"Coming Home to Westcliffe"

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Coming Home to Westcliffe

Gratitude & Happy Families

“Gratitude is the sweetest thing in a seekers life – in all human life. If there is gratitude in your heart, then there will be tremendous sweetness in your eyes.” -Sri Chinmoy

Friends often ask me how in the world I can raise a litter of puppies to let them go. It is a labor of love, as well as one of the greatest joys of my life. It is that love that propels each and every decision I make from purposefully planning a litter, to thoughtfully raising the precious puppies and to placing them with carefully chosen families. I do absolutely all I can do to bring healthy puppies into the world, and absolutely all I can do to prepare them for the world (and their families). By the time the puppies are 9 weeks old, it is a joy to see them go to their forever homes and wonderful families.

The anticipation, the preparation and the smiles of the families are sweet treasures; each email, message and photo of the puppy in their new home, make my heart smile. Each photo shared is a piece of my dream coming true: that these darling puppies will grow up to be wonderful dogs who bless their families every single day of their long lives.

Collies have a well-deserved reputation of being great family dogs and being best pals to children. Remember Lassie and her kids?! I am grateful that the puppies are living up to that tradition. Story (aka Fancy) is Foxhaven Wild Wind Life is Full of Wonder and is already busy writing chapters in the hearts of her family.

Delta (aka Arrow-Dart) is Foxhaven Wild Wind Shadow of the Starlight.  A fitting name since his ‘dad’ often works nights with Delta is his steady companion. Delta, too, watches over his “kids” and is their gentle little big man.

Like his brother, Walker (aka Socks) is a gentle soul and is best pals to his new buddy. He is confident sweet soul ready to explore. A perfect personality for a little boy. Walker is Foxhaven Wild Wind Walks in Quiet Solitude.

Not to be outdone, Berkley (aka Stormy) has captured the heart of this family. Wouldn’t you be smitten, too, waking up to this charmer every morning? He is Foxhaven Wild Wind Silver Clouds Below.

Paige (aka Blue) is a Princess Warrior. The princess part is apparent by one look at her. The warrior comes from her sense of self and living with a terrier. Play is the name of the game at their house, and so is nap time! We will be seeing more of her in the show world, as she matures into the beauty she is destined to become. No wonder she is Foxhaven Wild Wind My Blue Heaven.

Grace (aka Bowtie) stayed on here at Foxhaven and woven herself into our pack and intricately into our hearts. She glides around the farm on her long legs causing my breath. She is brave student in puppy kindergarten, making mama proud. She is well named: Foxhaven Wild Wind Grace in Every Step. She and Rose are quite the pair.

The secret, I think, to a happy life is finding something to be grateful for each and every day. Especially in the fast approaching holiday season, we pause to look a little more closely at our lives, our families, and our world. It certainly can be a bittersweet experience for many and for most, this year of 2020. It is my hope that in the pause, we see love that binds us together. And, perhaps the wag of a puppy dog tail that makes the “happy” in our lives just a bit more present.

Posted 96 weeks ago

Nature + Nurture = Thriving Puppies and Good Dogs!

I have so very much enjoyed this litter of Reason x Rose puppies. Starting with health tested and sound parents with good temperaments and proven performance, gave us the ‘nature quotient’ necessary to be good stewards of the breed. We followed the Collie Club of America Code of Ethics, that is designed to ensure stewardship, welfare of the individual dog for the life of the dog, mentorship, and continued improvement of the breed.

I am thankful to my mentor, Shelley Bergstraser of Wild Wind Collies. Her dogs are well known for their soundness and intelligence. They excel not only only as beloved family pets, but in whatever endeavor the family chooses to pursue with their beloved companion, be it herding, agility, obedience or conformation. We strive to match puppies with the family’s experience and expectations to the puppy’s personality and potential. The breeders, my husband and I, stand behind the puppy/dog for its entire life and offer needed support to the forever family.

These puppies have been nurtured, as readers are aware, through Puppy Culture protocols seeking to enhance and enrich the critical socialization in a puppy up to 12 weeks.  Timely ‘lessons’ and experiences are based on the puppies development markers, which may vary from puppy to puppy. The program has helped us learn to closely watch the puppies and allow them to take the lead showing us what they need & when. I believe strongly that we have raised puppies who “enrichment seekers” and are ready to thrive!

