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Kingridge Kennels English Labrador Retrievers - Intelligent ~ Calm ~ Beautiful
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Lab Tails of Kingridge

Our Family

Adopting Kingridge's Lovely Lily of the Valley

Sweet and Lovely 'LILY' of the Valley

Kingridge's Lovely Lily of the Valley

As a lover of Labradors and a breeder, some posts are so fun to write, and others are literally almost impossible to type. This is one of the most difficult ones I can imagine. At this point, I feel like my keyboard is covered in Molasses! Choosing to place a dog into a new forever family is always so hard for myself, and especially for my family, but as a breeder it is something that has to be done from time to time to move the breeding program forward.   

It is only after a great deal of  prayer and discussion, that we have decided to retire Lily from our breeding program here at Kingridge. Lily always was, and will continue to be, first and foremost, our family's very special and much loved pet. So, it is with a heavy heart that we have made this difficult decision. She has only had one successful pregnancy after multiple attempts, and as a result we feel it is ultimately best to find a new home for our special girl. 

We have raised Lily from the very start! I remember when she weighed just over a pound and fit in the palm of my hand. She was born out of the Precious Gems of Kingridge Litter. Her mother was our 'Shiloh' and her father 'Calypso' was the Best of Breed winner at both the Westminster and Eukanuba dog shows in 2011. Lily has always lived inside our home and been a very special part of our family. 

We are looking for a loving home with humans who will pamper Lily and show her as much affection as she is used to receiving from us. She is a healthy, happy, 4 1/2 year old yellow Lab, with a stellar pedigree. Lily is terrific with children (she absolutely loves kids) of all ages, cats, and other dogs. She is faithful and oh so gentle, and she loves walks and jogging next to me on the trail. She really is the epitome of the Labrador breed.

We know that another family is going to be thrilled with the addition of Lily into their family, and we are excited to get to talk with them. Lily is being adopted on a companion/pet registration only.  She will come into your home with all of her AKC papers, current on shots, and with a written agreement of  spaying by the new family's veterinarian. She is sure to bless another family as much as she has ours! It's just so hard to share the precious gem that we have found in living life with Lily. 

If you think your home may be a good fit for Lily, please email me directly at or call me at (724)561-9808 so that we can talk more and see if it seems like a wonderful fit for everyone. I think Lily will transition seamlessly into a happy new home, because to love with abundant affection is her nature. Our family, and especially all of my children, will always hold such a special place in our hearts for her. Lily really is a unique and beautiful gem.

Our Life and New Life

Baby Jonah loves life with our Labs.Although things have been rather quiet on the breeding front around here, our life has been anything but quiet. We celebrated a new addition born to our family, and we have been busy enjoying life with our Labs and our little boy. 

We also moved into a new home. We are still in Pittsburgh, but we are living in a suburb to the south of the city. Our home is now within a very short drive of my husband's work, and we had really wanted to lessen the distance of his commute for quite some time.

We are looking forward to all of the joy and wonder that a precious litter of puppies bring, so we do plan on breeding again soon. We just knew, that with all of the responsibility of an infant and moving, we had to take a pause in our breeding program, because we couldn't possibly give enough attention to everybody.

However, the time we have spent focused on our family, while trying to enjoy every little moment with our new baby, has been a tremendous blessing. They all pass by so quickly! We are snug and settled in our new home, and Little Jonah is already 10 months old. As spring bursts forth with new life all around, we too are so thankful for the beautiful gift of new life. 

Life is such a celebration! I hope you and I can take time this Easter to celebrate all of the blessings that have been made possible because of Jesus, and what He chose to do on the cross 2000 years ago. He died so that we might live and have the gift of life... Not just life... But, even more- an abundant life.

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.

