A Big Bowl of Ewwwww…

Over the years I’ve had to field a lot of questions about my borzois, and what they eat. In the early 90’s when I had my first borzois,it was usually just curiosity on the part of the asker, plain and simple.  But in the last few years, with people going so rescue-crazy and people wanting to see villainy where none exists, there have been a lot of nosy questions about what I do – or do not – feed my dogs.  I’ve even been accused of “starving my collies”… you know, for fashion.

People can be astoundingly dumb.

So, when I’ve had a few people writing in and asking about Zen’s diet the last couple weeks, it’s been a real pleasure to see that spirit of curiosity take back over, and get nice questions from nice people who are really just wanting to know what the nutritional requirements of such a beastie are – especially one that’s eating for ten!

Zen’s a petite girl, but man does she love to EAT – especially when I break out the good stuff! For the first couple weeks after the puppies were born she was kind of picky about finishing her meals, but that has really changed this last week. I’m sure part of that’s the demands of milk production, but I think the big change is that we added raw back into her diet.

At first she was getting a premium quality kibble, top dressed with a similar quality canned food, whole milk plain greek yogurt, a canine probiotic and an all-around mineral supplement. She also got a calcium supplement right after the puppies were born, and Fenugreek (an herb, in tablet form) to help her milk come in and keep flowing.  She’d eat, she’d even clean her bowl, but it seemed kind of dutiful and not particularly joyful.

“Yeah, I suppose I can eat something.  Whatcha got?”

But then…

Oh man I hope Rita forgives me for defrosting this on one of the good plates!
“Is that what I think it is?  Really?!? Oh boy oh boy!”

Oh yes, Zen… you’re not imagining that distinctive stench emanating from the kitchen.  You’re having Green Tripe for dinner tonight!  And breakfast, tomorrow!  Green Tripe, an important part of YOUR balanced diet!  Along with other totally gross stuff, like raw turkey necks and chicken backs.

Here’s what it looks like all mixed up.  Hey, misery loves company.  Enjoy the view.  At least you don’t gotta smell the “phew!” IMG_20160724_110657

This big bowl of gross brought to you by housesitter, hound hugger, guest blogger and fantasy author C.T. (“Chelle”) Griffith… who is really considering a genre change to Horror after this particular post.

Your Daily Cute- Tuesday 7/26, Aria Borzoi Encore x Zen Litter

Yesterday’s Highlights

On Monday we were busy preparing for the big day coming up – the pup’s 3 week birthday!

Some of the pups got ready by catching a few extra ZZZZZZs.

I have been clipping nails every three days and checking collars every single day to be sure they’re not too tight.  On Monday, Blue outgrew his completely.

I ended up getting clever and getting him a little extra length by using a 2 inch long scrap of lavender that was just lying around in the box.  

Zen watched me the whole time I bustled… something she’d never done before. She’s gotten real comfortable with me handling the puppies, even if they’re fussing, but she seemed kind of wistful.

It was as if she was saying “They’re getting bigger, but they’ll always be my babies.” 

Speaking of getting bigger, Red was able to figure out how to use the potty box right away.  She’s the firstborn.  She’s good for a lot of firsts!

Wow. They really ARE growing up.

“They can get as big as they want, but they can’t have my dinner!”

“Oh Zen…it’s ok. They’ll be doing solid food of their own real soon now.  I promise, you don’t have to share.”

“Yay! Solid food! Soon!”

Today’s Daily Cute brought to you by borzoi fanatic and fantasy author C.T. (“Chel”) Griffith.

A Sitdown with the New Partners

Got a couple new players coming on board this next week. Meet Mr. BilJack and Mr. Dumor. I thought we’d have a sitdown, look at next week’s schedule, get up to speed and try to come up with a game plan.  IMG_20160724_122003

On Tuesday, the pups will be 3 weeks old.

Now that the pups are getting bigger, they’re going to need more than just what Zen and I can provide for them.  I know they don’t look like much, but each of these sad sacks bring years of experience to the table, and are good at giving growing puppies what they need.

Kinda looks like Mr. Dumor started the party without us, doesn’t it? IMG_20160724_122051

This post brought to you by guest blogger and fantasy author C.T. (“Chel”) Griffith, housesitter and hound hugger and sack slinger at Aria Borzoi.  Be sure to tip your waitress.  Me’n the boys, Mr. Dumor and BilJack will be here all week!

