Friday, April 22, 2005

Earth Day is Vet Visit Day

Today, was FIRST SHOTS and EXAM day. All nine pups were loaded into the crate and made their way to Madison Vetinerinary Hospital with little fanfare. They promptly fell asleep upon arrival. What a mellow bunch! 'Smugglers Notch' was the first to be examined and she slept through the entire exam. Dr. Ouellette assured us she had a heartbeat--and all was well with her, and with her eight siblings. Not a peep out of any of them. A few were content to stand (even on the COLD stainless steel exam table) but several just snoozed. The Doc said he'd never seen anything like it.

Of course, to be fair, it has been a rather long day for them. We've had a couple of visitors today and the pups got lots of playtime with them. They'll sleep well tonight for sure.

As for their shot, they got a dose of Duramune Max (DA2P-P), an innoculation against three viruses that afflict dogs. The series of three shots, administered about 3-4 weeks apart, will boost immunity that until now has been provided through mother's milk. Otherwise, over the course of the next 20 weeks their immunity would gradually disappear.

Six Weeks -- Time for Fun and Play

Now into their sixth week, the pups have a lot more energy than even just a few weeks ago. They're showing more self-confidence and some will roam into the woods to do their "business", for the sake of privacy, I guess (after all, don't we all hate someone else watching while we go?!). Each is now eating nearly a half cup of kibble three times daily (still moistened). Bromley eats five times daily but all her extra calories are still being transferred to her young.

At six weeks, playtime includes mom, who is showing more interest in joining her litter in romps and rassles. We've noticed this with our past litters as well: at about 6-7 weeks the mother begins to experience the joy of her toddlers and "loosens up". The earlier worries and close watches of early puppycare are behind her. The pups still nurse sporadically but because it's nice, not because it is necessary. The pups will chase after mom, pull a bit on her ears, get under foot and, once mom lays down, will crawl around and over her. Mom enjoys the attention and interaction--until she is distracted by something else. This is the most joyful time to watch a litter and its mother.

After the fun, it's back to the business of sleep...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Three Squares and a Cot

Now into their 5th week, the pups are eating softened kibble three times daily. A ring of a set of keys and a familiar call of "Who's hungry?!" brings them charging out the door onto the patio (much less mess to clean up out there now that the weather's warmed up!). They swirl about whoever's feeding them with their noses pointed upward anxiously waiting for the three cake pans of food to descend to attack level. It's survival of the fittest as the pups work their way through, across, and around each pan competing with two siblings to vacuum up every morsel.

Meanwhile, anxiously waiting in the wings are the three adult dogs, each hoping they'll get a turn at scarfing up any leftovers. Ahh, in the first few days they could count on success but no longer... the pups have figured out how to scavenge any grain of kibble left.

Playtime comes next, and the pups are becoming more adventurous and self-confident, exploring an ever widening field of new sights and smells. This is where the set of keys comes in handy. A ring of the keys brings them back pell-mell, ears flapping, eyes straight ahead. Once back inside, one or two immediately crash into sleep while the others continue their exercise and play for a few minutes longer, until their full bellies dull the senses and they wander off to a cozy spot to doze and grow...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Romp & Ready

Spring weather brings to sights, sounds, and smells for the little guys. The warm weather of the last few days allowed us to let the pups explore the backyard. Tentative and somewhat reluctant to test the great outdoors on their own, we nudged them across the door's threshhold, only to realize that their first action on a new surface was to pee...

Dry leaves, flower stalks, and even dirt were met with curiosity and quickly turned into instruments of play. Freed from the confines of the whelping box, there was a tendency to try out the running legs. One pup, "Stratton", enjoyed bowling over an unsuspecting mate--anyone within range. All part of the exploration of pack play and personality development. These guys still have limited energy. After about 10 minutes they one-by-one drift to a corner of the steps, a pile of leaves, or under our seated legs to lull back to nap.

Friday, April 08, 2005

First Kibbles

Yum! Or yum?

