Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your family.
Thank you for your puppy inquiry. We appreciate the time you spent completing our puppy application. The information below will outline a little bit about our breeding program. Please let me know if you have any questions. Our current litter page will outline for you which litters have been bred and what might be, being planned. We maintain our reservations list in a "master list" format. Once we have a litter of puppies we take photos, create a webpage just for the new litter and send out an email to the families on our reservations list starting at the top. If we have a litter of 10 puppies we usually start out sending out 15 notifications to the families at the top of our reservations list. We notify families of our new arrivals. Give a link to preview photos and also give an update of who else is pregnant and who has been bred but is not confirmed pregnant yet, along with go home dates. We do not allocate puppies at birth we only allocate families to the individual litter. When the puppies are 7 weeks old they go to the vet for their well baby exam. At 7.5 weeks of age Pat Hastings comes to our home and does a structural evaluation of every litter that we have. We use Pat Hastings who is an AKC judge and structural specialist to help us select our upcoming breeding prospects. This can only be completed at +/- 3 days of 8 weeks of age. After the evaluation and vet exam then we reach out to each family individually and discuss the available puppies. We also send out a questionnaire and ask for additional information about your household and what it is that you are looking for in a puppy. We then give you our opinion on the best available options from the litter for your family. We used to have puppy pick up days in a group environment. All the families would come together, sit and play with the puppies together. Sometimes it was awesome and sometimes it was just plain crazy. Working through the puppy allocation process the way we are now due to COVID takes MUCH, more time, work and effort. However, I believe we are getting better fits for our puppies going home with families. The selection process is much more based at this time off of matching the right disposition and energy level to the correct family. If you arrive and for some reason you do not feel a connection with the puppy that has been allocated to you we would not expect nor want you to take the puppy home. We would simply put you back on the reservations list. In nearly 15 years I've only had this happen once. But when it's not the right fit it's not the right fit. We do have each family snuggle with a toy and get your household scent all over it. And send it to us once the puppies reach 7 weeks of age. This gives the puppies a chance to get familiar with all the smells from all the new families and I believe it helps lessen the stress of going home with a new family.
Puppy orientation used to take 60-90 minutes and was completed prior to meeting the puppies in our living room. Now puppy orientation is done via a PDF file that everyone is given prior to coming to pick up their puppies. For the first time in nearly 15 years we are having to work with families via pictures and a telephone conversation for the puppy selection process. At this time, we are not allowing anyone into our home. Contracts, payments and puppy selection will be completed prior to coming to pick up your puppy. With all of the stores with limited hours and actual shutting down of stores I’m happy to say that we have everything you will need to take your puppy home. Everything from dog kennels, to toys and food bowls. At this time, we have tried to make this as much as possible a one stop pickup so that you do not have to go into stores and risk any possible infection. We will have order forms with photos of each product that we carry. You can shop online before you arrive, and we will have everything boxed up for you and ready to go upon your arrival. Each family will have their own designated time for pickup and only one family will be here at a time. After you read through this email please feel free to reach out and call me with any questions. I just read through your very detailed applications. Thank you for taking the time to complete the form. Much appreciated! Please let me know if you have any questions. We are also looking for a guardian home for a female puppy from Astra's litter. Thanks!
A bit about our program:
We do not operate a kennel facility and are not open to the general public. Usually, if someone comes to visit it is with the understanding that they are serious about adopting a puppy from us. And normally there is a deposit in place. Exposing our dogs/puppies to outside germs is always a risk and we wish to minimize the risk.
Our breeding program is centered around producing intelligent, structurally correct conformation, well-tempered dogs. We work with several therapy agencies that have enjoyed working with and training our dogs for various lines of service work.
We do not operate a kennel facility. Sampson is the only Golden Retriever that I have that lives with us. All of our other dogs live in guardian homes around the area. Our guardian program is the only way that I can ensure that ALL of our dogs are getting all the love and attention that they deserve to have as well as proper training, exercise and socialization time. With our guardian program all of our dogs are raised in their forever home from week 8. So, when they retire they do not experience a household change, they remain with their forever family. You would be welcome to come for a visit but unless there were mothers that had puppies that were at an okay age for you to meet the mother’s the only dog you would be able to meet would be Sampson.
