Taking the Good and the Bad

As the title implies, this blog post is sharing some good news and some bad news. That’s life, though, isn’t it? Not every thing works out like we wish it would or think it should. But God is always good!

Bad news first. Jade went to the vet yesterday, and an ultrasound confirmed that she is not pregnant. We are obviously very disappointed! We were very excited about her potential litter this year, and we were looking forward to seeing the beautiful puppies she would have. However, she fooled us again.

I had initially been very optimistic. Her breeding went very well, she showed some appetite changes in the weeks after breeding, and her vulva has stayed slightly swollen. All of these things are good signs for pregnancy. However, about a week before her ultrasound, I began checking her underbelly. Another one of the first signs of pregnancy is changes in the nipples. They often become a little larger and change to a noticeably flushed pink color. I did not notice any of that for Jade, and I began to suspect she wasn’t carrying any puppies.

Since this is her second failed breeding, we are planning to do some testing before her next heat cycle. We will also try for a natural breeding next time, rather than AI (artificial insemination). That means we will not be trying for Mini Goldendoodles next time, since mini’s usually require artificial breeding. It is suspected (though not known for sure) that some dogs due to variations in individual fertility or shape/tilt of the reproductive organs may not be able to get pregnant via AI. There are a lot of unknown factors and possibilities with breeding; and for some dogs, it becomes a game of trial and error! So now we get to wait and try again later, but the third time is the charm, right?

Now on to the good news! Jade’s doctor visit was not the only one that happened this week. This morning I made a trip to the doctor myself, and I got to hear a tiny little beating heart!


Lord willing, our family will get a new little addition in the spring! New life is such a blessing, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to bring a sweet new being into the world in a few months.

There are also some other really exciting things happening around here! We are opening up a small dog and puppy supply shop! I am always looking for ways to give our puppies’ new families a better “puppy experience.” That’s one of the reasons I started this blog. I felt like it gives a window into our lives, and it allows waiting families to watch their puppy growing. Opening our shop will help give our puppies’ families additional resources. Because of our experience with dogs and puppies, we feel like we have a lot to offer families buying a new puppy. One way we thought we can serve them better is by offering a place to buy products we personally use and recommend. These are products we know are safe, healthy, durable, and reputable. So after spending a lot of time shopping around and researching various companies, we have put together a small shop full of practically EVERYTHING you need for a new puppy. I will be posting more about our new shop soon, and you’ll see some new pages added on to the website showing the brands and items we will be carrying.

Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week!

Friday Introductions: Reese

Happy Friday, everyone! Here is another #FridayIntroductions post about the last human member of the family. (You can read the first two here and here.)

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My beautiful baby girl! Who is…

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My sweet “baby” Reese was born in January of 2017. She has been such a huge blessing and joy to our family. I thank God every day that He has given me the opportunity to be her mother.

Here she is at just a few weeks old.

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To be honest, mothering wasn’t the easiest through the newborn stage for me. Reese was a great baby- she slept well and was certainly not a fussy baby. But the adjustment was a bit difficult for me. However, after a couple of months, this mama found her groove, and life with this kiddo has been awesome ever since. And I’m not kidding. This child is the best.

Now that she’s over a year old, we are having so much fun watching her personality blossom. She has a great sense of humor, and she loves the dogs!





Reese is a very much her daddy’s daughter. She not only looks like him, but she acts like him! That is a mostly good thing, although the strong will and unrelenting determination to tackle big challenges can be tiring some days.  She is such a social butterfly and loves getting out of the house and being with people. She’s often the crankiest when she is at home with me all day long. I’m too boring, I guess. She’s also in the midst of a very curious stage, and she is into EVERYTHING. My kitchen cupboards are usually emptied, along with my bookshelves and game cupboard. It’s a fun stage, but it’s certainly a messy stage.

She has also recently begun climbing. And she is way too proud of her accomplishments!


This kiddo keeps me on my toes, but she has made my life so much more fun than it ever was before. (And my idea of “fun” includes catching her upside down mid-tumble when she decides to try walking down stairs like an adult and breaking her fall when she tries to stand on the seat of her riding toy)


It’s also a humbling stage, since she has begun mimicking things she sees me do. It’s such an eye-opening experience to have a miniature human copying your habits. It certainly is teaching me to be more thoughtful about the things I say and do. If I want to raise a gentle, gracious, and godly child, then I better be a gentle, gracious, and godly example.

