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English Labrador Retrievers: Weeks Seven and Eight

Updated on June 6, 2014
Kate looking stylish
Kate looking stylish | Source

Beginning Of Their Seventh Week

We have made our decision - we are selling the girls. The reality is that adding two more Labs to our family will take more than we will be able to give, both in time and attention to say nothing of cost. It is a hard reality to know and understand that something you want so badly is beyond your reach. One would be doable; two simply is not.

Tina has advertised them in Kiiji, Petfinder and Craig's List. I added to our website the fact that they are for sale. I have also contacted the people in Michigan who sought us out but have yet to hear back from them. So we will continue on, caring for the puppies as if we are going to keep them but facing the reality we probably won't (unless no one else wants them then we will do our best to supply all the time, effort, love and attention we have).

Our reasoning is simple: how much time do we truly have available? I work eleven hours a day, five days a week. I have vacation time left over from two years ago and in a little over a month I will receive more vacation which I will not be able to take. Is there time to share love on six dogs, two cats and all of our children and still have something left for one another?

Tina and I desire to do some traveling, to see the country before we are too old and infirmed to enjoy it. Having another set of pets would inhibit that greatly as we do not desire to leave them in anyone else's care, or kennel them with someone we do not know. When we take on the ownership of a pet it is for the long haul, desiring to care for the pet directly and not fawn them off on someone else. So I am leaving this in God's hands: if we are meant to keep the puppies, He will make it known to us and we will find a way with His guidance. If not, He will bring the right people into our lives and we will be able to feel good about the direction their lives will take. Trust is vital to me and I am trusting in His showing us the way.

What a pretty picture! Ziva and a beautiful Peony in our yard.
What a pretty picture! Ziva and a beautiful Peony in our yard. | Source

End of the week

On Wednesday we gave the girls their first baths. No fuss, no barking, no crying. They stood quietly and allowed Tina to lather them up and rinse them off. We then took some more pictures of them and played with them. They are so loving and happy.

Thursday I posted some of the pictures on our website, then posted the girls on the school website for sale. I received immediate attention and a goodly number of co-workers visited my hubs here and our website. Hopefully someone I know will welcome one or both of them into their family. Our website saw a huge jump in visits; a new high of 125 in a single day. My Hubpage articles on the girls saw big increases as well due to my listing them in with the sale notice at my job. I had a lot of apparent interest from one family in particular; we shall see if it pans out.

We listed the girls for $750 for a Limited Registration. This means they can be registered with the AKC and participate in some events sponsored by the AKC. It does not, however give a new owner the right to breed or show the purchased dog in any Conformation Shows. Of course, should someone decide to breed one of the girls and sell the puppies without papers there is nothing which can be done by us. We can request this not take place but can we really be sure it would not?

Ziva at 6 1/2 weeks of age ready to take on all comers at a show
Ziva at 6 1/2 weeks of age ready to take on all comers at a show | Source

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Seven Weeks old Today

According to the original Water Dog man himself, Richard Wolters, on the forty-ninth day of life the puppy is ready to remove from their mother and begin serious training. Wolters believed that this was the optimum point in the puppy's life to begin to fill that sponge of a mind with pertinent information which would make the Labrador the perfect companion and the perfect hunting partner. Any later and one has lost time; any sooner and the puppy's mind is not ready to assimilate the information.

So, on this most important day we created a new habitat for the girls alongside their mother's area. Tina has long called this the Lab Sanctuary as it is more a congenial habitat than a pen or kennel area. Built just on the north side of our garage and stretching back into the woods some forty feet or so, each Lab has an area entirely their own. Over ten feet in width and housing a cedar building containing their sleeping rooms the Lab's have an area that is cool in Summer and protected from storms throughout the year.

Later in the day Tina asked me to bring her one of the puppies. When I returned she was in our above ground pool, reaching out for the puppy I had brought. Ziva, the more adventurous one soon floating in Tina's arms, looking slightly confused. Tina walked around the pool getting her used to water deep enough to swim in. Then she carefully removed her hands from beneath Ziva and allowed her to begin swimming. As Ziva performed the dog paddle, Tina backed slowly away encouraging her to swim towards her. After a few feet she gathered her in and praised her. A few more times of this and we were encouraging her to swim a bit farther and to me standing at the side of the pool. Ziva did this several more times before we decided to end this for the day.

