Category Archives: Hot Topics
~What We Don’t Want
The emergency Vet Vist probably tops our list. It is the quickest way to spoil our celebration. Nonetheless, is there a time when our attention is more divided? The snatch and grab Weimaraner could abscond with some spectacular finds. They are everywhere–the counter, the dining table, the plates, and possibly on the floor. One thing you might overlook–the rising bread dough or rolls. Bread Dough Toxicosis can prove life-threatening. Maybe a toddler is waving a turkey leg. Is that an invite? The opportunist Weimaraner will make the most of this food-driven holiday gathering.
The humans at your table–they are a significant threat to the Weimaraner. Who doesn’t want to sneak the pup a treat? But too many sneaks and the gut can become overloaded even with acceptable food. The sensitive Weim might have a bout of pancreatitis from too much fatty food. Then there are the cooked poultry bones–be sure if you throw them out it is where the Weimaraner cannot steal them.
You Might Consider
What if you made a plate for the Weimaraner that everyone could help share? This plating idea might work. Here are some excellent choices.
- Turkey — no bones
- Green beans (plain)
- Squash or Pumpkin (plain)
- Apple slices (without the seeds)
~ to mention a few
- Mashed Potatoes
- Corn on the Cob
- Nuts (pecans and Macadamia)
- Grapes and Raisins
You can bake a Weim cookie or a Weim pie that forgoes the seasonings. Eggs and pumpkin and a tiny bit of milk will bake up nicely. You could make the crust using treats. Possibly make them in a silicone cupcake pan or cupcake papers. We are not saying it cannot be a lot of fun for the Weimar too. However, no one wants the unthinkable to spoil all the fun.
When do you expect your next litter?
A simple answer it would make things oh so much easier. The complexities of answering what others imagine as absolute, it anything but the case. No one knows this more than people who have waited for a lengthy season to get an OwyheeStar puppy. (Thank you, to everyone who stuck it out and stayed loyal. To those whose trust was implicit.)
The inexplicable craziness associated with raising the Weimaraner cannot be precisely defined. Nonetheless, we would like to shed some light on things from our side of the fence. We understand that many folks who come to us in search of the Weimaraner have waited until the eleventh hour and now they are in the hope of finding a pup sooner rather than later. On a rare occasion, we might see ourselves with an available pup upon your inquiry. This scenario could happen if the folks on the wait list are not ready (have a different timeline). There are the other factors too–the sex, the coat color, and the coat length to mention the three biggies. Also, for example, some folks want to hunt upland game, truffles, or sheds. We are looking for the Weims with the most hunt-potential for those engaged in hunting. During our Discovery and Placement Test process, we ascertain whether the pup is more inclined towards scent, and other cues. That doesn’t mean the less hunt-potential pup could not be a suitable hunting companion; however, we hope to place those pups with the Companion Weim folks. Other than the Weim-seeker’s preferences, availability and litters are affected by factors we often have little to no control over.
The female’s heat cycle might not be entirely consistent. Certain age-appropriate females will come into season every six months–others not so much. We figure on average any female might cycle about every seven months; however, there are times when our best guess is off. Last winter, for example, all the girls came into heat way behind schedule despite the chagrin of many. The lateness caused the arrival we got to be later and for some people, this time change was not going to work.
The complexity of mating cannot be understated. There is a reason we have more than one sire–we don’t keep breeding back to the same lineage. The right sire choice is essential. In some situations, we have had the luxury to use multiple sires; however, many times we have but one option. Or, where we have mixed in the Longhairs, we might have one option if we don’t want any Longhair pups in a litter. For example, Boone doesn’t carry the Longhair DNA marker–whereas, Stackhouse is a Longhair. Any female that carries the Longhair marker and is mated to Stackhouse would produce some Longhair pups. All this planning doesn’t always end up producing a litter.
Who You Get Nothing
There are times when a mating happens, and it doesn’t produce pups. We suspect this happens a lot more than anyone talks about because we get inquiries from folks who have waited elsewhere and after two matings they never got a puppy. We also know, as we talked about with the four (from the Callie X Zee litter), not every female is a good producer. Vidalia never produced a single pup despite many efforts. Ginger and Cindee inconsistently produced small litters. Only Mousse produced the average-sized litter consistently. Who would have guessed? The lack of litters from a mating thing is not the end of the challenges.
