Liberation of the Puppers!

9 Jun

I was awakened this morning by a great crash and clattering, not from the dumpster trucks that ply our street, but from INSIDE the bedroom. I groped for my glasses and saw that the four remaining puppies, to their mother’s consternation, were staging their own version of the destruction of the Berlin Wall. They had battered down the puppy gate keeping them in the bathroom, which is held in place by strong tension bolts, and when they had it down, they proceeded to remove the tension bolts and were running madly around the bedroom with them, drunk with their own power. A few minutes later, they were ready and waiting at the front door with their coats on and their knapsacks packed when their liberators, Robert & Jess, arrived to whisk them off to their new world. Here is a photo of Beckett on the road:


Beckett at the controls of the MINI

As I write, D.J. (Dude, Jr., formerly Elton) has been delivered into the loving arms of his new mom, Maddie, to continue his journey to the wonderful state of New Hampshire, where he will Live Free!

Stella and Beckett will continue on to Peacham, Vermont with Robert & Jess, where they will stay – Stella forever, and Beckett until he returns to Philadelphia with his newlywed parents in July.

Sadie & Bruce have spent the day lying around the apartment looking like depressed denizens of a formerly-great regime who got left behind in the revolution. I’m not sure if they just miss the other puppies, or if they wish they, too, were on the road. I know I do. Both!


Three More Puppies Leaving Tomorrow!

8 Jun

Well, we’re getting three of the last four remaining puppies prepared for their journey to the North Country! They will leave bright and early tomorrow morning, and Elton (now D.J., for Duke, Jr.) will get dropped off first, to go live with the Schiappa family in New Hampshire. I think he is ready to find out about grass, trees, and all the other wonders of nature outside the four walls of this apartment. I hope the Schiappas have plenty of room, because he is growing into a big, fluffy polar bear of a dog! Stella (formerly Cher) is going to live with Jess’s mom, Susan, in her lovely house in the village of Peacham, Vermont, and Beckett will stay there, too, with Jess, until after the wedding. That will leave just us – Sadie, me and Bob – and Bruce, who is still available! Bruce and I have become very fond of each other, and he doesn’t seem to bother my allergies, so if he ends up being ‘my’ dog, I won’t mind! But if you want him to be YOUR dog, give me a call! Here is a photo of him imitating a book:


Perhaps he is hoping that if I think he is a book, I will keep him!


We have been getting lots of good reports and PHOTOS from the puppies who went home last weekend. Here are a few to share:


Here is Cooper getting ready to go home with Kirsten and Bobby


Here he is chewing on a bone he just managed to get away from his indulgent big brother, CocoBear!


And here he is with CocoBear, who is now his BFF!


And he’s made friends with Tigger, the cat, too! Kirsten reports that they both like to help her with gardening!


Zurie is doing splendidly with her new mom, Sarah, who took her to work to introduce her to her staff (Sarah’s, not Zurie’s, although knowing Zurie, she will probably start bossing them around soon!) Here is a report from Sarah: ” She is certainly bonding to me… – and oh my gosh is she the sweetest.   AND – she totally sleeps through the night – from 10 p.m.- 5!  I woke up to see if she was awake to let her pee and she was passed out both times.  It rocks!”


First Day at the Office – Watch out, Anna Wintour!


Sarah’s Little Sweetheart on Her First Night Home


Leroy has a new name, a new family, and a new best friend! He now lives with the Skinner family in Mt. Airy, right across the street from Carpenter’s Woods. He has been renamed Rocky, because he is the new sidekick of big brother, Bullwinkle – Bull, for short! Here are some photos of him in his new home. MMMM – grass! and sticks!


It didn’t take him long to adjust to that green stuff!


Did I die and go to heaven?!

Here is what Rocky’s new mom, Cindy, had to say this week after he had a day or two to settle in:

“Bull isn’t the best big brother in the world but Rocky is very respectful and even gets Bull to play with him outside sometimes. We are making sure they both get a lot of love. Rocky is wonderful all on his own. He has taken to crate training and house training like a champ. I think he feels like a king when he pees outside. His accidents are few and far between. He even slept through the night last night.

He loves eating or at least sampling the great outdoors:  sticks, grass, leaves. It’s all part of his great exploration. He also listens very well to correction when he pushes the limits.

Overall it is very obvious that his happy demeanor and self confidence have come from a wonderful and nurturing environment in Queen Village.”

Thank you, Cindy! And we’re sure he’ll soon win Bullwinkle over and they’ll become best friends!


We are looking forward to sharing more exciting stories and photos of D.J., Beckett, and Stella as they embark on their new lives tomorrow. It won’t be an easy trip – three lively puppies in a MINI for seven or eight hours, but they’re all troupers, as are Robert & Jess, who will BOTH be going along for the ride, and they’ve promised to take pictures of their adventure!