I returned Ziva to their new area and gathered Kate up to bring back to Tina. Kate was as usual more reserved and although she would swim in circles away from and back to Tina she never did swim to me at the side. She would head my way but would get concerned and return to Tina. It doesn't matter, both girls are naturals at swimming, which we knew they would be. But to be in water well over their heads swimming at seven weeks of age is still impressive.

Kate just hanging out
Kate just hanging out | Source

Memorial Day 2014

We allowed the Labs to spend the night outside in their Sanctuary last night. For the puppies it was their first time not in the whelping area for an entire night. For Duckie it was his first time outside for the entire night in almost two years. He had become a bit of a Prima donna, preferring to spend nights inside the garage in his overnight box. Abbie enjoys spending time outside so this was nothing new to her. We put the puppies into Abbie's area for the night as there are nighttime visitors to be concerned about. Last week as I let Duckie out to bring him inside rather than running to the garage he made a beeline for the garden area. As I started to holler at him I saw something running away from him across the yard in the evening shadows. With a start I realized it was a bobcat. This cat had been sitting near the garden just yards away from where we house the Labs. Duckie performed his duty by chasing this wild cat out of the yard and down into the dry creek bed. Good boy!

We also have Red Fox living on the property as well as raccoon, opossum and the ever present deadliness of copperheads. We have killed several of these pit vipers over the past few years.; they are the only snakes I will kill. Tina killed one while mowing our yard last summer and I killed one a couple of days later on our driveway right in front of the garage. I think a stray cat that adopted us three years ago ended up dying due to a snake bite as we found it under the carport area against the garage with no apparent injury to it. I feel that had we looked harder we would have found hidden beneath its fur a pair of small puncture wounds created by a copperhead.

Anyway, the girls spent the night with momma in her area. Duckie decided he could not show fear and leave them unattended so he stayed outside as well. There was a mild storm in the late evening, complete with pea sized hail. Once it passed I went out to check on everybody and all was well.

Memorial Day morning we went out to feed the livestock as we call it. We put the girls back into their area, fed them and gave them fresh water. Then we fed Duckie and Abbie complete with their own fresh water. Caleb filled the puppy's little swimming pool with fresh water as well and they wasted no time getting into it, splashing around and lying down in it. They love water; as well they should.

Date
Ziva
Kate
Abbie
Duckie
Birth
14 oz
1 lb 2 oz
14 oz
1 lb 2 oz
One Week Old
1 lb 15 oz
2 lbs 5 oz
1 lb 2 oz
2 lbs
Two Weeks Old
3 lbs 12 oz
4 lbs 4 oz
2 lbs 9 oz
3 lbs 7 oz
Three Weeks Old
5 lbs 11 oz
6 lbs 2 oz
 
 
Four Weeks Old
7 lbs 14 oz
8 lbs 4 oz
7 lbs 8 oz
5 lbs 6 oz
Five Weeks Old
10 lbs
10 lbs 6 oz
10 lbs 12 oz
 
Six Weeks Old
12 lbs 3 oz
12 lbs 3 oz
 
9 lbs 10 oz
Six 1/2 Weeks Old
13 lbs 13 oz
13 lbs 14 oz
 
 
Seven Weeks Old
14 lbs 10 oz
14 lbs
 
 
Seven 1/2 Weeks Old
16 lbs 3 oz
15 lbs 13 oz
 
 
Eight Weeks Old
18 lbs 10 oz
18 lbs 3 oz
15 lbs 8 oz
15 lbs 13 oz

Dropping the price

On Monday Memorial Day we dropped the price of the puppies from $750 to $600. Tina let me know early on that most people advertise their puppies even before they are born. My indecision cost us several weeks of possibly finding good homes for the girls. Lesson to all prospective breeders: do not fall in love with your puppies; it will cost you more than simply sales, it will cost you heartache. Had I remained above the fray, intent on doing what we intended by selling the puppies in order to show Duckie and not becoming so involved in them as I did I would have been ready to allow them to go to another family; as it was I was not and have waffled long enough we may not have a choice.

Even after dropping the price we have not received any inquiries. Tina has brought up another valid point: with the economy in the tank as it is there may not be sufficient money to spend on expensive puppies as there was a few years ago. And as we are an unknown in the breeding environment we are at the bottom of the list when it comes to risking money on puppies.

