Mandy's 2016 Litter


27 Aug - 1 Sep 2016
Mandy (Shaksper Amanda Seyfried) bred to Porter (Dreamweaver Up The Ante @ Coventry) owned by Dale Martins. Estimated due date is the first week in November.
30 Sep
Ultrasound shows that Mandy is pregnant, possibly with four puppies. As usual when I get such news, I think "I don't known nothing about birthin no babies." (If you do not recognize the quote, read the book or see the movie "Gone With The Wind".) Fortunately I am signed up for a canine reproduction seminar tomorrow for veterinarians and breeders being put on by the NC State Theriogenology (reproduction) department.
13 Oct
Mandy had another ultrasound plus blood drawn to check her progesterone level. Everything looks good. All the puppies have good heart beats, and Mandy's progesterone level is good. Mandy is now starting to look pregnant.
20 Oct
Back at NC State for another ultrasound and progesterone test. Again, everything is normal. Mandy would not put her ears up, even when being offered food.
26 Oct
For a long time now, Mandy has used the storage area underneath my bed as her private den. Not wanting her to have her puppies where I could not easily reach her, today I blocked off the area underneath my bed. The look she gave me held daggers. It was if she was saying "Ok, genius, *now* where am I going to have my puppies?" So I set up the whelping box ... but Mandy seemed unimpressed.
27 Oct
Long day. Two boys born. Details tomorrow.

[Written 28 Oct] Ok, the story so far ... On Wednesday (26 Oct) I noticed that Mandy's temperature had dropped. This often means that puppies will come in 24 to 48 hours. For several days now Mandy had been sleeping with me on my bed (wanting to be near me) rather than underneath my bed. That evening around 8 pm she entered what is called stage 1 labor. She started panting heavily and nesting (scratching), followed by periods of rest. She rearranged the pillows on my bed into quite the den for her to hide in. Because I had switched Mandy's main meal (which she had eaten) to late in the evening, I did not think that she would have puppies during the night. And stage 1 labor can last a long time. So we all turned in for the night. I got some sleep, waking up every time Mandy decided to do more nesting.

We all got up early on Thursday (27 Oct). During the night I had made the decision to put my "whelping plan" into action. I was not certain that Mandy was going into serious labor, but the signs leaned more that way than against. Against was that (1) Mandy ate her morning meal. Most bitches empty everything - stomach, bladder, and bowel - before stage 2 labor. And (2), Mandy still seemed very athletic to me. That morning she ran up the ramp onto my bed to get back to her new "den" of pillows. Pregnant bitches near term often just waddle around ... and not very fast.

Stage one of my whelping plan was to take all my other dogs to my petsitter, where they will stay for several days. Stage two was our previously scheduled appointment at NC State. Again Mandy got an ultrasound ... but the vet had to hold Mandy's mouth closed because Mandy's panting was interfering with the measurement of the fetal heart beats. Best guess from the ultrasound was four puppies. The progesterone test showed that Mandy's progesterone was very low, indicating that labor was imminent. Mandy had x-rays taken, which indicated three, but possibly four puppies (a shadow might have been one puppy behind another). More importantly, measurements of the x-rays allowed the vet to make the determination that the puppy skulls should be able to pass through Mandy's pelvic canal. Thus they did not see any reason why Mandy could not free whelp, as opposed to needing a cesarean section.

Stage three of my whelping plan was to stay with good friends who live near NC State (as opposed to where I live out in the country almost two hours away). We actually had a long-planned dinner party scheduled for that evening. So instead of coming for just dinner, I came to stay until the puppies arrived. I arrived with Mandy, a large pile of towels, and various boxes of supplies.

In the afternoon, Mandy went out in the yard and peed and pooped. She also tried to convince me that underneath the small wagon that was outdoors around which grass had grown up would be a perfect place to whelp her puppies. Fortunately I had Mandy on a leash, and I told her that it was not happening that way. In the late afternoon, Mandy vomited up her lunch.

Dinner guests began to arrive. I was checking on Mandy frequently at that point, but I missed the birth of the first puppy around 5 pm. When I came back into the room, Mandy was vigorously licking the first puppy, a boy.

