This really makes me change my plans.
Mandy and I had qualified for the 2017 AKC Agility Nationals. I had entered us with the expectation that Mandy might come into season about the time of the Nationals; if so, then we would not run. Now if I breed Mandy than we will definitely not be able to go to the Nationals. (It is not a good idea to expose a pregnant bitch to a large gathering of dogs from around the country. Who knows what viruses will be floating around.) What to do ... what to do.
Now I start to worry. The quote from Gone with the Wind - "I don't know nothing about birthing no babies" - keeps looping through my mind.
Today I set up the whelping box ... just in case. My plan is that as soon as I notice that Mandy is in stage 1 labor, I will take my other dogs to my petsitter, and then Mandy and I will travel to a friend's house that is close to the North Carolina Vet School. Hopefully Mandy will deliver her puppies at my friend's house ... and in case of any difficulty, we will only be 20 minutes from the vet school rather than two hours. But by having a whelping box set up at home, I am ready in case Mandy has other plans.
I have also started taking Mandy's temperature every four hours during the day. The hope is to catch the one degree of temperature drop that indicates that puppies should arrive in the next 24 to 48 hours. Mandy is not a fan of this activity ... as it involves putting a thermometer up her butt!
Normally a Norwich's chest is the largest part of their torso, not their belly. To give you an idea of how big Mandy is, her chest is 18 inches in circumference (5.7 inches in diameter) ... while her belly is 22 inches in circumference (7.0 inches in diameter).
So I got up early and took all my dogs (minus Mandy) to my petsitter. Mandy and I continued on to NC State for her previously schdule x-ray at noon. The x-ray revealed that there was only a one millimeter difference in the size of the head of the first puppy in line to come out and Mandy's pelvic opening. Not much room! At about that time, Mandy started having strong contractions. So the vets started monitoring the puppy's heartbeats. Besides the resident and attending vet, there were also five vet students in the room watching Mandy. When no puppy appeared after about an hour of labor ... and based upon the heartbeats which evidently were becoming worrisome, the attending vet made the call to do a c-section. So they took Mandy off for a c-section. By now it was about 3 p.m.
5 p.m. One of the students came to tell me that everything is fine - three girls and one boy.
Finally I am brought back to see Mandy and her puppies. Here is my first view. And here is a close up. When they turned Mandy over so that the puppies could suckle from her other nipples, you can see how out of it Mandy is because of the anesthesia - she is hardly paying attention to her puppies.
The puppies were given a good chance to suckle and get some colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk that contains lots of maternal antiboties. The puppies can only absorb these antiboties (which are large molecules) during the first 24 hours or so of life. After that the puppys' stomach break them down before they can be absorbed. These antiboties will have to protect each puppy until they can get their puppy shots. Then the puppies were tube fed so that they would have full bellies for the long ride home.
The ride home was uneventful, with only a few whimpers from the puppies. I quickly got Mandy and the puppies settled in the whelping box. (The red glow is from my heating lamp.) Mandy did not want to go out to pee ... she only wanted to get in the whelping box with the puppies. Mandy was very hungry ... she ate two full meals. (My primary job for the next couple of days will be to bring her food and water.)
So now let me introduce the puppies.
Heaviest at 183 grams is (naturally) the boy. I am told that he was in one of the uterine horns all by himself ... so he did not have to compete for nutrients. The three girls were all in the other horn.
Next in weight at 162 grams is the girl with the stripe on her collar. Then at 139 grams is the girl with the brown collar. And finally, at 123 grams is the girl with no collar. (I had to take it off as she had her arm caught in it.)
Tomorrow I will change the collars put on by the vet school for colored yarn ... which will give them their "color" names.
Mandy finally went outside to pee this morning. I grabbed my camera to take a photo of the puppies in a pile underneath the heating lamp ... but Mandy was back before I could get a good shot.
The worry for today is that Mandy's temperature is elevated. It still is within normal range for a dog, but it is higher than her normal. Mandy was annoyed with me as I kept taking her temperature every couple of hours. Mandy is doing a lot of panting. It evidently takes a lot of oxygen to make milk.
What I like to see is everyone eating ... including Mandy, who is getting some cottage cheese to help keep her calcium level up. Here are two girls nursing.
I changed everyone's collar for yarn this evening. "Stripe girl" is now "Green". "Brown girl" is now "Pink". And "No collar girl" is now "White". The boy - being the only boy - does not need any collar. Both his color and his appendage set him apart from the girls.
