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Haydain and Misty’s Litter – Week Seven

“Exodus”
Whenever the gang anticipates that it’s time to go outside, they’re ready to rumble! Like a bull released from its pen at the rodeo, the little puppies spilled out onto the living room floor, just steps away from the door leading to the yard. There’s no time to lose. The weather was great and there was so much to do….so many new adventures, so many games to be played. After the big squeeze through the little opening, they were outside and scattered in many different directions. Some headed straight for the rock garden while others tore across the lawn at top speed. Mom was her playful self and engaged all the pups in various forms of play while keeping them topped up with liquid refreshments.

This bunch always leaves the whelping box looking like a well-worn dorm room. The towels are askew, the water bowl has been inverted and there are toys everywhere. At the end of playtime, they all pile atop one another like dominos, some right side up and some upside down, but all content …

Haydain and Misty’s Litter – Week Six

“It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…..”
Actually….it was a plane. We don’t get many planes flying overhead, but on this occasion the mini-pack was out for one of their many outdoor romps. As the plane’s engines shattered the quiet of the country, all puppy activity in the yard ceased immediately as if time stood still. Six furry little heads were locked in the “up” position looking skyward. Once the noise subsided, it was business as usual.

Business in the yard consisted of a variety of activities and there was lots of it since the weather has been glorious. Throughout the week, as the puppies’ confidence grew, and they became a bit more independent, it now takes little coaxing to get them out of the whelping box and take the three or four bold steps to go outside. Once that challenge was overcome, they embarked on long range expeditions to remote corners of the yard. There was some rock climbing, chewing on sticks or blades of grass and sprints that typically culminated in a tumble. One perpetr…

Haydain and Misty’s Litter – Week Five

“Bite Me!”
The dynamic in the whelping box is changing. 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 which, of course is not hard to provide. Mostly, the little ones are getting better acquainted with their littermates. Playtime happens at all hours of the day. And it doesn’t matter if a potential playmate is awake or asleep. One such example was Miss Licorice gnawing on Miss Truffle’s tail as she lay there sleeping. As she was unable to achieve the desired result, Miss Licorice moved on to her next victim.

Since the little ones are getting more accustomed to eating solid food, they are drinking plenty of water to keep hydrated. Of course, Misty still nurses …

Haydain and Misty’s Litter – Week Four

“Bulking Up is (Not) Hard to Do”
Misty and her brood have been relocated into the living room which is a pretty regal deal for mom. She’s got both a sofa and a love seat to stretch out on, not to mention some carpeting and some sections of cool wood flooring for lounging. There’s also a walkout to the backyard for those peaceful Zen moments, washroom breaks or for monitoring the activities of our resident wild turkeys. Unlike many other moms in this situation, Misty didn’t bat an eye. She knew a good deal when she saw one.

To aid in the puppies’ campaign to bulk up, they were introduced to gruel:  a healthy concoction of large flake oatmeal, yoghurt, honey, goat’s milk, vitamins, raw meat and vegetables (all organic) to supplement the feedings they get from their mom. With their inaugural bowl, no one needed a second invitation. Despite being semi-retired, Misty continues to keep the milk bar open 24/7 for top-ups but we’re certain that she relishes the break she gets from each puppy’s …

Haydain and Misty’s Litter – Week Three

“The Washroom Break”
It was a typical summer day. A warm breeze blew through the trees rustling the leaves sporadically. Off in the distance the chipmunks were communicating with their trademark chatter. Periodically a tiny indecipherable sound penetrated nature’s soundtrack. Softly at first and then again until the voice became more insistent. This required some investigation on our part. It didn’t take long to locate the source. It appeared that somehow Mr. Jelly Bean had escaped the confines of the whelping box. Without the benefit of a map or GPS, the little tyke managed to traverse a circuitous route into the ensuite bathroom. Needless to say, he was safely airlifted back to the whelping box to reunite with his sisters.

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. They are beginning to get acquainted with their littermates and can often be seen…

Haydain and Misty’s Litter – Week Two

“Triple Your Pleasure”

It’s all about food in this place. Misty continues to have this uncanny ability to advise of mealtime precisely on the hour. Of course, her little flock has followed suit with their love of nourishment as they’ve now tripled their birth weights. Since they’re still in their birthday suits, we’ve not had to loosen their belts, but we have had to make adjustments to their collars.