Summertime Fun

It has been so warm here in Pittsburgh. Now, I know there are some kind of people who complain anytime the weather isn't 72 degrees with sunny skies, but I am not one of those kind of people. I love the variety of weather we get here in Pittsburgh, and it is one of the reasons why we choose to make this part of the world our home. Our family and Labs have lived here for our entire life, and I think we are all pretty spoiled.
Here in "the burgh" we get cold wonderful winter days filled with snow and ice, autumn days that are brisk and delightful with gorgeous changing foliage, and cool grey misty days that make us appreciate the days of bright sunshine and brilliant blue skies that come with summer. However, these last few days have been down right hot. The dogs are staying inside in the air conditioning, along with the kids and myself. We all enjoy a quick romp of play outside and then it's time to cool off indoors. Thanks God for air conditioning! We all have been enjoying the sprinkler and the pool. The dogs especially are delighted in the abundance of water during these scorching hot days.
As we have been enjoying our summer, we are also actively researching sires for the future breedings that will occur over the next several months. Our black female will be the first to enter into her heat cycle, and then we will breed an all chocolate litter a few months later. If you are currently a family that is on our waiting list, I have sent out a newsletter email highlighting our breeding plans. Please let me know if you did not receive that recent communication.
Everyone is so excited about having puppies in the house again, but we are lazily enjoying this warm summer with just our family and our Labs. I hope you and your families cherish this weather and the laid back pace that tends to accompany these long hot summer days. Take some time for what I plan to do for this afternoon... pour a big glass of lemonade and pick up a good book (one on dog training would be perfect) and just relax. Then, you can take some time to prepare for the arrival of your new Lab puppy, or appreciate the puppy, or full grown Labrador, that you already have in your life. Oh, how I do love summertime!
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Puppy Dove in Pool
Dove is now 15 weeks old, and is enjoying life here with our family. With these warm summer days, she has been playing in the kiddie pool with the kids.

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!

First Water Experience

Today we took advantage of this beautiful Saturday, and took the puppies to Mingo Creek Park for their first water experience. The day was wonderful! Each of the puppies approached the water rather cautiously at first, but then they dove right in. After splashing around and playing on the rocks, they took the longest deepest nap that I have ever seen.
My children joined in playing with the puppies throughout the day, and they too were fast asleep in the car on the ride home. It was a very eventful and memorable day for us all! So, now it's my turn to go up to bed to rest like a tired tuckered out puppy.
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Puppies' First Water Experience 2013
We took the puppies to Mingo Creek Park today for their first experience in the water. They had such a fun day, swimming, chasing butterflies, and exploring in nature.

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

The Love Between a Child & Dog

The love of LabsWe all know that children and animals can have a very special relationship. I know in our home this is the case between our Labs and our kids! Dogs usually form an amazing attachment to their children, and likewise, children bond strongly to their family's special pet. However, the benefits of a family pet go far beyond the formations of simply a strong loving relationship. In the following article by Daniel Goleman, Children and Their Pets: Unexpected Psychological Benefits, one can begin to grasp the amazing effect a dog has on a child's development.
In new research into the bonds between humans and animals, therapists are discovering that pets provide unexpected psychological benefits for children beyond the obvious. And many of the same qualities that make pets beneficial to children make them useful in psychotherapy, from building rapport with difficult-to-reach patients to bolstering the self-esteem of traumatized children.''People have always loved their pets, but now we're discovering specific ways to harness the benefits of being with an animal in psychotherapy,'' said Dr. Samuel B. Ross, executive director of Green Chimneys Children's Services in Brewster, N.Y., where animals are used in treating emotionally disturbed children.For children, a close relationship with a pet has proved of benefit in study after study. For instance, in research with preschool children, psychologists at Oregon State University found that teaching children to care for a puppy enhanced their social skills.
More Cooperative and Sharing
"It made the children more cooperative and sharing,'' said Dr. Sue Doescher, a psychologist involved in the study. ''Having a pet improves children's role-taking skills because they have to put themselves in the pet's position and try to feel how the pet feels. And that transfers to how other kids feel.''
Dogs benefit children in so many ways.Children who were regularly given the opportunity to care for a puppy at their preschool, as well as those with pets at home were found more socially competent. They were more popular, felt better about themselves and were better able to understand other children's feelings.The study was reported by Cindee Bailey, a psychologist at Pacific Lutheran University in Portland, Ore., at a meeting in November of the Delta Society, which promotes research on human-animal links. Conferences of the society have emerged as a main forum for new findings in the field. Just how a pet affects the emotional development of a child depends in part on the quality of home life. A study of 309 fifth graders found that for children who had close, supportive relationships with their parents, pets bolstered self-esteem; the effect was stronger the closer the children were to their parents.
Buffer Against Loneliness
But for children who sufferedfrom emotional neglect, the pets took on another role: confidant and buffer against loneliness. In a sense, the pets became substitute mothers, said Dr. Yolande Michaels, a psychologist in Venice, Calif. Dr. Michaels said that for neglected children, treating their pets as friends in whom they could confide helped the children soothe themselves when upset.The ability of pets to make disturbed children feel better has made animals increasingly common in therapy with children.
In one study of children with severe emotional handicaps, half received normal care, attending standard activity groups. The other half were allowed to play with a dog during therapy sessions. Those who had the therapy with a pet improved on key areas of measurement like the ability to control their impulses and understand others, while those who received normal therapy got worse. The study was done by Barbara Wood, a clinical social worker at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.
My Conclusion
These studies suggest that dogs, by there very nature, help children in ways that are unique and important to their emotional, social, and psychological development. Dogs truly are mans' best friend! This Valentine's Day, lets be thankful for the devotion that out pets show to us, along with the pure love and loyalty that they give so generously. The relationship we develop with our pets is a true gift and leads to so many rewards. Some of the benefits of owning a dog are tangible and obvious; while other benefits are harder to see but are of extreme importance. Thanks to our pets, we can experience all of these blessings and enjoy a rich rewarding relationship with a loyal companion by our side.
Dogs and children are gifts to one another