It truly is amazing what God teaches you through children. He has taught me so much about pure, simple JOY. Life is so much simpler and happier through the eyes of a child. By experiencing such intense love for my child, I have begun to better understand His love for me, and that is a powerful thing. He has also taught me quite a bit about surrender. As a mama, I want nothing more than to keep my baby safe. But there is so much that is outside of my control. That’s when I need to surrender my child and her needs to God, because I recognize my own inability to be “perfect” and protect her from everything.

This post has turned out much more sentimental than I intended. 🙂 Suffice it to say that I love my daughter, and I think she is the most fun kiddo around!

Enjoy your weekend!


Friday Introductions: Zach

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you all are enjoying your day and looking forward to the weekend. Also, happy December 1st! (Yay! Now I officially don’t have to feel odd for listening to Christmas music- not that I did anyway in November.)

Today is another #FridayIntroductions post, and you all get to meet my amazing husband Zach. Please forgive me if I gush just a little bit in this post.

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Zach is a Lancaster County native, having actually lived much of his childhood in the house where we live now. He is 23 years old and is a hard-working, loving husband and father.

He is my opposite in nearly every possible way. As a child, he was one of those very boisterous, sometimes naughty boys. He was maybe also a bit too smart for his britches. He now tells me about all the ways he sneaked candy and did other things he knew he wasn’t allowed to do. I’m sure his mother would cringe if she heard some of the stories he tells me. He spent his childhood building bike ramps and teepees, picking on his sisters, and doing all sorts of other adventurous boy things.

In elementary school, his teachers couldn’t figure out how to keep him quiet and in his seat. In high school, he was still as talkative and social as ever. He irked me just a bit because while I studied hard for my good grades, he never studied and still got good grades. But I forgave this injustice when he spent his study halls helping me with Advanced Math homework.

Ever since graduating, Zach has worked as an electrician. I am very grateful for his hard work ethic, since that is one of the main reasons we are able to afford having me stay at home full-time with our little girl. He is also a great handyman, and he loves to be presented with a problem and come up with an out-of-the-box solution. He always has home-improvement projects going around the house, and I have to remind him frequently to take time to relax. (His response is usually, “But then I won’t get anything done!”)

One thing that surprises most people about Zach is his eye for colors and decorations. He is very detailed and organized, and he puts that to use in what our house looks like. He picked most of our paint colors and has done more of the decorating than I have. While I love having a nicely decorated house, I am not good at envisioning a final product. That’s why I’m glad he can help with the details!

Fun Facts:

  1. What he may lack in compassion, he makes up for in his faithfulness and determination.
  2. When we got Mia, he declared she wouldn’t be allowed in our bedroom. A few months later, he was the first one to cave and invite her onto our bed to sleep.
  3. He enjoys reading.
  4. He enjoys hunting- Mostly deer, but also pheasant and small game.
  5. He badly wanted a son but now has fallen head over heels in love with his daughter.
  6. He LOVES winter! The colder, the better!
  7. He hates clutter. I can ignore clutter, but it drives him nuts.
  8. He enjoys gardening and flowers. While he rarely buys me flowers, he often brings me fresh cut stems or bouquets from our flowers in the summer.
  9. He loves camping and being outdoors.
  10. He restored an antique John Deere B tractor that he got from his grandpa. He enjoys using it to plow our garden and do hayrides in the fall.

Enjoy these pictures and your weekend!

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Zach & Reese camping this summer


Quality time with his favorite little girl


Working on the nursery before Reese was born


Hunting selfie


Shooting clay birds at the cabin with his family


Successful pheasant hunt with Duchess



Plowing our garden with his tractor


Friday Introductions: Kristen

I’ve decided to do a few fun posts for #FridayIntroductions. (I’d like to do a post for each 2-legged and 4-legged member of the family. Don’t expect a post every Friday, though. I’ll probably post these sporadically as I have the time.)

I have had this blog for a little over two years now, and my list of followers has grown quite a bit during that time. Many of you know me personally or have at least met me, but there are a few of you who only know me through my blog. I realized that since most of my posts focus on my dogs and puppies, some of you may know very little about me.

So here I am! A 23-year-old momma to an amazing little girl and four very special dogs. I am married to this pretty awesome guy- Zach.


