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From Ireland

~ Winston and his Family

I wanted to send along a quick update on Winston.  Mr. is 9 now, going on 10.  We moved into a proper house rather than an apartment which is a big change for him as he’s been an apartment dog his whole life.  Barking at the mailman is his new favorite passion!  He immediately identified the most comfortable chair in the house and claimed it for himself (see picture).  We moved next to a giant park which is perfect for him (a small part of the park is in the picture attached).  On rainy days, we can wander through the park with him and on drier days, ball chases are still his specialty.  We also have some walks that take us along a lovely canal.  The only thing we’re really missing in Ireland is doggie friends. Many dogs are not well socialized in Dublin and their owners are not on top of their dogs.  We’ve had enough near bites and bites that I just don’t trust most dogs around Winston anymore.  Luckily, he’s never been that interested in other dogs – he’s more human and ball focused – so I don’t think he’s missing much.

We’re expecting our first human child any day now so we contemplated getting another dog while I am off for 6 months on maternity leave, but honestly, finding a breeder we like as much as you has been an impossible challenge so we’ve put that plan on pause for now.  I must admit, I think Winston prefers it that way – he likes being the center of our world.  With the baby coming, that will change a little, but I’m confident he will love having a new human to sneak food off of, get cuddles from and follow around.

We started to notice some stiffness in Winston after park trips and that his “gallop” changed a bit and became more of a bunny hop in his back legs rather than moving them independently.  After a visit to the vet, they found his hips have slight incongruity (aka hips are slightly the wrong shape for the socket they fit into) and mild degenerative joint disease.  We went through a course of Cartrophen and I must say, we’ve noticed a great improvement already.  Hopefully, that treatment will suffice for quite a while to keep him spry.

I still can’t believe that I’ve had Winston for almost 10 years.  I can’t imagine my life without him – he’s my constant companion and I’m so grateful for him.  Can’t wait to see the bond that he forms with baby!

Best, Rebecca Armistead

Breeder Comment

Thank you, Rebecca, for remembering us. We are so happy that your move has found you well adjusted. Winston has had the best of everything–with you accommodating his needs despite any obstacle you faced along the way. Thank you, again for giving him a great life. You are a testament to what can happen even when someone doesn’t live in an ideal setting–with acreage and whatnot. But now–he has it all in Ireland.

It is not uncommon for older dogs to become stiff–to have problems, but of course, we had to see it happening to any OwyheeStar offspring. To me—he seems a bit young to have that much tightness in the hips. (Eke) Dusty (his father) passed at 14+ years. The last few months he was very shaky in the back end. He had OFA certified Good hips and a good family history of good to excellent hips. He has lumps and bumps we left alone–because we thought it for the best. Penny (his Mama) lived to 12+ for sure–I cannot remember exactly when she passed. Of course, the average life for a Weimaraner has been reported to be 11 years and 2 months. The expectation is somewhere between 9 and 15 years–with a few exceptional cases living to be around 16 years. We all want the 16 years.

I believe the Cartrophen is the same as Carprofen –a Generic form of Rimadyl (click here—to read more about this drug. ) What I like to suggest is Duralactin   — I don’t know if you can buy this in Europe or not. Amazon also has it for sale. The Duralactin can be used any time for a slight injury or when inflammation might be a problem. It helped Dusty remain mobile and seemingly pain-free. We love this option, as things like Rimadyl affect their vital organs–and in some cases, there is a life-threatening reaction.

Finally, thank you, for all the kind words about us. I do so hope when you are ready for another Weimaraner you find the perfect breeder. I am sure you will. Sooner or later something unwanted comes knocking on our door.


Tears, Anger, Frustration…

Gracie is 14 weeks old

Gracie is 14 weeks old

The question that resonates across my heart is why the Weimaraner must pay for human error? We get all kinds of notes. Some of them come from other countries. Many notes are from people who resonate with what we are doing, and appreciate our daily post. We find it interesting to see that people from other countries often partake–Portugal, Malaysia, Ireland, Slovenia, Australia, United Kingdom, South Africa, France, Italy, Canada,  Czech Republic, Turkey, Brazil,  and Sweden to mention a few regular visitors. Some notes are those seeking our advice, and wanting us to fix their problem. It is impossible to keep up with everything, but we do our best. Our focus is toward the OwyheeStar client.

OwyheeStar Weimaraner News

Our goal is to post some universal information to help Weimlovers; however, specific support and advice is more directed (or available) to OwyheeStar clients. Even then, there is only so much we can do from afar. Unfortunately, the Weimaraner is known to exploit your weaknesses. The environment, and how the human handles the situation as it unfolds makes a huge difference.  Later this week, Gracie (pictured here) will be featured. She is fourteen-weeks old, and very well adjusted. We were happy to receive the great news from her humans in Reno, NV.

The good, the bad, and the downright ugly…

Some notes leave us feeling exhilarated (like the one from Gracie’s owner). Others bring on tears,  cause anger, and frustration. There is a reason that the rescue organizations find themselves busy. People all too often fail to understand this breed.  People are attracted to this breed for many a reason. They may have met one along the path; they may have spied an elegant,  lovely, and well-behaved gray ghost at the beach. They have friends that have them. They had one as a child. The list is long. The reasons many. Unfortunately, too many Weimaraners end up being shuffled around, because they fall on misfortune. 90% of of the time, this is totally related to the human-element. 

Here is the beginning and end of a note we received….

