Our Puppies

Celebrating Regal Golden Puppies .......

About Us

Our goal is to breed and raise exceptional quality British Style Golden Retrievers. Our bloodlines are from only the most respected kennels worldwide. We are members of the Canadian Kennel Club, UK Kennel Club and GRCC and strictly adhere to their code of ethics. Our breeding dogs have passed all health clearances for eyes, heart, hips and elbows.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Kingston and Whitney Litter – Week Six

Mommy comforting Miss Strawberry.

“The hills are alive with the sound of music”


Well the music is actually the chirping and chanting sounds made by the mini-pack who have finally found their voices. They can be heard off in the distance expressing their opinions or tempting a littermate to play. The hills in this case are the snow-covered ruts in the backyard, which at the size of a six week old puppy, must resemble mountains. This notwithstanding, the group embraced the great outdoors as though they’d been doing it for years. They were completely comfortable and at ease considering the terrain was a far cry from the bunched up towels and shredding they were used to in the whelping box. These new mountaineers were content to explore a good portion of the yard and some even found twigs to munch on. It’s as though gathering up sticks and chewing them is part of a puppy’s DNA.

Their mom Whitney always escorts her brood outside and keeps a watchful eye on them. She begins by mingling with them, offering a quick snack of a milkshake and then she retires to a little mound of snow from which she keeps her vigil. Before long, pups scamper off in search of their littermates or to check up on what the humans are doing. This group is really tight and they most certainly enjoy their playtime together, not to mention naptime. But now that they’ve had a taste of the great outdoors with the crisp Caledon air, there can be no substitute. Even on days when the weather doesn’t lend itself to an outing, the puppies lean up on the whelping box by the door in the hopes that we’ve reconsidered.

This bunch is extremely affectionate and they have a sense of urgency to be picked up and cuddled. They’re friendly too and welcome seven month old puppy Skye on her way past the whelping box as she does her routine inspection of its inhabitants. When the puppies hear or see us approaching, the rustling in the whelping box begins. They’re always hopeful that it will mark the beginning of a new adventure.

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another stimulating installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Kingston and Whitney Litter – Week Five

We are getting bigger, stronger and cuter everyday.


“Naughty or Nice?”


The days leading up to Christmas always seem a magical time. There is a certain electricity in the air and the puppies are feeling it too. Their play is conducted with a heightened sense of vigour and no one is exempt. Just because a puppy is asleep doesn’t mean they can’t be included in the fun. Every now and again, one of them will voice a complaint about having been awakened. But of course, in true Golden fashion they’re quick to forgive and always rise to the occasion. The new soft doghouse we added into the whelping box has proved to be a big hit. While we’re sure it will sleep one comfortably, we often see two or three of them rummaging around in it at a time.

This group will likely go on record as the quietest litter ever. In the past, we’ve had some little ones that screech to some extent almost from the day they’re born until the day they leave. Mind you, their forever families assure us that they’re quiet once they leave here. We’re thinking it must have something to do with the water or perhaps it’s group dynamics. On that note, since their food is now prepared a bit dryer, the puppies are drinking plenty of water to keep hydrated. Whitney still nurses the puppies occasionally to supplement their diet of moistened puppy food, albeit with waning enthusiasm. Fortunately everyone is demonstrating better manners in the mess hall.

Whitney and her babies have made the move out of the bedroom, down the long hallway and into the living room at the opposite end of the house. So far Whitney is content. She has a loveseat and sofa to curl up on at night or during breaks. Since there is a door leading out into the backyard in this room, the puppies won’t have far to go once they’re ready to experience their first blast of this arctic Caledon air.…but there’s still time for that. Apart from the move, there was much for the gang to take in. One of these things was the addition of shredded paper to the whelping box extension which is their first step toward house training. The best part is that the room has a fireplace with a chimney which Santa will use when he comes calling. And since the little ones have been more nice than naughty, Christmas should prove to be very enjoyable.

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another regal installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Kingston and Whitney Litter – Week Four

Hard to believe we are 4 weeks old today!

“In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight….”


So maybe it’s not a real jungle and of course it’s not a real lion, but the puppies’ habitat had all the makings of it this week. Miss Linen demonstrated this as she stretched her mouth open as wide as it would go in order to fit Mr. Camel’s head into it, not unlike the hapless lion tamer. Now that the extension has been added to the whelping box, their area has doubled in size and the action inside of it is continually ramping up. We have the requisite stuffed animals in the box, further adding to the jungle theme. Since their hunting and chasing instincts are emerging, the gang practices with their plush toys using them as both pillows and playmates, but the most fun they’re having is the increased interaction with their littermates. And none of them care if their sibling is awake or asleep as was confirmed by Miss Strawberry observed munching on the sleeping Mr. Tangerine’s tail.

Mealtime is just as entertaining as the puppies are still lacking in table manners. Mr. Mint insists on belly surfing through the food dish before he actually gets down to business and Miss Carnation amuses us by pushing the food around with her paw arranging it into little portions of sorts. Somehow everyone has managed to actually eat their food since they all resemble plump little Buddhas as they lay snoring after dinner. The proof is revealed on the scale as they are now approaching six pounds in weight.