Here are ten fun facts about me:

  1. I am an introvert, and I love getting quiet “alone time.”
  2. The job I’ve had most ill-fitted to my abilities was a part-time waitressing job I had during high school. Waitressing is a job that’s good for an extrovert. I found it stressful and draining.
  3. I hate socks. And shoes. I can tolerate flip flops, but I prefer to be barefoot year-round. (And, yes, I have gone barefoot in the snow on multiple occasions.)
  4. I love a good story, whether it’s a book, movie, or children’s story.
  5. When I am home alone for an evening, I indulge myself by making a snack and binge watching documentaries.
  6. I am not a very creative person.
  7. I had a pet raccoon as a child. And, yes, his name was Rascal. See what I mean about creative?
  8. All of my chickens have names- Mabel, Maggie, Emma, Sadie, Henny, and Penny. (We are on the the second Henny and the third Penny thanks to the neighborhood cats.)
  9. I want to get some Nigerian Dwarf Goats.
  10. I love to eat peanut butter. I pretty much eat it every day. In fact, I’m eating some while I’m typing this.

I am blessed to come from a loving home with, honestly, the best parents. I grew up (and still am!) a Mennonite. For those of you who are not familiar with the Amish and Mennonites, we are a conservative Christian community that strives to live out the principles of the Bible in our every day lives. Although we are certainly far from perfect, we do our best to live simple, godly lives full of love, family, and community.

As a child, I was always a homebody. I didn’t like going new places, unless there were animals there for me to play with. I have always loved animals, and my parents blessed me with a childhood full of them- dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, fish, salamanders, chickens, and, of course, Rascal the raccoon.

I am the youngest of three children. I have a brother and sister who are 12 and 9 years older than I am respectively. Without any siblings close in age, I spent a lot of my childhood playing with my cousins who lived next door. I also liked to read and write.

I thrived in school, as I loved to learn. I committed my life to Jesus Christ in middle school, and my relationship with Him grew during that time and especially in high school. (It still is a growing process!) It was in high school that I met this outgoing and irritating guy. It took a couple of years, but my initial judgment softened a bit and we started dating after 11th grade. (Spoiler: I marry my high school sweetheart a few years later!)

During my senior year of high school, I took a Teacher Apprenticeship class. I spent one period a day at the neighboring elementary school, working and teaching under the direction of one of their teachers. After graduating, I accepted a opportunity to do volunteer service as a teacher in a very small church school in northern Pennsylvania. I taught third grade and had four students. I taught school there and helped with some ministry work in the community for one school year before returning home.

After that, I began teaching second grade at a local private school- Shalom Mennonite School. My class size grew from four to seventeen! During that year, Zach and I got engaged and started planning our wedding for the following summer. Thinking I wouldn’t be able to balance the pressure of teaching and keeping after a home, I moved over to the school office after we got married. I spent the next few years working as a secretary at Shalom Mennonite School. I thoroughly enjoyed my quiet hours in the office. I still had the opportunity to interact with the students, but I didn’t have as much of a workload as a teacher.

I stopped working in December of 2016, preceding the birth of our first child in January of 2017. And that gets me to where we are now! I am currently a stay-at-home mom, and I am extremely grateful for the chance to stay home and raise my baby girl. Being at home full-time also gives me the ability to invest more time into our dogs and puppies, which is such a joy! During the summer months, I did a good bit of canning and freezing various fruits and vegetables. We got a lot of these, though not quite all, from our own garden. Now as we approach winter, I plan to do some scrapbooking and de-cluttering while I don’t have as much outside work. We’ll see how much I actually accomplish by spring.

That’s my 23 years of life in a small nutshell! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below!


My tiny classroom from my first year teaching


Wedding picture- June 14, 2014

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Hiking with Mia and Duchess


My first chicks


Pheasant hunting with Duchess


The most recent picture of me with Reese!

Summertime Happenings

Believe it or not, I do have a life outside of my puppies. Some days, anyway. So here is some photographic evidence of my life all crammed haphazardly into one post.

Zach loves to garden, so each spring we plant a large garden. This year we planted strawberries, lettuce, potatoes, carrots, onions, green peppers, sugar peas, hull peas, corn, green beans, yellow beans, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and sunflowers. (The sunflowers are just for fun.) This is in addition to our apple trees, black raspberry patch, and concord grape arbor. Even though I didn’t grow up with a garden, I have learned to enjoy gardening. It’s so rewarding to pick the produce that we planted and maintained ourselves.

