Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Great Outdoors

The pups celebrated their one-month birthday by venturing outdoors for the first time. The pup I was carrying out started sniffing as soon as we walked out the door. Once I put her down, her nose was glued to the grass as if to say "Wow! What is all this." The outdoors is very exciting for young pups and this crew enjoyed every minute of it. They checked out all the smells, ran around with the big dogs and had a quick picnic lunch when Una stood still for a minute. A few were headed for the rock wall but there were enough people around to make sure they didn't bail off. When they are a little older, we will teach them about edges but they aren't ready for that yet. They stayed outside about 15 minutes before they started getting cold. Not long but quite exciting for five babies.

It's remarkable how fast pups develop at this point. Five days ago they were tottering around on wobbly legs. Now they are running and climbing. They are trying to jump but usually only the front end makes it over whatever it is they are jumping :-). They play with each other, with their toys and with the big dogs.

Their social circle is growing. They've met boy and girl dogs, old and youngish dogs and people of all sizes and shapes. I believe they are up to 70 people, ranging in age from 4 to 74, and six dogs in addition to their mom. They've only met golden retrievers so their view of the world is a bit distorted but that's not all bad.

Just yesterday, Pat and Randy McKinney, Sandy Washburn and Gail Kraeuter spent the afternoon with the pups and Rosie Higdon rolled in last night to stay for the weekend. So, the pups met lots of new people. Pat, Randy, Sandy and Gail surprised me with their visit and a beautiful photo collage honoring Corey for her Outstanding Dam achievement. Karen Hocker made the collage and it truly is gorgeous! You can see more photos from Pat, Randy, Sandy and Gail's visit at

We've swapped nearly all of the big toys in the puppy pen for little, puppy-sized toys. This crew is really into carrying so they are holding, tugging, "killing" and carrying their toys all over the place. We've added a metal scent article, a tracking glove and a dumbbell to the mix so they should soon be comfortable carrying metal, wood and leather, in addition to the usual toy textures.

Tomorrw they'll get their first marrow bones as we prepare them to start eating real food. Their teeth are sharp but their jaws are still pretty weak. And pups this age tend to suck not chew. We want them chewing before we give them food so we'll let them gnaw on marrow bones for a few days before letting them have their first meal. Bet they get lots of attention from the big dogs who will be trying to get those marrow bones out of the puppy pen!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Big Kids

The pups have now been in the puppy pen for over a day and you'd think they'd been born there. They are having a wonderful time playing with the toys, trying to convince the big dogs to play with them, climbing under and over various objects and, of course, sleeping. They are awake longer and longer but that still means they sleep 22 of 24 hours a day. They are getting the hang of the litter boxes--the girls are using it 80% of the time and the boys about 30%. Oh well, they'll all get it sooner or later.

The pups are having daily visitors. Today it was Phoebe (Bette's 'mom'), as well as Dune from the Wind litter and his housemate, Sam. Both boys have been very interested in the pups but both Una and Corey have made it clear that they can look but not touch. The pups are enjoying all the attention from humans and canines.

They will get their first bones tomorrow. I fed Una in the pen yesterday and two of the pups dove into her bowl so they are getting ready to eat. But first, they need to increase their jaw strength. So, we'll start with itty-bitty marrow bones and work our way up to real food. We hope to make it one more week before giving them their first meal but we'll see how Una is doing. She is staying in decent condition, a little thin but not gaunt. She has tons of energy even though she is nursing a lot.

We found a wine crate so we'll get some photos of the kids this weekend when Rosie is here. We've gotten some Christmas photos but have more to take now that they are "big kids."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Out of the Whelping Box and Into...

...the puppy pen! The pups moved today from the whelping box into their big puppy pen, which takes up most of the dining room. They were very eager to explore although it took them a while to stop bumping into the wire x-pen. They'd never seen wire before :-).

They've got lots of toys, two litter boxes, some beds to curl up in and a step stool to climb under and over. They are having a great time playing in their new digs.

To see more of it,

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Playing with Corey

Today was a big day. Corey had her first play session with one of the pups. I caught it on video and took some stills so you can look at it on the pups photo page later today. Corey had an absolute blast. Mr Green held his own well, attacking when he could and ducking when he couldn't. Such play looks much fiercer than it is. Corey is unbelievable gentle and aware. At the end, Mr Green and Corey curled up together for a nap. Una kept a watchful eye on the proceedings but I think she was glad to have a break for a while.

