Friday, July 31, 2009

Boy, Are They Cute!

Well, the Cute Factor in this house is going by the hour. Not that Andy and the adult dogs aren't cute but the 4th of July Gang are cuter than most of us can stand. This is such a wonderful period in our time with our pups. They are becoming little individuals who spend their waking moments playing or exploring but they haven't yet developed the sharp teeth, loud voices, blazing speed and intense curiosity that make slightly older pups the challenges they are. Now, we get to enjoy every moment with them!

The pups are having regular human visitors each day, a key part of our socialization program. So far, they have met over 35 different people and that number will go up rapidly as the pups become more active. Corey and Dreamer have also become an important part of their socialization. Corey is a favorite aunt because she lets the pups climb all over her, pulling on her tail and ears. Dreamer is like the favorite older cousin because she loves to play with them. She is also learning to help me find the pups when they crawl under the furniture. There is a cute sequence of photos of her telling my Mr Red was under a cabinet. On the other hand, Una ignores the pups because they can't throw a tennis ball. Some grandmother she is!

The puppies are enjoying the x-pen and are doing a great job learning to use the litter area. Yeah! We had them out playing in the dining room yesterday and two of the boys actually made their way back into the pen to potty in the litter. They got yesterday's Gold Stars because the rest of the litter just climbed on the Big Dog's bed and peed there :-{. Two steps forward, one step back.

I have to tell one funny story before I leave you. One of our pups' favorite items is a cat bed cube. It's a hollow, cloth-covered, foam cube that has a hole in one side so they can go in and take a nap. I put it in the pen yesterday because they are now coordinated enough to get in and out. I loved watching them all come over to check it out. They played and napped in it throughout the day.

At 2 AM, I woke to howling and yapping. I lay in bed for a while, thinking Risk would go down and feed the pups. However, the noise went on and on. At 2:15 AM, I decided to go find out what the problem was. I found Risk in the pen nursing the pups. Yet, there was still a howling puppy. Then I realized that the cat bed had rolled over onto its door so there was a puppy stuck inside. I roll it back over and out pops Mr Red, quite upset about the delay in his feeding schedule. He threw a short hissy fit as he roared into the midst of his littermates looking for a free nipple. Once he accomplished this, all was calm for the rest of the night.

More photos and videos are posted. Enjoy! And come visit!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Digs

We moved the pups into the x-pen on Sunday. They were a little stressed initially but after Risk got into the pen with them, they decided the new digs were A-OK. As you can see from this photo, the x-pen is actually two connected pens with a huge potty area, small sleeping area and benches so Risk has free acess to the pups.

They are having fun with more space and toys in the x-pen but particularly love being turned loose in the dining room while I clean the pen. Of course, before I clean all they want OUT but once I put them out, inevitably one or two want back IN. This crew is pretty determined so I usually have "help" while I'm cleaning. I don't worry too much because we clean with vinegar and hydrogen pyroxide; there is nothing to hurt them and the vinegar makes them sneeze so they head back to their buddies shortly.

At the moment, the litter's nickname is "the little pissers." I'll let you guess why but suffice it to say that I knew we were moving them early. I have found that the need to stay clean does not start to develop until 3 1/2 weeks at the earliest. At that point, the pups begin moving away from their sleeping/play areas to find a good potty spot. Before then, well they just go when they need to. Hence their new nickname.

The pups are growing well though their weight gains slowed with the move. More space means more calories burned. However, a few have hit 4 pounds and everyone is over 3 by a bit.

I've posted some new video of their new home and playing in the dining room, as well as photos of them playing. When they first wake up, it is a melee. They mill in a mass, grabbing each other by the ears, muzzle, tail or anything else they can get a hold of. They make me laugh!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

First Over the Wall

Bet you are thinking, "What the heck does Gayle mean by that blog title?" Well, in 1989, Andy and I were stationed in Germany while the Berlin wall was falling. Realizing that we were living in the middle of history in the making, we headed for Berlin to see its amazing transformation. Night and day, the city rang with the sound of hammers and picks dismantling the wall. My memories are of the constant din, lights by the wall at 3 AM, impromtu parties and a city filled with energy. One of the sights that I remember is of the Brandenburg Gate festooned with a large banner claiming "Saatchi and Saatchi, First Over the Wall." This global advertising firm got a lot of free publicity from that banner but what did that sign really mean in terms of quality and future performance? In my opinion, nothing. They just happened to have a quick printer at the right place at the right time.

