While my usual and very special UPS driver, Byron was on vacation [he's got a lot of nerve], I was subjected to deal with the substitute driver. Byron has for the last 10 years efficiently arrived at the property on the dot of 9.30 a.m. on each delivery day - he was wonderful. Further, he carried dog 'cookies' and before leaving he feeds all the house dogs. They love him. Smart move Byron! Needless to say my dogs now run excitedly to greet the uniformed UPS driver. Well, the sub, admittedly, was finding it impossible to get a delivery pattern which made it possible for him to complete the route at a reasonable time. He therefore was arriving at my property either very late or after the electric gate had closed. In the morning I would find boxes, which he had left the night before in the ice plant. Little did he realize that at night the automatic sprinklers would go on soaking the box and its contents!!! Fortunately, he had not left boxes containing items that could be damaged by water.
By way of communication we use a Motorola
P-10 Hand Held Remote. We have 4 units. The
last unit I purchased seemed to have excessive static, and after numerous
conversations with the company I purchased it from, it was decided that it
should be sent back for adjustment. This company is not my idea of efficient,
and therefore it took them over two weeks to actually send out the call tag to
UPS. During this time it was boxed awaiting pick-up.
This meant it was not in use - highly inconvenient.
Many conversations later it was finally picked up and promised immediate
return. I certainly was not happy
with the company at this point.
was a Tuesday night, August 25, 1992.
The time was 6.05 p.m. I had been awaiting the arrival of dog food and
therefore the gate was still open.
The UPS sub drove in and hooted.
He told me that he had a C.0.D. from Digital Communications for $28.82!
I felt like the bull in the bull ring seeing the red blanket for the
first time!! I
said ,"I refuse to pay for something that is supposed to be
under guarantee". He said
"Then I cannot leave it". I
said, "You're not taking it and letting it go back into the system to be
lost for two weeks or longer!". I
told him to come into the house while I called the company to find out exactly
what was happening. Needless to say they had left for the day.
I told him I would write him a note to say I had kept my property and
refused to pay for it, He told me
that he either had to keep the Motorola or get a check. I said in the very forceful voice, "There are six
German Shepherd dogs in this room that are not going to let you do that!".
As is to be expected of good dogs, being aware that something was very obviously
bothering me, they were very close at hand. Especially Troy who acted like eating this man would have
thrilled him to bits!! So what do I
say to Troy? "I'll
let you know when you can have him Troy!" The situation would totally unnerve even a professional
dog trainer - 6 one hundred pound plus German Shepherd dogs looking a little
nervous and unfriendly! The sub
believed that with one wrong move I would unleash their fury to tear him limb
The sub handled himself very well under
the circumstances, and asked if he
could use the phone to call his supervisor.
While he was on the phone I opened the package and found that it
contained my Motorola plus two antenna's that I had ordered.
The C.0.D. was actually for the antennas - I was embarrassed...
However, I should have been called to ask if I wanted to pay the usual
way which was Visa, or whether I would rather have it sent out C.0.D.
Needless to say I apologized to the sub
driver - profusely. He was very
nice about it, even told me he
understood since he remembered the pick-up on the Motorola.
He also said he was going to try to come early, however it seemed that I
did not get another delivery for days, and when I did it was again after 6.00
p.m. and he left them in the drainage area by the garage!!
They could have been very smelly boxes by the morning if I had not
brought them in when they arrived!!
Ali McGraw - A
God closes a door he opens a window”.
Avid report readers will recall the “Helter Skelter Story which
appeared in the Summer 1992 Quarterly Report.
Charles Manson murders were made into a film for television which was
called “Helter Skelter”. The
scene I saw that day was certainly reminiscent of some of the scenes in
that movie. In the new
nursery, in the first run, was Ali McGraw and her 8 seven week old
puppies. In the run next to
it was Cinderella and her 3 week old puppies.
Well, someone, [actually no one!!!! - the “ghost” of
Shepherd’s of Leybourne] left the door between the two Mother’s open!
Ali’s very ambitious 7 week old toddlers went for a very costly
visit. Cinderella, feeling
that her offspring’s were in danger from the bigger, older pups, stopped
these unwelcome visitors from getting to her babies.
The tragic result was 6 very beautiful, very dead males.
It was a nightmare, blood everywhere.
Five of the pups were found dead, one was still alive, but his
condition was terminal, his eyeball was hanging out!
I had to put him out of his agony.
I never have before, or since seen anything that compares.
I was aware that there was a very real chance of such an
occurrence. Other breeder
friends had told me horror stories. I
never thought it could or would happen to me.
My procedures were too thorough, my employees had been told to be
sure one female could not get to another mother’s puppies.
However, someone had left the door unlocked, then I did not know
who, now I do! The only good
that has come from this incident is that the new safety precautions,
absolutely prevents such an occurrence.
