Happy Mother’s Day!

It took me twenty-five years to grow seven children to the point that even the youngest could brush her hair and teeth, tie her shoes, and make a PB&J. Note that I said could- not would.

I’ve been re-living a great deal of the experience recently as I’ve spent the last ten weeks raising nine giant breed puppies for the first ten weeks of what I hope will be their long and lovely lives. And as I’ve been compelled to skip yet another fitness class.

The cloistered lifestyle required for such an assignment is an experience in itself. But add to it the fact that one is not secluded alone or with other like-minded adults as in a convent or a monastery, rather one is not sequestered with adults at all. One is confined with newlings and the very young.

This also is not a confinement such as the voluntary commitment for segregation one might make to an institute of higher learning or to a health and beauty spa. Instead, this is a requirement of the job of full-time at home motherhood. Of course, those dedicated mothers who work outside the home are not going off to vacation every time they leave for the office, and are likely calling home often and running straight back there to labor after finishing up on their secondary jobs.

For the past ten weeks, I have cleaned up more poop and pee than I would have ever thought possible- and of course spit-up and the occasional vomit. I’ve listened to the same soft and some silly songs over and over and over again, because they were enjoyable or calming to the little ones. (This is a technique of torture used on adults in certain situations.)

I’ve spoken in soothing tones countless hours regularly repeating myself as the youngsters behavior clearly indicated that they needed to hear these things over and over and over again. Line upon line, precept upon precept, so to speak. I’ve spoken firmly. And I’ve occasionally spoken too loudly, and in a harsh manner and felt the sting of guilt and shame, as well as a need for confession and repentance. I’ve watched in joyous gratitude as some began to do little things for themselves, and as a few began to obey simple instruction as a result.

I’ve washed the same hair- okay fur- cleaned between the same toes and washed behind the same ears, day after day after day. I’ve carefully looked after each one’s diet and need for medications. I’ve comforted the sick and bound up the injured.

And I sang along with those favored songs again and again, hugged, cuddled, petted, played, pleaded and loved more than I could have imagined possible.

Finally, last evening, after all my tremendous effort, someone arrived to take the first of my small charges to a new home. I was over-joyed! Someone new to love her- hopefully better than I ever could! Someone for her to share with- both a home and her life! I was anxious. Would she remember the things I and others had taught her? Would she wisely apply them? Would she remember my great lover for her? Would she call me when needed but would she be able to stand on her own four feet? I was sad. Would she remember me at all? Would she ever be back to visit? I was concerned. Would her new helper truly love her? Forever? Would her new helper give her all and yet refrain from spoiling her?

This morning I woke to tend my brood and counted. One was missing! Oh, Dear! Six, seven, eight… where could she be? Where was she hiding? Is she in danger? In moments, it all came back to me. And tonight someone will arrive to take the first boy…

Happy Mother’s Day simply isn’t fitting. Happy EACH AND EVERY DAY to all of you truly devoted young mothers! May God bless your smallest efforts to train aright the boys and girls who will be our future. Next to Christ and faithful fathers, you and they are certainly our hope.

Copyright 2017.  Bonnie Shelton.

KURLY SAINTS Q&A

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This is a picture of a full grown Saint Bernardoodle, Standard poodle x St. Bernard.  I found it out there in cyberspace and thought I would share it with you.

 

Hi, Everyone!

I’m truly grateful for the sincere and extensive interest in our pups.  I’ve  enjoyed watching as the site is hit, nearly one hundred percent through Facebook referral, by folks from Sweden, Germany, Hungary, The Netherlands, The UK, Spain and others, as well as many from my home, the USA.  Another big thank you to Mark Zuckerburg, a puli enthusiast himself, I understand!

I thought it might be helpful to create this Q and A as many of you have already posed interesting questions.  So here we go!

