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This Is A True Story

Once upon a time there was a young and very beautiful fair maiden who's sparkle seemed to radiate from inside her. She was destinded to meet a wise and mature prince who had waited a very, very, very long time to meet her. When they finally came together, it was like the heavens exploded, raining down stars to dwell among us.

Summer 2007
This is a True story and this is the story of True.

The birth of True and her brothers and sisters was a much anticipated event. I had had my eye on the sire Reko, since he was a youngster, and now, nearly 10 years later, I finally had the perfect bitch to breed to him. To be a dog breeder, you have to be a bit of a gambler. You have to appreciate irony and you need to have the ability to shake off your losses and get back on the horse. You always hope that the puppies that you bring into the world, end up with all the best qualities of the sire, and still retain all the wonderful qualities of your bitch. That's where the gambling comes in. As an ethical breeder, you do all you can to stack the odds in your favor, you health screen your dogs, proof them in competition, do your homework on stud dogs, but in the end, Mother nature reaches into her genetic grab bag and makes a puppy with what she pulls out. Sometimes fate is kind to you, and sometimes not so much...

Whelping a maiden bitch is always cause for a certain amount of anxiety. Will everything be OK? Will she know what to do? Will she be a good mom? The events leading up to Sparky's whelping date, proved to be fuel for the fire. After being laid off from my job at Qwest this spring, I found a great opportunity at a small, but growing company in Longmont. While I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the country, I decided it would be nice to live close enough to work to be able to go home for lunch. We were supposed to be closing on and moving into a new house, just minutes from work. Well...

I've bought and sold several homes in the past, it never occurred to me that 2+ months might NOT be enough time to buy a house and get moved before the puppies arrived. I wrote 3 GOOD contracts on 3 different houses before I finally got one under contract. I was already pre-approved for my loan, so once we got the inspection out of the way, I thought the hard part was over. Sadly, I was mistaken.... Have you ever dealt with a bank owned foreclosure property? If you have time to waste, you can get a good deal. If you have a deadline, DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT! The closing date kept getting pushed back and delayed. Finally, I was out of time. We HAD to close by Friday, June 22, because that gave me ONE weekend to move before puppies arrived. I pushed as hard as I could to make the closing happen and after a lot of frustration, a major headache and a 3 hour closing, I had the keys to my new house, albeit we closed in escrow because we were waiting for the seller to deliver the deed to the property. I had no time to waste, so I quickly coordinated my movers and the wood floor refinishers. Saturday was spent cleaning and shampooing carpets while the wood floors were sanded and refinished. Sunday was a 100+ mile marathon to collect my belongings from my old apartment in Sedalia, then to my parents house in Broomfield to gather the rest of my things, and finally to Longmont to unload and unpack.


June 25, 2007

I am planning on picking up the girls from the dog sitters on Tuesday, so I can take care of some plumbing issues today. I get a call from my Realtor, she's calling an emergency meeting about the transaction. Apparently there is a problem with the deed, and the sellers have negated the closing. I just moved into a house I do not own.... It's just 4 days before D-day (delivery day).

I am essentially homeless. The Seller will not allow us to occupy the house until they correct the problem with the deed. Thank God for the kindness of near strangers who offered us their walk out basement. (it was a coworker who raised champion Rhodesian Ridgebacks) They lent us their whelping box, add to that a futon, a couple of fence panels, and 2 dog beds and our makeshift nursery was complete. That allowed me to put on a brave face when I finally went to pick the girls (Sparky and Mattie, the old lady) up from the kind folks that had been taking care of them for me during this transition. Mattie, who is 12 and is Sparky's grandmother, is my guardian. She feels it is her duty to watch over me, and she takes it serious. She sees through my facade, she senses my worry, and she worries too. Sparky on the other hand, is taking it all in, blissfully experiencing all the changes her body is going through. I tried to follow her example.

