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Showing posts from December, 2015

Bailey and Frank’s Litter – Week Seven

“The Return of the Big White Monster”Perhaps that’s something of an overstatement, but imagine that you’re a seven week old puppy with limited life experiences under your furry belt. One afternoon as we were tending to the litters in the living room, we heard growling coming from the library where Bailey’s litter is located. Bailey, we thought, was telling her brood that they’d reached their quota on the milk-truck and that she wasn’t interested in any further top ups for a while. We called out to her, but to no avail. We decided we needed to go investigate. To our surprise, we found our big boy Haydain, sprawled out in the middle of the whelping box enjoying some of the puppies’ toys. Haydain occupied so much space that the pups barely had any room left for themselves. Whenever a puppy approached, he would emit a bassy, resonating growl to communicate that he preferred to keep the toys all to himself. Of course, it was all in good fun as he rolled over on his back to allow them to cl…

Sierra and Storm’s Litter – Week Seven

“Goldenstock”It was to be the biggest event of the year and the weather seemed to be holding out. They came from near and far for a singular purpose: it was gonna be a party! The invited guests were all of Sierra’s, Whitney’s and Bailey’s litters with the moms designated as chaperones. The event began with drinks….as usual. Each of the litters sought out and chased their respective moms for their liquid refreshments. Once the little ones were topped up, the fun began. Some unsettled weather from earlier in the week ensured there was a fresh supply of twigs and small branches on hand. The day’s favourite activities were crawling into a “foxhole” that their Aunt Bailey had dug and the tug-of-war competition which was usually played with one on one or two on one. In a canine interpretation of the shot put, the puppies would see how far they could flip the water bowl. In these circumstances, anything goes.

Since some of Whitney’s litter was beginning to trickle out to their forever homes, …

Bailey and Frank’s Litter – Week Six

“Decisions, Decisions”This week was all about treasures and discovery. Since the weather was a bit unsettled during the week, Mother Nature contributed numerous twigs and bits of bark to the yard. These quickly became the gang’s favourite toys. While we get a little squeamish when we have to go outside in a bit of drizzle, the little ones don’t give it a second thought. Rain or shine – it doesn’t matter. As long as they get to go outside, they’re happy. This week, their outdoor activities included tug of war with a stick; one on one, one on two or simply having a nice leisurely chew. They engaged in chases, whether actual or imagined and hide & seek was a huge crowd pleaser. The water bowl was also a key attraction and it often did double duty as a footbath. For some reason, the puppies were curious as to what the underside of the bowl looked like so it needed frequent refilling.

We can never quite understand the decision-making process of a little puppy. Sometimes they’ll jump up…

Sierra and Storm’s Litter – Week Six

“The Sortation”
This one goes in here. This one goes in there. This other one goes in here. Like letter carriers arranging the mail for their morning route, we were tasked with sorting each of these precious little packages back into their respective whelping boxes after a large backyard outing with Sierra and Whitney’s litters together. They were a bit reserved to start, but after a swig of liquid courage from their mom, the little ones raced off to join the rest of the group in activities ranging from scavenger hunts to rock climbing. It was one big, happy outing with neither judgment nor discrimination – just a whole lot of fun. The puppies’ play is becoming a bit more coordinated and adult-like, but they’re still just kids at heart. And that spinning around trying to chase your tail thing never gets old. Toward the end of a long, fun-filled day, the puppies like to get some good night cuddles before they drift off to sleep dreaming of tomorrow’s adventures.

Even Sierra’s role has ev…

Whitney and Storm’s Litter – Week Seven

“The Cuban”
It was a cool December day. There was a gentle breeze rustling through the trees and the sun’s rays struggled to peak out between the clouds. He sat atop some rocks in the crisp Caledon air – a dull grey morning, but that did not concern him. Like a connoisseur with a prized Cuban cigar, he worked the shaft until it felt right to him. And so it was that Mr. Snowball enjoyed his stick.

This particular outing was special as we had both Whitney’s and Sierra’s litters out together for a jumbo play date. They stayed in their respective groups at first, seeking out their moms as they both ran off with the little ones in tow resembling a furry conga line. Once everyone had a snack, Miss Candy Cane and Mr. Shining Star came to chase us trying to tug on our pant legs. In the meantime, Mr. Coal was at the door to the house wondering if he could get back inside. We were able to coax him to come back and join in on the fun. When the moms broke away for some quiet time, the two groups me…

Bailey and Frank’s Litter – Week Five

“The Line Forms on the Right”
The procession seemed endless as they came from all corners of the house. We’re not sure why, but Bailey’s litter has proven to be a tourist attraction among the rest of the pack. Granted, Whitney and Sierra, the two other moms would frequently come to visit and even nurse the little ones. Then Faith and Chanel, our two youngest girls along with their “Uncle” Storm nudged the barrier aside so they could stand by the whelping box and simply watch them. Never one to be shy, Haydain our gentle giant plodded right into the whelping box on numerous occasions to examine the puppies up close and personal. This must have confused the lot when they realized that this model wasn’t equipped with the usual milk apparatus.