My family has arrived so I don't know how much time I'll have on the computer for the next few days. All of us wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Dirty Period Begins

This post was from 12/22 but it didn't get posted. Sorry about that!


There is this period in the life of a litter when I always sigh and wonder what I was thinking when I did the breeding. It inevitably hits when they are three weeks old and we call it the "Dirty Period." We all get through it but it isn't without work.

The DP is when the pups are big enough to make a mess that their mother can no longer keep up with yet too immature to be able to use a litter box. Since puppies are inherently very clean, they try to poop and pee in one area while living, sleeping and playing in another area. But they have to be mobile enough to make their way across the box for this to work. So, inevitably, there is a period when they are ready and willing but not able to use a litter box.

*Sigh* This is where the Wine Litter is now. Up until now, the whelping box has been spotless and easily kept that way through my efforts and Una's (and, who could forget, Corey). But that time has ended. Yet, the pups aren't moving or seeing well enough for me to put a litter area in. So, the next few days are going to require a ton of cleaning and sheepskin changes. Oh well, it's short lived.

Andy and I have decided not to move the pups to the x-pen quite yet. They are just not mature enough and will only get themselves in trouble in a larger, more complex area. We usually upgrade a litter's living arrangements when they are 3 1/2 weeks old but we had wanted to do it early this time due to the number of family we have coming for the holidays. But after watching them yesterday and today, we determined that the pups are not ready for a huge increase in area and the risk of the x-pen's wire sides. We don't want them to get chilled by getting lost in a corner of the pen or hurt by sticking their foot through the wires.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I only have a minute tonight. It's been a long day and I'm off to bed. But I wanted to give a quick update on the pups. They had quite a day today with lots of visitors and some extended time without Mom who was out playing agility. That's an eventful day for baby puppies.

It was an eventful day for Miss Una, too. She has been enjoying doing a little work each day but hasn't done much agility. Today she got to run a course however and she was clearly very happy to do so. We set the jumps at either 16" or 20" so it wasn't too demanding. She ran beautifully and I had a pretty darn good time, too.

The pups got cuddled, photographed, kissed, played with and generally spoiled by all who stopped by today. From my count, they've already met more than 30 people in their three weeks. They take it all in stride, of course :-).

They'll be moving to the xpen tomorrow so it will be a big day. Photos later.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Mystery

I came down this morning to find puppies rousing to the sound of my voice :-). That means that they are hearing. It's perfect timing since we can keep the house quiet for the next few days until my family arrives. After that, peace and quiet is hard to imagine with so many people and dogs around. But the pups will have a few days to get accustomed to their new sense before the holiday is upon us.

I also came down this morning to a whelping box filled with puppies and little else (see the photo above). The rubber ducky was there but there were no other toys. I thought back to last evening when I cleaned the box and I clearly remember replacing the soiled sheepskin with a clean one and putting the toys back into the box. There had been two pyramids, a stuffed chain, a Christmas toy that Corey had gotten as a present, and a tennis ball toy. These toys were nowhere to be found.

Andy and I scoured the dining room and the dog yard. Andy checked the laundry room thinking that I had misremembered (I do a lot of that these days) and had actually taken them down to wash. No toys. I looked in the kitchen and checked the basket of dog toys. Nothing.

Finally, I went upstairs to our bedroom. There, stuffed under my side of the bed were the missing toys--two pyramids, a chain, the Christmas toy and the tennis ball toy. Just those, no others. Someone, presumably either Corey or Una, had made numerous trips down to the whelping box during the night to steal the puppies' toys.

Andy and I have our suspicion that the culprit was Corey. She has been obsessive about the puppies up until a few days ago but has transferred that obsession to the puppies' toys. A few days ago she emptied their bag of toys but she hasn't touched any of the toys in the whelping box. Last night, while Una was sleeping, she may have seen her opportunity. She knows she can't take a puppy but she sure can swipe a pyramid.

Of course, it could also have been Una. One thing for sure, it wasn't Flyer. She wouldn't make five trips up and down the stairs in the dark for anything except a midnight snack! But then again, when she had a litter she used to scour the house for the right toys to add to the whelping box. When Una was a baby, Flyer insisted upon putting 14 toys in the box, bringing her total number of "babies" up to 15, the size of her largest litter (also sired by O'Reilly). So, perhaps our mystery thief is Flyer.