Headed to Westminster

The 2012 Westminster Best in Show WinnerThe biggest dog show of the year is just around the corner. The 137th Westminster Dog Show... It is actually the largest dog show in the world and is the second longest continuously held sporting event in the United States, just one year behind the Kentucky Derby! In a few days we will be traveling to New York to attend. We are thrilled to be able to go to Madison Square Garden on Monday, February 11th and Tuesday, February 12th to witness the top dogs in the American Kennel Club competing for Best in Show. On Monday morning the Labradors will be judged, and of course that will be the best part of all :-) That judging is usually left out of the televised schedule, but it is the shining moment for Lab lovers- like myself. Although Labrador Retrievers are the most represented breed in the AKC, one has never won Best in Show. Westminster has a fascinating  history.

The Westminster Kennel Club has this to say about this iconic event in American history...
"Established in 1877, The Westminster Kennel Club is America's oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs. There is only one Westminster, and in its long and prestigious existence, just about every superlative imaginable has been used to describe the club, the show and its impact on the world of purebred dogs. The Westminster Kennel Club "has had great effect in improving the quality of the dogs owned for use or companionship. Of this there can be no doubt ..." wrote one reporter. True then, true today.

Simply put, Westminster has become the symbol of the purebred dog, in show rings as well as in millions of television homes across America. The elegance, beauty and grace of the canine athletes combine with the excitement of the competition in the world's most famous sporting arena before a live national television audience. The result is an event that is the dog show world's version of the Super Bowl and Academy Awards. But even greater, The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is a celebration of the wonderful canine spirit, reflecting our emotional and spiritual attachment to our dogs.

It all began in 1877 when The Westminster Kennel Club was officially formed " increase the interest in dogs, and thus improve the breeds, and to hold an Annual Dog Show in the city of New York ..." (from Westminster By-Laws). By all accounts, that objective was accomplished from the very beginning.

From Forest and Stream magazine in 1877: "To say that the dog show held in the city last week was a success would but poorly convey an idea of what the result really was. It was a magnificent triumph for the dogs and for the projectors of the show. We question if on any previous occasion has there ever assembled in this city such a number of people at one time, and representing as much of the culture, wealth and fashion of the town. That such a collection of dogs was ever gotten together before in any country we very much doubt ..."

It is still the greatest collection of dogs assembled each year in the same place at the same time. From the opening moments when the 2,500-plus champions begin to compete in 162 different breed and variety rings, to the final crowning of the Best In Show dog, it is the great sport of dogs at its very best.
Westminster pre-dates the invention of the light bulb and the automobile, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Washington Monument, the invention of basketball and the establishment of the World Series. This makes me realize just how special our time will be as we attend this magnificent event! It means so much to those of us who love and adore dogs...

