At Elfin the nursery is an accurate description of our puppy rearing facilities. Our philosophy is that puppies, like children, deserve a safe, enriched environment with plenty of opportunity for socialization so that they can grow into adults who will be welcome in our society. They are encouraged to play and explore and learn both inside and out. Their nursery is in the front of a large open room whose back half is the kitchen so they are constantly exposed to activity, noises, smells (mostly delicious...grin), people and the other dogs. By 4 weeks they have been introduced to the outside in our puppy proof playground that includes grass, concrete sidewalk, brick patio, steps and a porch. They have a variety of playground 'equipment' including balls, tunnel, beach chair, concrete block 'bridges', skateboard, teeter totter, etc. Nothing like fresh air and sunshine to grow happy, healthy puppies. Because we live out in the country, we have to import more people so we frequently invite friends and people interested in the breed to come visit and play with the puppies. I used to have to borrow kids but now have 2 adorable grandchildren to help!
Raising puppies right is a LOT of work...it's time consuming both physically and mentally. In addition to socializing and caring for the physical needs of the babies, a good breeder will spend a lot of time screening homes so that she can find the very best home for each puppy based on the mutual needs of the puppy and new owners. A good breeder takes responsibility for the puppies she produces throughout the puppies' lives. And the effort does not end when the puppies leave for new homes...support for owners is critical to the success of placements. At Elfin a good percentage of our puppies are sold either to repeat buyers or to people who have been referred by happy owners who adore their dogs. We must be doing something right. What makes all the hard work and effort worthwhile is the satisfaction of knowing that I been able to help others know the love and joy that a happy, healthy Silk Dog brings to our lives.
Have we never had an issue? Health or otherwise? I wish! But, no one can ever guarantee that she will never produce a puppy that may end up with a problem...all we can do is make the best breeding decisions we can, always work to improve, learn from mistakes, and stand behind ALL the puppies we bring into this world. No breeder wakes up in the morning and says, "Gee, I sure hope I have an unhealthy puppy to bring misery into someone's life..." but, what separates a good breeder from the pack is how she handles a problem when it arises. Some try to put the blame on the owner or on outside issues...anything but accept the possibility that they have produced a puppy with a problem. And it may very well be that an owner did not follow recommendations but that doesn't mean they need to be sent on a guilt trip, either. Just as no breeder hopes to produce a health issue, I doubt that a properly screened owner wakes up and says "How can I screw up this puppy so I can complain to the breeder?" The Golden rule is truly precious and one that I do my best to live by...and always, my first allegiance is to the dogs...their best interest has to come before any other motivations. They bring us such joy and ask for nothing in return except to be loved and cherished (well, ok, let's be real...they want us to be their slaves...but I'm trying to be nice here...grin.) Buying a puppy is a major exception to the statements that you 'can't buy love' or 'money cannot buy happiness!" You can! It's called a Silk Dog.
Meet the Parents
CH Tyburn Woods Precioso's Juan Pequeno "Argo"
CH Elfin On The Road From Cathay "Pekoe"
Pekoe Gives Thanks
Elfin Gives Thanks for Pekoe's babies, born on 11/23/2016. Being a breeder, while rewarding in that we are able to share the joy that is the Silk Dog with others, is not always easy. Sometimes things just don't go as planned, sometimes there is sadness. After having 2 beautiful black boys with a little white, Pekoe delivered a tiny gold boy who, unfortunately was damaged after delivery when his cord pulled from his body resulting in injury not compatible with life. Forunately this tragedy was followed by a healthy gold girl. Pekoe and the remaining babies are doing great.
Because this litter was due on Thanksgiving, we were considering a Thanksgiving theme and, in honor of this holiday, I gave the tiny boy the name Plymouth Rock, a reference to his 'rocky' start in life (when he was born I attempted to repair the damage and he really, really tried through out the day, figuring out how to nurse and, once he got it, he was latched on tightly, but in the evening, his injury recurred and the damage was just too great) and his valiant effort to survive. But, after this, I decided to simply base the litter names on being thankful for the good things in our lives. So I present to you, the Give Thanks litter.
#1 - Elfin We are Family by Sly & the family Stone, "Sly" as we are thankful for family and the love we share. Sly is a black male with a white spot on his chest, white hind toes, and tiny bit of white on his front paws. He weighed 8oz
#2 - Elfin Thank You For Being a Friend by Andrew Gold, "Andy", because we are thankful for our friends, which are like family only you get to choose them. Andy is also a black male with white hind toes and a little white on his front paws, and an arrow shaped white patch on his chest. He weighed 6oz
#3 - Elfin Plymouth Rock, "Rocky", was a tiny gold male, sadly lost shortly after birth. Rocky weighed 2.8oz
#4 - Elfin Ode to Joy by Beethoven, "Joy" because we are thankful that there is joy in our lives. Joy is a beautiful gold girl with a white blaze on her forehead. Joy weighed 6oz.
