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Kingridge Kennels English Labrador Retrievers - Intelligent ~ Calm ~ Beautiful
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The Kingridge 2016 Winter Litter Has Arrived
Three Puppies Have Made Their Arrival
Annie is Starting Into Labor
Adopting Kingridge's Lovely Lily of the Valley
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Lab Tails of Kingridge

Expecting Puppies

The Kingridge 2016 Winter Litter Has Arrived

What an intense 24 hours! Annie labored beautifully from 11:00 last night until 7:00 this morning. After a long sleepless night, she eventually ran out of steam. We went to the vet's for a little help, because of the slow progress. 

We knew that there was the potential for a C-Section to help save as many pups as possible. Ultimately, we did not need to have surgery, but 2 puppies were lost. It was so sad, but we are elated with the 6 beautiful newborn Labradors that we welcomed into this world during these past 14 hours. 

It was a very intense and prolonged labor, and I know Annie and I are definitely ready for some much needed rest. I will be posting more details about the puppies in this litter after I take a long sweet rewarding nap... Just like mama Annie. She deserves it! She did an absolutely stellar job, and is the sweetest mom I have ever seen. Praise God for beautiful healthy pups!

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The Puppies in Kingridge's 2016 Winter Litter
We had a very long night and are so thrilled to be enjoying the blessing of 6 healthy adorable Labrador pups. They are all vigorous and nursing well. We can't wait to watch them grow.

Three Puppies Have Made Their Arrival

After a long slow start to labor, Annie has delivered 3 large healthy pups! She is resting in between contractions and doing a phenomenal job as a first time mama. She is so attentive and careful with her newborns. The pushing stage of labor started around 11:00, and the first pup made her arrival at 11:45. Since then, we have welcomed a new puppy approximately every 45 minutes to an hour. We are in for a very long sleepless night, and I am praying for extra strength and energy for both Annie and myself... Especially for Annie! 


Annie is Starting Into Labor

Annie's temperature dipped down to 98 degrees this afternoon, so we are anticipating the start of labor within the next 12-24 hours! Her desire to nest has set in big time... We are taking care of all of the last minute preparations and have been busy trying to keep her from digging her own nest.

She picked a cozy spot under a shrub in the backyard to prepare for her pups arrival. Much to my surprise, after a fresh bath last night and a little pampering before birth, she got covered in mud from the top of her nose to the tip of her tail while digging out her preferred nesting spot. We are now walking her out on the leash to prevent that from happening again ;-). 

Thankfully, she will deliver her puppies in the beautiful clean whelping pen that my husband built, rather than a dirty bed in our backyard. It reminds me that although they are so domesticated, dogs still carry such primal instincts form their ancestors. In this video of Annie you can still see evidence of her romp in the dirt on her nose. She is in very early labor, but her body is definitely getting ready to deliver her puppies.

We are praying that all will go smoothly, and we will be welcoming a litter of healthy precious puppies soon! I will keep you updated as the puppies make their arrival. New life is always such a miracle! 
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Annie Resting Before Labor
After digging outside to build her "own" whelping pen, we coaxed her to give up and use the nice clean one we have ready for her and the pups. Her body is actively preparing for the journey of birth!

Lily's Puppies Have Arrived

We have been eagerly waiting for our sweet Lily's first litter of puppies, and since it is very common for our girls to deliver on their actual due date, we all were preparing for a good nights sleep before labor would begin tomorrow. Well the puppies had other plans, and Lily surprised us all by introducing them to us 1 day ahead of schedule. 

We were also surprised to discover only 2 robust little guys in this litter. We had just found out through a detailed ultrasound that the litter was going to be small, but we are so happy to have the gift of these 2 boys. They are healthy, precious, and completely adorable. Birth is always such an exciting miracle! The 2 brothers are nursing successfully, and they were born only minutes apart from one another.

Lily labored like a champ and apart from a temperature drop, she gave us no signals that labor was beginning. It all happened very quickly, and she did wonderfully for a first time mama. She has been taking meticulous care to keep her new bundles of fur warm and well fed, and apart from momentary potty breaks, she hasn't left their side.

We will be posting pictures and more details in the days to follow. We will also be adding more pictures to Facebook, so if you haven't yet liked us on Facebook, it may be something you'd like to consider. It will be so wonderful to watch this duo grow together!

Eden's Successful Delivery

Everything went just beautifully with the delivery of Eden's litter. She whelped a total of 5 puppies. There are 4 girls and 1 boy who are all nursing well and seem to be doing great. Please continue to keep Eden and her pups in your prayers during these next few days, because these are the most critical ones as far as health is concerned for both her and the puppies.
I will be posting more details concerning the labor, and each puppy's birth, within the next few days. For now, we are helping Eden acclimate to life as a new mom, and watching each puppy with diligence. We are so thankful for a successful delivery and pray that each pup will grow stronger every day. Birth is such a miracle, and we feel privileged to have witnessed that miracle again today!
Puppies nursing on MamaLittle newborn lovable LabsEden did such a great job!Brand new and nursing already

Two More Puppies Born

Two girls have arrived and are happily nursing with Eden. According to the X-ray, we can expect at least 2 more puppies tonight. Everyone is doing great!

