It's been a whole 3 days since we said goodbye to our last puppy going off to their forever home. They all seem to have so quickly adapted to their new families and you can hear the joy they are all bringing each other!
ABE, BANDI, ROCKY, ROUX, TESS, WREN
Are we excited? Yes. Are we sad? Yes. Are we relieved? Also a little yes. (Puppy rearing is serious exhausting business!!) But we know they all went to fantastic family homes that are still really close in distance to us. Maybe a reunion in a year. (People do that right?)
This entire experience was ever so much more than an 8 week project but truly a labor of love. While we are NOT professional breeders (& never ever will be), we did want a puppy from our amazing dam dog #KaiNoBrakes. We first found a stud with an incredible pedigree (near future AKC Hall of Fame) that we wanted to pair her with that would help produce a very high calibur litter and then spent months checking to see when Kai would go into heat & running health tests to qualify the breeding and then fertility tests when ovulating.
While pregnant we started collecting some pictures & compiling a video. We heavily interviewed our vet & a couple of dear friends who are both professional breeders (The Smart Pup Kennel AND Southern Spirit Aussies) all of whom we are so very grateful for. We got Kai all setup to give birth and she did her nesting thing and started popping them out. She did very well and completely soaked up all the pampering including being fed by fork. She was definitely a ham thinking this was the life. 😂
Once their ears finally flopped over, their eyes opened and they could hear, we started Early Neurological Stimulation Training (ENS) shortly followed by Puppy Culture which overall helps the puppies be able to adapt to a variety of experiences, can handle challenges, be able to calm down & recover, learn to think outside the box to solve problems and most important - not freak out when they see someone wearing a baseball cap! Okay maybe not the last point, but that was definitely on my mind only because I've seen it happen. Even with sunglasses. So we did all the things. Every day it was something new - loud noises, new toys, sunlight, a different room, new people, toys that required thinking, dark spaces, tunnels, water play, grass PLUS weaning, potty train, kennel train, new indoor & outdoor pens, and working to correct bad or wrong behaviors. etc. Full time job! At this point, we're still cleaning up their play area multiple times a day, moving them inside & outside 3-4 times a time, feeding every few hours, making sure they all do their business, deworming on schedule, taking them to the vet for shots, trying to take obsessively cute pictures of puppies to help find new owners - which is near impossible when they are busy WWF each other or climbing over our fencing! Plus time to enjoy them and love on them!
Did I also mention we both have full-time jobs, kids with school starting, a farm, actually 2 farms, a major drought with an insane heat wave, and tons of fruit trees needing constant hand watering? Meanwhile I was pestering off about needing hay right now for winter. 🤦♂️ Oh and our other co-current 8 week project - quail. (The "His & Hers" projects quickly turned into "Ours".)
Fast forward to 8 weeks later, and we are now down to our 2 puppies - Abe & Roux that we will shortly send off to the same trainer we sent Kai - CrippleCreek Retrievers - where we also hope to see a few of their siblings! But for now, it's lots of love and endless new experiences!
Would we do it again? While it was an incredible experience, it most likely won't ever happen again so long as both of us have full-time jobs but we are thankful for the experience & I believe all the amount of time we spent, helped to make the puppy transition to their new homes enjoyable for all parties. 🐾💞