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May Robinson [userpic]

Flurry in the Forecast (or... meet another of my wrecking crew)

September 11th, 2008 (04:34 pm)

where i am: with Boom and Kis
how i am: contemplative
accompanied by: something playing on CMT

Not sure what's been going on with me for months now lately but the writer's block I have found myself in has now even extended beyond fic. I'm even long overdue in writing about one of my critter gang.
Maybe part of the reason I haven't been writing about them though is because the terriers I have left to talk about are pretty boring as compared to the others. I only have Flurry and Tumble left to write about (and Cooper, the alien... aka non-Terrier) and they both are just so sweet and easy to live with, it's hard to come up with anything terribly interesting or clever to say.
I'm making it Flurry's turn now though. Our grand dam and oldest girl definitely deserves some "air time" of her own.
Here she is in her youth, at about 8 months and 2 years. The second shot has been doctored, BTW. The pictures of Flurry that don't include a big ol' white blur where her tail should be - due to chronic happiness and tail wagging syndrome - are few and far between. So, at times, I had to resort to creative means to use the best images I had of her ;).


Flurry came to us during the height of our breeding/showing days, as a result of a "puppy swap". Back in 1995, when we fred our foundation girl, Ducky, to our Boomer's father, we'd wanted to keep a female pup from that litter. Michelle, a very dear friend, was very interested in getting a male and, as it turned out, one male was born along with 2 girls. As planned, we kept one of the girls, placed the other with friends of friends and, the male went to Michelle. Rather than money changing hands, we decided to opt for our pick of a future litter of Michelle's, hence the "swap". Two years later, Michelle planned what to me was a dream litter... breeding her wonderful little female, Laser, to my favorite sire to have ever walked the planet -- a dog named Flare. Flare was my Ducky's father and I'd been crazy about the look and temperament of every Flare pup I'd ever met. And since Ducky was 7 years old by then, the idea of having a younger sister appealed immensely to me. Especially since the mother-tobe, Laser, was a sister of our beloved Tucker.

So, on February 19, 1997 Flurry and her littermates were born. Fortunately for me, when we made the trip to NY to look at the litter, my favorite girl was different than Michelle's so I was going to get the pup I wanted *g*. 3 weeks later we made the trek again and brought home Ducky's half-sister, named her flurry and watched her grow from cute little woolly puppy to cut little woolly senior ever since.

Here are the sisters together at about age 8 and 1 year...

Along the way, Flurry gave us plenty to smile about but also our fair share of heartache. She's easily the most expenseive dog we've ever had in the house!

As a "brood bitch", she was a dud and that really was a shame. Not from a monetary standpoint but simply because she just loved being a mother. Just like Ducky, Flurry's maternal instincts made her sparkle and she was at her happiest with a litter to nurture. Even to this day, years and years after being spayed, when she meets a baby pup – pretty much any pup under about 4 months in age, of any breed – she'll lay down for them and expose her belly, unquestionably with the desire to nurse. And that act always, always brings tears to my eyes.

Here she is with her first litter: little daughters Whip & Maggie

Can you say proud and happy Poodle mama?

And no, she's honestly not a Poodle and really is a Jack Russell.  Mind you, I did actually have a judge hum "Mary Had a Little Lamb" to me once while in the show ring with her. Truth be told, Flurry's coat is lousy as far as the breed standard is concerned. But, structurally she's gorgeous (as is her temperament), so she still always did well for me in the show ring.

Don't get me wrong. I *know* there are too many homeless dogs out there. That's why I founded, agonized over, and ran the national rescue club for the breed and that reality certainly contributed to my reduced, then ultimately non-existent, litter production over these many years. But… if there was ever an argument for having puppies, it came from watching mothers like Flurry and Ducky. They simply were meant to be mothers and were never happier away from that role. But sadly, Flurry's reproductive system disagreed and, before ultimately spaying her due to a life threatening case of pyometria (inflammation/infection of the uterus), she only produced a grand total of 3 live pups and 2 stillborn ones in 3 attempts to breed her. I definitely shed some tears during those days.

Like all the Flare kids I've known, Flurry has a fantastic temperament… just loves people and kids and puppies. Not so keen on pushy big dogs but then she's pretty tiny (12 inches and 11 pounds) and our big dog tends to treat her like his own personal Nerf football so I don't blame her for being touchy. She is hands down the quickest to learn of all the terriers I've ever had. In fact she's the only one I've ever bothered to teach tricks to, simply because she picks things up so easily. Ironically, she's the dog I trust least loose in our front yard though. She'll high-tail it down the street lightning quick, even today, if she even suspects we're not paying close attention to her. And my poor heart just can't handle that stress.