The puppies continue to have fat bellies and to gain weight. I celebrate every few grams of weight gain. The puppies are so small when they are newborns.
Newborn puppies can not regulate their body temperature until they are two to three weeks old. For spring litters, it is not hard to heat a room ... just open a window (but make sure that it does not cause a draft over the puppies). Even though the temperature was in the 80s today, the puppies were tucked up underneath Mom to stay warm.
What it is all about - eating and sleeping.
Today I brought my other dogs home from our petsitter. I do not think it was five seconds before Guido (Mandy's six month old puppy from her last litter) had nosed open the fence I had put across my bedroom doorway and was in the welping box with the puppies. Mandy did not seem to mind; she was so excited to see everyone back. As I was not sure what Guido would do, I kept a close eye on him ... but he only seemed to be curious about the strange beings and their sounds. My other dogs remembered from the last litter to stay away from the whelping box. I did notice later that when Mandy was nursing the puppies, that she growled at any dog who got close.
Today Green passed the 200 gram mark. And White lapped her sister Pink, and now weighs more than her. Actually I am worried about Pink ... I always have something about which to worry ... I am not seeing appreciable weight gain for Pink. Today I have been pushing Pink onto a nipple every time I checked the whelping box.
I am seriously worried about Pink. I have done a lot of staring into the whelping box. Pink seems to be expending a lot of effort on breathing. And she is not "twitching" like the other puppies. (A healthy puppy twitches. One theory about twitching is that it helps the nerves grow.)
My vet examined Pink. She noted that Pink still has a suckle reflex. Upon listening to Pink's chest with her stethoscope, my vet said that Pink's breathing was abnormal - which I could see by the way that Pink was using her stomach muscles to breath. My vet did not hear any fluid - which means that Pink probably does not have asperation pneumonia. But this probably means that Pink has puppy lung development disease ... which is almost always fatal. (Puppy lung development disease is just a name for this condition, which is just now being studied by researchers.) My vet gave Pink some subcutaneous fluids (injected by a very tiny needle) along with some amoxicillin. She sent us home with the antibiotic, and said to continue to tube feed Pink. But my vet did not hold out much hope. This is what I expected. I regarded going to the vet as a "Hail Mary" play.
I got everyone safely home, and tube fed Pink. Later I saw Pink nursing, but not for long. Mostly when I saw the puppies nursing, I saw Pink off to the side.
In other news, the girl Green has taken over from the Boy as the heaviest puppy.
This evening the puppies weigh as follows: Boy (295 grams), Green (302 grams), Pink (173 grams), and White (258 grams). Note that Green is the first to break the 300 gram mark. This is actually the best weight ever for Pink, whose weight has been in the 160s for several days. I am continuing to tube feed Pink. Today Pink seems less active. I have not seen Pink nurse, although Mommy continues to pay attention to Pink.
In other news, great-aunt Bianca is 16 years old today. (Actually Bianca is a first-cousin once removed to Mandy. But because of Bianca's age, she gets the honorific "great-aunt".) Sadly Bianca is in failing health.
I wrapped Pink's body in a paper towel, then put the bundle in a ziplock bag in my refrigerator. This morning I package the body with some ice packs (to preserve the body), then took the package to FedEx. Pink's body is now on its way to Michigan State University to participate in their puppy abnormal lung development study.
The other puppies are all fine. Notice how the ears are now sticking out from the head. When the puppies were born, the ears were flat against the head.
I have been wishing that I could get a picture of the chest of the puppies, but no one is sleeping on their back (yet). I finally got this picture of the white spot on the chest of the Boy. Green also has a white spot, as did Pink. Only White does not. As the puppies grow, the white spot will slowly disappear until it is just a little sliver of white on the chest.
Mandy continues to dig up the pad in the whelping box. I then straighten the pad, as I do not want the puppies on the slick bottom of the whelping box where it will be difficult for them to crawl. Mandy then digs the pad up again. We repeat this multiple times during the day and night. My best guess is that Mandy thinks the whelping box is too hot.
Puppies can not regulate their body weight until they are two to three weeks old ... and a chilled puppy can quickly die. Another reason to keep the whelping box warm is to inhibit the canine herpesvirus - a virus that often has a 100% mortality rate in young litters. So I keep the room warm and the heating lamp on much of the time in one corner of the whelping box. The downside is the Mandy and I - since the welping box is in my bedroom - are too warm.