Amazing Health Benefits of Dogs for Babies

A dog can actually help your family remain healthy!I hope you are all healthy and well this winter. Our family has been fortunate to remain rather healthy in the midst of the nationwide flu outbreak. With 6 children, including our new little guy, we are extra concerned about contracting simple colds and viruses. If one member of our family gets sick, the illness seems to spread quickly from person to person- even with diligent hand washing. So one person with the flu can lead to our whole family being under the weather for weeks.
It seems studies are suggesting that we can attribute some of our good health this winter to our wonderful Labradors. I'm sure you already know how much dogs add to the richness of their owners' lives, but this article mentions some added health benefits that I had never considered for our family. Oh, yet another reason why I love our Labs!!!
According to the Huffington Post,... dogs and cats may not just provide your family with love and constant companionship -- they could also have a powerful effect on the health of children early in life, according to a small new study. New research in the journal Pediatrics shows that children who live in a home with a pet during their first year of life are also more likely to be healthier, compared with kids who don't live in a pet-owning household. "It's more support in a growing body of evidence that exposure to pets early in life can stimulate the immune system to do a better job of fighting off infection," Dr. Danielle Fisher, of St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif.,told the Los Angeles Times.
Specifically, kids who had a dog during their first year of life had 31 percent fewer respiratory tract infections than kids who didn't live with a dog, researchers found. Kids from dog-owning homes also had fewer ear infections -- 44 percent fewer than kids from non dog-owning homes -- and needed fewer antibiotics, researchers found. Cats also seemed to have a beneficial effect on kids' health, but not as strong as dogs, the researchers said. "Our findings support the theory that during the first year of life, animal contacts are important, possibly leading to better resistance to infectious respiratory illnesses during childhood," the European researchers wrote. The study included 397 kids in Finland, who were followed by researchers from the time they were born until they reached age 1. The families reported how much contact they had with a dog or a cat on a weekly basis. ABC News also reported on the relationship between the amount of time the pet spent indoors, and the beneficial effect on the kids:
Children who live in houses where dogs are inside less than six hours a day are at lowest risk for respiratory problems. The authors believe it could be because dogs that are inside track less dirt. More exposure to dirt leads to more exposure to different types of bacteria, which can help strengthen the immune system.

Happy Holidays!

We had a wonderful Christmas celebration here and hope you did too. Christmas morning was like a marathon gift unwrapping event that involved 7 adults, 6 children, 3 dogs, and 1 cat. It was quite a joyful experience!
We are all so fortunate to have health, happiness, and love during this holiday season. Even if we did not have the first two, we are most blessed to still have love... and not just any love. 
The first Christmas assured us all that we can have the gift of the purest, most precious love; the love that God has for us as his creation. This video below depicts this amazing love that is most definitely worth celebrating!
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Christmas music video
(the nativity story) (the passion of the christ) Hallelujah by Barlowgirl

Introducing Our New Baby to the Pack

-Christian Ray-
A sweet new baby joins our family
"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above..." -James 1:17
We are so thankful to the Lord for the newest addition to our family. Our son Christian was born only 2 weeks ago, and is healthy and happy. He weighed a whopping 10 pounds and is our biggest baby yet! All of his brothers and sisters are thrilled to have a new little brother to cherish. 
Our Labs have been so wonderful in adjusting to this new precious presence in our home. They are very delicate around the baby, and we are so fortunate to rest assured - knowing that our dogs are gentle giants. It's amazing how our English Labradors instinctively know to be calm around children and require very little time to acclimate to the vulnerability of an infant.
We do take time to introduce them to the scent of the new baby before their first actual introduction. Here is a link to an excellent article from "Fit Pregnancy" to educate new parents on the best way to promote a healthy start in the relationship between canine and infant. The picture below shows the first meeting between our 3 Labradors and our 3 day old son.
With many other breeds we would not feel so confident in our children's security, but we are so comfortable when it comes to the disposition of our Labs here at Kingridge. Of course, we use common sense and do not allow our dogs time alone unsupervised with the baby. But our dogs fit in perfectly with a growing family, and we feel truly blessed indeed!
Introducing the new baby to our Labradors for the first time

