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Very, Very, Very, Sad News

6 Apr

I am heartbroken to have to report that Sadie died one month ago, on Friday, March 4, of heart failure. I had an autopsy done, and the pathology people at Penn (University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine) confirmed that her heart and lungs showed signs of congestive heart disease. I cry every day when I come home to my empty apartment, and every night when it is time to give her a bedtime treat. And in the morning when she’s not there on my bed, keeping my feet warm. She had just turned six years old, and seemed healthy, except that I had noticed in the past year that she would get very out of breath after running for a short time.

Your dogs are all young, but be attentive to their state of health, and urge your vet to check them if you notice anything amiss. Sadie had just had her 1-year checkup, and I had mentioned to the vet her tendency to get out of breath, but because she was relatively young, they said not to worry, she probably just wasn’t getting enough exercise.

I don’t know if I have the heart to get another dog – I am alone now, as Bob died a year ago October – but if you know of any hypoallergenic dogs needing homes, let me know. They must be absolutely trustworthy around small children, as I spend a lot of time with my two grandsons, who are 4 months and two years old.


Very Tardy Update on Sadie’s Puppies (Not Really Puppies Anymore!)

20 Nov

Well, Sadie and I find ourselves with unexpected time on our hands this week, because for the first time in many, many years, we are NOT cooking Thanksgiving dinner! Jess & Robert have invited us to join them and other members of Jess’s family at their house in Ardmore. I am taking an extra (heritage) turkey, which I’m to pick up from Canter Hill Farm tonight, but the only other thing we need to bring besides wine and ourselves is Bob’s must-have Thanksgiving side of creamed-peas-and-onions!

We are just coming down off our political ‘high’ – Sadie was very involved in keeping Mean Mitt out of the White House (she is an official member of Dogs Against Romney, go here: or here: to see more), and also has a bit of a crush on Bo – and we are very happy and relieved at the outcome of the election!

Sadie also had her first actual sail this past weekend, when we took the boat across the Sassafras River to its winter dockage. We let her sit on the deck – in the cockpit, not up front – and she enjoyed the wind in her fur. At the new dock, she helped me feed the ducks by throwing a piece of dog food to them with her mouth! She likes the stationary docks much better than the floating kind, and is no longer afraid of falling in the water, but jumps on and off the boat with confidence now. She came in handy as a bed warmer, too!

Several of the puppies – one can hardly call them puppies anymore; they ALL outweigh their mother!  – have just been spruced up for the holiday, and their owners have sent us wonderful photos. Here is a photo of Cooper dressed up for Halloween – as Bat-Coop!

Coopy, as he is usually called (except when he’s doing something naughty, like eating a whole box of Kleenex!) had an exciting time during Hurricane Sandy, and went eight days without electricity, when a large tree fell down in his yard. The crash was loud and scary, but thank goodness it didn’t land on anybody, or the house or any cars either! Coopy came in handy as a bed-warmer, too, as did his buddy Coco-Bear.  Here is a quote from him about his Sandy experience:

“We had a biggggggggg storm..and a tree crashed down in our yard and made a very loud noise. Wow…quite impressive. Luckily it didn’t hit anything. But then…the humans decided to play a game of “no lights” and “no heat”….so….they built alot of fires..and used flashlights and lanterns. At night…I was not allowed to sleep in my favorite spots on the ground..I was “ordered” to sleep with the humans and keep them warm.  Silly humans.  Even in the evening we would all cuddle on the couch…and I even cuddled with Tigger one evening (cause I was reallly tired and didn’t realize that the cat was lying next to me). So…after about 9 days they got a loud machine in the driveway and then the house got warm and they got some lights…and then after 3days of the loud machine…they decided to use the lights again.Weird.  Wonder if this is some kind of tradition????”

Here are more photos of Coopy, with his favorite human, Bobby, and his favorite dog-buddy, Coco-Bear:

Cooper and Bobby

Cooper and Bobby

Cooper and Coco-Bear

Cooper and Coco-Bear

Here are photos of Cooper and Beckett in their new holiday haircuts:

Beckett's New Haircut for Thanksgiving

Beckett’s New Holiday Haircut

Cooper Ready for  Holidays!

Sadie hopes all the doggies are going to have a fun Thanksgiving and not eat too much turkey and NO pumpkin pie – it will give them the runs and spoil everyone’s post-Thanksgiving fun! She is super-excited because she gets to see her daughter Cher (now Stella) and Stella’s two buddies, Marlowe (a Chihuahua) and Coco (a Maltese.)  That will be a houseful of dogs – Beckett alone is a houseful of dog – he weighs over fifty pounds now, and his HEAD is as big as HE was at birth! Bob tells everyone he is a Baskerville hound, because he is gray and kind of scary-goofy-looking! Here is a photo of him pre-haircut:

Beckett Pre-haircut

Beckett the Baskerville Hound

We will take lots of photos of all the dogs together on Thanksgiving, and we hope you will take photos of your dogs enjoying their holiday, too.