Summertime means a lot of time spent outdoors. It’s not unusual to find Zach, me, Reese, and all the dogs outside in the evenings. Sometimes we are working, and sometimes we are playing. Especially since having a baby, I have really begun to cherish the time we can spend together as a family, even if it’s just a few minutes after working outside.


Life is a gift, you know. I’m thankful for every day that God gives me to spend with these two wonderful people.

Last weekend, we took Reese and Jade hiking on some trails near our home. It was a bit humid and sweaty, but the ice cream afterwards made up for it. Unfortunately, Reese and Jade missed out on the ice cream.

And this little girl is growing so quickly! At five months old, she is rolling like a pro, reaching for toys, giving slobbery kisses, and being the best and smiliest little human I could ask for.


My days are busy, but my heart is full. And, it’s about to get fuller… because, guess what, MORE PUPPIES ARE COMING! (I try to tell myself I have a life outside of puppies, but these puppies are honestly trying to take control.)

My beautiful red fur baby is going to be a momma for the first time in a few weeks.


She’s looking pretty good for halfway through pregnancy, don’t you think? Our vet confirmed her pregnancy today, and we are so excited to welcome our first litter of setters later this summer.


This handsome boy here gets to be a daddy, although I question whether he’s emotionally mature enough for the job. What do you think?


Hmmm, it’s a good thing mom does all of the work. 🙂

Well, that is a look at my normal summertime life in a very small nutshell. I hope you all are enjoying your summer and taking advantage of the time to spend outside and with your family! To close out this post, here are some pictures of the puppies playing this afternoon.


Oh, Baby!

I try to keep my blog mostly dog-oriented, but this news is too big not to share here. 🙂

On Saturday, January 21 we welcomed baby Reese into our family. She was 6 pounds 14 oz, so she is just a little peanut.


We are so grateful to be blessed with a beautiful and healthy little girl. The past ten days have been the biggest adventure of my life thus far. It has definitely been a huge adjustment, but I have the greatest husband ever. He has done so very much to help this new momma keep her sanity as we both adjust to a new baby in the house. We also have had great support from friends and family. I have a refrigerator full of food and several meals in the freezer that people have dropped off for us. Today is actually the first day that I am alone with Reese. My mom, mother-in-law, or Zach have been home with me other days.

It hasn’t been all sunshine and happy thoughts in the last ten days; but overall, it has been good. Reese is a very content, sleepy newborn. She is finally starting to be awake more; but for the first couple of days, we hardly saw her eyes at all. As for me, I’m hanging in there. The nights are long, but she actually sleeps well for a little baby. I really can’t complain. I try to take a nap during the day, and I usually spend most of my days right now in my pj’s. That’s allowed, right? 🙂

Dear Mia is adjusting well, too. She is very forgiving when her breakfast doesn’t come until 11:00 am or when I accidentally step on her on my way to the nursery at night. She is excellent with Reese and checks on her periodically throughout the day to make sure she is okay. Mia likes to know where Reese is, and she doesn’t like when we put her someplace new. The first night that we put Reese in her crib in the nursery, Mia was very worried about her. When we lay Reese on the floor, Mia likes to snuggle with her. The other dogs have only had an introduction through the glass door, but they are very intrigued by this new little bundle.

Here is a picture of Reese in her carseat to come home from the hospital. She looks a little lost in there!


And this is a post-bath picture. She may look happy now; but, believe me, she HATES baths. img_3161

This sweet little girl looks just like her daddy’s baby pictures. I haven’t been able to claim much of her appearance except for her ears. 🙂Version 2img_3128img_3163img_3150img_3153

Have a blessed week!


Looking Ahead at 2017

There is something about a new year that is fresh and inspiring. A whole year ahead to see where God will take me. This year in particular, I feel some excitement as well as some apprehension over some of the many, many changes that will be taking place. It’s most certainly going to be a year of trusting God’s provision. That means physical provision, emotional provision, and spiritual provision. In all three of those areas, if I simply look at what I know is coming and my ability to handle it, I can get overwhelmed pretty quickly. God will definitely be stretching me this coming year and asking me to trust Him in ways that I never have had to before.

Instead of fearing the known (and the unknown) of 2017, I am resolving to trust that God will provide. I am resolving to take my worries and my inability to securely plan all the details and place it all at His feet, knowing that He promises to “supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). Having needs that will need to be met will allow me to experience God’s blessings in a new way.

