(I know this is my first blogging post, but I thought I might as well dive right in.)
Havoc, my 4 year old Malinois, had her first romantic experience, (well maybe not quite so romatic) two days ago. My last litter was over 10 years ago, so I am pretty excited. Havoc is an exceptional female, she has her Conformation Championship (in three shows against all hairy Belgians), runs 3.8 seconds in Flyball, is a Superdog Star, and is one of the fastest 26" dogs in Agility in Canada. But best of all she has a SUPER sweet temperment to go along with all that drive, and loves kids, puppies, and people and dogs in general. It was really tough to make the decision to pull her from competition to breed just when we are getting it all together, but she is just way to nice not to breed, and she is getting older, so I needed to make the decision now or not.
The stud is her duplicate in a male body. Great temperment, drive, drive, drive (won the Ringsport 2 National Championship at 2 years of age), and comes from really good lines. The two should be a great combination.
But neithor one had been bred before, so when I made the long drive (9 hours) to 100 mile house I was pretty nervous. Would he be interested? would she stand? would he snap? would she snap (they are Malinois, so snapping can be a bit of an issue), would I be too late?
At least I knew she was ovulating! After 3 visits to the vet; one on Thursday (she is at 2, we need her at 5, come back Saturday); Saturday (she is at 3.6, we need her at 5, come back Monday), Monday (she is at 7, she already ovulated, get her to the male NOW)
But it is a 9 hour drive! Crap.
So yes she was ovulating, but time was running out, even as we were heading out! (I didn't even have time to put the snowtires on, and yes, it is snowing now in the mountains, white knuckled driving there!)
So I finally got to the male, and we reintroduced them (they had meet a few months back for an afternoon of play). He was definately interested! Yeah! And she was definately standing! Yeah. But now the inexperience reared its ugly head. He just wasn't sure what to do with it.
She was very patient, she just stood in the middle of the yard and waited, stood and waited, stood and waited. He wanted to do something, but couldn't quite figure out what. So he just kept licking, and prodding her with his nose. I think her patience was actually deterimental, as if she had played and rough-housed and run around, he probably would have figured it out faster. But as it was, she just kept standing in the middle of the yard, saying, HERE IT IS ALREADY! Which wasn't as helpful as it might at first appear.
So, we finally seperated them for an hour or so, to help heighten the anxiety level of the male, then let them try again. He started to get closer, but just couldn't quite connect ... what is about a watched pot that never boils?
After another hour or so we seperated again, and started to explore options. If she hadn't ovulated on Sunday, this being Tuesday, it wouldn't be an issue. Clearly the male was going to get it eventually, he was getting closer to figuring it out all the time. The question was, would he get it in time for her to catch, for the eggs to still be viable (72 hours generally). We phoned around to various vets in the area ... no, don't do insemination, over and over. Finally we found one vet, an hour away, who would do it the next day. That would be at the very end of viability, but at least it was a fall back plan.
It was close to 5:00 pm now, so we figured we would let them try again for a while, and then I would head back to the hotel to be ready for the morning commute to the vet. We stayed inside and watched through the windows to give them their privacy. Finally, he had everything in the right place at the right time, and voila, tie! They were so good even about that. No snapping, or stress, he figured out how to move his foot over to be more comfortable, and they were fin
e with me going out to ensure that they would both stay calm during the tie. It lasted close to 10 minutes, so he had a lot to offer, but they finally broke apart and we all breathed a HUGE sigh of relief.
We cancelled the vet, but I drove her out from the hotel to him one more time the next morning and he got it all together within about 20 minutes. Another tie. This one about 5 minutes. I think he knows the job now!
Then we were off on the long drive home, a lot more relaxed and with a great sense of anticipation... after 10 years, puppies once again on the way!