All of our puppies are raised in our home. We actively socialize the puppies on a daily basis. We do participate in early sensory development stimulation exercises with the puppies starting at day 3. Here is a YouTube video of the exercises being completed on puppies: Bio-Sensory Link We also employ puppy raising techniques from Puppy Culture.
The puppies go for their first well baby checkup at week 7.5 where they are evaluated by our vet, micro-chipped and receive their first vaccination. In efforts of keeping our puppies safe and minimize exposure to outside germs and bacteria’s we limit the visitations to the families on our reservations list the day of puppy pick up. Puppy allocation day is so much fun! We bring all the families in the puppy nursery area at the same time. When we have larger litters, we will usually split the puppies into two groups by gender; male and female. We usually start with the girl puppies at around 10 am and then start with the male puppies around noon or 1 PM. We have all the families that are getting girl puppies or boy puppies gather for a group pick up. This gives the puppies an opportunity to meet all of the families that they get to choose from. And it also gives each of the families an opportunity to meet all of the puppies. We sit and just play with the puppies for a long time. We watch and see which puppy is attracted to which family. Normally the puppies absolutely show favorites and usually each puppy has a different favorite family. We then work as a group to work through the allocation process as a group to ensure that everyone feels like they are getting a say in which puppy they are taking home. Allocations does start in the order in which deposits are received. I always reserve the rights to retain the first female and male of each litter for breeding prospects. Additionally, if someone is going to be training a dog for a specific task such as a trained search and rescue dog or some registered “Service Dog” with a specific task a priority will be given to help ensure the right fit is achieved. All families will have the opportunity to play with the puppies and make their puppy selection with the guidance from us describing the puppy’s personality and their own interaction with the puppies. We pay LOTS of attention to who the puppy is paying the most attention to. The puppies will try their best to pick THEIR people!
On occasion I will have someone who is adopting a puppy that has concerns over having last pick in the puppy selection process. As I am writing this we, just had a litter of puppies go home and the way that it always just works out the way that it’s supposed to just amazes me. So, I’m adding this blurb to my intro letter to share a bit about the puppy selection process.
A while back we had a litter of 5, 3 boys and 2 girls. One of the families that was coming to pick up their puppy that had last pick male was VERY concerned that they were not going to get Bronco. They had two children, their son really liked Aqua Man and their younger daughter REALLY liked Bronco. Throughout week 7 there was quite a bit of communication between the family and myself. They were extremely concerned that they were not going to get the puppy that they wanted. I asked them to trust me and to trust the process. The first family came in to pick their male puppy and they took Aqua Man… Next family comes in, sits down and plays with the puppies and the kids want Grinch. The last family comes in… and I had taken the collar off of the puppy and replaced it with his Moonlit Acres puppy collar that we provide. I did not want the family to know which puppy they were playing with. The family came in, played with the puppy… the little girl was in love and finally said, “I don’t care which one he is… I LOVE him!” When I told her that it was Bronco she almost started crying.
The reason for this story is to explain that every puppy is VERY special in their own way. Puppies are attracted to certain people, which in turn causes people to fall in love and be attracted to that particular puppy… Puppies will pick their right family when given a chance. I am always amazed by this process and how well it works. At week 8 – day of puppy take home, every single family ended up with their 1st choice puppy that they had at week 7 with zero outside influences.
Puppy selection process:
Once you are on our reservations list we suggest that you get a toy and start having all of your family members snuggle with it. Get your household, family scent on the toy. Once the puppies reach 7 weeks of age make sure that the toy is addressed to your mama dog and mail us the toy. The puppies will have a week to get familiar with your families smells. We have found that this process greatly helps the transitioning to a new home as they are already familiar with the smells.
I have three grandkids that live just down the street that are usually here as the puppies are being born and here nearly every day to help socialize the puppies. The puppies are very well socialized by small children. And receive lots of snuggle time! Also, our guardian families tend to LOVE puppies! One of the benefits of being a guardian family with us is they get endless opportunities for puppy snuggles. Usually during the week, we have at least 4-5 of our different families that come in for puppy snuggles. Seems like there is a different family here nearly every day of the week. Everyone knows the routine and they dig in and help out with everything from bio-sensory stimulation to washing puppies and nail trims and best of all puppy snuggles! It takes a village to raise a well-balanced, well socialized litter of puppies. The more we can expose our puppies to in a safe, clean environment the better the puppy/dog will be when you take them home.
