Summer Unofficially Begins

I've heard Memorial Day referred to as the unofficial beginning of Summer. As we honor and remember all those who've served our great country, we are thankful for this holiday weekend to celebrate with parents preparing to welcome a new family member in a couple short weeks.

Mossy's puppies have been the first of our Spring/Summer additions. By the time they are all settling at home Moon will be delivering her beautiful white and black puppies.

We are expecting her arrivals around June 9. Moon has considerably slowed down and is often found stretched out near an open window enjoying the breeze. She is a beautiful English style white Lab with a pedigree full of champion lines. The pairing with her and Robin is one of the most decorated litters we have at CaveInn.

Moon is very even tempered and agreeable with any Lab and human alike - even when she is pregnant. We can't say that about all our girls. She is truly the exception. Before Robin retires we plan to hold back one of Moon and Robin's offspring to carry both lines into the future. One of her best features is her blocky head and expressive eyes.

Looking forward to the July 4th holiday and middle of Summer, our princess, SunDown is also expecting to help us celebrate our country's Independence. This will be SunDown's last litter so we are considering holding back a female to carry on her beautiful champagne line. In her litter we can look forward to a number of beautiful coat colors including black, yellow, charcoal and champagne.

We are accepting deposits still on both of these Summer litters.

As you fire up the grill to enjoy this nice holiday remember those who served and fought so we could be free.

Aurora and Pidge - Mommas of the Week

In the past 5 days Aurora and Pidge have introduced us to 18 new CaveInn Labradors. Both Mommas are doing well and all puppies are healthy and nursing quite nicely. During those first weeks we keep a very different sleep pattern, tag teaming to look in on our moms and babies each couple hours. As we get closer to the one week mark all puppies are gaining weight and both Aurora and Pidge are feeling good!

Each litter we welcome to CaveInn is different from the ones before. We see unique coat colors and shade variations of yellow, chocolate and black. With these two litters, my first observation with Aurora's puppies is they are calmer and not as fussy or intense as Pidge's. This is Aurora's first litter and not knowing what to expect, we are amazed by her natural poise as a new Mom.

Robin and Aurora's breeding is truly the 'best of the best' in conformation and temperament. We are proud of our pairing and the future these pups have. 
All our girls are some of the best, but with Aurora (and Moon) it doesn't get any better.

Aurora and Robin are our most well behaved and well trained Labs. 

Knowing that temperament is hereditary, these puppies will respond like putty in the hands of those that love them!

I began pre-stressing these little ones today, and it was so fun to handle each one and see how they behaved with this set of positions. Every one was calm as they were laid on their back in the palm of my hand. What a great process. This time with these little ones will go far too fast. This is the very beginning of socialization for these great retrievers. Socialization, when started early will go a long way to preparing each puppy to move on with their family.

Pidge and Aurora Countdown

We enter this last week of gestation for Pidge and Aurora with much anticipation and excitement. Our majestic charcoal, Pidge turned 4 this last December. This will be her first litter in over 2 years. She has had a nice long rest and is ready for motherhood once again!

Pidge has the most even, loving temperament. This will be our first pairing with her and Robin. These puppies will all have blocky heads and will inherit the best temperament we can produce. Both Pidge and Robin will be working toward Therapy certifications in the near future. With Robin's master hunter pedigree any of these pups would also be fabulous in the field.

This is Aurora's first litter as she turned 2 this past September. We are very blessed to have two females that are PennHip tested 90% better than all Labs tested. Aurora and Moon, both white girls, fill our program with the best of the best! Improving our lines is at the core of our mission, and Aurora and Robin (like Moon and Robin) will produce puppies that would be hard to compare a better conformation.
 Both of these beauties are due on or around January 24. The girls are looking pretty full and progressing nicely toward the day we welcome their babies to the CaveInn. Our best guess, at this point, is that Pidge may deliver first. She appears to be a bit more developed and has slowed down more than Aurora.

We don't really expect Aurora to miss a beat even with puppies. She has an amazing drive and happy personality to compliment her desire to work!

Watch closely these next few weeks for lots of puppy breath!

Winter Arrives!

Moon's puppies are just a couple days past 3 weeks of age. Our little Teddy is 3 weeks old today! He is doing famously and is a real sweet boy. This past week the weather turned to winter pretty quickly. We have enjoyed our first measurable snow and more on the way tomorrow!

The only puppies we have available are the 4 black bears - Earl, Buck, Wolf, and Sturge. I really need to learn more about lighting so I can do these handsome boys justice in the photos. All have the potential to favor their dad Robin. Big square noses and even temperament.