I often remember that sign as I talk to people about puppies. Most folks want to know which puppy was first to do things. Who was first out of the whelping box? Who was first to figure out the dog door? Who climbed the jungle gym first? I know some breeders give creedance to "firsts" but I'm not one of them. Similarly, I do not give creedance to "lasts." Being first for puppies is more often the result of being at the right place at the right time than of any individual characteristic or ability. Being last may simply be that pup is putting more energy into growing than into acting.

I actually take this a step further and do not commit to the virtues or weaknesses of an individual puppy until they are 7 1/2 to 8 weeks old. Many buyers think I'm being coy or playing my cards close to my vest but that is not the case. I firmly believe that puppies have to have the opportunity to develop at their own pace in their own way. Some do it more quickly than others but that doesn't mean they don't all get to the same place. I've had pups that appeared dynamite, bold and active at 5 weeks and by 8 weeks were timid and quiet. More often, I see pups that appear almost dull at an early age who turn out to be fabulous, eye-catching 8-week olds. I can clearly remember truly annoying, whiney pups that I couldn't wait to send to their new homes that became amazing working dogs, that will remain some of my favorite dogs of all time.

I write this to caution you against selecting favorites early on. If I say that a pup or two did something "first," take it as information but not a commitment. I also warn you that if I don't have an equal number of photos or videos of the pups, it means nothing. I simply take photos when I can and post them as soon as possible for you to enjoy. There is little editing, no plan and no ulterior motives.

All of that is a lead in to where the 4th of July crew is now. At the moment, they are still in the whelping box but in a few hours they are moving downstairs into the exercise pen. At 3 weeks, they are ready to see the world and are making every effort to do so. Mr Red and Miss Yellow have already gone exploring. Mr Purple and Mr Blue are almost "over the wall" and the rest of the pups are not far behind. So, we are transitioning them a few days earlier than most of my recent litters but they clearly need more stimulation than we can give them in the whelping box.

The x-pen goes in our dining room so they move into the middle of the family action. Risk is very much ready for this--she is bored and lonely by herself in the box and is completely comfortable with the other dogs around her babies. The x-pen will have a large potty area which will begin the pups housebreaking, a sleeping area and lots of things to explore and play with. All of the dogs will be able to get in and spend time with the babies, if they wish. I'll take pictures of the new set up tonight or tomorrow but in the meantime, have posted the last few videos and photos of the pups in the whelping box.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Musings on Puppyhood

I was having my first cup of coffee this morning while watching the pups nurse and play. I found myself enjoying them and their antics on two levels. The first is the most common and can be summed up in one word--CUTE! Most human beings respond to young animals like puppies with warm hearts and almost parental love. We just dissolve into smiling puddles and, in doing so, we color everything they do with sweetness and innocence.

However, I think my second view is more realistic. Each time I raise a litter, I see Mother Nature in all of her perfection. Cute as they are, these pups are fighting for their lives with a take-no-prisoners mentality. They fight for the best nipple, the best sleeping place. They do not care about their brothers and sisters except as competitors or as warm bodies. As they begin to play, they do so with a self-centered singlemindedness. They don't care that their sibling is sound asleep, they want to PLAY NOW! Puppy sweetness has an edge.

Mother Nature also creates a perfect dance of dam and puppies that is beautiful to watch as it develops and evolves. At their best, dams present perfectly timed challenges to their puppies to help them make the next developmental leap. For the first few days, dams are devoted mothers, hardly leaving their babies for more than a minute or two. At this time, they are everything to their pups--food, warmth, cleanliness. The challenges the pups face during these early days come not from their mother but from each other and the environment. Being too cold, too hot or too far from their mom can be fatal. Yet in their struggles to nurse, they violently shove and push their siblings, trying to win the battle for food and warmth.

