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Storm & Skye Litter – Week One

“Tornado Warning”We thought we were lucky. After a lengthy preamble, Skye rewarded us with one of those rare daytime deliveries since puppies are usually born in the wee hours. Mr. Grape (purple) made his debut at 4:55 pm on Sunday afternoon. But then we waited, and we waited until Miss Sprinkles (pink) was born at 6:28 pm and so it went on with Mr. Praline (beige), Miss Strawberry (red) and Miss Chocolate (brown) at 9:15 pm. Then Skye “tossed us a bone” by producing Miss Pistachio (green) a scant 13 minutes later at 9:28 pm. Of course, there’s payback so Mr. Sherbet (orange) didn’t arrive until 10:55 pm followed by Mr. Lemon (yellow) at 11:39 pm and finally Miss Vanilla (white) at 12:55 am on Monday. By the time we got everything straightened up it was 2:00 am but of course, sleep was out of the question as we now had to tend to Skye’s precious little bundles. Skye wasted no time in assuming her motherly duties to stimulate and clean her puppies by licking them. Despite her best eff…

Skye, Day 56 (pre-parturition)

“The Final Countdown”As Skye heads into her final week of pregnancy, she is very much focused on finding the perfect den in our backyard to have her puppies. This morning she dug a hole that she can pretty much fit herself into along with Pepper, her partner in crime! It is her natural instinct to find and prepare a den to birth her puppies however, she’ll actually have them in a nice warm and sterile environment known as the whelping box. We keep puppies in our bedroom for the first 3 weeks and over the next week we will make all the final preparations for their arrival. 

Skye is still extremely interested in food and will almost take your hand off when offered a treat. She inhales her food in about 4 seconds flat and is now receiving 3 meals daily, but we may increase that to 4 or 5 meals as we move closer to her whelping date. Her abdomen measures a whopping 35.5 inches or approx. 90 cm.

Skye has a cozy dog bed or our king-sized bed to sleep on but prefers the cool tile floor in our …

Skye, Day 47 (pre-parturition)

Sassy Skye continues to be as active as ever. She enjoys being in the air-conditioned house when it is so humid outdoors. The occasional bird or squirrel has her preoccupied outdoors, but she quickly realizes that it’s too hot outside and she’d rather just come inside to cool off and enjoy a bone. 

Diet is so important at this stage as the puppies are beginning to grow rapidly now. Over the next few weeks as her abdomen expands, Skye will obviously begin to slow down.

Skye has always had a voracious appetite and she certainly continues to eat her food in record time and is always looking for more. She is enjoying an unprocessed raw diet including all the natural vitamins and minerals required along with folic acid, prebiotics and probiotics daily.  As her waistline expands, she will have less room for food so we will increase the frequency and reduce the size of each meal. Skye’s abdomen now measures 76.2 cm or 30 inches. 

At this point, the embryonic sacs are a little over 4 cm.  Althou…

Chapeau and Chanel Litter – Week Seven

“Nature’s Charcuterie”The weather here finally cooperated suitably for the puppies to get outside. While a little tentative for the first two and a half minutes, they wandered over to the milk truck, aka Chanel who provided them with a little snack al fresco, despite their twenty-eight razor sharp teeth. After that, there was a huge free-for-all. The pups ran off in groups of two or three or sometimes solo. As their confidence grew, they explored the yard in ever-widening circles. They scaled rocks and little mounds of snow and chased one another around a big cedar tree in a seemingly endless game of tag. When they were ready to wind down a bit, a sampling of nature’s charcuterie followed. This consisted of sampling a variety of twigs with a chaser of a mouthful of snow.