We sat down to eat at 6 pm. Again I missed the birth of the second puppy, another boy. His fur is slightly darker than the first puppy. (He is probably a grizzle, rather than a red.) But I was in time to watch Mandy chew off the umbilical cord. Actually, I tried to help using dental floss as I thought Mandy was taking too long, when in fact she was just resting. I was more hinderence than help.

Puppy number 3 arrived about forty minutes later, feet first ... but then got stuck about halfway trying to come out. I called the emergency phone number for the repro vet on call at NC State, who advised me to try to gently pull on the puppy when Mandy next had a contraction. No luck. Finally Mandy got up, walked across the room with this half-way-out puppy hanging out her back end, had another contraction and the puppy was out.

Mandy immediately started vigorously licking the puppy and chewing the umbilical cord ... but the puppy was clearly not breathing. Another emergency phone call. I was advised to get the puppy, and start rubbing. My attempts to tie dental floss around the umbilical cord were futile. The puppy was very slippery and there was not much room between Mandy and the puppy. Finally I realized that Mandy had effectively clamped the umbilical cord with her chewing, so I cut the cord and began rubbing the puppy with a washcloth. But still no sign of life from the puppy. I suctioned out the airway and tried mouth to snout resuscitation. No luck. Finally I put Mandy and her two live puppies in a crate in the car, and the lifeless puppy underneath my shirt and drove to NC State, all the while rubbing the puppy underneath my shirt.

I was met at the door of the NC State Theriologenology Deparment by the vet that I had called to inform them that I was coming in. Two vets immediately took the puppy and started working on it with drugs, oxygen, chest compressions, and mouth to snout resuscitation. But after a while, they said they were sorry, they could not get any response from the puppy. I knew that it had been a "Hail Mary" play, but I had nothing to lose by trying. It was another boy. This morning I made arrangements to have his body shipped to Michigan State to be part of a research study.

After that, the two vets turned their attention to Mandy and her two live puppies. Mandy got another ultrasound to see if she was carrying a fourth puppy ... but the x-ray was right, Mandy had only been carrying three puppies. The vets checked the puppies and said that they looked great, and we let the puppies nurse for a while.

After that, I went back to my friend's house, packed up and drove home, arriving home around 11 pm. I got Mandy and the puppies settled in my whelping box. I weighed the puppies: Puppy#1 weighed 132 grams, Puppy#2 (the darker one) weighed 160 grams. It had been a long day.

Week 1

28 Oct
This morning the puppies weighed as follows: Puppy#1 135 grams, Puppy#2 163 grams. To give you an idea of the size of the puppies, here they are next to a Kleenex box. My job at this point is mostly to bring Mandy food and water, as otherwise she will not leave the puppies except to go outside to potty. Mandy takes care of the puppies, including licking them to stimulate them to pee and poop, which she cleans up.
29 Oct
Besides bringing Mandy food and water, one of my other jobs is to weigh everyone - the puppies twice a day (once in the morning, and once in the evening), and Mandy in the morning. Often puppies (especially after a c-section) loose weight during their first 24 hours, but these puppies (who free whelped) have had steady weight gains at each weighing. Weighing the puppies is the only chance that I get a good look at the puppies, as most times Mandy keeps them tucked up underneath her, unless she is laying on her side and the puppies are nursing. I weigh Mandy so as to adjust the amount of food she gets. Over the next few weeks, as the puppies pull more and more milk from her, Mandy's need for food will rise dramatically.
30 Oct
"My brother makes a good pillow."

Today I brought home the rest of my dogs from my petsitter. First, Mandy had to chastise me for leaving her (and her puppies) alone at home. But Mandy normally barks at me whenever I return from somewhere. Next, after I got everyone out of the car, there was much tail wagging and sniffing of butts. Then Mandy's two younger (half) sisters, Tami (2 yo) and Portia (1 yo), slipped by me before I could get the gate to my bedroom up. I held my breath, but to my surprise Mandy tolerated them sniffing and getting close to the whelping box. Mandy even tolerated Tami - to whom she has always defered - getting into the whelping box, before I shooed both Tami and Portia out of my bedroom. I noticed that Mandy is giving a low warning growl to Portia when Portia gets too close to the whelping box. I suspect that Tami and Portia will be sleeping in my bed tonight ... as they usually do.
31 Oct
Puppy#1 getting weighed this morning.

