Two Weeks Old

Happy Monday, everyone! Duchess’s puppies hit the two week milestone over the weekend. It always feels so good to reach this point, because the puppies are much bigger and stronger. I feel really good about how they are all doing!


After seeing this litter of puppies from Duchess and Timber, it makes me realize how incredible it was that her first litter survived! Her first litter was 11 puppies, with one puppy that had died in utero. That dead puppy prompted labor to begin several days early, so those puppies were much smaller. It’s really amazing that they all survived.

This time around, the puppies were all large at birth and have steadily gained since then. I have one puppy that is a bit smaller than the others, but I certainly wouldn’t call him a runt.

Duchess, also, has been doing very well! Irish Setters are thin, lean dogs to begin with, and nursing mothers can sometimes become more thin than usual as their bodies put extra effort into making milk. However, Duchess is looking great! She was a bit thin the days directly following birth, which is very normal; but she has filled out beautifully since then. She makes caring for seven babies look like a breeze! She is soaking in some extra snuggles from us and enjoying getting some eggs as her “mommy snacks.” This momma is very spoiled! I’m pretty sure she thinks she really is a royal duchess!

Over the weekend, I expanded the puppies’ pen to give them a space to go to the bathroom. It amazes me how much sooner our Irish Setter puppies are ready for potty training in comparison to our Mini Goldendoodles. As soon as our setter puppies have their eyes open, they are on the MOVE. They are ready for more space and ready to begin potty training almost a whole week earlier than Mia’s puppies. It’s so interesting to see these differences in breed temperaments even in puppies so young! In another week or so, we will add on a large play area for them, as well.

I hope you all have a great week! Enjoy these sweet faces as you finish out your Monday!




Duchess’s Puppies

What an exciting day! We are excited to announce the arrival of seven beautiful Irish Setter puppies! It’s a smaller litter than she had last time, but the puppies are significantly larger. In fact, the smallest puppy from this litter is the same size as the biggest puppy from the last litter. And the biggest puppy from this litter weighs over a pound! That’s a big puppy! (Mia’s puppies usually weigh around half a pound. Duchess puppies averaged 9-10 ounces last litter.)


Duchess was very kind to me and decided to have her puppies during the day, which was GREAT! With another delivery under my belt, I gained a few new experiences. With each litter, I seem to pick up valuable nuggets of information and experience. Sometimes those nuggets come from good experiences and some not so good. Every litter is different and presents its own unique challenges.

So here’s how my day went.

Yesterday (Thursday), I charted a temperature drop for Duchess, so I knew we would see puppies sometime in the next 24 hours. I checked on her a few times during the night, but she was pretty calm and relaxed.

Morning came, and with it, some encouraging signs. As the morning progressed, Duchess became more and more restless. Pacing, panting, digging, nesting, and frequent bathroom trips.

Her first puppy was born shortly before 11am. She quickly and steadily birthed five more by 12:30. Then things paused for a bit, which isn’t unusual. I was fairly certain she wasn’t finished, though.

Around 1:00 she began pushing. Typically, I see her push for just a few minutes and then a sac presents. Once I see can see the puppy, it’s usually out within seconds. Duchess doesn’t waste time. However, this time, Duchess kept pushing for almost half an hour with no signs of a puppy. (Thirty minutes is the textbook time frame for delivering a puppy. After thirty minutes of pushing, it’s time to call your vet.) I had given her a few doses of liquid calcium in the last two hours, which helps for strong contractions; but she was still struggling. She started to get very agitated. She left her puppies and began pacing and whining.

I was getting very nervous. I called my sister, who breeds Miniature Schnauzers, because I knew she has had some similar experiences. While on the phone, I saw back feet. The puppy was no longer in it’s sack. Both of these things are normal. Puppies are frequently born back feet first, and it’s not unusual for the sack to break before a puppy is totally born. But when those two things are combined, you need to be watchful. If a puppy is breech with a broken sack, it may drown before it’s born. Those puppies should be delivered quickly.

But this puppy, for some reason, was stuck. Duchess kept pushing, but the puppy wouldn’t budge. So far in this entire delivery, I had not done anything except watch. But this little pup was stuck, and mama was clearly distressed. The puppy was out almost up to its hips. I grabbed the legs and gently pulled during the next couple contractions. And just like that, the pup was out.