When I take away the fearful part of looking ahead, it allows me to focus on the very good and exciting things of the new year. The first of which is BABY! We are less than three weeks away from my due date, and reality is slowly sinking in. However, I can’t fully comprehend all the changes that will happen in our home with a new baby until I’m dealing with those changes face to face. I’m not sure what to expect in the next couple of months. I’m trying to keep an open mind and calm spirit.

As for the four-legged members of our family, we have the potential for an exciting year! We are eagerly hoping for another litter from Mia and the very first litter of Irish Setters from Duchess! As some of you know, Mia’s first two litters were very small- two and one respectively. These very small litter sizes are uncommon for dogs like Mia, and we have been baffled  as to the reason for her below average litter sizes. It’s actually concerning when a female is only carrying one puppy. It raises the chances for labor complications significantly, not to mention that some females can’t care for a single puppy due to a lack of milk-producing hormones. So the fact that her last litter was only one puppy had me a bit concerned. After some discussion about her with another breeder, I am very suspicious that we are not timing her breeding correctly. It seems as though she may be on the very late end of the “normal” breeding time schedule. For her next litter, we are planning to do some testing and adjust our breeding schedule in hopes to achieve a more normal (and safer!) litter size.

As for Duchess, I am ready for an adventure! She is beautiful dog, and I am so excited to have Irish Setter puppies. We are expecting to see some puppies with great hunting and competition potential. We also plan to continue her hunting training and keep her active in the field. She thrives on the thrill of the hunt, and we thoroughly enjoy working with her.

And we can’t forget Jade. My happy golden girl is still growing, and I love her dearly. She is so affectionate and sweet. We are considering training her for upland bird hunting this year. We haven’t quite decided if we want to tackle it yet. She would be a different style hunter than Duchess- a “flusher” rather than a “pointer.” We have heard different theories as to whether or not you should hunt a flusher and a pointer together. She definitely has a hunting instinct, which is why we are considering getting her out in the field. However, because Goldens are more of a water retrieval hunter by nature, she would have to be taught to search for upland birds like pheasants. Jade would have to be taught that scent and the whole process of searching for it. Duchess always had a nose for upland birds; we could rely quite a bit on her natural instincts. Jade’s instincts aren’t nearly as defined. Needless to say, that topic is still in the discussion stage. 🙂

That’s a brief view of my upcoming year. It will definitely be a year of change and new opportunities! I am hoping to grow my Etsy shop this year with some new items that I’m really excited about. The shop will be closing soon for a few weeks, because of the coming little one. I am planning to reopen in March with some new items ready to go!

I wish you all a blessed and happy 2017!

Dewclaws: Do ‘Em or Lose ‘Em?

Dewclaws are those odd thumb-like nails found partway up a dog’s inner forelegs. You have probably heard that they are useless and that dogs don’t need them and shouldn’t even have them. But how much do you really know about dewclaws? Are they really as useless as you think?

Dewclaws: Should we do ’em or should we lose ’em?

In recent years in the United States, dewclaw removal has been pushed and recommended, because dewclaws were believed to be a “useless, vestigial” part of a dog’s anatomy. An attitude has even been developed by some people in this country that good breeders remove dewclaws, but irresponsible breeders try to cut corners and don’t remove them to save some money.

I want to shake up that idea a little bit. There have been some veterinarians and doctors making observations about dewclaws and how dogs use them that have begun to reshape our opinions on whether or not they should be removed.

As a side note, did you know that it is illegal in the UK to dock tails, dock ears, and remove dewclaws? In the UK, these are viewed as painful, cosmetic procedures with little to no medical benefit. Tail docking and dewclaw removal are usually done to puppies at only a few days old without anesthesia.

So today, I’d like you to put aside any biases and previous opinions about dewclaws, and let’s take a look at the pros and cons of dewclaws. As with any medical procedure, there are always risks and benefits. It is up to you as a dog owner and me as a breeder to wisely weigh these risks and benefits and decide which option is best for a particular breed or a particular dog.

Let’s begin with some of the reasons that dewclaws are removed. Dewclaws are usually removed when puppies are just days old. It is done to prevent dewclaw injury as an adult. Sometimes, adults with dewclaws have a serious injury or repeated minor injuries involving a dewclaw that makes it necessary for it to be removed.

