After two years of trying to breed Hamlet and Elsie with no results, we faced the possibility that we were dealing with infertility issues. The easiest thing to do was to test Hamlet. We did so, and realized that, in effect, he was shooting blanks! A microscopic investigation revealed that he had a very low sperm count, and the sperm that were visible were deformed. Thus, Hamlet’s excellent qualities were unhappily retired from the kooikerhondje gene pool.
We began to look for another stud dog. At the time, we were living in Charlottesville, Virginia, and found a Finnish couple, Ari and Virpi Partti, working in Washington, DC. They had their Finnish kooikerhondje, Unto, with them. We made arrangements for a breeding.
Elsie came into heat right before Christmas. I knew that Ari and Virpi were planning to spend the Christmas holidays in Finland, and were taking Unto with them. We looked at the schedules and realized that they would be leaving a day or two before Elsie’s fertile days in her heat cycle.
This was maddening. After two years of trying and failing, and disappointing all the people on the waiting list, it looked like we would miss the opportunity yet again! We decided that we would try it anyway, the day before the Partti’s departure. We lined up a reproductive vet in case Elsie would not stand for him and we would have to do a semen transfer. Since a male dog’s sperm can live for several days, even if the mating occurred before Elsie ovulated, there was still a possibility of conception.
Elsie did not accept Unto’s advances. Veterinary intervention was required. The semen transfer was accomplished. Champaign was served!
Ari, Virpri, and Unto departed for Finland, and Elsie and I returned to Virginia. We waited. Elsie began to raid the trash cans, consuming objects both edible and questionable. Her appetite was insatiable. We built a whelping box. And on February 20, she delivered Rosewood’s first puppy, Ambassador One!
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