But Duchess was too agitated to care for her, and she was more concerned about getting back to her other puppies. This little one wasn’t breathing, which wasn’t a surprise considering her prolonged birth. I spent the next few minutes vigorously rubbing her with a towel and suctioning her airways clear of fluid. She began moving almost right away, and soon started some weak gasps. After a couple minutes, she began squealing- LOUDLY. She wanted to let the world know that she did not appreciate her traumatic arrival. I was so happy to hear those angry squeals.

Would have this puppy died without my intervention? Maybe not, but my help certainly increased her odds of survival. Sometimes, healthy puppies are lost in whelping, because of small problems like this. Duchess almost certainly would have eventually gotten this puppy out by herself, but it may not have been soon enough for the puppy. That’s just how nature works sometimes. But, fortunately, I was able to lend nature a hand. With just a little bit of extra help, this little pup seems to be doing well.

Things quieted down after that, and Duchess has been contentedly caring for her babies since.


We did have one more little blip, though. Once Duchess was calm and settled after whelping, I began weighing and identifying each of the puppies. As I did that, I noticed one of them had a torn, bloody ear!


The picture isn’t very clear, but she had a deep tear at the base of her ear. It was bad enough, I was afraid it may tear off completely if I just let it go. (Birth is tough for these little guys!) So off to the vet we went for a couple of stitches and a little glue. I’m hoping Duchess doesn’t bother the stitches! As long as the stitches stay in, the ear should heal nicely.


All in all, it was a good day, and we are praising God for our seven beautiful puppies! Have a good weekend, everyone!



First Post of the New Year

I feel like I have been Missing In Action the past month and a half. Poor Faith hasn’t had a blog post update since she was born. And weekly pictures? Phew, this poor darling hardly has any pictures taken of her.

But, we are all still here, just doing normal life. Mia healed very well from her c-section and is back to her happy, normal self. She will be getting about a year off before having another litter, but there isn’t any concern about her ability to carry and deliver more puppies naturally. Good news!

Dear Faith is growing like a weed. She’s already six weeks old! Weaning has been going slowly, but it can be that way with single pups. They don’t have the competition of other puppies for food, so they don’t really have much desire to try things other than mama’s milk. Otherwise, though, she’s doing very well! She’s active and is enjoying our puppy play dates with a litter of puppies from another breeder. She loves playing with our daughter, and our daughter is equally as delighted have a little buddy crawling around on the floor with her.


As for our other dogs, we were hoping to have two litters this spring- one from Duchess and one from Jade. Duchess’s pregnancy is confirmed, and I was confident that Jade was pregnant, as well. However, she fooled us! An ultrasound showed no babies in there! She seems to be going through a bit of a false pregnancy, which is common with female dogs. They can show very convincing signs of pregnancy, even to the point of producing milk, but still not be pregnant. Typically, the hormones cycle through and everything goes back to normal all on its own. We’re still very excited for Duchess’s litter of Irish Setters, and we’ll try for some Mini Goldendoodle puppies from Jade again in the fall!


Duchess, in the meantime, is eating up a storm! I’ve stopped counting how many cups of food I give her a day. She’s now approximately six weeks pregnant, which is the time that I begin free-feeding my mama’s. I let them eat as much food as they want, and I often supplement them with an egg or vitamin every day. Her belly is growing, and she’s slowing down a bit. She still runs, but she tires quickly. I should soon be able to feel the puppies moving when she is lying still. A few more weeks and then I’ll have some more sweet setter babies from these two gorgeous dogs!


In other household news, my baby turned one this month! And she started walking! I suppose she is now my toddler and not so much my baby. That is a little hard for this mama to accept. She is my social, giggly little girl, and I thank God every day for allowing me to be her mother.


Mmm, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic with the passing of the one year mark. Soak in the time with your loved ones this week. Life goes by much too quickly.





I now have something new to add to my list of dog breeding experiences. This one will go under the category of “Not as Bad as I Thought, But No Need to Repeat.”

We knew Mia was having a small litter this time around, because of her small belly and because I could only feel fetal movement on one side. I was hoping for at least two puppies, but I was suspicious Mia was having another singleton.

As we near every delivery, I begin to track my girls’ temperatures. About 24 hours before delivery, I can usually spot a sudden drop in temperature. This drop in temperature comes from the release of hormones that begin labor.

Mia’s temperature is usually 99-101 degrees. When her temperature drops, I often see readings as low as 98.2. The lowest I ever saw was 97.9. In the past, Mia has followed a very consistent pattern. I’ll see a temperature drop early in the morning. She will act fairly normal, but refuse to eat that day. As we near evening, she will begin nesting. Active labor usually starts around midnight, and her puppies are born very quickly and easily.

