As a collie breeder I spend a lot of time waiting and wondering, and nothing is harder than waiting on one of my sweet girls to whelp her puppies.
First I decide if I want to breed one of my collies, then I think about who would be the best dog to sire her litter. Then I jump through all the testing hoops, financial hoops, and the logistics of making the physical connection of getting the actual breeding done.
Then there is the waiting to see if my girl is pregnant. I usually get an ultrasound to diagnose pregnancy because I want to know if puppies are coming as soon as I can. Often times- especially with chilled semen shipments- the answer is – NO PUPPIES. Having chilled semen sent to your vet for implantation is easier than shipping your girl across the country to Mr. Great Collie boy, but the success rate is dismal. In these days of COVID, you have to get creative to get your girl to the best stud for her.
My breeding plans this year have come to nothing, except for my sweetheart – Willa. Willa, aka GCH Tairis Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This- went to Cherann’s Collies in Missouri and was bred to Cheryl Kobularcik’s beautiful boy Landon- aka GCH Cherann’s Cherokee On Sacred Ground. Both Willa and Landon are outstanding collies. I could not wait to know if the breeding produced puppies. Thirty-odd days in, Willa got an ultrasound. The repro vet saw ONE PUPPY. I thought surely there was at least one more in there the vet couldn’t see. We repeated the ultrasound a couple of weeks later. ONE PUPPY seen! I thought Willa looked too big to just have one puppy. But one pup would be fine if it was a healthy, gorgeous pup. So I waited, and waited, and waited until Willa’s due date. Nothing happened. Willa was acting like she felt fine. No problems and also no labor. She ate, she played, she slept like normal. It was driving me crazy. I talked to the vet. She was fine, they said. Let nature take its course. After she was two days late, I took her back to the vet for another ultrasound. One puppy- and that pup is alive. “So we need a C-section, right?”, I asked the vet. The clinic said yes she may need a C-section, but we can’t do it. Go to an emergency clinic if you are concerned- they told me. This is a vet clinic I have gone to for 30 years, and they can’t do a C-section? I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars here. I literally called all the vets in Fort Worth I could think of that I had ever used. They were too busy, or understaffed, or probably just didn’t care. I did not like the idea of taking Willa to a random emergency clinic that didn’t know us, and probably didn’t know jack about collies.
Thank God, I made a call to Kingdom Animal Hospital in Bryan, TX and spoke to Dr. Pruitt there. I have used Dr. Pruitt before for some testing and transcervical implantations. She is a Border Collie breeder as well as a repro vet. SHE GETS IT! Dr Pruitt has the heart of a breeder. I don’t think a lot of vets have much if any experience as breeders. Non-breeder vets don’t have a clue how good breeders feel about their dogs, or all that is involved in trying to breed great dogs.
I gave Dr. Pruitt Willa’s progesterone numbers, and breeding dates. She agreed that Willa was definitely overdue- dangerously so. She told me to bring her in and she would do a C-section- NOW! I told her I was in Fort Worth, and she said then you better hurry. I said it will be 8:30 tonight before I can get there. She said that 8:30 PM was better than 2:00 AM. This is what they do at Kingdom Animal. They are truly breeder friendly vets– which is becoming a rare thing. I am so grateful to Dr Pruitt and the staff at Kingdom Animal Hospital.
Willa and I took off for Bryan, Texas in TX A&M country. After a couple of missed turns and detours, we arrived at 9:00 PM. The vet tech rushed out to get Willa as soon as I pulled into the parking lot. By 9:20, I heard a baby puppy crying, and I started crying too. Willa’s baby pup was alive and yelling!
The vet tech came out and told me that Willa had a healthy little girl. Mom and pup did great. I asked what color and the tech shrugged her shoulders. “Dark?” she said.
Soon I got to hold Willa’s baby. There she was– a dark sable girl. She had pretty markings, with a nice white collar, although she was probably not white factored. She was perfect in my eyes.
The nice vet techs at Kingdom Animal Hospital helped get us ready for the 3 and a half hour journey home. They heated a huge IV fluids bag to put in a box by Bee to keep her warm. Dr Pruitt stitched up Willa and helped her come around. We let Bee nurse awhile. Poor Willa was flooded with milk. I stopped once on the way home to make sure Bee was safe and nursing okay. I generally hate driving at night in the dark, but somehow the roads seemed brighter than normal that night. I think God threw down some extra moonlight to guide us home. We made it home without a hitch about 2:00 AM.
I knew right away what this pup’s AKC name would be. Tairis Daydream Believer –who will go by the nickname Bee. Bee is short for Believer. There is also the fact that little Bee goes from nipple to nipple for milk like a bee feeds from multiple flowers.
So I have this singleton puppy called Bee, born September 23rd, 2021. She is adorable. It would be very hard not to keep her. Unless something unexpected happens, little Bee will be part of my Tairis Collie family for life.
Special thanks to Cheryl Kobularcik, the breeder and owner of Landon, sire of Bee. Cheryl took great care of Willa, and got her bred to Landon. Cheryl may be a co-owner on Bee if she turns out as pretty as I expect. Landon has sired some gorgeous collies, and I think Bee will be another one.
Some people say breeders do this for the money. A breeder trying to do this right will tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.
Sometimes I have big litters, and sometimes I have none. The sum total of collies I have produced in 2021 is – ONE. Hopefully, little Bee will be a great one!
I plan to breed another of my beautiful collie girls this coming winter, hopefully followed by spring puppies.