To work off the effects of this fine dining, the gang has an elaborate play station at its disposal. The little ones are developing their strength, co-ordination and cognitive skills as well as learning how to engage in an activity with a littermate, even if it’s just bumping heads. The puppies have saved the best part of their interactions for us. They react to each and every little sound and their little heads bob back and forth as we move about the room; their eyes taking in every trace of movement. Above all, they delight in being picked up and cuddled. Some enjoy belly rubs while stretched out on their backs while others content themselves by trying to bite our noses or lick our faces. Good thing they’re all just baby teeth!

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another chilling installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Kingston and Whitney Litter – Week Three

We are spending more time awake these days!

“It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time”


He was the first at everything and this was no exception. But was it really a good idea? There was Mr. Jet Black, Whitney’s first born in the middle of the bedroom carpet in what was surely seemed to him like puppy-sized mile away from the whelping box. He showed no fear as he stood there surveying the room in search of his mom, or at least that’s our theory. We’re not sure how he was able to accomplish his feat but the little lad managed to escape from the whelping box by some means that involved maneuvering his body over a couple of slats at its entrance that were twice his height. He never did connect with his mom who was fast asleep behind the other end of the whelping box. She was on her break!

Now that their vision is established beyond simply being able to detect light, dark and movement, the puppies are becoming increasingly curious about their surroundings and each other. As they are beginning to get acquainted with their littermates, they can often be observed standing in a group gently colliding or rubbing their noses and heads against one another. It is not essential for the recipient to actually be awake. This is the beginning of a key period for the puppies as they are developing rudimentary social skills. They are testing each other’s limits and learning the difference between hard and soft biting and they also take turns sleeping at the top and bottom of the sibling pile. To further enhance their experience, we’ve put stuffed animals in the whelping box as an obstacle course of sorts as well as fluffy playmates to cuddle with.

This week saw the introduction of the puppies to gruel or mush:  a healthy concoction of puréed kibble, oatmeal, honey, goat’s milk and vitamins, all fit for a king, to supplement the feedings they get from their mom. The charge was led by none other than Mr. Jet Black but the rest quickly followed. Mr. Mint demonstrated how to skate through the food dish. Miss Chiffon and Mr. Tangerine also thought that was a swell idea quickly diminishing any semblance of etiquette there may have been. Whitney is delighted by the enhanced menu that her brood have at their disposal as she’s entitled to the leftovers. Unfortunately for Whitney, that’s only every happened once to date.

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another nail-biting installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Kingston and Whitney Litter – Week Two

Nap time!


“Can you hear me now?”

One of the most exciting events for us is when the puppies’ eyes open. Many of the puppies’ critical organs including their brain are not fully formed and they will spend several weeks developing rapidly. Since the gestation period in dogs is short (63 days), the tradeoff is that puppies are quite helpless at birth. Biologists refer to species that produce immature dependent offspring as altricial, which means “to nurse, to rear or to nourish”. It refers to the need for the young of these species to be fed and taken care of for a long period of time. Puppies are born with their eyelids tightly shut because the eye itself is still developing and is extremely fragile. The closed eyelids serve as a barrier to protect the eyes from potential damage. Now that their eyes are open, it will take a few weeks before their eyes mature and their eyesight begins to approach normal. The puppies are also born functionally deaf since their ear canals are closed. While their ear canals begin to open at around the same time, the ears are much more fully formed than the eyes and their hearing will be quite acute within a week or so.

Unlike many other moms who share in the relentless pursuit of trying to excavate new homes for their puppies, Princess Whitney has come to appreciate the finer things in life and has abandoned this practice. She has even been taking some “me-time” away from her brood to chew on a bone, relax on a dog bed, a cool tile floor or join us on the bed for belly rubs or a cuddle. Meanwhile back in the whelping box, the puppies were participating in spa week. This consisted of some warm facecloth wipe downs to get the spots that mom might have missed and pedicures all around without the nail polish, of course.

At first glance, it may appear that the puppies spend all of their time sleeping since they’ve bulk up to a weight of nearly three pounds. This is largely true, but they also spend a good deal of time exercising. This may not be readily apparent but as they lay there asleep, they are constantly twitching. These involuntary actions, referred to as “activated sleep”, help strengthen their leg muscles and begin to build muscle mass. This allows them to plod around on all fours when they’re in search of their mom for a snack. Fortunately Whitney’s a good sport and keeps the milk bar open twenty-four hours a day.

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another riveting installment of “Puppy Tales”.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Kingston and Whitney Litter – Week One

Mr. Jet Black is the first to be born.

“Fly Ball”

She’d been down this road before, but she needed some assurance that everything would be alright. On the eve of puppies’ births, Whitney snuggled up to spoon with us and to get some quality touches before the big event. Nearly five hours later at 4:15 a.m., Mr. Jet Black poked his head out. We were afraid might see his shadow and go back inside but with a little encouragement he said hello to the world. Forty-five minutes later, Mr. Camel made his entrance followed by Mr. Mint. Then Whitney made us wait for an hour and a half before Mr. Tangerine was born which completed the ensemble of four boys. The girls must just have been polite to wait their turn. After another hour and a half, Miss Carnation made her debut. Fortunately we only had to wait another ten minutes for Miss Chiffon as we all know that girls are more punctual. The big surprise was that while Whitney was out on what was supposed to be a pee break, she delivered Miss Pansy outside whom we caught in mid-air like an overpaid outfielder. The list was capped off with Miss Strawberry and finally Miss Linen at 10:38 a.m. thus completing the quintet of girls.