Three Guys Go Home, and a Website to Share

3 Jun

Well, we’re three down now, and I must confess that I shed a tear or two this weekend at the thought that soon all our puppies will be gone. I treated Sadie to a short trip to the dog park today, and she tore around in her old energetic fashion, causing one person to ask if she’s a puppy herself, despite her still-pendulous teats. She didn’t want to stay long, asking to go home after only a few minutes to check on the puppies. She hasn’t seemed overly anxious or upset about any of the departures so far. Of course, she had several chances to meet Elvis’s parents, Charles & Leslie, and Zurie’s mom, Sarah, and approved of them all. And Cooper’s new mom and boy spent some time on the nursery floor playing with the puppies Saturday before they took Cooper home; she watched closely, and obviously decided that they were good, kind people, as she didn’t try to prevent Cooper from leaving, or show any signs of distress when they left. Here is a photo of Elvis with his new mom & dad, a photo of Zurie in her new home, and a photo of Cooper with his new mom, Kirsten, and boy, Bobby. Zurie looks happy, and Sarah says she’s doing great, exploring her new home. Elvis, we’re told, is already learning to climb stairs and experienced his first encounter with rain Friday night! We hope to have more photos and adventures of Elvis & Zurie & Cooper to share very soon!


Elvis (who is keeping his name!), ready to go home with Charles & Leslie!


Zurie (formerly Madonna) in her new home, with her puppy toy to keep her company!


Cooper (formerly Clapton) getting ready to go home with Kirsten and Bobby!

Here are some more recent photos of the other puppies:


Elton doing his bear rug impersonation!


Beckett (formerly Mick) sleeping with his ear in the water dish!


Really cute photo of Cooper (formerly Clapton) sleeping near the toy bin, after wearing himself out playing with toys!

This is a website I came across with some useful information and pointers, including some clarification about the differences in coats and size and color. I particularly like the following quotes about the personality and temperament of labradoodles: “She’s not an ideal guard dog; although she will alert bark, she’s more likely to invite an intruder in for tea on the good china.” And this: “she’s a companion dog through and through, and she should live inside the house, not out in the yard. She’s happiest living in the comforts of home, sleeping soundly on your feet or in a bed next to yours.” Both quotes are so true! Your labradoodle is not ‘just’ a dog, (s)he is another member of the family!

Enjoy, and watch for more photos, coming this week as Stella (formerly Cher), Elton, and Leroy prepare to go to their new homes. Bruce will be staying here with us until we voyage to Vermont in early July for Robert & Jess’s wedding, when we will introduce him to one of the wedding guests who is hoping to take him home to live with her in Colorado! By then, however, we may have become too attached to him to let him go! He really is a little dear, licking away my tears after Zurie left.

A New Stage of Development!

30 May

Sorry I haven’t written for a few days, but the puppies, right on schedule during their seventh week of life (they achieved the seven-week, or 49-day, mark this past Monday, and are now in their eighth week) became intensely interested in and focused on human beings. You try looking at a computer screen instead of interacting with a puppy who is gazing up at you with wonder and curiosity! They are super-cuddly and affectionate, and very intent on figuring out what I want and pleasing me. This means that they are ready to go home with you! I am working today and tomorrow on getting the puppy packets ready to go, and those of you who are scheduled to pick up your puppy this week will be welcomed with open arms and adoring gazes and licks. (Those of you who aren’t, please call or e-mail me if you’d like to pick up early!) When I’m not talking to them and showing them where they are supposed to pee and poop, and which things in the apartment are OK for chewing and which are not, I am racing around with paper towels (we should own stock in Seventh Generation), trying to beat Sadie to the punch in the pee-and-poop-picking-up contest. We seem to have reached a consensus: if I let them sleep in the bedroom, she will keep that room clean while we are asleep, but if they go into their toilet place in the bathroom (which they are increasingly doing), or if I’m up, she’ll leave it for me to clean up. Little Stella, who watched with fascination the other day as I sharply reprimanded Sadie for trying to eat a fresh poop in the bedroom, and observed me pick it up with a paper towel and flush it down the toilet, now runs over to the gate between the bedroom and the kitchen the MINUTE anyone goes, and yips at me to tell me to come and pick it up quickly. They all watch with fascination when I pick up poops and flush them down the toilet, and now MOST of them go as close to the toilet as possible! Letting them spend the night in the bedroom with us and Sadie is our concession to the need for our neighbors to sleep, and it seems to be helping get them attuned to our sleep rhythms as well: last night, we all went to sleep at midnight, and slept until 5 AM. They all, of course, still spend a lot of time playing and tussling with each other, but that is mostly confined to the morning and afternoon hours. Especially fun to see is the biggest, fluffiest guy, Elton, going at it with little Bruce, who is half his size – or I should say half his visual volume, since in terms of weight, there is only a pound and a half difference. Here is a photo of the two of them together at the food dish. It is hard to believe they are brothers, from the same litter, with the same mother and father – they are SO different, not just in looks, but in temperament. Bruce is wiry and intense, and much more active – he will need rather a lot of exercise; Elton seems to enjoy just ‘laying back’ more of the time. As you can see, he even eats lying down. Look at Bruce’s tail!


Here are some more photos from this past weekend:


(Elton sleeping in his favorite position)


(Bruce & Clapton with Sadie)


(Elton standing next to Sadie – you can see how big he is getting!)