Middle of their Seventh Week

I have noticed their weight gain has slowed somewhat; Kate's in particular. Ziva still loves to eat so the dry kibble we are providing isn't slowing her down a bit. We are still augmenting their dry with wet so they receive all we can provide. They are not nursing nearly as much on Abbie; only possibly during the overnight hours that they spend together.

Tuesday we brought them in for a few minutes to play. Holly, our senile, blind and deaf 18 1/2 year old Shi Tzu was intrigued enough to approach with tail wagging but mere moments later their exuberance was enough for her: she left and went to her little area.

I took them back outside and brought them out individually to work on commands. I used one of Duckie's show leads and put them through some paces. Kate was first and she was hesitant to begin with. I pulled up gently on the lead while pushing down gently on her rear, commanding "Sit". After a couple of times she sat so I rewarded her with a treat. A couple of more times of showing while commanding and she was doing better. I put her up and brought out Ziva.

I went through the same routine with her. After two times of showing, I pulled up on the lead and commanded "Sit". She sat. I rewarded her and walked her around for a bit and commanded "Sit" again, She sat right down. I praised her mightily and gave her another treat. Not too bad for a less than seven and a half week old.

Late in the evening on Tuesday the 27th I received an email from a woman in California expressing interest in one of our girls. She is a person who just lost her service dog and is looking at one of our puppies as being that for her. Service Dogs are work dogs and require a high degree of training to accomplish their owner's needs. I hold those dogs in high regard and I feel it is a honor to have someone ask about our puppies in this manner. We will be speaking Wednesday morning more in depth about her desires and our girls. She has advised she will be in the area in June so she would be able to pick a puppy up here rather than having to ship one to her.

Wednesday morning I received a call from the woman in California. We had a wonderful talk that went on for a half hour. She is looking for a service dog and with how Ziva is, loving her peoples, that she would be a wonderful addition to her family. We have arranged for a deposit and I have set up a visit with our vet to perform a Health Certificate so the puppy can fly back to her new home with her new owner on June 18th. Did you know a puppy had to have a Health Certificate to fly? Me neither but I do now!

Basically we have to get the puppy checked out. Verify up to date on her shots; verify no intestinal parasites; and a few other odds and ends. We also have to know which airline they will be traveling on because different airlines require different checks on the certificate. Who knew?

Kate at 8 weeks old
Kate at 8 weeks old | Source
Ziva at 8 weeks old
Ziva at 8 weeks old | Source

End of the Eighth Week

Well, we have arrived. It has been quite a journey, raising our two little girls. Ziva has found a new home, or will shortly, in Sunny California learning to become a true working dog. I am so proud to know she will be a service dog, working as a part of a family to ease other's pain.

As for Kate, I think we are going to keep her. She is a pretty little girl and I think we will train her and show her alongside her daddy. We can enter a group I have had my eye on for a couple of years: the Bred By Group. Only someone who owns the parent(s) can enter this section of the AKC Conformation Shows; they must have bred the parents together to produce the offspring, and we have achieved this. So we are continuing our journey, knowing not whither we go. But it is the journey which makes Life worthwhile, this traveling along looking and seeing and experiencing everything possible. Perhaps I will continue journaling (or Hublogging!) as we travel to and fro. The next step will be entering Kate in the same class I entered Duckie in two years ago, getting her acclimated to other dogs and performing the basic commands in a larger group than just herself and family. Then, out into the great unknown we will go, taking Duckie along with us as we go. I am happy knowing that Duckie and Abbie will have one of their girls at home, completing a small family. Ziva will be happy in her new environment and the new owner has promised me that if she breeds Ziva at any time in the future (to replace her other service dog is the only reason she desires this) we will have the option to have one of Ziva's puppies should we so desire. But that is a long, long time in the future and who knows what it holds. For now, it is Duckie, Abbie and Kate living and loving with us keeping us young.

I received a call from a man who lives about an hour away from us who is interested in Kate. He is retired Navy and wants to have a Lab to show. I put on a brave face for the phone conversation as I extolled her virtues and looks. He hung up saying he would look at the pictures online on our website and get back to me. That was a few hours ago and a part of me hopes he doesn't call back; another part does. Oh well, if he does he does and life will go on. For now, she is part of our family and we will love her for as long as we can.

The End?