June 29, 2007

Well, just less than 48 hours after being introduced to our new temporary home, and Sparky appears to have started labor. She is in a calm, serene, almost spiritual state. Sparky’s mom, Giddy, had 3 small litters and more than her fair share of complications. We didn’t know what to expect with Sparky’s litter, we were prepared for the worst. It went textbook perfect. When the big contractions finally started, she was up on her feet, slowly pacing about the whelping box. This is good, because gravity can help that first puppy make it's way into the world. As labor progressed and the puppy began to crown, I was ready with a towel to receive it, supporting it until the placenta was delivered. It had been nearly 3 years since I attended a birth, in fact it was Sparky’s, and things tend to happen kinda fast, so those first few moments are a bit of a blurr to me, looking back. The first puppy was head first, about half way out, I went ahead and broke the sac and began drying the newborn’s head while I waited for the next big contraction. The puppy squeaked and that got Mattie’s attention, who was just outside the whelping box watching. In one fell swoop, puppy plopped into my hands and the old lady hopped in the box to meet her first Great Grandchild. As I helped Sparky clean and dry her first born, a girl, I checked her from head to tail. Relief washed over me. She was perfect. Well…. Almost. I have to admit, I felt the tiniest hint of disappointment as I helped this new baby girl latch on to her first meal. She had a large white spot on her chest. Weimaraners are allowed to have white on the chest, all things being equal, the solid gray dog is to be preferred. This puppy’s white would be acceptable, but worse than that, she was going to have white on one toe. I tried not to dwell on it, she was healthy and that was the most important thing. I would have to hope that the rest would have less white. This baby girl would eventually be known as the purple collar girl.

Following firstborn True was #2 Miles (gold collar), then #3 Beta (orange/hot pink), followed by #4 Faith (lt blue collar), and #5 Rocco (blue collar). I had guessed 5-7, based on Sparky’s moderate size, were we done now? Nope! Here came #6 Starbuck (green collar). I thought for sure we were done. Took Sparky outside to potty. Fortunately I’ve been trained to always take a towel and a flashlight along. She squatted and out plopped #7, Koda (red collar). Now, she’s done for sure….. No wait… That looks like more contractions. Surprise! #8 was Ruby (raspberry collar), covered in green goo from the placenta that had ruptured. She took a bit more vigorous rubbing than the others and did NOT want help latching on to a nipple. And last but not least, #9 was Bella (yellow/teal collar). Whew! NINE!!! Nine beautiful, healthy, vigorous pups. What a blessing. And yes, they all had less white than True, who was simply known as the girl with the white collar band at this point in time.

Now if they would just HURRY UP AND GROW! I need to know what we got!

From Baked Potatos to True Weims

July 1, 2007

When we last left our heroine, Sparky had just delivered nine beautiful, healthy, HUNGRY puppies. Five girls, four boys. 5 solid gray and 4 with white. Nice split! Newborn puppies eyes and ears are sealed. They can smell and they instinctively move toward mother's warm body. We refer to this as the"baked potato" stage. They are cute, but about as interesting as a baked potato. They do 3 things: Eat. Sleep. Poop. Mom takes care of cleaning up after them for these first few weeks, though we change the blankets and wipe down the box at least once a day. Now is the time to get some rest, because in a few weeks, it's gonna get REAL crazy!

Did you know it takes fourteen days to make a superdog?


Sparky's been an awesome mom, there's just a certain glow about her. She took to the new roll very naturally and seems to be reveling in her new duties. Mattie seems to enjoy being a Great Grandma.

Towards the end of the 2nd week we get some good news. The wait is finally over! We're closing on our new house at the end of the week. I've got some plumbing issues to get taken care of, a doggie door to install, an enclosure to build for the puppies, and THEN we get to move ELEVEN gray beasts, this should be interesting.... Fortunately, I have the name of a good handyman, my wonderful mom is a workhorse and my new friend, Kim from work is willing to pitch in. I load up the van, one old dog, one mama dog and 9 little gray piglets for the 10 mile drive to our new home.

Well, they say that home is where the heart is. If that is true then our Sherman St house has lots of heart. We all settled in quickly, the gray dogs eager to explore their new surroundings. The next weeks go by quickly as we try to unpack and keep up with the puppies. That first week in the new house, 3 puppies learned to climb out of the whelping box. If that wasn't enough, little purple girl learned to climb back IN the whelping box. Since the box is raised off the floor, the sides are 2.5 inches TALLER from the outside. Week 4 and the new thing is learning to carry things. Again it's purple girl, tennis ball in her mouth, pacing in front of the whelping box. The long side of the box is 6 feet, but all but 12 inches is blocked off. She's trying to figure out how to get back in the box with the the ball. I am dumbfounded.... She's about 80% there when a sneak attack from behind distracts her from her task.

