Tuesday, May 29, 2007

They're ALL 'Runarounds'!

Hard to believe our little gang will be four weeks old tomorrow (5/30)--time is flying by for us, with puppies, beekeeping, soapmaking, homeschooling, moving daughter home from college for the summer, school plays, recitals, etc. (Don't ask me about our lawn--groan...) Fortunately, this litter has been pretty easy to care for up until now.

Meanwhile, they've all become 'runarounds', as one of the puppies is formally/informally named already. It's like they woke up this morning and discovered the word, PLAY. Of course, puppy play means charging into each other, testing out new (and sharp!) teeth on each other's ears, romping, exploring, and basically discovering the world around themselves. The easy days of puppy rearing are behind us. Some last longer than others, though after about 5 minutes they one by one slip off to a corner or a cool spot and return to their prolonged slumber. As puppies, dogs spend a good 90 percent of their time sleeping and G-R-O-W-I-N-G.

At four weeks we'll start them on regular dog food. Up until now the mother nurses them as needed. Looking at their rolley-polley size, Bromley seems to be handling the task well. Even with six feedings a day, she's yet to catch up to her pre-pregnancy weight--the puppies really pull the calories out of their mother! With little puppies a little preparation is necessary when introducing regular dog food: our dry kibble is soaked in water for a good half hour until it swells nearly triple in size and is soft and mashable. This gruel is tasty for most, something strange and new for some. We'll let you know how this group takes to it. Check back soon--we'll have some fresh pictures!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Two Weeks!

This is a group of snoozers. Alas, all good things come to an end. It's been an easy litter for everyone so far. Bromley's a very attentive mother and has done a great job taking care of her little pups. We keep her fueled -- some six feedings a day and she still seems thin -- as those little guys grow seemingly exponentially.

With two weeks come two major events in the life of a puppy. Their eyes open for the first time and they begin standing and walking. How convenient! They can begin to see where they're going! Still, dogs rely first and foremost on their sense of smell. Up until now they've lifted their noses and sniffed their mom whenever she enters the whelping box. Her scent pulls them close and they instinctively begin to suckle. It won't be too long before they'll get a taste of solid food (usually between week 3 and 4)... and then OUR fun begins!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

First Week Update

The puppies continue to grow -- now about double in size from their birth weights. All are doing well, keeping mom, Bromley, busy with frequent squeals for meals. She's begun taking time away from the whelping box, but only for a few minutes here and there. With this litter she's developed a habit of scrunching up the rug that covers the floor of the whelping box. The rug is there to help keep the pups warm, along with an infrared light. Bromley has issues with the rug. Several times a day we find she has gathered it up and pushed it (and a few pups captured inside) away from where she wants to sit. Okay. We've turned off the light to cool things a bit - but she still scrunches the rug! Our concern is that a covered puppy will be stepped on. It's a constant battle between Bromley and us rug smoothers...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Play Ball!

Bromley can hardly wait for the rest of the team. Counting her, the family could field a team for the big game. Now, if we could only get them to play with their eyes open!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Eight is Enough

Whew! Starting around 6:30 PM, Bromley gave birth to eight wonderful yellow puppies -- three boys and five girls. Honestly, we were expecting a few more, given her extreme girth prior to birthing. Size is deceiving until you realize that each of the pups of this litter were about 10 percent larger than our previous litters at birth. Each pup weighed between 17 and 19 ounces--pretty hefty when we reflect on some litters where a few of the pups tipped the scales at a scant 9-1/2 ounces! Looking at it another way, Bromley added about 30% of her pre-pregnancy weight.

Fortunately, all went well for Bromley, despite the loss of her last birthed pup -- a nearly four hour labor for that one! Altogether, two puppies were stillborn. It's always a mystery as to why but it's probably one reason why dogs have such large litters--the law of averages perhaps.

Sometimes a puppy is whelped (born) and seems to lack any sign of life. It's tempting to give up on 'em. We had an extreme occurence this time. One of the puppies appeared lifeless... no sound, no sign of breathing, no movement at all. However, leaving the placenta attached, Stasia worked nearly 30 minutes to bring forth the familiar cry of life that a puppy gives when the airway is cleared and it is able to vocalize his/her disagreement with all the rubbing/massaging from its human attendant. We affectionately dubbed this one "Lord's Prayer", as you'll learn more, below. Fortunately, puppies are resilient and he's doing well.

The theme of this litter is 'Ski Trails of Bromley', after the Vermont mountain for which 'mom' is named. As such we have given temporary names to the puppies: There's 'Pig Dog', 'Run-Around", 'Yodeler', 'Spring Trail', 'Sunset', 'Twister', 'Chase-It', and of course, 'Lord's Prayer'. Come to think of it, some of these would make nice dog names, don't you think?!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wow! She's big!

Our Bromley is huge! Poor thing--she's got the 'just come on out!" look in her appearance and in her eyes, suggesting to us that she'll deliver her litter within the next 24-48 hours. She's reluctant to take food and is clearly feeling the puppies impinging on her ability to get around. More signs that birthday is coming. In recent days to make her more comfortable at night, we've let her sleep outside her crate so she can spread out, walk when needed, etc.

The whelping box is set up, with a fresh coat of paint, ready for delivery day. Stay tuned!