As the seasoned veteran of two prior litters, Whitney was quite low key as we worked our way down the list, but her excitement built up to a crescendo with the birth of the last two girls. All the pups weighed in around the one pound mark and were relatively equal in size. They all wasted no time in bellying up to the milk bar. Apart from nourishment, a mom’s milk contains antibodies vital to the puppies’ survival for the first several weeks of their lives. Whitney is magnanimous as a mom, spending virtually every waking and sleeping moment in the whelping box nursing her youngsters. This allowed them to double in weight toward the end of the first week. After the first couple of days, Whitney relaxed a little and periodically jumped up on our bed to burrow in the sheets or get a little cuddle or two before returning to work.

We weigh the puppies at least twice daily for the first week to ensure that everyone is getting equal access to the milk bar. Whitney watches us very carefully as we pick up a puppy to take it to the scale. If the process takes too long for her liking, she rushes to the scale to escort the puppy back to the warmth and safety of the whelping box.

Newborn puppies are unable to regulate their own body temperature and over the first three weeks, their temperature climbs one degree a week until it reaches the normal range. When mom is on her break, we use a heat lamp to keep everyone warm and cozy. We’ve found that these kids love to nestle into their mom or use her paws for a pillow as they dream the dreams that puppies do.

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another beguiling installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Monday, November 7, 2016

Princess Whitney, Day 55 (pre-parturition)


Whitney is certainly showing!
As we head into the final week of Whitney’s pregnancy, she is certainly continuing to slow down. Her abdomen measures a whopping 36 inches or 91cm. She is eating her meals very slowly but still polishing them off. Whitney is now receiving 4 meals daily but we may increase that to 5 or 6 meals daily as we move closer to her birthing date. The pressure of her growing puppies increases when she's near to term so she may want smaller more frequent meals.

Whitney has now begun to nest as all moms-to-be do. In the wild she would have carefully chosen a safe area in which to dig herself an appropriate den. Without human intervention, this is where she would have her puppies!  But not to worry, she’ll actually have them in a nice warm and sterile environment known as the whelping box. Over the next week we will make all the final preparations for the arrival of her puppies.


We have begun monitoring her temperature twice daily as any significant drop would signal the onset of labour. At day 59 the puppies can be safely born but the gestation term is typically 63 days or 9 weeks from ovulation.

It is easy to feel the puppies moving around now as they begin to grow more rapidly now. We will continue to pamper Whitney as we await the BIG day!
 
National Geographic image of a Golden Retriever pup fetus.
Toward the 50th day of gestation, the fetuses’ skeletons are ossified. At this point, the puppies’ coats of fur are fully developed and they will rapidly gain in size in preparation for their birth. The puppies have basically finished their development and are just growing bigger at this point. Puppies are born without the ability to see and their eyes don’t open until about 10 days after birth.

Stay tuned ….

Friday, October 28, 2016

Wonderful Whitney - 45 days (pre-parturition)


Whitney's abdomen is certainly beginning to show!


Whitney has always been our little princess and since her pregnancy she has upped the ante. If she could have her meals delivered to the bedroom and served to her while she relaxes on our king size bed she surely would! She is ever so affectionate and increasingly demanding belly rubs! Of course, we are very happy to oblige.

Whitney has an enormous appetite and polishes off every meal and still looks for more. Since ravenous Whitney took it upon herself to include a helping of pillow and pillowcase in her diet, we have begun feeding her 3 times a day.



It was difficult to tell Whitney was even pregnant as she didn’t really show much until Day 37 when her waistline bulged to a whopping 31.5 inches or 80 cm and she has approximately 19 days to go! She is definitely beginning to have a waddle in her walk!

 
National Geographic - Fetus at approximately day 39

Pre-natal period: By day 30, digestive and respiratory glands, muscles, bone, the puppy's circulatory, genital and urinary systems, the skin and hair, the nervous system and all of the puppy's sensory organs--including the eyes, inner ear and peripheral nerves have formed. During weeks four to six of pregnancy, the puppy's organs, bones, eyes and spinal cord begin to fully develop. The fetus starts to actually look like a dog, with whisker buds showing on its developing face, and claws and toes differentiating on the feet. By week six, the puppy’s skin pigment is formed and you can hear a heartbeat. At this point in their development, the puppies have all their features. From here on they will grow rapidly until they are born.
 


Stay tuned ……








Monday, July 25, 2016

Hugo and Heidi’s Litter – Week Seven-and-a-half

No comment!


“Class Clown”

It was very hot outside, but they didn’t care. They just wanted out and didn’t hold back communicating this to us. Notwithstanding the temperature and humidity, the gang had a great time in the yard and was going outside to play several times a day. Clever bunch that they are, they used the water bowls as splash pads which we had to refill continually. Then Miss Sky, class clown for the day, paraded around with the water bowl on her head. We’re not clear as to whether or not the other puppies laughed, but we certainly did.