The puppies love affair with their forever families begins in the next several days. It is bittersweet for me. I cry happy and grateful tears knowing that I have done all I can to raise sound, curious and loving puppies who will bless their families for many many years. My heart is full and these precious ones will reside in sweet memory and fond hopes there forever. I am always here for you, my darlings. Go, now, with joy, puppy kisses and tail wags (and nice PC “manding”) into the world.  In each whisper of “I love you” from your family, know it echoes in my heart.

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Posted 102 weeks ago

Puppies Do Party

It has been a full and busy week. The week was bookended with what we cheerfully and carefully call “Puppy Parties”. Cheerfulness in our attitude and positive reinforcement of our puppies “try” with a click & a treat, a smile, a giggle and just plain fun. The parties are not random events or have anyone crashing the party uninvited. We take great care to not ‘flood’ the puppy with stimuli. We provide only experiences that are developmentally appropriate and always give the puppy choice. 

Our first party is when the puppies are about 6.5 weeks old. That is when the puppy is especially primed for social interaction. Their level of approach behavior (coming to you happily) is strong; flee behavior, low. So we orchestrate a party with carefully selected activities. The guest list includes friends who are dog savvy. Armed with clickers, cheese and hotdogs, they welcome this “puppy fix”. 

All guests, canine and human, had a grand time.  Smiles abounded and it was a fun time all around. I believe it was a much needed respite for many us. The laughter, innocence and joy healing.

Later in the week, we loaded the puppies up in the car, safely tucked into a large crate to go on a 3 hour drive to get their eyes checked for CEA, collie eye anomaly in Loveland by a Veterinarian Board Certified Ophthalmologist. To prepare for this adventure, they had two other shorter car rides the previous week and did quite well. Just a little whining for a few minutes when we started out. A cream cheese kong or a whimzee chew did the trick to help them settle in. Mama Rose rode along for the first ride. The motion of the car soon lulled them to sleep. We made the journey successfully and our results were good for all the puppies. 

This past weekend we did temperament evaluations and structural evaluations for conformation. We were blessed to have eight friends and collie fanciers join us at our Foxhaven Barn. We had two litters, born one day apart to evaluate, for a total of 14 lovely puppies. The other litter is from my friend and collie mentor, Shelley Berstraser. The doors were open wide for fresh air and sunshine, no covid welcome here. Our donkey Sam provided a bit of song for our second party. Shelley  conducted the evaluations. puppNone of the puppies had ever been to the barn, so it was a new experience packed with all kinds of scents. In this environment they were presented with a series of challenges seeking to determine, in some instances, their level of drive (prey, pack, and fight/flight). In others, we sought to determine sensitivity to touch, sound and sight, as well as general stability. This last test, for example, was to see how the puppy reacted to an umbrella being popped open and placed on the floor near them. In all, the ‘tests’ were to not only to determine temperament with the goal to help inform our matches to families, but to indicate what the puppy may need more help and training with in the coming weeks. 

Puppies from both litters did well. Some had a bit more prey drive, great for a herding prospect and performance dog. Some had a bit more social attraction and following behaviors; perfect for a therapy dog or family cuddle muffin. We all celebrated with good lunch while puppies played and snoozed. An eventful day full of shared knowledge, hopes & dreams and puppy loving. Good parties lead to good naps. 

As the puppies enter their eighth week, there is a shift from rapid neurological development toward rapid intellectual development. They can understand eye contact and attention as a behavior. We will have more new experiences, develop new skills and enjoy problem solving activities; including, scent circles, asking for more in our clicker training mini-sessions and working on heeling foundation work. It is also the week that the fear period lies, so we will simply “be together” and enjoy these last days together. Puppies will be going to their beloved forever families at 9.5-10 weeks old. The love affair is about to begin for them in earnest. XOX darlings. 

Posted 103 weeks ago

Visits to Foxhaven: Rose & Her Puppies

 “It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” – John Grogan

The puppies are becoming quite popular with our friends and neighbors. Potential families for the puppies are scheduling interviews and “meet & greets” with us. Each day the puppies grow, become bolder and make my heart smile.

