Breeding is not for the faint of heart...
Updated: Nov 16, 2022
When I planned this website, I planned its launch to coincide with a breeding announcement for Ksenia. Oh, I had such grand plans. I was even going to do the "oh, and one more thing" where I directed people to the Future Plans tab on the website to announce an extraordinary litter. You see, I bred Ksenia to my favorite dog of all time. He is Cid Kel Dahoussahaq. I had so much anticipation and excitement for this litter. We even planned the ultrasound for Monday, 14 November so that we could make our goal of launching this website today,15 November, 2022. The vet visit started off well. I was pleased to see she had gained 3 pounds since we did the surgical AI on 16 October as she had been eating very finicky the last two weeks. Mind you, all was perfect with the surgical AI also. I was there for it in the surgical room and saw the Dr perform it perfectly. Ksenia's progesterone went from 14 on 15 October to 22 on 16 October, a number we were aiming for. Cid's semen was also great, thawing over 60% after almost 30 years. I had total confidence this was going to be a text book perfect litter and I would be able to offer the world puppies from two of my most ideal azawakh of all time.
Until it wasn't. We placed Ksenia on the exam table and did the first ultrasound upright. I saw the screen, but more I saw the look on the Dr's face. She asked me to lie her down. Ksenia of course complied perfectly and lied on her side. I again watched the Dr's face more than the screen. At this point of the blog I need to tell you all this. I watched the Dr's face because I trust her completely. Im bad at a lot of things but I have a gift for recognizing talent and someone who is an expert in their field. This Dr was exactly that and I will use her again in the future always.. I saw her face and I saw incredible sadness. I looked at the screen and I saw nothing. The Dr knew how much this litter meant to me and she struggled to tell me there were no puppies there. I felt how hard it was for her to tell me. I felt her empathy. But most of all, I felt a sadness I haven't felt since I lost my mother. This was supposed to be my success. This was supposed to be the happy moment that pulled me out of all the craziness Ive been dealing with lately. Well, some higher being has other plans and most likely, a litter wont result from this. My guess is that Ksenia was pregnant, lost the litter and absorbed them as her progesterone levels are still high over 20. The Relaxin test at 29 days was negative and again, the ultrasound showed nothing. My great friend Tony Cabrera of Starfire kennels was even gracious enough to teach me over the phone how to palpate and I felt nothing.
While this is heartbreaking for me, Im blessed that I still have 4 straws of Cid's semen and I have already had it recognized by AKC. Do I have regrets? Absolutely. I so wish I had bred Ksenia to Seydou this time and then used Cid after. Ksenia and Seydou would have been the 1st AKC GCH to GCH breeding. And it would have been as extraordinary a litter and Ksenia and Cid. But I didnt. I let my desire overrule my brain even when my mentors told me to wait, breed her regularly first and then to use the frozen semen the next time. And this is an important point - even after being in this breed over 25 years I have mentors, my desire and impatience possibly caused this. Please, if I can offer advice listen to the people who have ben doing this longer than you. Regardless of the breed, they know. I never want anyone to feel the heartbreak and sorrow I feel now.