It's never a dull moment around here. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully we won't wake to a puppy shoved under the bed!

We seem to be having some website problems on so my apologies if you can't get in. In the meantime, new photos are up at

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Leave It to Una

I've been starting to worry about how fast the gang was growing. There isn't a lot one can do to limit nursing of puppies this age since Mom represents food, warmth and cleanliness. I had stopped encouraging Una to spend all day every day with the pups but I didn't want to do any more. So they continued to grow by leaps and bounds, surpassing the maximum of where we want our pups to be at this age.

But I shouldn't have worried. Una solved the problem over the last few days but starting to nurse standing up. Not only are the pups struggling to reach the milk bar but they are expending a lot more energy getting their meals now. They can barely reach even when standing on their tip toes. They look like a circus troop trying to balance on their hind legs, twirling around with the nipple in their mouths. It's pretty funny to watch but hard work for them. I'm continuing the private nursing sessions for Mr Red so he is actually gaining on the Big Four. They are holding at just over 4 pounds and he is closing in on 3 1/2 pounds.

I've been checking for signs that they can hear and today was the first sign that those ears are starting to work. They actually roused from sleep when I came in to say "Hi!" Of course, with hearing comes barking but it will be worth it.

They are getting cuter by the day and are awake for longer periods. They are playing with each other and the toys for short periods many times a day. They put up quite a stink yesterday when I clipped their toenails so they are becoming real puppies.

We'll probably move them to the exercise pen sometime this week. That's always a fun day as we watch them explore a new home. We also introduce the potty at the same time. Una and Corey are doing a great job keeping them clean but I want the pups to have an option if their mom and aunt's are not around.

I have to think of some good Christmas photo ops for the pups. Anyone have any suggestions? It's so rare that we have Christmas puppies that I figure this one hast to last for years of Christmas cards.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Up and At 'Em

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. The pups are taking an increasing amount of my time, not just because they are more work but because its hard to do anything else now that they are up and about. And up and about definitely describes them right now.

Everyone is seeing pretty well (if you are about a foot away) and they are walking like champs. Ears are beginning to open. They are able to control their body temperature completely and they graduated from the Bio-sensor exercises last night. Their last few scents were wood, pigeon and rabbit skin. (Andy gasped when I hauled an entire log in for the pups to smell. No little splinter of wood for these kids, they needed to experience the real thing.) Now their development comes from their environment, not exercises.

The pups play with each other most of their waking moments when they aren't nursing. We started putting big, brightly-colored, stuffed toys in the whelping box so they can get the hang of playing with things they can see. The few smaller toys in the box still go unnoticed. Everyone has gotten stuck in the pyramid at least once and lived to tell about it so they are handling that stress well. You can see Miss Yellow making her way through the pyramid above. Most of them prefer to sleep with their head on a pillow so the toys have multiple uses.

They are quite big, in fact all but Mr Red are too big. Mr Green and Miss Pink are over 4 pounds. Miss Yellow and Mr Blue are at least 3 3/4 pounds. Mr Red hit 3 pounds this morning. Our guidelines are that the pups should be 3 pounds as they turn 2 weeks of age and not hit 4 pounds till they are 3 weeks of age. Obviously, the Big 4 are getting too much milk so I'm letting Una sleep in our bedroom if she chooses so the pups don't have a non-stop milk bar all night now. Mr Red still gets private nursing sessions so he is just about on target.

Una still rules the whelping box. She isn't yet willing to share too much with Corey, who is ready to step in as "mom" at a moment's notice. The pups had a visitor today and as we all went over to the box, suddenly both Corey and Una were in there cleaning pups. We could see Corey come to her senses and realize that she was...drum roll please...IN THE BOX. After this dawned on her, she carefully finished up scrubbing the pup she was working on and quietly left the box. Una seemed okay with the whole thing although she clearly thinks she can handle this litter all by herself.

Of course, she is also a little bored so has gone back to work this week. She is doing "pile work" for field training. However, she couldn't sneak up on a bird if she wanted to since, as she runs, you can hear her boobs slapping together from 50 feet away. But, she's happy to be out running so we don't laugh at her.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fourteen Days

The pups are 14 days old this evening. Hard to believe that it's only been two weeks since they arrived. Puppies grow and develop so quickly that the time really does fly. Of course, that explains why we are so busy trying to capture each critical moment.