The weekend was busy with puppy parents visiting to meet the gang. Moon and Robin love the attention and meeting new people. Although Moon is receptive to visitors, she isn't quite sure she likes her babes moving on to something other than what she provides.

No teeth are emerging yet...but it won't be long. By the end of the week we will transition to gruel and Moon will take a break now and then. She doesn't seem to mind being with her puppies after feeding. She snuggles and loves them up about 4 at a time. It's an amazing process. Moon is never short of milk or warmth for her puppies. 

If you call the MidWest home, stay warm and enjoy the beauty around!

Celebrating a Legacy at CaveInn

Once upon a time...there was a mighty chocolate Lab named Rayne.

We knew from the time we traveled home with this girl she would be a strong Lab. This beautiful female has brought puppies in to CaveInn that are today great service Labs, hunting Labs, and family pets. Her drive has always been a force in our kennel. Although not the largest female in the crew, she has always maintained royal status and remains the alpha bitch. 

Planning for Rayne's retirement did not go as we would have liked. Her final litter (so we planned) did not result in puppies. This Fall was her last time breeding with our Robin. After 25 days we had a relaxin  test (pregnancy test for canine) done and it was negative. We felt for Rayne as her body was certainly telling her to prepare for puppies in October.

Did I say that Rayne wears her alpha female crown quite proudly?

During the last month we did not see any reason to consider Rayne was expecting. She seemed to be coaching Moon as she neared her delivery time and was a great role model. We were thrilled that Moon's delivery was smooth and she welcomed 10 beautiful puppies on Thursday night, October 23.

As always during the first days after puppies are born, we had very little sleep and tended to Moon and her well being. By Saturday Rayne had begun to look as though her mammory glands were developing milk. Again, we assumed that she was simply reacting to the recent delivery.

Sunday was quite a different story. I was in my office viewing photos of puppies and on a whim thought I'd see (for kicks and giggles) if any milk could be expressed from Rayne. Indeed there was milk! I have heard this can happen in phantom pregnancy and still thought this had to be the case.

About the time 60 minutes began, Rayne began labor. Her labor was relatively short and about 7:50 PM she delivered the very last puppy she will ever have. Welcome...Teddy!

Teddy was to be a singleton, the only puppy in her litter. Rayne was somewhat distraught never having had less than 6 puppies in a litter. Her little guy Teddy was strong and good sized. He stayed with Rayne until Monday night and we came to the reality that Rayne was not going to be able to nurse Teddy as he needed to be fed. He had received initial nourishment was but losing weight quickly. We made the only decision we could for the health of Teddy and Rayne. We supplemented Teddy with colostrum we have for emergencies (like this) and then moved him in with Moon and her 10 puppies.

This has been an emotional time for Rayne, but each day that passes we see more of her usual self again. Moon hasn't missed a beat and took to Teddy like he was one of her own. He is now gaining good weight and is warm and loved. Teddy is 5 days old today and catching up in weight to his litter mates. The end of a legacy at CaveInn for sure. When Rayne recovers she will be spayed and officially retire to reign over the couch!

As for Teddy, his future is bound to be bright. He will undoubtedly inherit his Momma Rayne's beautiful coat and his Dad Robin's square nose and grand posture.

The family he chooses to spend his life with will be blessed with a very special puppy.

October Puppies!

Health testing of all our Labs is critical prior to deciding if they are a good fit for our breeding program. Pedigree, confirmation, temperament and coat quality are among the list of criteria we consider. We began having our Labs evaluated by the PennHip method about 4 years ago. This diagnostic series of digital x-rays give us a better idea of what we can expect with our Labs long term. We do OFA as well although this simply evaluates a specific point in time and the films are not taken with the Lab in a natural position.

I realize I'm beginning to ramble...

We are just 8 days away from welcoming the best conformation we could have ever hoped for with SRain's Blue Moon and our Boy Wonder "Robin". Moon is a snow white Lab that PennHip tested better than 90% of all Labs (approx 25,000) tested. Robin is jet black with a regal look about him, and by the way, PennHip tested better than 80% of all Labs tested.

Besides the decorated Pedigree of both parents, the outstanding confirmation and coat quality...they both have even temperaments ideal for a family pet yet driven for work in the field. Although we have reservations on this litter, there are a few more spots available!

Moon is resting a lot these last days. Her appetite is good and we have begun supplementing with a little extra protein. Her temperature is normal and puppies can be felt rolling around in her belly like jumping beans.