Within a few days, the dam is leaving her pups for short periods so they learn to "pig pile," or monitor their body temperature by piling together or moving further apart. Her absences force them to move their bodies and use their senses.

Many visitors and novice breeders are shocked at the roughness with which dams clean their babies. Normally gentle mothers flip their pups over on their backs, often holding them down with a paw while they scrub their bellies and genitals with their tongues. Voila! The introduction of stress into the lives of these young creatures. In 30 years, I've never seen a puppy injured in this process but I've seen visitors gasp in shock and near-anger at the dam's actions.

Dams also change their nursing positions as their pups develop. Some change can be attributed to increasing puppy size; at some point, the pups no longer fit while the dam is lying down. But most dams start sitting even with small litters. When their mom is sitting, pups develop coordination and strength. They have to see the nipple above them, get their mouth to the right place and then maintain their position while nursing. No easy task when you are only 14 days old but at least you can lean against your dam's legs or belly.

That brings us to where the 4th of July gang are in their development. Apparently, it is time to stand while nursing. Risk started this yesterday and it was amazing to see the pups struggle to accomplish this very difficult task. None of them can reach the nipples except by standing on their tiptoes and dangling from the nipple. However, the process of trying is fine tuning their coordination; they have to locate that nipple while balancing on their hind legs and then they have to be strong enough to stay on. The pups are developing strength, coordination and balance. It is a very difficult, if not impossible, task but they are very motivated to solve this problem. Risk changes her nursing positions throughout the day--sometimes lying, sometimes sitting, sometimes standing. Everyone gets fed but they work extremely hard doing so.

Life for dogs is about problem solving and their puppyhood is the foundation for developing this skill. We often want to intervene and make life easy for them but that is a topic for another blog. In the meantime, the next time you are enthralled by a litter of puppies or kittens, look a littler more closer to see the dance of life and growth taking place before you.

I'll be offline for a few days so enjoy today's photos and video. More by Monday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

They Can Hear!

I wasn't going to post tonight but I came into the room this afternoon, saying "Hello Pups" and all of the puppies woke up. I tried again tonight after teaching and, sure enough, they all roused. So, their ears are open, their eyes are working and they can walk. This is what we've been waiting for but boy, are we in trouble now.

Mr Brown is in great shape, gaining weight and though not totally healed, getting close. Raz continues to gain, even she is still the small fry. Everyone else is over 3 pounds.

I posted more photos and a brief video. All the pups are crashed or crashing because I'd just given them their Albon, treatment for diarrhea. It tastes horrible and so it's a tough time for them. I mix it with some yogurt but it doesn't cover the bitterness. I wish I didn't have to do it but, like cod liver oil for kids in the '30s, it's for their own good. However, they do sleep afterwards.

Off to bed!

I Couldn't Resist

I posted this earlier but it doesn't appear to have made it up so here I go again. My aplogies if it is a duplicate.

Wednesdays are very busy here so I wasn't going to post this morning but I couldn't resist. As Risk gets increasingly bored with hanging out in the whelping box, she politely asks me to stay with her while she feeds the pups first thing. I'm fine with that request because I can have my coffee, check my email and watch the Today show while the pups nurse. Today, I also wanted to make sure the Little Guys (Raz, Brown, Black) got more to eat than the Big Three (Blue, Green, Purple). So, the Big Guys went to the other side of the box so they had to find their way back to Mom while the little ones got themselves situated and filled up.

One by one the pups drank their fill and headed off to the corners of the whelping box to get some sleep. Well, everyone except for Miss Yellow. Apparently, breakfast inspires this little one so she was ready to play. I grabbed the camera and got some video and still shots of her at play. She rolled the ball, grabbed the toys and did everything she could think of to get her littermates to play, to no avail.

These clips give you an idea of how much the pups have developed--they are walking on all fours, they can poke and grab things with their mouths and they can wag their tails. They still can't hear well but that is coming. Last night there was someone singing on the TV and suddenly about half the pups started howling in their sleep. Sorry I couldn't get a video of that but the camera battery was being recharged. I hate it when that happens!