We also want to give a special shout-out to Zurie’s mom, Sarah, who was just named by Philadelphia Magazine as one of Philadelphia’s ‘smartest people’ – check it out:

We knew she was smart, ’cause she loves dogs, and her darling Zurie best of all! Sarah and Zurie also just moved to a new house in Chestnut Hill, where Zurie has her own yard! Here is a photo of Zurie in her new home. We still don’t have a photo of her at work with Sarah, in her shop on Sansom St.; we are going to have to go and see them ourselves one of these days!

Zurie In Her New Home

Zurie In Her New Home

One more thing: I wrote to you all about Cooper’s head tremors, and the concern that he might have epilepsy or some other neurological disorder; I am happy to report that he hasn’t suffered a repeat, and Tina (our breeder) says that while Labrador Retrievers can be prone to epilepsy, none of her Labradoodles have had it in all the time she’s been breeding, which is a good while, now.

Monthly (approximately!) update on Sadie’s puppers

19 Sep

It’s been a little over a month since we did an update on Sadie’s pups. We were waiting for photos of Bruce – now Oliver! – which finally arrived, and have been busy trying to get our boat ready to move to the other side of the Chesapeake – from Havre de Grace to Georgetown, MD. Looks like it is going to have to wait for a nice, windy day so it can be sailed, as the engine is still defying a satisfactory repair! Anyway, Sadie has been getting her ‘sea legs’ – see the photo below of her with Bob on the boat:


AARGH – It’s Moving!

Sadie is not the only one who has been having boating adventures this summer; here is a photo of Elvis loving the boating life with Leslie, with much more savoir-faire than his (canine) mom!:


This is The Life!

And he also learned to swim (or discovered that he can swim, if we assume that dogs are born knowing how….which I’m not willing to assume; Sadie will NEVER go out on the water without a lifejacket!):

Elvis Swimming

Elvis Swimming in Pool

Bruce, who is now Oliver, has settled into his new home, and is devoted to his mom Toni, as you can see:

Some of his adventures have included stealing and eating a WHOLE pizza and, more seriously, a mouse-poison pellet from his family’s basement, requiring an emergency trip to the vet to induce vomiting, which is a good opportunity to give you puppy parents a shout-out about all the harmful things your puppies can and will find to put into their mouths. My scariest memory of Derfel (our border collie) is when he found and ate a dead bat. We were convinced the only reason a bat would be lying dead in our yard was if it had rabies, but none of the vets we consulted could tell us if a dog could get rabies from eating a dead, rabid bat. And what could they do: perform emergency surgery to remove the bat from his stomach and test it for rabies? It was finally decided that the acid in his digestive system would *probably* kill the rabies virus if it was indeed present. More horrifying but less serious was when my son Robert was just a pup, crawling around the floor of our 1740’s house in Seaville, NJ, and found a caterpillar crawling across the floor. YUM! I was only able to get the last half of poor Mr. Caterpillar out of his mouth. Fortunately he, too, survived (Robert that is; not the caterpillar)!

Anyway, as you can see, Bruce/Oliver is still a sweet cuddle-bum, although getting a little big for mom Toni’s lap!

Another thing a number of the lucky pups have had during the dog days of August is nice, short haircuts! Here are photos of Zurie, Beckett, and Cher in their new short “dos”:

Zuries New Look!

Beckett’s First Haircut!

All the dogs are ‘growing like weeds’ – Elvis was already 35 pounds in the middle of August, and Beckett is now officially bigger than his mom; his vet says based on his current weight of 40+ pounds (Sadie weighs 38), his full-grown weight will be about 70 pounds! Rocky (pictured below) was also 42 pounds as of the first week in September!

Rocky Taking It Easy!

All are also big cuddle-bums like their mom, and as sweet, loveable, and happy as she is, too, from all reports.

Don’t forget to clean their ears regularly – they are prone to ear infections, and Beckett, in fact, just got over a rather severe one. You want to avoid having to put them on antibiotics if at all possible; it wreaks havoc with their bowels!

Please keep sending us photos and updates, and we will try to not wait so long between posts, now that the days are getting shorter and the nights longer!

Another Update on Pups; Wherein: Bruce Gets a New Home, Cooper has a Party, and Zurie Gets a Haircut!

