Salsa is a four-year old livernose. She has had a very successful show career, being an American Kennel Club Grand Champion at the Bronze Level (104 Grand Champion points). She has several Bests of Breed and a Hound Group placement from the puppy classes. She has done particularly well at large specialty shows, taking Select Bitch or Award of Merit in very large shows several times. Ruger was one of the most successful Camleot show dogs ever. He had five all-breed Bests in Show and won the Canadian Rhodesian Ridgeback National Specialty and four Regional Specialties in the United States. He has sired 21 AKC champions and earned a place on the RRCUS Register of Merit. He was an active courser and is the only Ridgeback in history with both a Best in Show and a Best in Field.
Pregnancy was confirmed by ultrasound on September. At that time, Dr. Cain estimated that there would be about 6-8 puppies and that the due date was about October 11.
On the morning of October 10 Salsa began to exhibit the typical signs of labor--panting, nesting, lots of licking. However about noon it was clear that she was in distress and something was wrong. I called Bishop Ranch and asked for help. Our normal reproductive specialist, Dr. Cain, was out of town so we talked to her "second-in-command", Dr. Lisel Petersen. Dr. Petersen asked us to bring her right in and we rushed her there. As we drove into the Bishop Ranch parking lot a puppy was born in the back of the car. I rushed the puppy into the clinic and gave it over to a technician to clean up and attempt to recussitate while Louise Vangsgaard took Salsa into the door. They put us with Salsa in an exam room and shortly after we got settled Salsa delivered a second puppy, which was taken in back to clean up and get going. We conferred briefly with Dr. Petersen and she performed an ultrasound exam that showed two more undelivered puppies, one of which was not exchibiting a heartbeat. She also told us that the first two had been stillborn. At this point we opted for a Caesarean section since something had obvously gone wrong. The C-section delivered one female puppy and a stillborn male. Thus, of the four puppies there were three stillborn males and one live female. The female puppy weighed 10.5 ounces at birth and the three stillborn males, all of which were black-nosed and showed excellent ridges, appeared to be similar in size. After Salsa recovered from the sedation we took her and the puppy (who was called Only for a few weeks) home.
As she grew up it became clear that Only was a very exceptional puppy. Although a singleton, she seems to be perfectly socialized. Probably part of the reason is that, as the "only" puppy she gets all the holding. At our Thanksgiving dinner, with 12 family members present, her feed hardly touched the groups for about 5 hours.
"Only" was offered to your good friend Theresa Bowermaster, a long-time Ridgeback owner whose kennel prefix is Sierra Ridge. Theresa has decided that her call name will be Willow and she is considering several possible show names, all of which will feature the "one" or "only" idea.