Here are three problems that dewclaws can create:

  1. They can become overgrown or even ingrown if not properly maintained.
  2. Like any other toenail, they can become infected. However, because of their not as noticeable location, owners may not identify the infection as quickly.
  3. They can catch on something and be torn off. Obviously, this kind of injury is quite painful and will bleed.

The first two problems are easily prevented by proper care. The third problem is unpredictable. Some dogs will go a lifetime without experiencing any injury, while some may be subject to repeated injury. I will touch later on what can make a certain dog or certain breed more prone to injury than others.

Now let’s look at what purpose dewclaws serve and the benefits of keeping them. Most of the quotes and information presented here come from the article “Do the Dew(claws)?” by Christine Zink DVM, PhD, DACVSMR. She has worked for many years with sporting dogs used in hunting, agility competitions, and other athletic events. (You can download the PDF and read her full article on dewclaws here.)

First off, let’s debunk that widely-believed myth that dogs don’t use their dewclaws. Take a look at these two pictures.


In these pictures, you can clearly see how much of a dog’s foot actually touches the ground. When running, a dog’s dewclaw does touch the ground, especially when navigating a turn like in these pictures.


After a good romp, it’s not unusual to find grass or dirt on a dewclaw. This picture shows the points of a dog’s foot and leg that contact the ground when running. Notice the two distinct green patches- one at the dewclaw itself and one higher up on the leg at the pad.


Did you know some highly active dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors can wear down their dewclaws naturally?

This picture comes from Christine Zink’s article. It shows the anatomy of a dog’s foreleg.


There are five tendons that attach to the dewclaws. This means there are five muscles associated with the dewclaws. If the dewclaws are removed, these muscles will atrophy from disuse. Removing the dewclaws prevents the leg muscles and joints from fully functioning as they were designed to do.

Zink says, “Those muscles indicate that the dewclaws have a function. That function is to prevent torque on the leg. Each time the foot lands on the ground, particularly when the dog is cantering or galloping, the dewclaw is in touch with the ground. If the dog then needs to turn, the dewclaw digs into the ground to support the lower leg and prevent torque. If the dog doesn’t have a dewclaw, the leg twists. A lifetime of that and the result can be carpal arthritis, or perhaps injuries to other joints such as the elbow, shoulder and toes. Remember: the dog is doing the activity regardless, and the pressures on the leg have to go somewhere.”

“I have seen many dogs now, especially field trial/hunt test and agility dogs, that have had chronic carpal arthritis, frequently so severe that they have to be retired or at least carefully managed for the rest of their careers. Of the over 30 dogs I have seen with carpal arthritis, only one has had dewclaws (emphasis added).”

Dogs also use dewclaws to grab and hold things, much like we do with our thumbs.



Here is a link for a fascinating video about how dogs can use their dewclaws.

The video shows waterfowl hunting dogs retrieving birds on partially frozen lakes. (Don’t panic about the dogs in the icy water. Remember, these dogs are bred and trained for it. The hunters with them know how to properly care for their hunting dogs.) The dogs use their dewclaws as ice picks when they are pulling themselves out of the water and onto the ice. You see them turn their legs outward, dig their dewclaws into the ice, and use them to pull themselves out of the water. The dogs without dewclaws have a much greater struggle getting out of the water, as their legs continually slip on the ice. They have nothing with which they can grip the ice.

I’m going to guess that most of the people reading this don’t have dogs that regularly swim in frozen lakes, but it’s very interesting to note the way God has designed dewclaws to function. Useless and vestigial? I think not.

I’m sure you have already assumed from the tone of my post so far, that we have made the decision not to remove our dogs’ dewclaws. Is this the right decision for everyone? Not necessarily. Here is why we have decided it is best for our dogs and puppies to retain their dewclaws.

We have an Irish Setter, a Golden Retriever, and a Mini Goldendoodle. The setter and retriever are both sporting breeds. We regularly have these dogs out in the field hunting or hiking. Even though a goldendoodle isn’t a pure sporting breed, she is still very active and does well in high energy activities like hiking and agility. Our dogs spend much of their time outside running and playing. They get a lot of exercise. When out in the woods hiking or hunting, they are going through thick underbrush, brambles, and high grasses. They navigate steep banks. When swimming, they are on slippery river banks.

