Monday, August 26, 2013

Boy and Kona Puppies are Here!

Kona whelped five puppies in the early hours of the morning on August 24th.  There are 3 males and 2 females, all black and all doing fabulously so far.   Kona is being a great mother and is fit and happy.

Thank-you to Judy and Allan for keeping her in such fantastic shape throughout her pregnancy!

These puppies are all spoken for and have great homes lined up.

Lindy - New WCX and HR!

Rod and Lindy are on a roll. In early August Lindy passed the WCX (Working Certificate Excellent) test.  In Canada this test requires both land and water blinds, as well as a walk-up and honouring.  Then last weekend Lindy completed her UKC Seasoned retriever title (Hunting Retriever or "HR").

Lindy is now HR ATChC OTCh Blazingstar Linnaeus CGN JH WCX RE AGXS AGXJS.  So many letters and so much work involved in those titles!  Thank-you Rod for helping Lindy reach her potential in field, obedience, rally and agility.  We are so very very proud of your achievements!

What a great team!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Prairie Boy

We were lucky to have Kona's "boyfriend" visit us for a week.  Boy Wonder (Ch Flyway Farm's Boom Boom Pow SH WCX**) is a sweet, easy-going flat-coat with lots of energy and character.  It was a great opportunity to get to know this lovely dog better.  I think he enjoyed his prairie visit!

Thank-you so much to Xan Latta for letting us borrow Boy and use him at stud.

Puffin and Boy share some common ancestors and we could certainly see some similarities in looks and temperament.  Both of them love to leap through the prairie just for the pure joy of running.  

Blazingstar Puppies Due!

We are so excited to be expecting our first litter in over three years.  Back in June, Kona (Can Ch SHDCH Blazingstar Brown Coneflower RA) was bred to Boy Wonder (Ch Flyway Farm's Boom Boom Pow SH WCX**) and last week's ultrasound showed at least six puppies.  The puppies are due towards the end of August.  

Kona is her usual happy and active self and is still enjoying some field training.

While Kona doesn't live with us, she is very special to us because her pedigree combines both of our foundation bitches, Tally and Lupine.  She has inherited the best of the both of them and we are excited to see what her puppies will be like.  Thank-you to her owners Judy and Allan, for letting us have a litter out of her.

Just a bit under four weeks to go.
We tried to slow her down by doing only short retrieves and casting exercises, but Kona doesn't do anything slowly!
The first images of Kona and Boy's puppies, courtesy of Northside Veterinary Clinic.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Luna WC!

Congratulations to Luna and her owner, Jennifer Stanley on gaining her Canadian Working Certificate title last weekend!  Luna is Blazingstar Midnight Loon WC (Remus x Teva).  She passed the test both days in Abbotsford, BC.  In addition to her WC, she recently passed her OFA hip exam with flying colours - OFA Excellent.

Luna at the FCRSC Scurry last year
Luna practicing for her WC, at 8 weeks old.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Lethbridge Obedience and Rally Trials

In the middle of June, we competed in the Lethbridge and District Kennel Club's first independent obedience and rally trials:

Tinbie managed to qualify in two novice obedience trials and now just needs one leg to finish his CD title.

Puffin went in to the rally ring for the first time and successfully qualified and won high in class in Novice B.

Cava competed in rally advanced and she did marvelously, with a perfect score and winning high in class in Advanced B.

Showing off their ribbons and prizes.  Not the best of ribbon photos, but it will have to do! The cats were running interference and it was hot. 

Indy - Ch Blazingstar Brown Ruff CD WC (April 24, 2004 - May 29, 2013)

Indy was a lovely dog from our first litter that we co-owned with Katheryn and Brad Taylor.  He was an exceptionally good natured family dog who helped to raise their four children.  Indy was also Brad's pheasant hunting companion.  Sadly Indy was diagnosed with cancer shortly after his 9th birthday.

Katheryn and Brad kindly agreed to have Indy's blood sent to the Breen Lab at North Carolina State University to be used in genetically-based research projects investigating several different cancers in a variety of breeds, including flat-coated retrievers. These projects are delving into the genetic causes of some canine cancers and their results will help both dogs and humans over time.  Indy's pathology report showed that he had histiocytic sarcoma, one of the cancers that is being studied.