I saw a temperature of 98.8 on Wednesday morning, so I thought puppies were coming Wednesday night. Nothing happened.

Thursday morning her temperature was 98.2. I thought, “Ok! This time is the real deal!” I was sure puppies were coming Thursday night. Nothing happened.

Friday morning, again, her temperature was in the 98’s. So I took her to the vet to see what was going on. This was not normal for Mia. Although her temperature indicated something wasn’t right, Mia was not acting stressed or uncomfortable. She still wanted to play fetch and seemed to be her fine, happy self; but my instincts told me something was off!


Mia waiting patiently at the vet’s office

A check up at our vet showed only one puppy! The puppy’s heart rate was normal, and Mia checked out perfectly. My vet didn’t want to rush into a c-section when everything seemed to be okay. But we discussed the fact that with only one puppy, there sometimes is not enough hormone to start contractions. However, from all outward appearances, there was no cause for concern… yet.

So we waited another night. Nothing happened.

By this point, I wasn’t surprised. After seeing three normal deliveries from Mia, I knew this one was not normal; and I was pretty sure that this puppy was not going to come naturally.

Saturday morning (now three days after I thought labor started), we went to the vet again to monitor the puppy. Mia was still acting normal, but the puppy’s heart rate had dropped, indicating it was in distress. It was not in proper position to be born, so, unfortunately, inducing labor wasn’t an option.

Sweet Mia had to have a c-section. All things considered, everything went as smoothly as possible. The surgery went well, and recovery has been progressing normally. Both mama and baby are doing great! Mia is definitely feeling more sore and uncomfortable than after a natural delivery, but she is still being an excellent mama.

The puppy, a female which we have named Faith, seems to be doing well. She even gained a bit of weight in the first 24 hours. She is totally red and weighed 7.7 ounces.



We also came home with an arsenal of post-surgery medications! Mia’s not super impressed with her pills, but she doesn’t notice when I hide them in a hunk of sticky peanut butter. 😉


The coming days will be filled with rest and recovery. Even though we had to do a c-section, we are counting our blessings that we have a healthy mama and puppy! Thanks for reading! 🙂

Munchy Monday: Antioxidant Health Bars

Everyone loves a good snack, right? My go to snack is peanut butter and Ritz crackers and a glass of milk. Snacks are a good thing, whether it’s the mid-morning power snack or the late afternoon pick-me-up snack. Snacks can be a great part of your diet, as long as they are healthy snacks, anyway. When you dive in for the cookies or chips, snacks can be a hindrance to your health. It’s important to pick out healthy, nutritious snacks.

This same simple principle applies to our pups, too! A healthy dog food makes an excellent nutritional base, but everyone knows our dogs don’t just eat kibble. There’s always some treats and snacks around! It’s just as important that dogs get healthy treats that add to their diet, not take away from it.

Life’s Abundance Antioxidant Health Bars are a great place to start!


These healthy treats are loaded with vitamins and nutrients to help give your dog the perfect mid-morning power snack. Antioxidants, in the proper balance, are very beneficial for the body. Oxidation in the body creates “free radicals,” which can damage cells. “Anti”oxidants help prevent the oxidation and free radicals, thus promoting healthy cell function and immune system.

Here’s the list of ingredients:

Oatmeal, Heat-Stabilized Rice Bran, Brown Rice Flour, Ground Flaxseed, Dates, Rolled Oats, Peanut Butter, Oat Flour, Flaxseed Oil, Apples, Honey, Rye Flour, Eggs, Cranberries, Carrots, Citric Acid, Brewers Dried Yeast, Natural Vanilla Flavor, a-Tocopherol Acetate (a source of Vitamin E), Lecithin, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (a source of Vitamin C), Beta-Carotene

Honestly, it sounds like a really healthy granola bar that I would eat myself. These bars smell amazing! If it weren’t labeled as a dog treat, I would have taken a bite when I first opened a pack.

Included on the package is a feeding chart, with recommendations on how many treats a dog should get daily based on their weight. (Like most things, antioxidants are beneficial in the proper balance. There is such a thing as “over supplementing.”)

So if you’re looking for a healthy treat for your favorite pup, Antioxidant Health Bars are a great option!

Interested in ordering?
 You can order from the Life’s Abundance site. When ordering through our page, you should see Kristen’s Happy Tails listed at the top of the page as the Field Rep. If I am not listed as your representative, please mention my ID number when you place your first order- 20552921. As your representative, I am able to help you determine what products are right for your pet and answer any questions you may have.