So, enjoy little Miss Yellow's play time. Dreamer was hanging over the box, wanted desperately to join in on the fun but restraining herself (maybe she is growing up). The rest of the gang was sleeping sweetly.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Good Day

Things are back under control so today was a good day. Mr Brown got a good report from Dr Jim. The wound is healing well and Mr B has started gaining weight again. He and Miss Raspberry are neck and neck but not far behind the rest of the gang, who are all at 3 pounds. They are plump and solid pups. When they are awake, they are quite active. Both Risk and I are quite grateful that they aren't awake that much :-).

Everyone's digestive tracts have calmed down so clean up requirements have slowed. Risk remains vigalent but can relax sometimes now. She is looking for more to do so we spent some time retrieving this evening. That made everyone happy.

Biosensor wrapped up yesterday. As the pups eyes and ears open, there is no need to add stress to their lives. A world full of sights and sounds is enough. We still have a few more days of scents to introduce but that will end soon, too. Guess I'd better get that duck back out tomorrow night.

New photos and videos are up. Enjoy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Let the Games Begin!

The pups are truly awake now, they have started playing a lot. It's great to watch them as they stagger around trying to grab each other, miss, fall over and try again. Their eyes are seeing better and better and sounds are getting some response so the ears are opening. They can smell their mom arrive at the top of the stairs so the noses are really working well.

I am having fun with a puppy playmat that Melissa Fairweather turned me on to. You can see it in one of the videos. They are a little young for it but they had a great time sniffing all the pieces. The big duck is a favorite for grabbing, climbing and snuggling.

Stools seem to be tightening up, thank goodness. Everyone but Mr Brown gained weight last night. Since he is busy healing, I know he'll be fine. The abscess is clearing up nicely. All in all, today is a much better day :-).

Enjoy the new videos and a few photos. The room is almost fully light so we'll be back to taking photos soon.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Runs Ain't No Fun

Friday morning I was thinkng that this litter sure was going smoothly. Hah! I should never have even let that thought enter my head. First, there was Mr Brown's abscess Friday and Saturday. Then, today the pups woke up with diarrhea. Sorry to have a poop conversation on here but it is a fact of life with pups. Now we are ending the day with hot puppies and hot puppies are unhappy pups. All of the adult dogs and I are ensconced with the pups in the whelping room with the air conditioning on high and all cracks and crevices blocked. The pups have frozen 2-liter bottles in their pen with them so they can lean against them to cool off. The temperature in the room is finally coming down below 80 and the pups are quieting down.

On the positive side, all eyes are open and they are beginning to see us approach--Andy, their mom, the other dogs and me. They have really started playing with each other. I'd noticed a few pups doing this two days ago but it was very brief. I got some video of most of the gang up and about--making little grabs at each other and even some of the toys in the pen.

I've uploaded more videos and photos. The photos from today are pretty dark because I don't want to use flash. We are introducing light into the room so within a few days, we'll have lots of photos.

A Mr Brown Update. Mr Brown is having a good day. He doesn't like the banana-flavored antibiotic but I can get most of it down him. I'm giving him a yogurt-DynaPro-Phytomucil mixture I make to compensate for the loss of good bacteria in his gut. That he likes a lot :-). His neck, though daunting to look at, is clean and open so we are hoping to see healing start later this week.

Off to do more cleaning. There is nothing like pups with diarrhea to keep you tied to home for clean-up duty. Thankfully, they are active, nursing well and gaining wait so I don't think this is anything to worry about.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Rough Day

I always say that every litter teaches me something. Sometimes it's those hard life lessons, like not all babies can or should survive. Sometimes it's just opportunities for personal growth, like learning patience or not to judge too soon. Sometimes it's actually fun things. Well, at the moment, we are learning that life can be fragile and can change quickly.

Don't worry, we still have 9 pups and Risk but Mr Brown is a sick boy at the moment. We aren't sure what happened yesterday but I'm suspecting that he got bitten by a spider. At 4 PM, a number of us were playing with the pups and he was fine. At 8:30 PM, I checked on him and almost passed out. His neck was so hugely swollen that he couldn't lower his chin. He looked like he had a truly terrible case of the mumps. A quick call to my vet to get guidance for the evening and we were set, although for a rather sleepless and restless night. Mr Brown acted fine, nursing and crawling, but he clearly had something serious going on.