Some of Surrey’s pups were still on hand to round out the teams so playtime was even more fun. Rock climbing was especially popular which lead to some puppies honing their gymnastic skills by catapulting five inches onto the grass below. Rugby proved to be fun as well, with or without the ball. Everyone demonstrated their track & field skills by running off spontaneously in a random direction and occasionally falling down in the process or carrying around a big twig which resembled either a javelin or a vaulting pole – we’re not sure which. There certainly was a lot of buzz in the yard and every puppy was busy doing one thing or another.

We are such a quiet and happy bunch!

Like their mom Heidi, these pups are an alert, well-balanced and affectionate bunch who are happy to make friends with everyone. It’s hard to believe how quickly the time has passed so we’re now firming up travel plans for some and getting them used to crates to help ease the stress of travelling. As the puppies mature, they are becoming even sweeter and more affectionate. We have been treasuring our remaining days together with each and every one of them. So remember as you go off on your journey: “I wish you bluebirds in the spring, to give your heart a song to sing, and then a kiss, but more than this, I wish you love”. So long, little ones.

That concludes this edition of “Puppy Tales”.  See you next litter!

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hugo and Heidi’s Litter – Week Six-and-a-half

This week was all about having fun!


“Son of Godzilla!”

This week saw a mixed bag of activities for the mini-pack. The weather cooperated just enough to allow the gang to enjoy some outdoor fun. Demonstrating his Canadian birthright, Mr. Thistle honed his stick-handling abilities on the lawn, albeit there was no puck involved. In keeping with Mr. Thistle’s sports theme, Miss Peach practiced her cheerleading skills by tumbling across the yard. Miss Sky proved to be more of nature buff as she was frozen in her tracks, completely mesmerized by a couple of passing butterflies. And Miss Meadow took frequent breaks from playing with the others for some extreme cuddling. Their mom, all the while set up an outpost partway down the yard so she could keep a watchful eye on her brood while she munched on a giant stick.

To kick things up a notch, we had both Heidi and Surrey’s litters outside in the yard together for a giant play fest. The two groups quickly blended together with a common purpose: to have fun. At one point there was even a line-up to get into one of the two crates that we keep outside for their enjoyment. It seems they were using the crates as some kind of fun house. There were chases overtop the rockery and some kind of conference in progress around the water bowl. Meanwhile across the yard, a romance was brewing between Miss Chestnut and Mr. Shine from Surrey’s litter.

When rain and extreme temperatures restricted playtime to the indoors, the group made the most of their environment. While most of his siblings were fast asleep, Mr. Granite indiscriminately plodded over them as he trudged around the perimeter of the whelping box like a miniature Godzilla. At least Miss Peach who enjoyed running laps around the box was much more courteous in her endeavour. Of course there’s always that one puppy on their own schedule. Miss Mulberry was in the bedroom portion of the whelping box still enjoying a nap while the rest of the gang was immersed in play. When her roommates jostled her out of her slumber, she let her expression do the talking…the young lady was clearly not amused.

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another captivating installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Storm and Surrey Litter – Week Seven-and-a-half

What fun we have had this week!


“The Accomplice”

The house was quiet. The two large humans hadn’t been seen for a few days. Apparently the female human who’d been guarding the pack had gone out on an errand somewhere. That’s when it happened. Upon her return, Savannah the caregiver discovered that Surrey had actually facilitated a puppy escape by removing all the barrier slats from her whelping box. Mr. Cardinal was found roaming the kitchen and Mr. Denim was fast asleep with his rear end planted under the sofa. Neither put up a struggle as they were reunited with their siblings.

Of course, it’s not always the boys who are up to something. While Miss Plum was hoarding sticks in the backyard, Miss Shimmer spent her time studying nature. As the birds chirped from their perches on the trees, Miss Shimmer would answer back by howling at them. The little mermaid, Miss Blossom liked to wash her feet in the water bowl or sit in it. In fact, she was so enchanted by the water bowl that once it was empty, she curled up in it and fell asleep. Little momma’s boy, Mr. Shine worked alongside Surrey to dig a little hole.

Her indiscretion about the escape attempt aside, Surrey has been a stellar mom. She has continued to nurse her pups regularly as well as play with them both indoors and out. She even demonstrated a great deal of patience when all of her puppies were whisked off to visit the vet. Not one to waste an opportunity, Surrey seized the moment to enjoy a nice long, leisurely nap. The gang passed their physicals with top marks and even the ride there and back was uneventful!

To our sweet little puppies who have given us so much love and happiness these past seven plus weeks, when we think of you we’ll find comfort in knowing how much happiness you will bring to your new families. You have given us so many kisses and memories that we’ll treasure always. So long, little ones. We wish you all the best in your journey and remember “Love was made for me and you!”

That concludes this edition of “Puppy Tales”.  See you next litter!

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hugo and Heidi’s Litter – Week Five

We are enjoying all the time we are spending outdoors.


“Mirror, Mirror on the Wall”

Despite our need for rain, the weather was sufficiently agreeable to enable us to introduce the gang to the great outdoors. It took mere seconds for them to take it all in and make a quick decision as to which direction to take off in. The puppies were immediately curious about the crunchy yellowy/green substance they were walking on, formerly known as our lawn and discovered that not only did it make a good ground covering, but it also served as a vast salad bar. They also expressed a keen interest in sticks and twigs. Puppies apparently come out of the womb with a profound connection to nature’s debris. There were even some stuffed animals outside to add a little variety to the mix. When there was a break in the action, Heidi brought the milk truck around to provide everyone with a little snack. And there’s always water available to help keep the crew hydrated. When she’s not being the local milk dispenser, Heidi is always nearby to keep a watchful eye on her brood.

