Thursday, March 22, 2007

Mirror Images

I can't tell if it looks like we are glimpsing Paige's past or Tai's future, but it does look like this could easily be a before and after picture. All I do know is this is stinkin' cute.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


We just got back from the vet...we wish it had been for the "happy vet visit" where the vet just gives him a once-over and a treat so that he learns that the vet isn't Public Enemy #1. Mr. Tai has been...busy-ing with great frequency, so in he went.

But the point of the story - this little tank boy weighs 15.3 lbs at 8 weeks. He's grown a ton in just a week. I wonder about the old wives' tale about humans, multiply the height x2 at their second birthday and that's how tall they would be (I would have been about 5'8''. Not so much.) and if there is anything similar in puppies... because with the rate this boy is growing, he stands to pass Paige sooner than expected!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

the brothers

It's Monday. The day of our puppy group's monthly meeting, however Tai is too young to attend, so he gets to stay home with dad. As an added bonus, his brother Truman is also going to be staying with us for the evening.

OK, by show of hands, if you had to pick one of the following to describe what the boys did for the majority of the night, how many of you would pick; played, wrestled, or just acted like boys? How may of you would pick; slept and laid around?

The correct answer is:

They slept. After an initial battle of trying to get two 7 week old labs to sit and wait for their food and the subsequent relieving afterwards, this is how they spent the majority of their night. There were a couple bouts of playtime, more as the night wore on, and by the time that Mom and Jenny made it back, the boys were out of food coma and romping happily in the kitchen.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Welcome to TaiPai!

Tai's first day at home was fairly calm. Auntie Tina and Uncle Ron came over to say hi. He had his first meal (sitting before he ate, of course - just a really brief sit). He went outside many times to get busy. He was generally fussed over, cuddled, and held. He'd been somewhat feisty, shaking his toy lion with great vigor, and marching around like he generally owned the place.

His buddy Salem came over on Saturday, who is three weeks older and about half again as big. Salem is a beautiful boy, and is full of beans, and so he and Tai had quite the afternoon of playing I-will-eat-your-tail-no-I-will-bite-your-nose. They even managed wear themselves out for a nice long nap, curled up together in one fuzzy black ball on our kitchen floor.

Salem was there because his puppysitter, our friend Nancy, went with Matthew to get Paige from her breeder evaluation. Her heart test was only about twenty miles away (as opposed to 50 miles to the school), and so we picked her up directly from there. Also coming home was Jessie, a slightly older white-yellow female, and Victory, a slightly younger black female lab. Matthew called to let me know they were outside when they got home so I could take Tai to meet his big sister Paige.

First, I had forgotten how big Paige is. She is really magnificent, big and solid and - barrelling straight at me. My life flashed before my eyes. I can't imagine what Tai felt. It couldn't have been too traumatic, because soon they were circling each other (Tai was more under Paige than anything else) and wagging enthusiastically. And then - Tai must have been a wee bit confused, because he had a "are you my mommy?" moment, and began rooting around for a snack from Paige's very-much-not-a-mommy-yet flat tummy.

The look on her face - "WHAT does this kid think he's doing?!"

Surprisingly, she didn't give him what-for. And truly, she hasn't yet. There has been one time when she gave him a warning noise, but it was so small, it might have not existed. He loves to chase after her when she's chasing a toy, and she often will put her head down low enough that he can grab the toy too. He also wants to (ahem) assert dominance, but that doesn't work out so well, because she takes that big ol' noggin of hers and gently knocks him over. He bites her ears and lips, and she does not complain. She's such a champ.

We missed her so much. And not that we haven't thought she is good, but - wow. Her obedience didn't suffer after two weeks in the kennels, and she is setting a very good example for little Mr. Sassy Pants Tai.

So now they are hangin' out, being the pups that they are - Tai happily snoozing in his kennel and Paige next to my chair (did I mention they both snore?). We wouldn't trade them for anything!!

Welcome to TaiPai!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

My (Our) Tai

My Tai. TaiDown. Tai'ed up.

However you want to call him, the T litter came home yesterday. Below, left to right, are: Thatcher, Trooper, Tia, Tori, Tai and Matthew, and Truman and Jenny.

He is adorable. Beautiful. He's at least eleven pounds if he weighs anything, has big fat paws, a short muzzle, and a big blocky head. He also has several small white markings - like his "big sister" Paige. He has two small marks on his chest, under his arms, three of four of his paws... and (ahem) "racing stripes" down below!

At first, he was holding back, calmly surveying the cooing people as they each got their pups. Once we walked to the grass to try to "get busy" for the first time, he began to show that he has some spirit. And the spirit was moving him to eat grass. And his leash. And Matthew's beard.