From a recent article in Science News (

"In 2012, a team of researchers that included Ostrander and Breen announced the location of a gene for histiocytic sarcoma, a form of lymphoma that is rare in humans but strikes up to a quarter of Bernese mountain dogs and flat-coated retrievers. It is an aggressive malignancy with no cure. In a cover article in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, the researchers described a genetic mutation that appears to be associated with the cancer in these dogs."

Indy will be very much missed by us and by his family and his best buddy, Pharoah. 

If you have a flat-coated retriever with cancer, please consider participating in cancer research.  To find out more, contact the Flat-coated Retriever Society of America's Cancer Support Team (see  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Blazingstar's First Obedience Trial Champion - Lindy!

On May 25th and 26th, Rod and Lindy competed in Utility obedience and qualified three times to complete her Utility Dog title in one weekend!  We are so proud of this super team.  Their performances also rocketed them into the top 5 obedience flat-coats in Canada, currently sitting in the number 4 spot.  Lindy is the first Blazingstar-bred dog to become an Obedience Trial Champion!  She was also the first to become an Agility Trial Champion.  What a talented litter our scientist litter has grown up to be - in many activities - with a Master Hunter (Annie) OTCH (Lindy), ATChC (Lindy) and Tinbie's successes in the show ring.

Lindy is now SHR ATChC OTCH Blazingstar Linnaeus JH WCI RE AGXS AGXJS CGN

Thank-you Rod for helping Lindy to reach her potential in so many areas!  

Lindy and Rod - what a team!

Cava CD

We entered Cava in the Medicine Hat obedience trials in the middle of May and she qualified in both trials, completing her CD obedience title.  She did a lovely job in the first trial and won High in Class in Novice B. Cava is now Am/Can CH Bramatha Under Pressure WC CD RN.

Liz and Cava and their High in Class ribbon.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tinbie Update

Thankfully Tinbie is already much improved after his bout of trigeminal neuritis.  After 16 days of being hand fed and hand watered (via jello), his lower jaw started to look a little better and he could eat on his own again.  A couple of days after that he was also able to drink again.  We are very relieved and lucky that it only lasted 2.5 weeks.

In case it is helpful to anyone else, we did the following to "treat" the condition, although who knows if any of it did anything to help.  We tried to focus on things that might help to reduce inflammation:
1. Metacam at the full dose in an attempt to reduces inflammation.  As his jaw improved we started to reduce the dosage.
2. Extra vitamin C.  He normally gets 500mg and we increased to 1500mg a day.
3. Extra fish oils - we doubled his normal dose to 4000mg a day.
4. Vitamin E (500mg)
5. Increased the coconut oil in his diet to 1 tablespoon a day.
6. Kept him well hydrated with lots and lots of jello.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Eye Exams

We took a quick trip to the Calgary Care Centre for annual eye exams this week.  Everyone passed, which is great news.

Trigeminal Neuritis

Poor Tinbie has been suffering from Idiopathic Trigeminal Neuritis for a week now.  It's the strangest thing - essentially it is inflammation of the nerve that controls his jaw muscles.  The result is that his lower jaw hangs open all of the time and is pretty much useless.  We don't think it's very painful for him and he is in good spirits, but eating and drinking are a real challenge!  Fortunately most cases of TN (also sometimes referred to as "Canine Drop Jaw") resolve within 2- 6 weeks.

Tinbie's new look

We have been gradually figuring out the best ways to give him food and water.  We are able to hand feed him small nuggets of food by placing them in his mouth for him to swallow.  He is incapable of picking up and swallowing food from the floor or even from a raised bowl - and if he tries this, the food, floor and his mouth are quickly covered with massive amounts of foamy saliva, making the process even more difficult.  By being a bit creative, we are pretty much able to continue to feed him his usual diet and the same quantities of food, it is just a bit of a longer and messier process than usual.  Smaller meals work better as the more he eats, the more saliva is produced and the more slippery everything gets.

Raw beef "balls" and pieces of blueberry-orange-oatmeal cake for breakfast. 