8 Aug

It has been a busy month for Sadie’s puppies! The big news is that Brucie left for good at the end of July, to go live with the Vahlsing/Dugdale family in Wyncote, PA. At last report, he was enjoying his lovely yard on Woodland Road, following his new mom, Toni, around like a shadow, and getting to know his two children, Dexter & Jubilee, who are 10 and 12. Bob and I miss him more than we thought we would ~ he had really wormed his way into our hearts ~ but we know he is better off with a yard, and children to play with. Sadie is subdued, and seems to me to be searching for him whenever we go out. I am sorry that I did not let her go and meet his new family and see where he was going to live. I am looking forward to sharing photos of Bruce with his new family, as well as updates on his progress and growth. We are all especially curious about how he will look as an adult; how big he will get, and whether his coat will change. I understand he may also be getting a new name!

We also got a wonderful update from Cooper, and photos of him at his party with his buddy, Cosmo:

Cooper on his deck with his buddy Cosmo

We’re told that he weighs 24 pounds already, and shortly after this photo, he got a very short haircut, so that he looks like a mini version of Cosmo… we are looking forward to seeing a post-haircut photo of him!

Haircuts seem to be the order of the day for the other pups as well, but all does not always go well in that realm! Yesterday, we got an e-mail from Zurie’s mom, Sarah, with the words “Dog grooming disaster” in the title. This struck fear into my heart, as I immediately thought about dogs being accidentally nicked by scissors and bleeding to death, or ~ as we’ve read sometimes happens at less-reputable grooming establishments ~ cooked to death in drying machines. I was much relieved to read that Zurie had just been given a rather too-short haircut by an inexperienced groomer at a salon we shall not publicly name, but suffice it to say that it is a local chain. I persuaded Sarah to share a photo with me, but because Zurie is something of a fashion hound, and thus very protective of her image, I had to promise not to post it. It made me smile, because it happened to Sadie once and I, too, was very dismayed, and embarrassed to take her out in public for a while. My oldest son laughed every time he saw her and called her “Grover-dog,” which she didn’t like at all!

Here are some photos of Zurie pre-shaving – er, haircut. She has been enjoying romps in the Wissahickon Park with her mom, where she gets thoroughly muddy, full of burrs, and also nice and tired! Here is what Sarah says about her adventures: “I have been taking her out to the Wissahickon – which she loves.  She doesn’t care very much that she is a white dog and a feather duster – she lays in the mud and runs through the thicket.  I spent about 40 minutes combing green spurs out of her fur yesterday but she was a happy little camper.   We are also lucky she gets to frequent both my parents and my friend Ruben’s giant fenced in back yards  – she does a flying leap off this short but steep hill where she catches air, her ears look like wings, her mouth open and there is wild happiness in her eyes – I am trying to get a picture of this.” Keep trying, Sarah; we are dying to see it!

A Tired and Dirty Dog!

Zurie After Hike in Wissahickon – Dirty, Tired, and Happy!

Look How Big She's Getting!

Look How Big She’s Getting!

Beckett, who just helped his mom and dad move out of their sunny but cramped studio apartment in South Philly, is now enjoying the cool summer weather in Vermont until it is time to move into his new house (with his OWN YARD!) on Wynnewood Road in Ardmore. His dad, Robert, who is stuck in Philly working (SOMEONE has to make the mortgage payments and buy dog food!) and camping out on his parents’ couch, misses him a lot and is really looking forward to having his family together and settled into their new home next week. Sadie, who was delighted to have two of her puppies here to play with most days, seems sad and lonely now, and greets Robert eagerly when he comes in, but shows her disappointment when she sees that Beckett is not with him. As soon as the weather cools off, she and I can start going to the dog park again, and we are wondering how she will take to our new boat, which we hope to have in the water this week and sailing by the end of next week. I will be sure to post photos of Sadie on the boat! I guess I should get a doggie life jacket for her! In the meanwhile, here are some recent photos of Beckett, who is a real raggedy-Andy!


Beckett Helping With Packing

That is a packing sticker on his head!

Moving Is Exhausting!

Moving Is Very Tiring!

He is all tuckered out from the move – as were his parents!


Please – all keep your photos and updates coming. We would love to hear from Elvis, D.J., and Stella, too!

Finally, an Update on (Some of) the Puppies!