Week 5 and it's time to start feeding the little monsters. This is when the real work starts, the beginning of the big poopy mountain as one breeder friend of mine puts it. It's a wonder how it always seems that there is more coming OUT of the puppies than you put IN to the puppies. With 9 puppies, someone is always pooping at any given time. Generally this is the time when mom says, "I've had enough! They're all yours!" But Sparky's beginning to really have fun with the little tykes, they are learning to play! She's also not that worried about closing the "titty bar" anytime soon.

Week 6 brought the first barrage of visitors, a family of 6 with kids in all sizes and varieties. The puppies are a little uncertain of what to make of the invasion at first, but quickly warm up to the new humans. Afterwards they are exhausted, as am I. Late in the week we have our first formal photo shoot, getting a good look at structure. This is purple girl. Amy took one look at this picture and emailed me a message, "If you don't want her, I do. And YES, I'm serious!"

Week 7 and the socialization continues. Here's a group shot of the boys.

Amy comes ups to help with week 7 photos and meet the gang in person.

Week 8 and time is running out for evaluations. We'll be testing the youngsters on birds, doing temperament testing and our final conformation evaluations, then deciding who goes where. The suspense is killing EVERYONE!!!


The !#*&%?$! Circle of Life

The !#*&%?$! Circle of Life

Cheyenne's Raining Silver. Mattie, my rock, my guardian angel. She’s seen me through a lot of good times and also some really dark times. Through the last 10 + years she’s been the one constant thing in my life, always by my side, always the same old Mattie. Over the past year I’ve watched her slow down, beginning to show her age and the accumulation of years of a super athlete pushing her body to it’s limits. It’s a hard thing to watch, this once magnificent creature, her body now betraying her. But hey, life’s not fair, is it?

Shortly after moving into the new house, Mattie came up lame. She was holding a rear leg out at an odd angle. Already weak in the rear, she was having a difficult time even walking. The new house has mostly wood floors that can be extremely slick. My guess is that she’s slipped and pulled a muscle. I try to make her comfortable and help her in and out of the house. She's up and walking on her own in a couple days. It's a relief, I have enough to keep me busy with the puppies. She's still not quite right, she's begun to have some strange episodes where she can't move her head and shivers uncontrollably. An hour later, she's back to normal. There's something about them that makes me think it's neurological.

On a Saturday in early August, I take Mattie to see the Holistic Vet. It doesn't take him long to come up with a diagnosis - Stenosis of the spinal cord, commonly called "Wobbler's Disease". Pressure is put on the spinal cord by the degenerating spinal vertebrate causing pain, numbness, and eventually paralysis. When the onset is in a younger dog, it is usually genetic. Mattie's first symptoms were not until she was 10, so chances are, it resulted from an injury in her younger years, though it's impossible to know for sure. Neither Mattie's Mother, or her 2 half sisters, who all lived to be 13, had this problem. At 12, surgery is not a viable option. Treatment consists of acupuncture twice a month and natural supplements to reduce swelling and inflammation. Keep her comfortable and on her feet for as long as possible, cause when she does go down, well then this dance is over. Enjoy every moment.

We leave the vet after the first treatment and Mattie is noticeably perkier and moving without pain. I'm hopeful. She does well over the next 2 weeks, then a second treatment.

The puppies just turned 8 weeks and we're evaluating their hunting potential. I've acquired some quail for the test, which we're doing in the back yard. In hindsight, I should have put Mattie and Sparky in their crates in the house before I brought the birds out. Mattie, especially, is a bird nut. She nearly flipped her wig trying to get in on the action, jumping around like a dog half her age. I rewarded her by giving her the quail when the puppies were done with it. Later that evening, she's walking stiffly, evidence that she'd overdone it today. God it sucks getting old....

The following day brings a visit from some old friends, and some young ones too. ;o) Chad and Sarah are old friends of mine, old friends of Mattie. Mattie's son Woody shares their home with a Chocolate Labrador and their twin sons, Dillon and Evan. Mattie spent 3 months with the Schneider family while I was in transition the early part of 2007. Mattie, or "Maggie" as the boys called her, is special to them, and they are special to Mattie. It was fitting that they spent this day with us, spending quiet time with Mattie and meeting her great grand puppies.