Update on Life and Labs

It's about time I posted some current information about our life and Labs! We are continually amazed at how quickly time passes. Our family is expecting a new little blessing any day now, and because of all of the wonder that is involved in welcoming a baby into the world, we have taken a short time off of breeding. This will enable us to concentrate fully on enjoying life with our new precious baby. We are planning to wait until spring of 2013 for our next litter of puppies. That way we can enjoy the first few months with our new little one, and then devote our full attention the needs and training of the puppies when the arrive.
We had quite an eventful summer! The very next day after the spring litter left to go to their new homes, I was running very "pregnantly" through our yard and tripped over a root. How embarrassing! I ended up breaking my foot, and spent 6 weeks in a walking cast. This was difficult to say the least. Then, with family vacations, the start of our homeschooling year, and progressing further along in pregnancy, things only intensified with regard to busyness and exhaustion. So needless to say, I am so thankful that we decided to take a short hiatus from puppy rearing and training!
We are anticipating the birth of our son at literally any moment now... My due date was officially on the 7th of October. We are so excited to be welcoming a new life into this world and into our family! We are also looking forward to the future when we will again be experiencing the miracle of life with a new litter of puppies in the spring!

The Puppies First Water Experience

Our Lab puppy River outside enjoying the sunshineWe have been having such a wonderful time with this litter! The puppies are growing by leaps and bounds. We have enjoyed training the puppies outside with such beautiful weather here in Pittsburgh. Recently, there have been very few rainy days and tons of warm sunshine. I am entering my 3rd trimester for this pregnancy, and I have had a ton of energy... Praise God! As a result, our days have been very full.
Over the weekend we visited Mingo Creek County Park to  allow the puppies to experience the thrill of the water. They took to it like a... well, like a Lab to the water! It was love at first sight. Each of them romped and splashed until they were so exhausted that they fell fast asleep in the playpen that we brought to the park. After all of the that play, they had the longest stretch of sleep that we have witnessed since they were tiny little pups. We tried to take a lot of pictures and video to document all of the fun that you can watch below.
Children LOVE Labradors! This is our guy Clay with one of his many fans.The training has been going smoothly, and this litter seems to follow in typical Labrador fashion, because they are extremely smart and eager to please. They have been enjoying a wide variety of social experiences as well. We have introduced them to cats, other dogs, rabbits, babies, the elderly, and just about every child living within a 1 mile radius. They are the hit of summer break with the kids in our neighborhood. I am confident that these puppies have been loved on, cuddled, and adored by children more than any other group of pups in the entire world.
These puppies are such a blessing to us, and I know that they will be an indescribable gift in the lives of their new families as well. It is hard to imagine that we will only have them in our care for 1 final week. For us, things are drawing to an end with our time together, and yet for the puppies this is just the start of a fabulous lifelong journey with loving humans, companions, and friends. They are just about ready to begin that amazing adventure with their new families!
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Kingridge Kennels Puppies Exploring the Creek
Our Labrador puppies have many opportunities to explore the world around them. This litter visited the creek for the first time today and had a wonderful time experiencing the water. Allowing the pups...

Outside for the First Time

The puppies went outside for the first time today and thoroughly enjoyed their experience. They took their time exploring the sites, sounds, and smells of the great outdoors. They will be 6 weeks old tomorrow and are growing and developing so quickly.
We will begin obedience training tomorrow and are anxious to work with each puppy as they learn new skills. This is a wonderful week in the development of the puppies! They are very curious, and their personalities are blossoming. We are keeping a watchful eye on each one, so that we can recognize the characteristics and traits that determine each pup's individual personality. This upcoming week will be an important time to observe this litter.
It is definitely a joy to witness the subtle nuances that make each puppy special and unique!
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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.   

Happy Easter from our Family to Yours

We hope you all are enjoying a wonderful Easter Day with your family and friends. May the love of Christ fill your hearts and your minds with His goodness today and throughout the coming year. Our family just saw this animated video clip at church this morning and thought it was something worth sharing. May you treasure the hope of the cross. Happy Easter... Christ is risen indeed!

Two Peas in a Pod

Puppy Peas in a podWe have been enjoying the month of January with a lot of relaxing and down time. After the holidays and with all of the chilly weather it is nice to mellow out and turn our focus inward. Shiloh and Lily have been having a wonderful time romping around together in the snow, in the rain, in the dirt, and of course in the mud.
They are best buddies, and I wonder how Shiloh ever existed in our family without a jovial daughter by her side. Lily is growing larger and is maturing with grace. She is extremely smart and is very mature for a 4 month old puppy. We are all entertained by her mannerisms, and watching her and Shiloh play captivates the children's attention with as much awe as one of their favorite television shows. They are absolutely adorable together!
Mama Shiloh sleeping with daughter Lily here at Kingridge Kennels
Snuggling Labrador Buddies

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

Merry Christmas!

