystery.  Though Aoife’s seasons for mating had historically been spaced far apart, the last had come surprisingly early.  So I had my fingers crossed that Aoife would do her thing no sooner than October; a time I could be ready with the planning.  But when I returned from our recent quick-turn-around trip to Maine, my sweet-girl was in blood.

That would seem disappointment enough, but truth be told she has a distinctly palpable caudal mammary tumor.  My understanding is mammary tumors are extremely common in canines.  And although 50% are malignant, that statistic does not reflect on a mortality rate that is much less.  Problems tend to come about when people wait too long before seeking appropriate care.  And as a owner of an intact bitch, I cannot say that I did not realize there was a distinct possibility that she may over time develop one.  But it does rather squash the plan to breed at least at this time, and obviously none of us are getting any younger.


DSC_9102So why have I entitled this blog Giving Thanks… aka ThanksGiving?  It is strictly a matter of faith.  For I have learned and internalized that circumstance is seldom as it seems.  I have learned a treasure emerges from every hardship that has been fully trusted.






Why Test…

I have been impatiently waiting for the results of Stirling’s PennHIP & DNA tests, even though I have anticipated the return of normal results.  Patience has never been my strongest suit, so once I have asked those questions I am dying for the answers.  That is just me being me.

Now the results are starting to flow back, and I find it odd how the normal results are easily accepted and dismissed as of course they are …well, “Normal”.  There seems to be no good reason to think on it further or to celebrate, as after all that is exactly what we expected.  Right?  Spot on: YES…


The first test to return was CERF: “Normal”.  …Of course.  Stirling is free of eye disease.

Two of Stirling’s DNA tests have been done through the OFA, and I just figured out how to access those results.  Stirling is “Clear” for degenerative myelopathy (DM), which really was not a surprise.  The result for Canine Multiple System Degeneration (CMSD, aka PNA) remains pending.

Today I got confirmation from PennHIP that Stirling has tight hips, and no sign of degenerative joint disease.  Now that is great news.  Although the breed is not especially known for affliction by this multifactoral degenerative disorder, knowing his status adds to my sense of confidence to promote Stirling’s agility career which has proven to be a rather physically demanding sport.

The other two DNA tests to return are Type I von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD I) and Factor XI deficiency, which are both coagulation disorders.  No surprise that Stirling tested “clear” for vWD I.  But I honestly did not anticipate that he would be a “Carrier” of Factor XI.

il_570xN.514311018_trtkTo my astonishment Stirling is a carrier; and with this being the genetic disorder that we tend to talk least about, I will certainly press myself to educate.

More to follow; No doubt…



Learning it for myself…

So I returned from Florida to Alaska full of inspiration.  But I had to return to work; Kill-joy…

Okay that being said, I got this big idea to research the foundational breeding lines of Kerries.  It may not surprise you that I only just got started when I got completely sidetracked on another important mission, which was to understand the health concerns of our breed.

At some point I will task myself to summarize the issues; though it is not to say there are so many.  But really, it is more interesting to observe how varied the opinions on the topic.  So for now it will suffice to say I am eagerly awaiting the result of several DNA tests, and that of the PennHip.

Conformation dog showing was originally about proving one’s breeding stock.  Ultimately that’s what it will be for me.  I figure with what it costs to show, the expense of confirming sound genetic health is a small price to pay.


…And I must say, it’s hard to believe Stirling was “knocked out” today [for his PennHip].  He is so completely full of himself; he’s, well… Stirling!