About 2am, I’m awakened by a noise in the hall. Mattie’s fallen. She’s lying in the hall, struggling to get up. She can’t convince her legs to do what she's asking them to. It’s bad. The moment I’ve been dreading is here. I touch her on the head and tell her to hang on, I’ll be right back. I hurry to the family room to fold the futon out so I have some place to lay her. When I get back to her, she’s lost control of her bladder and bowels. Life can be horribly indignant sometimes. As gently as I can, I lift her stiff and struggling body off the floor and carry her into the family room, laying her on the futon.

She’s distressed. So much goes through my mind. Is this the end? Is this it? Is she going to be in this condition until I help her cross over? I refuse to allow her last minutes to be on a cold steel table in some vet’s office. Morning is a long ways away…… Now the puppies are all awake and whining to be let out of the night time enclosure. I block off the futon from the rest of the family room with the puppy x pen, and turn the little heathens loose to play. From what I know about my own back problems is that if you can reduce the swelling you can take the pressure off the nerves. It’s worth a try. I take an icepack from the freezer and attach it to her spine with some vet wrap. I sit next to the futon and stroke her head, trying to calm her. Little purple girl scales the x pen without batting an eye and climbs straight into my lap. It's as if she knows I need her quiet presence. Nothing to do but wait. Soon the episode passes, Mattie’s breathing relaxes and she drifts off to sleep. I lay down and wrapped my arms around her and I dozed off too, holding on to love.

Pink rays of sunshine streaming through the window, tell us it’s morning. Mattie’s still sleeping peacefully. I kiss her on the cheek and quietly slip away to start breakfast for the puppies. When I peek around the corner, Mattie is sitting up. Before I can stop her, she's slid off the futon and is standing on her own power. No, it's not a miracle. We just managed to get the swelling under control to where it was no longer pressing on the spinal column.

Reality is harsh. Here is what I know. Fact #1: Mattie’s just been to the homeopath 2 days ago, there is likely nothing more they can do for her at this point. I can’t bear the thought of leaving and her having another episode, lying there helpless and afraid for who knows how long? Fact#2 I am fairly new to my job and have limited time off. Fact#3: I have people coming starting tomorrow, lots of them. Beginning tomorrow, I have 5 straight days of people coming to pick up their new puppies. Some are coming from out of state, one is even staying with me. I have a terrible decision to make…. And I don’t have the luxury to hide from the inevitable. I’m a survivor. One thing I’ve learned is that when life comes at you, teeth bared, it’s best to turn and face it head on, on your own terms if possible. I have only one day to shut the world out and cherish one more day with a beloved friend.

I don't remember much about making the arrangements... I talked to a few places before I found one in my area that could accommodate my schedule. They were all kind and patient with me. I was supposed to meet with an artist the following week to take some pictures of Mattie for a painting I wanted to have done. If he was going to meet Mattie, it would have to be today. He understood, he would come in the afternoon. I called in sick to work. With the particulars out of the way, the day belonged to the 2 of us. Ok, more like the 12 of us, but hey it's all in the family. I made her a special breakfast. I massaged her, trying to memorize her body with my hands. We marveled at the 9 beautiful great grand puppies playing in front of us and their amazing mother. It had been a good run, 12 years, hard to complain, but harder still to think about closing the door.

The artist comes and takes pictures. He gets to see real Mattie. Another special meal, her last. How can this be? Too soon and the vet is at the door. Home to Heaven is what she calls her business. She goes over the process with me and I write her a check. There is no rush she says. She meets Mattie and the gang. This is a first for the vet, a litter of puppies present at an at home euthanasia. Somehow, I feel this is the the way it is supposed to be. After a while a calm settles over the group. It's time.

I slid a quail wing under her nose as the tranquilizer was administered. I wanted her to dream she was on a magnificent hunt. The scent roused some of the puppies and she lifted her lip telling the youngsters, "Don't even think about it!" The tears came as I wrapped my arms around her still body. I waited until I thought my heart would burst before silently nodding to the vet. I wish I could say she passed peacefully, like drifting off to sleep, but that's not how it went. Afterward I kept holding on to her, letting go does not come easy.