Eden's First Puppy is Born

We just welcomed Eden's first puppy into the world. He is a big, healthy, male and he was born at 6:14 pm. Eden is doing a phenomenal job as a first time mama, and the little guy that she delivered is beautiful. He is the largest puppy that we have ever delivered here at Kingridge, and I'm hoping he paved the way for the rest of his brothers and sisters who will soon follow!
I'll be updating, either here or on Facebook, throughout the labor to let you know the gender of the puppies that are born. We are praying for a successful easy whelp that results in beautiful pups!

Puppies Are Coming At Any Moment!

The puppies will be arriving soon.Eden is entering into a more active labor pattern, and we know that it will be just a matter of time before we will be welcoming her puppies. She is panting heavily, shivering a bit, and preparing her nest. Toward the end of labor, she will begin to arch her back in an attempt to push the puppies out. This is the next event that we will be waiting for with regard to labor. I am pretty sure this will be the day the puppies are born... We are all filled with such anticipation!

We Are Ready for Labor

Eden our sweet black Lab getting ready for labor.
Panting has begun, but only time will tell when the big event will occur.Waiting to meet her puppies.
We have been busy preparing for the arrival of Eden's litter with Miles from Sunnydaze Labradors. At the vet's office this past week, we discovered that she is carrying 5 sweet puppies. We have been monitoring her temperature over the past several days, and this morning we noticed that it has dropped. This temperature drop is a definite milestone that marks the onset of labor in canines!
So, this means that labor should begin with 24 hours. We are keeping a close eye on Eden and will post more details concerning labor as they unfold. For now, she is panting a bit more than usual, but she is showing no signs of being in active labor just yet. We are hoping for a safe natural labor for this first time mama and really appreciate all of your prayers for the health of her and the puppies. We are SO excited to meet each one of them!

Ultrasound Confirms Puppies

We are anticipating the arrival of not 1, but 2 litters of puppies! We confirmed the pregnancies using ultrasound this past week and are so excited about the arrival of these wonderful pups. They are already so loved by so many people and we just can't wait to meet them.
Our expectant females are both happy and healthy, although they are both showing the obvious signs of pregnancy. They are lazier than usual (which is pretty lazy), and eating like food is going out of style (which for a Lab is really not that uncommon). We are watching as their abdomens begin to swell and their mammary glands begin to fill out in preparation for all of the nursing they will be doing in the upcoming weeks.
Our lists for both litters are full at this point, but if we have any changes in the future we will be sure to post them. The puppies in these litters will be going to absolutely phenomenal homes! The Kingridge families who constitute our waiting list for these litters have been so patient, and they all have waited with graciousness for each and every one of these little much anticipated pups. Yay!!! The wait is almost over.
We will be announcing the number of puppies in each litter after we perform X-rays at the end of this month. As far as our family is concerned during the next few weeks, we will be preparing for the arrival of the litters while working extra hard to accomplish a great deal of home schooling. This will enable us to take off for as many days (or weeks) as we need in order to provide 100% of our attention on these special new little bundles of puppy love!
A laboring mama, and her resulting litter of pups, requires constant observation and assistance during the first few days after birth. Therefore, of course, 2 new litters will require twice as much work. I am so thankful for the flexibility of home education, because we will be able to adjust our schedule accordingly. As a family we are SO ready to meet these puppies, and we can't wait to pause from the routine of our school days to interact with the miracles of life! That is an education all in itself, one that can never be learned solely through the pages of a book.

Lily's Litter Update

Summer has begun. Oh, how we are all enjoying the start of this wonderful season! The fine chocolate litter that we had in our care was such a blessing to us all. We had such a memorable time raising each of those little puppies! They have all transitioned into their new homes, except for one stunning pup who we selected to add to our Kingridge family. I hope all of the families from that litter are having as much fun with their new arrivals as we are with our special little girl.
With the chocolate litter turning 10 weeks old today, we are now turning more of our attention to the arrival of Lily's litter. She is due on June 22nd, and we will be headed to the vet on Friday for an X-ray to determine the exact number of puppies anticipated in her litter. She has shown some emotional and physical changes of pregnancy, but the clearest way to see how many pups are in a litter is by X-ray. We will be posting the results as soon as we find out this Friday.
We are praying for a healthy litter of adorable little black and chocolate Lab pups. In the meantime, we will be enjoying the sunshine and beautiful warm weather of summer with our family and our precious new puppy. Likewise, we hope you are taking time to enjoy the beauty of this special time of year with all of those whom you love!
Sweet summertime!

Announcing the Spring "Chocolate" Litter

We are so proud to announce the 5 chocolate puppies in our spring litter. Three males and two females were born late last night on April 1st via c-section. They ranged in weight from 13 ounces to 1 pound. Although they are not yet 24 hours old, they are all already gaining weight! That is a terrific sign, and it is a direct result of an absolutely wonderful caring mother.
Shiloh is still slightly groggy from the anesthesia and quit sore from surgery, but she is very attentive and has instantly fallen in love with her new puppies. We will be posting pictures of each of the pups, and revealing their names by the end of the day today at:

First Puppy is Born

5 healthy puppies
What a 24 hours! We just returned from the veterinarian's office with 5 healthy puppies after a c-section. Shiloh failed to produce a puppy during a stall in her labor, and as a result we delivered the rest of the litter via c-section. There are 2 girls, 3 boys and 1 very exhausted mama. We are thankful for the pups that are vivacious and healthy! We will all rest well tonight... Praise the Lord for new sweet little puppies.