Questions and Answers:

  1. Are there any pups in the litter who will NOT inherit their mother’s coat?  As of now, each pup is showing evidence of having mom’s hair coat.  Hair is curling as on a poodle or a kom somewhere on each  puppies body.  There are six that are waving/curling all over the body, the other three are curling on their legs and around their faces and are suspiciously wooly everywhere else.  Though I can not guarantee the mother’s coat as this is my first experience, and I can find no record of any other’s experience with this particular cross, I would suggest that you adopt/purchase a pup only if shearing every six months or putting in the labor necessary to keep up a corded coat on your animal will not be an issue for you.  I let our kom’s hair grow long only once! I personally clip my Missy’s hair about two inches from the skin every four to six months.  I do deal with sweeping up mats that she will pull if I am not brushing her often enough to keep them from being a nuisance to her.  But I do not have the issue with loose hair that is common with typically shedding animals.  I have raised toy poodles and find the coat of my kom nearly identical to that of my past poodles.  In fact, with some research you will find that a few interested poodle owners are allowing their dogs to “cord.”
  2. Are the puppies hypo-allergenic?  NO.  There is honestly no such thing.  All animals produce “dander” as do human beings.  But those folks with allergies do tend to suffer a great deal less around an animal that does not “shed,”  and some find they tolerate the “non-shedder” quite easily.
  3. Will the pups be good as guard dogs? I certainly expect them to be.  I hope that the easygoing nature of the Saint will combine with the nearly excessively alert nature of the kom to produce a better guard, specifically in situations requiring protection of people with not as great a necessity for the protection of property.  I have often said that our Saint is a friendly giant and would likely negotiate rights to the property, or even give it away with enough persuasion as he is naturally trusting, however due to his imposing stature and powerful voice most are afraid to approach our property and therefore do not even come close to a polite introduction.   However, I do not believe he would tolerate a serious threat to one of his people. On the other hand, our kom is hyper-vigilant and is tremendously concerned for each blade of grass.  I shudder to imagine what would happen if someone, particularly a stranger, were to seriously intimidate a person in her charge.
  4. Will the pups make good livestock guardians? A puppy will never be a good livestock guardian as his greatest desire is to play with anything that moves and he must learn discrimination.  That said, I believe these pups, with proper acclimation will become excellent livestock guardian dogs. The potential is certainly there.
  5. Are both breeds considered livestock guardians? No.  Koms were bred to do exactly that, guard and protect livestock and other property, and often work alone or with another LGD far away from the master- necessitating that they make some decisions on their own.  The Saint was specifically bred for search and rescue, particularly in areas of deep snow- also requiring that he use good judgement of his own to complete the task.  Both breeds are solidly working class dogs.

Intending to field your questions here, I will add to this post as I encounter further inquiry.

if you are interested in reserving a puppy, please go to the menu and select the page titled, “In The Nursery.”

And thank you so much for joining in our adventure!

 

That Doggie In The Window

Today I posted individual pictures of my little wooly bears- okay- Kurly Saints, Saint Bernard/Komondor cross-breed pups, on our Itty Bitty Farm site. I did this with a heart full of conflicting emotion as I have- I hope you’re sitting down for this one- willingly bonded with each fuzzy canine.

I spend a great deal of time with them. In fact, other than the weekend spent helping to move our recently widowed young daughter and her toddler into their new house, I’ve spent the majority of each day with these critters since they began opening their eyes, and that particular ordinary miracle occurred right on time when the newlings were two and one-half weeks into the world. Shortly thereafter, the development of their wonderfully functioning ears was complete and thanks to puppy playtime, and the frequent opportunities presented therein for the building up of noble character, it has become apparent that each one hears quite well.

Actually, it turns out that they respond eagerly to my attempts at training because they are brilliant. Of course, every doting mother, even the most devoted stand-in speaks this way of her children, and what’s more she believes it, so how are you to know if this is an accurate description? Perhaps a bit of testimony is in order…

The pups pictures were posted along with their initial and likely temporary names, and these names were selected purposefully to give some inclination of the developing temperament I have witnessed over the course of our days together. I will mention each one by that specifically given name as I proceed to give you some idea of who each one appears to be, and I will endeavor to offer an occasional account of one’s obvious genius.