Eyes are all open, if a bit myopic. The pups are also up on all fours although they are pretty wobbly. In fact, the pups started playing today. The first efforts are wonderful to see. They'll go to grab the ear of a fellow puppy, they'll miss and forget what they are doing, promptly going to sleep. Mr Red was taking on Mr Green this afternoon. Talk about David and Goliath :-).

New photos are up at They aren't the best but you'll get an idea of how big they are. Una was being obsessive-compulsive about cleaning everyone so most of what you see is her. I got her out for a training session this evening so she's a little calmer now.

Only a few more days of Bio-sensor. It stops just before their ears open and the pups have to deal with all aspects of the world. At this point, the pups are still deaf; their ear canal is not complete yet. But in the next 5-7 days, they will begin to hear. That's an exciting time although we try to keep sounds under control for the first few days so as to not overwhelm them.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Duck, Duck....DUCK!

It was duck night tonight and the pups' were intrigued. What am I talking about? Well, tonight the scent object was a duck. I had quite the audience with Flyer, Corey and Una lined up to help, just in case the puppies didn't like it. Much to their dismay, the puppies really liked the duck. Their reaction was as strong as their response to the evergreen early on. They sniffed and sniffed and sniffed. It was great to see.

Everyone continues to grow. All four of the "big guys" are over 3 pounds, from Mr Green who is 3 lbs 5 ounces to Miss Yellow who is 3 lbs 3 ounces. Mr Red continues to doggedly (:-)) bring up the rear at 2 lbs 5 ounces. He's a tough little guy though.

Miss Yellow got a new 'do today. She somehow got a mild fungal infection on her side so she got a shave at the vet's today. Poor baby, the day her eyes open she ends up with clippers coming at her. She's an opinionated kid so we heard her dissatisfaction at the top of her lungs while she was being treated. But, as soon as it was over, she curled up in my arms and went to sleep. She seems to be okay with her new hairdo so everyone has to not looked surprised when they see her. Promise?

Everyone's eyes are open fully except for Mr Red. His are cracked open but he still looks like Mr Magoo. Everyone else just looks like they are stoned :-). They are up on all fours and are able to get around pretty well. Una is in trouble now.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Eyes Have It

I'm back from Kansas but it's late so I'll just give a quick update. Andy, the girls and the pups did great in my absence. All of the pups continue to grow--Mr Red is just about 2 pounds and Mr Green hit 3 pounds this afternoon. But the big excitement is that Miss Pink's eyes are open and everyone else's should be tomorrow. They can't see much initially but it's great to see those cute little puppy eyes looking back at you. We won't have photos for a few days until their eyese are ready to handle the light but they'll have some up as soon as possible.

I'm off to do Bio-sensor and hit the hay!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Andy is in charge

I left the pups early afternoon today to head off on a business trip to Kansas. Andy is holding down the fort and from our conversation tonight, all is well. He's weighed everyone and done their Bio-sensor exercises. He's given Mr Red a private nursing session as we try to catch him up to his larger brothers and sisters. So, all is well at home although I already miss them all.

As some of you know, I am an eager student of pack relations. Many years ago, I was an ethology undergraduate, studying animal behavior. Today, I have my own on-going research program in my house. Perfect! I am fascinated watching the older dogs and their interactions relative to the puppies. Una is definitely in charge. She has allowed Corey to assist in cleaning but she decides how much Corey is allowed to do. She'll suddenly decide that enough is enough and Corey politely, if reluctantly, moves away. Corey is allowed in the whelping box but only if she is going in to get a stuffed animal. She isn't supposed to touch a puppy while she is in there. Now, mind you, Corey is insane for the puppies so it may be her over-enthusiasm that makes Una cautious.

I say this because Flyer is allowed to do anything with the pups, most likely because she has no real interest in interacting with them. Occasionally she will come over and check out a puppy but she can only be described as disinterested. She's come over a few times but generally would rather be outside walking or chasing the ball than hanging out with puppies.

We encourage all of our adults to interact appropriately with the puppies. I am fascinated watching the puppies sniff each dog and believe this expands their world. If they can recognize three dogs and two people before their eyes open, I'm thrilled. They definitely know who has working faucets and who doesn't!

I'll be back in NY on Thursday so it may be quiet between now and then.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Lights Out

This will be a short post since I've spent all of my time uploading videos onto the pup's photo page. We also put up individual photos of each of the pups on the Week 2 page. Check them out.