Labor Has Begun... and I'm Not Fooling!

Puppies will be whelped any time nowWe are anticipating the birth of puppies at any moment. Shiloh's labor started late on Easter night with mild contractions. We brought Shiloh along to our Easter festivities and enjoyed a magnificent day!
Shiloh's contractions strengthened throughout the night, and she is now in active labor. We are ready to assist with the birth (thanks to a generous amount of coffee), and we will be keeping you current on developments as they occur. We are praying for a healthy natural whelping that is easy for both, Mom and pups.  
Easter blessings like sweet puppies

Number of Puppies & Labor Plans

Shiloh coming home from the vet.
Shiloh and I were just at the vet for her pregnancy X-rays. She is drawing close to the end of this pregnancy, and her puppies may be here as early as Easter day! Along with the X-ray we also went over the whelping procedures and got some Oxytocin to help with any issues that may arise with unusual labor patterns. Our visit today helps us anticipate how many puppies will be whelped, so that we can be well prepared for the big event.
The X-rays confirmed pregnancy, and we saw at least 6 puppies.
Shiloh and Joy on the way home from the vets.Our vet counted 5 spines in the picture and mentioned that due to Shiloh's pregnancy "bulge" there may be a few more hiding. I definitely saw 6 spines, so there may indeed be even more. We will have to wait and see just how many! In a previous litter, 3 pups were whelped who were missed and considered hiding from view in the X-ray image. So, I can confidently count on the passage of 6 little puppies, but during labor we will be waiting and watching for signs that there are more. We are planning on visiting with family this Easter, so Shiloh will be journeying with us for our celebrations just in case these puppies decide they want to be born on the early side of the spectrum.
We will begin taking Shiloh's temperature twice a day, looking for the low temperature drop that signals labor is imminent. We also will observe her behavior for indications that she is "nesting." Quite literally a dog will display these nesting tendencies as labor draws near. They will dig at their bedding, seek out dark areas away from the hustle and bustle of life, and prepare a nest in which to deliver their pups. We, of course, will ultimately have Shiloh deliver in her whelping box, but she still enjoys hunkering down underneath the children's beds, digging through a pile of laundry to find a cozy spot, and using our baby's blankets as possible safe havens for her new puppies. It is quite a thoughtful and amazing event to witness!
Easter puppies and eggsSo, all that is left for now on our end, is to prepare for the birth and wait! The preparation is easy, but the patience to wait for the delivery of a litter is always SO difficult! I have never been one to deal well with waiting, and these last few days feel like pure torture... the suspense.... the excitement! It is like Christmas morning around here - or I suppose at this time of year more like Easter morning. We are watching, excitedly waiting, and praying for a healthy delivery of some very precious little chocolate puppies. I will be updating this blog, and Facebook as the events of labor unfold. I hope you will enjoy the twists and turns of this passage of new life... It is always quite a journey! 

Ultrasound Confirms Pregnancy

Puppies are on the wayWe just returned from Ohio after visiting Animal Clinic Northview. We had Shiloh's ultrasound appointment and confirmed that puppies are indeed on the way. Now we can officially announce that the breeding was successful, and Shiloh is expecting! We will follow this up with an x-ray to determine a more precise estimate as to the size of the litter. 
An x-ray done about a week before delivery is the best indicator to let us know exactly how many puppies we can anticipate this April. So, Shiloh's tiredness isn't just a result of the winter blahs, but a true sign of early pregnancy. Oh, how I remember that exhausted feeling myself in early pregnancy. I'm sure many of you with precious little ones can totally relate :-)
Well, it's been a long day of traveling and just the act of reflecting back over those moments of utter exhaustion has taken it's toll.... Shiloh and I are both ready for a good night's sleep. Zzzzzzz.............

The Stunning Sire of the Spring Litter

AM/CAN CH CEDARWOODS SIGNATURE BROWNING COPIED JHWe are so happy to announce the sire for our upcoming spring litter... After much research, contemplation and prayer for direction, we decided upon AM/CAN CH CEDARWOODS SIGNATURE BROWNING COPIED JH or "Siggy" as he is called. We couldn't be more thrilled with this fine stud. He is truly an amazing Labrador Retriever! He has been producing excellent puppies and is an exceptionally beautiful dog. To read more about Siggy's accomplishments and see some fantastic pictures of both him and his past offspring, please check out the Cedarwood Labrador Retrievers website.
Siggy's owner Diann Sullivan has been writing for the Labrador Quarterly since 1990. Additionally, her dogs at Cedarwood which had its' beginnings back in 1978, are "serving as service dogs for the handicapped, companion hunting dogs, border patrol dogs, and foundation dogs for breeding programs worldwide, and most important of all, loving pets". She is an extraordinary Labrador expert and is a wonderful person as well. We will be performing the artificial insemination this week and are expectantly looking forward to some stunning Labrador pups.
I am in awe of how everything has come together in God's perfect timing. It's amazing how He is concerned with even the smallest details of our lives. We have been testing Shiloh's progesterone levels for over a week, and are aware that timing is extremely crucial when it comes to breeding. One of our concerns was that the winter weather has been rather unpredictable here in Pittsburgh, and we didn't want to have drive to the vet in the midst of a huge snowstorm. At this moment it is an unseasonable 62 degrees here in PA!
That is just one small example of an answer to prayer :-) We continue to pray for a successful AI this week, and a healthy litter of puppies for all of the families on our list. I will keep you posted as all of the miraculous events unfold.  