Because puppies under the age of three weeks can not generate their own body heat - and a cold puppy is a dead puppy - breeders try to keep the puppy room warm. Also keeping the room really warm helps protect the puppies from some nasty viruses. (It becomes too hot for the viruses to replicate. This is why a fever is one of nature's defenses against viruses.) The trick is to keep the room as warm as possible ... without "cooking" the mother. Mandy lets me know when the room is too warm - she starts digging up the fleese pad that I have in the whelping box.
1 Nov
Mandy and five-day old puppies. Here is a close up of the puppies. These puppies are fat and quiet ... two things that a breeder likes. (If something was wrong, the puppies would be crying.) Mandy has clearly been putting the puppies on a "schedule". She will feed the puppies, then the puppies fall asleep, after which Mandy often goes outside for a short period. Mostly I just see the puppies nursing and Mandy licking them ... sometimes at the same time! Note the difference in tails. (Well, I guess the first thing that you should notice is that the puppies have tails. Many breeders dock tails, but I prefer to leave the tails.) Puppy#1 on the right has a thicker tail, while Puppy#2 (being licked by Mom) has a longer narrower tail. You can also clearly see the nails on Puppy#1's right rear leg.
2 Nov
Today being a nice warm sunny day, I took the puppies outside into the sun for a few moments to "ripen". (Sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D.) After a minute or so, Puppy#2 (the larger one) began to protest, so I brought the puppies back inside.

Week 2

3 Nov
The puppies are one week old! Puppy#1 now weighs 262 grams, Puppy#2 weighs 334 grams. They have almost doubled their birth weight. Here they are next to my Kleenex box. Look at how much they have grown!
4 Nov
Puppy#1 doubled his birth weight this morning. Other than nursing, the puppies still spend most of their time sleeping. Today I saw Puppy#2 sleeping on top of Puppy#1 (usually it is the other way around). Before I could get a photo of this, Puppy#2 rolled over and gave a big stretch. Note that his eyes are closed. Puppies do not open their eyes until they are about ten days to two weeks old. Also note the splashes of white on his chest. Puppy#2 seems to have three distinct splashes of white. (Puppy#1 has a single white area.) As the puppies grow older, these areas of white will get smaller ... or maybe it is just the puppy getting bigger ... until the white can hardly be seen.
5 Nov
Puppy#2 doubled his birth weight this morning. I actually took this photo last night before lights out - Puppy#1 sleeping underneath Mandy's arm, Puppy#2 sleeping on Mandy's neck - all is right with the world.

I go in and check on the puppies very frequently throughout the day. Besides a sleeping puppy with a fat belly, what I like to see is the occasional "twitch" while they are sleeping. They will be sleeping, and then - all of a sudden - they will jerk. This is absolutely normal, and something you look for to see that things are going well. (One theory is that the twitch is related to the puppy's nerves growing.) Now that the puppies have a little extra energy, they crawl along until they find mom ... or until they run into something and then fall asleep. This means that the puppies now give me a scare when I go in to check on them ... as I look into the whelping box but do not see any puppies ... until I realize that they have crawled underneath the "pig rails". (They are called "pig rails" to prevent a sow - or a dog - from squishing their young against the side of the wall.)

6 Nov
Now that the puppies have a little extra energy, they "knead" mom's belly as they nurse to encourage milk to be let down.
7 Nov
Puppy#2 sleeping. While newborn puppies can not see or hear, they can smell. They use their sense of smell to help them find mom when they are crawling around. After I weigh the puppies in the morning and in the evening, I always hold the puppies for a few minutes. I have notice recently that the puppies are definitely sniffing my shirt and my hand.
8 Nov
Puppy#1 sleeping on top of Puppy#2. And Puppy#2 sleeping on his back. Puppy#2 tripled his birth weight this evening. Puppy #1 is not far behind doing the same thing. But the big news of the day is that Puppy#2 has opened his eyes! He had just a slit of his left eye opened most of the day (but not wide enough that I could get a good photo). But this evening, both his eyes are open.
9 Nov
Puppy#1 - "I can't believe I ate the whole thing!". At their morning weigh-in, Puppy#1 had tripled his birth weight, and Puppy#2 passed the 500 gram mark (approximately one pound). Puppy#1's eyes opened today. The puppys' ear canals are blocked, so they still can not hear. That will come soon.