We will be prepared for delivery any time this week. Even though we don't expect her to go into labor for another week, puppies can safely be born any time.

Watch for updates soon!


Sego & Lily
We are at that time with each litter when so many people ask, "Isn't it hard to say good-bye to these precious puppies?" I had time to really think about this as I drove to meet a few of our parents with three of them. Kane, Gus, and Doli traveled with me Friday afternoon to meet their parents. Sego & Lily had gone home in the morning with their family.

I couldn't help but reflect on how all these parents and puppies are connected by some kind of Divine timing. All of them are going to the right people at just the right time. Each of them have a different, yet compelling story that makes this puppy (or puppies in Sego & Lily's case) significant to them and their families.

Kane will begin his therapy dog training Monday with his mom Alison. She has waited for more than a year for this new chapter in both their lives to begin.

Gus and Doli each chose their dad on the same weekend. Again the timing was truly serendipitous. I have always believed that puppies choose their families, but to witness this impeccable timing over and over again finally got to me. As I drove, and puppies nestled in together in their crate behind me, I felt the water welling up in my eyes. I cleared my throat and blinked the tears back, the cargo was far too precious to risk any type of mishap on the highway. We are true believers, this lifestyle we have with all these wonderful Labradors and their beautiful offspring gives back to so many what sometimes is lost in every day life. They teach us to remember that love is unconditional and the little things in life are so important and precious.

God speed to all our parents and puppies.
Thank you, for choosing CaveInn Labradors!

Puppy Preparation

All is green and growing at CaveInn. That includes SunDown's belly. With only days before whelping her temperament is calm, appetite still very good, and she is very loving.
SunDown nears due date
She is a little restless at night and we take her outside a couple times at night just to walk around, get a drink of water and stretch.

The rest of the pack is experiencing some progress too! As we expected, Pidge and Mossy are now in heat. We were hoping to have them cycle one at a time, but during the nice weather months this is perfectly fine. Pidge will be bred with Myles and Mossy with Robin. It is a real blessing to have the new kennel for the boys when girls are in season.
Mossy at attention

It will surely be a busy summer with many little paws to care for. Moon and Robin will be the final litter for us in 2014. We look forward to this pairing late summer.

Pidge has had a nice long break and is looking fantastic, smiling as she always does. Myles is a bit anxious (of course) but breeding time will be very soon!
Smiley Pidge!

We are still accepting deposits on summer litters. If you'd like additional information on how to reserve a CaveInn Labrador please visit our website and complete the Puppy Placement Form. This will help us find just the right Lab for your family. Look for lots of exciting news this summer!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Happy Mother's Day

English: Mother's Day card
English: Mother's Day card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We celebrate this Mother's Day reflecting on Joel's mom who hand-made so many puppy blankets for our little ones and their families. Although she has left us, her blankets remain a special tradition. One day very soon the last of her blankets go home with a new family. We will cherish this day, knowing the love and care that went in to each blanket is the same love and care that we place in all our puppies.

Holding a puppy always worth a big smile
Both our expecting Mommas are doing very well. Rayne will bless us first with her puppies just after Labor Day. SunDown is really filling out more than we would have expected at this point so we will keep a close eye on her.

The new kennel for the boys is at the point that they are comfortably enjoying the new living quarters. Work will continue there in between puppy duties throughout the Summer.

The whelping area is getting a nice upgrade with new flooring. This is something we have been trying to complete for a while. Cleaning will be easier with the new floor!

We have never needed more than one whelping box, but we will be prepared in the event both girls deliver close enough we need another one.

Hug your mom today, and say a special prayer for all our moms in heaven.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Shed Hunting for The Boys

The snow has finally gone allowing for the boys to get to work! Shed hunting has become as fun as bow hunting for us at CaveInn. This has been just the distraction our boys needed to get out and work the woods.
Myles springs into action for sheds

Myles and Robin usually go together with Joel on the big bone hunt. Myles has a lot to learn from Robin (his elder). They both are obedient and work hard, but Robin has the maturity that Myles one day will grow in to.

Labradors are always better behaved when they have plenty of exercise. Both Myles and Robin have also been busy with breeding. Spring is in full swing here. Rayne and Myles are expecting puppies about May 28. We expect silver, chocolate, champagne and yellow. This will be Rayne's final turn in the whelping area. In her retirement we will get her back out in the field once again.