Well, here we are. We have reached the eighth week of our little girl's lives which is the point we are saying goodbye to them. We will care for Ziva for another two weeks and she will then wing her way 2,000 miles West to a land we will never visit. As for Kate, we will wait a day or two on this other gentleman and see what happens. If he doesn't call back I will use all of my wiles to woo my lovely wife Tina into allowing me to keep her and to pull her off the internet as being available. If that occurs I will continue to document our journey here on Hubpages for you to read about. Perhaps I will see you then. For now, I wish you a fond farewell.

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Epilogue

Kate will be going to her new home today; Tuesday, June 3, 2014. A couple is driving in as I am writing, coming from near Wichita, Kansas to take her home. She will be a companion, a family member with nothing to do but to run and play, love and be loved. I pray she lives a long and happy life. There will always be someone at home with her both day and night and some grandchildren running around to make life interesting. A life indoors with a large back yard completes her new life and that is a wonderful thing. I expect to shed a tear or two as she drives away but I will be happy as well, knowing she will be well cared for.

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    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 3 years ago from Missouri

      Cheyenne, thank you. No we will not be doing this again; Abbie has been spayed and we have no desire to find another female and begin again.

      Kate has already left and is at her new home in Kansas; Ziva will be leaving in a few days. All that will be left are the memories of their lives and the promise of what they will become.

      Take care, Cheyenne. May God Bless...

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Mike, I'm so sad that both girls are leaving. But then, that's what breeders do. I know this is your first shot at breeding. Will you do it again? I don't think I'd be able to do it; I get too attached.

      I have thoroughly enjoyed this journey. Give Kate and Ziva a kiss from Aunt Cheyenne!

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 3 years ago from Missouri

      Phyllis I love that saying! And we appreciate your prayers for us and our clan. Please stay safe, okay?

      Bill, it is hard; one of the hardest things I have ever done. I shed a tear last night when I realized that it was the final evening I would have with Kate; she is leaving today. But a door shut often leaves a window open. I received and email yesterday from a woman who has been reading my hubs and she said we couldn't pay her to take Kate away. She is looking for a Lab but just couldn't bring herself to buy Kate from us, feeling she should stay with us. Such a sweet person! I contacted a friend who raises Labs and asked if she had any available for this woman. She replied that she did so I sent the info along. She also stated that she may be looking to place one of her female puppies with someone to raise, show and breed. Just last night Tina said that maybe, just maybe God would allow a window to open where someone might look to do desire to do this. I knew she was good, but wow! We are now in contact to see if we may be able to do that. God is truly amazing if we but trust Him!

      Thank you for your continued support, Bill. I would not still be here if not for you and people like Phyllis and Cheyenne. Thank you and may God keep and Bless you.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I am quite certain it is sad to let them go after raising them for two months. I'm not sure I could do that. I would become way too attached to them. Well done on this series, Mike.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Ohhh ... Dear Mike my heart goes out to you. I well remember the way it feels to give up a puppy when the time comes for them to find their home. My prayers go along with the sweet "girls".

      Well, with the daughters it will be just as hard to let go, but at least they will be able to keep in touch with you. I read somewhere, years ago, that "A son is a son till he gets a wife. A daughter is a daughter all her life." I do not agree with the first part, for my son (grown, married, father, grandfather) is still my son, always will be.

      Thank you for the wonderful reply to my comment. May God bless and keep you all in peace and love.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 3 years ago from Missouri

      Thank you Phyllis, I truly appreciate that. Sadly (or not) Kate has just been purchased by a loving family near Wichita, Kansas and will be going home for the first time tomorrow. I know she will have a great home but I will miss my little girls.

      I was not one given to truly loving dogs as family members; I loved them just not what's wife did. With the birth of these two girls that changed. Now I am sad even as I am happy.

      Is this what it will be like when my daughters wed? I'm not ready for that!

      Take care Ma'am and many thanks for taking this journey with us. May God bless and keep you. Mike

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Mr. Archer, I am so impressed with the way you have kept up this wonderful and very important journal on your beautiful Labradors. You have shared so much with your readers on the growth of Ziva and Kate -- this is so appreciated. I feel that I, too, will be saying farewell to the darling puppies. I am so happy to learn that Ziva will become a caregiver, she seems to have been born for that with her eagerness and quick ability to learn. Kate is such a darling and I am hoping she will stay with your family. She will be such a fine show dog.

      I am sending all best wishes to you, Tina, and your whole family, two-legged and four-legged. Thank you so much for this wonderful time you allowed for me to get to know the "girls" and see their progress.

      Take care. I do hope you continue to write when you find time. :) I enjoy reading your hubs.