Week 3

10 Nov
The puppies are two weeks old! Puppy#1 now weighs 450 grams and Puppy#2 weighs 551 grams. Here is Puppy#1 during his morning weighing. (You might want to compare with the picture of 31 Oct.) Mandy continues to be a good mommy. She continues to lick the puppies to stimulate them to pee and poop, and she keeps the welping box very clean. She will stick her nose underneath a puppy and start licking ... sometimes even flipping the puppy over. Note the ball in the whelping box. Now that the puppies eyes are open, I put various objects in the whelping box. However I have not seen any evidence yet of the puppies invesigating the objects.
11 Nov
I have not been able to get a good photo of the puppies with their eyes open ... they keep sleeping. I noticed at the morning weighing that Puppy#1's right eye has shut. I think the eye lid is just stuck closed. I wiped the area with a cotton ball dunked in warm water, and saw the eye partially open. Tonight it is shut again. I am always amazed how my other dogs respect the space around the whelping box. The first day they were home, Mandy growled if they got too close. After that, they have avoided the whelping box ... although I have seen them looking at it.
12 Nov
Puppy#1 this morning joined the "over 500 grams" club. But his right eye was still shut. So off to the vet we went. The vet stained Puppy#1's eye, did not find anything wrong, and sent us home with an antibacterial gel to put on the eye. Here is Puppy#1 after getting his right eye smeared with the gel at the vet's office. I have had this closed-eye thing happen to a puppy in a previous litter and everything turned out all right. So while I am concerned, I am not too worried.
13 Nov
Puppy#1's eye was slightly open today. I am continuing to apply the antibacterial gel. I finally got a photo of Puppy#2 with his eyes open. But it did not last long, as Puppy#2 prefered to go back to sleep. Now that the puppies have sight, if they are hungry and Mommy gets into the whelping box, it is amazing to watch them crawl directly towards Mommy. And they now can crawl really fast!
14 Nov
Puppy#1's eye continues to improve. Today I definitely saw some "play" behavior. Here is Puppy#2 trying to taste Puppy#1's head. I also saw Puppy#1 raise his head and try to sit up on his front legs. But mostly everyone still sleeps. Here is Puppy#1 dreaming of being Superman.
15 Nov
When I woke up this morning, Mandy was snuggled up next to me. When I leaned over and looked in the whelping box, I had a rare sighting of puppy poop. Mandy quickly jumped in the whelping box and cleaned it up (by eating it). Puppy#1's eye looked normal this morning. I will continue to apply the antibiotic gel for several more days. To add calcium to her diet (so that she can make milk), Mandy has been getting a quarter cup of cottage cheese in the morning and evening. Evidently this smelled good to Puppy#1, who investigated what Mommy was eating. Here is Mandy guarding the whelping box. The puppies, as is often the case, are under the pig rails out of sight.
16 Nov
Usually when I check on the puppies, all I see are puppies sleeping. But sometimes they are moving about. Puppy#1 seems the more active. Here is Puppy#2 checking out Mommy's food bowl. Mandy is now eating three times what she normally eats ... and is still slowly losing weight. It takes a lot of energy to make milk to feed her puppies!

Week 4

17 Nov
The puppies are three weeks old today! My pessimism now turns to cautious optimisim that they will survive. Puppy#1 now weighs 646 grams, and Puppy#2 weighs 765 grams. Here they are next to my tissue box. Both puppies are now sitting up for a moment or so, before they plop down again. Mandy finally (reluctantly?) let one of my other dogs get close to the puppies. Here is Portia, my one-year old, in the whelping box with the puppies, while Mandy looks at me as if to say "Really?!". (Portia can be very pushy.)

