|Oh what fun we are having!|
She was born in a small village in Central Europe near the Danube, travelling to this continent at a very young age. Despite being supplanted, her system of values was unhindered. In some cultures, it’s all about respect. Respect and family. And this circumstance was no different. Her stature was one to be loved and respected, even feared. She was, after all…..the Godmother. Bailey’s role as “Godmother” to Mango’s litter began the moment Mango and her pups arrived home from the veterinary hospital after a C-section. Bailey contributed very generously to the nursing of Mango’s brood, which outnumbered her own by seven to three. After a few days, her assistance as a wet nurse was no longer required, however Bailey was so attached to Mango’s pups that she has taken it upon herself to continue to nurse them even in Mango’s presence. Mango is a doting mom in her own right, so as a benevolent demonstration of reciprocity, she has also taken to nursing Bailey’s litter or even nursing in tandem. Mix and match moms if you will, or “teat” for tat.
This week, the gang began to wean and was introduced to mush: a canine smoothie comprised of moistened puppy food, oatmeal, goat’s milk, supplements, probiotics and honey. The convention with mush when it’s introduced to a new group is that the puppies typically sniff at it, shake their heads or walk away until we dab a little on their mouths to coax them into trying it. And then there was Mr. Merlot. When the bowl was placed in the whelping box, he made a bee-line toward it and began to chow down as though he’d done it a hundred times before. To this day, he’s the first at the dinner table, the last to leave and ever so focused on the “task” at hand. The girls, who both have healthy appetites, were quick to follow suit. This is a bit of a reprieve for Bailey as each of the puppy’s twenty-eight razor sharp teeth are coming in, but she still dutifully brings her milk truck around several times a day and night to keep her family topped up.
This is the beginning of a key socialization period for the puppies and they’re spending more time playing with one another and with Mango’s progeny. Now that they’re gaining strength and coordination, they scurry around at top speed and pounce on each other or play “pretend jousting” where they stand apart from their opponent, take a couple of steps forward and gently bounce off their sibling. They test each other’s limits and learn the difference between hard and soft biting. Miss Champagne loves to climb in and out of the openings of the little mini-den while Miss Chardonnay spends her time with the new play-station, practicing to bat the ball (and she’s not even Dominican). And Mr. Merlot….well, he does love to eat.
That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another heart-warming installment of “Puppy Tales”.