Chapter 4 - Chelsea and Cricket

Jordis second litter were born two years after her first one, and again not without some dramas. Initially, we had wanted to use another of Janet Kibble’s dogs, and again she kindly came over to our house. Was Jordis interested? No way! Fortunately, Janet also had Baron with her, and Jordis perhaps knew that, anyway, there was no doubting her intentions, so we had a second set of puppies with the same parents. In our combined breeding experience over 40 concurrent years, we have only ever had 2 litters simultaneously three times, and only three times have we needed a wet nurse for a litter.

Providence has smiled on us, and these two events have coincided on each occasion. This was the first time!! Jordis, we think, swallowed a bee a few days after giving birth, and had an allergic reaction. She became very swollen, and lost all her milk, and it was several days before she returned to normal. Our Irish Wolfhound, Taffeta, had given birth a couple of weeks before Jordis, and, in the manner of the breed, was most accommodating to the little black and gold chaps, who managed famously, once they opened their mouths wide enough. We had just acquired a Glenn of Imaal puppy of 7 weeks at that time, Alice, and she joined in as well. I’m not absolutely sure that Taffeta actually noticed!

Taffeta with puppy
Taffeta with a Hovawart pup

We kept a bitch called “Cricket” from this litter, but it was difficult for her to get out from Chelsea’s shadow, so we were very fortunate to find Vincent and Valerie Polding in a position to take her on, because they had just lost their young dog with a heart problem. They agreed to let Cricket have a litter in the Pines name, before transferring her legal ownership, and this duly happened, but not before Chelsea’s first foray into the maternal business with Hofwarth Senator, a top winning dog bred by Julie Condron, who had had a couple of homes, and was a strong character. Chelsea was a real eye-opener for us, in that she was perfectly capable of dealing with the birth and rearing of her puppies without our help, thank you very much. She showed us what a really wonderful breed we are involved in, and our total conversion to them stems from her.  We initially kept a bitch from this litter, named after American State capitals as a result of a visit from our American friend Anne, called “Pippin”, but after 4 or 5 months, people retuned a bitch called “Tilly”, whom they expected apparently to be totally obedient from the off (all dogs have to trained, even Cesar Millan’s!!), in a nervous state, and we felt that she couldn’t go away again, so we found a super home for Pippin, and Tilly stayed with us, although we have never attempted to breed with her, as she is even now apprehensive of the unfamiliar. Having said that, she has been quite successful in the Showring, and has gained her KC gold “Good Citizen” award.

Valerie and Vincent let us have Cricket back for mating and whelping, and after some consideration, we opted for a blond dog living in Southern Ireland called Duke Alexander. He had previously sired a litter, unintentionally as we understood it, which had some very nice looking blond offspring. As we only had one vehicle, John flew to Dublin with Cricket and after a little difficulty (Irish addresses are not entirely helpful) arrived at the right place, which proved to be a horse stud. This appeared to be a promising development, but in fact dog breeding was not something familiar to anyone there, so we were left to get on with it, the Irish connections watching with interest from the terrace. Duke proved to be a delightful dog, and allowed himself to be assisted, so the mating took place under some rather prickly bushes. Cricket was unfazed by the flying experience, and duly gave birth to a lovely litter of puppies in October 1998. A remarkable incident occurred when the puppies were a couple of days old. There was one that was ailing, and didn’t look like makingit , but we had tried extra feeding, and making sure it had first go at mother, trying to keep it going.

Cricket, Pines Illustrious Buckle
Cricket (Pines Illustrious Buckle)

Cricket singled it out, licked it, sniffed it thoroughly, turned it over a couple of times, then, very deliberately turned her back and sat on it. She obviously knew more than we did, and decided it wasn’t for this world. Another example of how remarkable this breed is, not prepared to waste precious resources on pointless causes. There was one other little problem with the puppies, one‘s eyes didn’t open properly, and when they did one hadn’t developed properly. We called her “Focus”, and intended to keep her. One good thing arose from this, in that Ann Travis, who was interested in the litter because her first bitch, mother to Duke Alexander, was able to choose the best puppy, and as a result “Tipperary” (all named after Irish towns) went to live in Lancashire, and has had a very illustrious show career, being the first British born and domiciled Dutch champion, and best in show at the first (and so far only) IHF show in the UK. After discussions with an eye specialist, it was felt that it would be better not to breed with Focus, although the problem was considered a “one-off”, so she was found a super home with folk who took in the halt and lame, and we looked round and there was Limerick, unchosen, unassuming …just there, as she has been ever since.


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Chapter 3 - Jordis