Don't get me wrong, it's all adorable puppy stuff, we just haven't seen it in so long!

It took a little while to get home, as it's fifty miles from the school to home, AND traffic going anywhere on a Friday in Southern California is bad. Tai calmed down after about five minutes of fussing, which we have discovered is par for the course with him, and promptly fell asleep on Amy's feet.

He came home and began to explore the living room, his living room crate, and the outside, as well as his two new "packmates" - our cats, Beeker and Flash. Fortunately, he met the calico Beeker first, who is the more tolerant of the two (smoky tabby Flash has been known to hit first and ask questions later) and so far, no fireworks. He also discovered some of his toys - the tennis bone, the rope and jack (thanks Tina and Ron), and his froggie. There was brief froggie (a rattling puppy toy) wrestling, but Tai gave up after froggie kept winning.

He was TIRED. He slept most of the evening and was only active for a little while before bed. He transferred to the bedroom crate just fine... and only got up twice, so we're only slightly sleep deprived. His schedule is about three and a half hours, so up at two, up at five, up at seven thirty.

Today, a friend, Salem, comes to play while Matthew and a friend go to get our Paige as well as two other pups from their breeder evaluation and then Tai gets to meet his Big Sister Paige.

We're pretty sure she is going to be so excited as if to say "Oh, boy! You got me a puppy, and it isn't even my birthday!" (she loves the little ones).

More to come. But in the meantime, enjoy!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Not that we're counting...

But there are approximately 16 hours until we pick up Tai (and 42 until Paige comes home).

Can you tell we've been puppy deprived?

Monday, March 5, 2007

Waiting for Tai...

We are beside ourselves. We're on puppy watch 2007. You see, with Liam now graduated (and not going in for training until he was 22 mos) we have not had a puppy since November of 2004.

That was a long time ago.

And yes, Paige is a puppy, but a really BIG puppy - 16 mos now. But there is something about the little guys: their little faces, the Frito-feet, the puppy-breath.

We realized that after raising two graduates, we realized that some of the puppy toys were... threadbare to say the least. Our boys were not especially destructive (and were given Kongs when they were ) so much has survived their puppy hoods, but we decided to get some new things. We went a little crazy on the site, new soft toys, new travel bowls, and Big Sister Paige got a pretty new collar. Oh, and let us not forget, the ubiquitous busy bags.

So we have all this stuff, waiting for Tai. And waiting and waiting.

Friday can't come soon enough.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Oh Where Has My Big Dog Gone?

Well, all, there hasn't been a whole lot to post on, mostly because... we haven't had a dog recently. A week and a half ago, Paige went back to the guide dog school for her breeder evaluation. Our school keeps its own breeding colony, and sometimes if they see lines they like or want to continue, they will keep that litter intact and then evaluate them (males now at 12 mos and females at 15 mos).

Paige will have her heart, eyes, and hips checked, as well as a temperment test. The temperment test is the other reason we didn't want to blog about it immediately - we had concerns. Don't get us wrong, she is sweet as can be and not an unfaithful bone in her body can be found, but - she doesn't like the crate. This was brought to our attention by other puppy raisers who have watched Paige (hi, Jenny!) and discovered that she refuses to get into the crate. After seeing this for ourselves, with just a week and a half left before Paige left for her eval, we were concerned. The pups are transported by crates in vans.... and if Paige (all 75lbs+ of her) refused, there may be problems.

We spent the next week and a half feeding her in the crate, putting her toys in the crate, and having a very sweet friend of ours with a crate in her SUV come to help Paige practice. She will now go in the crate - she isn't really happy about it, but she will go in. And as the guide dog school says, it's not the stress, it's how they recover from it.

We heard last week - Paige passed the temperment test. This means that yes, she did get in the crate (hallelujah) and she recovered after she got out. This means she will go on to have the rest of the medical tests.

And then we wait. If her hips, eyes, and heart are all perfect, it is POSSIBLE (and only possible) that she could be made a breeding female, to have little guide dogs rather than be one herself.

(Paige and her brother Palmer. Yes, she is the bigger of the two.)

On a side note, even if she is perfect, she could still be fixed and turned in for training. Both of our boys before were kept intact (14 mos and 16 mos respectively) before the school decided that they wanted them in for training rather than as potential dads - even though they were sound medically and tempermentally. The ironic thing is, it seems that we will always have a dog that is kept in tact - Voight, at 14 mos was quite the ladies' man, and Liam, at 16 mos liked to sniff EVERY blade of grass before choosing to get busy. They couldn't help it, it was being an intact male. So having an intact female - heck, why not?

And speaking of boys...

Tai, who is not quite seven weeks right now, will be home on Friday.