14 Jul

So, it’s been a month since our last blog, and everyone is alive and well, growing and learning. Sadie and Bruce survived being schlepped to Vermont and back in the backseat of the VW with me between them (Robert’s honorary godmother got the front seat.) Bruce threw up once, then fell asleep, exhausted, until it was time to check into the pet-friendly room at our hotel in St. Johnsbury. (He did manage to eat a couple of French fries at Micky D’s for lunch.) It was a treat for them to be able to run loose on the hotel’s enclosed grassy knoll, and we discovered that Sadie is still a REALLY FAST runner and that Bruce seems to have a bit of weakness in one of his rear legs. Bob thinks he will outgrow it; I hope so! He definitely has a different kind of run than Sadie; not as much like a bouncy rubber ball, but more, um, loping…. Sadie is a veteran traveler, but Bruce was a little insecure in the hotel room, and insisted on sleeping on the bed between Bob and me. Fortunately, it was a king-sized bed, as he not only wanted to be on the bed, but on the pillow rather than at our feet, where he sleeps sometimes at home when he’s feeling lonesome. The next day, we went to Jess’s parents’ house, where Sadie got to see her first-born son and daughter, Beckett and Stella for the first time since her separation from them. She followed them around sniffing at them, but I have to say that she didn’t seem as overjoyed to see them as I thought she would. I wish I could have such an easy time ‘letting go’ of my children! Bruce, too, didn’t seem exactly ecstatic with joy at being reunited with the brother & sister who used to pick on him and push him away from his mother’s teat. We were afraid Sadie would be crazy-overprotective with her ‘last’ puppy, thinking that we were going to take him away from her, too, but to be honest, I thought she was a little disappointed that we brought him back. What can I say? She was very spoiled before the puppies came along – and while she had them – and is now having to share our attention with Bruce, who doesn’t even smell or act like a child of hers (he has a distinctive ‘lab’ smell, which I like but which unfortunately makes me sneeze a lot, and a rather serious demeanor. That’s not to say that he doesn’t like to play, or isn’t a tease, stealing dish towels and shoes, but he just seems to take life a little more seriously than Sadie.)

Anyway, we were so focused on the wedding that we neglected to take any photos of the mother-and-puppy reunion, but here is a photo of Bruce & Sadie running around at the hotel:


As you can see, he is a handsome little fellow, and is going to be a handsome big fellow in another few months. Here is another shot of him – he is still available for sale, as Bob and I are both allergic to him:


Here you see his serious side, but he DOES laugh and smile!

We’ve also had updates and photos from some of the other puppies. Zurie recently went to the Shore with her mom, Sarah, where she got thoroughly sandy and wasn’t at all sure about that huge body of water with waves! Sadie was exactly the same way the first time we took her to the beach, and still prefers streams and (small!) ponds to oceans and lakes with water that moves. I don’t know how she is going to react to being on our new sailboat! Here is Zurie doing what labradoodles do best, relaxing on the porch of Sarah’s beach house:


And here she is with Sarah, so you can see how big she’s gotten! Sarah reports that she is the ‘perfect’ dog, sweet but fun-loving, completely housebroken, and the star of the neighborhood.


The week before last, we received the following e-mail message and photo from Cooper, who is living the good life with the Geberts in New Jersey: a yard, a good pal, and loving humans; what more could a dog want?!

“Yesterday I went and got a harness at the pet store. I really didn’t want to go anywhere without my big brother, CocoBear, but got carried into car.. Everyone at the store thought I was really cute.   there were lots of good treats in that store…yummy.  I think I will want to go back there…  Everyone also thought I was very well behaved..but my human said it was cause “a tired puppy is a good puppy”….  I hear that alot and get lots of walks.

So..I don’t want to go anywhere without CocoBear..and definitely prefer the air conditioning to the stifling heat outside.  I have to be coaxed out to go potty when the temperature is in the 90s. CocoBear is really good to me..he plays with me…and lets me know when I’m being too wild or bite too hard. He has also explained to me how to be with Tigger..trying to set a good example. I just get so happy when I see Tigger, I can’t help but try to pounce on her.  Naturally I’ve gotten a few swats…ouch ouch.

I’m learning alot of stuff every day..for example…when CocoBear lifts his leg..I shouldn’t go underneath him….I’ve gotten peed on TWICE.  My humans couldn’t stop laughing…and then had to get me cleaned up.

Next week I get to see my vet (she comes to the house)…and after I’ve had all my shots..I can have a party in the backyard..with Frosty Paws for all my dog friends. I look forward to it since I play with them on my walks..but will enjoy playing in the fenced in back yard.  I really like Brownie..she’s a labradoodle.  Cosmo and Yogi are also labradoodles..but are much bigger and scare me just a bit…  I’m sure we will get some good pictures to take and send you.