Whelping Box Upgrade

With the puppies rounding the corner into their third week, it’s time to make some upgrades in their living space.  They already outgrew their original little Rubbermaid tote where I’d stash ’em while I’d clean their whelping box – they all escaped en masse one day early last week, before their eyes were even open.  It was weird.  I’ll tell you all about it sometime in the next couple days. Aside from getting a bigger box, I put the half-partition up in the whelping box that very day even though it seemed kind of premature.  But, hey – better safe than sorry, right?

The original whelping box was easy.  Just the box with the railings and the fleece with the rubber bottom.  Wipe down and change as necessary. Simple, effective. Here it is, in case you don’t remember.  In case you’re curious, you can view the entire blog entry with the whelping box setup right hereIMG_20160712_103359.

But early on, I noticed something kind of amazing that I’d only heard about before, but never had the opportunity to observe first hand. The VERY instant the pups had any control over their own bladder and/or bowels, they began moving away from the puppy pile to poop and pee.  Amazing, isn’t it?

One of the billions of things that factory puppy farming gets so completely wrong is to raise pups on wire bottom floors, where they never have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.  Their waste falls away and they don’t have any consequences.  The other kind of factory farming means cages that don’t get cleaned regularly – and that makes pups comfortable in their own filth.  Neither is what nature intended.  In this case, doing the right thing comes easy to the pup… you just have to give him the opportunity to start doing it and those instincts will do a lot of the work for you.

I’m starting to see that raising puppies the RIGHT way, is kind of like making a quality piece of art.  Sure, you can go to the swap-meet and pick yourself up a cheap velvet Elvis, or somebody’s favorite aunt’s hobby painting – but it won’t be the same quality as a portrait painted by an artist with an education from a school of the fine arts and a lifetime of experience. A master of their craft is going to use the best materials available, just like a quality breeder will breed stock that’s true to the breed standard, has excelled in the ring and/or the field, is mentally and physically sound, and has been health tested and deemed clear of any genetic disorders.   Artisanal puppies.  Raised with loving, hands-on care, with methods appropriate to their breed.  But anyway, I digress…

So, given the right opportunity, puppies will start housebreaking themselves. This week, here at Casa de Aria Longnoses, they get their opportunity!

The first addition to the whelping box is the litter tray.  This is a crate tray, with a light smattering of compressed pine bedding pellets.  They expand once they get wet, so there’s a lot more on the tray than it looks like.  The added bonus is you can tell once they’ve used it!

Crate tray with pine pelleted bedding.  A little goes a long way.  

Here’s what the box looks like all put together.



They got a couple toys last week, but now that their eyes are open, they get a variety of new friends.IMG_20160725_133509

Here’s an “up close and personal” of their new friends.  As a funny aside, Rita told me that once the puppies open their eyes, they usually see the puppy on the Dura-Whelp logo, recognize it as a puppy, and try to make friends with it.  I was skeptical… until I saw it happen last week!  I think I have a photo of it, too… I’ll try to find it and put it up as a feature on The Daily Cute sometime soon.

So, within minutes of putting the pups in their new box, guess what?  IMG_20160725_163532

It works!  The litter box WORKS!  The proof is in the… er, well, not pudding… but you get it!
Giving your puppies an early start at basic housebreaking gives them the tools they need to have a good start at their forever homes.  Isn’t it cool how mother nature helps out?

This post brought to you by fantasy author C.T. (“Chel”) Griffith, life long borzoi enthusiast and person who did very little today except play with puppies.  Dang, they are getting SO cute!



Your Daily Cute- Monday 7/25, Aria Borzoi Encore x Zen Litter

Yesterday’s Highlights

What a lovely, peaceful Sunday!  Lots of sleeping, nursing and playing.  Zen was very hungry today- VERY hungry.  She’d take a stroll with me whenever I left the pup room, follow me into the rest of the house, go right into the kitchen, and STARE at the fridge.  She knew I had all sorts of good stuff in there for her, to go along with her high-quality kibble.  We started adding more raw a couple days ago, and it seems to be upping her milk production AND her appetite! She just hasn’t been as excited about canned food as she was about the

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Orange poses for his closeup. He hasn’t gotten a lot of camera time yet, because he’s usually either sleeping, or nursing at the bottom of the pile at the back on the very BEST teats.  There’s a ton of personality in a compact package! 
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Brown, honey, I know you want to start solid foods soon – but your sister’s face isn’t the best place to start.  We’ll do something good tomorrow, ok?  
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Lt. Blue is a silly boy who wants to play more than nap.  No, he’s not a Lieutenant. Lt. stands for “Light.” We already had a “Blue” and limited collar colors to choose from. 
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Orange and Green are brothers that are nearly inseparable.  You’ll often see them hanging out together. 
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Not everyone wants to cuddle! Some puppies would rather brawl!