I have actually spared my readers from the graphic scenes of this
tragedy, but I never was a Steven King fan!!
is now Sunday, January 17th, 1993.
At 10.00 a.m. Annie
Oakley went into labor. Annie
had been bred to Monogram, and was very very pregnant.
Annie had her first puppy at 11.55 a.m. Sunday, and by Monday, 24
hours later, and one trip to the vet, she had given birth to 8 puppies.
At the vets everything checked out OK, she was given a calcium shot
and sent home to have the rest of her pups.
The first eight were very strong and healthy, eating well, and
substantially oversized. However, something was definitely wrong, she was going 4 and
5 hours between pups, I
constantly monitored her temperature, which was fine,
Monday evening she went to the vet for more calcium,
Tuesday morning at 7.45 a.m. she had puppy #12.
Puppies 9 through 12 had all been born dead.
Annie looked much slimmer, and upon checking her she felt empty.
morning Tuesday, January 19th, 1993 at 6.00 a.m. Leybourne’s
Elizabeth Taylor went into labor. She
did not make my life easier, she just lay in her whelping box, popping out
pups, but leaving them in their sacks!
I was therefore doing everything for her. Cleaning the babies, tying and cutting off umbilical cords,
being sure all fluid was out of the lungs, and helped them get some of
Mother’s colostrum milk. Sleep
for me had become the “impossible dream”.
Would I ever sleep again? Would
my eyes see the backside of their lids?
The good news was that “Taylor” had a very easy whelping and by
7 p.m. she had finished having her beautiful Troy pups,
8 males and 3 females - thank you Taylor.
She was also being an excellent mother, feeding her pups and caring
for their every need.
night was very hectic, being sure that Mother’s who may have diarrhea,
were not kept waiting to go to the bathroom!!
I would venture to say that I slept a total of 2 hours, probably in
20 minutes increments!!
As I sat at my desk working, I would look through my custom peep hole to watch Annie and her pups in the whelping room, She seemed very still and quiet. I however, put it down to the fact that she was simply exhausted from having 12 pups, which were all oversized. At approximately 2.30 p.m. she wanted to go out. I would usually call for one of the kennel assistants to take her out, so that I could continue with my work. I did not call for help, but rather took her out myself. I then waited with her and watched. Something was wrong... I called for help, and put her on the grooming table. Upon feeling her I could tell that she still had a puppy inside her. It seemed to be facing east/west. This was not good. Her temperature was 105 degrees. By the time she got to the vet it was 106 degrees. She was a very sick dog. Surgery was an option, but had a 75% chance of being unsuccessful. I made the very difficult decision. I just could not put her through such a major surgery with almost no chance of survival. I had brought Annie into the world, and she was a daughter of “Winston” by “Lacy”. Older readers will understand the significance of that parentage. I was heartbroken.
now had 8 orphans. The good
news was that they were strong, healthy and had received excellent milk
from Annie for 3 days. This
is the important milk with all the protections these youngsters need.
We got goats milk from Albertsons, and $11 later I had 4 small
cans! I also needed Pedialite,
but fortunately, I had some on hand.
I then called Double D, my friendly dog food suppliers, who
promised to drop off feeding bottles.
is now 6.00 p.m. and I am alone. Sad,
and emotionally a wreck, I called up Joan who lives next door.
She and her husband, Jim have been friends of mine for the since
1968. In fact, it was at my
insistence that they purchased the house next door.
Joan picked up the phone to silence, but she knew it was me, and
asked what was wrong. I
started crying. I asked her
to come over and help me with the pups.
She is great with orphans. She
came over and together we fed them, toileted them, and sponge bath them.
I then made dinner for us. Before
leaving she helped me feed them again.
I do not think they were too happy about the change in the quality
of the milk, and the nipple certainly had a totally different feel,
However, the second feeding went a lot better than the first.
Joan left, I went to bed, however I needed to be up in 4 hours to
feed again. It seemed like by
the time I got through with the eighth pup, it was time to start all over
again. Would I really survive
two to three weeks of this schedule?!!
Thursday the feedings became easier.
The orphans were adjusting to their new very expensive formula, and
I had borrowed a nipple from the other neighbor’s new born son which the
puppies really liked. While
feeding the pups I was thinking of just about everything and anything that
would make this project easier.
like I had been struck by lightening, it hit me. Ali McGraw needed to be weaned from her 5 week old pups.
She was enjoying them so much that I wanted her to have their
company as long as possible. She
still had milk and was in superb condition, with only three pups she had
not been pulled down.
called my close friend, and fellow breeder, Helen to ask her opinion,
She told me that she had done it successfully, and to give it
carefully a try. I had
considered the Helter Skelter incident and had to wonder if Ali had been
Ali was very uncertain about these strange pups.