To list a few other things–some females do not carry the litter to term. You watch their tummy grow, and they miscarry. Yes, it happens to the Weimaraner just as it does to some women. Or the litter might only produce one or two pups. All that time spent hoping, and you have not much to show for it. Those folks waiting for a puppy can become disillusioned. We can experience these feelings too! We have to shake off anything negative quickly. After waiting, and the pups arrive new information is available. Sometimes it is not as we hoped.
What a Year
2017 was such a year. Our litters leaned toward producing more males than females. Who can guess why? The opposite has happened in the past. When there are only one or two females to six males, soon the Wait List becomes prevalently female oriented. It would be easy to sigh and grow frustrated. Instead, we opt to rejoice in each pup as they arrive.
Our Wait List
We hope you can better understand how difficult the earlier question is to answer. When is our next litter expected? Those simple words imply more than a matter of who is pregnant. Reading between the lines, we believe the real question to be–when could I expect an OwyheeStar puppy? It is complicated. It is impossible to reply with any measure of accuracy. For some, they might turn in an application and find the option to move forward coming swiftly. Others, while vetted for some time must continue to wait. Know one thing–we are waiting and hoping with you. Nonetheless, we can only raise pups for which we know we have a quality home. That means, although we might hope for seven females, we cannot mate three additional litters to meet a quota.
We leave 2017 with the shortest Wait List in a decade. Therefore, we assume that the wait will be less. Nevertheless, keep in mind, we have to wait for the girls to be in heat to mate. Then is nine long weeks of waiting until the whelp (or if you prefer–the delivery). It is then we learn the outcome of the former mating. Typically, we mention it is between four and six months on average. Sometimes longer depends upon what is born and who is on the Wait List. People imagine if they could look at all the details they could figure out what is going to happen. Can I say that is laughable? Cliff and I have been raising pups for forty years. We continue to be surprised. The juggling act and the unknows require us to breathe and to (patiently) wait to see what happens.
What Does Your Weim Do?
We who love the breed know they are the ultimate velcro dog. This attribute can work against us; however, most Weimlovers are addicted to this trait. New to the Weimaraner–you might be shocked at a large breed being this clingy. They are also prone to separation anxiety.
How This Works
When present you are their security blanket. When their humans are absent, the unprepared Weimaraner may freak out. All too many have ended up in rescue or a shelter because unaware admirers acquired them only to discover they couldn’t live with them. Not understanding the separation anxiety lead to unearned freedom and coming home to destruction. It might be your favorite shoes. The sofa arm by the front window or the carpet might be the target of the Weim’s reaction to feeling abandoned. The arm-missing-castoff-sofas greet the unsuspecting returning owner. Most often the human counterpart is perplexed. They might have had a Weim before that didn’t behave like this; however, in this instance, something went awry. Your absence causes them to act out–typically chewing up something to relieve their stress. They fear you will not return to them. You forgot them. The amount of destruction can vary. Sometimes the Weimaraner can escape the environment and give chase looking for you–desperate to find you. The last scenario has ended in a loss more times than you can imagine.
Twists and Turns
Separation anxiety can take other forms. Some Weims sulk and then chew because they are upset with you. Nevertheless, they might withhold their love and refuse to even look at you. When your response is heartbrokenness and trying to win back their affection, they have the upper paw. Now, they can expand their toolbox with extreme manipulation. So, they can chew to relieve stress. They can chew because it has become a habit. They can chew to punish you. For those who are less committed, you can see how this can spin out of control.
Spiraling Out of Control
When coupled with incessant barking (and your neighbors are reporting you to the police) the destructive Weimaraner soon becomes abhorrent. People imagine that they would never dump their Weim at a shelter. Unfortunately, it happens too often. Therefore, our application process looks to discover the potential for failure with the breed as well as to gather the vital information necessary. Someone who is offended by us wanting the information may look elsewhere for their Weimaraner. It has to be that way. There are too many ways things can go awry–even for the most dog savvy person.
The Photo Shoot
~ or the glamor photos as I like to call them
A lot happens behind the scenes. The pups in this photo shoot are three-weeks-old. They are not willing participants. We are not professional photographers. We have decent equipment–thank goodness. We take a lot of photos to get a few we consider good enough to post for the weekly update. Cliff and Christina run the camera. Sometimes there is puppy whispering involved or mollycoddling too. The pups see and hear so we make noise and try to get them to look at the camera–the result is often something entirely different.
Eventually, We Get Something Like This
Please Note: These are not current pups available for placement. They are pictures from a previous photo shoot.