Rayne with her newborn puppies in 2013
Robin and SunDown have also bonded successfully this week and we are looking forward to this repeat breeding of charcoal, black, champagne and yellow puppies around June 6. We chose to breed SunDown this Spring instead of the heart of winter. It is easier to work with puppies and get them accustom to many sounds and sights in warmer part of the year. We are still accepting deposits for our Spring litters! If you are contemplating a hunting partner or simply a well-bred Lab as a companion give us a look!
Robin always the serious shed hunter

The other three girls we hope will come into heat one at a time throughout the latter part of Spring and Summer. Looking forward to welcoming many new puppies and parents to CaveInn Labradors this year.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Spring News!

There isn't anyone in the Midwest that would disagree when I say Winter has gone on long enough! Spring came in with a light snowfall on Thursday and ended with a beautiful afternoon in the 40s. We have managed to limp along with our new kennel project and will be moving our boys in this week.

This has been a big project that Joel has tackled each day one section at a time. I remember thinking we'd never have footings (because of rain) and then suddenly we were running tubing for the in floor heat. What a glorious day it was when we were able to have heat!

There will be much to finish during the Summer but at least the boys will be happy with a little more distance from girls that are in heat.

Speaking of heat.....

....Rayne, as we expected, is our first girl to cycle this Spring. She will be bred with Myles for a final litter. This beautiful chocolate girl will retire after this litter. We are excited to welcome a new chocolate girl later this Summer from Soggy Acres Retrievers.

Rayne will remain with us at CaveInn and work on her shed hunting and swimming, enjoying all there is for a Lab to relish in the outdoors.

Between now and the end of Summer all of our girls will take turns in the whelping area. We are hoping they do indeed take turns. We have many parents waiting for the call that their CaveInn Labrador has been born! It is difficult to wait for the right puppy, but we can always guarantee it is worth the wait.

Happy Spring!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Boys Boys Boys

There are three of these boys that have yet to find their forever home. We have inquiries every day but they are being very choosy. We are truly getting used to them playing and being together all the time. The search will continue for the lucky person and family that Simba, Scar, and Pumbaa find is the right fit for them.

This is "Simba" a handsome guy that is sure to be as much of a gentleman as his dad Robin is. He has a black nose and is a little darker coat than his brothers.


Say hello to "Pumbaa" a sweet yellow man with a gorgeous double coat. Don't let his serious look here fool you, he has a very tender soul and just wants to love you up. Now, with that said...he keeps up with the others in the race around the kennel during play time with no trouble at all!

Below is "Scar" the boy that favors his mom SunDown the most in his face. He is very light color, almost white also with a black nose like Simba. Scar has never stopped wagging his tail even when we trim his nails. All are very happy puppies, but Scar is especially agreeable
They are now 9 weeks old and are ready to travel to new homes. All puppies are clear by parentage of EIC, CNM, DM and have all age appropriate vaccinations. They love to meet people and are very good with other dogs and children. They have an incredible pedigree that is very hard to find for a purebred Lab. Stay tuned as they continue the interview process for their next adventure!

Truman nearly 9 Months Old!

Pidge and Myles puppies are nearly 9 months old. Time goes by so fast when this first year and as always we welcome our updates from families. Truman is still sporting his unique flare on his nose and this note from his family this week was heartwarming.

Just thought I would check in and let you know that Truman is doing wonderfully! We are so happy to have him in our family! He is so handsome as you can see. Getting bigger and stronger every day. He is such a sweet dog and I can see both mom and dad him in! Photos taken on 11/9/13. He's almost 9 months old already. Crazy.

Hope all is well with you and your family.

Scott, Barb, Julia and Matt

Oliver's First Pheasant Hunts

Oliver was the last of Rayne's puppies to travel home. We had a wonderful chance to really enjoy his personality and have him spend one-on-one time with his Mom and Dad. It was a great surprise to get these pictures this week of Oliver and his big brother Roc.
This was one of the first times they were out together hunting. It looks like Roc is truly taking Oliver under his tail and showing him the way around.

Tyler (Oliver's dad) is an avid hunter and is beginning training early with Oliver while Roc is still active and hunting with them. Here is an update from Tyler:

Hey, here are some more pics of Oliver from our pheasant hunt today he is doing great he's getting really big he is about 35 lbs now. I take him and Roc hunting a lot. I work for a pheasant farm so we get to do a lot of hunting when we get the chance. I thought you might like to share these on your web site that is fine! 
Hope all is well.


Love to see these two best of buds!

