The 2013 Rain Mountain
Spice o' Life Litter
Frontier Luck of the Draw x Boreayl's Salishan of Rain
Born April 18, 2013
Frontier Luck of the Draw
left: Gambler smiling for the camera; left, doing meet-and-greets at
the Seattle Kennel Club Dog Show; Right, in his working clothes as a
Service Dog for Marie.
Boreayl's Salishan of Rain
|Above left, Shani pauses for a breath at the annual Western Chinook Picnic at the Rain Mountain Slug Ranch in 2009 where she plays hostess; above center, she poses with the Drucker family, whom she stayed with for several months in the winter of 2012/2013; above right, another beautiful head shot of Salishan's gorgeous face.|
My long range plans had not been to have two litters, one right after the other in the first half of 2013 but I am a sucker for a child in need of a dog and for what I envision will be future handsome Chinooks. So when these things all came together in January and February of 2013, I went ahead with it. After all, why not deluge myself and my household with puppies for six months then take time off afterwards to enjoy the summer, do some gardening, maybe even get away from home for a long weekend or two? I hadn't spent a night away since I went to Chad's wedding or the quick trip to Montana to deliver a pup and both trips were a couple years in the past and of very short duration!
Salishan is one of the smartest and most intuitive Chinooks I've ever met or had the privlege to live with. Unlike the other female Chinooks I know, she doesn't need to see, "What's in it for me?" whenever I ask her to do something. Training her was a breeze since she was so smart. She already had absorbed so much from watching the older dogs that training classes with her were really just finishing school. So to come up with the best brains possible, we paired her with Frontier Luck of the Draw, who just to confuse you, is called Gambler by one of his co owners and Denali by his other co owner. His day-to-life is spent as a working Service Dog for Marie, a friend with arthritis. With Marie, he's a calm and sweet dog with unending patience. Occasionally he takes a weekend off for a dog show where he's working on his AKC championship. This is his first litter. As a young pup before he started work, he spent several weekends with me (he and his litter sister Bianca were even in the car with me when we were in a bad accident, totaling my old Dodge Grand Caravan!) and impressed me with how mellow he was. As a young adult that has held true. He's added handsome to his list of attributes too. He and Salishan were a natural pair. I liked the fact that though Salishan is an import to my kennel from Boreayl Chinooks of Ohio, Gambler is essentially a Rain Mountain bloodline, what with half of his great grandparents being Chinooks I was involved in breeding.
Salishan was staying with the Drucker family while I had the previous 2013 "100 Acre Wood" Litter here; returning home when she was roughly seven weeks pregnant. Druckers had taken excellent care of her and she was trim and fit going into this delivery. I didn't expect puppies until later in the weekend but she must have known that it was my father's birthday so she went into labor early, just minutes after I had the whelping box put together. The pups started arriving at 11pm and quickly there were seven. After a rest, the eighth arrived and her family was complete. I'm told that eight is a very lucky number in Asian societies so this will be a very lucky litter for Rain Mountain and Salishan. This is also the very first time that we've had more girls than boys in a litter.
If you are thinking of getting a new puppy and check out the lists that Petco and Petsmart will hand you as far as what supplies are absolutely necessary, you will spend a fortune. I'm a firm believer in spending as little as possible. Just like you when you were a small child at Christmas, empty cardboard boxes are often the best possible toys and they are free. Why spend money on things that will simply be chewed to pieces faster than I can type this paragraph?
I've come up with my own list of basic supplies that I think are necessary and many of them can be bought at stores other than expensive pet stores. Here's my list:
Books on Dog Training
These are books that espouse methods that work well with Chinooks. All of them focus on positive methods yet still recognize that some bad behaviors do need a correction/consequence. All of them are available from www.amazon.com or www.dogwise.com.
Within a Matter of Just a Few Days
Salishan has copious amounts of milk for her pups and it doesn't take long for the babies to fill out and begin to look like fat little seals. She has taken off the neck collars so I can't tell which is Caraway and which is Lavender and I have to check the undersides to figure out which is Cinnamon. Once they are big enough to start toddling around I'll get velcro collars on them that Shani can't take off then it will be easier to tell them apart. Plus, while they are in the "potato stage" there isn't a lot of personality showing yet. That will become apparent as each pup begins to open its eyes and ears (yes, the ears are also closed right now, just like the eyes) and interacts with the BIG WIDE WORLD of the Slug Ranch and the Rain Mountain Pack. Which puppies will be most likely to send Taga dashing for the safety of an out-of-reach perch on my bed? Which will look to Elizabeth for comfort more than their dam since she will take on babysitting duties as soon as they are weaned. (Elizabeth LOVES babies and will do so quite gladly. She's a very good babysitter and this will be her third litter to babysit, after already helping to raise the Zen and 100 Acre Wood Litters. She will be the next Rain Mountain female to be bred.)
Note, it's not that I'm a slob or unfit breeder. I do keep the pups as clean as I can without disrupting the natural course of events. Right now their whelping box contains several natural smells, most of them coming from their mother. So I don't rush to change the hospital blanket that covers the top of their bedding unless it's actually dirty. A few stains from the natural discharges Salishan has after giving birth are normal; Shani keeps herself and the box very clean and these are just faint stains she can't quite get all the way clean herself. I change the bedding once a day and bleach the blankets every time I wash them. For now, scent is the pups' strongest sense, followed by touch and the scent they know best is that of their mom so I don't want to disrupt it any more than I have to. The more litters I raise, the more natural I find myself raising them.
Top from left to right, Nutmeg, Caraway, Lavender resting on Cinnamon; below Donny Garlic, then Basil Jim, Poppy Seed, and Reggie (Oregano).
When the pups were ten days old, Salishan's favorite people, the Druckers, came to visit her and her puppies. She was in heaven. Her life would be perfect if she could get me, Mariann, and Leah Drucker all snuggling with her at once. Sadly we all have separate lives to lead. but we make sure that Shani gets to see them often and we're even talking about her retiring to their house. Maybe. So thanks to the Druckers for these wonderful photos.
Carie Taylor visited the night before and we weighed everyone. The pups weighed as much as two and a half times their birth weights so I guess I don't need to worry about weighing them any longer. Donny Garlic and Basil Jim were almost two and a half pounds! That's amazing for pups that are this age. Salishan isn't a big Chinook. Sure, she has a big chest but she's not big overall. Gambler is decent sized but not huge by any measure of the word. Like me, Carie was very impressed by the big heads on all the pups, both boys and girls alike. She's planning to keep her stud fee pup rather than placing it even though she's been downsizing the number of dogs she's been keeping lately. I wish I could keep one as well but with Cas here from the last litter, that would mean two pups very close in age and that's just not a good idea.