Because of the lifestyle our dogs lead, I firmly believe that they need their dewclaws. They use them! With the high activity level, they put a lot of stress on their legs, and it’s best for them if their muscles and joints are able to function properly to prevent unnecessary strain. (I especially think of this with Goldens. Because this breed is already genetically prone to bone and joint problems, I want to avoid any unnecessary strain and torque on her joints!)

We have also decided it is in our puppies’ best interest if they retain their dewclaws. The great thing about dewclaws is this: if need be, they can always be removed later in life. If you don’t agree with our stance on dewclaws and would prefer to have your puppy’s dewclaws removed, it can easily be done later. Many people spay or neuter their pets, and it can be convenient to remove dewclaws during that procedure if you chose to.

I do believe, though, that there are times when it is necessary for dewclaws to be removed. Some breeds are known to have dewclaws that are very loosely attached. These dogs may be prone to repeatedly catching their dewclaws and tearing them. It’s very important to keep dewclaws trimmed short. Because they get less wear than other nails, they will need to be trimmed more frequently. Less active dogs will not wear down the dewclaws at all. Some breeds even have dewclaws on their rear legs. Often these rear claws are loosely attached and more prone to injury. Sometimes, sporting or working dogs will tear their dewclaws in the normal nature of their work, simply because they are using their dewclaws a lot. In some cases, if the injury is severe, the dewclaw may need to be removed. Most times, this is not the case; but it can happen. Although many dogs go a lifetime with no injury, these injuries are very painful if they do happen.

Conclusion: It is important for pet owners to be aware of the risks and benefits of dewclaws. Do your research. Know your dog. Understand that dewclaws serve an important purpose in a dog’s leg and movement, but also know the potential problems to watch out for and work to prevent. Every medical decision regarding your dog has risks and benefits, and the decision that is right for one dog may not be the decision that is best for another. Be a responsible owner, and educate yourself!

For this household, though, we have decided to “do the dew.” 🙂

Growing By Two Feet!


The next little munchkin we add to the family will not be of the canine variety. In January, Zach and I are expecting our first child!

(In case you are wondering how we managed to get all three dogs sitting nicely in a line for the photographer, please note that it is extremely convenient you can only see them from the neck down. Two of the three dogs are on leashes. Only sweet Mia, sitting right next to me, is obediently sitting without any help. 🙂 )


This post is maybe a slight deviation from my normal post topics, but I thought I would share it anyway.

If I had to pick just one quality to become part of my character, I think it would be gratefulness. The reason I would choose gratefulness is that being grateful effects so many areas of life, and it is a character quality that becomes very evident to others. This summer, I remember talking to a woman at work. After that conversation of mainly small talk and such, I remember feeling very blessed and inspired by her. She hadn’t said anything particularly profound or meaningful; in fact, I don’t even remember what we talked about. What I do remember is that she expressed gratitude and contentment in everything she said.

Her positive attitude and grateful spirit made a definite impact on me, and it made me wonder what impact I leave on the people I talk to. I will confess that after thinking about my attitude and the things I say, I came to the conclusion that people probably aren’t always inspired after being with me. I wouldn’t say I am a negative and grumpy person, but I can err on being a bit pessimistic. I am striving to engrain gratefulness into my thoughts, words, and actions. Instead of spouting off whatever complaint or disgruntled thought that crosses my mind, I am trying to find something to be grateful for.

I know God has richly blessed my life, and He sufficiently meets every need I have. When I remember that my life is His and trust in His provision, I realize that I have no reason to complain. There is no reason for me not to be grateful. This is a very freeing and inspiring realization.

This week, we got some snow again, and it made for some stunning scenery! It was a wet snow that stuck to the trees and worked well to make snowmen. It was a good opportunity to observe the different perspectives of snow. Some people complain about the inconveniences that snow brings- poor roads for traveling, extra work with shoveling, wet boots and socks, and the list can go on. Instead of focusing on those unpleasantries, other choose to enjoy God’s beautiful handiwork and soak in the child-like thrill that snow and winter time can bring.

I loved watching Mia and Duchess in the snow. They definitely fall in the grateful category. In fact, they always fall in the grateful category. They are happy and content with whatever life brings them. Am I?


Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. {1 Chronicles 16:34}


And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. {Colossians 3:17}


I will praise you, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. {Psalm 9:1}


In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. {1 Thessalonians 5:18}


Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! {2 Corinthians 9:15}


Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. {Philippians 4:6}