The hardest part is keeping him hydrated.  When he tries to drink from a raised bowl, the bowl quickly fills with saliva and we are not sure that he's actually managing to consume any water.  We started out using a syringe to get water in to him, but he hates it, does a lot of coughing and spluttering and it takes ages to get a decent quantity of water into him this way.  After reading about this condition on line, we came across the ingenious idea of using gelatin to make jello out of meat stock.  So we have been boiling up venison bones and making "deer jello" for Tinbie.  We are able to spoon chunks of jello into his mouth and while it can be messy, it is much easier than the syringe and it is doing the trick to keep him hydrated.  He will also try to drink from the hose nozzle outside, but again it's hard to tell whether he's actually getting very much water.

Meanwhile we are at risk of drowning in saliva... or possibly slipping and falling in it.  Our floors, clothes and the other dogs are covered in dried slime...

Just a small portion of the saliva and slime that results from this condition. 

The good thing is that he seems to feel OK and is able to continue to do most of his regular activities, but with a perpetually open mouth.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Visit from Blue

We were lucky to enjoy a visit from Tinbie and Trina's son Blue and his owner, Michele.  He is growing up very nicely and he was especially excited to meet his first duck!

Heading back to Michele with the duck - good boy!

Happy 9th Birthday to the Shorebirds

Our Shorebird litter (Karo x Tally) turned nine years old on April 24th.  We had a family get-together for the local siblings - Tala, Macleod, Tima and Indy.  It was lovely to see them all and their owners. A good time was had by all!

Tala, in fine form as usual!


Tala, Indy, Tima and Macleod


Monday, April 8, 2013

Foster Puppies

We have been fostering a litter of four puppies for the last couple of weeks.  They needed somewhere where they could stay together and also be socialized around friendly adult dogs until ready to go to new homes.  Although we are both very busy with work, we volunteered to try to give them a good start in life here.  

They arrived at 6 weeks old and had been well cared for.  Lou, Gus, Otter and Jack settled in very quickly and our own dogs were insanely excited about the new additions.

Not very much is known about their heritage, except that they are 1/4 Bernese Mountain Dog.  They certainly are chunky puppies that will likely grow into fairly large dogs.  It's interesting to observe all of the differences between them and our flat-coat litters.

We are fostering the puppies for Windy City Canine Rescue in Lethbridge and they already all have homes lined up and/or adoptions pending.

The cats are helping to socialize the puppies too.

Cava and Gus

Cava and Puffin are teaching Otter to dig

Meet Blue

Back in March we had the pleasure of meeting Blue on his long trip from Fall Flight kennels in Wisconsin to Edmonton.  Blue is the only male from the Tinbie x Trina litter and we are very pleased that he will be living in Alberta and we will get to see him grow up.  We would have happily kept him here, but he belongs to Teva's owners, Darren and Michele.  

Meeting Salander

Father and son portrait

Blue and Tinbie

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Ups and Downs of Breeding Dogs

We seem to have had more than our fair share of the "downs" so far this year.  Among them, Cava did not get pregnant, so we won't be having a spring litter.  We are considering our options for another litter when our girls next come into season, but have not made any firm decisions at this point.  We had a lot of stress in our lives right after Cava was bred, so it's possible she picked up on that and decided it was not such a good time to have puppies.

However, there has been some good puppy news.  Back on Boxing Day, Tinbie became a father again - to 5 puppies, 4 girls and 1 boy, all black.  The mother is the lovely Ch Rockyhill's Walkin on Sunshine (Trina), at Fall Flight kennels in Wisconsin. If all goes well, the sole male from that litter will be on his way to Alberta later this week.  We look forward to meeting him welcoming him to the Blazingstar family!  He will live in Edmonton with Darren and Michele and hopefully help to fill the hole left by Teva.

"Blue Boy" (Tinbie x Trina) at 7.5 weeks old

On February 27th, 8 more Tinbie puppies were born in South Carolina.  Sadly, 6 of the puppies were stillborn.  Thankfully the two remaining liver girls and their mother, Ch Flatout Carbonated Drink (Fanta) are doing very well.  