I help carry her to the car. It's odd how heavy she feels, her lifeless body. Home to Heaven will take her to the crematorium, they are waiting for her. I watch them drive away. It starts to rain. Fucking irony...

I've got just 12 hours before I have to pull myself together.

Cheyenne's Raining Silver

8/03/95 - 8/27/07





To read more about Mattie and her legacy, visit www.cheyenneweims.com


It is True

August 27, 2007

Morning comes quickly and it's off to work. Steve and Jamie Sieveking arrived the day before, I will be coming home at lunch time to meet them at the house. I'm in a fog, trying to push through the day, I haven't told many people about Mattie, I just can't take being comforted right now. I've got to push through this week and get these puppies into their new homes. Falling apart is not an option. Lunch time rolls around and I head back to the house. They are waiting for me, I recognize Steve immediately from the Weimaraner Nationals in St Louis back in 2002. They are excited to meet the gang, that's the cool part about breeding dogs, that excitement and anticipation. We spend some time just watching Sparky playing with the pups. She has a long rope toy, puts it down on the ground and waits for 3 or 4 of the puppies to grab on and then drags them around the yard. Before we know it, it's time for me to go back to work. I tell them I think it's going to be purple girl, but to take a close look at green and red boys if they're leaning towards a male. I show them were the cleaning supplies are, wish them luck and off I go.

They are doing some final comparisons when I arrive home from work that evening. They have huge smiles on their faces, fuzz therapy will do that to a person. They compliment me on a job well done. That feel good coming from folks with their experience in Weims. They've spent the afternoon evaluating the litter in terms of conformation (structure), temperament, and trainability. Soooooo???? Who caught their eye? With a twinkle in his eye, Steve says, "If we were 20 years younger, it would be red boy, hands down." His drive and enthusiasm were hard to resist. They said he passed the toe pinch test without batting an eye. "Yawn.... Oh are you squeezing my toe?" But they feared they wouldn't be able to do the boy justice. It was lt blue girl they had decided on. But what about PURPLE girl? I had already prepared myself that she would be the one to go conquer the world. I thought lt blue girl would be the one staying....

Don't get me wrong, both lt blue and purple were extremely nice puppies, the margin separating them was not worth arguing over. Lt blue had a hair over purple in the conformation department and most of that was the fact that purple girl had white and lt blue had none. In most of the other areas, purple bested the rest of the puppies. I felt purple had the most potential, so I was willing to let her go, knowing that she would accomplish great things with Steve and Jamie. I didn't want to hold her back. Purple snubbed them and it was the blue girl who connected with them and well, really, she did fit the bill of what they were looking for. So blue would go, and purple would stay. If you ask me, I think she planned it that way, purple girl that is. She somehow knew that this is where she belonged. And so it was decided over dinner, for me, it is True!


A Truely Busy Week

Week of August 29 - September 1, 2007

Yes, it's True. Purple girl stays.

Steve and Jamie have a Wednesday morning flight back to Missouri. Unfortunately that doesn't leave us enough time to get a health certificate for blue girl to fly back with them. So they will fly back to Missouri, get in their car and DRIVE back to Colorado to get the puppy. Crazy huh? Meanwhile, Diane is flying out from Chicago today, guess it will be 4 for dinner. The ability to be flexible is what keeps me sane.

Over dinner that evening, we talk about names. There's one I've been hanging onto for a while, I think it fits lt blue girl to a T.

Cheyenne's Walk on Water, call name "Faith". Not that Faith will walk on water, but that any of us could if we only had enough faith. It sticks.

Sparky poses with Faith, Jamie and Steve.

It's Little Miss Sunshine, Bella (yellow/teal) girl for Diane, who lost her first weim earlier this year.

Easy going and unflappable, Miles (gold boy) was specially chosen for the Phillips family.

"Mr. Personality", Koda (red boy) will be going to experienced weim owners, Bill and Niki (and Abbey) in WY. They're looking forward to competing with him in the field and hopefully the show ring too.

Handsome and easygoing Starbuck goes home with Marilyn and Roderick, first time weim owners. We hope to see this beautiful boy in the show ring when he gets a little older.