Risk went to work on him, obsessing over his neck. It became clear after a while that this was an abscess of some sort with small bruise mark on the side of his neck. By midnight, Risk had ruptured the abscess and the swelling had diminished immensely. However, this left a pretty significant hole in Mr Brown's neck. We all made it through the night and headed for my vet's this morning where his poor neck was shaved, squeezed, flushed, packed and so on. It was rough on all of us but it had to be done.

He's back home now with his littermates and acting like nothing is wrong. He's nursing well and certainly active in the box. The hole in his neck is pretty startling to look at but is clean and does not look at all infected. We have four days of treatments to give him and then we'll go back to see Dr Jim on Tuesday.

I did get a video up of the litter as of this morning. I'll get some photos up tomorrow. In the meantime, think positive thoughts for this little guy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Things to Come?

Hmmm, I'm wondering if last night was a preview of things to come. The pups were noisy, noisy, NOISY last night. I kept going in to check on them and all was well, they just had a lot to say. Even Risk looked fed up with them at 4:30 AM. Andy got up this morning telling me we were moving them downstairs this weekend. I know he was kidding since we don't do that till they are 3 to 3.5 weeks old, but I am also a little tempted. They aren't big, but they sure can make a lot of noise when they want to.

Aside from being vocal, the pups are growing well; each is putting on 2-3 ounces per day. They are sleek and solid. Even Miss Raspberry is now 1#11 ounces. They are on their third set of collars and no longer can fit under Risk to nurse so she is sitting up more and more. She was tired today so she ended up lying on the pig rail so as not to crush any pups. I've seen a lot of dams in my day but I've never seen one so aware of her pups. She really is something.

Yesterday's Scent of the Day was duck and I'll confess, these little hunting dawgs were decidedly unimpressed. Only one pup buried its nose in the duck. The rest sniffed briefly and turned away, refusing to go back to it. This is a very different response from the pheasant and grouse, which they just breathed in. Pigeon didn't interest them but it wasn't really avoidance, just boredom. So, we'll do duck a few more times to see if we can pique their interest.

The pups are enjoying the toys in the pen. I find them draped over or curled under them each time I go in. Here is a photo of them piled on the newest toy. They crack me up when I put them back in the pen after cleaning--the vinegar makes them sneeze but the new sheepskin is so fascinating to them that they look like a Fabreeze commercial with their noses buried in the new bedding.

New Photos and video are up in the Week 2 folders.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Photos and Video

Wednesdays are quite busy around here so I decided to get some photos and videos uploaded early. We've been adding stuffed toys to the whelping box to stimulate the pups sense of touch and to give them some challenges moving around. They have decided they love the big duck. We find them draped over the top of it, snuggled around it and generally having a great time wiit it. Even Risk is appreciating having a pillow in the box :-).


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Eyes Have It!

We are beginning to see the pups' eyes so we won't be taking many photos for the next few days since we don't want to flash to bother their eyes. I will get some video up tomorrow. I've reorganized the photos and videos for those of you whose computers can't handle video. You can see the links on the right side of this page.

The pups are growing well; all but three have reached 2 pounds and the others, except for little Miss Raspberry, are not far behind. However, she may be small but she is no pushover.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

One Week Old!

OK, I've been trying for two days to get this post on line. I'm pretty frustrated with Google at the moment but am posting it without the video. I'll get the video up somewhere else. Argh!

The 4th of July crew is now one week old. They have all doubled their birthweights and are up on all fours, though pretty rocky. We haven't seen any evidence of their eyes opening but expect to see that over the next few days. The eyes open gradually from the inside corner out. It's exciting when you see that first glint of the puppy within! Once open, pups' eyes continue to develop over the next two months. They are pretty far-sighted at first, looking much like Mr Magoo. Risk continues to be a fabulous mother. She now switches between nursing lying down and sitting up, depending upon how many pups are nursing at one time. She is keeping the pups spotless and is very relaxed with them. She does love having visitors though :-). Terri and Dave Leafsteadt flew up from NC to meet the pups, Risk and the rest of us. It was a fun, if short visit. I've uploaded more photos to the photo page, as well as some videos. Here is a video of Mr Purple's Biosensor experience last evening. Remember, we do Biosensor on the pups to strengthen their adrenal system and thus there ability to handle stress as adults. We also introduce novel scents to them at this age to strengthen their scenting ability at an early age.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Everything is A-OK!

