A Breeder’s Companion: Record Keeping for Your Dogs’ Litters, by Leila Grandemange (SunnyVille Publishing [self-published], 2015, 213 pages, $17.95)
A Breeder’s Companion is a handy book for the novice breeder – not too much information, not too little in the 8 ½ by 11 inch volume – the same size as a regular piece of paper. The Companion has more articles and thus more information than Leila Grandmange’s other 2015 ‘book’ of handy charts* to fill out for your dogs (with medical data and achievements for at least 20 dogs).
Redundancy can be Helpful
Grandemange repeats the same information in different places so that if you don’t have time to digest the entire volume before your pups arrive, you will have found the most important information. A few pages also appear in the other Grandemange book*: the AKC-written information about required records, a phone and address ‘book,’ and similar pages of recommended reading and useful web links.
The most indispensible pages in The Breeder’s Companion list whelping equipment, including items you would not have thought about but which make definite sense – clean towels, preferably light colored; at least two washcloths per pup; isopropyl alcohol; flashlight and leash for the mom-dog’s breaks; cottage cheese, yogurt or vanilla ice-cream as a source of calcium; surgical gloves; and a large garbage bag, among other items.
The crux of Companion is the set of charts for you to fill out for up to 12 litters – charts for the mom-dog’s temperature starting a week before her due date, puppy weight charts and supplemental feeding charts, deworming – in all, 16 pages per litter to help you keep things straight, including information on their new homes.
Caring for the mom-dog, caring for the pups – before, during and after birth. How to sterilize equipment. Vaccinations, development, socialization, a whelping date prediction chart, plus differences between a healthy pup and a sickly pup so you know when to call the veterinarian. As you can see, just about everything is covered – all the basics – in enough detail to whet your interest in other breeding books!
I might recommend a copy editor look over Companion – deleted words and creative yet inconsistent punctuation might not be noticeable to some readers but serve as bumps in the road to others, slowing down comprehension and acceptance of the information presented.
All in all, Companion may be good value for your buck if it is the only breeding book you read – and it is short enough to be read in its entirety and to serve as a record keeper to assist your veterinarian to care for the dogs and pups more easily. I’d say, Go for it!
* My Beloved Dogs: Record Keeping for the Canine Competitor and Multi-Dog Homes