Most of their neighbours, namely the pups in Faith’s litter departed for their forever homes over the weekend. We used the opportunity to give everyone a bit more room by putting the five boys in Faith’s whelping box a…

Chapeau and Chanel Litter – Week Six

“UFC Takedown”The days are getting longer but unfortunately, they’re also getting soggier as Mother Nature peels back her snow covering and reveals our nemesis, namely mud. Accordingly, we’ve had to resort to some indoor playtime. We tossed a plush 6 ft long caterpillar onto the kitchen floor and let the gang loose on it. At first the mini pack sniffed it from end to end and then they worked on subduing it until they were satisfied it no longer posed a threat.

This week, the puppies experienced their first examination by Dr. Matt, the friendly veterinarian. Considering the number of puppies in our household requiring their checkups, it made more sense for him to make a house call. We had the pups on the kitchen floor while the checkups were being conducted and they were completely oblivious to the goings-on. They played and ran laps around the kitchen island. On more than one occasion, they were entranced by Dr. Matt’s colourful socks, but they thought better of challenging them. When …

Storm and Faith Litter – Week Seven

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”The pups had an absolute blast outside this week. They were just a bit tentative on their first outing, but it didn’t take long for them to step up to the challenge. They were unfazed by the mounds of packed snow and what surely seemed like mountains and moguls. Of course, the mounds are somewhat slippery, but this determined bunch quickly found their footing and conquered the summit. Some even found a few cedar twigs to nibble on while others either scurried about or simply meandered, taking in the vastness of the yard, the sunshine and the cool, crisp Caledon air. It’s interesting to witness the pups’ growing independence as they venture into the far corners of the yard either on their own or in small groups.

Faith is both a mom and playmate extraordinaire. She lures the pups into play mode with the “will you play with me stance” leading them on chases over the snow-covered terrain. Then, she rolls around in the snow while some of them try to cop a snac…

Chapeau and Chanel Litter – Week Five

“Nibbles”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. 
Since the little ones are getting more accustomed to eating solid food, their food is being prepared a bit drier and they are drinking plenty of water to keep hydrated. Now that the food isn’t as messy, fewer clean ups (in that department) are required. Of course, Chanel still nurses the puppies to supplement their diet.
This week we removed the pig rails from the main part of the whelping box. Now that the puppie…

Storm and Faith Litter – Week Six

“The Experiment”It was just a matter of time. Since the pups are well on their way to being fully weaned, they always have a fresh bowl of water at their disposal. To this end, we use a spill-proof bowl. Every now and again, a litter of puppies decides to test that theory with some experimentation. This was no exception. While there’s an insert that helps prevent most of the water from spilling out, we were too trusting and had opted to leave it out for the moment. Strike one and lesson learned.
We would have loved to be able to get the pups outside this past weekend, but mother nature hasn’t been very agreeable these past few days. We have snowbanks up to six feet in height and the snow throughout the yard is up to a foot and a half. That said, our biggest concern was losing a puppy in the snow. In the meantime, the party is indoors and the group is unfazed because they’re having a blast getting to know each other. There’s a lot of squawking and chirping when playtime really ramps up,…

Chapeau and Chanel Litter – Week Four

“Determination”This week, we added an extension to the whelping box which has doubled its size. Now that the puppies are getting even bigger, they need a bit more space to allow them to pick up speed to scramble from end to end. 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.

Kids always find ways to get into trouble. The other day Mr. Aramis (brown) and Miss Shalimar (blue) managed to escape from the whelping box as Chanel was on her way out for a break and chased after her unless they were just trying to get a better look at the living room carpet. We cured that by adding another slat across the entrance…or so we thought. A short while later, we discovered Miss Opium (red) in the middle of the living room carpet enjoying a private nursing ses…

Storm and Faith Litter – Week Five

“Canine Compassion”Night had fallen fast. There was absolute stillness. Not a sound could be heard either close at hand or in the far-off distance. Moonlight trickled in through a crack between the drapes. And then out of the silence a cry arose. It began softly but became more persistent after a few moments. We went to investigate and discovered Miss Grand Marnier in the far corner of the whelping box extension while her siblings were all huddled together several feet away in the main sleeping area. As if on cue, two of them staggered over and laid down beside her. Her crying ceased immediately. Dogs are pack animals and their emotional well-being relies on the presence of their pack-mates, whether other dogs or humans. It underscores the need for love that we all experience.