If you like us on Facebook, you will have the opportunity to get to know our dogs and will have access to the most up to date information and puppy photos…. We post photos on FB usually several times per week. Check us out at https://www.facebook.com/MoonlitGoldenRetrievers for the most up to date photos.
We’ve had many people that thought they wanted a puppy from one particular litter and then as we begun posting photos of the different girls people are peeking an interest in a different litter. So, we’ve decided to add everyone to one big list and after a litter of puppies is born we will contact individuals in the order in which the deposits were received. Everyone will then be given an opportunity to pick which litter they would like a puppy from. This takes the pressure off and allows everyone a lot more options as well as additional time to get to know the dogs through photos that we are posting online.
All of our adult dogs are tested and certified for:
* Eyes – annually
All of our puppies are adopted at 8 weeks of age and have the following:
• 1st round of immunizations
• 3 de-wormings: 3, 5 & 7 weeks of age
• Fecal exam by vet at week 7
• AKC registration for most of our litters. Some of our girls from overseas are still waiting for their export pedigree.
• Very well socialized and loved by small children and adults as well as other dogs
that live with me.
• We start the potty-training process at week three with the use of pee pads. We
then graduate to outside time weather permitting. We also have potty stations setup in
the house and by the time 8 weeks comes around they are about 90% potty trained for our home/environment. Which makes the next step in potty training
supper easy. I do highly recommend getting potty bells for the door and using
potty bells it will make your life so much easier in the long run. For what ever
reason you can hear those things throughout the house!
We start kennel training at 4 weeks of age. By the time the puppies go to their new families sleeping through the night in a kennel is a pretty easy thing to accomplish. The first three days of transitioning into a new home is the most difficult on the puppy and the family :-)
The families that have our puppies are our best source of referral. We welcome and encourage communication and a continued relationship long after you’ve received your puppy! I find it extremely difficult when one of our puppies leaves and we never hear from them again. These puppies are a huge part of our lives for the first 8 weeks of their lives. The imprinting done on these puppies is invaluable. It’s not uncommon for me to see one of our puppies 12-24 months after they’ve left our home and the puppies will recognize my voice and smell. It always gives a warm, fuzzy feeling when they are excited to see us again. We very much want communication after the puppy has left our home. Feedback on how smart the puppies are, how responsive, their overall health and longevity and their temperament is vital to our breeding program. Receiving feedback is the only way we can improve our breeding program and ensure that we are producing sound, healthy, SMART puppies.
The adoption fee for our puppies is $3700. Our puppies are sold on a spay and neuter contract unless previous arrangements have been made. We are located about 25 minutes north of the Portland, OR airport. In situations where you are unable to travel to pick up your puppy we can arrange to have a puppy nanny bring the puppy to you.
To approved breeders, we will occasionally allow a puppy to go with full registration. There is an additional fee for full registration. The additional fee will vary on the litter parentage and ICT status of puppy.
Usually, a couple of times of year we will breed to a male from overseas. The expenses associated with this process is significantly more expensive than using one of our boys. In cases where we use an outside male from overseas there is a $300 increase in the adoption fee for limited registration and $1000-1500 more for full registration.
We are currently taking reservations for our summer/fall litters for our puppies. Normally we would update our website with upcoming litters however every time I update our litters page we get a ton of inquiries so for now I am privately giving this information out only to people who have completed an application.
Please understand that timing is variant on Mother Nature. We have no control over litter size and or gender. We do our best to ensure our girls become pregnant and have healthy, happy well-adjusted babies that will become your forever companion. Historically our average litter size is 8.9 puppies per litter.
How our reservations list works….
We have found that keeping a master reservations list in the order in which deposits come in has worked better for us rather than having a reservations list based off of a specific litter. Sometimes a girl doesn’t get pregnant, sometimes they miscarry, sometimes they have a one sided gender litter. We recently had a litter of 10 puppies, 9 girls and 1 boy. I had some disappointed male families that had been waiting. Years ago we switched to a master reservations list.
