I groaned aloud last Friday afternoon when I read the Facebook post from Kat Greaney, the young woman who’s raising Kyndall’s sister, Kihei, in northern California. She reported that Kihei had just gone into heat; I wondered how far behind Kyndall could be.
Saturday morning I took Kyndall and Tucker to Cyndy Carlton’s twice-monthly puppy social (which was jammed with happy dogs of all ages — a well-behaved free-for-all!). There I asked several experienced puppy-raisers if litter-mates tend to go into season at the same time. No one cited hard data, but the consensus seemed to be that two dogs from the same litter could well be on different schedules. I also was fascinated to hear the range of initial start dates various puppy-raisers had witnessed. The youngest was at 6 months, and at the other end of the spectrum, Cyndy told me about one female who still hadn’t had a single heat cycle when she turned in for advanced training (at about 18 months).
So Steve and I crossed our fingers that Kyndall’s sojourn in Sex Jail (also known irreverently as Girl Camp) might not come for awhile. After all, she’s not quite 8 months old — months younger than any of her predecessors in our house have been at the the time of their first heats.
Female CCI puppies go into heat, by the way — rather than being spayed — because CCI wants to consider using them as breeding females. The organization breeds virtually all its own puppies, and although it may not be as glamorous a calling as graduating to life as a service dog, being chosen as a breeder doesn’t sound like a bad turn of events to me. Each girl lives with special “breeder-caretaker,” and I understand they have no more than five litters in their careers.
As for the female puppies, the rules are that whenever they do go into heat, they must be boarded. That’s partly because CCI doesn’t want to run any risk of them getting accidentally impregnated by some canine Lothario. Also, living with a dog in heat is a messy experience, one that CCI wants to spare its puppy-raisers from enduring.
Messy it is. This past weekend we’ve dolefully noticed that Kyndall’s lady parts were looking swollen and she seemed to be licking herself more than normal. Then this morning unmistakable evidence materialized: several large drops of blood on my office floor tiles.
I called the folks in Oceanside, and they told me to bring her right in. On our arrival, I learned that several other young females had also arrived, in the same state, just last week. So Kyndall should have a kennel mate throughout her confinement. She’ll also be taken for short walks, and I understand the girls get regular play times.
Given all that, I think she’ll have a great time. As I noted so recently, these dogs seemed to find it endlessly amusing to have a pal to wrestle with. We, on the other hand, are sad. Since the heat cycles last for around 3 weeks, this means she’ll be incarcerated on the Fourth of July, when we had looked forward to marching in the big Coronado parade with the CCI drill team. It also means she probably will miss sharing the Christmas holidays with us, as it’s very common for the dogs to go into heat again in about 6 months.
On top of that, we just miss her. Things will be quiet both in the house and on my blog for a while.