Besides, she's given me enough gray hairs already.

I've already mentioned the pyometria which nearly killed her and, on the heels of having to unexpectedly say goodbye to 2 of our dogs in the weeks prior (our oldest girl to renal failure, our youngest male to illness), I was convinced she was going to die on me then too. In a matter of hours, she had developed a fever so high that she went into convulsions… not something I ever want to witness again! She's a fighter though and, with the proper vet care, emergency surgery/treatment and a credit card to pay the bills, she pulled through.

She gave us another scare just two years ago when, at age 9 ½, she corkscrewed herself through the tunnels of a groundhog sette in pursuit of one of the little buggers and ultimately came out using only 3 of her legs and dangling the fourth one. Two surgeries, nearly 4 thousand bucks, and almost 6 months of restricted exercise later, most people wouldn't be able to tell she had to have holes drilled into her pelvis and thigh to help re-attach her leg to her hip. Yup, she may look like a Poodle but she really is *all* terrier.  

And worth absolutely *every* penny.

Here are a couple more shots of her, as she looks now in her senior years. The lighting was subdued in both of them and I didn't want to use a flash so they aren't the best but they are very recent and show both sides of the personality I simply adore.



Posted by: saberivojo (saberivojo)
Posted at: September 11th, 2008 11:02 pm (UTC)

I love reading about your guys. It makes me smile and cry at the same time. I love the second to last picture of your old girl. What a sweetheart.

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: September 12th, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
Terriers - Luna

Aw, thanks. My old guys simultaneously break my heart and make me smile. Flurry is a sweetheart, one of the sweetest, happiest terriers I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Thanks for dropping by!

Posted by: hucknclem (hucknclem)
Posted at: September 11th, 2008 11:08 pm (UTC)
Felix Mas 1

Awwwww. You know, it takes a special person to become a breeder; a lot of people think it's just a matter of finding a stud for their bitch, but it's so much more. I don't think I could handle the heartache, or make the hard decisions. Flurry sounds like such a darling (and a scrapper)! LOL. A dog can be the most high-maintenance child you've ever had... :)

PS: I thought my Pugs would take the gold for giving me conniptions and vet bills, but I'm guessing Flurry could give them a run for their money. Or our money. Whatever... :)

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: September 12th, 2008 12:56 am (UTC)
Terriers - Cho

Oh, yeah, I have a coworker with 2 pugs and they have certainly wracked up some bills. They are great little dogs though! Is your little guy fully recovered from his troubles? My Boomer seems to be hanging in there, no longer having accidents in the house and seemingly perkier.

Breeding was at times wonderfully rewarding but most often heartbreaking... I just didn't have the mindset to handle it, though we did produce litters (fewer and fewer over time) for about 10 years. The more you care, the harder it is, I feel and I frankly cared a lot. Still do. It's why I didn't want to start breeding another breed when we brought Cooper into our lives (he'll be introduced last)... a new breed to deal with that could have potentially huge litters to screen homes for, etc. Way too daunting for my heart and nerves!

Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out my "Flurpy-girl" *g*

Posted by: phetch (phetch)
Posted at: September 12th, 2008 03:08 am (UTC)

Flurry looks so sweet and happy, young and older! So cute and fuzzy :)

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: September 12th, 2008 03:15 am (UTC)
Terriers - Tucker

Hubby's nickname for her is "Fluffy" - because she is ;).

She always is a happy girl, always grinning with her tail going a mile a minute. I have a really hard time believing she's 11 though this is the first time, after clipping off her winter coat this spring, an old dog was revealed to me. Usually she'd look 6 months old again. I'm hoping she'll be around quite a bit longer. Our Tucker made it to 16+ and his half-sister is Flurry's mom and she's still doing well at nearly 15 and Flare, Flurry's dad, saw 17... with any luck, Flurry will take after the family and be around and do well for years to come.

Thanks for stopping by. Give phetchpup a hug for me :)

Posted by: leelust (leelust)
Posted at: September 12th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)

Oy! New tale!
She's not boring she had puppies :) So cute!
And the last one pic is the best. She's so happy :)

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: September 12th, 2008 04:16 am (UTC)
Terriers - Ducky Dempsey

Thank-you! She is a happy girl and very, *very* cute :).

Posted by: leelust (leelust)
Posted at: September 12th, 2008 07:39 am (UTC)

See? Happy can't be boring *giggles*

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: September 12th, 2008 12:21 pm (UTC)
Terriers - Kismet Grin

I stand corrected :D

Posted by: Invisible Friend (el1ie)
Posted at: September 12th, 2008 08:00 am (UTC)
b/w teddy

Oh, isn't she just gorgeous!