Finding Just the Right Stud

Our Lab puppies are a result of countless hours of careful research and planningWe have been busy investigating studs to sire this spring's litter. Choosing a stud to compliment the female dog that we are breeding with, is perhaps the most important decision regarding the litter. As you can imagine, nothing is more critical than who the two Labradors are that are chosen to reproduce, merge their DNA, and create their own unique offspring. We devote countless hours to this decision, and we take it very seriously. However, it is also a time of immense anticipation as we look toward the future.
To compliment the female one must search for a mate who has traits that will flatter her in structure and personality. We typically choose to use a stud who is an AKC champion and whose personality is in line with our vision and goals here at Kingridge Kennels. We also want to be sure they have the desire to please and retrieve, which is what makes a Labrador such a wonderful addition to the world of dogs. 
In addition we want our puppies to be gentle, calm, loving companions who have all of the inherent Labrador traits that make them ideal pets for families. We need to be absolutely certain that the candidates we explore are in the care of reputable breeders and have met all of the health testing that we uphold. This helps to ensure that the puppies will be healthy in both, body and mind.
Here at Kingridge Kennels we are dedicated to producing outstanding Labrador puppies who will mature into healthy and sound specimens of the breed. We understand what an enormous responsibility it is to create life though our direct planning. Life that will last for 15 years or more. It all begins with the choices made at the very beginning in breeding! It is exciting to realize that along with all of the effort and responsibility of breeding wisely, we can anticipate the fruit of all of those decisions. This will happen when we witness the miracle of life that will soon unfold!

Welcome to the World Little Puppies

We have been so busy here with the whelping and care of newborn puppies over the last 24 hours. The birth was exciting and precious. It was an emotional roller coaster filled with laughter, stress, peace, beauty, dismay and tears.
2 of the puppies that were born were stillborns. I did everything in my power to resuscitate them, with attempts to clear their lungs, perform CPR and even mouth to mouth, but in the end... the breath of life was just not in them. We are however, so very thankful for the 6 healthy pups that were whelped. Birth is always an adventure, but the most difficult part is when we experience the loss of life.
It sure does make us appreciate the health and vitality of the 6 precious puppies that remain. They are very full of life and are nursing like champs. Shiloh is caring for them with great love and attention. Each of the puppies is dependent on their mama for everything. They rely on her for warmth, food, and their daily grooming and care. These first few days of life are very critical for the puppies, and we are praying that each remains healthy and grows strong. Birth and life are so miraculous and we are in awe of God who is the author of life!
I have included some pictures and video that document the labor, birth, and first few hours of the puppies life. I sadly miss the 2 puppies that are no longer a part of this litter, but our family is rejoicing at the beautiful gift of life that we were able to witness once again.
Early labor
Early labor
Mama Shiloh is just starting to show obvious signs of contractions and is still in early labor.
Laboring hard
Shiloh is panting and grunting a bit with each contraction at this piont, and we know it just a matter of moments before the first puppy will arrive.
Laboring hard
Ready for puppies
Ready for puppies
This is where the pups go after they are cleaned and have nursed for the first time with Shiloh. This incubator keeps them safe during the birth of subsequent pups.
The whelping pen
Here it is all clean and ready for the first puppy to be born. These absorbtive pads had to be changed frequently during the whelping. Birth is a messy busy! We also use plenty of cozy blankets and towels.
The whelping pen
Pushing stage
Pushing stage
Shiloh's cervix is now dialated and soon she will be ready to push.
First puppy born
A black male was the first little guy in line to present himself to the world. We are thrilled!
First puppy born
Sweet introductions
Sweet introductions
With each pup's arrival, Shiloh helps to clean and stimulate them for a pleasant welcome into the dog world. I helped out too, but tried to allow nature to work in the beautiful way that it is intended.
First Meal
After the pup is cleaned, the cord is tied, and notes are taken, we encourage them to nurse promptly.
First Meal
Little miracle
Little miracle
Each puppy knows exactly what to do. They appear quite content as they experience their first taste of milk.
Supportive onlookers
Here our littlest child looks on as she witnesses the puppies nursing snuggly beside their mama. All of our children visited the whelping throughout the evening.
Supportive onlookers
Another puppy
Another puppy
Here is a gorgeous little boy that was born about an hour after his brother.
Whelper helper
Here is my sister who provided a lot of help during the birth. Because there is so much to do during whelping it is a good idea to have many hands on deck.
Whelper helper
Pups in the incubator
Pups in the incubator
The red tint cast on the puppies is from the heat lamp that warms the puppies to approximately 95 degrees. It is very important that they do not become chilled.
More puppies
While I was working with the other pups we kept the puppies who were already born in the incubator. As you can see they each have their ribbon so that we can tell them apart.
More puppies
Our little princess
Our little princess
This is the only surviving girl in the litter. She is also the smallest and already she has claimed the hearts of all of my children.
Handsome guy
The boys sure outnumber the girls. We now have 4 black boys, 1 yellow boy, and 1 yellow girl.
Handsome guy
Happily nursing
Happily nursing
All of the puppies are enjoying nursing with Shiloh. The mother has a rich supply of cholostrum that is amazingly beneficial to each puppy for the remainder of their life.
Nurse... nurse... nurse
We encourage the puppies to nurse often and for long periods of time. At this point all the puppies do is nurse, sleep, and nurse some more :)
Nurse... nurse... nurse
One content mama
One content mama
Shiloh is relaxing after all of the hard work. She had a very long and demanding labor, and is enjoying some much needed rest. She will rest along with the puppies for the next few days as she recovers and tends to their needs.

