When Kiss' owner/breeder - Caryl Dumaine of Ravenna Borzoi - asked to breed to Zion, I couldn't have been more thrilled. Kiss was drop dead gorgeous, dripping with elegant feminine type, exquisite beauty, and dream-like movement. I had loved her from the moment I first saw her as a teenager, and she just improved upon maturity.
The time came. Kiss was bred, and it turned out that she was carrying 15 puppies! As she entered into labor, a c-section became necessary, but complications with such a large litter resulted in Kiss dying. The loss was almost unbearable for Caryl, but there was no time to mourn - she had 15 motherless puppies to keep alive.
With losing their mother during the c-section, this meant that none of the puppies received any of the first milk - called "colostrum" - that provides essential immunity for vulnerable newborns. Without colostrum to give them initial immunity, they are a much greater risk of disease and infections. Help was needed immediately.
A call was put out to the dog community, and oh, how they rallied. Calls began coming in from vets with advice, breeders offering help, and owners of bitches who were still nursing puppies. Finally, a mother dog capable or raising such a large litter was found - Weimaraner breeders Ron and Rhonda Grimm had a wonderful mother dog, "Drew", who was just getting ready to wean her own litter. A five hour drive was done to deliver the desperate Borzoi babies. Would Drew be willing to accept more puppies after nearly weaning her own? And puppies that looked and smelled so different? Drew took them in like a mother hen collects her chicks. She treated them as her own, and these little orphans were finally able to suckle and feed. While Drew's milk was well past the colostrum stage, it still was manna to these desperate wee ones.
Due to the complications and risks of such a rocky start, not all of the puppies were able to rally. Despite the herculean efforts of so many, the final tally was nine surviving puppies. Thanks to the hard work and selfless efforts of Ron and Rhonda Grimm, it is a blessing that these nine Borzoi babies survived.
With all the helping hands that made the survival of this litter possible, each puppy has an AKC registered name that reflects the care and support received from so many. "Hand in Hand", "It Takes A Village", "Loves Drew", "Together Through It All", "Remembering Kiss," "United In Love," "All In."
At six months of age, some of these babies debuted at the 2015 BCOA National Specialty, and what a debut they had. They were admired by many, and were seen winning and placing in their classes. So much sorrow, so much work, and now so much joy.
Breeding one's female is not to be taken lightly, as while these stories are not common, they do happen. It was only through great effort on the part of a large group of loving and supporting members of the dog community that this litter survived at all. Today, these puppies are beautiful and healthy, and we are grateful to each and every person who worked to get them to the lively youngsters they are today.
Drew the Weimaraner happily nestling in with her adopted brood within the first few days of their orphaned life. Thank you Ron and Rhonda Grimm for stepping in to save them.
"Larsen" - Ravenna Hand in Hand - is our personal favorite from this litter. He is an amazing youngster, who is alive today only through the efforts of many. Photo by Susan Motisi.