On Tuesday the pups went in for their health checks, and for their second car trip. Not as long as the trip to Rochester for BAER testing, but still a nice long ride taken an hour after breakfast. And again no carsickness, hooray! A couple of the pups complained for the first few minutes, then rode quietly. When I posted to Facebook that I was taking the pups in, a friend who lives near the clinic offered to meet me there and help with the pups - Thanks Lynn!
The pups did great other than consistently attempting to escape from the small pen set up for them in the exam room. We took them one at a time, and while a Vet Tech held and another took notes, Dr. Valenti examined them in turn. Ears, ears, hearts, lungs, patellas, temperature, coat, bites, testicles (where appropriate), weights, overall condition, etc. Everyone checked out perfectly. Some wiggled more than others. I had expected the boys would be squirmier, but they were all perfect. Fern and Luci were the wiggly ones, Luci because she was determined that she needed to be close enough to give kisses. She's a funny little rascal, incredibly happy, the most like Grandpa Argus I think.
Now we can start deciding which pups will go where, and which ones I will keep for a bit longer. I know that Fern will stay with me, but Mancini needs to go to the right home to be shown. Murray could be shown too, but I have two good homes waiting for pet boys and Murray and Mickey deserve families of their own. Dixie's hearing results were a little odd, so she goes in to be retested before I place her, and Luci will fly off to California when she is old enough. Hard to believe the pups are almost old enough to place - but not quite!
Pups are often placed at 6 weeks, but they really need to stay with their littermates for a bit longer. Now is when they are learning important "social skills" from dealing with their littermates and adults dogs. Although it's easier to have the pups outdoors for playtime (far less clean up!), they will be in the family room part of the time too, interacting with the adults. Watson and Coral are no longer interested in pups and at 12 & 14 they deserve to retire from puppy socialization. Argus and Josie love puppies, so the pups will run with them for awhile every day.
These pups have really ruled my life this summer - I feel as if I have not had a chance to get anything else accomplished. Not just the time spent tending them, but the time spent with the company that comes to visit, and the interviews and correspondence with the potential home. BUT if a breeder is going to raise a litter of pups, most of which will go to homes to live as companions, often with children, it's important that they get the best start possible. The work that goes into pups for the first two months has an enormous affect on the kind of dogs they will develop into. And the time I spend getting to "know" each pup so that I can place it appropriately, goes a long ways toward insuring that everyone is happy with the placements.