At first glance, it may appear that the puppies spend all their time eating and sleeping, but they do spend a good deal of time exercising. As 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. Mom adds to this challenge by continually messing up the towels in the whelping box, thereby creating rolling hills that the puppies need to paddle over. But despite her s…

Haydain and Misty’s Litter – Week One

“Around and Around We Go”
As we headed into the home stretch with Misty’s pregnancy, it was evident that our girl was feeling a tad uncomfortable with that mass of puppies rummaging around in her belly. We situated her on our bed and waited while Misty did laps crawling around the top of it on her belly like a navy seal. Finally, the big moment arrived at 10:20 in the evening in the form of Miss Candy Apple. A scant twenty-two minutes later, Mr. Jelly Bean made his debut. Such a quick follow up gave us false hope because each subsequent puppy took between three quarters of an hour to two hours to materialize. The next was Miss Truffle, followed by Miss Gummi Bear, Miss Licorice and finally, Miss Taffy. One would think that it would get a little easier with each puppy, however Miss Taffy decided to come out feet first. Mom was not impressed and that was despite the bowls of ice cream we’d been giving her throughout. It took her a full day and a half to get the hang of it and of course, …

Misty - 61 days Pre-parturition

As we head into the final couple of days, Misty is finally slowing down. This morning she was beginning to nest, which is a sign the big event approaching.

Misty knows exactly when it’s mealtime and barks at us if we are not feeding her promptly. She is dining four times a day and races to the kitchen at 7 am, noon, 3 pm and 7 pm. 

We have set up the whelping box (birthing box) in our bedroom. While most expectant moms attempt to dig a giant hole somewhere in our backyard - usually under one of our spruce trees, we prefer a cleaner, more cozy, sanitary spot. We’re sure Misty will warm up to the idea soon enough!

This is Misty’s first litter and if she is like her mom Sierra, she will prefer a dark den-like setting, so we’ve covered the roof of the whelping box with a blanket to make it somewhat like a tent.



The above photo from National Geographic gives you an idea of what the puppies look like around this time. The puppies now have fully defined puppy features, however they will continue…

Misty, Day 53 days (pre-parturition)

As we head into the final 10 days of Misty’s pregnancy, we don’t see her slowing down too much. She opts to stay inside enjoying the air conditioning and enjoys our company more than frolicking outside with the rest of the pack. 

Her waistline measures 31 inches (78 cm) now but she still has a voracious appetite. She is quite happy that we have increased her serving sizes over the past couple of weeks!

This weekend she will be introduced to the “whelping box” which is where she will have her puppies. It will be in our bedroom and will stay there till the pups are approximately 3 weeks old. Then it will move to a sunny location in our living room. The living room has French doors to a private yard for pups and mom.

Misty has just begun to seek out a special area in the yard to deliver her pups. This is normal behaviour as moms dig a den for their newborns. Obviously, we have a much cozier and cleaner idea in mind.  

Pre-natal period: It is an interesting fact that a dog's tactile perce…

Storm and Chanel Litter – Week Seven

“They Grow Up So Quickly”
Seven weeks ago, they were all chipmunk-size nuggets – all squirmy with little pink feet and noses. They evolved from helpless little bundles to real going concerns that are desperate for backyard time and curious to know what each and every little sight and sound represents. Where has the time gone?

The gang loved their outdoor time. And who doesn’t enjoy dining al fresco? Everyone was enthusiastic about helping Chanel survey the perimeter of the fence line, on the lookout for trespassers. On one particular outing, Miss Blaze shot out of the house, catapulted herself over the stoop in hot pursuit of a bird she spotted. It’s remarkable how large a part that genetics plays in their development. Even collecting and chewing sticks is in their DNA.

This week, the puppies experienced their first car ride to the friendly veterinarian. Unlike most other litters travelling to the same destination, the ride there was extremely quiet. Once at the clinic, most were on thei…

Storm and Chanel Litter – Week Six

“The Drinking Contest”
A drinking contest normally conjures up images far different than this week’s experience as this one was far more innocent. The puppies were ready for a change; ready to take on a brand-new adventure, namely their introduction to the great outdoors. When we removed the door to the whelping box to allow them to work their way outside on their own, most weren’t sure what to make of all this newfound freedom, so they stood in the entrance as if frozen in time. A little coaxing cured that and soon the entire crew made it out. Despite the newness of it all, their primary focus was on getting to their mom for a quick snack. Chanel’s sores from her bout of mastitis have since healed and the milk bar was available in its entirety. When Chanel felt she’d met her obligations and scurried off for some private time, the gang was left to absorb the vastness of the yard. Mind you, they didn’t stray very far on the first day, but their circle widened with each subsequent outing…

Storm and Chanel Litter – Week Five

“Friends for Life”
The dynamic in the whelping box is evolving. 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 spend longer periods of time awake and they use it to engage in some manner of play with their siblings whether head-butting or wrestling. They’re also craving a lot of attention and affection. When we were removing the pig rails from the whelping box, the puppies came to investigate with a perfect blend of caution and curiousity. This gave way to a great deal of hand nibbling and cuddling. In short, they’re making friends - both with us and each other, not to mention their little stuffed toys.