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This past week (fifth week for the puppies) we have expanded their world to include a sheltered back deck ‘gymnasium’ complete with a low spinner swing, a little Playskool play house, a sit-n-spin, a kuranda bed and toys that we rotate daily. This is in addition to their indoor weaning pen with fun mobiles, tunnels and cozy nest. We also spend lots of supervised time outside on the front grass. 

Our goal at Foxhaven is to love our animal companions well. We are grateful for how each and every soul blesses our lives. We are made better people by our animal friends.

With our puppies, we seek to grow them up to be curiosity seekers by enriching not only their environment but also providing appropriate exercise and problem solving activities for their developmental stage. This “triple crown” is shown to cause physiological changes; such as, neural connections which in turn lead to larger brain and brain cell survival. These changes in the physical structure of the brain correspond to improvements in the emotional health and intellectual capacity of the puppy. The puppies brain is especially sensitive during the first 12 weeks of life, to both good (positive) and bad (harmful) experiences. This is why we take great care and good planning to thoughtfully time our experiences. I credit Puppy Culture with the protocols, research and background to pace the enrichment according to the unique needs of each puppy. The “proof is in the puppies” that I see thriving.

It all of this it is vital to remember, too, that puppies have the choice to engage or retreat and that it is our maxim to NEVER scare a puppy. We are not creating any rigid rules, but fostering positive feelings and associations in our puppies for things they will experience in their adult lives. For example, nail trimming is oftentimes an arduous task for dog owners; wiggly puppies, nearly an impossible feat for many. We employed a tool known as a Liki Mat to create a conditional emotional response (CER) to nail trimming. A little cream cheese did the trick and six puppies nail were trimmed in about 10 minutes with zero struggle. 

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The most rewarding part of this past week was playing outside with puppies and watching them discover the world outside. Friends and family laughed, smiled and, I believe, found a bit of an oasis from troubled waters so prevalent in this year 2020. I know the puppies had a blast!

Posted 105 weeks ago

The Art of Observing & Good Mamas

“Sometimes I just sit back and observe. I learn more that way.” Sonya Telcai

There are so many sayings about mothers, that, for me, didn’t totally ring true. That is, until I had some invaluable life experiences, hard knocks and matured. For others, motherhood herself backs them up. I remember, particularly as a teen, being almost offended when people would say I was like my mother. Now, I wish I would have celebrated that compliment, as not only true, but as worthy of my mother and her care of her oftentimes stubborn and sometimes ungrateful child. Although her mothering was not perfect, it was couched in context of her generation and her life experiences, it was always full of hope and best intentions. Mother was a good mama. I miss her and am glad I AM like her in so many ways, despite my willfulness to the contrary. Thank you, mama.

I found myself thinking about and appreciating mothers this week, as Bill is expecting his first grandchild, a grand-daughter. Being a teacher and a “critter mom” are as close as I’ve gotten to being a mother. I love to care for and “to mother” the creatures we live with and alongside at Foxhaven. I am learning to listen to them and learn from them. Our relationship deepens as I do so. It is in the silent observation, in the quiet of the spirit, in the whisper of emotion & body language that much is revealed. Things shift, meaning happens and hearts merge.

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I’ve been watching and learning from Rose this week. The puppies are four weeks old, a mere 28 days on this planet. Rose is a good mama. She is alert, but calm, patient and kind. It appears, too, that things are shifting as she lets go a little and partners with me, trusting me to help with the nurture  (especially poo clean up). She is beginning to spend some time away from the puppies, but knows just when to return to check, nurse or just sniff pushing them about a bit, leaving to curl up outside their pen on her Kuranda cot she loves and watch her puppies.

Puppy Culture is teaching me to allow Rose and puppies to be in the “driver’s seat”. I am in the proverbial backseat watching. This watching allows me to learn when and how to offer developmentally appropriate enrichment to a particular puppy or puppies. It is a blessing to marvel at the art of motherhood. A fine example of this was the puppy’s first outside experience. I wanted to take advantage of a warm day before our snow storm. The puppies were a few days shy of four weeks, the time they normally have first outside adventures. I observed that they were ready, with their mom’s help, of course.

First, a pen was set up in the shade with Rose watching and enjoying some sunshine herself. She easily went into the pen to sniff about and inspect. Next, we brought out the puppies, two by two, so no puppy was ever left alone in their weaning pen upstairs. Bill and Rose stayed outside and watched over everyone. The puppies squinted a little at first, but seemed to enjoy the grass texture and smells, then Rose laid down for a picnic lunch. It was so serene, and everyone seemed to enjoy this sweet blush of a summer day.


