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“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, now she’s as devoted as any mom we’ve had, wanting to spend virtually every waking moment with her mini-pack.
It never ceases to amaze us how the little ones know exactly what to do from the first minute onward and how they instinctively suckle. Apart from nourishment, a mom’s milk contains antibodies vital to the puppies’ survival for the first several weeks of their lives. We weigh the puppies at least twice daily for the first week to ensure that everyone is getting equal access to the milk bar. Misty watches us very closely as each puppy makes a trip to the scale, just to be sure they’re returned safely. At the one-week mark, everyone’s weight has pretty much doubled which is clearly a testament to her abilities as a mom. As a sidebar to the topic of nourishment, Misty still demands her own meals at such precise times to the extent that we were tempted to cover or remove the clock from the bedroom. How on earth does she do that?
Puppies are born without sight or hearing and their eyes don’t open until sometime during the second week, so, for now, their senses of smell and touch are what guide them to their target. They use their tiny forelimbs, coupled with great tenacity, to propel themselves around as they seek out their sustenance and warmth. Since their body temperatures will not have been regulated until after week three, the little gang relies on their mother and each other for warmth. Of course, we have a heat lamp at the ready to use whenever mom’s on her break.
That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another beguiling installment of “Puppy Tales”