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  • kaylenechadwick

Road Trip to California

We have three dogs: Meribell, Valentina and Parker. They all came to us from Sanitacteam Day in Serbia. Meribell is 2 years old and ready to be a Mommy, Valentina is 20 months old and borderline for breeding and Parker is still a puppy at 10 months old and not old enough to father a litter yet. As we laid out plans for Ike Jon Kennel in 2020 we decided that when Meribell next came into heat, I would take a road trip to Southern California to Chadwick’s Goldens and breed her with either of their two dogs Dexter or Simba. We thought that might be around May.

However, our girls had other plans for us! Valentina came into heat on December 30 and Meribell followed right along a few days later! Surprise! We had been away for New Years and when we returned home on Sunday January 5 I took one look at Meribell and went – "Oh No!" I really didn't want a road trip in the winter and we haven’t built our kennel yet! But when its time, its time! I made a quick call to sister-in-law Nancy Chadwick of Chadwicks Goldens and started packing.

We decided that Valentina would have to come too as it would be difficult to leave her behind with Parker as she was still in heat. If she was still in this condition on arrival we could breed her too. I looked at various accommodation options for the trip and decided to stay at KOAs cabins, booking the first night in Springfield Missouri. It would be cold in the cabin, but it seemed the best option for the dogs.

We pulled out of the driveway at 5:30 the next morning and nearly made it through Chicago when I heard the first heaving from the back of the car. I had forgotten how much Meribell and Valentina do not like to travel and before we left I had let them have a drink. I drove on some more wondering what to do about getting them and their crates cleaned up as they were both heaving by now. I thought of a rest area, but decided that a Walmart would be the best option as I could buy supplies of wipes etc that were then used every day, multiple times. Meribell was fine after I delayed feeding her and giving her water until we reached our destination. Valentina took longer to get used to travelling, but she did towards the end. However, I still took the precaution of finding the straightest routes for her.

The KOA cabins were all of different standards - some better than others. The best one was the first night in Springfield Missouri. Not so good was our last night in Joplin Missouri where the shower and heater barely worked, and the dogs were not allowed inside the cabin and so had to sleep in the car. I loved the dog park in Amarillo Texas as it had lights and this meant I didn't have to pick up dog poop in the dark! Holbrook Arizona was just too windy and the accommodation a bit dated. Overall though, I was happy that I had chosen KOA as it saved me money from the hotel option and I could drive my car right up to the cabin.

After 4 days of travelling from 5:30 am to around 2:00 pm we arrived in Hemet California at Chadwick’s Goldens. It was so good to see family! I was worried about not making it in time for Meribell, so the very first task was to pair up my girls with their boys and breed them. We paired Meribell with Dexter and Valentina with Simba. Both are gorgeous boys and also come from Sanitacteam Day in Serbia. Sanitacteam Day’s owner Svetlana Andric, was so happy about the matches and congratulated us.

The girls were bred Thursday afternoon and Friday morning by artificial insemination. I spent time with my brother-in-law Robert Chadwick Friday morning talking about the designs for “Annie’s House" - the future housing for our dogs in Buchanan Michigan. Robert is a contractor and built the kennels for their dogs so was able to give advice about sizes and materials to use. We have an old horse barn on our property that we are converting (more to come about that project in future blogs).

Friday afternoon was time for me to go and visit friends and Saturday we all went to church and I was able to catch up with my nieces. Sunday was back to business with our dogs again. They were bred one last time and Nancy Chadwick took time to share her breeding expertise with me. She gave information on websites, medications, dates and schedules and I was able to watch her sell one of her puppies too. It was good day.

On Monday Nancy took some blood from Meribell and tested her progesterone levels and we discovered that they were rising, which meant she had finished ovulating and we were able to go home. So early on Tuesday morning we began our trip back.

The second night of our return trip was a little different as I stayed with another of my husband Richard’s brothers in Albuqueque New Mexico. It gave my girls a good break in the middle of the ride, but it did leave us with two very long days before getting home. We survived though and it was so good to see all three of our pack back together again.

It can be hard to tell if a dog is pregnant during the beginning weeks, but we quickly noticed that Meribell had less energy and her nipples continued to be swollen, as well as being off her food for a week or so. We are sure now that she is pregnant and we hope to see puppies arriving around March 13. We are not so certain about Valentina. We think right now that she isn’t pregnant and could have already finished ovulating before we reached California but time will tell.


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