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 am very bad at small talk.
  2. The job I’ve had most ill-fitted to my abilities was waitressing as a teenager. That is a job that relies on one’s ability to connect with various strangers through small talk.
  3. I hate socks. And shoes. I can tolerate flip flops, but I prefer to be barefoot year-round.
  4. I love a good story, whether it’s a book, movie, or children’s story.
  5. My secret obsession is watching documentaries when I am home alone for an evening.
  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 eat peanut butter 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 on 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!

Munchy Monday: Is a Grain-Free Diet Right for Your Dog?

After a longer break than I had planned, Munchy Mondays are back! Today, as suggested by the title, I am posting about Life’s Abundance Grain-Free dog food. I’ll also be touching a little bit on how to know if your dog should be on a grain-free diet.

Let’s begin with the latter.

There is a lot of conflicting information floating on the great world wide web about grain-free dog foods and if dogs should or shouldn’t have them. Proponents of grain-free diets point out that dogs’ ancestors, namely wolves, do not eat grains; so it’s more natural for dogs to eat grain-free food. Some sources also claim that dogs cannot digest grains and that grains can cause allergies. Those on the other side would argue that dogs can, in fact, digest certain grains and that grains can provide valuable fiber in a dog’s diet. According to some, grains can actually aid in the digestion and absorptions of other nutrients.

I am not a veterinarian or a schooled dog-nutritionalist, but here is what I have been able to sort from the muddled information.

-Dogs can digest SOME grain. Corn is an example of one that they can’t digest, but other properly prepared whole grains are digestible.

-Grains can be a source of fiber; although, grains are not the only good fiber source.

-Grain is not necessary to a dog’s diet, as long as their food is well-balanced and nutritionally sound.

-Grain can boost the protein in dog food; BUT it’s important to note that animal-based proteins are better for dogs. They can absorb the protein from plants and animal sources, but dogs need the amino-acids are that found in animal-based proteins. A proper balance of plant and animal proteins is important.

-Dogs can be allergic to grains. Dogs can also be allergic to beef, dairy, etc. The number of dogs allergic to grains is very small.

Basically, a diet consisting of grains is fine for most dogs, and even has some benefits. However, dogs don’t necessarily need grain, and a grain-free food may be gentler on the digestive system for some individuals. If a dog is showing signs of allergies (like itchy skin, rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence, excessive licking and chewing of feet or skin, frequent ear infections, etc.), a grain-free diet may provide relief. Be aware, though, that grains are certainly not the only food allergy a dog can have. In the end, it comes down to the preference of pet owners and the needs of individual dogs.

Life’s Abundance offers both standard and grain-free food options. Either is an excellent choice. The grains included in the original formula are healthy, whole grains that are digestible and beneficial to dogs. The grain-free formula is a great alternative, though, for the pet owners that prefer it or have dogs that specifically require it.


One thing I personally like about it is the higher protein and fat content. Our Irish Setters are highly active, and we have to be mindful of their weight. They maintain great muscle tone but sometimes struggle to keep a healthy amount of body fat, even when fed more than the recommended portions for their size. We have found that foods with a higher protein count go a long way in maintaining a healthy weight for our very active dogs.

Life’s Abundance Grain-Free food has high quality animal based proteins, including turkey meal, chicken meal, and eggs. There are Omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy sources of fat like chicken, eggs, flaxseed meal, and fish oil. It also contains an antioxidant system including guaranteed amounts of vitamins C and E. Fruits and vegetables provide valuable nutrients. You’ll find potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, cranberries, blueberries, broccoli, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress and spinach in Life’s Abundance Grain-free formula. Some of these like celery and carrots provide good sources of fiber and carbohydrates. Other sources are tomato pomace and field peas. In addition to all of that, it also contains a guaranteed amount of four different health-promoting probiotics.

Whew, that last paragraph is a mouthful; but it helps you to see just how much great stuff is packed into the food. If you feel like grain-free is best for your dog or if you would simply like to give it a try, Life’s Abundance Grain-Free is an excellent option.

Interested in ordering?
 You can order from the Life’s Abundance site. When ordering through our page, you should see Kristen’s Happy Tails listed at the top of the page as the Field Rep. If I am not listed as your representative, please mention my ID number when you place your first order- 20552921. As your representative, I am able to help you determine what products are right for your pet and answer any questions you may have.

Nearing the End!

We are in the final stretch of raising Timber and Duchess’s puppies! Next week marks the time when they are ready to go to their new homes. It has been an exciting two months.