Number 6

 Number SIX has arrived at 11:05 P.M.


 At 10:46 another puppy was born, and we are tired. However, we are still ready for more.

Another Birth!

We are proud to announce that at 10:35 P.M. another puppy was once again born into are nurturing arms and Shiloh's paws.

Another puppy :)

Yet another puppy has come. We are so excited here as we try to guess the exact number. We all are fondly dawdling over these adorable gifts of life.

Another puppy!!!!!!!!!

At 6:34 another puppy was born. It too appears to be healthy, and the two pups are happily nursing as I type. We hope we will soon see many more.

First puppy has arrived!!!

 At 5:30 P.M. Shiloh gave birth to the first puppy. It is nursing happily, and appears to be very healthy. We anxiously await the arrival of its brothers and/or sisters. We will keep you posted as the events unfold.

Is Labor Right Around the Corner?

The week of Shiloh's due date is upon us, and it looks as though puppies may arrive toward the earlier end of our projected window. My husband and I had just returned from a homeschool convention late last night, and although Shiloh's temperature was higher when it was taken during the morning it had dropped significantly to 99.8 degrees by 10:00 at night.
We had left our children and dogs here at home in the care of grandparents with all kinds of ridiculous instructions for both species. We are so grateful for our parents! Monitoring a dog's temperature is a very practical way to predict if labor will be expected within the next 24 hours. So, although Shiloh's temperature hadn't gone below 100 degrees, while my husband and I were traveling, we were just a phone call away in case we got the news that the big drop had occurred. 99 degrees is the magic number that alerts us a dog will be laboring within the next 24 hours.
Well, this morning we anxiously took Shiloh's temperature, and it is in fact exactly 99 degrees. The very significant news is that in addition to the temperature drop, Shiloh also refused her morning meal. These two markers together is a concrete sign that pups are in the very near future. It seems as though Shiloh will be delivering these puppies earlier than her other litters, although well within the healthy acceptable range.
We are all over-joyed and are making last minute preparations for the labor process. It can take many hours for labor to start, and we are planning on making the best use of this calm before the labor storm. We will have someone in the family post on this blog to let you know when the official labor begins (even if I'm busy whelping pups), and we will try to take lots of pictures to document this wonderful miracle! We are praying for a healthy happy delivery of precious puppies.   

Puppies Confirmed!

Sneak peak at Shiloh's spring litter
We are so excited to announce that it looks as though the spring breeding has been a great success! We visited Animal Clinic Northview today for Shiloh's ultrasound. The ultrasound is a diagnostic tool used to confirm pregnancy and provide an estimate as to the number of puppies one can anticipate. We were delighted this afternoon when  we learned that there are approximately 9 puppies growing peacefully in Shiloh's womb. Unfortunately, when a litter is on the larger side, ultrasound is not as accurate for determining an exact number as when the litter is small.
We will perform an x-ray the week of April 16th that will give us a much more definitive number for the litter, so we will know more accurately how many puppies will be whelped. Currently, the puppies are each only about 1 centimeter long, and it is difficult to imagine just how much growing they will do within these next 4 weeks. We are really looking forward to this litter's arrival and are reminded how all of life is a precious miracle indeed!
precious puppy pawprints

Healthy Puppies Have Healthy Parents

We are counting the days until our litter of puppies arrives
We are getting very close to breeding for our spring litter. Shiloh has been visiting the vet regularly to have her progesterone levels tested. We anticipate that the procedure will occur within the next 3 days. All of the progesterone testing that we have been doing enable us to perform the mating at just the right time which is the best way to ensure a successful breeding. There are many factors that contribute to an exemplary breeding, with timing being one of the most critical components. 
However, long before the actual breeding takes place is when the majority of decisions are made that will determine the outcome of each litter. The decison of which sire to father the litter is critical, and the process of finding just the right Sire takes a great deal of detective work. The goal is that the offspring of the two parent dogs will surpass each individual parent, and will lead to improvments in the Labrador breed. Every ethical breeder wants to better the breed that they adore and with each litter that comes into the world, they have the opportunity to do just that!
Bettering the Labrador breed, requires excellent combinations with exceptional parent dogs that are healthy and have been genetically tested to weed out possible genetic conditions that may afflict the breed. Today, as I was reading the Sunday paper, I happened to come across an article by Lawrence Gerson, V.M.D. in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, that mentioned this very topic. The article entitled, "Detecting Hip Dysplasia Early Can Be Critical for Dog Breeders" expounds upon the notion that breeders are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the breeding stock they are mating are healthy and genetically sound.
This is absolutely central to our breeding philosophy here at Kingridge Kennels. We understand that each puppy that we raise and train will go on to become a loved and cherished member of a special family. We would be heart-broken if one of those puppies was not able to lead a full happy life because of a genetic condition that could have been prevented. That is why we require tests for genetic conditions known in the Labrador breed. These include: x-rays for OFA hip and elbow certification, along with OFA screening for congenital cardiac disease, CERF eye exams, blood tests for Progressive Retinal Atrophy, and genetic testing through cheek swabs for Exercise Induced Collapse. We hope that by screening our breeding stock thoroughly, we will produce puppies that will remain healthy and happy throughout their life!   