Rose seemed content with herself and her puppies. A happy family. After about 10 minutes, she seemed to want a stretch. I have learned to trust her instincts and saw that the puppies seemed fine with their new surrounds. Rose trotted off; so cute as she paused to sniff a volunteer sunflower that had grown up beneath our bird feeder. The puppies played and napped. Bill brought me a glass of wine. I laid down in the grass near the puppies, and watched the clouds dot the blue sky. I realized that this was the first time I had lain in grass in many years. It was bliss and I was stunned by the beauty that surrounded me. Perhaps, the green, the blooming flowers and the bird chatter were even more poignant knowing the snow and frigid temperatures were just a day away.


All was going well. I wondered if it was time to let the puppies out onto the lawn. Rose had laid down near me, watching and waiting. It was my cue. Out they came.


What a precious day! My heart is full and the brightness of the day, the colors and the sweet calm will always be a cherished memory.

So, with the change to winter in a single day, I set about configuring an indoor play space complete with all the romper room toys. The intent is to provide orchestrated opportunities exploration and enrichment. Play mats and a tunnel will be central objects this week. Novel items and experiences will include a toddler Step2 slide, supervised visits from other dogs in our home (they can’t wait), visits from a few friends, a small open crate / “cave” to crawl into, and toys to shake, rattle and roll.

Most importantly, we will be learning to communicate as our socialization continues. Yummy soft treats (check), clicker (check), box game ready (check) and observation skills in tune (check). More to share on this “communication trinity” next week.

The storm did bowl into Westcliffe. We got about 16 inches and temperatures tumbled from the mid-seventies to a mere twenty degrees. All the plants I could were brought inside. Our guestroom looks and smells like a greenhouse. Outside garden beds were covered, but I don’t think much survived; I had to try. I am mothering the horses with blankets, warm mash and electrolytes. Bird feeders are full and suet basket are out. Hummingbirds are still flitting and, of course, I have ‘nectar solution’ ready to trade out and fill feeders, so the tiny jewels have energizing food to help them make it through this cold snap. I recall my mother doing the same thing. Both of us willing the plants to survive and worried together about the birds in the cold.

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It will warm up again as the week progresses. I will be bringing the puppies outside again for more adventures, and transforming our deck to their very own outdoor gymnasium. I wish my mother could have seen them play and helped me recover my garden. Like mother, like daughter. 

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Posted 107 weeks ago

Growing Up: Just Right and Too Fast

     “Now you know why Peter Pan never wanted to grow up.”

I read this quote recently and somehow it resonated anew with me. As I care for, nurture, visit with prospective families and, yes, worry about the puppies, I realize deep down there is a bittersweet feeling. It is a choke in the chest that brings tears to my eyes. I take the stewardship of these little lives very seriously and earnestly pray, hope the best futures and do everything in my power to give them a good start in their life. This is a critical time in their lives, and I had a hand in bringing that life into this world. It is an awesome responsibility.

Having never had children, the rearing may have a stronger pull on my spirit. I can imagine that growing up may be one of the hardest things about being parent; that, and the letting go. Being a teacher, I have seen it on the parents faces and the misty eyes, particularly at the high points in their child’s academic career:  pride and bittersweet letting go. 

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The puppies are evolving from little dumplings who simply nursed and slept to little puppy dogs. They can now both see and hear, although the clarity of both is still developing. The only vocalizations they made were to solicit attention. Now, at just 21 days, they growl, bark and make a variety of endearing sounds. They explore their siblings and surrounds by scent, sight and by chewing & mouthing. Still, the boys are sumo wrestlers in their play and the girls a bit more refined, like the ballerinas I imagined.

Personalities are beginning to emerge. Little Bowtie is a “go-getter” and is often the first to explore a new toy, as does her brother, Arrow. In fact, this littlest of girls seems to prefer to play with boys, but snuggles with her sisters. The blue merle girls, Fancy and Blue, are already big time tail waggers. Both are often the first to crawl into my lap when I sit in the weaning pen with them. Socks loves his food and is the first & last to leave the food dish. His gaze seems to look right through me to my heart. Stormy, first to open his eyes, is an observer. I think he is just waiting for the right moment to pounce, and chew on a sib’s ear, which he does with gusto.