Also, I do thiink it best that I introduce you to each one according to his or her size as the difference is somewhat remarkable. They are between seven and ten pounds and stand at a difference of an inch and a half- not much to wonder over in adults but we are speaking of near infants.

This is truly not surprising when we consider that their father is a muscle-bound one hundred forty pound brute with a massive block head. One sometimes suffers the illusion that the ground trembles a bit as he steps along, while mother weighs only eighty-five pounds in her most elegant winter coat.

Father’s spectacular voice resonates with the deepest base tones and is used with greater discrimination and much less often than their mother’s also easily intimidating alto-disposed chords, however she stands nearly as tall as he and is most certainly where their prodigy may inherit any dancing skills.

Unfortunately, their father’s hulkish build allows for only a limited range of motion, but it is necessary to catch just a glimpse of him to be sufficiently stunned, and I have witnessed many a poor passerby begin to quake and quicken his step at the least display of Flint’s polite attempt to remind him of his need to remember that ours is privately held property.

We may contrast this with mother’s almost unbelievable abilities at bodily contortion. Why I have awakened in the wee hours of the morning dismayed that the people of the house failed to put the left-over food away before exhaustedly falling into bed the previous night, and found the entire kitchen sparkling as though attended by a team of make-it-glisten fairies! Though the dishes were not put away, and really seemed hardly to have been displaced- they were gleaming! And the countertops could certainly have one a Good Housekeeping prize… Of course, we knew to whom we must attribute this fine show of talent, and you most certainly do as well if you have paid proper attention while reading this post.

Now on to descriptions of these similarly gifted puppies! As I decided to proceed according to size, we will begin with Cinderella, aka Cindy and Little-Cindy-Lou-Who depending on the stand-in mother’s level of playfulness at the time.

Cindy was named such because though she is an originally preferred color for Saint Bernards, brindle, as are five of her siblings, when you flip her over to rub her little belly it would seem that she had been crawling through the fireplace ash. Cindy is an eager partner in cuddling and easily appears the most delicate of the bunch, however as is sometimes the case with those smallish in stature, she has a gargantuan spirit and is a scrapper extraordinare. We need not be overly concerned with her welfare as she is appropriately watchful of it herself… And yet there is something remotely sad about her occasionally wistful expression to suggest that she would appreciate a bit of additional security.

Next up is Balmy, like his sister, despite his relatively slight appearance he is quite capable of defending himself when his incredible patience has finally thinned. He tends to be the last in any line and the least apt at any activity other than rest. But in spite of this, if we pay close heed to him we notice he is at rapt attention while he watches his mother beg as unobtrusively as she is able to make out… This leads me to an awareness that he is not lacking in sense but may be bereft of good moral character leaving me concerned that with only the least neglect in his training, he may develop into a malingerer.

And as for Gritty, well he is a favorite! He was born with his socks on and it doesn’t take one long to realize that it was appropriate evidence of who he was intended to be. He started small but with great determination was first to the bowl. He is not without athletic talent as I have observed him balancing his front half on our full-sized soccer ball and rolling it with ease. This is a grade above noseball and will probably qualify him for a stronger division. His gaze is sharp and his notice of all that matters- intense. Yet he will occasionally miss a detail of some sort, such as when he trots straight through the before mentioned food-become-fertilizer to be first into my arms. Still, this confirms his attention to the big picture is exceptional.

Ah, Cordy! Short for Cordial, Cordy is exactly as his name implies. Always in command of himself, he is at ease with anyone and any situation. He is truly affectionate and yet content to wait for the proper time and place for its display. He was first to bond with a soft stuffed replication of a bestie as he seemed to judge his siblings a bit rowdy for his polite society, and wisely recognized the real situation of his thinly-spread Stand-In.

