Saturday, November 24, 2012

Six Days Old

Six days old, and all is well.  Holly is a terrific mom and the pups are always immaculately clean and well fed.  She's eating three meals a day now, and thinks more often would be even better.  She's also starting to linger for awhile when she goes through the family room on her way outdoors, even took the time to jump on the sofa with Ron for just a second yesterday.  Boredom will be setting in soon.

This is the second time around for the EZWhelp whelping box and it's doing the job again.   The rails keep Holly from accidentally leaning against or laying on a puppy.  The liners that came with the box were useless and kept coming loose and getting bunched up, but the new Dry Mate liners are great.  The backing works well to keep the liner flat and discourages Holly from trying to dig it up, plus it's large enough to fit under the corner legs of the rails which also helps to hold it in place.  The additional bath rug is for Holly and pups to lay on, but Holly prefers to lay in the opposite corner which is not under the heat lamp and is a bit cooler.    When the pups aren't nursing, they move over to the area under the light for some extra warmth.

Spots are starting to show faintly on the black spotted pups, and their face spots are already quite visible.  Most of the pups will be marked like Holly with big bold markings and attractively spotted faces. It's hard to see anything yet on the liver girl, as the skin spotting on livers is not as distinct and it takes longer for the spots to come through.  She appears to be more open marked (rather than colorful), and has a cleanly marked face.  Every time I stop to visit the pups I roll through their coats, looking at their markings!

Pups got their nails trimmed yesterday, or at least most nails got trimmed.  It takes good light and lots of patience to trim 112 nails on squirmy pups!  I use a human nail trimmer on babies since the nails are so small and thin.  BUT they are sharp and pointed, and very hard on mom's undersides when the pups knead her breasts to get the milk flow going.  Wish it was as easy to do Holly's nails.  She's been difficult about her nails, and of course I did not want to wrestle with her while she was pregnant (and my broken hand made it even more difficult).  Jess trimmed her nails twice, but they look pretty crummy now, definitely too long.  It embarrasses me, but so be it.

I'm surprised to still be getting puppy inquiries this time of the year, but thankfully not for Christmas pups (with one exception).  Most are from people who recently lost an older Dal and are looking for a new puppy.  One inquiry is from a couple who lost an elderly liver boy they purchased from us as a puppy, and are looking to adopt a sweet tempered adult liver male.  Hope I can find them one!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Let's Not Forget About Fern

Fern playing The Foot Game

The "big puppy" continues to make my life interesting.

I can visit the "little pups" every few hours, pick them up to admire their beautiful faces and how quickly the nose trim is moving, and am constantly amazed at how fast they are growing.  Holly appears to have plenty of milk and is a very attentive mother, so the babies are all clean and plump.  I check them out whenever I feel like doing so.

The big puppy however DEMANDS my time.  Fernly is quite the character and has turned everything into a game.  If I sweep she plays with the broom, if I try to read she drops toys on my lap, when I tell her to sit she offers to shake hands too, and when I am working in the kitchen she taps my foot so that we can play The Foot Game.  I pretend to step on her foot, and she taps my foot with her paw, leaps away or mouths my slipper.  Hopefully I don't regret this game, but so far she has only carried, never chewed, my slippers.

With my hand finally healed we are back to training, doing lots of show stacking in a variety of places.  Because she was a foot mover, it took some patience, but things are going well.  She's very sound and well put together, especially for such a baby, so it's fun to stack and admire her in shop windows when we are out walking.  (So what if the people inside think I'm crazy!)  Fern needs to get back to class too, as she sometimes still startles and barks at new or unusual things - and at odd things she does not understand, like boots and high heels.  She's incredibly visual, so she notices absolutely everything.  It was tough to take her places when I was one-handled, as she gets so excited, but she did get out, just not as much as I would have liked.  We'll be making up for that.

As a companion Fern is doing great.  Excellent in the house, plays with her toys, good in a crate, perfectly house trained.  She's pretty good on leash too, although last night when walking in her first snow I thought I would lose my arm.  She LOVED it.  Because she's not bothered by the cold, I'll find a place today where she can run off leash in the snow.  I particularly appreciate the fact that she comes really well off leash, something I still reinforce by always having a pocket full of extra tasty treats.

When we start having puppy visitors, all the extra socialization will be good for Fern, but she'll probably be too rough to interact with the pups, especially since she's inclined to clobber the other dogs with her foot!

Am I happy with Fern?  Yes indeed.   She pleases my eye and makes me laugh - that's what I love about good Dals.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

So Much To Be Thankful For

It's amazingly easy to feel sorry for ones self and to dwell on all the things we don't have.  A better job, a nicer house, a bigger income, more education, better health for ourselves and our families, more savings or a bigger pension, better looks, more smarts, a newer car, more disposable income, a wealthy family, and so it goes.  So many things it would be nice to have, but things that are not essential, and probably wouldn't make us happier anyway.  There will always be things that we wish were ours, but never will be.