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Ahhh… the peace is restored!
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This is about the time their little “borzoi yoga poses” start happening.
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This pose is called “Downward Dzzzzzz.”
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Awww… Brown spoons Red.  
2016-07-24 14.59.08
When Orange is up to some mischief, Green likes to cuddle up to Sock Monkey instead.

Your Daily Cute brought to you by fantasy author and lifelong borzoi enthusiast C.T. (“Chel”) Griffith, guest blogger at Aria Borzoi. You can check out my other work at my site http://www.ctgriffith.com.

Meet the Parents! Encore and Zen

Made for Each Other!

FullSizeRender (1)

I’ve been putting all this focus on the puppies, so far, and that makes sense.  Because who doesn’t love cute puppies, right?  But I thought I should probably introduce their parents… there’s some real star power going on here, behind just the cute-factor. Here’s one of those times when I can just shut up and let the pictures do most of the talking. 🙂

Sire: “Encore” GCH DC ZoiBoyz Encore DC

Encore winning Best of Opposite Sex at Westminster 2016 
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Here he is, relaxing at home.  So regal.  

Here’s a link to Encore’s record on The Borzoi Files. 

Dam: “Zen” Ch Majenkir Red Caliente

Isn’t she lovely?  And she knows it!

Here’s a link to Zen’s record on The Borzoi Files. 

Now do you see why these pups had little choice other than to be a big pile ‘o redheaded superstars? 🙂

This batch of red-hot lovin’ brought to you by guest blogger C.T. (“Chel”) Griffith, holding down the fort at Aria Borzoi with hound hugging, pup snuggling, and keyboard pounding.

We Survived The “Milk Poops!” And All I Got Was Lousy T-Shirt!

For those of you who are late to the party and this is your first post in this series, this is my first time looking after a litter of puppies by myself.  I’ve been involved in borzois (my breed of choice) since I was in middle school in Central Iowa in the mid-80’s and hanging out in Pauline McGovern’s kennels in Polk City Iowa.  I got my first borzoi of my own when I was still a teenager, in 1991… but tiny little puppies?  Well, all this is definitely breaking new ground for me. I’m the lady that my married friends would sneak up on, hand me their newborns, and walk away… all to observe my terrified expressions from a safe distance so they could point and giggle.  I have ZERO maternal instincts.  I’m the greenest of greenhorns, and although I have lots of people I can call for help, and lots of fantastic online resources I can read, Avidog Puppy raising literature, it doesn’t change the basic fact that I’m still a worrier.

So, sometimes things that are normal parts of puppy development look scary but aren’t necessarily a code red emergency.  I got to learn about one of these last week.

Ah, the joy of the dreaded “Milk Poops.”

About the time they were ten days old, the pups started squirting yellow, vanilla-pudding-like diarrhea.  They weren’t getting dehydrated.  Aside from being a little fussy, they seemed fine.  They were still nursing and sleeping, gaining steadily.  But… oh, SO much poop!  Poor Zen couldn’t even keep up with it.  I joked to my boyfriend that I had a biological weapon on my hands… miniature “crap cannons”… if only the Geneva Convention would allow them, I could figure out how to aim!

After it didn’t clear up within 24 hours I panicked, because, hey… I’m me.  By then, the poop had changed consistency, to more of a grainy texture, like tiny rice.  So, mostly because I’m a big worrywart, we went to the vet.

That’s when I learned that the “milk poops” are a normal stage in a pup’s development.  After the first week or so, the dam’s milk becomes richer, and has a higher fat content to help the pups really start to grow.  Pups sometimes get diarrhea during this transition, as their digestive systems have never handled anything before, much less something this rich.  And it’s very rich!  The little rice-like grains are little waxy blobs of milk fat that they weren’t able to digest yet.

Zen approves of my mad bathing skillz!

So, I learned about milk poops.  I learned about how to wash newborn puppies, too.  And I learned my sense of humor can stand up to just about anything.

When I was at WalMart getting supplies, I treated myself to a commemorative t-shirt I found.  It was too perfect to pass  up.  I figure it will come in handy as my dog-walking uniform, as well.


This big steaming pile brought to you by guest blogger in-residence, C.T. (“Chel”) Griffith.

Your Daily Cute- Sunday 7/24, Aria Borzoi Encore x Zen Litter

Yesterday’s Highlights  – This Was a GOOD Day!!

Someone is learning how to play!
These two were race-waddling, and then they both plopped down at the same time.