Being three-weeks old, this is "name day". My naming convention is that the name must be somehow related to a character in the Shakespeare play that I last saw (either on the stage or on film) prior to the puppies being born. For this litter, the play was Cymbeline ... admittedly one of the more obscure Shakespeare plays. But there are two brothers in the play (the sons of King Cymbeline), so the choice of names was obvious. So today I registered Puppy#1 with the AKC as "Shaksper Guiderius", and Puppy#2 as "Shaksper Arvirargus". Now I admit that "Guiderius" and "Arvirargus" are not names that roll off the tongue. But that is the great thing about dog names - in addition to the registered name, a dog also gets a "call name" (what you actually call the dog). The call name is usually somehow related to the registered name ... but it does not have to be. Often my dogs get several "call names". (I think every one has gotten called "sock thief" at some point in their puppyhood.) Now in the play, Guiderius and Arvirargus are kidnapped when they are two years old and raised by a banished duke with the names "Polydore" and "Cadwal". So you can add that to the idea mix. Right now I am leaning towards "Guido" for Guiderius. And "Cad" for Arvirargus ... or maybe "Argus". What do you think that the call names should be? Feel free to send me suggestions.

Guido's right eye was better, but starting yesterday seemed to get worse. Sometimes his eye would be fully open, sometimes he seemed to be squinting, and other times he kept it shut. So today we went to my vet's again who agreed with me that something is not right. After looking closely, she now thinks that an eyelash is growing in the wrong direction. She told me to continue the antibiotic gel. She took a picture of the eye to send to a specialist for another opinion. And while we were at the vets, I had a tech hold the puppies while I cut their nails for the first time.
18 Nov
Guido's eye seems better today. We now have an appointment with a specialist ... but not until the beginning of December (unless there is a drastic change). So if the vets are not too worried, I guess I should not be. I will continue to apply the antibiotic gel.

I predict that Guido will walk before Argus. Guido seems to get three legs underneath him. It is just that fourth leg that he can not coordinate yet. Argus (probably because of his size) still crawls, but uses his front legs to move himself along rapidly. Of course, the only time that I see this is when mommy gets in the whelping box; otherwise the puppies just sleep. But when mommy gets in the whelping box, then there is this mad scramble as the puppies rush over to the milk bar. Mandy continues to be a good mom.
19 Nov
Guido checking out a sleeping Argus. Here is Argus sleeping under the pig rail. (Compare with just two weeks ago.) And here is Guido checking out an invader.
20 Nov
Today I decided to see how the puppies would do with some baby food. I put some baby chicken in a bowl and put it in the whelping box. Guido was the first to check it out. Then he dived in. He did a very creditable job for a first meal. Argus tried some afterwards, but only took a taste. Of course, mommy got to clean the plate ... which she was very happy to do!
21 Nov
Both Guido and Argus are being much more active now. After nursing, they will stay awake for several minutes, exploring and playing. Then they fall asleep again. I brought both of them briefly out to my living room, but they seemed more frightened than interested, so I took them back to the whelping box in my bedroom. What is interesting is that as soon as Mommy Mandy get done nursing and gets out of the whelping box, Aunt Portia jumps in the whelping box and licks both puppies.
22 Nov
Today I set up a play area for Guido and Argus next to my desk. Each of my older dogs had to check it out including each taking turns going into the puppy crate. The puppies explored this new area. Here is Guido looking out of the area (plotting his escape!) But soon both puppies were asleep (Guido on the left, Argus on the right). Guido was the first to discover that sleeping in the crate is a good idea. It is even better if Mommy comes in and curls up with you. Today was the first day that Aunt Tami interacted with the puppies. Here is Tami licking Guido. I have already lost count of the number of times that Guido has crawled over the wooden barrier and escaped into the room. Argus prefers just to eat and sleep.
23 Nov
Argus crawled into the crate today. Guido followed, and the puppies took a nap. (Guido is in the back of the crate.) Later the puppies came out, but then after getting something to eat (usually from Mom), crawled back into the crate and went back to sleep. This was the routine of the day. Here is Guido tasting some of the baby food that I put down. Mandy has made it clear that if I am going to feed the puppies, then I can clean up the puppys' poop. Baby chicken may be too rich for the puppys' digestive systems right now. Both have a little diarrhea.

