Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Two Weeks Old!

Lug Nutz
Wheelie (reserved)

The puppies are now two weeks old and are growing at an amazing pace...they have all tripled their birth weight and then some! Almost everyone's eyes are fully open and taking in the world. They have found their legs and are now walking all over the whelping box. I think Harley was a little overwhelmed the first time she got in the box and they all came "running" for her! At this point, they litterly attack her when she enters the box!

Harley has done a wonderful job of being a first-time Mom. We are very proud of her! I do not envy her job as every day gets messier! YUCK!! I've been showering her with goodies to make up for certain, shall I say, unpleasant tasks she must face every day!

I believe she is experiencing a little "whelping box fever" though.... For those of you who know Harley, she goes everywhere I go; she absolutely loves our Chevy truck and going anywhere! But, since the pups were born she really hasn't been interested in leaving them. All that has changed now! She is not appreciating being left home! She looks at me as if to say, "They'll be fine...I just fed them and they're all asleep....Chopper can watch them 'til we get back home!".

Monday, December 8, 2008

Puppies - One Week Old!


Lug Nutz


We are happy to report that all five puppies are doing wonderful. This past Friday, Harley and the puppies went to the vet for a check up and to crop tails and dew claws. All made it through the procedure without any problems. It was really strange to see five little tails of varying lengths laying on the table when we left! Makes me think of that poem, "What Are Little Boys Made Of"! snips, and snails and puppy dog tails!

I have started early neurological stimulation exercises with the puppies. Exercises are done once daily between the ages of three and sixteen days. These exercises have proven to have important and lasting effects and has been adopted by the U.S. military in their dog training programs.

All of the puppies have more than doubled their birth weight this first week. Puppies now weigh between 19 and 24 ounces. You can almost see them grow!

Puppies Are Here!

On December 1, 2008, our Harley went into labor around 9:00 a.m. At 9:58 a.m. she delivered puppy #1, a black tri boy with a full collar. An hour and a half later, she delivered puppy #2, a black tri girl, with a full collar and a white lozenge on top of her head. Puppy #3 came at 12:55 p.m., a blue merle boy with a full collar and blaze. Puppy #4 came exactly and hour later, a little blue merle girl with a full collar and blaze almost to the collar. After puppy #4, we had no further action. After a couple of hours passed, I called the vet and asked them to pull the X-ray and re-count to make sure we had seen five. The vet confirmed five puppies. They told us if she didn't deliver by 5 p.m., bring her in. So at 5 p.m. we headed to the vet with four babies and a nervous mom! They X-rayed her, saw the puppy, and gave her a shot to help her labor progress. Twelve minutes later, Harley delivered puppy #5 at the vet's office, a black tri boy with a full collar and full blaze. We were home by 6 p.m. with five beautiful healthy puppies!

Harley is being a great mom. It is so remarkable how natural instincts take control. She did not require any assistance (other than the shot) with any of the deliveries, cord care, etc. The puppies' birth weights ranged from 9 to 11 ounces.

We are so excited about the potential of this litter!

Puppies Are On The Way

When Harley heated in late September, we decided now was the time if we were going to breed. So at the end of September we began progesterone testing and the first days of October we had three natural breedings. We did an ultrasound October 27, and saw 4-5 puppies! We X-rayed on November 26, and got an official count of 5 puppies! Now we just had to wait...the hardest part.

Our Decision to Breed

When we bought Chopper in 2006, we did so knowing that one day we would like to breed him to our Harley girl. Let me say first and foremost, I am not a breeder. Chopper's breeder, Shelly Gordon of Stargate Aussies, agreed to be a mentor to me. After evaluating the qualities of both, I decided I did want a puppy from this cross.

Our guys are CERF'd annually and both are normal. This summer we had hips and elbows X-rayed and both are OFA excellent.

We decided to breed when she went through her heat cycle in September 2008.

Our Boy Chopper

As I said in my post about our girl Harley, we started looking for a companion for her in the fall of 2005. In addition to being a companion to Harley, I wanted an aussie puppy who would be versatile and was especially interested in a line that competed in agility. In December, I contacted Shelly Gordon of Stargate Aussies in Indiana to ask if she had any litters planned for 2006. She did! She was expecting a litter of all black tri's the first of the year, and both parents compete in agility!

On April 1, 2006, we drove to Indiana to meet Shelly with our new black tri puppy, Chopper. Talk about a little butterball! He was such a beautiful little guy! We packed him in his new soft crate and headed for home. Within an hour he had chewed his way through the mesh of the crate door! This was a premonition of things to come!

Chopper attended his puppy obedience classes and did very well. But at home, WHEW! All the rules went out the door! He just had soooo much energy; hence his registered name: Stargate's All Fired Up! He tore up every toy we gave him, and those we did not! Harley was not a very happy girl during this time. I guess in her opinion we had brought home a little cyclone who would not leave her or her toys alone! He was terrible about stealling food, counter-surfing, robbing the trash! When he was about seven months old, I decided then that I'd have to enlist some help....enter Johnny!