I have to say that the diversity still allowed in this breed just makes my heart soar - long may it continue. That and of course the few breeders like you who love their dogs, work with their traits and keep their dogs even when they have problems. Terriers can just make you want to tear your hair out some days, but the joy they bring with their lively fun natures, just can't be beat. I'm sure your guys have such wonderful dispositions because you obviously care so much for them and give the the freedom to do their jobs and have the contentment of good long hunting walks.

Matching owners to dogs is a nightmare isn't it and one thing I would find myself forever loosing sleep over, I take my hat off to you, some just don't care.

Sadly the Champions in the show ring where German Shepherds are concerned reduce me to tears, I usually avoid looking if I can but a recent TV investigation into our Kennel Club was too hard to resist - but I still spent a whole week in floods of tears over so many, many breeds that live in constant distress.

Mine have their problems as you well know, but they can run, walk strongly and work as they are a "Working Dog" breed and I absolutely refused to even consider puppies from show rings stock as do the Police.

We had a little Jack Russell when I was growing up - actually if I look at that "Poodle" picture and imagine her black and tan? Yeah, looked a little like that - such a happy little dog and was much sought after for her mole killing skills by every local farmer! :)

Dogs with jobs - they all need one, whether it's looking after the property or cleaning up the kids, nothing makes 'em happier eh?

Thanks for sharing her, she is one in a million.

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: September 15th, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
Terriers - Luna

Hey, so sorry I didn't get back to this sooner. Hubby and I were away on a mini-vacation (I'm still off work until Weds.) and I remember wanting to send a pseudo-lengthy response but not having the time before having to hit the road.

I too love the diversity in Russells. It was blatantly vivid while away these last number of days. We'd taken our entire crew with us to attend a field trial for the Drahthaar club (our big dog) and the terriers spent much of the weekend paired up in x-pens hanging out with me. So many people would remark about how different they all looked and, since I could barely tell one Drahthaar from my own, it really was incredibly noteworthy. Although the Drahts are all field bred, aside from black versus brown, they didn't have a lot of diversity. In coat length, yes... almost as much as with the Russells but in markings and size, the variety wasn't really there.

Still more than in many Kennel Club breeds though which is why we avoided the KC when we first got started. Now, the Russells have gone the KC route with their Parsons, there are still large numbers (certainly a majority over here) of breeders that rejected going the KC route and have stuck with the individual breed registries. Though genetic problems certainly crop up, I still hold firm that the non-KC breeds are healthier and superior in mind and body, at least in working breeds.

I totally agree with your comments about the show Shepherds and could cry about many breeds that have been "ruined" by the whims and fancies of the ring. Even the Russells, in less than 15 years (over here) are starting to become distinctive, i.e. the KC ones looking different (bigger, usually, with straighter shoulders and bigger chests) than those from the registries I'm with.

Dogs with jobs - they all need one

I'm so with you there and, though what my guys do is very un-PC, it's that history (and present) that makes them the characters they are... even if it's also what makes them bloody difficult to live with at times ;)

Thanks for dropping by to see Flurry. I wasn't sure if you would (could?), but I'm *really* glad you did. Give your pups hugs for me - both of them :)

Edited at 2008-09-15 10:21 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: September 12th, 2008 11:58 am (UTC)

she's adorable!

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: September 12th, 2008 12:19 pm (UTC)
Terriers - Ducky Dempsey

Thank-you! I totally agree *g*

Posted by: Late Night Drops of Random (moondropz)
Posted at: September 18th, 2008 04:39 am (UTC)
Boo-ok thanx bye! Made for me-don't take

Oh how sweet! I really enjoy these-even if i do need a push to get over here! LOL. But thank you for sharing these amazing dogs with us! I am always fascinated by different breeds-and you know your breed inside and out-it's awesome to read these! And? The last few shots you have-in the low light? Personally-I am no photographer? But seeing these in the lower light? They look better to me. I think it really adds extra depth to the shot-they have more resonance than a well lit picture. I see more here ;P

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: September 21st, 2008 10:11 pm (UTC)
Terriers - Ducky Dempsey

I'm so glad you were able to pop by and check out Flurry. She is such a doll and I knew she'd appeal to you :)

Posted by: Late Night Drops of Random (moondropz)
Posted at: September 22nd, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
Dean ♥ Sue candy heart

I'm glad I could see her too! Thanks so much for sharing all your babies with us!