Dear OwyheeStar Applicants
Communication is tricky–no matter whether you are writing, texting or having a discussion. The goal is communicating our idea or thought, or possibly trying to educate someone. I reply to a lot of emails. Then too, there are the application responses. Sometimes this involves a follow-up query to clarify the applicant’s answer or to fill in something left blank. A recent encounter left me feeling cold and licking more than a few wounds; however, I am sure my intent was misunderstood. Maybe I should have added some emojis–honestly, I am not too skilled at using those cute add-ins. That would set a tone rather than leaving the recipient to guess what I mean and the voice behind the ink.
Grammerly.com says, “If there’s controversy around emojis in business communication, then why do we feel compelled to use them? Why not forego them altogether? The simple answer: we want to be better understood. Email communication is notoriously problematic in that it lacks the emotional cues we rely on with face-to-face or phone conversations. Without tone of voice or facial expressions to guide us, there’s a lot of room for misunderstanding when we read an email. Messages meant to be positive are often interpreted as neutral, and neutral messages are interpreted as negative”.
Setting a Positive Tone
Well then, that leaves me being negative sounding a lot. Our application process is an area where I am positive more than a few persons have been miffed by the questions. In fact, someone said they were sick of my interrogation techniques–I was shocked because I was merely asking one question about a two-part question–the second part was left blank. I think the question is valid; they see my asking them as intrusive and are offended. In all honesty, I could have prefaced the question more tactfully–and the addition of emoji may have set a more friendly tone. Would that family have made a good puppy home? We will never know. Of course, I want to avoid these types of scenarios, but when it comes to matters of the heart a lot of things can go sideways. I was scolded and let know their money is good and their character the same. I am sure both things are true; however, that was not what was in question.
A delay may seem like I don’t value you or our application. It is in truth, nothing like that. Rather I am engaged with the must-do and the most pressing things. Some of these cannot wait. Each day I am amazed at the workload for both Cliff and I. At the same time, we give thanks for this opportunity to provide a service so many appreciate.
We Take This Process Serious
The importance of our application process cannot be understated. Asking clear and concise questions to get the information that will clue us about the pup’s future seems valid. Nevertheless, communication issues (being misunderstood) will probably always be an issue. There other factors behind the scene too!
1. Each inquiry has an agenda–sometimes these are hidden (you would be surprised).
2. Everyone has done research; however, no one can guess how deep you are going to be required to dig to get through the Weimaraner puppy phase.
3. Each person comes with experience–this is all too often not going to apply to the Weimaraner. It is hard for a diehard Labrador person to believe this breed is different.
4. Each candidate believes they are ideal. Implying anything less or inquiring about something is offensive. We understand.
5. Dog savvy persons fail with this breed–it happens for a myriad of reasons. Let’s not place blame; instead, let’s agree it happens too often.
6. First-time Weim folks sometimes succeed beyond our wildest expectations. A pattern seems apparent to us. Most of these listen to our advice on how to raise the Weimaraner and do their best to follow it.
7. Honestly, it takes patience and a measure of trust to work with us. We typically have a Wait List. We cannot guess exactly how things will unfold–whether a mating will result in a litter, how many pups will be born, what sex or what coat color they will be. Yes, we sometimes have an all blue litter or an all gray litter; however, most of our litters have mixed coat colors. Some litters will produce a few Longhairs–how many is always in question. There are statistics, but we have learned the hard way that it is an average. The same parents might only produce two Longhair (of eight) pups one year. The next they may yield six of eight. Therefore, when statistically it says you will get 50% or 25% depending on the situation, the percentage can vary more than we expected in a specific litter.
From our side of the Fence
We must consider the pup’s welfare first and foremost. If we don’t have peace about a situation, it might not reflect on you at all. It may mean that we are not the right breeder for you. Sometimes we dare to tell applicants that we feel another breed choice would better suit their needs. Should we ever say that? I think we should. It is our opinion. A person can take it or leave. They can buy the Weimaraner from someone else. If all else fails, they can get one online.
Despite Communication Hiccups
Over time we have forged some beautiful relationships with OwyheeStar clients. If we had passed on the street we might not have given each other more than a nod or a smile; however, our hearts are forever joined. It is amazing how a fur family member can impact our lives in ways we would never have imagined. So, when we delve into the ticky-tacky details we sincerely hope you understand our motive. We are not interested in how much money you have–just that you have enough to give adequate care. Yes, we realize having money means better food and unlimited veterinary care. Nevertheless, even when a person has plenty of money and the desire, it is not a rock-solid guarantee that things will not go sideways.