A New Year

New Year = New Goals for our familyWith a new year comes new adventures and goals to pursue. I'm sure everyone plans on making some changes in the new year. Those "resolutions" may be trivial or deeply meaningful. It may be something specific that one would like to accomplish in the year ahead, or possibly a determination to give something up and make a sacrifice during the next 12 months. Either way, it usually involves trying to make a change in the new year to use our time for the better.
My family is no different, and we are all trying to focus on making some changes to our routines that will enable 2012 to be a year of heightened organization. That is quite a challenge for anyone- let alone a homeschooling family of 7. Personally I have made a resolution to check my email more often and return calls promptly. Life can get very busy and sometimes returning emails in the order in which they are received can keep me a few weeks behind in my response time. If this applies to you "I am sorry"... I do much better with phone calls :) 
We are working hard and playing equally as hard! Lily our recent Labrador addition has added tons of fun to our family, and we are all enjoying her presence and love. She is very trainable and as smart as a whip. Boy does that make training fun! We are looking forward to the time ahead and hope that this will be a year of great things for God's glory. As far as puppies go, we have one litter planned to be born in April. That will be the only litter born here at Kingridge Kennels in 2012.
Just thinking about all of those future puppies and joy that is to come with the expectant litter makes me so excited. As more details unfold with regard to that breeding, I will let you know. In the meantime, I wish you a hopeful future and a year of new possibilities and promises in 2012!
Lab pup chasing her goals

Welcome to the World Puppies!

Shiloh in the Vet's officeThe puppies are here! We just got back from the veterinarian's office with 10 healthy puppies. Shiloh had been in mild labor since yesterday, and this morning during contractions we noticed some signs that labor was not progressing as it should. We ended up performing a c-section at the vet's office this afternoon around 1:30 pm. The good news is that they are all healthy and nursing like champs. It seems that the cause of the labor inertia was that two puppies were both trying to make their way through the uterus and out at the same time... I guess it's an early case of sibling rivalry to be in first place :) Thankfully, all is well! I am sure everyone would like to know the colors and genders of the litter, so I thought I'd include some statistics about the litter.
puppies only 10 minutes old
     *There are seven males and three females (probably why there was the competition from  
       the start ;)
     *The two yellow puppies are female.
     *The three chocolates are all male.
     *There are five blacks, of which one is female and the other four are males.
     *All of the puppies are between 13.1  ounces and 16.4 ounces - which means each puppy
       weighs a good amount for such a large litter.
One of their first mealsWe'll be sure to take lots of pictures along the way to capture the sweetness of this wonderful bundle of pups!

Early Labor Signs

Our gang getting ready to meet the puppies.Here are our little ones anxiously awaiting the arrival of Shiloh's little ones! Shiloh is huge and we are sure she is showing some signs of the early stages of labor. She has been panting throughout the night and all day today. She also has been "nesting" by investigating different locations inside and outside of our home to use as her nest- none of which are nearly as nice as her lovely whelping box! We will see to it that ultimately she labors in the home, but it is very common for dogs to go off and find a private secluded area in which to birth the litter. The biggest development is that Shiloh has been refusing food!!! That is a big deal, and it is a very accurate sign that labor should be getting underway within the next 24 to 48 hours.
Shiloh is growing larger with each passing moment.We are trying to get extra rest and tidy up the home so that we can devote our undivided attention to the whelping and first days of life for each of the puppies. Their most vulnerable time is right after birth. The pups are small and helpless with little ability to regulate their own body temperature. We will be encountering many sleepless nights ahead... so now is the time to get some rest and prepare for the big event. I think I am nesting just as much as Shiloh!
Shiloh resting in the laundry that I am trying to get done before the puppies arrive!We have been taking Shiloh's temperature twice a day for the last few days, and although she is showing some signs of impending labor her temperature has not yet dropped as a concrete indicator. I will write more as labor draws closer, but for now I'm going to go tidy up my nest- and then get some rest just like mama Shiloh!

About One Week to Go +/- A Few Days

Kingridge Kennel Whelping BoxWith fall in full swing we are anxiously awaiting the autumn litter's arrival! We visited the doctor this afternoon for an X-ray to determine a more precise number of pups that we can anticipate. It looks as though the X-ray confirms there are indeed 10 puppies. They are all approximately the same size, and as far as the veterinarian could tell they all looked healthy. 
For now, Shiloh is growing rounder and rounder day by day- or it seems hour by hour. She looks as though she is ready for these puppies to come at any moment, but pups are almost always born very close to their expected due date. When progesterone testing has been performed to determine the date of ovulation, one can be relatively certain (within a few days) when labor will begin.
We are preparing our home for the wonderful arrival, by getting all of our whelping supplies in order, and assembling the beautiful whelping box that my amazing husband custom built for our litters of sweet little puppies. I do believe it is the finest whelping box in existance... Plus it is beautiful! It only seems fitting to have a special environment for such a lovely process like birth. There is nothing that compares to witnessing the miracle of new life coming into the world. We are so eager to meet all of these precious puppies! 

