A Tale of Two Litters

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The simplest way to approach the events of the week is in chronological order, I believe, so I’ll start with the AKC Hunt Test on Saturday put on by the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Lincoln at the Branched Oak Trial Grounds near Raymond, Nebraska.  Although Sam and BB have made definite progress toward the goal, it was not a day for perfection, so neither of them got a pass on Senior Hunter.  But luckily we live in hunt test ground zero between Sioux Falls, Lincoln and the NE Kansas/NW Missouri area, so there will be plenty of opportunities to try again.  Our “D” Litter puppy, “Dottie” from Sue and Sam’s litter last year got her first pass on the AKC Junior Hunter test, handled by her owner Rick.  Her little boy, Joey, was so excited to show off the ribbon!


Joey shows off Dottie and her AKC Junior Hunter ribbon

Even though I was in short sleeves on Saturday, Sunday brought us a surprise blizzard which led to the test being called off, as well as a snow day for the kids on Monday.  We hung out with Sue’s puppies as we waiting for Mae’s turn.

Cordelia and Caleb hanging out with Sue and the puppies

Cordelia and Caleb hanging out with Sue and the puppies

Sue’s puppies turned two weeks old on Wednesday, which makes them 8 weeks old on April 24th.  So new owners, you can pick them up anytime between the weekend before that date to the weekend after.  For those who are planning on flying them out, they can fly from their 8 week birthday onward.

I knew that Mae soon needed the whelping box, so the puppies have been moved to a large kiddie pool in my laundry room, which should hold them for another week or so.  I’m hoping that by the time they can escape that it will be warm enough for them to move outside.

Sue and her pups in the kiddie pool

Sue and her pups in the kiddie pool

Closeup of the "E" Litter

Closeup of the “E” Litter

Their eyes are now open and they have begun to waddle around, as you can see in the following two videos:


The Arrival of “F” Litter

I knew that Mae was soon to deliver when her temperature was low on Tuesday and she wasn’t scarfing down leftovers like she normally does.

The last shot of Mae's puppy belly as she nibbled.

The last shot of Mae’s puppy belly as she nibbled.

She woke me up at about 4:30 AM on Wednesday morning with loud scratching sounds, as she was arranging the chips in her nest.  I let her out for a potty break, but saw no sign that things were imminent, so we went back to bed.  Once we got up to get the kids around for school, I let Mae out of her room to hang out with us in the house.  She proceeded to vomit three times in the kitchen and living room, so we knew the time was coming.  After I got the kids to school, we walked and walked and walked, with her grunting, whining and pushing to get the pups in position.  Around 11:30 AM, she lost her mucus plug.  With Sue’s delivery, the first pup came within 30 minutes of that happening.  Mae had heavy contractions and was pushing hard for two hours.  I nearly took her into the vets office, but we just kept walking.  Finally at 1:30 PM the first puppy arrived and she was breach, but Mae’s shear determination got her out of there without complication.  I tried to get her to stay in the whelping box, but she was fixated on this blanket that I had in the living room (with a sheet of plastic and an old rug underneath), so that is where we had the first three puppies.  I was just glad that we were able to do it on our own, as I was getting nervous that we were headed in the intervention direction.

The arrival of the first puppy

The arrival of the first puppy

Once the breach puppy was liberating, it went incredibly fast.  The second puppy arrived a half hour later.  We watched the announcement of the new pope on television at the same time.

Puppy number two on the scene

Puppy number two on the scene

I barely had time to post a picture and status on Facebook before the arrival of puppy number three, right before it was time to pick the kids up from school.

Three pups in the living room

Three pups in the living room

At that point, I had numbers to my advantage.  I scooped up the three puppies and took them to the whelping box so that I could go pick up the kids.  By the time I arrived home, the fourth one was on the scene.

The four pups right after birth

The four pups right after birth

I continued to check on Mae throughout the night, expecting the arrival of one or two more pups.  I took her outside a couple of times to see if getting her moving produced anything.  By the time I got up to check on her at 2:30 AM, it was apparent that four puppies was the litter size.  They went to the vet at 10 AM on Thursday to get their tails docked, dew claws removed and just to have their general health assessed.  Dr. Andrew Kliewer was surprised at how big and strong they were for day old pups and said it was no wonder that I thought Mae had more in her due to their size.

They are all doing quite well and will probably be huge.

The four pups at one day old

The four pups at one day old

Here is a video of the “F” litter puppies at two days old.

Mae’s “F” Litter puppies will be 8 weeks old on May 8, as a note to the new owners, they will be available for pickup starting the weekend before through the weekend after.  The USDA policy is that they can fly from their 8 week birthday onward.

For those of you looking for puppies, all of our 2013 litters have homes, but feel free to call (402) 682-9802 or e-mail bluestemkennels@cox.net if you would like to talk about next year’s breeding plans.

Taking care of two litters of puppies at once is a new challenge for me, so we’ll be very busy and for simplicity’s sake, I will begin posting just once a week, either over the weekend if we aren’t hunt testing, or early in the week if we are.  Send us good vibes for continued health and happiness of the pups and mamas.




