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!

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