The love of God can lead to lasting peace.I hope you enjoy a wonderfully blessed Christmas celebrating all of God's richest blessings! We are so thankful for the gift of family, health, and the love of God. The best present of all is that God sent His Son as a little babe in the manger so many years ago to be offered as a sacrifice for us all. Today Christmas gives us such a warm peaceful feeling just like it did to those in the little town of Bethlehem thousands of years ago. It is the same feeling that can fill our hearts when we allow ourselves to reflect on the great love that God has for us as His children. It really is the most wonderful time of the year... It is hope! It is truth! It is pure love! 

The Best Christmas Gift!

Lily our precious puppy. Our gift under the tree
Lily is a Sweet Lab with a Great Love of PeopleChristmas is just around the corner, and as my children like to remind me, today is Christmas Eve Eve. We have had a busy few weeks with puppy training, and I have not had any opportunity to post about all of the many events. I'm sorry to all of you who had been anxiously checking in to find that nothing new was updated. I had planned on blogging about our schedule here so that you could get a sneak peak into a typical day of ours over these fast few weeks. However, I became so overwhelmed just looking at all of the events and hours spent training, cleaning, feeding, grooming, walking, and letting the pups outside in a 24 hour period, that I didn't sit down at my computer to write. Looking at the list alone made me feel pretty overwhelmed and pinched for time. It was absolute nonstop activity, but it was well worth every busy second!
Ho Ho Ho... this Labrador puppy wishes you a Merry Christmas.We are so proud of the pups in this very special litter. All of the precious puppies will be safely in their new homes by the end of the day today. They have each touched our life in such a lasting way. They have truly been a gift from God! I hope that in turn, they will be a gift to their new families this Christmas and for many many years into the future. We were blessed to have a list for this litter that was filled with wonderful families. I'm sure they will provide awesome homes for each puppy that they have recently welcomed into their lives and homes. I am going to miss them dearly! Although, I can rest in the peace of knowing that they are in the best possible homes and are deeply loved.
Lily the Lab at 10 WeeksWe are excited to be keeping one puppy from the litter to add to our family. Formerly known as Lady Amethyst, we have decided to name our yellow girl"Lily". My children are so happy to be keeping a puppy. They all agree that she is the best Christmas present ever! That is good news, because I am woefully behind on my family's Christmas preparations. So, after the last pup leaves today I am going to go do some serious shopping. Thankfully (like a lot of women) that is an area in which I have a ton of experience :) There may not be as many gifts this year under the tree, but we will have our little Lily. I feel so satisfied though; knowing that we have already given one of the best presents of all... each darling puppy that will bring smiles to countless faces this Holiday season. What a thrilling gift!
Merry Christmas! From one sweet Lab puppy