Moon and Mossy Show

Both of these girls have great spirit and drive. Mossy is by far the more obedient one today, but Moon just likes to push the envelope a bit more.  You might say Moon is a little sassier:)

They challenge one another yet respect the older females.  We will be seeing Dr Keller in the next week for PennHip testing on both girls. It seems like yesterday they just arrived at the CaveInn.
This will complete the testing needed before bringing them both in to our breeding program. So far all has been fabulous with both these improved Labs. We are looking to pair Moon and Mossy with Robin in 2014. Look for these puppies to be some of the finest puppies for waterfowl, shed hunting, search and rescue and therapy.

Stay tuned for more results of these two beauties.

Holden Holds Up!

This update from Holden's dad was a warm welcome to the busy week. Holden is certainly a little "pork chop" and is growing into a fine looking young pup.

Good afternoon Penny,
Here are some updated pictures of Holden.  He is growing like a weed!  I love the one of him in my closet...reminds me of the movie ET where ET is in the closet:)  He has such a personality and he is catching on to things very quickly.  He's already kennel trained as we haven't had an accident in over a week.  He also loves the water and I can't wait to start training him to hunt. 
I hope all is well with you and Joel!
Have a great weekend!

June Update in July!

This update from Kallie and Andy came in at the end of July. June is a Pidge x Myles puppy. She is growing up to be a very pretty girl!

Hi Penny and Joel!  You must be really busy with the new litter!  We've been watching your updates on Facebook and your website and are remembering what it all felt like only 6 months ago.  So exciting!
June is doing so well, we just had to let you know.  The last time we spoke we were looking for your advice with her -intense- biting issue.  Well, only time healed that soon as all of her adult teeth came in the problem nearly completely disappeared.
She's becoming so mellow and sweet.  Learned a couple new commands too..."high five" and even "high ten"!  Still working hard on "Come"....she has selective hearing with that one, ha!  It only took a couple visits to the lake in northern Wisconsin for her to swim on her own.  She will even jump right off the pier now!
I attached a couple pictures of her.  One laying on the bed watching TV like a human and another getting caught red handed with a cardboard box that must have been really tasty.
We love her and refer to her as the Best Dog Ever. Thank you so much!
Kallie and Andy

Puppies 3 Weeks Old

It was a busy weekend here at the CaveInn. Oakley met her family and all puppies had a chance to socialize a bit with her wonderful family. The time we spend with our puppy families are precious times for all. Rayne was very accepting and loved the attention of her baby's new family. Oakley bonded with her family via photos and video from the day she was born. Sometimes it just happens this way. We always feel that puppies choose their families.

Puppies are all around 4 lbs and this week will move to the larger kennel and begin milk replacer in the next few days. Rayne could use a little help with feeding at times.

We had a great opportunity to meet an energetic young woman today that will be choosing a male next year to work with her in therapy as she begins her career. This was a fun visit, we look forward to the time we have ahead to learn more about her future and helping her choose just the right puppy to join her as she begins her career.

The puppy names were chosen from our Facebook fan comments to "what was your favorite childhood dog" names. It seems only fitting that we choose the main theme from My Dog Skip for this video of Rayne's puppies at 3 weeks old. Our Life with Labs is good!

Colorful Creations

This week has brought us the most colorful puppy litter we could have hoped for. We know what we can expect from all our Labs base on DNA, but to see so many wonderful improvement shades in one litter is a treat! Rayne and Myles are a great breeding pair. Rayne is our oldest female and we believe this may be the last litter. She has been a fabulous mother and depending on our vet's opinion once her pups are weaned, we may retire this beautiful chocolate Lab.

Rayne is very healthy and vibrant, but we want to also let her be a Lab and enjoy her life with us. She is Alpha female and leads with a firm but gentle way with the rest of the pack. I will miss her beautiful offspring. She has never struggled with pregnancy or delivery, which is why now may be a good time to retire. I recently completed a class with the University of Minnesota on canine reproduction. There is so much to learn. My goal was to understand more about how to talk intelligently with Dr Keller at Compassionate Care and to continue to make the best choices for our Labs and our breeding program. Retiring early was one very interesting subject that I particularly paid attention to. Our Labs are part of our family, our lifestyle. Although, the puppies all venture to new families...our Labs are our world.

Rayne delivered 8 perfect puppies. We have 3 males and 5 females. There are 2 males and 2 females that are still available. We are waiting for Animal Genetics results on our yellow puppies to know which ones are champagne and which are silver-factored yellow. The week has surely been one of many blessings!