At this evening's weighing, the Boy broke the 400 gram mark. And I noticed that he has one eye partially open. White has slightly opened both eyes - but just slits like she is checking the world out.
Mandy sometimes has to lay down in order to get her tongue underneath a puppy in order to stimulate it to pee or poop.
Guido - Mandy's six month old puppy - keeps getting into the whelping box.
White passed the 400 gram mark today.
I have decided that this will be my "Midsummer Night's Dream" litter. Feel free to suggest names for the puppies. Either characters from the play, or characters or actors from the first season of "Slings & Arrows" - which is what I was watching during the period when Mandy whelped this litter.
Since the puppies now have their eyes open - even if only for a few seconds - I am putting toys in the whelping box so that they have something to see. Of course that is Guido in the whelping box. I believe that Guido can hardly wait for the puppies to grow up so that they will play with him. (It is hard being a youngster in a house with a mother and three aunts!)
I finally saw one of the puppies sleeping on their back - the Boy, of course. By the time I grabbed my camera, he had rolled slightly to one side.
Both Guido (Mandy's six-month old son) and Tami (one-year old half-sister to Mandy) have been in the welping box to check out the puppies ... and Mandy rarely objects. But if Mandy is nursing the puppies and any of my other dogs get close, Mandy growls ferocioulsy and bares her teeth. Everyone backs away.
Here is another time, with the Boy headed for Tami. But after Tami left, it was time to go back to sleep. Fortunately sister Green makes a nice pillow.
All the puppies were making attempts to walk today. Here is the Boy sitting.
Today is also "Name Day". So ... drum roll, please ...
Old name = "Formal name" (Call name)
Boy = "Shaksper Robin Goodfellow" (Puck)
Green = "Shaksper Hippolytia" (Polly)
White = "Shaksper Hermia" (Mia)
This evening Puck is 696 grams, Polly is 646 grams, and Mia is 607 grams.
Polly and Mia playing. (Polly is on the left.)
Polly resting on Mia.
I tried feeding the puppies last night and again this morning. There were some nibbles, but mom's milk is still preferred. After nursing, the puppies explored and played for a short while. (They still mostly sleep). By "play" I mean wrestling with each other. Here is Robin trying to "eat" Mia.
This evening I took all my dogs including the puppies to my petsitter. I will be away judging this weekend and need to make an early start in the morning. My house seems so empty without the dogs ... no one is outside barking and defending me from whatever things live in the forest around my house ... no one is asking to be fed just "one more treat" ... no one is doing something that just makes me laugh. I always miss my dogs when I go away to judge.
My petsitter commented on how much attention Aunt Portia was paying to the puppies - almost as if Portia was guarding the puppies. I think it is true. Since we have gotten home, Portia has spent nearly all her time with the puppies ... and growls when other dogs get near the puppies. She even stayed close when Mandy let the puppies nurse.
Polly has diarrhea. Also Polly has been passed by Mia in the weight department. And Polly has only once to my knowledge climbed out of the play pen. Since I was sufficiently worried, Polly took a trip to my vet. Poor Polly had to suffer the indignity of having her temperature taken rectally, then a probe in the bum (twice) to get a stool sample. My vet looked at the sample under a microscope and saw a large number of rod-shaped bacteria. My vet's hypothesis is that the change of food has upset Polly's GI tract. My vet prescribed an antibiotic (amoxicillin).
When I got home and opened up my puppy play pen, Robin climbed out, when to my toy box, selected a specific toy, dragged it out, and then played with the toy on the doggy bed underneath my desk.
Meanwhile Mia explored and was brave enough to go all the way through a small tunnel.
Guido discovered that the Coke carton was really a red dragon ... and so he taught the puppies how to kill a dragon. After a ferocious fight, the dragon was killed and the puppies took a nap.
Polly figured out how to climb out of the play pen. Of course the motivation was "that is where the milk is". (Polly on left, Mia on right.)
The puppies will now eat ground-up puppy kibble. For variety, today I gave the puppies some canned tripe. The puppies think tripe is great and were licking the bowl!
At six weeks of age, a puppy looks like it will as an adult (only smaller). The next time this will happen is when the puppy is six months old. Between now and then, different parts of the body grow at different rates. So it is interesting to look now at the puppies.