Playtime always ends in a good long nap which the group enjoys in the air-conditioned comfort of their whelping box. This is also where their three daily meals of mush are served until such time as they progress to al fresco dining. Everyone has grown very well and all have cracked the seven pound barrier and beyond at this time. It’s a good thing that there are regular exercise periods in the yard!

This is the beginning of the most influential socialization period for the puppies. They’re learning to communicate with each other and with us by wagging their tails. With the increased control over their facial muscles, they are making expressions and are beginning to reveal their personalities and communicate their opinions. They’re craving a lot of attention and affection and fortunately that’s something that’s not hard to provide. Did we mention that this bunch is just plain exceptionally cute?

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another entrancing installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Storm and Surrey Litter – Week Six

Surrey is such a devoted mom.

“Cleanup in Aisle Three”

When the call goes out, Surrey comes running. In fact, whenever a puppy whimpers whether near or far both Surrey and Heidi bolt in the direction of the little voice to investigate. Surrey dotes on her little pack and spends quite a bit of time with them. She never just walks past the whelping box without climbing in to stir things up. She still sits outside it to watch them play, but she also gets immersed in the action both indoors and out. After all, the puppies need to do something to keep their ten pounds of weight looking trim.

Throughout the week, we managed to get the group outside frequently for playtime. There is never any hesitation as they all scurry 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. They immediately know how to go through all of the motions without any kind of formal training or seminar. Some of the gang tried their hand at rock climbing while others were content just to munch away at a prime twig. Of course, no outing is complete without a game of chase. It’s fun to watch them hop around. Once they hit their top speed, they typically just fall down and repeat the exercise several more times.

Surrey always escorts her puppies outside for playtime. Her role is part sentinel, part playmate, albeit the pups do chase mom around for a while in the hopes of a snack. We have blankets to spread out on the lawn to sit on as we take in all of the action. While the little ones are off exploring the yard, she reprises her role as the biggest lapdog of all. Before long, the puppies are spent and they try to curl up with their mom or on a corner of the blanket so we have to carry them in and put them to bed, one by one. There’s nothing as soothing as fresh, country air for a good night’s sleep.

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another stimulating installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hugo and Heidi’s Litter – Week Four

What a great week we've had!


“The Coma”

There’s no question that this group is well-fed. This week, the puppies began to wean and were 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. It didn’t take long before all hands (or feet) were on deck or in the food bowl with everyone anxious to see what all the fuss was about. Mealtime goes on for quite a while because the puppies also get to enjoy dessert by helping to clean each other up. And mom is right there to deal with any spots they may have missed.

Meanwhile in the living room, the extension was added to the whelping box to give the pups more room to stagger around in or try their hand at the play station. The puppies are also enjoying some stuffed animals and engaging with us or their siblings. The added benefit of having two litters occupying the living room is that the moms check up on each other’s litters or the one will follow the other into a whelping box to help do a dorm inspection. They don’t necessarily offer the puppies any extra-familial feedings, but at least they do ensure that everyone’s happy. At this point we don’t think that either mom is in any big hurry to subject themselves to each puppy’s twenty-eight razor sharp teeth.

Last weekend, some friends and a few local future families came to visit. There was a great deal of interaction between the families and Surrey’s litter. With Heidi’s litter; not so much. In their defense, they’d had a big breakfast followed by a milkshake from mom so some of the little ones were experiencing milk comas. Not the least of which, since they’re the younger litter, they do need the most amount of sleep. One thing we can guarantee is that they’ll be ready to take on the world by the time their stay here comes to an end.

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another heart-warming installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Storm and Surrey Litter – Week Five

Our big adventure outside!


“The Extraction”

It began as a pleasant afternoon outside with Surrey, her puppies and Heidi who was out for a little fresh air herself. It was the puppies’ first time out and they did not disappoint. Some litters are a little tentative during their inaugural outing. Many puppies will stand there and tremble for several moments while they take in the vastness of a new universe outside their whelping box. Not this crowd. They embraced it as though they’d been playing outside their entire lives! They chased their mom, chased us, climbed over top of us and played in our laps. The mood was very relaxed and we even lay out on some blankets while the puppies carried on. Suddenly it happened without warning. We did not have a protocol in place to rescue a puppy that has crawled up inside the back of one’s shirt. Miss Shimmer kept her cool and waited patiently for the extraction to be undertaken and fortunately we did not have to call the fire department for this one.

The dynamic in the whelping box is also changing. The puppies are spending much more time awake interacting with each other. Something we’ve rarely witnessed with other moms is that Surrey would sit outside the opening of the whelping box for long periods of time just watching her kids at play. She typically sleeps down the hall or on the cool tile floor in the kitchen, but frequently makes her way inside to clean and check up on her brood or provide a snack to supplement the three meals of gruel they are getting daily. Admittedly Surrey does abscond with some of the puppies’ toys to cuddle with herself, but she is being a terrific, loving mom.

