Friday, February 17, 2006

Puppy Journal

From Sheila Miller:

So the puppies were born late afternoon/early evening on Sunday. A very civilized time to be born. Let me go on record right now by saying that Picabo is one hell of a brood bitch. I can’t believe how much she has emotionally matured since her first litter almost two years ago. She was a great mom then but so serious. Age and experience have left her very skilled but easy going with the newborns.

It was an easy delivery and easy clean-up. We settled into bed by 11:00 p.m. If you haven’t been around neonate puppies, they mew like kittens. I laid in bed and listened to the sounds they made. They have sounds for “too cold", “too hungry", and “too squished” and one for “just practicing my mew”. They weren’t cold, they weren’t hungry, and they weren’t being squished. They nursed and slept. So then I laid in bed and listened to all the sounds this end of the house makes. There was the ticking of the clock, the rumble of the space heater and further from the bedroom I could hear the whole house ventilation fan and every once in awhile, the fridge. IOW, I didn’t sleep much. One of the things that kept me awake is my new Dura-Whelp whelping box. Since it is winter, I couldn’t buy my reliable $6.00 wading pool and had to buy the $280.00 plastic box. I’m happy enough with the Dura-Whelp though I’m still a bit in shock over the price. The box is held together by Velcro. Every time Picabo would stretch out, I would hear that distinctive tearing sound of Velcro separating. I was positive the whole thing would collapse in the night. It didn’t but the bedding kept shifting.

I am always “sick” for a day or two after a litter is born. This time I really was (still am) sick. Some respiratory virus that has overtaken our school has traveled the whole of my body and settled in my chest (and has turned me into a mouth-breather). I was hoping Monday would be a day of checking on dogs, puppies and sleeping. Monday was spent ironing out the wrinkles of the Dura-Whelp. My main concern was the bedding. The bedding is just a square of synthetic fleece with Velcro sewn in the corners to match the Velcro in the corners of the box. Picabo doesn’t dig much in her box but she does shift her body position. Every shift from her, shifted the bedding. Every shift of the bedding put the puppies at risk of getting caught underneath the bedding or on the cold, slippery surface of the plastic box. I had some Velcro in my sewing box and tried adding more to the edges but its adhesive wouldn’t permanently stick to the plastic. I wasn’t about to use a stronger

adhesive and let those babies inhale the fumes. I had to fix this problem because in just another day, Picabo and her puppies would be on their own all day long. What I came up with was carpet tape. I clean and dry the Dura-Whelp and then place additional squares of carpet tape around the fleeces bedding. It sticks fairly well to the plastic an OK to the fleece. Enough to last the day. When I change the bedding, I just pull off the tape and repeat the process.

Monday night was another short night because Picabo had her post-whelping diarrhea. I would like to know how the other breeders on this list feed their bitches during the first 36 hours after whelping. Mine all get yucky diarrhea as they work out all those consumed placentas from their bodies.

We headed over to Elk Tuesday afternoon for tail docking and dew claw removal. I used to be so conservative about this. I always waited until they were 3 or 4 days old and had definitely put on weight. No more. Picabo’s first litter was docked at 48 hours old and they immediately bounced back. This litter was a few hours shy of 48 hours and each one’s whimpering stopped before the next puppy was docked. It is the most disgusting ordeal to witness but I like the look of a docked tail and they really do recover quickly.

Wednesday I was back in school and Picabo was on her own. I came home to a stinky house as she had a poopy accident (but hit the papers!) in the bedroom. Picabo’s GI tract consumed a lot of my time with her first litter. I am going to stay on top of her digestion this time. I’ve added bran cereal to her diet to help hold her together as she adjusts to the physical stress she is under. It seems to be working so far.

Now it is Friday and these puppies and their mom are just great. OK, I said 2 boys and 1 girl were liver and 2 boys and 1 girl were black. But you really didn’t think they were all black and all liver coming from Cosmo and Picabo did you? LOL

Little Black Boy: White muzzle, white toes on front feet, white chest, and a thin white line between the eyes.

Bigger Black Boy: Dusting of white on nose. White cross on chest.

Liver Boy (AKA the Border Collie): White muzzle, four white feet, white chest, and white spot on the BACK of his neck.

Other Liver Boy: Dusting of white on nose, white chest, white toes on two front feet. This boy is a darker shade of liver than the other two liver puppies. He is also the only puppy in the litter NOT to show bright tan under the tail. Most believe that is a sign the puppy is a carrier for tan markings.

Black Girl (AKA the springer): White muzzle, full white blaze between the eyes, white chest, and four white feet.

Liver Girl: White chin, white chest, and white toes on the two front feet.

The good news is that everyone now has “dirty feet” meaning they are ticking up. I am confident that all of the facial and toe white will fill in. I know that the chest white will decrease in size to just a flash of white. But they sure are cute now. :-)

Debbie is going to stop by my house on Saturday. We will take pictures and I hope to have some up for you to view by Monday.

Sheila Miller

Wolftree Acres

Nevada, USA

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