The last two weeks in our home brings a lot of changes for the puppies. The weaning process is completed, and they each receive a health exam, vaccinations, and a third round of de-wormer. We also begin crate training and some more intentional socialization.

For the crate training introduction, I put half of the puppies in a crate in our living room. The first time is usually met with some whining and crying (from the puppies, not me!). I dish out a dose of tough love, and simply let them cry. I make sure the room is quiet and calm; and usually after 15-20 minutes, even the most stubborn puppies quiet down and accept this new place. After all, they are snuggled in a warm place with their siblings, so it’s not a very scary experience. Once everyone has settled, I turn on some music or run the vacuum. This helps them get used to different noises. They usually watch the vacuum curiously but don’t give much other reaction.


Watching Roomba vacuum


Calm and snoozing a few minutes later

And let me mention food. A large litter of growing puppies eats a lot of food! I am feeding about 15 cups of food per day. The puppies eat three times day, with each of them getting approximately 1/2 cup at each meal; and they are growing beautifully! This is what the puppies are currently eating.


As the puppies get older, it’s becoming much more difficult to let them in the yard to play. I now only let half the litter out at a time, because I can no longer keep track of ten setter puppies! They are so curious and have started to wander further and further as they explore their big, exciting world. They have an undeniable fascination with our chickens, but they are bird dogs, after all! They love leaves and anything they can chew on whether it’s toys, sticks, or my toes.

It’s been fun to note the differences between Irish Setter puppies and Mini Goldendoodle puppies. Irish Setter puppies are more independent, exploring farther away by themselves. This is very typical of the breed, which is known for it’s far quartering range while hunting. Some of them already have exhibited the point and stalk behaviors used in bird hunting. Seeing that makes me very happy! We chose to breed a working field line of setters, ones that are worth their salt as gun dogs. Field dogs are usually too small to use in the show ring, but they can out hunt your typical show setter (commonly referred to as “bench” setters). Both bench and field lines of Irish Setters make wonderful family companions; but since both my husband and I come from families that enjoy the outdoors and participate in various forms of hunting, the field dogs appealed more us.

This next week, I’ll be soaking in all the wiggly puppy snuggles that I can! As always, we are excited to see them go to their new homes, but we do miss them when they leave. I’m satisfied, though, knowing I am helping to add a loving companion to so many different families!


Puppy Update- 5 Weeks

It’s amazing how quickly puppies change from three weeks old to five weeks old. There is this sudden explosion of awareness and curiosity. It is such a fun stage!

In the past couple of weeks, the puppies have begun exploring more of their surroundings. They are learning to do their business outside, which is GREAT! They are puppies, and they don’t get it right all the time, but every puddle that ends up in the dirt rather than on their blanket is a success. 🙂

The puppies are now eating three meals of solid food every day. They are still nursing from Duchess a few times a day, as well, but this will be slowly cut out over the next week and a half. The puppies are eating Life’s Abundance Small and Medium Breed Puppy food.


I love feeding Life’s Abundance to our puppies! I know that I am giving them one of the very best foods on the market. It has all of the good stuff (animal based fats and protein, antioxidants, Omega- 3, Omega- 6, probiotics, and prebiotics) and none of the bad stuff (corn, wheat, corn gluten, wheat gluten, artificial flavors, and artificial colors). I know I am giving my puppies everything that their growing bodies need.

For the first few days of the weaning process, I soak the food in raw goat’s milk. This makes it soft and easy to eat, and the puppies LOVE the goat’s milk. After a few days, I start soaking the food in plain water. Over the course of a couple of weeks, I soften the kibble less and less. Around 7 weeks old, I like to have them crunching away on unsoftened kibble.

Now that the puppies are fully interactive, I am seeing their individual personalities begin to blossom. I have a couple of puppies that are my fun and spunky initiators- Winchester, Magnum, and Meadow. Then I have Benelli and Nova who are a bit more mild-mannered than some of the others. They are all so sweet and fun in their own way.








Winchester & Riley







As a quick bunny trail, did you even wonder how I get such cute individual pictures of the puppies? It’s quite a feat, let me tell you. I find it best to perch them on some kind of box or basket. This puts them up off the ground in hopes that they will sit still for a second or two before leaping off to go play. But for every good picture like this…

IMG_6138 Riley

… I have a few dozen of these!




Oh my, I really do love these little guys! 🙂 Some of the puppies are still available! If you are interested in adding an Irish Setter to your life, get in contact with me! This is one of the most fun breeds of dogs you’ll ever meet. I promise, you’ll never have a day without a laugh with an Irish Setter in your home!

Have a blessed weekend!