Home for the Holidays

There is much to be thankful for like family, faith and health3 pups on banisterThe pups are 6 and a half weeks old, and are having so much fun! We have been socializing them every day with many new experiences and opportunities. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving enjoying all of God's bountiful blessings. He is the provider of all good things.
We had a full house for Thanksgiving and enjoyed dinner with a lot of our extended families. Our celebration of Thanksgiving lasted the entire weekend. I love when you have big families, because holidays tend to spill over and last for several days rather than just one. We feel very blessed indeed!
This year the hit of our Thanksgiving festivities were unquestionably the puppies. My cousin (also named Joy) is an amazing photographer, and she was able to capture some adorable pictures of the pups at Thanksgiving. Reflecting on on their precious faces, I am reminded just how thankful we are, as a family, to be able to raise, train, and nurture these little puppies. They bless us is so many ways every day.
I hope that all of the new families who will be welcoming the pups into their homes in the next few weeks will enjoy them just as much as we do. After having the pleasure of meeting many of the families on this list, I am confident that they will indeed! Thanksgiving next year in each of those families will be a special time when they are able to count each of their Labs as one of the many blessings they hold. I am continually amazed at how God loves to give us relationships and things that put a smile on our face and a song in out heart. He truly does delight in giving his children good gifts! 
Our crew of precious pups
Our crew of precious pups
The pups are held up high in the air
black and chocolate pup on stairs
black and chocolate pup on stairs
Lovely Lab puppies
Adorable English Lab Puppies
Adorable English Lab Puppies
4 adorable English Labrador pups
Adorable English Labradors
Adorable English Labradors
Blocky headed puppies looking to the right.
Pups looking up
Pups looking up
Labrador puppies looking up at the camera
English Labrador Puppies
English Labrador Puppies
All 3 colors of Labrador puppies
Kingridge English Lab puppies
Kingridge English Lab puppies
Blocky heads and big paws are so adorable in a Kingridge puppy
Chocolate puppy with green eyes
Chocolate puppy with green eyes
This chocolate Labrador puppy has big green eyes.
Hand holding puppies
Hand holding puppies
Kingridge Puppies are as cute as can be!
English Labrador Puppies
English Labrador Puppies
Labrador puppies looking to the right
Lady Amethyst
Lady Amethyst
sweet little Labrador
Kingridge Kennel Labs
Kingridge Kennel Labs
Sweet Labrador Puppies
Pups held in the air
Pups held in the air
Adorable Lab pups at Kingridge Kennels
Yellow sisters
Yellow sisters
holding yellow lab pups
All pups on the couch
All pups on the couch
Labradors sitting on the sofa
Up in the Air
Up in the Air
Labs held up over our heads
Lab puppies
Lab puppies
Kingridge Kennel Puppies
Little adorable Lab puppy
Little adorable Lab puppy
Cute and sweet chocolate puppy
Precious Puppy
Precious Puppy
Look at those cute eyes on the chocolate one
Holding them up high
Holding them up high
Our Labradors are held to very high standards!

Happy Halloween!

Shiloh dressed up in her Halloween costumeHappy Halloween from Kingridge KennelsWe all enjoyed a wonderful day here full of festivities and fun. The kids went Trick or Treating, and although it was cold and rainy we had a fantastic time. The children were so excited to dress in their costumes and collect candy. I was amazed at how many adorable dog costumes there were to choose from at the stores! We had a hard time deciding what Shiloh would be this year. We finally decided on a swimsuit. After her recent litter of puppies, Shiloh still had the figure for an "incy wincy teeny weeny orange polka dot bikini that she wore for the first time today"... Sorry, but I just couldn't resist the lyrics to that classic song.
All of the puppies are well over 3 pounds and are nursing like it's going out of style. Shiloh's consumption of food and water has been so great, because the pups are such vigorous nursers... it definitely shows in their growth. Speaking of eating, I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween and treated themselves to some scrumptious candy. I know I had more than enough of my kids' candy, but hey- that's one of the advantages of having five generous little trick or treaters!
Candy for Halloween

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!

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!

Smile Challenge #10

Healthy Dogs are Happy DogsI hope you are all enjoying these silly little exercises to bond with your pet. If you don't have a Labrador yet, maybe you can borrow a neighbor's dog or just make a mental note and try these in the future. A dog -especially a Lab- really does add so much joy to life! Just by seeing their kind eyes and wagging tail my day is made a little brighter. I hope you can someday experience the same...
"For a simple variation on more standard massages, try your usual process with a pair of white socks on your hands. The sensation is quite different for the dog because you are covering much more surface area with each stroke, and because your hands look funny with socks on them."
Langbehn, Jenny. 97 Ways to Make a Dog Smile. Workman Publishing: New York, 2003.

An Overweight Labrador & Smile Challenge #6

Scale to measure a Labrador dog weightAs I've mentioned before the Labrador Retriever has a propensity toward becoming overweight. Because of most Labs love affair with food they tend to struggle with weight issues. It is the responsibility of a loving owner to make sure that their Labrador is not spoiled with treats and does not become over-indulged. Let me tell you - that is difficult! They can easily begin to "wrap you around their finger" or should I say "paw" with those sweet brown eyes and kind endearing expression. There are many articles that alert Lab owners to this dangerous but common struggle. The paragraph below was taken from and explains the dilemma.
"A major health issue that is worsening for Labrador Retrievers is obesity. Labs naturally have very hearty appetites and most have perfected the art of begging for treats! A Labrador’s diet should be closely monitored and they should be taught from a young age that begging for table scraps is unacceptable. Owners must also ensure that their Labrador Retrievers receive adequate exercise which helps fight obesity, a major cause of many devastating health problems. A healthy Lab should have a slight hourglass figure. Any excessive weight puts them at risk of arthritis, diabetes and hip dysplasia."
Happy smiling faceSo although this is a serious issue for the Labrador breed, we can bring some levity to the situation and have some fun with today's dog smile challenge. It can be applied to our canine friends who are large or small, young or old, thin or not so thin... but loved without measure. Enjoy!
"For our portly friends, place one hand (palms flat) on either side of the dog's body and gently shake the flesh."
Langbehn, Jenny. 97 Ways to Make a Dog Smile. Workman Publishing: New York, 2003.