With time and patience we finally got Ali to settle down and relax
long enough for the pups to grab a nipple.
She then licked one, then another.
Soon all 8 were lined up at the chuck wagon [aka Ali].
This was much better than the bottled stuff.
I carefully watched her through the peep hole,
She was doing all the right things, but was not as relaxed as I would
have liked. She knew they were
not hers, but she gave them all they needed.
She was their Mother. They
gained size and strength daily. They
were finally going to be OK.
the story does not end there. At
least not for me. Exhaustion
does not start to relate how I was feeling.
I was physically and emotionally drained,
Ali was settled with pups, now I would be able to enjoy a good nights
night at 12.30 a.m. I got up to check on the pups, and give them a little
extra milk in case they were not getting enough from Ali. I came in the kitchen in my ‘Eddie Bauer” custom
expensive blue soft leather booties. As
I stood at the kitchen sink warming the milk under the running hot water, I
felt my feet, inside my booties sinking into the wet carpet.
I turned off the running water, to still hear running water!!
The 15 gallon electric water heater located under the kitchen cabinet
was gushing out water. I called the guest house to get help, but just got their
answering machine, then the studio, again I got an answering machine,
finally, I called my top employee, yet another answering machine!
I finally reached a plumber friend on the phone who talked me through
how to stop the water. Basically turn off the water to the trailer...
I now could not flush!!!
I bet you
think that has to be it for Mary.... Wrong. At 6.00 a.m. I let Ali out to go to the bathroom, she got by
me and immediately took off in the pitch dark, looking for her three pups.
Every dog on the property was barking.
I am running through the rain soaked grass in my black nightdress and
custom “Eddie Bauer” booties, I
wanted to find a wet muddy puddle and sit down in it and have a really good
cry - it seemed to fit. However,
‘when the going gets tough the tough get going’.
Ali romped around for about 10 minutes, then came back to me.
I put her back in the whelping room and she immediately settled down
with her new family. She loves
her new family, but really is aware they are not hers.
God once took away 6 pups, and gave her back 8, that is 33,33%
Life seemed impossible. If it could go wrong over the last three weeks - it did! It was time now to regroup, count blessings, and get a positive attitude. I knew things could be much better, but they could also be much worse! I am one of the lucky few who make a living at what I love. In time of turmoil, I always reflect on the story of JOB in the Old Testament. That is always the quickest and best cure for my feeling sorry for myself.
I am so
very proud of my beautiful “Leybourne’s Ali McGraw”, she is a daughter
of “Phantom” and “Megan” She
exemplifies all the qualities that is SHEPHERD’S OF LEYBOURNE.
time of writing, “Annie’s” pups were 4 weeks old and just starting to
eat solid food. They are
definitely very special children. Now
4 plus years later, the female puppy I kept from that miracle litter,
“Leybourne’s Shelley Long” has been retired to a big ranch in the
Santa Ynez Valley. All females
at Shepherd’s of Leybourne are retired between 4 and 6 years old, so that
they can really enjoy the second half of their life.
They live with a family, where they will be #1 and always they have
to be “roommates”! I
recently received a call from the lady who has Shelley, and she is thrilled
with the way she has settled in. She
also feels very safe with a dog like Shelley to protect her.
She had received some very serious threats from an ex tenant. Even with restraining orders she did not feel safe, and now
Shelley Long One of the Orphans - she was HUGE!
"VON SAAR'S KODIAK"
As I think back on my life with "Kody" and memories flood. Eleven years we were best friends, and for us it really was togetherness. From 7 weeks of age, we were never apart. Only twice, when I returned to England did I ever leave him. He was my constant companion 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
all the dogs that I have owned during the last 25 years,
Kody would win the all time popularity contest.
There have been so many people over the years who begged me to take
Kody home. I recall one person who wanted to 'rent' him for the summer.
They had planned a three month trip around the United States in a
motor home and wanted Kody as their security guard!
It was at that time he acquired one of his many nicknames.
He was known as Rental Kody, which became Rent a Toad, which ended up
him being affectionately called Toady!!
was early in November when I received my new very special puppy.
He had been born on September 23, so he was only 7 weeks old.
He had parents who were so HOT and FAMOUS, that I had even agreed to
show Kody in the Futurity. 'Show'
to me is just another 4 letter word!
arrived into my life the week before Thanksgiving -- he was such a great
looking puppy. However, after
one week his appetite waned, he got diarrhea, and started to throw-up.
He had PARVO... You have to experience the disease to appreciate what a puppy
owner endures. I still to this
day credit the Thanksgiving turkey for saving his life, since the only thing
he would eat was strips of meat. He
had received immunization before I got him, and he certainly was not as
seriously affected as some parvo pups, but it was a miserable Thanksgiving.