The gang was very well-behaved as they received visitors over the weekend. Everyone got a major dose of cuddling while some of their guests seemed to work through a mental checklist of every puppy to hold so no one would be left out. They doled out licks and kisses, nibbled on watches and lapped up all of the attention they were getting. It’s a good thing that the puppies only need to take short naps to get recharged for each new group of visitors so they didn’t miss out on too much loving. Of course the moms made sure they got lots of attention of their own. After all, that’s what Goldens spend their lives in pursuit of.

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another regal installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Hugo and Heidi’s Litter – Week Three

We love cuddles.


“The Pilgrimage”

She knew the odds were slim, but she had to try. Her timing had to be just right and there hadn’t been an opportunity for a dry run. It was now or never. The whelping box had just been cleaned out and there was a single slat separating the mini-pack and their “freedom”. With a few quick steps, Miss Mulberry thrust herself up and over the “wall” into the living room. But where to now? “Oh dear” she must have thought. “I may as well just wait here until somebody comes by to lift me back in again.” And so ended Miss Mulberry’s pilgrimage mere minutes later.

The highlight for Heidi’s litter is that their eyes have opened. At this stage, the puppies have hazy vision and can only differentiate between light and dark, but this will clear up very quickly over the next week or so as they begin to experience normal sight. They are able to hear quite well as soon as their ear canals have opened. No doubt they will be spending some time trying to figure out who the heck all these other “folks” are!

Thanks to Heidi’s tenacity in feeding them, the puppies are growing rapidly and it’s amazing to watch the transformation every day as they become more mobile and aspects of their personalities begin to emerge. When they’re not sleeping or eating, the gang spends time playing with one another. They are ambling around getting acquainted, greeting their siblings with a gentle head butt. With this being the beginning of a key socialization period for the puppies, they are testing each other’s limits and learning the difference between hard and soft biting. They also take turns sleeping at the top and bottom of the sibling pile. Since their hunting and chasing instincts are emerging, they practice with their siblings or their plush toys (unless mom has absconded with them).

The gang now has a new play station which will help them develop their strength, co-ordination and cognitive skills. It’s essentially a mobile that consists of hoops and rings and an assortment of colourful little figures. The only thing missing is a Rubik’s cube…..maybe next week!

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another inspiring installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Storm and Surrey Litter – Week Four

We love our meals!


“The V.I.P. Lounge”

There’s a lot that’s happened in the little world known as Surrey’s whelping box. For starters, the group has moved from the bedroom to the living room. It sounds simple enough, but Surrey needed to be convinced that no one was left behind. Before she settled in, she examined each pile of towels en route to the washing machine to ensure there wasn’t a puppy hiding in it. To Surrey’s benefit though, this venue is more like a V.I.P. lounge in that it has sofa she can relax on and access to a private section of the yard that she and fellow mom, Heidi can hang out in. Not only was there a change in venue, but an extension was added to the whelping box to double its size. Now that the puppies are growing, they need a bit more space to allow them to pick up speed as they scramble from end to end.

This week saw the introduction of the puppies to gruel or mush:  a healthy concoction of kibble, oatmeal, honey, goat’s milk and vitamins to supplement the feedings they get from their mom. One would think that as British puppies they would have a reserved approach to mealtime, but such was not the case. Even with the inaugural bowl, the group drained the entire thing. Unencumbered by etiquette, Mr. Denim prefers to stand in the bowl while he’s chowing down. This is where teamwork plays a part. Whenever Mr. Denim removed one of his feet from the bowl, Miss Blossom would lay down beside him to clean off his feet. While Surrey is spending a lot more time pursuing her favourite pastimes such as sleeping and watching for squirrels, she still keeps the milk bar open 24/7 for top-ups.

To work off the effects of some of this fine dining, the puppies now have gym memberships. This comes with an elaborate play station at their disposal as well as numerous plush toys. The little ones are developing their strength, co-ordination and cognitive skills as well as learning how to engage in an activity with a littermate, even if it’s just bumping heads. Since their hunting and chasing instincts are emerging, they practice with their siblings or their plush toys. One day, the trio of Miss Plum, Mr. Shine and Mr. Cardinal decided to expand the boundaries of their complex by sneaking over a slat and making a break for it in the living room. The three were quickly apprehended and returned to the comfort of their whelping box until such time as their memberships are upgraded to include the V.I.P. lounge.

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another enthralling installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Hugo and Heidi’s Litter – Week Two

Cosy and content!


“Hide and Go Seek”

This week, we relocated both Heidi and Surrey along with their new families to the living room. While everything was set up identically to the original venue in the bedroom, both moms had some difficulty in adjusting to their new surroundings. They simply weren’t sold on the idea. They sniffed around to make sure we had put each litter in the correct whelping box and made certain that no one was left behind. The moms also had to get adjusted to the presence of the rest of our pack, albeit from a distance. They regarded the other dogs suspiciously until everyone got settled in. On the bright side, Heidi now has the freedom to share one end of a sofa with Surrey whenever she’s in need of a well-deserved power nap. The living room is also a gateway to the puppy run outside where the group will eventually be introduced to the great outdoors. In the meantime, the moms use the space for a bit of exercise or just to hang out on a warm, sunny day.