This last week, the transitional period, was all about textures. Each day they were offered a developmentally appropriate novel item. Pups got to feel and explore a tub mat, baking sheet, a crinkle elephant rope toy,  a pillow case filled with wadded up craft paper, a fleece braid, my slippers and Bill’s toes. 

They began climbing out of the whelping box a few days earlier than I expected or have experienced in past litters. At day 18 they were just about up and over. The area was changed up to accommodate their mobility, and wobbly but stronger coordination. With each developmental period, their environment is changed to offer more space and stimulus. I offer learning opportunities to the puppies at just the right time. It is, for me, the challenge of observation and the wisdom to move with the puppies at their pace as they mature. That is the beauty of Puppy Culture, the program I following when raising my puppies.

Their teeth are erupting too, a bit earlier than my wheaten terrier litters. So today was first gruel, which was eagerly devoured with zero hesitation. Rose happily cleaned up afterwards and offered dessert, mama milkshakes.

This third week, socialization truly begins in earnest. I will be continue offering a novel item to explore daily and introducing sound protocols. I used a habituation recording, played low, this morning. It had sounds of fireworks, trains and a lawn mower. As the week progresses, they will also hear me vacuum,  use blow dryer and watch Antiques Roadshow & Endeavor Masterpiece Mystery with us. 

We will also offer the puppy some of their first challenges. We use some infant sounds mats in the weaning pen for pups to step on, and some soft low obstacles to climb over and a wet feet exercise. The latter, is simply a wet towel in a cookie sheet for them to walk on. It is important to note that it is the puppies decision whether to interact or not with the challenge or novel item. We also want to make sure the puppy is steady enough on their feet to move off the object, if they find it unpleasant.

Friends are also starting to visit. The puppies love climbing into and over laps and legs. They most often return the many kisses given. Smiles abound.

We have snow on the Sangres. I admit I am not ready for Fall. Yet, change is the only constant. May I always grow alongside it, and savor each moment offered.

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Posted 108 weeks ago

A Peaceful Time: Puppies at Two Weeks

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“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

It is true that it is in the quiet that you discover yourself. I have marveled and been touched by gratitude as I watched Rose become a mother and her puppies grow & thrive. We weigh them once a day, sometimes twice depending on the gain. By ten days, they should have doubled their weight. Each met this milestone with ounces to spare. Even my worry over the smallest puppy was vanquished. She is small but mighty and extra solo time with mom twice a day caught her up. 

Puppies received plenty of cuddle time and gentle brush strokes with a soft baby’s brush. Several especially like to nuzzle Bill’s beard and try to nurse. I played soft classical music in our puppy nursery, not for the puppies as they cannot yet hear or see, but for Rose. I particularly like the CD, “Through a Dog’s Ear”. The psychoacoustically designed classical piano arrangements are based on research into how the canine nervous system responds to sound. I know when I play this, we both deeply relax. Happy mom, happy life.

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Rose is staying a healthy weight. I am giving less Mother’s Pudding, but will continue to give her goats milk and fresh scrambled duck eggs throughout nursing, along with her kibble, of course.

Our next milestone will be the puppies eyes opening any day now, followed in a week or so by the ears opening. This is known as the transitional period. The puppies are toddling about; weebles wobble & they do fall down. We will begin to introduce one new tactile item and/or one new experience a day. Some examples of tactile items I have in mind this week are a nearly empty baby wipe container (it crinkles), a pillow case filled with crumpled paper (a mini mountain to climb) and a massage tub mat (it tickles our toes). A new experience will be sniffing about a bit in another room of the house in puppy pairs, as well as a couple of dog savvy visitors. This all encourages the nervous & endocrine systems to develop during this critical socialization window through 12 weeks. The collies puppies will become enrichment seekers with the mottos “carpe diem” and “I’ve got this!”  More fun and games to come in the following weeks; all orchestrated to offer challenges and lessons that the individual puppy is ready to receive and achieve. It is actually quite similar to Montessori education for children.

They have a bumper crate bed for a nest area now and a potty pad adjacent to encourage their natural instinct of not wanting to soil their nest/sleep area. Once they are more mobile and their eyes are open, we will provide them with a litter box as we expand the whelping box to a weaning & indoor play area.