BB’s Big Adventure (and other news)

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As the blog has been focused on my most recent litter of puppies, I haven’t had time to fill you all in on BB’s big adventure.  For those of you who don’t know, BB is our year old female griffon that we imported from Quebec City, Canada.  Her first breeding isn’t planned until 2014, as we have high hopes for her in competition prior to breeding.

Her first AKC event was at the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Lincoln’s AKC Hunt Test on March 10th (yes, the same day the puppies were whelped).  Charles and BB left early, but I made sure that Mae was done whelping, cleaned out the whelping box, cleaned up Mae and then the kids and I headed down to Lincoln to watch BB’s first run at the AKC Junior Hunter title.  It was a hot (mid-70’s) and windy day, there were several dogs that came out of the Junior Hunter field with zero bird finds.  Experienced handlers looked on skeptically as Charles and BB entered the field.  The Junior Hunter run is split into two parts, 8 minutes in the “back field”, where there are no birds planted, but they are expected to search, then another 8 minutes in the bird field, where the dog is expected to find and point birds, then the handler flushes the birds and fires a blank pistol on the flush.  It is also done in a “brace” with two dogs and two handlers, so you are having to “outfind” the other dog/handler in the bird field.  I was tickled to death after BB’s 8 minutes in the bird field, she had found and pointed 6 birds!

The AKC Junior Hunter title consists of 4 legs of the same event, so BB finished her second leg with GSPCL the following day, then completed her final two legs on March 31st with the Missouri Valley Brittany Club and on April 1st with the Nebraska Vizsla Club.  All four runs were done at the famous (in the field trial/hunt test world) Branched Oak Lake Field Trial Grounds in Raymond, Nebraska.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Junior Hunter

Charles and BB with the two GSPCL AKC JH Ribbons

On Saturday, April 14th, Charles and BB went out to play a very un-griffon game known as the AKC Walking Field Trial.  They were entered in the Amateur Walking Derby and the Open Derby stakes with the Heart of America German Shorthaired Pointer Club in Hillsdale, KS.  I will let Charles speak to this in his future blog post on Versatile Hunter (versatilehunter.com), but it is more of a running game than a bird finding game.  Yet it was a good time for them both, they had fun and got more experience with AKC competition.

In April, BB and I participated in two AKC Conformation Dog Shows.  I used to be very skeptical of dog shows as some sort of beauty contest for dogs, but as a breeder, the AKC puts pressure on you to get your dogs into the show ring, as the dog show’s purpose is to evaluate the quality of AKC breeding stock.  We attended the Grand Island Kennel Club dog show on Saturday, April 21st, then the Seward County Kennel Club show on Sunday, April 29th.  We took home first place, best of breed and winners ribbons from both shows, but we were the only griffon participating.  The judges did say that she is a quality animal.  It was pretty intimidating getting into the sporting group ring with professional handlers, but we are getting more comfortable in the ring and are looking forward to what looks to be our first “major” show (multiple griffons in attendance) in Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota in June.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon dog show

BB and I practice stacking at the GIKC dog show. Photo by Cordelia Upchurch

Last weekend we ran BB in the Heartland Chapter of NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association) Natural Ability test, which consists of a 20-minute field search similar to the AKC JH, a seperate bird track, where they are tracking a running pheasant, then a water retrieves of dummies.  BB scored a Prize I on the test, with a perfect score of 112!

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon NAVHDA NA

BB points a quail during the field search of the NAVHDA NA test

BB is now officially known as AKC/NAVHDA Bourg-Royal’s CB Bluestem JH NA   1.  We hope to keep adding to the titles over the next year or so!

In Other News

Our co-owned year old female, Velma (AKC/NAVHDA De Jac’s Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah) also had a perfect score of 112 on the NAVHDA Natural Ability test, with first time handler (and co-owner) Aaron Klusmire.  Congrats Aaron and Velma!!

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon NAVHDA NA

Aaron and Velma return from the bird field

Sue is looking quite pregnant and I’ve started putting the heavy feed to her in preparation for her final weeks of pregnancy.  I suspect we have about 3-4 weeks to go before I’m back on litter duty!

Getting lots of updates on the most recent litter that went home.  I was glad to hear that Belle (Carlita) in Oklahoma is over getting motion sickness and has ridden in the vehicle sickness-free since her trip home.  TracHer (Candida) in North Dakota and Frankie in Colorado are going everywhere, including the water.  Speaking of Frankie (Carmelita), I haven’t posted her homegoing photos yet:

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 8 weeks

Frankie (Carmelia) and her hunter, Mike, in Colorado

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 8 weeks

Frankie meets some new friends

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 8 weeks

Frankie having fun

Then there’s some pictures of TracHer in North Dakota up to her antics:

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 8 weeks

“Can I have some?”

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 8 weeks

“Where’s the ducks?”

I also received some updated pictures of a year old female from last year’s “B” litter between Sue and Sam.  This is “Shady Lady”, who lives in Nevada (you may also catch a glimpse of her partner in crime “Smoky” who’s out of Whiskeytown Kennels in California):

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 1 year old

Shady Lady appears very proud of herself in the yard

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 1 year old

Up close and personal with Shady Lady

Thank you to all of my owners for the photo contributions!  We’re going to keep busy here with dogs and more puppies, and of course we’ll keep you posted as it all unfolds!