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Showing posts from November, 2015

Bailey and Frank’s Litter – Week Three

“This Masquerade”There are two things that Bailey does not lack: cunning and determination. For instance, Bailey is banned from the backyard until she comes to the realization that the whelping box is much better lodging for her puppies than the giant hole she has excavated under a spruce tree. Whenever we let various dogs out into the yard, Bailey stealthily mixes in with the pack by keeping her head down and pressing forward so she can continue with her quest outside. Despite the fact that she bunks in the library with her puppies, when it’s bedtime for the big dogs, Bailey pretends to be one of them and happily enters an empty crate because she knows the routine that a treat is sure to follow. Every morning at a time of her choosing, she makes a pilgrimage down the hall to jostle our bedroom door to advise us that it’s time to get up. What all of that amounts to is one smart lady. And we’re sure her pups are lucky to have her as a mom. In fact, Whitney and Sierra’s puppies are luc…

Sierra and Storm’s Litter – Week Three

“The Drill Sergeant”
She heard the commotion from across the foyer and went to investigate, walking with her usual confident swagger. To her, the hubbub was unacceptable. She marched right up to Bailey’s dorm (aka the whelping box) which housed Bailey’s eight chirping minions and barked, admonishing them to keep the noise down. Sierra promptly swung around and returned to her own group to nurse them. So unusual were the antics of all the moms this past week. Whitney napped in front of Bailey’s box while Bailey tip toed into Whitney’s; likely just checking for more toys to steal for her collection but also nursing Whitney’s puppies while she lingered. Sierra snooped around in both of the other whelping boxes, occasionally pausing to nurse some of their inhabitants. It’s apparent that all three are not possessive of their broods and trust one another implicitly. In true Golden fashion; everyone is welcome.

The group now has a great deal more room to stagger around in since we’ve added the…

Whitney and Storm’s Litter – Week Four

“His Majesty’s Feast”
This week saw the introduction of the puppies to gruel or mush:  a healthy concoction of oatmeal, kibble, honey, goat’s milk and vitamins, all fit for a king, to supplement the feedings they get from their mom. It’s always interesting to see how things take shape during the inaugural feeding. They’re usually a little apprehensive about consuming something their mom didn’t deliver, but that certainly wasn’t the case with this group. Mr. Coal and Mr. Cinnamon Twist needed no second invitation and their message to the rest of the group was clear. One by one, the puppies descended upon the bowl to see what the fuss was all about. Toward the end of the feast, unrestricted by etiquette, both Miss Mistletoe and Mr. Sugar Cookie were walking through the bowl and even laying down in it. Whitney also enjoys mealtime because she gets to finish the left-overs (if there are any) and lick the sticky mess (also known as dessert) off their faces. Of course, the milk bar is stil…

Bailey and Frank’s Litter – Week Two

“The Toy Drive”
Toy drives are generally thought of as philanthropic deeds designed to bring some measure of joy to the less fortunate among us. Apparently Bailey does not subscribe to this notion. During the week, she started sneaking into both Whitney’s or Sierra’s whelping box stealing toys, one at a time. Every so often, she would work out a self-concocted exchange program of sorts whereby she would enter their whelping box with an already well-used marrow bone and “exchange” it for yet another toy. But it didn’t stop there. Later on, we witnessed Bailey sneak into our bedroom where there is a small stash of dog-toys for the rest of the pack and steal some of those as well. We managed to track Bailey down to her lair where we found she had stashed all of the toys like a canine hoarder. We even caught her cuddling them during her breaks. Humbug, we say.

The actual purpose of the toys is to provide obstacles for the puppies in their whelping box so they need to climb over them in ord…

Sierra and Storm’s Litter – Week Two

“The Mobile Salad Bar”
A mom’s job is never easy. To add to this challenge, Sierra contracted mastitis this week; an inflammation of a mammary gland which is an infection caused by a little bite or scratch. This is not uncommon and not serious when diagnosed and treated in the early stages. We opted for two courses of treatment: the medical solution of a regimen of antibiotics coupled with the homeopathic one of strapping a cabbage leaf to the affected area. While the cabbage patch mom’s malady is improving very rapidly, the rest of the pack has been very curious about Sierra’s mobile salad bar.

The puppies have all gained well with everyone more than doubling their birth weight. That’s quite an accomplishment considering Sierra is only firing on nine of ten cylinders. Sierra is a very attentive and loving mother, looking after the needs of her little family with every whimper, never straying very far from them or for very long. She does however find a moment for her frequent ritual of …

Whitney and Storm’s Litter – Week Three

The Hat Trick
It begins as a tiny little chirp. And then again. It’s followed by a retort, albeit amplified. The little puppies are beginning to find their voices and it’s fun to watch some of them as they seem to startle themselves when they emit a mini-bark. Yes, they’re growing up…but not too quickly yet.