Foxhaven Wild Wind Puppies at Two Weeks:

The Girls – Fancy, Blue and Bowtie

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The Boys – Socks, Stormy and Arrow

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While our days are centered on the puppies, life goes on beyond the whelping box at Foxhaven. Many have asked how is our little big man Legend is doing. He is on the mend, bright eyed and back to being the social director, neighing at the horses in the pasture, and the occasional deer. We change his splint every 3-4 days and he is mobile, within his stall & small paddock we made for him. Samwise, our guardian donkey, is keeping him company and watching over him. Sneakers is stealing his hay! Legend will be on stall rest for several months and we are praying for a full recovery. I am planning some therapy horse visits at our local assisted living for Christmas this year. A good activity to pin my hopes on!

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We have two new barn cats, part feral, and I pray more savvy than our little kitten friends who have yet to return home. My heart breaks for Rita and Mari; it is the downside of being a barn cat and having the freedom (and mice) that entails. They were in at night with their yummy wet food. I used to tell the horses that they were their nightly entertainment! Here is a photo of one new kitty, Tootsie. She is peeking through an enclosure we put together for them to get acclimated to our barn. Both she and Mrs. Murphy are warming up to us. And the warm goat milk they get each morning, as well as, the ocean delight wet food at night. They purr for it and rub up against the sides of their enclosure when they see me (and smell their treats).

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It is a juggle, but I try to give the other dogs as much individual attention as I can. Each Wednesday is grooming and brushing out day. We swap out walk days now that we have puppies that require priority attention. Today was Ty’s turn for a walk-about with his new friend, Spirit. I am learning to treasure the moments, and attempt to live in the present moment. It is not easy with a full life; therein, lies both the challenge and the blessing. Animals have much to teach us.

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Bill rode to Lake of the Clouds this past weekend, and is doing ground work with Jaimie. Gold and I need to ride soon! They are all enjoying their bigger upper pasture and being turned out together each afternoon.

Life takes on a rhythm here. A rhythm of peace.

Posted 109 weeks ago

New Life at Foxhaven -- Puppies!

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”
― Milan Kundera

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(SIRE – Reason: CH Wild Wind’s Something to Believe In)

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(DAM – Rose: CH Wild Wind’s Run for the Roses)

In the wee hours of Tuesday, August 11, 2020, Rose’s puppies were born. Three perfect male puppies (three tri-colored puppies) and three perfect female puppies (one tri-colored and two blue merle). Once Rose delivered the first 14-ounce boy, the rest of the whelping was smooth sailing. The boy puppies all weighed close to 14 ounces; the girls, 11-12 ounces. I have observed it is a little like sumo wrestlers and ballerina vying for the spotlight (aka, best nursing spot). I give the girls some time alone with their mother several times a day.

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We strive to raise properly socialized, self-confident and healthy puppies. We take time to research pedigrees, health test (genetic, eyes, hips/patella/elbow radiographs) and rely on breed mentors to enrich and inform the process for the best possible match, as well as utilize specialized veterinary care. We take pride in following the Code of Ethics established by the Collie Club of American and participate in All Breed Shows, as well as performance events.

We have chosen to use the protocols laid out in Puppy Culture (Jane Killion). Puppy Culture is a socialization and training program specifically designed for the critical period for puppies 0-12 weeks. The program is well organized sets of lessons, and more. It is a program that teaches you to watch your puppy and by doing so, tease out the best qualities in the precious individual puppy. This is done by presenting lessons and challenges appropriate for that particular puppy. As a professional educator and retired teacher of 30+ years, I resonate strongly with this approach.

Puppy Culture is based on the premise that the puppy always leads the learning, and puppies learn best by appropriate experiences at the appropriate time. So what we are doing is teaching you to observe the puppy, and, based on the behavioral markers you see, serve the puppy the experience or lesson that is optimal for him at that moment in time.

 By letting the puppy lead, we are:

 •maximizing the benefit of any given protocol or lesson,

•minimizing any danger of over-facing or scaring the puppy

•creating confidence and self-efficacy by presenting the appropriate level of challenge that the puppy CAN do without failing or presenting a danger to himself.”