We continue to be fascinated by the differences between litters. This group continues to teach us new things. Unlike previous pups we've had, these guys were a bit more tentative with their first nibbles of all things kibble. None were truly voracious, no attacking the bowl or muscling each other aside. Instead, most were content to give there first taste a polite lick. A couple of pups even wandered off after a minute (to do some private "business") only to return a bit later to see what all the commotion was about. However, by day three of these supplemental feedings, they now seem to have found their appetites. All stay at the trough, licking up every morsel, to the point that we added a small second helping.

Playtime -- The Joys of Puppyhood

These guys are finally coming to life. Following mealtime, the pups have an extended period outside the whelping box to explore their surroundings (in this case, our kitchen), and to interact with each other and their extended pack (Mingus, Caicos, and mom Bromley). Tugs of war, pawing, and romps are becoming the norm.

Such play time is increasing in length. A few days ago the pups would run out of gas after 5 minutes. Now, they keep it up for 15 or 20 before individually drifting away to find a quiet corner to sleep.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

First Tier AKC pedigree

Our puppies come from good parents. Our dam, Bromley, has proven to be a first-rate mom. Even before her first litter she was helping out with puppy care. With previous litters, Bromley would corral the little ones when they strayed, intervene in puppy spats, and generally keep tabs during play time. She was sired by Broad Reach Ruff Stuff, a.k.a. "Colby", who had the distinction of being the #1-ranked AKC Champion Labrador Retriever in the U.S. and Canada for 2001 and 2002. Do an internet search on him, and you'll get an idea of his success. Check out this article. His legacy can be seen in our Bromley. We're proud of both of them.

Bromley's mother, Caicos, has AKC champion lines as well. Her pedigree includes the LoBuff kennels, a champion line extending back over 50 years. Caicos was born in Otis, MA, and her parents were bred for hunting skills. She's a relentless retriever and lover of water, qualities we feel she inherited from her mother.

The sire of this litter is AKC Champion Blackdux Daily News. He's known for his gentle disposition and has been used in the Guiding Eyes breeding program. He lives in Aniston, CT.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Honey Season Begins!

Yip-bee! Spring is here and warm weather is finally arriving. Look outside and you're likely to see honeybees foraging for the first morsels of pollen and minute drops of nectar. The maples and willows are in the early stages of flowering and the bees are right there with them.

We harvest and sell honey from our hives. It tastes great! Usually fairly light in color and taste, our honey is derived from local wildflowers and trees found here near the Connecticut River, about 5 miles up from Long Island Sound. And it's won first place awards two years in a row at our local fair. Stay tuned throughout the season as we bring you our story of Three Sisters Farms Honey...

Enjoying the Grandchildren

We continue to marvel at Bromley's mother, Caicos, and her desire to share in the revelry of Bromley's litter. Caicos enjoys filling the vacancy in the whelping box when Bromley's away. The little ones scamper over and around their grandmother, enjoying the attention, but also looking for dinner. Alas, they come away with empty stomachs. Caicos, on the other hand, appears content to bask in the glow of her pride's offspring. The interaction is good stimulation and socialization for the younger dogs and just plain FUN!

Good Reading for Puppyhood

If you haven't done so already, consider picking up a book on puppies. We like The Art of Raising a Puppy by the New Skete Brothers. This monastic order has some 25 years experience raising and training dogs, and has a wonderful series of books and videos. You can find their books at many online book sellers, or visit their website at

We also prepare a packet for our new owners that provides details on care/feeding/shot schedule/choosing a vet, etc. And, of course, we're always a phone call away. The first few days and weeks can sometimes generate "what do I...?" kinds of questions. We're not veterinarians, but we can share our experience and knowledge...

Just About Four Weeks!

Eyes have been open since March 24th, and now our little guys are much more active! This is by far the best litter we've had.

Gentle and content.
Bromley's a terrific mom and we've been surprised to see Grandma Caicos stepping in as surrogate on a daily basis. Caicos will go in and clean the pups, even settle in to let them nurse. Bromley doesn't mind, nor do the pups, though it would seem they'd figure out that Grandma just isn't the right food source!

Very quiet litter and so far no give-and-take tussle between littermates. This is one mellow group!

We plan to introduce solid food, beginning tomorrow (Tuesday). Three to four weeks is the target age, and they're ready. For up to date pictures, be sure to visit our website. We'll update the site at least weekly.