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Showing posts from 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 min

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’

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

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 be

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. Wh

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 M

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. I n 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 dail

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, digestiv

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

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 purpo

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

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

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 roc

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

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

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 differ entiate 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 w

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

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 p

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 t

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

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

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

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 n