Not what I expected.
I'll say it, when we embarked on this journey I had no idea. I thought I did, I read everything I could find about genetics, breed standards, breeding, feeding, whelping. I planned, made a budget, ordered and assembled all the needed gear. We had talks about the birds and the bees with the boys to prepare them for all that was to come, what to expect. We watched all the videos we could find. Prepared for the worst and hoped for the best, I thought I knew it all... I had no idea.
Nature took its course and although Mobby’s pregnancy was textbook perfect and the pups grew outstandingly well, but the planning, the budget, the expectations… everything went sideways. Nothing wrong, just not what was expected.
1. The neck pains : My wife is awesome in so many ways and I’m the luckiest man alive that she should put up with me, but if she has one downside, it’s that she’s a cat person. If you have one dog in the house living with a cat person, you should be fine. Two dogs, you’re pushing your luck. Eight… lawyer up, or so I thought. Mobby is no ordinary German Shorthaired Pointer and my wife already loves how this dog needs to cuddle and needs her affection. So it’s fair to say the process had started prior to the whelping of the puppies, but never had I thought that my wife would develop neck pains from staring too long into the whelping box looking and petting Mobby and her pups. Countless hours were spent keeping a close eye on signs of labor, new borns and then cute and clumsy puppies doing puppy things, but it comes with at a price and that’s neck pains from hours of just looking at them without moving.
2. The hours: as a breeder, we wanted to make sure everything was done right. Neurosensorial stimulation, feeding, deworming, vaccines, socialising, taking the time to document the behaviour of the pups and share with our clients, pictures, videos, facebook live, facetime with future owners, name it we did it… These puppies were the center of our lives for the eight weeks they were here, but also many weeks prior preparing for their arrival and now, we are lucky enough to have clients/friends who keep us posted on the development, some will even come by to show us their progress. So if you are going to do this, don’t ever look at it in a hourly salary perspective, because what you thought would be a small income, is actually quite an expensive hobby…
3. Sleepless nights: At first, you don’t really sleep because you want to make sure nothing happens to the puppies when their mama comes and goes from the whelping box mostly. You thought this would be a week or two tops and you’d go back to sleeping normally again, but as soon as they are born, you start wondering if they are healthy. You start looking for signs; you listen to a cough, a sneeze, a hiccup and a squeak. You think something is definitely wrong, it’s either just a sneeze or this entire litter is dying from kennel cough or whatever else you found on Google. At somewhere around 5-6 weeks, you’ve got this… so do they. Healthy puppies have decent nights and now it’s your turn. You go to bed, hit the pillow already taking in all the benefits of a full night’s sleep, only to be woken up by a strange noise downstairs. You go down the stairs only to realize you have an escape artist who’s managed to find a way out the whelping box… and so crate training begins and your full nights will have to wait another 3 weeks or so… But hey…who really needs sleep right?
4. Heartaches: These cute little things showed up in our lives and slowly transformed into mischievous little devils, but yet, they’ve managed to make us fall for each and everyone of them. Jagger, Janis, Cash, Springsteen, Hendrix and Joni will forever be our first litter who will have taught us so much more than we ever thought possible. I never thought it’d be easy to let them go albeit to amazing families, but I never thought it’d be so hard. We truly miss them and look forward to seeing them again.
I’ll say it again, what an extraordinary adventure it’s been for our entire family. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the new pup owners for doing everything right! I’d also like to thank Steve Brodeur and Annie Ulrich, good friends who allowed me to tap into their knowledge and experience far too often during this endeavour. Mentors like these are a rare occurrence in this day and age and hopefully I can do the same for someone else in the future.
I’ve created a special album with some of the pictures of the pups. Hope you enjoy.
Here are links to Steve and Annie's web sites... Just in case you've gotten ill and would want anything else but a GSP :-)