Since the little ones are getting more accustomed to eating solid food, their food is being prepared a…

Storm and Chanel Litter – Week Four

“Five Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”
Chanel and her brood have been relocated into the living room which is a pretty regal deal for mom. She’s got both a sofa and a love seat to stretch out on, not to mention some carpeting and some sections of cool wood flooring for lounging. There’s also a walkout to the backyard for those peaceful Zen moments or for chasing chipmunks. Unlike many other moms in this situation, Chanel didn’t bat an eye. She knew this was a good deal, but perhaps her puppies did not. It usually happens at least once in every litter that a puppy manages to escape over the wall. In fact, Mr. Smoke had his fifteen minutes of fame at two weeks of age. Not long after they were relocated, five of the little ones slipped out into the living room to get a better look at the carpeting. So, without the benefit of a GPS to guide them, they soon realized they have no clue as to where they were (and of course that there’s no food in sight). They then needed to be rescued and must sur…

Storm and Chanel Litter – Week Three

“A Foot in Cold Water”
Here’s one we’ve never witnessed before. We’re not certain as to whether it’s something she learned in a spa or if it has some other purpose, but we’ve noticed that Chanel puts her right paw inside the water bowl while she’s having a drink. Irrespective of the reason, at least the bowl is fixed in place during her hydration session and she has one clean foot.

To add to the challenge of nursing eleven puppies, Chanel contracted mastitis this week - an inflammation of a mammary gland which is an infection caused by a little bite or scratch. This is not uncommon in larger litters and not serious when diagnosed and treated in the early stages. We opted for two courses of treatment: the medical solution of a regimen of antibiotics coupled with the homeopathic one of strapping a cabbage leaf to the affected area. That gets followed up with basting the wound with saline solution and the incredible healing properties of honey. Since the pups aren’t even remotely consideri…

Storm and Chanel Litter – Week Two

“500 Miles Away from Home”
The day began like any other. The morning dew burned off with the hot caress of the sun’s rays. It was very still, apart from the occasional fluttering of a mama robin’s wings as she hurried off in search of food for her young. Yet something felt out of place. A trip to the bedroom where the whelping box resides revealed the answer. There were only ten puppies on hand. A scan of the room revealed nothing. And then…..a tiny muffled voice; but from where? The search was escalated to the highest priority. Finally, Mr. Smoke, the little rascal was retrieved from way under our king-sized bed. The distance travelled was no small feat for such a little creature who hasn’t even learned to walk yet. We can only conjecture how he managed to escape over the barrier – either he crawled over the back of a sibling or he was still enjoying breakfast attached to his mom when she left the box to have a little break. What suction!

It’s always exciting for us when the puppies’ e…

Storm and Chanel’s Litter, The Fire Litter – Week One

“The Job Description”
It’s always a bit confusing for a mom giving birth by C-section. For the weeks leading up to the birth, a mother-to-be knows she’s going to have a litter. When they’re delivered by C-section, it’s rather perplexing for her because the babies seem to appear out of nowhere…..and they already have demands!  Chanel warmed up to the idea quite readily and immediately began to bond with them, but it took a day before she came to the realization that the job came with responsibilities. After 24 hours, she stepped up to the plate and began to lick and nudge each of her offspring to clean and stimulate them as they are initially incapable of eliminating on their own. For the first couple of days, we had to coax her out of the whelping box for her bathroom breaks which are conducted in record time. She even insists on a “dining in” meal plan so that she can continually tend to her flock. 
With eleven in the litter and only so much “equipment” to go around, we try to get the …

Chanel, Day 54 (pre-parturition)

“The Countdown Begins”

As Chanel heads into her final 9 days of pregnancy, she is very much focused on finding the perfect den in our backyard to birth her puppies. This is a normal behaviour for pregnant dogs so we are keeping a watchful eye on her. She has dug a hole that she can pretty much fit herself into along with the pups’ daddy! However, we have a much cozier and cleaner nesting area for her. This week we will introduce her to the “whelping box” and make all the final preparations for the puppies’ arrival next week.
Chanel is still extremely interested in food and when offered a treat, she will almost take your hand along with it. She is getting about 28 oz of raw food daily as well as supplements including folic acid for the prevention of birth defects and rosemary tea leaves for uterine health.

Chanel’s abdominal area seems to expand daily. She measures a whopping 36.5 inches or 92.7 cm and she’s still growing!

Storm and Chanel Puppies Day 39 Pre Parturition

Chanel has always been a very calm and easy-going girl. Now that she is pregnant, she seems very much the same but her “happy meter“ is off the charts. Her tail is wagging constantly and she likes to carry her favourite stuffed toy around in her mouth.

Chanel did have a mild bout of morning sickness around day 25 but she bounced back quickly. She is eating about 20 oz. daily which we will increase to 22 oz. this week. 

Chanel hasn’t slowed down yet and still is very active with the pack. She eagerly runs out the door every morning to check the perimeter of our backyard fence. Chanel is our resident chief of security with Faith and a few others as back up!

We expect Chanel will slow down over the next couple of weeks as her abdomen grows.  



Pre-natal period: It is an interesting fact that a dog's tactile perception develops before birth, therefore unborn puppies can detect "touch" when the mother is petted from the outside of the abdomen. This establishes the basis for puppie…