Sorry it's been a few days since I've posted on the blog. Everything is going well with Risk and the pups, it's just been very busy around here. The pups are growing quickly--most are closing in on 1 1/2 pounds with Miss Raspberry bringing up the rear at just over a pound. They are sleek, solid, round little things. Risk continues to be an amazing mom, very aware of where her pups are and what they need.

We have been doing Biosensor exercises for three days now and have also introduced new scents to them. They had grouse wings the first day and pheasant the second. I've never seen pups do this before but three of them actually grabbed the wings with their mouths. We'll have to see what that means in the future. (I will add that the hardest thing about doing the wings with the pups is keeping their darn mother from grabbing the wings.)

For such an active litter, they are very quiet during the Biosensor exercises. No one fights it and most just relax. Hard to believe since I am holding them upside down :-). They range widely in their reaction to the cold pie plate. The fastest pup was out of the pie plate in 4 seconds and the slowest took 2 1/2 minutes. I promise to get this on video soon.

I've added new video and photos to the Week 1 album. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Some of Us are Tired!

Yes, it's only Day 4 and some of us, namely Andy and I, are very tired. The pups, primarily Miss Yellow, were very noisy last night and Risk was antsy today so it's been 36 hours of little sleep around here. Despite our yawns, the pups are doing well, gaining weight and really moving around. Risk is taking great care of them although she is starting to spend more time away from the whelping box. She has joined the other dogs in their daily retrieving and swimming sessions for the last two days and really enjoyed herself.

Risk is also getting a little more comfortable with Dreamer careening into the whelping room. Una and Corey are so polite and respectful while one-year old Dreamer enters the room like Kramer on Seinfeld. "Here I am!" She is intrigued by the pups but isn't allowed too close (by either Risk or me).

Today we start Biosensor exercises on the pups and give them their first pedicure. We add two additional exercises to the traditional Biosensor program: we introduce a novel scent each day and we time them getting off of a cool pie plate. Today's novel scent object is quail wings. I'll videotape the exercises either today or tomorrow and post them for you soon.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 3--All is Well

Another quiet night here. Risk is proving to be one of the best dams we've ever had. I only had to teach her once about being careful getting in and out of the whelping box and she has it down. She is attentive to the pups although last night she did want to come down and join the family after dinner. I think she was getting bored and lonely so we all moved into the whelping room to watch a movie. Risk was much happier and Andy looked like he was having a good time, too.

All the pups have gained a little weight since birth but we should start seeing bigger gains now. All the umbilical cords have dried up and fallen off. Tails are starting to wag while nursing. Barks burst out of them occasionally but most of the time they are peaceful and quiet. I did see something I'd never seen before yesterday--Miss Sienna was scratching her ear with her hind leg. Although that is common for older dogs to do, I had never seen a two-day old puppy do such a thing. They are not very coordinated at this age so it was impressive. I'll try to catch it on tape if it happens again.

Corey, Una and Dreamer asked to come visit this morning. I've attached a photo of Corey at the door, asking permission. Of course, one-year old Dreamer didn't know what was in the room so just barged in. Once she got in, she realized that she was on thin ice. She stared with amazement then backed out of the room. Risk is watching them carefully but I suspect they will be helping out with the pups soon.

Here is a video of Risk and the pups from this morning.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Quiet Night

Risk and the Patriots had a quiet first night together. Risk is a mother much like her grandmother, Flyer--calm, patient, attentive without being obsessive. She is learning to be careful of the pups when she moves around the box and lies down. She is cleaning them well and has lots of milk. Here is a shot of Mr Green nursing on his back, all four feet in the air. He's a pretty relaxed boy.