More Details About the Ultrasound

Fall Kingridge Kennel ultrasoundIt was a fabulous day indeed! We enjoyed our ride to Animal Clinic Northview just outside of Cleveland and were thrilled with the news presented to us at the ultrasound. Dr. Hutchison began counting puppies and after counting upward as fast as he could said, "There are puppies everywhere..." and there were. Just as twins sometimes hide on a human ultrasound, the uterus was lined with pups that were hiding behind each other and peeking in and out of view. Dr. "Hutch" said we were expecting a larger than average size litter, but the exact number of puppies is still just a projection. When a litter is small the ultrasound can more accurately portray the precise number of puppies, but with a larger litter the screen becomes more... littered :), which makes it a bit more difficult to determine the exact number! He guessed somewhere around ten, but only time will tell for sure. You can see some of the amniotic sacs that are apparent on the ultrasound picture above. 
We are always amazed at the miracle and complexity of new life, and the intricacy of these tiny puppies is a prime example. As of today each puppy is only approximately 1.4 centimeters (as shown by the line on the ultrasound to the right), yet each pup already has a
Ultrasound of puppiesfunctioning umbilical cord (which can also be seen in the picture to the right, toward the bottom of the darkened area called the amniotic sac). Can you imagine what a narrow thread the umbilical cord would be on such a tiny Labrador puppy? It is a miracle indeed! To aid in the optimum development of each puppy in the litter, Shiloh will be increasing her food consumption and continuing on her prenatal vitamins. Although outwardly she shows no signs of the budding life that she carries within, she will need more rest, food, and vitamins as the pups quickly grow.
It will only be a matter of a few weeks before Shiloh's belly begins to bulge. At about this time we will perform an X-ray to determine the exact number of puppies expected for delivery. However, the color and gender will remain a surprise until the moment of birth. I feel as though many prayers have been answered, and I am so happy that it looks as though many of the wonderful families who are on the waiting list will have a healthy beautiful puppy as of Christmas this year. Cheers!

Litter Size = Good News

We just left Dr. Hutchison's office. He said "There are puppies everywhere!" While he couldn't pinpoint an exact number, he said it is a larger than average size litter and he's guessing it's around 10 puppies. We can't wait for the x-ray when we hope to find out a more precise number. I'll post more tonight when I get home. What great news! :)

The Satisfaction of Labor Day

Rest for our laborPrecious little baby boyHappy Labor Day! It is a wonderful weekend to relax and enjoy the end of summer. I hope delicious foods, fun with family & friends, and lots of relaxation from your labor are in store for you this weekend. We are doing all of the above along with celebrating our son's 4th birthday. It's hard for us to imagine that he was born 4 whole years ago! I think it's rather fitting that we can celebrate his birth on Labor Day weekend... "Labor" get it? I remember VERY well all of the hard labor that was involved with his birth. Although labor is at times most assuredly painful; any mother would agree that the fleeting pain is well worth the rewards of a precious new baby.
Working in the gardenSoon, our Labrador Shiloh will be experiencing the same sensations of birth as she labors to give life to her new litter of puppies. Celebrating birth is always such a joy! Anything truly beautiful usually has great work involved in its creation. Precious children, neatly weeded flower beds, and sweet well-adjusted puppies are some of the best blessings this world has to offer, yet each needs great care, a lot of hard work, along with love in order to thrive. We are planning a weekend with time to reflect and remember that labor & work produce things that are truly wonderful. The gift of work is a privilige that we each can use to make our corner of the world a lovely, more fruitful place. Even if it means getting your hands dirty, great personal sacrifice, or moments of intense pain, the results of many investments are worth the work involved. So congratulations on all of your daily toiling and may you take deep satisfaction when reflecting on a job well done!

Breeding for the Fall Litter

Love... Love... LoveThese past few days have been important ones for us! Over the weekend we visited Dr. Hutchison at Animal Clinic Northview and he performed a transcervical AI. After one more AI our part of the breeding will be complete. The rest will be left up to nature! Shiloh's due date based on the breeding is October 13th. If she delivers on the projected date that would mean the puppies will be 10 weeks old and ready for their new homes on Thursday, December 22nd. That will be quite a Christmas gift! 
I do already have our ultrasound scheduled, so I can provide an official date to announce the number of puppies expected in the litter. We are scheduled to return to Ohio to see Dr. Hutchison on September 6th at precisely 2:15 in the afternoon. I will bring my phone with me at that point so I can post the results, here, on the blog. We are very excited and are praying there will be beautiful, healthy pups growing in Shiloh over the next few months. I will let you know if there are any further developments, and please let me know if you have any questions or comments. You can email me or you can even post right on the blog. 
Time is Flying By
I hope these last few weeks of summer are memorable for you all. I know our family is going to try to squeeze all of the fun we can out of the sunshine before school resumes. These 
vacation months are going by so fast! I am certain that the next 3 weeks of waiting for the results of the ultrasound will also pass by quickly. Time sure does fly when you are having fun! May each of your precious  moments count...