It's laid back Beta (orange/hot pink girl) for Brandon, also a first time weim owner.

And finally Ruby (Raspberry girl) finds a home with Grins and Giggles (they asked for their real names to be withheld). This young couple had a serious case of puppy intoxication.

I stop to catch my breath and realize how quiet the house is with just 2 Weims. What a difference a week makes. Life will never be the same again.


Is It True That You Can't Get Ink Out Of Carpet?

November 25, 2007

Exactly how much ink does an ink pen contain?
Can you really get ink out of carpet?
How does ink get on the TOP of the dog?

I learned the answers to these questions this weekend;

Exactly how much ink does an ink pen contain? "A lot."

Can you really get ink out of carpet? "Not so much."

How does ink get on the TOP of the dog? "By rolling in it."



True, again.

I was showering, the dogs were blocked in the family room with access to the patio and doggie door, they were left for maybe 20 minutes as they are every morning... The pen was on the dining room table, not near the edge. Google searches indicated that rubbing alcohol was the best thing to use, I found that it got a lot of the ink out, but not all of it. Spot Shot seemed to work better, but only on untreated spots. Folex claimed to work on ink, but by the time I got some, I didn't have any untreated area to test and it did not seem to get much more out of the previously treated spots. Alcohol on a washcloth got the ink off the dogs with little effort. At least I was smart enough to put on rubber gloves to protect my skin.

The moral of the story - 1 Ink pen + 1 teething, naughty puppy = a Truely BAD Combination!

Believe it or not these are the same dogs just one day earlier…


More Trouble With True

December 2, 2007

Exactly one week after the ink pen incident, and once again, I am showering on a Sunday

morning. The dogs are blocked into the family room. This time when I come around the corner to check on them I see tiny red dots all over the brand new rug (put down to cover

the ink stains). Blood. A quick inspection and I spot the source. True is missing a toe nail, it's severed all the way down to the base. OUCH! Fortunately, they do grow back.

Well it's a good thing I bought all that carpet cleaning stuff last week....


Truely Naughty

December 24, Christmas eve

Taking a shower must be a license to misbehave... I am a procrastinator extraordinaire. I just can't get into the spirit this year and so most of my Xmas shopping is not done. I was doing some shopping online the night before, and I left my credit card on the table beside the couch, next to the computer. I went to grab a shower so I could get out and finish my shopping. I was gone about 20 minutes.

First of all, I'm flabberghasted at how she even managed to pick up a small, flat, piece of plastic with her mouth. I call Wells Fargo and explain what happened. They can send a new card, it might take a week to 10 days. Not going to help me now.... It's still readable, so I tell them not to cancel it and I will take my chances trying to use it.

Well, I got a lot of strange looks and laughs, handing my mangled card to the clerks and explaining how it got that way, compliments of one very naughty puppy, but I did get my shopping done!


True Lessons

True's a fast learner, me, not so much.

True learned to sit at a very early age. She learned that it got her praise, that's how she gets her dinner and sometimes it gets her treats. Sitting is a good thing. True is good at sitting. True is not so good at patience... Her way of saying, "Hurry up!" is to stomp her feet. When that doesn't get noticed, she will belt out a "WOOOO WOOOOO WOOOOO!" And then she will launch herself at me. She's like a wind up toy. It makes me laugh every time.

And every time it's the same;
Sit. Stomp Stomp Stomp. Woooo Woooo Woooo! Blast off!

The other morning after I got ready for work, I found I had an extra 10 minutes before I had to leave, so I thought I'd have breakfast. Some homemade granola with soy milk in a Campbell's soup mug. It's yummmmy! True thought I should share....

So of course she popped a picture perfect sit right in front of me...

She stomped her feet...

She belted out a Woooo Woooo Woooo!

Ok. This would be the correct moment to turn away. To block what's I KNOW is coming next, cause I do know what's coming next...

I am NOT a morning person. So maybe I just wasn't quite coherent , because I just stood there looking at my cute puppy. I ended up with granola from my bangs down to my chest. I blinked in disbelief as soy milk dripped from my eyelashes. Coconut curls hung in my hair. The cute puppy gazes up at me innocently. It's hard to be mad at that face.

Guess I better get cleaned up, I have to get to work.