If I had any doubt, it is now all gone - both Robin and Polly are fluffies. Both Robin and Polly have a white patch on their chest, although it is starting to shrink. Both Robin and Polly have black muzzles. Right now Polly reminds me so much of a Pomeranian. Polly's body is very square; both Robin and Mia have slightly longer bodies than legs. In spite of the fact that Mia now weighs more than Polly, Mia seems much smaller than Polly ... probably because Polly's fluffy coat makes her seem larger.
Mia's head is narrower than Robin and Polly's, with a muzzle that seems long and narrow. Both Robin and Polly's muzzle seems more square or block-like. I have no idea if the muzzle difference indicates any difference in breathing.
Personality-wise, Robin is all boy. He stays awake longer than the girls. I have seem Mia do things before Polly: Mia was the first to climb out of the puppy play area. And last night Mia climbed out of the whelping box (twice). But it is so hard to tell about personalities when the puppies are so young.
Portrait photos: Polly - I guess if you are Queen of the Amazons, you can be annoyed at the paparazzi! Notice the sharp (!) baby teeth coming in. And to the rear of Polly, you can just see Mia's tail. Here is Robin's portrait photo. Mia refused to hold still long enough for a portrait photo.
Head photos: Polly and Robin and Mia. (Mia had finally laid down.) Notice the difference in Robin and Polly's muzzle as compared to Mia's muzzle.
Mia sitting on my puppy teeter watching Polly and Robin wrestle.
Dinner tonight was cooked ground turkey, a first for the puppies and a big success. Mia believes in reaching across the table. Of course when Mandy comes to clean up leftovers, there is still a scramble to get underneath Mommy for some milk. (Notice again Polly's muzzle.)
Guido and Polly "helping" me lay clean mats for the puppy play area. I have to wash every day.
The puppies "wrestling" underneath my puppy dog walk. (The third puppy is in the back, underneath the dog walk.) None of the puppies have yet gone to the top of my puppy dog walk. All have gone through my puppy tunnel.
Robin and Mia climbed up the ramp to my bed. I suspect that they followed their mother, but after that they did it again on their own. I found Mia asleep on a pillow. (Aunt Portia is on the next pillow.) I do not think they have figured out yet how to go down the ramp.
Mia had great fun playing with an empty Coke can. I puchased the blue "noodle" for the puppies to play with; however older-brother Guido seems to have more fun with it.
I found Robin outside when I thought he was inside. I suspect he quickly followed one of the older dogs through my doggy door. (I now have to be careful when I open or close doors, as the puppies can now move fast. I would not wany anyone to get hurt when I am opening or closing a door.) Later I found Robin sitting next to my doggy door, whimpering. He kept whimpering for several minutes. He clearly was frustrated that he could not figure out how to get the doggy door to open. I saw him try a few times, but without success.
This morning around 5:30 am - after I just had gotten back to sleep - Robin let me know he wanted to go outside again. (He really did have to go. The puppies really do not like to mess where they sleep.) But when we came back inside, the puppies all wanted to play ... after all it was starting to get light. All I wanted to do was go back to sleep. So I told the puppies they were on their own, and I went back to bed. (My place is very puppy-proof.)
When I woke up a couple of hours later, Robin was sleeping on a pillow on my bed next to me, Polly was awake on the floor near my bed, and Mia was sleeping on a dog bed in my living room. Evidently, Mandy had fed everyone breakfast, as the puppies were not interested in what I fixed ... usually the puppies are very hungry for breakfast.
Robin playing tug-of-war with a stick with Guido.
This afternoon, as I was talking on the phone with a friend, one of the puppies came up and gave me a good bite on an ankle. I let out a yelp. My friend guessed what had happened and said "Did a puppy just bite you?". The answer of course was yes. All the puppies are now certified ankle-biters.
My friend asked an interesting question - just how fluffy are the fluffies? So I measured the length of the puppys' fur at the withers. Mia's fur is about 0.5 inches long. Both Polly and Robin's fur is about 1.25 inches long.
Since the puppies all now have teeth, I tried giving them a raw chicken wing at dinner. Polly and Robin both tried to eat the chicken wing. As I expected, Robin won the tug-of-war for the chicken wing. Polly then went over and joined Mia for the other entree on offer (ground puppy kibble). As I guessed, Robin does not yet have enough teeth or jaw power to eat the chicken wing ... although he gave it a good try.