Mister B Has a New Home & a New Name

It was bittersweet the day we presented Mister B to his new owners. "Pignon" is the name that his new family gave to him and it is a French word- pronounced "Pinough". From now on I will use his real name because that is now who he will always be. We have been using his name from the 4th week on, so that he could gain familiarity with its use. We are so happy that he is went to a wonderful home in which he will be lavished with love and affection, but we had grown so exceptionally close to him throughout his months shared with us. We feel blessed to have had the opportunity to raise and nurture such a phenomenal dog. Pignon was, and always will be, something very special to us here at Kingridge Kennels. It may be that the situation of a singleton litter will not repeat itself for quite sometime - if ever! Through this rare experience we were able to gleam so much about the nature of Labs. We will always remember Pignon with love. I am will be posting a slide show that documents the life of Mister B / Pignon... I hope that the summer provides each of us with a relaxing break and a time to reflect on life. We are looking forward with anticipation to our fall litter and will post more as events progress.

The Whelping of "Mister B"

Mr. B the sweet new puppy is snuggled lovingly into his Labrador motherIt is always a miracle when new life is brought forth into the world. Yesterday, the single puppy in our April litter was born. I will relay more of the story once the sleep deprivation ceases a bit. The whelping was difficult, but "Mr. B" as we will temporarily call him is large, healthy, and beautiful in every way. Ahhh...the miracle of life!

We Are Expecting a Puppy?

Yes, you read the title correctly. We are in fact only expecting one puppy! I was told this would be a smaller litter, but as it turns out it will be a singleton litter. This is a very rare yet interesting situation among Labrador Retrievers. It is actually rather common in smaller breeds and especially toy breeds. This one puppy will be very special indeed. There are some unique joys and challenges when it comes to raising a singleton litter. The pup will be larger than the usual Labrador Retriever puppy, because it has been in a very spoiled environment inside the uterus. It has had no competition for food, vitamins, or space. This ensures that he or she will have had a great healthy nutritional start in-utero, which is rare when competition for nutrients is so common in larger litters. However, this freedom to nutrition may mean that the puppy will be too large to be born in the natural way and will require a c-section for delivery. Time will tell! If active labor does not begin before the on or before Easter Day we will turn over the preferred method of allowing nature to dictate the birth date of the pup to a more aggressive approach to delivery. We are diligently taking Shiloh's temperature day and evening in order to be able to predict the big day. I am sure that this sole - precious puppy will have a VERY strong bond to humans. Because it will not have the interaction with its siblings it will rely much more strongly on affection from the people in its life. From the start this puppy will look to his or her mom, Shiloh and then to me as the breeder for direction and instruction... This is a wonderful situation! In training a puppy that is the first step to master. The pups needs to learn to focus on you as a human first and foremost so that they can be attentive to instruction. Once they are focused on the trainer, their behavior can be modified and then they learn to respond in a desirable manner. Therefore obedience training should be much smoother and faster with this puppy. Likewise, Biosensor therapy, socialization and training will be very individualized and tailored to meet the unique needs of this specific puppy. I am predicting that this puppy will master tasks and obedience commands much earlier than if it were just one in a litter of puppies. However, because it will not have the access to constant play with its litter mates he or she will be sure to require much more human interaction and attention. It will be an extremely unique situation in our home, and as a breeder it is a situation that will likely never happen again. If you are interested in discovering more about this one puppy please contact us, and we can talk about the unique benefits and what development will likely be expected with this puppy. I am looking for a very special home for this little blessing.

Ultrasound Picture

Here is the ultrasound of Shiloh's puppy at 1 month gestation.Shiloh's due date is fast approaching! With each spring flower that begins to push through the soil we step one day closer to the arrival of the puppies. I wish spring would feel as though it were here.  The weather in Pittsburgh has still been pretty lousy. It has been cold up until just recently and now gray and rainy. I remember reading somewhere that Pittsburgh was ranked as one of the grayest cities in the USA. I definitely can believe it! At least we are ranked as one of the friendliest cities in the United States as well. Maybe all of this dismal weather causes those of us living in Pitsburgh to be extra sunny on the inside... not a bad trade off really. Our family has been busy with school and activities, but we are all ready for the delivery of the pups. I thought I'd include a picture of one of the puppies that was taken via ultrasound. Although I literally can't make heads or tails out of the picture! I could barely distinguish what I was seeing on my children's ultrasounds. Dogs are even more complicated to decipher. We will be going in for x-rays in about a week to make certain of the number of puppies expected. That will be wonderful news. I will let you know as soon as we find out. Happy Friday, and happy birthday Julie!

We are Expecting!

It is always wonderful news... To find out that a dog is carrying new life inside of her is a miracle indeed. We have increased Shiloh's food intake and are continuing to give her prenatal vitamins. It is amazing how many similarities there are between canine pregnancy and human pregnancy. The ultrasound procedure sure is much less expensive for dogs! Physically, both moms are tired and more easily fatigued. I would imagine only being in that exhausted state for 60 days rather than 9 months makes it a little easier. If Shiloh is having any late night cravings they may be for cat food as we have noticed that our cat is looking a little less round while Shiloh continues to balloon out. All in all, she is very healthy and extremely lovable during this pregnancy. That may be more than a lot of families can say about the humans in their midst who are expecting an addition of their own. ;)

Are we expecting Puppies? I hope the answer is YES!

We are happy to announce that puppies may be coming! We will find out this Friday via ultrasound. We are driving from Pittsburgh all the way over to a suburb of Cleveland. Animal Clinic Northview is the best around as far as reproductive care is offered. We are excited and have been preparing Shiloh for the big day. She has been very relaxed and is enjoying all of the pampering she has been getting from her family. The little ones have been giving her lots of love, and we are all making sure she gets a balance of plenty of rest and sufficient exercise.