Week 5

24 Nov
The puppies are four weeks old today. Guido weighs 869 grams and Argus weighs 989 grams. The puppies had their first big trip today - back to the house where they were born. We spent Thanksgiving day at my friends' home. Eating and sleeping were the activity of the day.
25 Nov
"Help, we are being held captive." A mug shot. When you are a breeder, there always seems to be something to worry about. Recently, I have been worring about Argus's rear legs. Because of his fat belly, he keeps them splayed out - like a frog - rather than underneath him, which would help him walk. Today, he seemed to get his legs up underneath him several times. But if he does not do better soon, I will have to hobble his rear legs so that they stay underneath him.
26 Nov
The reason to escape - it is where the milk is! I fed the puppies some baby rice mixed with Esbilac (puppy formula). Some times it is too much effort to escape, and just easier to go to sleep. I forgot to mention yesterday that Argus broke the 1 kg mark in weight. I did go ahead and hobble his rear legs today. It seemed to help him remember to pick up his feet. He was much more active today.
27 Nov
The puppies - like all young children - want to put everything into their mouth and taste it. Here is Guido tasting the side of their crate. Note that Argus' ears are down. (Guido's ears are only up because he raised his head.) Over the next several weeks their ears will go up and down, until (hopefully) their ears stay up for that "prick ear" Norwich look. The puppies had great fun playing with a piece of paper that I crumpled up. And Argus killed the snake that invaded the area, while a proud mommy looks on in the background. (Guido - as usual - was plotting how to escape.) I did not hobble Argus today. His attempts to walk seem to have improved. Perhaps he is just a late bloomer? (Or perhaps he needed to grow so that his stomach weight was not pulling him down.)
28 Nov
Dear Mommy. Today was a busy day. First we had to wrestle the invading plastic carrot. Then Argus wrestled with Aunt Tami. (Although it seemed that Aunt Tami was getting the better of it, as Argus spent a lot of time on his back.) After all that work, it was time for a nap. Your son, Guido (the explorer).
29 Nov
Today the weather was nice, so I decided to introduce the puppies to the outside. And since they can now (somewhat) walk around, it is time to start potty training them. So now when they wake up, I will quickly try to get them outdoors so that they can do their potty business outside. Here is Argus about to poop. Of course, the real reason that the puppies like to come outside, is because the milk bar is outside. Guido (the explorer) got out of the puppy pen I have inside and found a mountain to climb, but after conquering the steep slope fell asleep.
30 Nov
The puppies find my feet interesting. Clearly they already recognize that I am some influence on their lives. Argus finally went exploring on his own, rather than just following Guido. Argus went through my practice earthdog liner. Then he found a large bone. Finally, here is Argus with Great-Aunt Bianca, who is 15 years old and in failing health. Note Argus in the background with a soft ball in his mouth.

Week 6

1 Dec
The puppies are now five weeks old. Guido weighs 1.110 kilograms, Argus weighs 1.205 kilograms. I now have to use my "big dog" scale (really a baby scale) to weigh the puppies, rather than the postage scale that I was using previously. Both now have puppy baby teeth errupting. So they now get fed ground up kibble soaked in Esbilac (a puppy formula). Here is Argus demonstrating the proper safety headwear for eating. Here is another view. Every since I got this plush toy I think every puppy has gotten its head stuck inside. Later in the day, Guido did the same thing.
2 Dec-4 Dec
I am away judging this weekend. The puppies - and all my dogs - are staying with my petsitter.
5 Dec
The puppies really seemed to have grown while I was away - both in size and temperament. Even though I am feeding the puppies ground up puppy kibble (moistened with goat's mild), Mandy continues to nurse the puppies ... and play with them. Guido says "Talk to the paw."
6 Dec
Argus shows that he can drink out of big dog bowls. Guido playing (biting) mommy's tail. Argus says that "Mommy still is the best pillow". I have to lock the puppies in the whelping box at night, otherwise now they climb out. The puppies are not happy when I put them in the whelping box. But if their tummys' are full, they quickly fall asleep. Although last night Guido threw a temper tantrum when I put them in the whelping box.
7 Dec
I wanted to get body and head photos of Guido and Argus today. They say that puppies at six weeks of age look like they will when full grown. Guido only partial cooperated with his body picture, but I did get a good photo of his head. Argus was sleeping when I was taking photos, so he missed his chance. I did notice that Argus had wedged himself as a place to sleep between the xpen and the wall.

