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Showing posts from March, 2017

Storm and Sierra Litter – Week Six

“The Code”
The code being transmitted was persistent. One-two-three-pause-one-two-three-pause and so on. It’s not subtle by any stretch of the imagination but this is the means by which Sierra communicates her wishes and/or summons us. Our most recent inspection revealed that her roomie, Bailey was lying in the whelping box with Sierra’s puppies. On this occasion, the queen was not amused. Fortunately, Bailey and Sierra are good friends to the extent that Bailey even seems to have adopted Sierra’s pups and has apparently assumed the role of Godmother.

As fickle as it’s been, the weather cooperated sufficiently to allow the puppies outdoor playtime. The charge was usually led by Bailey who either demonstrated some gymnastics moves to the gang or played chase with them. A popular activity is the game of tag in which each puppy exhibits a burst of energy in succession. Now that most of the snow has melted, it meant that the rock climbing initiative had been reinstated. Of course the absenc…

Jazz and Bailey Litter – Week Six

“Follow That Milk Truck!”It was all fun and games during the week when the group was introduced not only to the great outdoors, but a giant playground carpeted with snow. There was no hesitation whatsoever as the puppies scurried off in all directions as though they’d done this a hundred times before. Their mom Bailey was there to chaperone, but also to add to the excitement by playing with the members of her mini-pack. She would frequently tempt them with an offering from the milk bar and dash off with several of them in pursuit. She also demonstrated how to make snow angels, but beyond that the little ones just improvised. They ran, they wrestled, they rolled around and somewhere along the line managed to find some twigs that apparently needed reshaping. A good time was had by all followed by the requisite naptime.

While the pups enjoy playing with one another, they delight in their encounters with their two-legged friends. Sunday was visitor’s day and families came from far and wide…

Storm and Sierra Litter – Week Five

“A Family Affair”
Everybody loves a puppy and there’s no exception in this household. There are times when security may be lax and a breach into the puppy zone can occur. Hannah the four month old who is herself still a puppy, adores them. On her way outside to the washroom, she will frequently pull a hard right turn into the whelping box to mingle with the pups. She loves to lie down in the middle of the box where she studies them with a very inquisitive expression on her face. Not to be outdone, our big boy Haydain has also found his way in there. He offers the puppies a very cursory greeting and absconds with one of their chew toys which we later have to coax out of his mouth. There’s Bailey, Sierra’s next door neighbour who will wander into the whelping box to nurse Sierra’s little ones just so she can make off with yet another plush toy. And finally, there’s benevolent Whitney who has since become a semi-permanent resident of the living room. Her maternal instincts are so acute th…

Jazz and Bailey Litter – Week Five

“The Kleptomaniac”
It’s been another big week in Bailey’s world. Not only are her pups growing in leaps and bounds, but they’re enjoying their gym membership with the play station they have at their disposal. They’re 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!

Everyone participates in the activities of the household and even the puppies celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. They were certainly in their element when they welcomed s…

Storm and Sierra Litter – Week Four

“The Tattletail”
There’s no question that being a mom is a hard job, but Sierra still finds time to take on extra responsibilities. For example, as our household was winding down for bedtime, Sierra began barking incessantly as though Timmy had fallen in the well. We therefore had to make our way down the long hallway to the living room at the opposite end of the house to investigate. What we discovered was that Miss Pepper, one of Bailey’s pups had escaped out of their whelping box into the living room. Since Bailey was putting some finishing touches on a delectable bone, she apparently left the policing duties to Sierra. A couple of nights later, we heard Sierra barking again. This time she was letting us know that Bailey was perpetrating an act of chewing some paper which is frowned upon.

This week saw the introduction of the puppies to gruel or mush:  a healthy concoction of oatmeal, honey, goat’s milk, probiotics and vitamins to supplement the feedings they get from their mom. Mr.…

Jazz and Bailey Litter – Week Four

“Oink, Oink”
Golden Retrievers are passionate about love and life, but they’re also passionate about food. And it seems that Bailey’s brood has learned about that at the tender young age of four weeks. This week the group was introduced to gruel or mush:  a healthy concoction of puréed kibble, oatmeal, honey, goat’s milk, probiotics and vitamins to supplement the feedings they get from their mom. The charge was led by Mr. Basil who had a solid thirty seconds of private time with the food bowl before he ran out of elbow room. It didn’t take long for the rest of the mini-pack to catch on and with virtually every meal, the bowl is polished to a factory finish. Not only does the gang congregate around the food bowl, but they also fall asleep in it. We don’t fully understand how or why, but this has been the messiest litter on record that routinely needs to be cleaned up after every meal. We’re convinced that piglets have better etiquette albeit their mom doesn’t seem to mind because she he…

Storm and Sierra Litter – Week Three

“Moonlight Serenade”

It was early March. The final remnants of day ebbed to usher in the night. A gentle breeze redistributed particles of leaves and other debris in the yard while the fireplace in the bedroom flickered, its light casting a warm glow in the room. Their mom rose slowly to find a corner of the room to stretch out in. Without warning, a tiny voice pierced the stillness and then a second, a third and a fourth. Before long the quartet of boys were howling in unison like a pack of miniature wolves. It seems as though they were serenading their little sister, Miss Lavender who slept through the entire performance. Clearly they have inherited Sierra’s “happy howl”.

While Sierra dotes on her mini-pack, she has been getting her share of “me” time and can occasionally be spotted flat on her back in one of the nearby doggie crates. As the puppies begin to grow up, not only are they walking or doing something that resembles it, but they are also beginning to engage with one another.…

Jazz and Bailey Litter – Week Three

“Oops!... I Did It Again”
You can’t blame a girl for trying. At least this time we witnessed the means by which Miss Garlic executed her second escape from the whelping box. Bailey was fast asleep in front of the opening when the little girl climbed atop one of her siblings, then walked across mom’s side and plummeted five inches onto the carpet below. The little ones are quite robust even at this age so she went right back to snacking at the milk bar.

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 test…

Storm and Sierra Litter – Week Two

“The Double Agent”

It’s been two weeks and Sierra hasn’t suspected a thing. We know that she gave birth to five puppies, but the count in her whelping box often fluctuates between five and seven. One of the regular visitors is Bailey’s Miss Saffron who does double duty in both boxes. This is helping to ensure that all puppies from both litters get equal access to the milk bar because it can get a little crowded there. Perhaps Sierra’s not very good at math, but it could also be that she’s just got a heart of Gold(en) and is happy to be their Godmother.

It’s exciting for us when the puppies’ eyes open. 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 …

Jazz and Bailey Litter – Week Two

“Take the Long Way Home”
It was unusually warm out for a winter’s day and the sun made what seemed to have been a guest appearance as of late. Most of us are motivated on cheery, sunny days to just get up and go and that’s exactly what she did. Whether it was the mood that this kind of a day inspires or perhaps just a wrong turn, Miss Garlic launched herself over a slat that serves as a barrier in the whelping box to embark upon her first solo adventure. Long before an amber alert was considered, the little girl was discovered on the bedroom carpet across the room safe and sound. She was promptly escorted back to the warmth and safety of the whelping box to join her siblings for yet another nap time.

One of the most exciting events for us is when the puppies’ eyes open. Many of the puppies’ critical organs including their brains 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 a…