Up until this time, Johnny had never participated in agility but came to watch Harley and me at the trials. I convinced him to start puppy agility classes with Chopper to build a bond, let off some energy, and have a little fun together. We all went to his first agility class, and man did he have fun! Nancy wanted him to do the tunnel first, and he was so excited he ran it on top of the tunnel instead of through it! And I mean he was sooo FAST! I just prayed that Johnny would like it half as much as Chopper did!

Chopper is now 2 1/2 years old and has matured beautifully. He is as gorgeous inside as he is outside. He has a very loving and happy disposition towards everyone. Chopper is definitely all boy but is also a very sensitive soul needing his hugs and kisses everyday. We are also happy to report that in regards to his food stealing, he has been rehabilitated!

Chopper turned out to be the perfect pup for us. He is extremely versatile. Chopper loves to swim, herd, and run agility. He currently competes in AKC agility and we hope to work on herding, tracking, and conformation in the coming year.

Our Girl Harley

In the fall of 2003, I began the search for our next australian shepherd puppy. It had been a year since we lost Freckles and it felt as though the time was right. Around the middle of December, I saw an ad for a litter of aussies and called to make an appointment to see them. Jessy, my daughter, and I rode out to see the pups with the intention of puchasing one as a Christmas present for Johnny since Freckles had been "his" dog. It didn't take but a second for one little girl in particular to single me out: a little blue merle fuzzball with one brown eye and one blue/brown marbled eye! I sat with the litter for a couple of hours trying to engage one, then another, but the little merle girl was persistent, "pick me!"! So I did! I took her home and presented her to Johnny for Christmas. He was so surprised! And surprising him is no easy feat!

After the first of the year Johnny asked me to take her to obedience training class. I was hesitant; I was afraid she would bond more with me and I had bought her for Johnny. However, our business was booming and he couldn't make every class, so I agreed to take her. She just loved going to class and quickly became the star pupil! She was always the demo dog for her group and you could tell she just ate that up! And within just a couple of weeks, she was my dog! We were, and continue to be, inseperable.

Harley is without exception the most intelligent dog I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with. Now I know I'm prejudiced, but she really is sooo smart! She progressed rapidly through the series of puppy classes, and by seven months old I knew she needed something else; I just didn't know what. Our puppy instructor, James, suggested agility and gave us a name to contact, Nancy Walker. Little did I know how this would forever change my life.

I finally managed to contact Nancy and found out she ran an agility training group called Leaps and Bounds. We showed up for our first class and I was overwhelmed! A class for "excellent" dogs was being held and man were they good! And talk about excited....Harley was about "out of her mind" wanting to get out there with them! I never even knew a sport like this existed. We started lessons that day and haven't looked back!

In 2004, we moved from subdivision living to a small home on seven acres in Lebanon, Tennessee. Harley was in dog heaven! Plenty of room to run, play and explore! Only one thing was missing.....a playmate. In the fall of 2005, I started looking for our next aussie puppy!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Our First Aussie

We purchased our first australian shepherd after the death of our beloved golden retriever, Toby, in 1995. We looked for several months before we found our little girl Freckles. She was one of 13 puppies born on Halloween night. She was a little split-face red merle and what an imp! Always into something!

Although she loved us all, she thought my husband Johnny hung the moon! She went to work with us everyday and felt it was her job to supervise the crew! Every morning she would make her rounds, saying hello to everyone, getting little bites of breakfast from her "friends" on the crew! Within a few minutes, she'd be back and ready to trail us from room to room, making sure the job was done right!

At the time we had Freckles, we lived in a subdivision with a fenced in backyard. Freckles was an escape artist of the highest quality when it came to exiting the backyard! When the kids got too rambuctious for her, she became the "fun police"; barking and herding the kids! So we'd send them to the front yard to play but within just a minute, she'd be in the front with them. Climbing over the fence was kids' play for her!

Our daughter loved to play dress-up and Freckles was a willing model! She also had several starring roles in the productions our kids put on for us! What a great little girl!

Unfortunately, we lost Freckles when she was seven years old. My husband and I went to the Smoky Mountains for our anniversary leaving our two kids and Freckles at home with my sister. On the third day of our trip, we got a call saying she had let Freckles out into the backyard and thirty minutes later she was gone. We spent a year looking for her, running ads, checking shelters, but never found her.

It is our belief that someone picked her up since she had spent all of her seven years in that neighborhood, knew the area well from our daily walks, and all the neighbors knew and loved her. It's our hope that whoever has her will love her and cherish her as we did.

Friday, December 5, 2008

About Us

We live outside of Nashville, Tennessee, on a small seven-acre (former) dairy farm. Our property is bordered front and back by Spring Creek; hence the name Spring Creek Aussies! Our aussies live in our home and are our daily companions. Their health and well-being are our first and foremost concern.

We have been involved in aussies for the last twelve years and have definitely fallen head over heels in love with this wonderful breed. They have an uncanny ability to come into our lives and change it forever for the better. I know they have changed my life!

We currently compete in AKC agility and look forward to competing in confirmation, herding, and possibly tracking.