Week 7

8 Dec
The puppies are six weeks old today. Guido weighs 1.305 kilograms, and Argus weights 1.450 kilograms. The big jump in weight is because the puppies are now eating (ground up) puppy kibble. But they still prefer mother's milk when Mandy will let them nurse. Here are the puppies next to my tissue box. Compare with when they were first born, and at four weeks.
8-11 Dec
I am away judging again this weekend. The puppies - and all my dogs - are staying with my petsitter.
12 Dec
The puppies are much more mobile now. By running, the puppies can keep up with my older dogs when they are walking. They are also much more willing to go farther away to explore. Today Guido went to see the eye specialist at NC State. Argus came along to keep him company (along with Mandy and great aunt Bianca). I put puppy harnesses on Guido and Argus, which are still too large. The vet said that Guido's eye is fine.
13 Dec
The puppies have been playing rather rough with each other. At least twice now, the playing has gotten so rough that mother and both aunts have run over to break it up, and console whomever was getting the worst of it. Here is Aunt Portia checking the puppies.
14 Dec
For the past few days, the puppies have been playing with my wobble board.

Week 8

15 Dec
The puppies are seven weeks old today. Guido weighs 1.420 kilograms and Argus weighs 1.665 kilograms. While they look like little angels when they are sleeping (Guido and Argus), when the puppies are awake it is a different story. They have teeth and want to bite everything; for example, your pants legs as you walk across the room. (The product "Bitter Apple" is now my best friend.) The puppies pee and poop right when they wake up ... so I do a lot of cleaning up if I take my eyes off them for any length of time. I take them outside to potty multiple times during the day (and the weather is cold now) and at least twice during the night between when I finally turn out the lights and when I get up in the moring ... so I am getting rather sleep deprived. Puppies ... you have to love them!
16 Dec
Argus wrestles with the invading crab. The older dogs, including Mommy, now play rather roughly with the puppies. I am not sure why this is ... perhaps it is the canine way of "toughening" them up for the harsh world.
17 Dec
This is the weekend of the AKC Agility Invitational. Mandy was invited (as Norwich invitee #3), but I turned down the invitation in order to have puppies. To make his mother feel better, Guido showed that he can go through a tunnel. Mandy continues to let the puppies nurse. All the books (including those on Norwich) say that the mother should be weaning the puppies by now. My girls evidently have not read these books, as they let the puppies nurse. At this point, the puppies are getting probably more than half of their nutrition from food.
18 Dec
Aunt Portia (on the left) and Mommy Mandy (on the right) watching the puppies rough house. Note how the puppy blends into the grass. Many breeders by now would have stripped (pulled out) the black "guard hairs". I prefer to let the guard hairs fall out naturally. Also note that Argus' ears are now up. And here is Argus showing off his sharp teeth. (Apologies for my finger getting into the shot.) Not to be left out, Guido also showed off his teeth.
19 Dec
The puppies with mom and two aunts. Argus seems to have discovered his voice today. Several times during the day he barked.
20 Dec
Guido laying down near a sleeping great-Aunt Bianca. Besides the difference in their mass (Argus continues to weigh more than Guido), and the fact that Guido has a narrower head than Argus, it can be hard to differentiate the two unless they are next to each other. The way that I do it is that Guido has darker hair on his head than Argus. You can see the difference in this photo of Guido and Argus in a tunnel. Guido is on the left, and Argus is on the right.
21 Dec
The puppies on my puppy dogwalk. I think Mandy is starting to cut the puppies off from nursing. And Guido for the first time pushed through my doggy door to come inside.

Week 9

22 Dec
The puppies are eight weeks old today. Guido weighs 1.730 kilograms, and Argus weighs 1.985 kilograms. Knowing that today was a big day, the puppies got up early ... earlier than I wanted to get up. I knew that if I tried to go back to sleep that the dogs would not let me have any; that they would insist that it was breakfast time. So I fed everyone. Once everyone settled down for a post-meal nap, I went back to bed ... and brought Guido with me. (Argus had spent time in my bed last night while I watched a movie.) Guido slept right up against my back. But I did not wake up in time when I felt Guido move around. Guido baptized my bed. My fault! So now the puppies are banned from my bed for a few days. I think every puppy I have ever had at one time or another baptizes my bed.