We thank you for your patience and your understanding. We are honored to think of some many of you are friends. Some of you are more like family. We share things others would never understand.
~ Shela (and Cliff)
A new toy?
Hmmm….it doesn’t seem like it.
My parents call it “The Cliff Collar.”
We sincerely hope that you are learning not to pull on the lead Miss Maizie girl. It was good to see you again. You are quite lovely and what a family you have there in Western Oregon. We love Chewy.com–they have a lot of great things. You are the second client in days who purchased from them. What can I say? They take care of people, and their service is extraordinary.
~ Part One
The last two blogs (Roxy’s story) and (Olli who lost his fur brother) have dealt with the loss of the Weimaraner. There are simply no words to cover such a loss. We can agree on this one thing—what we want to do is to push off the inevitable as long as possible.
This heartfelt desire begs the question of what we can do to make a big difference. We have some thoughts. Our suggestions cover the unexpected accidental loss as well as avoiding potential health issues. Our hope is for every OwyheeStar puppy to arrive at the Rainbow Bridge’s door late in life.
Accident Related Loss
Every few months we get a note about a Weimaraner who has lost their life due to an accident. These events vary–by nature each is unique; however, the underlying cause is similar. Some of the standout scenarios are listed here along with suggestions on how to avoid this type of thing. Eating or ingesting various non-edibles is a common theme. There are other dangers too, but we often forget the Weimaraner will eat anything.
1. Toys — Even rubber toys lose their integrity. Depending upon your Weim’s chewing strength, you may need to (always) supervise their chewing. Other toys have squeakers that can become an issue and the rope bones, which are a good choice, don’t work for every Weimaraner. Bits of ingested string can build up in and along the intestinal wall leading to a blockage or irritation. A blockage can happen fast and be hard to discover in time to save your pet. Vomiting and not passing a stool are indicators–but these two symptoms are not a sure sign. The same signs for other ailments and sometimes are just mean it is an upset tummy. It is best to get your Weimaraner checked if this is a prolonged event. Taking their temperature (rectally) might not seem all that pleasant, but it can help you determine the seriousness of the event. (The normal dog temperature is 101.5°F (38.6°C). A rising temperature is alarming –-you need to know the standard temperature for your pet because it is much higher than for humans.
2. Medications and things sink side — One of the most heartrending stories involved a Weimaraner that ate someone’s medication–kept at the kitchen sink for convenience. The counter-surfing Weimaraner nabbed the bottle and ate it, and the contents. By the time they got him to the Vet office, it was too late. The Weimaraner might eat anything it seems–we have had others report sponges, dishrag, food, food-scented trash, etc. Sponges and the dish rag could lead to a blockage. Food has all kind of potential risk–bones can puncture the intestine wall, and some food (even the most innocuous kind like the avocado) are potentially toxic.
3. Around the House –There are many things to mouth and ingest. Some are shocking to us. One such item happens more than you might guess. Certain Weims are so obsessed with you and your scent that they may raid your laundry basket. Undergarments have the strongest scent, and some Weims will ingest these–another potential intestinal blockage issue. More often than not, they will pass, but you might discover something hanging out the back end. A hankie, undies, or the sock that made for a quick snack. (oops)
4. In the Fenced Yard –These are multifaceted. The Weimaraners are known for ingesting rocks; sometimes they pack them around in the mouth, and this is hard on their teeth. Pica (ingesting items such as rocks) seems odd to us, but it happens a lot. Marble-sized rocks to those the size of a large plum (such as river rock) are ideal. Rocks sometimes will travel through without a hitch; other times (all too often) they cause an intestinal blockage. Sharp edged rocks can irritate or puncture the intestinal wall. Rocks are not the only culprit in your yard. There are a plethora of toxic plants commonplace. Ones we would never suspect. Anything in the yard (including your house siding) could be chewed. We have known of a Weimaraner left in the yard that dug up a sidewalk, and she ingested bits of concrete. While we are discussing the backyard, some Weims can open gate latches. Others dig and can tunnel out of the yard. Then there are those that if they want to get out to explore, they can easily bound over a 5′ fence. Another danger is a collar that would catch them and strangle them. One extreme dog lover tied his and his brother’s dog to a tree. They didn’t have a fence, and they were only going to the corner store for a moment. Both dogs climbed the tree they were tied to–the young men came back to find the Weimaraner’s collar had caught on a branch she slipped, and you can guess what happened. This haunting experience will never be forgotten (the young man is a practicing Veterinarian). May this serve as a warning to others who think to tie their Weim for a few moments would be the safest solution. It didn’t work out in this situation.