Risk is getting lots of sleep which enabled me to get a little sleep last night. The pups squeak, mew and even bark but they were generally quite happy last night. The weather certainly helped--the humidity is gone and the temperature was around 68. They cuddled up next to their mom and were as happy as could be.

Rosie is still here helping out, which is a real gift since I'm usually tied to the whelping room for days. I think Risk loves having both of us here--it hasn't been often in her life that this has happened.

Before I head back to the pups to get everyone weighed, etc., here are a few more photos: on the left, the entire happy family and on the right, a head shot of Miss Yellow.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Firecrackers are here!

Risk decided to celebrate the 4th of July in a big way. She presented us with nine pups, 5 boys and 4 girls. After a restless night, Risk told me around 6:15 AM that she was ready. At 7:35 AM, Mr Green arrived weighing 14 oz. His brother, Mr Light Blue (14.75 oz) joined him at 8:55 AM. The numbers were balanced with Mistresses Black (14.3 oz) and Raspberry (10.75 oz) arrived together at 9:05 and 9:10 AM. The boys kept coming when Masters Purple (14.25 oz) and Red (14.75 oz) joined the party at 9:41 and 9:47 AM.

Risk took a break for a while before delivering Miss Sienna (13 oz) at 11:20, Mr Brown (15.3 oz) at 11:26 and Miss Yellow (14.75 oz) at 11:38 AM. After her initial shock at delivering Mr Green, Risk has charged into motherhood. All the pups are vigorous and strong. Risk is keeping every clean and warm.

The best part of the whelping was that Rosie Higdon, Risk's co-owner, was able to get here in time to see the last three pups born. Risk smiled a huge grin when Rosie walked in. It was great to see.

Mr Green arrives

Risk taking a break

Friday, July 3, 2009

Stay Tuned

Risk's temperature has stayed down most of today so I expect we will see pups over the next 24 hours. I'm hoping for a good night's sleep and then a daylight litter but we will see how it goes. Risk did have a good day, with a little retrieving this morning and then a swim in the pool this afternoon. However, at the moment, she is looking pretty uncomfortable. Think positive thougths and I'll let you know how things are going as soon as I can.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Not Today

Risk continues to progress toward whelping though not quickly. Yesterday, she had a few temps below 99 but then last night and today, her temp went back up. You can see the up-and-down progression she is making on the chart to the right. The 99 mark is indicated by the solid horizontal line. We want to see her temp at least twice below this line. Thus far, she is just teasing us but this is all very normal.

Risk did eat breakfast, though not enthusiastically, but she had no interest in lunch. She is looking pretty full of pups so there can't be much room for food in there. She is still enjoying her walks however and isn't showing any signs of nesting.

I have to remember to pull out Una's files, Risk's dam. If I recall correctly, Una did this same thing and it wasn't until her temp dropped nearly to 98 that things started happening.

So, for now, we wait (and rub her belly for her). I'll try to get a photo of Risk for tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

99.0 and Counting

Well, Risk's temperature dropped to 99.0 this morning. It bounced around quite a bit yesterday but she was out field training with us and it was hot and humid, so I wasn't surprised. We may have pups sooner than expected...or we may not. The girls are so unpredictable.

The whelping box is set up and I've got the aero-bed all ready to move into the whelping room. Risk, Andy and I spent some time hanging out in the box last night and she seemed fine with it. Actually, there wasn't much room because Corey, Una and Dreamer wanted to show that they could lie down in the box, too. It's just not big enough for the whole family but everyone having so much fun make Risk very comfortable in it. We'll do that nightly until the pups come just so she doesn't mind being in there. No doubt, she will still insist upon having her pups elsewhere--under a bush, in the closet, on my bed--but once I explain she simply cannot do that, I'm sure she'll be fine with the whelping box.

Risk is still going for walks with the dogs, swimming in the pool and making a valiant effort to catch the squirrels that are eating all the pigeons' food. She has slowed down and doesn't have her usual speed off the mark but she is her normal self. She is pretty big though nowhere near as large as her granddam, Flyer was when she had the West Point litter, all 15 of them!