There are three key things that puppies do. They eat and they sleep and they also work out. Their exercise regimen may not be readily apparent but as they lay there asleep, the puppies are constantly twitching. These involuntary actions, referred to as “activated sleep”, help strengthen their leg muscles allowing them to stagger around on all fours like the last guests at a sorority party. We’ve also added numerous stuffed animals to the whelping box which forces the little ones to climb over the obstacles to reach their target (usually the milk bar or a sibling to sleep on) thereby building muscle mass.

Now that the puppies can see and hear, they are beginning to get acquainted with…

Bailey and Frank’s Litter – Week One

“The Wet Nurses”
For the weeks leading up to the birth, a mother-to-be knows she’s going to have a litter. When puppies are delivered via C-section, it’s a bit confounding for her because somehow the babies have miraculously appeared. We welcomed: Miss Bubbles, Mr. Hangover, Miss Champagne, Mr. Crystal, Mr. Firecracker, Mr. Sparkler, Mr. Tuxedo and Mr. Balloon. It can take a while for mom to come to the realization that these are her babies, but in the meantime both Whitney and Sierra came to Bailey’s aid by helping to nurse some of her puppies.

Part of mom’s job description is to stimulate her newborn pups to eliminate by licking them. In this regard, Bailey’s maternal instincts kicked in fairly quickly and she became a very focused and loving mother, attending to the needs of her little family with every whimper. The puppies have all gained well and easily doubled their birth weight by the end of the first week. We weigh them at least twice daily for the first couple of weeks in order…

Sierra and Storm’s Litter – Week One

“The Roadblock”

We knew it was going to be a long night, but as night turned into day, it became evident that Sierra was going to need a little help in delivering her puppies. While she was lying on our bed experiencing contractions, the funny thing was that Sierra somehow managed to maintain her trademark wiggle lying down. Since she was expecting a litter of only five, the pups had grown so big that the first one in line created a roadblock, necessitating a C-section. The procedure went well and before long, we were graced with the births of five not-so-tiny babies: Miss Cotton Candy, Mr. Jellybean, Miss Lollipop, Mr. Gumdrop and Mr. Lifesaver.

Any time puppies are delivered via C-section, there is an ensuing period of adjustment. The mother-to-be knows she’s going to have a litter, but then she goes to sleep and wakes up with these foreign little beings demanding her attention. It takes mom a while, sometimes several hours and sometimes a couple of days, before she comes to the real…

Whitney and Storm’s Litter – Week Two

Change of AddressShe just wouldn’t take our word for it. Since our Sierra was expecting her litter this week, we moved Whitney and her pups out of the bedroom and into another whelping box that we’d set up in the library. Everything was identical to the previous setup in the bedroom and her puppies were already settled in their new surroundings, but Whitney wasn’t convinced. She kept coming back to the bedroom to perform numerous inspections to make sure we hadn’t left anyone behind. After a little coaxing and several treats, Whitney was satisfied with the new arrangement. After all, this room featured a sofa that she could use to lounge on when she was on her breaks. In time, Whitney relished our regular cuddle sessions with her on the sofa as well. In fact, Whitney seems to enjoy it there so much that she has abandoned any notion she ever had about relocating her brood to a spot under the spruce tree in the backyard.

One of the most exciting events for us is when the puppies’ eyes op…

Whitney and Storm’s Litter – Week One

Marionettes

Despite the fact that he volunteered to be first out, Mr. Coal may have had some second thoughts on his way through the birth canal since he needed a little assistance with his extraction. The remainder of Whitney’s labour was relatively uneventful as one by one, her puppies popped out. Miss Candy Cane was close behind, followed by Mr. Sugar Cookie, Mr. Plum Pudding, Miss Mistletoe, Mr. Cinnamon Twist, Mr. Snowball and finally Mr. Shining Star. All of the puppies made their debut in and around the one pound mark. Whitney embraced motherhood with tremendous zeal. As several of the puppies were attached to the milk bar busily nursing, Whitney was licking them with such enthusiasm that they were flopping up and down like little marionettes. We were doing our utmost to keep the newborns dry and warm while Whitney was taking us to task by cleaning and stimulating them until they were all drenched again.

Apart from nourishment, a mom’s milk contains antibodies vital to the puppies…