Today the puppies went to the vet for their first puppy shots. After some exploring they greeted the technicians, who weighed them and took their temperature. Guido objected to the indignity; Argus was like "whatever". Then the vet gave each puppy a DHPPC shot and then microchiped. Again Guido objected, and again Argus just accepted it.

Since today was a special day, when we got home I took the puppies out into the field beyond my fence. I think they were a little overwhelmed by the vastness of it all!

Since the puppies are now eight weeks old, it is time to start crate training them. So I packed up the whelping box, and set up their crates. I predict that they will not be happy with the new sleeping arrangements!

23 Dec
Dear Daddy. Mommy says we should write. Today the puppy evaluator came to evaluate brother and me. She did things like flip us on our back, drop keys, and open umbrellas to scare us ... but we were not scared! She hid things to see if we would try to find them. She put down food, and then took it away before we were finished to see how we would react. Evidently we passed all the tests. But it was hard work, so brother and I took a nap afterwards. In the afternoon, we took a long walk outside. Aunt Portia, Aunt Tami, and Mommy all started digging in one spot. We helped, but we never did found out why we we digging. And the building we live in ... we walked entirely around it! Aunt Portia had told us that the building went on forever, but I think she was just trying to scare us. Your son, Argus
24 Dec
Argus is going through his "Norfolk phase." It is not uncommon for a Norwich puppy's ears to go up, then fold down to look like our sister breed, the Norfolk terrier, then eventually go back up. It is just one more thing that a Norwich breeder gets to worry about! Mandy likes to get into the puppys' crate.
25 Dec
Guido climbed the ramp to my bed ... and then fell asleep. I guess after you climb the puppy equivalent of Everest, you are entitled to a nap. Today when we were out, the puppies met their first Border Collie. Argus tried to use hypnosis on the Border Collie, but it did not work.
26 Dec
Puppies eating. Just when I think Mandy has cut the puppies off, I look over and she is letting them nurse. But it is no more than once a day now.

Recall the brother of the puppies that was dead at birth, whose body was shipped to Michigan State for a research study. I heard back from the study pathologist that the puppy had what is being called developmental lung disease, the object of the study. So he is the first of this litter to make a contribution to science.

27 Dec
After breakfast, Argus climbed up on my bed (for the first time) for a post-meal nap. A few minutes later, Guido did the same thing. Since I had been up three times during the night to take everyone outside to potty, I joined them. Guido is a cuddler, and likes to spoon with you. Argus is a leg-man, preferring to sleep at your feet against your leg. I did not get much rest, as I wanted to make sure I got everyone off my bed before we had any accidents.
28 Dec
The puppies sleep at night in separate crates. The crates are on a table that faces my bed, so I can quickly check on the puppies. But if the weather is nice (like today), a nap in the sun is also good.

Week 10

29 Dec
The puppies are nine weeks old today. Guido weighs 1.970 kilograms, and Argus weighs 2.180 kilograms. Argus has figured out my doggy door, and now goes in and out as he wishes. This means that I have to be careful not go leave the outside fence gate open. And that I now have to let the older dogs in and out the fence gate when they want to go explore the nearby forest.
30 Dec
When it gets too quiet ... or when I think it is time to take the puppies out, then I have to first find the puppies. Recently I have learned to look for Argus on my bed.
31 Dec
Guido still has not figured out my doggy door.
1 Jan 2017
What to do about puppies and their sharp teeth is always a conundrum. One option is nature's chew stick ... a stick. The puppies have already turned one pile of sticks into wood chips. Other choices are carrots and rawhide chew sticks. Both have the problem that the older dogs steal them to chew on themselves. For a brief moment today I have everyone on my bed with their own rawhide chew. Aunt Portia, my one-year old, is particularly bad about stealing from the puppies.

Guido has figured out the doggy door and now goes in and out at will.