Monday, March 30, 2009

Adventures of dog dating

The long awaited breeding of Kayla and Huxley is upon us.
On March 19 I emailed Carolyn to say finally the bitch is bleeding. Kayla's body decided to wait a bit longer than the past 2 cycles for whatever reason(s) past understanding. We were sure Kayla would do this while Carolyn was on vacation. So I drove 5 hours down to pick him up and then the next day drove 5 hours to come home. (And managed a speeding ticket. sigh. I deserved it but yes, sigh! and ouch.) Carolyn went on south and back but no sign of estrus from Kayla. Took Huxley home, thankfully Carolyn met me halfway and I was a better driver.

Four days later Kayla went into heat...
So we thought perhaps the timing might be perfect for the Albany show. A hotel room was already available.
When the first encounter happened, Kayla was only on day 9. They both wagged their tails, Huxley sniffed, Kayla sniffed and they both laid down to take a nap. I brought my AI stuff and my bestest buddy and master AI-er, Kim Kiefer. Then the same on Saturday. Huxley, BTW, thinks Kim is quite the comely lass, especially when carrying latex.

That evening I went to the repro seminar. hmmmm. Possibly too soon? Kayla's not standing yet... Ovulation is pretty tough to tell from behavior alone, which is influenced by many other factors:
-When stressed, say from a strange environment, a bitch can voluntarily stop her cycle creating what is termed a split heat. Kayla is not a big fan of dog shows, or hotel rooms.
-A dog's semen can last as long as 6 days but perhaps as few as 2. We don't know how long Huxley's stays viable.
-A bitch's egg is not mature when she ovulates. It's takes a couple of days to "ripen." The seminar speaker, Dr. Kutzler, said best breeding takes place 4 days after ovulation.
-To more accurately pinpoint ovulation one can smear vaginal cells on a slide and view under a microscope or even better a progesterone test. Neither of these tools was available.
-All of these numbers are averages. Could we be dealing with an odd dog or bitch who breaks the rules?

So on Sunday we had little time to wait and see if she would accept him so we just went with an AI. I was worried with all this information this was all for naught. So we agreed that Carolyn take Kayla home with her (I had no room in the car we had to bring Huxley home) to give us some insurance.
Last I heard the lovebirds are playing around and I imagine there will be an au naturelle soon if not already.

Fingers crossed and that all goes well. If so puppies, fluff-free, both parents with awesome hips, will be expected around June 1.

Thanks to Kim and to Carolyn for the opportunity to learn the elementals of this thing called breeding...

Correction made 4/2/09: Dog semen, fresh, can last up to 12 days inside the bitch according to mentor Kim Shira. It's the chilled stuff that has a much shorter "shelf life." So we're pretty confident that fertilization took place. Fingers crossed, spilled salt tossed over the shoulder and all that superstitious stuff. Let the chanting over the belly commence. Sing it with me: "Healthy whelping, healthy puppies..." Huxley has the "no fluffs" covered. Thank you, Sir Hux.


Holly said...

Fingers & paws crossed for some beautiful puppies for you!!

penni said...

Hopefully Kayla and Hux will "get it on" to make sure there are babies born around June 1. If you have a "theme" in mind, you'd better let us know so we can begin thinking of awesome names! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.