|Mr. Chocolate Fudge|
“The Time Machine”
It was early. The sun had just begun its daily struggle to illuminate the morning sky and the room was still filled with a murky darkness. We heard the rumble off in the distance. Moments later, we heard it again, except much closer. Suddenly the mattress began to ripple from a weight deposited in its centre. Much to our surprise, Heidi had exited the whelping area, broken through two barriers and was guided to our bedroom by her internal GPS for a bit of rest and a morning cuddle.
Heidi’s mastitis has cleared up and she’s ever the happy and loving creature. She is very content with the move of her mini-pack into the library where she can attend to her flock and have lots of room to lounge in. (She has yet to read any books though.) Even her “sister” Sierra comes by routinely just to inspect the goings on in Heidi’s whelping box. While Heidi has welcomed the move, she’s still intent on investigating alternative living spaces in the yard which has resulted in frequent, obligatory foot baths. Since her puppies have tripled in weight since birth, we know that at least they’re content with their new surroundings.
The big news this week is that the little ones have opened their eyes, even if just a bit. Puppies are born with their eyes closed to help protect them in the in the womb, during birth and beyond. They open around day twelve allowing the puppies initially to only differentiate between light and dark. The haze clears over a week or so and they begin to experience normal sight. They are able to hear quite well as soon as their ears have opened but it will take some time before they can figure out what they’re hearing and who they’ve been cuddling with all the while.
There’s something totally relaxing and mesmerizing about watching little puppies -whether they’re nursing or just lying around sleeping. Since their body temperatures will not have been regulated until after week three, the little gang relies on mom and each other for warmth so they huddle together like a quivering mass. As they lie there asleep, they are constantly twitching. These involuntary actions, referred to as “activated sleep”, help strengthen their leg muscles for the mobility they will need to jump off a dock one day. As we hover and watch them, it’s as though time stands still in this little microcosm while the world around us breezes by.
As breeders, we are so very fortunate to be able to experience the miracle of life firsthand and we never tire of the privilege to welcome each and every little soul into this world. But at this time, our hearts are heavy with the loss of our sweet, little Miss Marshmallow. We take some comfort in knowing that “Marsha” experienced more love and care in her brief time on this earth than many other dogs do in their entire lifetime. It’s a solemn reminder of how fragile we are.
That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another chapter in the continuing saga of “Puppy Tales”.