Bruce the Wonder Dog

24 May

Another interesting thing we found out Tuesday is that Bruce is a ‘throw-back’ to an F1 Doodle. This means that he has some characteristics of the original dog from which the line was bred, in his case, lab characteristics. His coat and facial features are very lab-like, as opposed to being poodle-like. He doesn’t have the soft, fluffy hair of later generation Labradoodles, but rather a straight fur coat, like a Labrador. Therefore, and since he WILL shed, our breeder thinks we should drop his price to $800. Here is my favorite photo of him, taken last week:


He is the smallest dog in the litter, and a smart, feisty little fellow who loves to play and is VERY affectionate and sweet. He is Bob’s favorite, because he would rather play than eat, just like Bob! Both of them have to be reminded that it’s dinnertime; they get so absorbed in what they are doing. (Bob would love to be an astronaut, so he could just eat space food from a tube and not have to waste time on meals….) He just came over to me and asked to be picked up for a cuddle and to see what I’m doing. The funny thing about his coat is that the white blaze on his chest looks like Labradoodle hair rather than Labrador fur, so that is going to be interesting as he grows! The good thing about his coat, of course, is that he won’t need to be clipped/groomed every 6 to 8 weeks like a Doodle, so he’ll be less expensive to maintain. (That, and the fact that he doesn’t eat much! Although that might change!)

I will write more about their antics later; right now I must go and rescue my beloved Wallace Stegner from being chewed to pieces (the book, not the man) by Mick/Beckett. Yesterday I had to rescue the Michelin travel guide to Italy, a guide to the monumental centre of ancient Rome, and the Plan De Paris from him! He is quite the literary dog, and I think has the travel bug!

Six-week Checkup and Puppy Shots!

24 May

Well, we managed the logistical challenge of getting eight puppies and Sadie to the vet Tuesday morning, with lots of help from Jess. We could only get six of them in the crate, they’re so big now; the other two rode over in the puppy carryall they’ve been climbing in and out of in the bathroom. Jess was surprised at how HEAVY the crate was, but after the vet weighed the puppies, she understood why it did, indeed, take two of us to carry it down the stairs: they all weigh over or close to eight pounds now! Coming back, we transported them two by two, in the soft travel carrier, back up the stairs to the apartment.

They all passed their well puppy exams with flying colors, the only issues being that a couple of them have small umbilical hernias, which is very normal, and gets fixed when they get neutered; and three of them need orthodontia. (Just kidding! But they do need to chew on hard rubber toys to force their front teeth to grow outward instead of inward. We bought puppy Kongs for them, which they love!) They all got their first round of vaccinations, and their Wellness Certificates, which I will send home with the new owners. They will need a booster on June 19, so be sure to call your vet to schedule this.

Here is a photo of Cher (now Stella) having her exam:


They were all very brave, and didn’t even whimper when they got their shots! We let them run around the exam room, and Sadie was very proud of them all. Here is a photo of her nursing a couple of them while waiting. We had to hang around for nearly an hour after the shots to make sure nobody had an allergic reaction. When we finally got home, they were very thirsty and drank a lot of water, peed a river, and then slept for the rest of the afternoon. (They are thirsty little creatures, and love playing in their water dishes; some have discovered that it is great fun to splash water onto the floor – or, even more fun, turn the dish over – and then pounce on the towel as I’m trying to wipe it up.)


Today we get a third round of worm medicine, and then that’s it until they are in their new homes, which will happen for three of them at the end of next week! Elvis will be the first, being whisked off the Rhode Island Friday morning, June l, then Madonna/Zurie, Friday afternoon, and Clapton/Cooper will get picked up Saturday at noon. We are ALL going to miss them! Last night at dinner Bob, watching Sadie watching the pups anxiously, said glumly, “She knows they’re leaving.” I don’t see how she could know, but she does keep ‘counting’ them, and comes whining to me if she can’t see them all. Our breeder says she separates the mommy dog from the puppies a week before they’re to go home; unfortunately, we don’t have a way to do that, so we are going to try to let her get to know and trust the new owners, and then she’ll be able to visit some of them in their new homes. (We are going to Vermont in July for Rob & Jess’s wedding, so she’ll get to see two of the pups then, and we hope to visit Zurie in Sarah’s shop when we resume our walks from Queen Village to Rittenhouse Square.)

Videos of all the pups!

21 May

There are only two pups left! Six of these darlings already have new homes lined up. Here are short videos of all of the puppies from last week.




Mick (renamed Beckett by his new owners, Robert and Jessica):

Clapton (renamed Cooper by his new owners, the Gebert family):

Madonna (renamed Zurie by her new owner, Sarah):

Cher (renamed Stella by her new owner, Susan):


We are excited and happy for all the puppies and their new families, and know they are going to be very happy and well cared for. Everyone has promised to send us photos as the puppies grow, so we can continue to follow their development. Since we’ve no small children – or grandchildren – yet! – we have invited neighbors whose children we know and trust to come and visit, to acclimate the puppies to children. Here are a couple of photos they just sent me:

Stella, May 18, 2012