This morning I awoke to the sight of Cordy’s precious panda face atop the auto waterer, his front paws draped over it and his little head resting on them. He had evidently scooted the empty waterer from its normal location to its current place just in front of the gate, I am supposing with the full intention of my taking notice. But being much too kindly to whine me awake on a Saturday morning, he simply posed himself there indefinitely as an apt reminder to me when I did chance to open my eyes.

Comet shot out into the open space of existence with powerful force and majestic ease simultaneously displayed, and the children witnessing the amazing event named her accordingly. Despite her conspicuous jovial nature, when it comes down to it she is quickest to the draw. It is a rare moment to see Comet bested by another’s physical prowess. If there is to be a dog pile she will intentionally be at the top.

Chewy, named not for a predilection to a constant gnawing on one thing or another, but rather as a nod to our favorite Star Wars pal, Chewbacca (the wookie), is nothing if not enthusiastic! When he plays, he does so with terrific zeal, he eats with astonishing fervor, he loves hard, and collapses into deep sleep. Of all my remarkable children, he may be the least forward with his genius, but I believe he readily shows an excellent doggie disposition and will be inclined to utter faithfulness.

Next up from this group is Cozy- another favorite! Cozy largely resembles her father and as her name carefully implies and her great hulking appearance readily denies, she is the quintessential estimation of hospitality. I have found her without exception ready for whatever another has in mind. I fancy that if she were to speak English she would most easily carry on with me through a wide array of interests and topics over a nice cup of tea, and then just as simply, forgetting her fascination with such things, engage another with less aptitude or possibly only a more carefree disposition, in a game of tag. She is patient to a fault. I’ve seen her allow a fellow and a lightweight by comparison, to drag her by her tail for a full minute before she made the first request for his disengagement. Cozy is certain to make an agreeable companion.

Dear Flip. In the beginning, Flip was referred to as Flint Jr., as he is nearly identical in appearance to his father. Interestingly, it is there that the resemblance stops. He was eventually dubbed JR by the Mister of the house, and further along the way anointed Flip due to his absurd antics. He is unhesitatingly bored and offers no apologies for his effort to excite the rest of us. I have watched while he played with unwavering vigor until none remained awake but himself, and continued to observe as he, completely lacking in discrimination, proceeded to rouse each of his mates, even stirring a few to a state as passionate as his own. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that he and Balmy are ever at odds.

And last but absolutely not in any way least, Perky was originally named Pokey, as at his birth my lovely daughter, Anna, immediately proclaimed the resemblance. Perky is surely the most astute of the group. He was the first to open both of his eyes and the first to give profound evidence of his keen hearing, yet not only of his ability to hear but of his capacity to understand what he heard. This level of cognitive awareness contributes to a bit of an anxious disposition, yet he seems able and apt to put the judgement of his head before that of his heart. I find this admirable as I can not always say it of myself with confidence. Perky is heaviest and tallest of his siblings, and absolutely possesses the most unique appearance. He does promptly bring to mind memories of his mother in his sureness of his rightness, nonetheless he eagerly responds to my voice and usually acquiesces to what we both hope to be my better judgement. In my assessment, he would be a fine working dog as well as an excellent friend.

On a serious note, the pups have been raised inside our home to date, and so have had ample opportunity to learn what a firmly stated no means, as well as to immediately cease their activity when hearing a strong “aahhnntt.” They truly are quite responsive to my voice and I suspect would transfer that recognition and willingness to heed, to another whom they perceive as kind and caring as well as in charge, without much difficulty.

In closing, I do hope you have been entertained along the journey of meeting my nine little Einstein’s, and that you’ll remember them to your friends and acquaintances, as I do long for each one to enjoy an appropriate place in the world. I am most concerned with each being adopted by someone who will genuinely care for him or her, and for that person I am open to negotiation as to payment.

Copyright 2017. L.L. Shelton.

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