Well..I have to go to sleep now…I prefer the tile floor in the bathroom…probably reminds me of my early days. Oops..just changed my mind…need a little wrestling match with CocoBear before I retire for the night.”

Sadie – and especially Bruce – are the same way about going outside in the heat! I have been taking them for very SHORT walks: Sadie can walk a few blocks, but Bruce is tuckered out just going around the block! Zurie’s mom says she doesn’t like the heat, but does better when Sarah takes a cup of ice cubes for her to chew on. I am going to try that now that we’re back in this steam oven known as Philadelphia!

I had to chuckle at Cooper saying he likes to lie on the tile floor; Beckett and Stella, up in Vermont, both gravitate toward the cold stone of the woodstove mantle (won’t THEY be pleasantly surprised next winter?!) and Sadie & Bruce still lie on the cool tile floor of our bathroom. Here is a photo of Cooper:


He looks like a big, fluffy goofball – reminds me of his Dad!

Cindy, in Mt. Airy, reports that Rocky is getting along better with his new big brother, Bullwinkle (aka Bull) and that Rocky likes to hold Bull’s leash in his mouth when they take walks. (Bruce likes to do the same thing with Sadie!) His eyes are still blue, but more toward greenish now than bright blue, and as of last week, he weighed 24 pounds! She reports that while “Bull is more like a picky poodle when he eats, Rocky gobbles his food like a lab.” I had to laugh at this, too, because Bruce is also more of a gobbler than the picky Sadie! Here is a photo of Rocky playing with Bullwinkle:


Summer and Outdoor Dogs

14 Jun

While we haven’t been taking Bruce out for walks yet, or to the park or woods, I know that many of our puppies’ new families have yards in which the puppies are playing and hanging out, and it just occurred to me that you need to watch out for and check DAILY for ticks! We have had terrible experiences with Lyme Disease (our youngest son had it at one point, and so did our Border Collie), and it is very dangerous, with long-term health consequences. We use Frontline religiously on our dogs, and I just checked to see how early it could be used on puppies. All the puppies are old enough for it, and if they are going to be out of doors should be treated! Here is a helpful link for you:

This is even more important if you are old softies like us and let your dog cuddle in or on your bed!


Here is where Bruce was when I woke up this morning!

And Beckett appears to have the run of the place in Vermont:


Beckett and his wagon – watch out, Beckett, a tick is about to jump on you and take a ride!

More Puppy Photos and Updates on Progress

12 Jun

It looks as though Bruce will be staying with us and being ‘our dog’ so we bought him a little Weiss Walker and collar today, and have been taking him on outings – not walking on the sidewalks yet, just in the car – to show him the wider world. Today he ‘baptized’ my Beetle by throwing up, but otherwise seemed to enjoy being out and about. Yesterday, Bob taught him to climb the front stairs, and today he (almost!) bounded up them when we got home! Sadie cried the whole time he was gone, and made a great to-do over him when he got back. He sleeps under our bed now, with her, but has been getting up in the middle of the night and whining to be picked up, then snuggles between us and goes right back to sleep. Bob thinks he misses cuddling up with his brothers and sisters! Sadie keeps her distance from him while sleeping, because she’s trying to wean him. She’s also been giving him lessons in proper play etiquette, trying to get him not to use his razor-sharp little teeth when they are play-wrestling! I’ll take some photos of him in his new walking attire, and playing with mom as soon as the sun comes out!

Elvis, Zurie, Cooper, D.J., Stella, Beckett, and Rocky are all doing splendidly in their new homes, and we have lots of really cute photos to share! Cooper went swimming over the weekend and has learned to climb stairs, and all have made friends with the various dogs and cats with whom they share their new homes! Here are some of the cutest photos that their new moms and dads have shared with us. Thanks to all who have taken the time to send photos and updates!


D.J. With Maddie in New Hampshire, obviously happy to be “home”! Rob & Jess said he slept through most of the trip, and didn’t even throw up!


Here’s Elvis in Rhode Island, acting like one of the big guys he hangs with now!


Here’s Zurie, after a long, hard day at the office!


Even my tail is tired!


Stella with her new mom, Susan!


Elvis with his new mom, Leslie!


Stella and brother Beckett in Vermont


Zurie, living up to her name, which is French and means “white and lovely.”

Thanks again to everyone for sharing, and keep sending photos and updates!  We are excited to see how they all grow and change, and are especially happy that we will be able to see little Bruce (who is keeping his name, which he knows and responds to and which suits him to a “T”  – he’s wiry and high-energy and really cute!) develop – he looks like he is going to grow up to look like a lab only quite a bit smaller –  a miniature lab, if you will!