5. Road Dangers—
A six-acre yard and a well-trained Weimaraner should not be a problem; however, the devastating loss of their family member proved them wrong. A deer or something spurred the Weimaraner to give chase. Later they found him on a road even though they lived in a remote Northern Idaho location. The inherent desire to give chase (also known as the prey drive) is always lurching in the background–even when you have achieved the seemingly unfailing recall. Traveling with the Weimaraner is not without risk either. Some folks believe it is OK to have them ride in the back of their pickup–some tie them in, so they won’t fall out. Others let them roam free. More than one Weimaraner has seen something that sparked their sudden urge to give chase, and over the side, they went. Not everyone lost their life, but some did. One Christmas Eve in warm Arizona a woman was traveling with her Weimaraner. She had the windows down–the breeze blowing in their faces. She was on the way to a family dinner when her Weimaraner jumped out the window. He rolled down a bank breaking several bones. He lived, but they spent the night at the Emergency Vet Office instead of having a family dinner. He had traveled with the window frequently open; she had no reason for concern until this happened.
Others types of accidents happen but are less commonplace. Day two–we will discuss the other random things that may well shorten your time with your beloved friend and family member. The Weimaraner’s human must look out for their well-being on every level. A watchful eye for the seemingly puppy-like nature and the dangers to this breed are required. We thank you for your vigilance.
~ Shela and Cliff
PS: We bemoan the lack of photos; however, we were at a loss for which one to put here. We also didn’t cover things like Holiday Mishaps–and the dangers posed by the 4th of July and such. It was a lengthy post, and we have written on these topics many times.
It is Just a Matter of Time
~ 14 Years is Not Enough
I’ve been thinking of sending you a few pics of this year. She’s such a strong girl – as soon as we start to think this is it, she bounces up like a puppy and proves to be as healthy as ever.
The Beach is Out!
~ This is the Last Trip
This trip to the beach will probably be her last, as she could hardly move when we got home. The vet says it’s that nerve in the hip area that’s ready to give out, so we know it’s just a matter of time before she won’t be able to walk at all. Thank you for staying in touch all these years – you gave us a gift for over 14 years & we’re so grateful.
Dear Friends, if you can say a little prayer for Roxy’s family, we would appreciate it. We all know that eventually, we will face something life-ending with our Weimaraner. It could come as a surprise–out of the blue in a shocking manner that doesn’t allow us to say goodbye. Or, it might require a gut-wrenching decision.
Holly Haffey who is a frequent OwyheeStar contributor (and her mother is Terri Robinson who delights us with her photography) faced a decision such as this with her first Weimaraner, Emma. Emma was a rescue Holly acquired that lead her to the breed. She was able to extend Emma’s life through great sacrifice on her part. I won’t speak to what it cost her personally, and it is most certainly not something everyone could or would do, but it is a testimony to what folks do to extend days together.
The crossroad we all reach (when our beloved lives on) takes us a place no one wants to go. It is a place we celebrate all we have shared and how our life was changed in the process. It is a painful decision that leads us through the valley of loss and grief. It is a very personal decision. If you have not been there, don’t even imagine saying to someone what they ought to do. If your travels include the valley of sorry and the rainbow bridge, then we know you can feel the agony.
Salty is Better
I have been meaning to write for a while now. I know that you are a great resource for information and I wanted to share some things that have been working for us. About two years ago we started salty on a prescription diet and it has really made a difference. My vet recommended a new product called Derm Defense from Science Diet. Since she had never used it (it was brand new) we were a bit of a ‘test’ (we were both a bit skeptical). Since he has been on it his allergies have been better and he has not had to go on medication or had any skin infections! We were sold on it!
The second product we tried is called Solliquin it is made by Nutramax. It is a ‘behavioral supplement’, meaning it is a more ‘natural’ way to curb anxiety. While the results are not ultra-dramatic, they are real. I know you like to research things before recommending them but I thought I would let you know about these two products that have been surprisingly great. Hope you guys are well and staying cool!
True Confession–We have never been a big fan of Science Diet, but they make food that targets specific health issues. No one food is ideal for everyone. There are other foods people have mentioned that have worked well. We have had very good luck with the Diamond Naturals–note we say the Naturals. Diamond makes lower quality foods too!
Anyhow, I wanted to pass this information — you never know what will work. Sarah asked me to share this information. Maybe it will help someone.