In the kitchen with Lisa Gaertner

| 06 Mar 2012 | 04:33

What happens when you breed adorable American Cocker Spaniels and the time comes for the little ones to leave?

“I screen buyers very thoroughly and they all go to loving homes,but to be there from the time they come into the world, all just beautiful, loving little angels, it’s devastating to give them up,” LisaGaertner said.

She currently has a litter of five little fur balls in her care and soon all but one will be going to their new owners.Along with friend Sandy Mantione, Gaertner does know something about birthing babies – puppies, that is.

“A new mommy may be a little scared and you really need to be there," said Gaertner."Once it’s born, we remove the sac, cut the cord, rub it with a towel to dry it, clean its nose and mouth and then it goes right on the mother to feed.It’s a miracle to watch.”

Gaertner, 51, grew up in Mahwah and has lived in West Milford since 1997.She comes from a large, close-knit family and leads a busy life.She graduated from Ramapo College where she studied “paleontology, of all things.”She never got into the field, however, and instead became a legal secretary.

She played semi-professional racquet ball and turned that into a business, organizing tournaments.As the general interest in the sport died off, she went back to administrative work and then into real estate, obtaining her license in 2000.She is currently a salesperson at Realty Executives Exceptional Realtorsin West Milford.

Gaertner focuses on many specialties in her field including first-time home buyers, senior/retirement and sellertransactions, short sales and foreclosures, home staging, and internet advertising, to name a few.

She reported there are currently approximately 400 homes on the market in West Milford, includingmany foreclosures and short sales.Is she seeing a trend in town?

“I think a lot of people, because of what’s happening with the banks, are more likely to do re-modifications.People are trying to stay in their homes,” she said.

Gaertner commented that today’s home buyer is very knowledgeable.About 90 percent look to the internet and pre-screen homes.Her office offers virtual tours and their listings are on over 50 syndicated Web sites.

“They can weed out what they’re not interested in,” she said, saving time and gas.

When not on the job Gaertner spends her time with her “fur kids” and loves every minute of it.Her brown spaniel, Olivia, is her star at the moment, having just completed her first showing at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

“Olivia is our second champion here at Pinecliff Cockers.Madison, our red and white cocker, is our first and she just had a litter of puppies,” Gaertner said.

Olivia didn’tbring home a ribbon from Westminster but she did well.

“For a 15-month-old puppy, she handled herself beautifully. I can’t wait for next year,” Gaertner said.

Olivia had been building her reputation before the recent show, winning Best of Opposite, third place in variety at the American Spaniel Club National Championships and she was an American Kennel Club Champion before she was a year old.It seems that Olivia is on the fast track to championship.

“She’s playful and spunky, very smart and she’s just a mush,” her proud owner said.

Show dogs require some extra attention, including daily brushing and frequent baths with specialized shampoos and conditioners to keep the coat glossy and flowing.Proper weight must be maintainedand at show time a vitamin supplement is added to the diet to enhance their coats. As with all pets,ear and dentalhygiene is important.And then there’s the hair cut.

“There’s the show cut and the pet cut.Either way, they tend to mat up easily so hair cuts are important,“Gaertner said.

Breeding and showing dogs requires time.Some shows takea day, some a weekend.“It’s a commitment, but I love it,” she said.

From the current crop of puppies comes Lexi, Madison’s daughter,the next anticipated star for Gaertner.When she starts showing, she’ll be the first “bred by” from Pinecliff Cockers andher non-fur mommy is expecting amazing things from her.Just one look at her adorable face can tell you why she may very well be a show stopper.

In her spare time Gaertner loves being with her brothers and sisters and their families, so much so that she cooks dinner for them each Sunday.Now that’s a commitment.

She sent in a recipe for her nephew Connor’s favorite dish.