The puppies are getting their own exercise right in the comfort of their own “home”, aka the whelping box.  When they lay there sleeping, they are constantly twitching – a state known as “activated sleep”. These involuntary actions help strengthen their leg muscles and build muscle mass. The net result is that they are now able to walk on all fours; however “wobble” would be more apropos.

Mealtime is always entertaining and as the excitement builds when the pups notice that Heidi has brought the milk truck around. They scurry around to jockey for a good spot at the counter and nurse with a marked exuberance, their tiny fists pumping their mom’s reservoirs urging the vital nectar to flow. This has culminated in each puppy more than tripling their birth weight. Notwithstanding her new leisure arrangements, mom’s on call around the clock to tend to every whimper. Admittedly, Heidi administers some of the quicker meals sitting up like a mobile milk bar or meals on wheels, but she loves her little ones. She cares for all of their needs but one: we’re responsible for running the nail salon to keep them groomed.

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another captivating installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Storm and Surrey Litter – Week Three

Just had a taste of momma's food. Yum yum!


“The Uninvited Dinner Guests”

For some of us, it’s all about food. And it was certainly no exception for Mr. Cardinal and Miss Blossom. While the rest of the pack has been content with the liquid diet provided by their mom, one day these two decided to distract Surrey long enough to dive into her dinner bowl to try to get their first taste of solid food. They were however caught in the act and will just have to wait their turn later in the week with the rest of the group for a meal that’s a bit better suited for young puppies.

While the little ones do spend a great deal of time eating and sleeping, they are also engaged in an intensive training programme. While 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 sailors on shore leave after last call. Since Surrey continually mounds the towels that line the floor of the whelping box, this forces the puppies to climb over these obstacles to reach their target (usually the milk bar or a sibling to sleep on) thereby building muscle mass.

Now that their vision is established beyond simply being able to detect light, dark and movement, the puppies are becoming increasingly curious about their surroundings and each other. As they are beginning to get acquainted with their littermates, they can often be seen standing in a group gently colliding or rubbing their noses and heads against one another whether awake or asleep. This is the beginning of a key period for the puppies as they are developing rudimentary social skills. They are testing each other’s limits and learning the difference between hard and soft biting and they also take turns sleeping at the top and bottom of the sibling pile. They are also curious about the humans around them and they aren’t particularly shy either. Pig-rails are rails around the inside of the whelping box that are there to help prevent mom from accidentally squishing one of her kids. When we were raising the rails up to accommodate the puppies’ growth, they wasted no time to wander over, gaze up into our eyes and to nibble on our hands while they were trying to figure out what we were up to. We’re sure it won’t be long before they have it all figured out!

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another nail-biting installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Friday, June 10, 2016

Hugo and Heidi’s Litter – Week One

So comfortable!


“Let’s Stick Together”

Heidi treated us to one of those rare daytime deliveries. In fact, she worked on the basis of a regular work day in that she started heavy contractions at 1:00 p.m. (after our lunch) and before long Mr. Granite made his debut. He was followed by Miss Chestnut, Miss Peach, Mr. Thistle, Miss Meadow, Miss Mulberry and Miss Sky who capped off the work day at 5:00 p.m. Heidi jumped right into overtime and wasted no time getting to work. Apart from nursing, her other task in the immediate was to stimulate her newborn pups to eliminate by licking them – something they are unable to do on their own at this stage.

While most Goldens have ten teats and our Bella has eleven, Heidi has been endowed with eight of which only six are functional. And those six are enormous to the point that the little newborns had extreme difficulty fitting them into their tiny mouths. Fortunately after some mouth exercises, everyone got the hang of it. We were also delighted that the group of seven was able to work out their own rotation at the milk bar and all started gaining weight right away. We weigh the puppies at least twice daily for the first couple of weeks to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity. Mind you, Heidi is an experienced, focused and loving mother so everyone doubled their birth weight by the end of the first week.

Littermates tend to be very close throughout their formative weeks, but two of them took it to an extreme one day. Somehow the tip of Miss Meadow’s Velcro collar had lifted and caught that of Mr. Thistle. After the two of them rolled around once or twice, they were a neat little bundle of fluff all velcroed together that we needed to extricate.

Since the gestation period in dogs is short, the tradeoff is that puppies are quite helpless at birth. Biologists refer to species that produce immature dependent offspring as altricial, which means “to nurse, to rear or to nourish”. It refers to the need for the young of these species to be fed and taken care of for a long period of time. The puppies are born functionally deaf since their ear canals are closed. They are also blind, since their eyelids are tightly closed, but both will open during the second week. Newborn puppies are also unable to regulate their own body temperature and for the first three weeks, their temperature climbs one degree until it reaches the normal range. When mom is on her break, we use a heat lamp to keep everyone warm and cozy, but when mom’s around, they’ll either snuggle up with her or lay intertwined with their siblings – sometimes even velcroed.

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another enchanting installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Storm and Surrey Litter – Week Two

Our eyes have opened!


“The Skating Rink”

Miss Surrey is a lady who knows what she wants. And what she wants at this stage of the game is to be comfortable. The whelping box is lined with soft pads and layered with plush towels to provide comfort for Surrey and her brood. This however is not to Surrey’s liking. Surrey prefers to push all the towels away into a heap so that she can lie on the smooth, cool vinyl base of the whelping box. A challenge arises here in that the fat pack (so named because they’ve managed to billow out quite nicely), must now skate along this slippery surface in order to reach mom for a snack. Since they have no traction, once they’re poised at the milk bar, the puppies virtually have to run on the spot in order to push up against mom and enjoy their meals. Surrey’s a smart girl so she may be counting on her pups getting some exercise in during their meal breaks to help them maintain their figures.

