Regular readers will remember my account of our attempt to breed Ginger last year. I posted about it in When Simple Just isn't; A Reproductive Adventure, and When Simple Just Isn't; Part 2. Well we were at it again. And simple it was not.
In an attempt to carry forward what we think is an excellent pedigree and blood line, and maybe even begin our own line of springers we bred Ginger (Starbury Ponkapoag Ginger Snap MH) with Tommy (FC AFC CFC Frostfield Tommy SH). The thought of putting these two together excited several more well versed spaniel people we train, trial, and test with, so we were sure we were on the right track. When the time came Ginger was sent north to reside with our friend, and the pro we train with, Steve Church of Churchie Kennel and Gun Dogs in Epping NH. Steve lives the next town over from Tommy, and being friends with Tommy's owner, Mike, he agreed to help with the breeding. Tommy was brought to Steve's house, and Tommy and Ginger spent a couple of weeks together. Because we had some issues our last attempt to breed, Steve suggested rather than go through the process of repeated Progesterone testing, we just bring Ginger up to him and put the two dogs together a lot. This would let them get comfortable with each other, and when the time was right, they would tie. And tie they did.
A couple days after the first tie, and after being sure that there would be no more Ginger came home and resumed normal life. We on the other hand were frantically trying to absorb every bit of dog breeding/whelping info that came our way while keeping an eye on Ginger for any changes. The changes were slow to come, and truthfully, we began to think the breeding didn't take, though there were some signs that it may have. At week 5 we took Ginger to a reproductive Vet where she underwent an ultrasound so we could see what was cooking. We were elated when the ultra sound revealed she was indeed pregnant and carrying 5 pups. It was happening.
Well, we should have learned that nothing is ever easy. A few more weeks later, just days before Ginger was to whelp we went in for an x-ray to get a true count (ultrasound is not always accurate) so we would know how many to expect. To our surprise, and disappointment, Ginger was not carrying 5 pups. We will never know what happened, or why, but Ginger had singlet. She carried only a single, healthy, strong, and incredibly handsome male pup.
Of course, puppies learn to be puppies, and eventually dogs through their interactions with their littermate. Raising a singlet is difficult, and has tried many breeders and trainers with much more experience and knowledge than we've got. So we reached out to the spaniel community. That is where we got very lucky, our friend Bev of Osage Kennels had whelped a litter of 6 only 4 days after us. She graciously agreed to foster our pup in her litter so he could learn the lessons that can only be learned in that environment.
So, Allow me to introduce you to Ponkapoag's Bailey Island Castaway.
Bailey will becoming home next week, and our new adventure in dog training will begin.