During this first week, we strove to create a nesting place Rose that was both comfortable and emotionally safe for Rose. Since we are remodeling our house, the ‘master to be’ space proved perfect. With the whelping box in the corner, there will be plenty of room to expand the space to a weaning area, then indoor play area as the puppies grow and mature. They will also have several safe outdoor play areas, that we will use as they get older. Puppies are weighed two times a day the first week to ensure they are doing well, nails trimmed (yes, already little needles!) and their first vet visit for postpartum exam of mom and pups. I slept on a camp cot in the ‘nursery’ this first week to ensure all is well, and to get my full dose of the music of puppy nursing and maximum cuteness.

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Beginning at day three, we do a protocol known as Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS). ENS is a process we started doing that introduces mild stresses to very young puppies in a controlled way. These stresses help stimulate the neurological system which improves the growth and development of the pup’s immune system, cardiovascular system, and stress tolerance.

HAPPY ONE WEEK BIRTHDAY!

Today, the puppies turned ONE WEEK old.  We will be posting here weekly, and sharing our journey with these precious beings. Their puppy names are based on their markings. The theme of this litter is the John Denver song, “Rocky Mountain High”. The lyrics have rich meaning to us, and the puppies’ registered names will be taken from verses in the song; perhaps, call names, as well. So far, we like the verse ‘grace in every step’ for the girl, Grace, we will be adding to our Foxhaven family. 

 The Girls:

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The Boys:

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Ten weeks will fly by and I treasure each moment I have with them. It is a bittersweet time, in some ways, but I keep the goal in sight:  blessing a family with a healthy socialized enrichment-seeking puppy; a puppy that will grow up to expand their family’s heart spaces and bring much love and laughter for many years to come.

Posted 110 weeks ago

Summer at Foxhaven

The challenges of covid have not personally impacted our everyday life on the ranch much. That said, our hearts feel daily angst, deep sadness and real concern for our family, friends and the global community. Yet, I hold onto the belief that in every crisis is an opportunity. I pray that we come out of these times kinder, wiser, more forgiving and more hopeful. Even as I say this, I know that it may ring hollow to those who have lost so very much. This shadows even the most optimistic views.

Yet, I have this moment and this summer and I am grateful. There are many reasons for hope at Foxhaven. Our elevated beds grow sweet basil, peas, cucumbers, greens, peppers and tomatoes. Our flower baskets and pots bloom gloriously. Yet, despite all the prep and expense for zoned on the lower half of our front yard for a wild flower meadow, it failed. The weeds came back and the weather turned hot and dry. I think I will try more raised beds with mulch and cobblestone/gravel walkways there next spring/summer. Live and learn. Maybe I can make green spring from dry ground. Those who plant seeds, believe in miracles.

In a twist of fate, just as we were signing up Legend, our little big man miniature stallion, for some therapy visit at our small town’s assisted living he had a very serious accident. Somehow, probably “horse play” with Jaimie, he got kicked causing a subluxation of his hock, a puncture wound and broken splint bone. Of the three injuries the latter is the least serious surprisingly. Our farm vet, Deanna Jordan, was quick to respond on an emergency call. After a thorough exam and cleaning of the wound it was suggested we go to Littleton Equine Hospital. As worrisome as the three hour trailer ride was to us, it had to be done. There he was xrayed and underwent surgery to thoroughly clean his wound, remove the splintered bone and cast his leg. 

Once home, Legend went downhill quickly despite our 24/7 care. His pain was evident and his gut sounds, as well as fecal production decreased. Unbeknownst to us, a serious side effect to both surgery and orthopedic pain is cecal impaction. The cecum is a one way fermentation vat, somewhat similar to our appendix. Once ‘clogged’, a horse can be well one moment and dead the next. Needless, to say our vet was called again and he went to her clinic. Dr. Deanna Jordan gave him the 24 hour care he needed to not only recover but survive. IV fluid, tubing, special care and pain management, as well as a nearby stall mate, Dolly, and a friendship with Deanna’s dog, Walker, saved our little big man. 

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After two weeks in Dr. Jordan’s care, he is home. The whole herd, humans included, are relieved. He is sporting a custom splint and will have several months of stall rest. He still has some battles to conquer and challenges to overcome. He has the heart to do it! And all the love our hearts can hold. Welcome home, Legend.

(Watch for another wonder-filled post about new life at Foxhaven.)

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Posted 111 weeks ago

Posted 124 weeks ago