Today is Thanksgiving and we are thankful to be here, thankful for the family that is coming to share this day with us, thankful for wonderful friends and our puppy owners who share our love for these dogs. We are especially thankful for our Silks...and the love and joy they bring to our lives. Wishing for joy, love, and peace in this world, for all!
We are Thankful - For Family... we have reached the first milestone, we are a week old today. And we are thankful to be healthy puppies who have doubled our size this week. Mostly things have been peaceful and quiet and we are busy growing, nursing, burping, sleeping. Pekoe, our Mom, is a wonderful mother to us, making sure we are warm, well fed, and clean. We've already had our first visitors (even though we couldn't see or hear them cause those senses have not developed yet) but we had family visit during Thanksgiving and they tiptoed in to admire us. Then on Sunday Greg came to visit and he actually held us and Mom let him...he must be very special! We were glad to have new hands be nice to us cause Sunday morning we had our dewclaws removed. Ouch, but we were very brave! So far we are a very laidback bunch...we relax when held and curl right up.
And we've been doing those silly biosensor exercises where we get turned upside down and right side up and on our backs and tickle toes. Ok, there are mixed opinions on the benefits of this routine but Doc seems to find it fun so we humor her. We are looking forward to next week when our eyes open and we get to look back at you!
We're a week old today!
We Are Thankful - for friends...what would we do without friends? Life would certainly be less satisfying, more difficult, and emptier. This week we are thankful for friends who pitch in and help and come visit and admire the babies. Speaking of babies...these three have turned into little plumpies and their eyes have opened making them even more adorable. Andy is the precocious one...his eyes opened 3 days before Sly & Joy decided to see what was happening in the world. They are such good, mellow babies and are getting so cute. Week 2 is another easy week for me with Pekoe doing all the work and the puppies' only requirement is to sleep and eat. We've finished the biosensor exercises and are looking forward to week three, another relaxed week for all. Pekoe is spending more time out of the box and enjoying socializing with the other dogs and our 'special' time when I go lie down to rest/nap after wearking myself out with routine chores.
Jood's just been the biggest help through this time of aching joints, taking over the drying so that all my girls are clean and groomed. Today we did Pearlie, the last one to get done. And Barbara brought Nikki over for a playdate (See Dance's Defenders) so Ada & Piper would have someone younger they could lord it over. So we are thankful for 3 healthy, fat, thriving puppies, and thankful for good friends to keep us going.
Check out our peepers!
We are Thankful - for the Joy in our lives... this week we are thankful that it's been a quiet, uneventful, peaceful week and that the babies are thriving and growing fat and a little sassy. Today we got our first woof out. We are thankful that the babies are still easy going, not demanding, laid back and mellow. Today was supposed to be reconfigure the playpen day, removing the whelping box, dividing to bed and toilet but I decided to wait until tomorrow when Auntie Jood comes to help. The good news (yes, there IS joy!) is that it appears that I have Lyme disease and have begun treatment so there is a good chance that I will be feeling better very soon. This is way better than joint pain of unknown origin...grin. Next week the babies will move into the kitchen, start eating solid food, and beginning potty training in earnest, and I better be ready to be hopping.
With only three puppies there is no shortage and no real need for competition at the milk bar which probably contributes to the relaxed nature of these babies. They are very good for nail trims! And now they can hear as well as see so all wake up and come to see who's there when we enter the forest. They've been listening to classical music during the day. Joy's pigment is coming in and her eyes are a beautiful almond shape. Sly and Andy, of course have great pigment and lovely heads. They just get cuter every week!
Thankful for the Joy!
We are thankful for our lives...and very sorry to have missed the 4 week update. The puppies are doing great...it's me that's not up to snuff so have been unable to work on updates. Fortunately I have lots of help with the babies, who are absolutely delightful. They are very low maintenance, cheerful, calm, happy to accept visitors of all ages. My daughter and grandkids have been visiting and playing with them. Auntie Jood has been a Godsend, and she brought her granddaughter, Gracie, to play with them, too. Jood has also been grooming the adult dogs for me...unflagging support, a great friend. My brother and Helen are here helping as well and Mom has really stepped up to help out. I am so fortunate to have great dogs, great puppies, and the best support system a person could ask for.
The puppies moved into the kitchen on schedule last week with no fussing. The pen is currently half covered in pee pads and they are doing well moving out to them. They are playing with each other and eating Darwin's in addition to Pekoe nursing them.
And, we got a surprise...my little black beauties are going silver. Pekoe's blue so we know she gave them one gene. The surprise is that Argo, the daddy, must also be carrying. They look like little reverse raccoons with silver round the eyes and on the muzzle. Joy's slowly getting her pigment in...more and more black speckles every day. What follows is their portrait and some bonus shots. I just noticed I forgot the names...Top left is Sly, Top right is Andy, then of course, Joy