How fortunate most of us are!  We have freedom, families, friends, homes, jobs, and health.  How amazingly fortunate we are and how much we have to be thankful for!  So many people have far less, and so many of them probably appreciate what they have far more than we do.  It's good to have a day to think about all that we do have!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Big Day

This is a big day for the pups as they will have their dewclaws removed this afternoon.  The entire litter will be packed in a large styrofoam box with towels and a hot water bottle and take a trip to Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital for a visit with Dr. Annie.  Each pup will receive a checkup at the same time.  It only takes a few minutes per pup and they will sleep quietly all the way home.  Holly will stay behind to take a well deserved break, and for some reason the girls never act very stressed about the process.   If I took her along she would be much more agitated so she'll stay behind as usual.  Because the whelping went smoothly and Holly had strong contractions to expel all the placentas, it will be safer to leave her home.

All the pups appear to be doing well and are gaining weight.  Last night I sat down in the box and examined them carefully, to be sure I could tell them all apart.  They started their Neuro Stimulation exercises last night and I needed to be sure that I could identify the pups well enough to be sure that each pup got handled appropriately and did the little routine only once.  Click on the link below if you're curious about this.
Neuro Stimulation

These exercises are not the only handling the pups receive of course, but most of it is gentle handling.  They do however have additional "stress" that includes getting their blanket changed (it's great fun to watch them sniff a new surface, even at 2 - 3 days of age) and getting their nails cut - that starts tomorrow.

To the party who inquired about possibly obtaining a deaf pup - fingers tightly crossed that we have no deaf pups, BUT if we do I never place them.  Never have, never will.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

All Is Well

Holly and pups are doing well!  She's settled into motherhood and is very attentive without being obsessed.  The pups are clean and well fed but we can actually get Holly to go outdoors without dragging or carrying her, as we sometimes have to do the first day or two, and she'll get out of the box to take a drink of water.  She does insist on eating in bed, so we'll humor her for a couple of days.

Pups get handled several times a day for the first week or so.  I don't actually weigh them, but I check their body tone and their skin elasticity to be sure they are not getting dehydrated.  One of the old whelping books refers to a healthy puppy feeling like a glove with a hand in it, while a pup who is not thriving feels like an empty glove.  Very good description.

I don't put colored collars or rick rack on the pups to tell them apart, as they all have distinctive eye, nose or ear markings.  In this litter where the nose trim is done on all the pups except one, it's a bit harder and I'll have to depend on ear & and eye markings a more heavily.  Nice problem to have though.   I want to be able to identify each pup by the time they go in tomorrow for Vet Checks and dew claw removal.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Puppies! Good News - Bad News

More Good News by far!  Pups arrived last night, between 3:00 AM and 7:00 AM.  Big strong active pups that were quick to catch on to nursing.   We've got 7 of them, 2 boys and 5 girls.  One of the black girls is an incredibly cute triple-patch - both ears and one eye.  All are doing well, as is Holly.

The Bad News is that there are only 2 boys, and both of them appear to be black-spotted.  I did this litter because I wanted a liver Argus son for me.  I'm a bit bummed there are no liver boys, but so be it.  Most people would be thrilled to have mostly bitches.  Maybe I'll get my boy next time, if there is a next time.

4 of the 5 girls are also black spotted, which is also a bit disappointing.  Oh well.

Holly's temperature was normal on Saturday night, but was on it's way down Sunday morning.  The temperature drop means that pups will follow - eventually.  Her "due date" was 11/20/2012 +/- 2 days.  The plan was to take turns checking on her Sunday night, but when I went down at 10:00 PM I decided to get my sleeping bag and pillow and spend the night with her.  My old bones did NOT appreciate it, and I'm stiff this morning, but it was good that I stayed close as the first pup came at 3:00 AM.  Holly was an easy whelper, with vigorous pups and strong contractions, but is still fussing over the cords a bit too much.  She cut several too close and I had to tie off most of them to prevent the pups from bleeding, not an easy thing to do by yourself (Ron was asleep).

Nose and eye trim is very good, and many of the pups were born with complete pigmentation.  One thing we will not have to worry about at least, but I can never relax and enjoy pups until I am sure they can hear.  Argus has done good hearing numbers, but this is Holly's first litter.  Fingers crossed!

Thought I would go to work this afternoon for a half day, but with Holly fussing over cords I guess I'll stay home, just to be sure.  I need to make sure she can manage the pups and keep things in order anyway.  And maybe I can take a nap too.  Hah!

Dew claw removal scheduled for Wednesday,