Each time a litter is born, I take photos of the puppies and set up a webpage for the litter. I send out an email to the families on our reservations list stating at the top of the list and I work my way down the list until the litter is fully allocated. In my letter that I send out to the families I offer a link to preview our current litter that I am emailing about and I also send a spreadsheet showing all of our upcoming litters that have already been bred. In that information I also include information regarding due dates, go home dates, approximate size and colors in applicable.
If we have a litter of 10 we usually have to contact 15-20 families in order to have the litter fully allocated.
We recently went through 23 families on our list before I finally got to new families that were ready for a puppy. We cleaned up our reservations list and moved some people to a different list where they will need to reach out to us when they are ready. (The COVID thing has really done a number on our reservations list) I needed to get an accurate look at our reservations list, so I removed anyone from our list that wasn't going to be ready the next time I called them. We are currently sitting with roughly 10 families on our “current” list. We had to remove our application button and our deposit button from our website for a while. We were getting at least a thousand applications a week. There was no way to keep up with that level of communication. We just activated our reservations list again, mid July.
The COVID puppy pandemic seems to be past us now. Thankfully! :-) The puppy scene at this time has changed dramatically in the past year. No one could have ever anticipated this happening.
In order for you to end up with a sociable adult dog the puppy must be socialized and exposed to new things every day. From birth until day 16 we do bio-sensory with the puppies. From day 16 to 8 weeks we raise our puppies using a lot of the Puppy Culture methods. We teach our puppies a HERE command and sit command, we work with them to start the kennel training process and our puppies have a great start of potty training and riding in the car. If you are concerned about exposing yourself to COVID at this time, now is NOT the time to get a puppy. The rule of thumb for an 8 week old puppy is that, your new puppy needs to meet 100 people in the next 90 days that you have the puppy without you getting your puppy Parvo or you sick with COVID. Sheltering in place and no new exposures for your puppy will not equate to a well rounded, well socialized, friendly, confident adult dog. Puppies must have continued social experiences it is critical to their brain development.
If you are interested in one of our puppies we would love the opportunity to talk with you for a few minutes. Please feel free to reach out and schedule a call. Please do not place a deposit until we've talked on the phone. Thank you!
If the time frame outlined above doesn’t work and you are interested in a puppy earlier than that if you live local to us we have openings at this time for our guardian family program. We have started to open up our guardian program to families in the Seattle area if you are willing to make the drive when needed. We are planning on retaining 5-8 girls from our own breeding program this coming year. We are looking for guardian homes for our spring/summer litters that we are wishing to retain for our program. This can be an amazingly educational process if you have children that are interested in biology. Being a guardian family comes with a lot of benefits that don’t necessarily come with an outright adoption. If you would like additional information on our program here is a link. If our guardian program is of interest to you please let me know and I can send you some additional information. The guardian adoption fee is half the price of our normal adoption fee. Once your pup completes our training program we gift you back $500 at the time of their first litter. Feel free to call or email with any questions.
If you haven’t already done so and you are interested in making an application for one of our upcoming puppies please visit our application page and complete our online form.
Over the years we’ve had the pleasure of working with several therapy dog agencies and families looking for private placement therapy pups. Goldens make fantastic therapy dogs. However, they shed and sometimes are too big for a client and have dander which impedes some families with allergies…. My daughter included. About two years ago we started a breeding program with Multi-Generational Australian Labradoodles. Australian Labradoodles are very different from Goldendoodles and normal Labradoodles. (We do not breed and do not intend on breeding Goldendoodles or Labradoodles) The Australian Labradoodle is extremely healthy, tend to live 12-15 years, are hypo-allergenic, do not shed and were originally bred by Wally Conran for the Royal Guide Dogs program in Victoria, Australia. We are currently expecting two litters and we are currently taking reservations. They are fantastic dogs as personal companions and or therapy dogs. Our dogs range in the 15-45 pounds, are 97% hypo-allergic and do not shed. :-) Here is a link if you are interested: https://www.moonlitacreslabradoodles.com
What’s the next step?
If after reading through this you would like to place a deposit on a puppy please give me a call, so we can chat for a bit, answer any questions either of us may have and just talk for a few minutes and see if we are a good fit for one another. :-)
Please let me know if you have any questions. You are welcome to call or email anytime. We are located in Vancouver, WA and are on Pacific Standard Time.