Bad News and Good News

The bad news is that after finishing up three weeks on antibiotics (Clavamox), Darby produced urine yesterday that apparently was filled with white blood cells.  I still have yet to talk to my vet (who was on vacation earlier in the week), but I did hear from Stu at CCI (who’s also traveling) that one of Darby’s littermates is having similar problems.  In a panic, I called the veterinarian at CCI headquarters, who said if Darby is having no clinical symptoms, the urinalysis results might only mean that she has a mild case of vaginitis.  She counseled waiting and seeing how she does.

The good news is that she’s acting like a happy, healthy puppy.  We’re taking care of another dog at the moment, Eva, while her pack gets away for the weekend.  Eva loves to wrestle, and Darby loves to wrestle with her.  Here’s some of the action from this morning:

Darby’s Dad

Darby’s Dad

I’m really enjoying being in contact with Darby’s “birth humans.”  (That never happened with our first three CCI pups.)  Her birth dad, Rick, has sent us links to great photos of the earliest days of her litter and directed me to a Yahoo group for people interested in sharing info about all the offspring of Paxton III, Darby’s sire.

Paxton III

A full black labrador retriever, Paxton was the third out of a litter of five born on April 9, 2005, I learned. The Paxton group home page also says, “Out of the first 60 pups Paxton sired, 35 of them graduated : Four breeder girls, three Hearing Dogs, six Facility Dogs, 10 Service Dogs and 12 Skilled Companion Dogs. That is a 58.3% graduate success rate!” Sounds encouraging to me!

Pack Life

Over the weekend, we took care of Kenzie, the black lab who belongs to our good friends Meg, Paul, and Will.  Although Kenzie’s a very strong-willed dog, she showed fantastic restraint when chased by little Miss Darby, who delighted in nipping at those elegant black ears and attacking Kenzie’s stylish purple collar.  

Darby and Kenzie

We couldn’t tell who Tucker likes better.  He seems to love all girls.

Darby and Tucker

For the most part, all three dogs played well together, though Darby took more than one tumble as the Big Dogs blasted past her. Here they all are, attacking a milk bottle, always an exciting toy (for about 10 minutes, until it gets too chewed up and sharp-edged.)

Like mother like daughter?

Like mother like daughter?

Darby’s breeder/caretaker sent me a photo of her mother, Ina, when she was a pup, and I’ve been wanting to capture one of Darby, about the same age.  Note that it is HARDER to photograph black puppies than yellow ones.  Also that Ina appears to have been better about sitting and staying with her Gentle Leader on.  But it looks to me like Darby won’t be quite as furry.

Continuing Progress

Continuing Progress

We had some setbacks in terms of peeing in the house, but I think we’re making slow but steady progress on Sleeping through the Night.  Friday night she went from 10 p.m. to about 5 a.m.  Saturday night, when she started playing with her toy bone at 3 a.m., Steve weakened and took her outside.  But last night she went from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.  I could live with that indefinitely!

She’s a dainty eater.  Chews every piece of kibble deliberately and often leaves some in her bowl. But that isn’t stopping her from growing.  This morning she weighed 20.5 pounds — four and a half pounds more than when I brought her home, less than two weeks ago.

She’s still portable.  But that won’t last for much longer.

 We’ll mark another milestone tonight too: first puppy class!

Countdown to continence

Yesterday was a landmark.  Our first day with not one single accident in the house.  Exactly one week after Darby’s arrival here.

I’m not exactly sure who’s training whom. Steve and I have certainly tuned up our ability to read puppy body language — and to make multiple trips with Darby out to the backyard.  (Puppies can’t have accidents if their bladders are empty.)  And we’re not home free yet.  This morning started out with a little deposit in the living room.
But Darby clearly understands what we mean when we take her out and tell her to Hurry. As long as she’s got anything at all to excrete, she’ll urinate (at least).  She loves to drink water (and even loves to splash it out of the water bowl.)  Yesterday, in the summery temperatures we’re enjoying, she also was introduced to ice, which she loved.

Her mouth is dripping with the ice, held between her paws.

From Beauty Born

From Beauty Born

For the first time since we started raising CCI puppies, we’ve heard from the folks who took care of the litter from which Darby came — Irina Green and Rick Spicer, who live about 40 east of Sacramento. They raised Ina, Darby’s mother, and when CCI selected her to become a breeder, they asked to be her breeder-caretakers. Isn’t she gorgeous?

She’s three-quarters golden retriever and one-quarter yellow labrador. Irina reports that this was her first litter, and it included 6 puppies: two yellow girls, two black girls, and two black boys. “Darby was number 5. They all were born big and grew fast, I understand that you were surprised that Darby was so big, but the biggest boy (by the way, the one born last) was 18 lb at 7.5 weeks and the smallest girl was 14 lb.”
Irina says Ina is something of a character, bringing Rick’s slippers to him every morning and “talking” with a slipper in her mouth; kicking his knee to remind him when it’s dinner time. I also loved hearing from Rick that Darby was one of the most cuddly pups in her litter.  He says she “used to sit in the middle of the pen and wait for someone to walk by.  When they did, she’d start wagging that little tail of hers and give the person “The Look”.  As soon as the person would make eye contact, she’d jump up and run over to the x-pen wall and ask for some loving!!!  When you’d pick her up, most of the time she’d just snuggle in on your shoulder, up against your chin and neck.”
Steve and I already appreciate that sweetness in her.  Even Tucker seems to like her more than any other puppy we’ve seen him interact with! 

Darby Kills Chicken!

I’m always amazed by how much puppies adore squeaky toys.  When Tucker just hears this video (on my i-Phone) he jumps up and wants to eat the phone. He’s such a mild-mannered fellow, a squeaky toy is the only thing he’ll ever try to take from another dog (and then he must be stopped, as he will rip it to shreds within minutes).  Darby’s sharp little teeth are not yet strong enough to eviscerate Mr. Chicken. But she’s trying.

Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons

Note to myself:
The Pros of Puppies include:
— the way they rear up and race at 100 miles per hour when they see you
— their hilarious moves
— their softness and holdability
— their unquenchable curiosity

The Cons include:
— being awakened by them in the middle of the night and having to take them downstairs and outside into the rain to pee
— teaching them to urinate and defecate outside, on our schedule, instead of randomly throughout the house, on theirs.

I think she looks older in this picture than she does most of the time.

Much Improved

Much Improved
Our visit to the vet yesterday confirmed the cause of Darby’s constant urge to pee: a nasty infection. But this morning after 24 hours on Clavamox, and three applications of cortisone cream, she appears to be vastly improved.
She also settled down much more last night, whimpering only minimally when she was ushered into her kennel (as opposed to the frantic screams of our first night together).  She and I made one trip outside a little before 1 a.m., and then she rousted me from bed again at 5:50 a.m. 
So I’m feeling tired. But she is FULL of beans, or rather, palm tree seeds, which she apparently has concluded are even tastier than Eukanuba Large-Breed Puppy Chow.