However, the joy of seeing the sudden and immediate recovery that is
Parvo, has to be one of life's great natural highs.
Kody had survived and certainly throughout his life had no residual
effect from his illness.
my history as a German Shepherd breeder, Kody is the only dog who truly
never did anything wrong. He never broke, damaged or mutilated anything in
my home or yard. He never had
an accident in the house, and he only bit people who were in the wrong place
at the wrong time. At one point
in his life he had a bite record with Animal Regulation, which meant he
would have to go to jail at the Animal Shelter if he bit again.
So, when he bit the strange Tina, the officer arrived to quarantine
the black and tan male house dog. Tina was a very unusual person, she was
known at Animal Regulation for other weird behavior.
She sent me pictures of her dog bits.
These photos showed her totally naked from the waist down.
I then received letters telling me how she could not work, that she
needed special lifting equipment to sit down, and that major surgery was
very possibly imminent! I
recall thinking of one of my favorite expressions, 'and this too shall pass'
-- it passed. Buster, who was
very similar looking to Kody took the rap, and did the time.
What a great buddy system, Kody seemed to know and appreciate what
Buster had done, because they actually were better 'buds' after this
went to his 1st and last dog show in Pasadena, when he was about a year old.
He was handled by the great Bob Penny, and was competing with
approximately 82 other aspiring superstars.
This was the first time I realized the depth of his love for me.
He was so intent on finding me outside the ring, he behaved 'hard to
handle.' When the judges made
the 1st cut, he got the gate along with 50 others, and that was the last
time he ever left the show ring!
many dogs can brag that they pulled Bo Derek face down through wet grass.
I had taken Kody to meet John and Bo, for a series of articles I had
planned for my then Newsletters entitled 'Kody's Famous Friends.' I was doing the photo shoot next to John and Bo's lap pool,
and Kody wanted to leave Bo and come to the cameraman [me!!]. That is
quite a claim to fame for me. For
once in my life I found a male who choose me over
Bo Derek! Thanks Kody...
Kody was two years of age I took him in for OFA X-rays.
I was told that he had absolutely no hip sockets, that he would only
have a short life, he would
have lots of pain, and should probably be put down.
never showed any indication that he even had a problem, he jumped into the
station wagon, he would be the dog to pull his 'old leg injured mother,
[that's me], through the deep sand at the beach, and at 11 years old his
hips were, still not a problem. He
led a totally happy and normal life with bad hips.
There are theories that Parvo can cause the problem.
While they are subjected to the disease, they have no real
nourishment and it is such a critical growth
recall the days when I first moved up to Arroyo Grande,
I was living with friends. My
residence was a 20' travel trailer, parked on their 14 acre horse ranch.
It was so small that when I needed to go into the bathroom, I had to
put either Demon or Kody outside. Demon
and Kody were great friends, and I recall those days so clearly.
It was just the three of us real cozy in the trailer at night, the
third member of the group was Bear Kitty Hodges.
We all got along so well, we had to...
loved to play with Kong toys, in fact I cannot recall a time when he did not
have one in his mouth. Every
year on his birthday he would get a new King Kong, then his old one would be
passed down to the next dog in the pecking order.
Kody was always so very proud of his new one, and never let any other
dog have it although Doc would always try.
Doc had great respect for Kody and only messed with him just so far.
December, 1993, I had noticed some bleeding from Kody's mouth.
At first I assumed that he had just been chewing a little too hard.
It got progressively worse, and it was time to take a trip to the
vet. It is not unusual for an
11 year old to start to have some serious teeth problems, however, with a
little simple dentistry everything can be fixed.
Not so for Kody. His
surgery was scheduled for Monday, December 13.
At that time a wart like growth was removed from his mouth.
The area was quarterized to stop the bleeding. Kody was sent home and the wart was sent in for a biopsy.
By Thursday the bleeding had resumed, but was now much more profuse.
Friday the result of the biopsy.
Kody had cancer. The
only way to give Kody any more time was for more very extensive surgery, gum
scrapping, and major tooth removal with no guarantees.
I would not do that to Kody. He
deserved better than that. I am
a Dr. Korvorcian fan. The
decision was made on Friday, and Kody had an appointment on Monday.
This was going to be a very special weekend for him. Due to the excessive bleeding, he could only eat soft food.
I spoilt him rotten. I
let him feel favored over the other dogs, and whatever he wanted he got.
He started the day off with a can of albacore tuna, [the good stuff],
then he had three scrambled eggs, and as many hot dogs as he could eat.
I must admit I carried around a can of room deodorizer!!
It was worth it Kody felt so special and he was so happy being King
for a weekend.
When the time came to take his final journey. I said my fond farewells with big tears welling in my eyes. It was a good decision. Kody went peacefully, his last days were filled with happiness, and he knew he was deeply loved.