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.…

Chapeau and Chanel Litter – Week Three

“Animal House”
Chanel and her new family were relocated to the living room from our bedroom this week to join fellow mom Faith and her mini pack. In order to accommodate the puppies’ rapid growth, we’ve had to raise the pig rails in their box up a notch. These are rails around the inside of the whelping box that are there to help prevent mom from accidentally squishing one of her kids if they settle in behind her. At some point during the coming couple of weeks, the rails can safely be removed altogether. Since the puppies are getting adept at staggering around, an extension will be added to the box very soon which will give the gang lots more room to play in. That’s when the real fun begins!

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 standing in a group gently coll…

Storm and Faith Litter – Week Four

“Divas”The pups are spending a great deal of time playing and interacting with their siblings. Mr. Blue Curaçao and Miss Crème de Menthe are enjoying a great brother/sister dynamic as they play. Meanwhile Mr. Marsala expends some of his energy either singing or providing instructions to the group with his verbalizations; we’re not sure which. Since everyone is growing so quickly, they need weekly grooming, and no one enjoys spa day with mani-pedis more than our two resident divas: Miss Limoncello and Miss Kahlua. Of course, we’re not using colour just yet.

The action has ramped up in Faith’s quarters this week! Miss Faith and her crew have been relocated into the living room which is like a V.I.P. room for moms. She has a sofa to stretch out on for her ultimate relaxation while being able to keep a watchful eye and ear on her brood. What’s more, she has a private yard for a little walkabout which her puppies will eventually use as their playground.  In the meantime, the puppies have gy…

Chapeau and Chanel Litter – Week Two

“Friends”It’s good to have friends. That applies to humans and canines alike. Since Chanel has such a large litter, her roommate Faith (who has her own litter of 7) has pitched in to help out with some nursing duties. One might think that these moms would be possessive or even jealous, but in true Golden fashion, that’s simply not the case. Faith just gives Chanel’s visiting pups a quick sniff, puts her head back down and enjoys a little nap while the little ones get their sustenance.

It’s exciting for us when the puppies’ eyes open at around the 10-day mark. 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…

Storm and Faith Litter – Week Three

“The Memo”

Even though the pups are in a warm, clean and safe environment, it’s apparent Faith didn’t get the memo. She is still trying to excavate a tunnel or igloo in the snow with a view toward relocating her puppies there. This is instinctive behaviour for all moms as they are hard-wired to create a den for her family. Meanwhile back inside, we experienced our first round of escapees from the whelping box. Mr. Blue Curaçao, Mr. Marsala and Mr. Sambuca were among the culprits who were able to scale the slat and venture onto the bedroom carpet. We added another slat just to make sure we kept everyone safe.

The gang had their first raw feeding of hormone and antibiotic-free meat with organic vegetables, pro-biotics, vitamin supplements including vitamin C, bovine colostrum and Puppy Gold for eye and immune system development, goat’s milk and plain yoghurt to supplement the feedings they get from their mom. They enjoyed it so much, they even polished the bowl. The ones to watch were Mis…

Chapeau and Chanel Litter – Week One

“The Guessing Game”No two pregnancies are the same. We checked Chanel’s temperature at 1:30 am and determined we had a wee bit of time, so we extinguished the lights and settled in for a little nap. Little was right. At around 2:00 am, Chanel was becoming more restless so when we got up to investigate, not only did she just deposit Mr. Brut (light green) on the bedroom carpet, but she’d already deposited Miss Opium (red) on the ensuite tile floor. She continually kept us guessing. Miss Dior (pink) made her entrance on the patio and Miss Obsession (beige) graced the tarp we’d put on the bedroom floor. It wasn’t until the birth of Mr. Jovan Musk (orange) that Chanel improved her aim and began having puppies on the bed. The rest of the group was rounded out by Mr. Polo (forest green), Miss Shalimar (blue), Miss Chanel no5 (white), Mr. Aramis (brown) and finally Mr. Hugo Boss (grey) approaching 9:00 am. Of course, sleep is out of the question as we now had to tend to Chanel’s precious lit…

