Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Twelve Days Old - Good Dog, Fern

Such a good mama!  Fern is doing a wonderful job with her pups.  She has plenty of milk, keeps them clean and quiet, and has been very sensible about the whole thing.  She joins us upstairs for awhile each day, and come up to eat her meals too.  Because Fern is inclined to bury any "extra" food, she does not get to eat in the puppy pen as I'd rather not find food buried in the corners.  When she eats in her crate in the kitchen, where the dogs covet each other's dinners, she eats everything at once.   Because she's a smallish girl with eight large fat puppies, Fern is getting three meals a day plus a bedtime snack of peanut butter toast.  The other dogs are jealous of her midday meal, but appreciate a token biscuit at noon and share her toast at bedtime.

There's not much to be done with pups at this age other than keeping the box clean, keeping mama well fed, cutting puppy toenails, and handling them every day.  And watching the Puppy Show!  Pups are so entertaining to watch, and I can sit there for hours imagining what they will look like as adults.  Hopefully a few will be top show prospects, but each litter is an adventure and as long as the pups are healthy and have good dispositions, I consider it a success. 

I'll start home testing their hearing in a few days and keep my fingers tightly crossed until then.  Deafness is always a possibility in a litter of Dalmatians.  Even if the pups all hear, some of them may only hear in one ear - we call those unis.  Because Dals with one-eared hearing function just fine, we can deal with that.  Fern had several uni littermates, and one of her Grandmas was a uni as well as being a top show dog and fine producer.  Although the litter will be BAER tested when they are older, I like to know their hearing status as early as possible.   Once I know they hear, they will get real names and no longer be referred to as Black Collar Girl, Green Collar Boy, etc.!

The spotting is starting to show through on the three liver pups, but because they have really thick coats it will be another week until their patterns are very clear.  It looks as if all three of them are open marked, but not as lightly spotted as the black boy is.  Hopefully the lightly marked pups have large sized spots like Fern has.

Today I need to go through my puppy list and see who is on, and who is off.  Nothing gets promised this early though.  It's hard for puppy people to wait, but that's just the way it has to be.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Ten Days Old

What a lovely weekend!  It included my 90-year old mother, my brother who is visiting from Costa Rica, and me paying a visit to my sister, brother-in-law and nephew in rural Wisconsin.  There are so few opportunities for my brother, sister, and me to get together with my mom, and given her age every get together is special.   Al flew back to Costa Rica early Sunday morning.  He was eager to get back to his wife, farm, dogs, and gardens.  Hopefully he'll be able to come up for Christmas as he did last year, and perhaps I'll be able to visit him in Costa Rica once I'm retired.

Retirement officially begins on Wednesday!  Tuesday is my last working day, and will include going to lunch with the people in my unit, perhaps for the last time.  I've already gone to lunch with the folks from Land Management and there was an office party last week as well.  Happy Hour with friends who worked in the Attorney Generals' Office is on my agenda too.  I'll sure miss everyone  but may be able to go back part time  in another month or so - things are looking promising for that, and it would give me some money for the projects I have planned around here.  We shall see how this all plays out as there are no guarantees.

Pups are all doing well and growing like crazy.  Fern was certainly a slow starter, but has settled in to being a great mother, as calm and sensible as I could ask.  Spotting and trim are looking nice, with only one of the pups (a liver boy) missing any eye trim that I can see.  The trim on the blacks is all complete, and the liver noses are moving quickly. 

It's such fun to watch the spots come in.  The three black-spotted girls and the patched black boy have shorter coats so their spotting is quite distinct already.  The black-spotted male and the three livers all have thicker coats, so the markings are not as distinct yet.

Dew claws were removed a week ago and all the little scars are healing nicely.  The black-spotted boy has been dealing with a staph infection on his back.  He had a bruise on his back that probably happened when Fern was picking up the pups all the time, and he developed staph in that area.  I just noticed it the day the dew claws were removed, so had the vet check it out then and prescribe antibiotics.  It's drying up now and the hair is coming out in little tufts, but the new coat is growing in already.  Obviously it causes him no trouble since he is the largest fattest pup in the litter.

One of today's projects is cutting nails, lots of sharp little puppy nails!  If they aren't kept trimmed they can do serious damage to Fern's breasts and leave big scratches on their littermates' heads.