When they weren’t eating, sleeping or playing, Bailey’s litter spent some of their time this week product testing. Since we are giving the puppies progressively drier food over time, we are also giving them water to drink to help keep them hydrated. W…

Sierra and Storm’s Litter – Week Five

“It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood”
It was a beautiful fall day on the weekend so Sierra’s litter had the opportunity to experience their inaugural outing. As we carried them out and placed each one on the lawn, they were a little bit apprehensive about the big green carpet at first. The feeling didn’t last and before long, they were overcome with curiousity as they darted off in all different directions to explore this great big space. Mom was never far away, so they kept circling back in the hope that the milk bar was open for an afternoon snack.

On top of being siblings, it’s evident that the puppies have also become fast friends as they frolicked in the yard together. Everyone settled into a variety of activities. Some were curious about rock climbing, but didn’t actually summon up enough courage to try it, while others settled in with a nice little twig, either alone or with a friend. There were a few who favoured wrestling, jousting or playing rugby without a ball. Of cour…

Whitney and Storm’s Litter – Week Six

“The Conspiracy”
Like the Navajo code talkers before them, their communication was cloaked in secrecy so the collaboration went unnoticed. They chose a cool, misty morning to put their plan into action just as the household was beginning to stir. We are unaware of exactly how the conspiracy unfolded, but somehow Mr. Cinnamon Twist from Whitney’s litter and Mr. Lifesaver from Sierra’s litter managed to escape from their respective whelping boxes in tandem for a rendezvous in the living room. The two were safely apprehended and placed in the custody of their mothers, but to this day, no one is talking.

This week, we managed to get the group outside for playtime. Just like their introduction to solid food, this group embraced the outdoors on their first outing like they’d done it a hundred times before. There was no hesitation as they all scurried off in all directions in search of treasures. It’s as though gathering up sticks and chewing them is part of a puppy’s DNA. Some of the gang eve…

Bailey and Frank's Litter – Week Four

“Food Fight”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. When the bowl was placed in the whelping box, Mr. Sparkle made a bee-line toward it and began to chow down as though he’d been doing it for years. The rest of the mini-pack followed without hesitation. The unsettling part of their mealtime was that they have achieved the title of messiest litter ever because they walked in it, skated across it, sat down in it and even swam in it.

Mealtime may be a scene out of National Lampoon’s Animal House, but it’s still a bit of a reprieve for Bailey as each of the puppy’s twenty-eight razor sharp teeth are coming in. Not yet ready for retirement, she still dutifully b…

Sierra and Storm’s Litter – Week Four

“Keeping up with the Joneses”
Sierra and her brood also had an enjoyable visitor’s day. Since they’re right next door to Whitney’s group, they had the added benefit of being cuddled by anyone who happened to be in the room! This lot was perhaps not as animated as Whitney’s litter, but then again, they’re a week younger and they still need lots of beauty sleep. That certainly didn’t hinder their participation for the big event and they were equal crowd pleasers. Bailey’s litter which is younger still, slept through most of the festivities nestled in the arms of their future families!

As much as this lot enjoys their leisure time, they are also getting their fair share of exercise and to this end; an extension has been added to the whelping box. This is the beginning of a key socialization period for the puppies. When they’re not sleeping or eating, they spend more time playing with one another. Now that they’re gaining strength and coordination, they scurry around at top speed. They poun…

Whitney and Storm’s Litter – Week Five

“The Evacuation”There were several practice runs that lead to this moment. Well-rehearsed; well-coordinated, but this event was unlike anything we’d ever witnessed. Early in the week, Mr. Snowball and Miss Candy Cane departed the whelping box for a little walkabout. Around midweek, Mr. Snowball, Miss Mistletoe and Mr. Plum Pudding took their turn, unfazed by the violation they had committed as they calmly studied their surroundings. On Monday morning, it became apparent. These were all dry runs for what came next. As we approached the living room that houses Whitney’s litter box, the entire litter of eight had evacuated their dwelling to go for a leisurely stroll around the room. They all surrendered peacefully and without incident, but this latest breach has underscored the necessity for stricter security measures.
Notwithstanding their occasional lapse in judgment, the group was all fairly well-behaved as they received visitors over the weekend. Everyone received a major dose of cudd…