These will be the last photos for a while since the pup's eyes are starting to open. We dim the lights during this period and do not use any flashes for photos. Newly opened eyes need to be protected, just as they would be in a den in the wild.

The pups are also up on all fours quite a bit these days. They are getting more mobile every day. They can even smell Una as she walks by the box and they clamor for her to come feed them.

Enjoy the photos and videos. I've got to go train dogs!

Friday, December 8, 2006

One-Week Birthday

Happy, first (week) birthday to the Wine litter. All of the pups are growing at an appropriate rate, each doubled their birthweight by this morning. Mr Red is now slightly more than 1 1/2 pounds and the rest are between 2 pounds 2 ounces and 2 pounds 3 ounces.

The temperature dropped precipitously last night till it was 17 degrees out this morning. Since we heat with wood, that means more work and tending for Andy and I. The house temperature is usually in the low 60s but we're keeping it around 68 for the pups. Thankfully, they now have a little control over their body temperature so we don't have to worry as much as we did last week about chills. They are also VERY mobile and vocal so they can scootch over to the other pups or to the heating pad. And when all else fails, they can holler at the tops of their lungs until someone comes to their rescue. One thing about this bunch, they are not shy about expressing their opinions.

All of the pups' pigment is completely in so they have dark black noses and muzzles and beautiful black pads on their feet. They are thick bodied and heavier than you would think they would be by looking at them. They have chunky heads and lots of bone. I can't tell much about coat but they have lots of wrinkles. Hopefully that is a sign of good coat not of a Shar-pei relative.

The whelping box now has obstacles in it. Well, they are really just stuffed animals but when you are 7-days old, they can be significant obstacles. Today they will get to smell evergreen and tomorrow is pigeon. That's a big day!

Marcy and Lise are coming to visit this weekend so hopefully we'll get some individual shots to put up on SimpleSite. I'm still working on the video.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Visiting Day

Today was grooming day so the pups had lots of visitors. They met Phoebe and Marilyn, Carol and Blanche. And when Andy got home, he cuddled Mr Red for quite a while despite Una's insistance that he needed to be back in the box. Needless to say, each pup got cuddled and kissed lots and lots today.

They are fat and sassy now--most are nearly 2 lbs. I put up a few more photos on their photo page so you can see how much they have grown.

I tried to put up some video but it didn't work. We taped the Bio-sensor session plus the pie plate exercise and the sniffing. Hopefully, I'll get it up tomorrow. In the meantime, the pups were introduced to a tennis ball today. Three of the five were intrigued, sniffing away. The other two were unimpressed. We'll see if that holds through for a lifetime. I kinda doubt it.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

First Car Ride

The pups had an exciting day yesterday when they and their dam headed off to my vet's for a quick check up. We usually do this right after their birth but this time they got to visit a little later. Both the pups and Una handled the trip easily although it took as much stuff to move them as it does a 6-month old baby, minus the diapers. We had a heating pad, a 2-liter soda bottle filled with warm water and a Snuggle, a microwaveable disc that stays warm. All of this and 5 pups packed in a sheepskin-filled laundry basket made for a load but they stayed nice and warm for the trip. All received a clean bill of health.

Today's agenda included nail clipping (Yikes!), oranges and more exercises. All the pups are gaining weight. The Big Four weight over 1 lb 13 ounces and little Mr Red is at 1 lb 5 ounces. Clearly Una has enough milk :-).

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Time to Go to Work

Well, the pups are over 3 days old so today was their first day in our development program. Can you believe it? They can't see and can't hear yet we're already putting them to work. We begin with Bio-Sensor exercises from the Army's SuperDog program. (You can read more about Bio-sensor at To it, we add a small problem solving exercise and novel scents.

Our development program is based on the assumption that puppies are undergoing massive neurological development during various periods of their young lives. Our goal is to stimulate this development as much as possible and in the direction that will result in intelligent, stable golden retrievers. The first development period is from 3-16 days of age. So, we have begun.

We do the five Bio-Sensor exercises--holding the pups in three different positions, tickling a foot with a Q-tip, and thermal stimulation--once a day for 13 days. We use the last exercise to also introduce them to problem-solving. We put them in a cool pie plate and time how long it takes them to get out of it onto a warm piece of wool. We then look for improved or faster performance each day. This morning it took 18-90 seconds. One pup almost made it out before circling back onto the pie plate :-). Poor guy but puppies do tend to move in circles at this age.