To add to the confusion, Surrey now likes to lie on her back while she sleeps. The puppies initially found this quite confusing as all of the equipment they’d been using was no longer in a familiar place. This caused them to whimper a great deal so until they got the hang of it, we had to line them up along Surrey’s midsection and even deposit one or two on top of her belly. The ever-hungry Miss Blossom and Mr. Cardinal don’t like to be kept waiting and squeak the loudest. Since mom has led by example, now many of the puppies sleep on their backs.

One of the most exciting events for us is when the puppies’ eyes open. Many of their critical organs including their brain are not fully formed and they will spend several weeks developing rapidly. The same is true of the eyes. Puppies are born with their eyelids tightly shut because the eye itself is still developing and is extremely fragile. The closed eyelids serve as a barrier to protect the eyes from potential damage. Now that their eyes are open, it will take a few weeks before their eyes mature and their eyesight begins to approach normal. The ear canals begin to open at around the same time, but the ears are much more fully formed than the eyes and their hearing will become quite acute within a week or so.

Newborn puppies are unable to regulate their own body temperature and for the first three weeks, their temperature climbs one degree until it reaches the normal range. When mom is on her break, we use a heat lamp to keep everyone warm and cozy, but when mom’s around, they’ll either snuggle up with her or lay intertwined with their siblings. That’s what friends are for.

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another riveting installment of “Puppy Tales”.


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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Storm and Surrey Litter – Week One

Miss Plum snuggles with mommy.


“Catch Me if You Can”

We’re sure Mr. Cardinal didn’t see this one coming. One minute he was nestled in the comfort of his mother’s belly and the next he was the subject of a mid-air rescue on the concrete patio outside the bedroom. After all, both Mr. Denim and Miss Shimmer who preceded him were gently deposited onto a plush and cozy king size bed. Unlike some other moms, Miss Surrey was in no hurry to deliver her litter. The norm was around an hour and a half between puppies, but fortunately she tossed in a couple of consolation prizes at thirty minutes each or so. Mr. Shine and his sister Miss Blossom were the next ones to make their appearance and then we waited and we waited. Finally Surrey decided it was time to go outside to the bathroom again, but she was mistaken about the sensation she was experiencing as Miss Plum also made her debut in mid-air halfway out of the bedroom porch door. This mom’s sure not particular as to where she drops her kids off!

Despite her dubious delivery practices, Surrey is a stellar mom and has embraced motherhood with tremendous zeal. As several of the puppies were busily nursing, Surrey was licking them so enthusiastically that they were flopping up and down, latched onto a nipple for dear life. We were doing our utmost to keep the newborns dry and warm while Surrey was taking us to task by cleaning and stimulating them until they were all drenched again. She eventually eased into a calmer style of motherhood. One thing that was interesting to observe was that upon her return from a bathroom break, Surrey would do a sweep of the bedroom and sniff the weigh scale in search of puppies before she reentered the whelping box…..just to be sure! We weigh the puppies at least twice daily for the first week to ensure that everyone is getting equal access to the milk bar so Surrey was definitely on the right track.

Apart from nourishment, a mom’s milk contains antibodies vital to the puppies’ survival for the first several weeks of their lives. Surrey proved to be very magnanimous as a mother, spending virtually every waking and sleeping moment in the whelping box for the first several days nursing her youngsters. This allowed them to double in weight toward the end of the first week. In fact this group was so rotund that whenever a puppy rolled on it back with legs paddling in the air, they had to be helped onto their stomachs so they could continue on their journey to the milk bar. As the week wore on, Surrey relaxed a little and periodically jumped up on our bed to get a cuddle or nibble on a bone before returning to work.

That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another beguiling installment of “Puppy Tales”.
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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Heidi, Day 57 (pre-parturition)

Heidi out for a brief stroll in this hot weather

This is the final countdown before Heidi has her pups! She has decided to search the yard for the perfect place to have her babies. We cannot let her outside alone because she attempts to excavate the perfect den and ends up with dirt up to her elbows.

Heidi’s abdominal area now measures 91 cm or 36 inches. She is now eating three meals daily and I am sure if we increased it to four or five meals a day, she would be delighted!

Remarkably, Heidi still can jump on the bed at night for belly rubs but we’re not sure if she prefers the bed or sleeping on the cool floor. She seems to be testing them both out!

We are checking Heidi’s temperature twice daily. Any significant drop will indicate the puppies are soon to be on their way. She is officially due on June 2nd but it could be 24 hours before or after this date.
 


A Golden Retriever puppy fetus almost fully developed.
It’s easy to feel the puppies moving around in Heidi’s tummy now. At this stage, the puppies have a full coat of hair and can be felt moving around in her tummy. We will definitely make Heidi as comfortable as possible in the home stretch. She has always loved cuddling and having her belly rubbed but she is certainly more demanding these days. Of course, we are more than happy to oblige her.

Stay tuned….