Storm and Faith Litter – Week Two

“The Complaint Department”

Now that Faith’s pups are quite established, mom is taking a bit of time to herself. She’s still on call around the clock, but she does venture out of the whelping box for some cuddles or to have a nap on our bed. Whenever Faith’s breaktime is deemed excessive by her mini-pack and they’re feeling hungry again, they all start chanting or even howling to let her know that breaktime is over and she’d better get back to work. In order to provide her pups with their sustenance, along with her regular meals, Faith is getting a super-charged smoothie consisting of pro-biotic yoghurt, pre and pro biotics, calcium citrate, vitamin C, colostrum and bio-active proteins to help kick-start her puppies’ immune systems.

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)…

Storm and Faith Litter – Week One

“The Ventriloquist”Puppies are generally born in the wee hours, but Faith blessed us with one of those rare daytime deliveries even if it was a bit early for us. Her water broke at around 6:00 in the morning on Sunday and by 7:10 am, Mr. Sambuca made his debut. There’s no set schedule for whelping. Miss Limoncello appeared an hour later and Miss Grand Marnier in quick succession 20 minutes after that. And then we waited. Two hours passed. While the first group was huddled together in the incubator where we’d just placed them in anticipation of another grand entrance, we heard a faint cry from one of the puppies. Or did we? It soon became apparent that this little voice was coming from within. A quick inspection revealed a puppy in the birth canal but not within reach.... After some quick thinking, a whole lot of worry and a brisk walk in the yard with Faith, she deposited Mr. Marsala mid-air into a waiting towel. Fortunately, his siblings, Miss Kahlua, Miss Crème de Menthe and Mr. Blu…

Charismatic Chanel - 50 days (pre-parturition)

Chanel is sailing through this pregnancy so far, but one thing we’ve noticed is that she’s becoming increasingly more affectionate. She strategically positions herself beside either one of us in the hopes that we’ll take the hint and caress her…..non-stop. She is heading into her final two weeks of pregnancy but so far is happy and enjoying the mild winter “muddy” weather. 
Chanel continues to devour her food and is always looking for more. She is getting a very nutritious mixture of ground raw meat, fruit and veggies plus folic acid and raspberry leaves. Raspberry leaves have been used to strengthen the uterine walls and decrease labour time. Next week we will increase her meals to three daily. 

Chanel’s abdomen measures 33 inches (84 cm) and this is when the puppies will head into a huge growth stage. Their heartbeats can easily be detected with a stethoscope or ultrasound. They are developing toes, eyelids, whiskers and claws and are beginning to look more like puppies every day. …

Faith, Day 52 (pre-parturition)

As we head into the final two weeks of Faith’s pregnancy, we see her slowing down a bit, preferring to lounge by the fireplace or on our king-sized bed. Faith has a voracious appetite, so we are now feeding her two meals daily and she measures about 31 inches (78 cm).

Next week we will set the whelping box up in our bedroom where Faith will be for about 3 weeks with the pups. It keeps her in a quiet environment where we can monitor the pups closely overnight. Our master bedroom has a separate walkout to another yard where she also has privacy for her bathroom breaks. 

Faith has begun her search for a den in the backyard to have her pups in which is normal behaviour for a mom-to-be. She has started digging under our spruce tree and since our winter is so mild, on the weekend she came in with mud up to her elbows. We now we go outside with her or monitor her closely through the window. We prefer that she uses our spotlessly clean whelping box for her babies. We have a heat lamp on it, kee…