We also introduce novel scents to the pups once a day for the next two weeks. Since pups this age cannot see or hear, their sense of smell is well developed. We want to work on it further by letting them smell new scents that they haven't experienced, such as apples, oranges, bananas, pigeons, wood, grass, etc. Today is apple day.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Moving Day

We had an exciting time this morning, moving the pups, their dam and all of their accoutrement to the dining room. We are having work done upstairs and wanted to get them out of the way of the contractors. The pups handled the move easily (who wouldn't when you are carried around in a heated and padded basket?) but it took Una a while to settle in. She was convinced that a puppy got left upstairs. I kept counting for her but she insisted. I finally put an exercise pen around the whelping box, thereby locking her in, and gave her a bully stick to occupy her. Within a few minutes, she settled down quite contentedly.

The pups are all growing well. The three big ones are nearly 1 1/2 pounds and Mr Red is over a pound. Their pigment is coming in strongly and they are now round and sleek. Una has started nursing sitting up, a technique usually used when the pups are at least a week old, so they are getting their exercise as they work to get their meals.

Una has started getting bored. How can we tell? She kept a tennis ball in her mouth most of yesterday afternoon, looking hopefully at the doors. We had to sneak Corey and Flyer out for some exercise so Una wouldn't see them. I suspect she'll be back to work this week.

We've been handling the pups each day since their birth but tomorrow starts their formal development program. We'll start BioSensor exercises, introduce them to novel smells and begin their problem solving.

I'm off to nap. Andy pulled duty last night so I got a decent night's sleep but I'm still feeling the lack of zzzz's from the past week.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

The Wine Litter is here!

The Wine litter was born on the evening of December 1, 2006. We've been waiting over a year for these pups so are very excited that they finally arrived. There sire is Ch Ashford's Saffron O'Reilly UDT JH WCX (OS/SDHF), a lovely 15-year old golden retriever owned by Debbie Claussen from California. Their dam is our 4-year old golden, Una also known as Gaylan's Hole in One JH AX AXJ WCX CCA VC.

We used frozen semen for this breeding and had Una surgically inseminated by Dr Mary Stankovics at Pleasant Valley Animal Hospital. Dr Mary and Debbie Leach had helped my vet, Jim Zgoda and I do the timing tests for this breeding so we could be sure to get pups. Frozen semen is very fragile and has a short life so we had to breed Una when she was most fertile. We thought we had timed it right and ultrasound confirmed that she was indeed pregnant.

We expected the pups to be born on Wednesday, November 29. With surgical inseminations, whelpings are usually pretty easy to pinpoint. So, when Una still hadn't whelped by Thursday, I was getting very nervous. Debbie Leach, the tech who had guided Una's breeding with Dr Mary, assured me that all was well and that we should wait for Saturday morning for a c-section.

By Thursday afternoon, the whelping team had arrived. In addition to me, they included Marcy Burke, Lise Pratt, Pat McKinney and Sue Wieder. We spent Thursday evening watching TV, doing a puzzle and talking since Una was clearly not having pups. We all slept well that night.

Una woke me up Friday morning, first at 4 AM and then again at 6 AM. Her prelabor had started. We spent all day with her as the pups prepared to be born. Finally, around 5 PM, hard labor started and at 5:58 PM, Mr Blue was born. He was an active guy and quite large at 1.2 pounds. He was followed by four more pups, two girls and two more boys. Una handled everything--whelping, cleaning pups, breaking the umbilical cord and getting everyone nursing--without our help. She was a calm and careful mom from the start.

I had used a fetal doppler to check the puppies' heartbeats so thought we had 6 or 7 pups. So, we kept waiting for another pup. It felt like there was one more but Una was settling in with her litter, usually a sign that all is done. The team went to bed and I slept with Una. We were up hourly as the pups and dam got accustomed to each other but the night went quite smoothly. We woke in the morning to five healthy pups.

The pups are now 36 hours old and growing already. They have all gained ounces and are strong and vigorous. Una is being a terrific mom and has even let Corey and Flyer into the nursery.

All of our litters are named with themes and this litter is the Wine litter. All of the pups AKC registered names will have "wine" or the name of a wine in them.

This blog will follow the pups as they grow and develop. Hope you enjoy it!