  • Beginning–“Our Weim is now 16 weeks. My husband did a lot of research and reading before picking up his pup. He has been very dedicated and tried to follow recommendations-we have raised MANY dogs-just not a weimeraner.”

  • Ending--“She is now 16 weeks and I am very sad and frustrated. I hope you can lend some advice. I simply cannot go through life like this. I am ready to give up and insist he finds a home for her. What is your advice?”


Our Thoughts, Comments, Insights, and ……

The note was lengthy as you might guess. No, it was not a pup from us. Nonetheless, receiving a note such as this is very discouraging, and I am going to admit it caused me to flash with anger–to have a total meltdown. It is the bane of any Weimaraner breeder worth their salt. Advice from outside doesn’t help a situation like this. In our experience, the person requesting the advice may not follow through with it. In fact, it may be too much for them to do so.

What had happened was not the pup’s fault. My heart still aches for this pup, and the situation. Regardless, Cliff and I cannot fix all these problems. We sincerely hope that some of the information we are posting will help someone, but it gets overwhelming. There is a reason the rescue folks have an endless amount of work. This note brings into question where their breeder is, and what are they doing to resolve the situation. Sometimes, there is not much a breeder can do, but it does beg the question. Secondly, where is the trainer? Having said that, not every trainer is going to get these folks out of their situation. The wrong advice, and the wrong trainer is going to exacerbate the situation. Again, the breeder needs the details, and needs to be involved. Finally, we don’t know where the pup was purchased. A lot of people raise the Weimaraner and sell them without providing adequate support. (Which is why we get overrun at times with people having problems.) Finally, it is important when behavior issues arise to get a veterinary check to make sure they are not medical in nature.

Ultimately, by sixteen weeks these folks have an issue going on that is going to be tough to resolve. It is not the typical puppy-biting issue. The problem is as we always talk about–the concrete-thinking Weimaraner has started a habit these folks cannot abide. The behavior by all appearances is coupled with separation-anxiety, and possibly involves some pay-back for being in the Weim’s viewpoint abandoned,  with a touch of manipulation–which has gotten them what they wanted. Even at sixteen-weeks this is going to be a long-haul to turn around. It takes fourteen days for a habit to begin. They say that is true for a good or bad one. Regardless, this type of issue is not going to be easy to get fourteen-days of consecutive success. It is more a live-with, and figure-out how to work through situation.

Folks, the final statement sent me over-the-top to beyond upset. Frustration and a feeling of being ready to give up is not a good place to be at sixteen-weeks. It is indeed the rare person who will see something like this through to the positive outcome. In all honesty, when a person has reached such an impasse at such as early stage, it seems returning the pup to the breeder is the best solution. Nothing good will come of the frustration. We understand that things can be tough, but our heart still aches the most for this puppy. It is why we harp on getting things done right up front. Our clients are probably tired of us talking about freedom being earned. They may be weary of us talking about teaching the Weimaraner how to be able to stay alone. Nonetheless, these are two of the  basics that if they are not mastered early-on can lead to serious trouble. Tears might not be the end of it. Unfortunately, it all too often leads to the terrible reality of failure. This type of failure haunts a person for a good many years.

It is our goal to never have such a thing happen to an OwyheeStar puppy; however, that is unrealistic. We (humans) make a lot of mistakes–all of us. The Information-Age woos people through television and the Internet to certain trainers and their philosophies. Not all of these approaches are going to work across the board. Training is mostly for the humans to learn how to handle their dog. We are each unique. Many of these methods are less than ideal for the Weimaraner. You (as the human in the equation) will want to evoke an attitude whereby the Weimaraner wants to obey, and respond in a positive manner. It is all about the relationship being the foundation. Love is not enough. You can love your Weimaraner and fail to manage the situation; this is beyond heartbreaking. Then utter frustration sets in, and one thing feeds upon the other. Sometimes a person must get out of the situation. Usually, this is not the case. Don’t be quick to give up. We are of the mind and heart, that you began the journey you should keep your commitment. Nevertheless, at the same time we realize many people cannot. The breeder should be engaged in the situation, and willing to rehabilitate the Weimaraner. This can take months of work, and a lot of special savvy to accomplish. A second-chance placement means it is imperative to get the Weimaraner placed right–in a true forever home. This is why the owner resorting to finding  new home through the newspaper, or Craig’s list would not be a good idea. Neither of these options is a good choice for rehoming the Weimaraner. It takes a personal understanding of what the Weim needs, and skills to access the situation. Getting it right is a must; it is unfair to have them floating from one placement to the next. It is our goal to avoid this scenario. Therefore, we keep driving home that the most important advice we can give to anyone is to get it right up front. Good habits are better to form, than trying to change a behavior. There are many OwyheeStar blogs on how to do this, and we would be amiss not to list them with you. So, here you go……

How to Achieve Success…

The Sad TruthAlthough we are passionate about the breed, we cannot help everyone with their Weimaraner problems. Screening potential homes, and educating would-be Weimaraner folks as to the varied pitfalls is important. No one should go into raising the Weimaraner without being prepared to do a lot more than raising and selling pups. We get countless inquiries for a Weimaraner to breed. To us–that is a scary thought 99% of the time. If you read between the lines, our goal is to prevent this kind of situation from happening whenever possible. Our heart goes out to this family. Yes, we are terribly upset at the same time. It comes back to the same question. Where is the breeder in this equation? It is also why we scrutinize long-distance placements with intensity. Having something go wrong from afar is scary. A day’s drive is one thing, but further distances do not afford an easy return of a pup. We sincerely hope someone finds this blog useful, and it makes a difference.