Health Benefits of a Dog & Smile Challenge #4

Healthy Labrador Retriever equals healthy pet ownerI hope your dog enjoyed the first exercise in the Dog Smile Challenge! They are good solid activities for your best friend and they are great for you the owner as well. Did you know that there are numerous health benefits for those individuals who own 
dogs? There is medical evidence that a human who just spends time with lovable
canine can actually lead a longer healthier life. I encourage you to read the article in US News entitled The Pet Prescription. It describes just some of the many health benefits that our dogs (especially in my opinion - our Labradors) have given to us. So, not only do we have the privilege of enjoying life side by side with a loyal comrade, but we also reap lasting benefits, both mentally and physically, from their endearing faithful companionship. It is a great miracle that a furry creature who is so dependent on us can bestow such a gift; while they are at the same time, such an amazing gift in themselves. So, love your dog and thank them for their "gift" as you spend time enjoying them today. Today one way I encourage you to thank them is by applying Jenny Langbehn's fourth suggestion in her list of ways to make a dog smile. I just know your dog will thank you for trying out this fun exercise. And just maybe you can thank your dog too :) !
"Using both hands, gently knead (don't pinch!) the excess of your dog's back and scruff. Sing a rousing rendition on "That's Amore" as you knead the dog's skin like pizza dough."
Langbehn, Jenny. 97 Ways to Make a Dog Smile. Workman Publishing: New York, 2003.

How To Make Your Dog Smile Challenge :)

Summer Fun in the SunOh the summer is such a wonderful time of year! We have been home from our vacation for a few weeks now, and I am finally starting to get back into the swing of things. You've got to love the hot lazy days of summer :) The kids have been having a blast playing outside in the heat, and Shiloh surely is as happy as a lark, jumping through the refreshing sprinkler. 
I thought I would take these warm relaxing days to post some excerpts from a cute little book that we enjoy by Jenny Langbehn, entitled "97 Ways To Make a Dog Smile". The book introduces all kinds of clever ways to make your dog smile... and while your dog probably won't display a full toothed grin, I guarantee they will be smiling in their heart, if you try to apply these principals over the next few weeks. If you own a Labrador you know that they are notoriously happy go lucky dogs anyway. They are motivated by a heart of gold that loves to please! These exercises will lead to even more devotion and love... They are a fantastic way to bond with your best friend, regardless of their breed.
 I will post a selected challenge every few days. I challenge you to prepare yourself and those in your family to take time to play with your dog, and be sure to try to include some of these specific simple exercises in your life. I would love to hear from you if you are playing along with us, as we make it a point to take the time to shower our Lab with specific acts of love and attention. When you perform each exercise, be silly with your dog! Be sure to have loads of fun, and then relax and enjoy these sweltering long days with a happy, sweet, content canine lying lazily by your side.
Happy Puppy on Back#1. LOWER-EAR NOOGIES
"A tried-and-true massage location, the ears are very sensitive sites. At the base of the ear, gently rub your knuckles in true noogie fashion. (To make a noogie, form a half fist with your knuckles sticking out.)"
Langbehn, Jenny. 97 Ways to Make a Dog Smile. Workman Publishing: New York, 2003.

Lab Antics

Labs are a phenomenal breed of dog, They are a pleasure to look at, to own, and to befriend. I believe they are one of, it not the- happiest beings in all of God's creation. Labs are gentle, friendly, very intelligent, and yet so unique within their Labrador personalities. A Lab loves at all times. They remind me of the verses about love in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8. Although, I know that this love refers to human characteristics of love, it does remind me of the faithful pure devotion of a good Labrador to his or her family. ...."Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures. Love never ends."