I just love this shot for some reason. Maybe it’s all the different personalities of the sleepers.


Just a good old fashioned puppy pile.  Look at the different shades of red!
Little brother, big sister!

The ENS Exercises, The Notes? What’s THAT all about?

In an earlier entry, back the first week the pups were born, I refer to the Early Neural Stimulation Exercises, and promised to talk about them in a little more detail.  Some people have asked about what they are, and why we do them, so I’ll do my best to give such an important topic the kind of treatment it deserves.

July 21 Puppy pile closeup
Within us, sleep the seeds of greatness!

Although I come at this from a “novice to puppy raising” and a “dogs as companions” point of view, I’m no stranger to the borzois and responsible dog care. I got my first borzoi in 1991. But while I’m a long-term dedicated borzoi lover, I’m not a show person.  I have spent my decades in the breed enjoying the gentle grace, humor and silliness they bring into my life as pets. So, yes… I believe it’s in everyone’s interest within the breed to “build a better dog,” so to speak, and help the puppies that are born have a chance to grow up and reach their fullest potential – be that in the show ring, chasing the lure, or simply holding down the cushions of my couch.

My guys say, “Hey, we EXCEL at our job! And we still murder a squeaky toy now and then.”

The Avidog program advocates a few simple exercises that you do with puppies – daily – for the first few weeks of their lives.  This involves holding them gently in several different postures, and handling their feet thoroughly.  As sighthound people, we all know how important it is to have a dog comfortable with having their feet handled! Here’s what we do:

Head Up (where the pup’s head is highest)

Head Down (where the pup’s head is lowest)

Feet Down (where their feet hang down)

Feet Up (where they are on their back and their feet are up)

Foot Tickle (With a Q-Tip or other non-name brand cotton swab-on-a-stick-thingie).  Be sure to get between those tiny toes!

Cold Surface. (Place the puppy on a cold damp towel, chilly pie plate, or ice pack for 3-5 seconds without restraining them.)

These exercises are cycled through, gently, spending no more than 3-5 seconds on each. You can read more about the Avidog’s entire system, Avidog University breeder training and their proven philosophy here – they’re outstanding. There are lots of good videos on You Tube of people doing the exercises with their puppies.  

The exercises are done in a random order, so the puppy doesn’t know what to expect next, and become dependent on the routine.

This is also a good time to add in a scent for them to examine, as well.  Leaves, grass, spices, fruit peels, soap, or if they are going to be a hunting dog or involved in anything that relies on scent discrimination, they can be introduced to the smells of their eventual trade, like bunnies, game birds or whatever they might be tracking in the future. Termites? Cocaine?  Hidden stashes of illegal drug money?  Hey, whatever you have lying around!  These pups have gotten to check out some orange peels, spices from the kitchen, leaves, grass, dirty laundry, Errol the Cavalier and a bunch of other things – things that they’ll probably encounter in their adult lives in the future, that will smell comforting and familiar.

It’s a great idea to take notes on the whole process.  As you handle each puppy daily, through their ups, downs, moods and growth spurts, you begin to get a really good feel for who each puppy really IS, and what makes them tick.  Got a future drama queen?  Or a tough, determined little scrapper?  Or a sweet, pliant love bug?  Well, you might just be able to tell early on, and that works to everyone’s benefit -especially the puppy! This is definitely a topic I want to come back to, because I have a great real life example of how this works together to match the right dog to the right home.

At this stage of their development, their little brains and nervous systems are growing like crazy, developing connections that will be with them the rest of their life.  A little bit of healthy stress and the right kinds of stimulation AT THE RIGHT TIME can yield big results later on. These gentle, specific, strategic exercises put stress on a developing puppy’s body in such a way that it prepares their system to handle stressors in the best way, thus setting them up for excellence in their adult life. This type of system – coupled with advantages of great breeding – is the way to build a high achieving dog!

Anyway, I hope this sheds a little more light on the subject for anyone who was looking for a bit more information.

Photos from Friday July 22nd

The Great Stackable Sisters!

Today was a day of big naps, and lots of nursing.  Yes, playing happened, but really it was mostly eating and sleeping.  And we all know what eating and sleeping leads to!

“I don’t know, Momma! What does eating and sleeping lead to?”  

Playing?  IMG_20160722_081231

Yes, yes. Some of that. You caught us sneaking it in. But what I really mean is GROWING!  Look back at the previous post, if you don’t believe me… these guys are getting huge.

This guest post brought to you by C.T. (“Chel”) Griffith, chief houndhugger, housesitter and puppy chewtoy at Aria Borzois.