Our golden friend Abby whelped 7 healthy puppies on February 17th and I've managed to sneak a quick visit to see them already.  I am going to have to get my puppy fixes by visiting and photographing them over the next few weeks!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Remembering Teva

Blazingstar Tansley CD 
September 27th 2006 – January 23rd 2013

Teva was put down on January 23rd, 2013.  She was a lively 6.5 year old flat-coated retriever in the prime of her life. 

In the middle of January 2013 she showed symptoms of a fever and blood work suggestive of an infection.  Being intact, pyometra (a uterine infection) was suspected.  An ultrasound was scheduled for the following day.  Based on her breed and the ultrasound, the specialist diagnosed her with multiple tumours, most likely being histiocytic sarcoma.  They reported that the spleen, liver and possibly the intestines were affected.  Prednisone was prescribed.  After a long day at the clinic, her devastated owners took her home where she could be comfortable. 

After a few days, Teva went downhill quickly and she was put down five days after her ultrasound.  As her breeders, and because Teva had produced one litter for us, we asked that an autopsy be performed.  Teva’s regular vet performed the autopsy.

The results were shocking.  The vet found a large mass (>15cm) of infective and other material. In the mass was a substantial bundle of surgical gauze.  The vet collected and submitted numerous samples for pathological analysis.   The gauze must have been left in her abdomen after her c-section to remove her 8 puppies, almost 3 years earlier.  A truly terrible mistake.

The pathology report showed that there was in fact some cancer present  – hemangiosarcoma.  In her vet’s opinion, the primary source for Teva’s cancer was the mass that had formed as a result of the gauze.  While her spleen was normal (contrary to the ultrasound findings), cancer had spread to her liver.  Scientific literature led us to discover that cancer (including hemangiosarcoma) can be triggered in both humans and animals by the presence of foreign bodies, including gauze. 

More About Teva
Like most flat-coated retrievers, Teva had a boundless zest for life.  She was an early riser that met every day with optimistic wags.  Teva was driven to retrieve everything and anything, but had a special passion for frisbees and exceptionally large sticks (logs?). Food was an important part of her life and she didn’t meet too many foods that she didn’t like, including all sorts of fruits and vegetables.  Being fed on time was a big priority in her life.

Teva’s speed on land was legendary and something she passed on to her puppies. 
Super speedy out to a bumper or bird, she also raced back to her owner at equal velocities.  

A lovely example of her breed in both mind and body, Teva was shown occasionally and was just one point away from finishing her Canadian Championship.

Inside, she was a sweet and gentle soul and epic couch-snuggler and bed-warmer.  As a mother, she was one of the best – attentive, gentle, playful and always eager to spend time with her puppies. 

Her zest for life, great personality and sweet nature is greatly missed by everyone who knew her, but most of all by her owners, Darren and Michele.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Meet Willow!

She looks like lots of fun! (photo courtesy of Cathy Johnson)
This is Tinbie's daughter, Willow.  Tinbie was bred to Dolly, (CH Whazthat's How Spicy You Want It TD) back in the middle of August.  As Dolly is in Washington, we shipped fresh chilled semen.  Willow's breeder, Jeanne Allen, has kept Willow and we look forward to seeing her grow up.


Dolly is a daughter of Arrow (CH Dexmoor's Shoot The Moon UD JH OA OAJ WCX TDI CGC), an outstanding flat-coat that we have long admired.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Addition to Blazingstar

Just before Christmas we welcomed a new feline to our pack.

Meet Blomkvist, Salander's sidekick.

We were worried that our older cat, Salander might not appreciate the new addition.  It took her a few days to warm up to him, but now they are best friends.

Salander is a working cat.  Her primarily job is to keep our kennel and gardens free of rodents.  Her other role is to educate puppies in the ways of cats.  But she does tend to get lonely when we are away with the dogs, so we have been wondering about getting her a companion.

Like Salander, Blomkvist is 100% Alberta ranch cat.  We got him from Phantom Ridge Ranch at 8 weeks old.  His was the only surviving kitten from a litter and his mother had stopped looking after him.  Being so young we were hopeful that Salander would be more likely to accept him.

In less than a week Salander and Blomkvist were playing together, grooming each other and curling up in a warm ball of pure snuggly stripy-ness.

Because he's so small and it's so cold, Blomkvist only gets to spend short periods of time outside and always under our supervision.