Least you think that Mandy is not a good mother, when I let Mandy into the puppy play area (dining hall) to clean up, Mandy tried to "bury" the chicken wing so that the puppies could have it later. When that did not work, rather than eat it herself Mandy dropped it in front of the puppies. But of course the puppies were more interested in getting some milk. In the end, Mandy took the chicken wing away to eat.
I found Mia on my bed. A few moments later she came down the ramp to my bed.
Polly nose-to-nose with Great-Aunt Bianca. You can not see Bianca's eyes because of the angle and the hair over her eyes.
Older Brother Guido and Robin sniffing Great-Aunt Bianca. (Bianca is laying down.)
I started to watch a movie, and after an hour decided to check on the puppies (who I had left loose inside my house) and bring the big dogs inside my fence and close the gate as it was starting to get dark. Polly and Mia were near my bed asleep. Robin was nowhere to be found. I looked in all the places where Robin normally slept when loose, but he was not in any of them. I could not find him. I stuck my head outside ... and there he was ... outside my fence line, headed back towards the gate. Evidently Robin had figured out how to go through my doggy door to get outside. I have no idea have far outside the fence line he got. He had this big grin on his face, as if to say "See, I am a big dog now."
So now I have to keep the gate closed when the puppies are loose. And now I have an additional duty to let the big dogs in and out when they want to go in and out. So basically, I am just a door man.
Today I watched Robin go in and out of my doggy door at will. I caught a picture of Robin going inside during an afternoon potty break, where he clearly thought it was too hot to be outside. (Through the window, on the right you can see Great-Aunt Bianca sleeping in her pen area, and the puppy play area on the left.) Polly and Mia have not tried the doggy door yet, but it is just a matter of time.
Polly believes a well-dressed girl always wears a hat.
Mandy is definitely starting to wean the puppies. This morning there was no 4 am feeding. And after I fed the puppies breakfast, Mandy only gave the puppies a taste before walking away. It has been like that all day when the puppies tried to nurse. Mandy would growl and walk away. Possibly I am the ultimate cause. Just as I monitor the puppies weight daily, I have been weighing Mandy every morning. Recently Mandy's weight has drifted up above 12 pounds. (Normally I like Mandy's weight to be about 11 pounds, but because she was nursing puppies I was ok with letting her weight drift up. But when Mandy's weight got over 12 pounds, I started cutting back on her food ... which probably means she is making less milk ... which is why she is starting to wean the puppies. The puppies seem to be doing all right with what I am feeding them. (They are gaining weight and acting like normal puppies, i.e. little monsters who think they are the lord and ladies of the universe.)
Mandy did not want to nurse the puppies at all last night, nor did she let them nurse at breakfast. (When Mommy growls, the puppies back off!) I thought Mandy might be making the puppies go "cold turkey" ... which seemed a little unusual in my experience. But as Mandy will be the first to tell you - "What does he know". So this morning, I packed up the whelping box and set up crates on a table next to my bed. The puppies will sleep in these crates tonight, and until I feel they are crate-trained. I suspect that the puppies will not think this an improvement over the whelping box.
After lunch - and I am sure just to show me wrong - Mandy let the puppies nurse.
Notice the white stuff around Polly's nose. (No, I am not letting the puppies snort cocaine.) When Polly was nursing, she must have been trying to get as much milk as possible before Mandy cut her off. Polly must have reverse snorted some of milk.
I have been surprised that so far only Robin has figured out how to use the doggy door. Usually once one puppy learns how to go in and out, the other quickly learn it also. But this is a different and more sturdy doggy door that I have had in the past. (It also is more weather-proof, which is good.) Interesting.
Polly on my baby dog walk
Robin coming out of an earthdog liner. A big dog is on top of the liner. Robin's face is wet because it was raining. Notice that Robin's ears are still down. So far, only Mia's ears are up.
The puppies often wrestle with each other. But there is another wrestling-type activity between the older dogs and the puppies. I do not know what the purpose of this activity is, but it clearly is some kind of socialization as the puppies mother, Mandy, also does it with the puppies. I call it "toughening up the puppy". A puppy is flipped onto it back, and then an older dog will dart in and nip at the puppy, usually around the tummy, front legs or head. Sometimes two older dogs tag team on this activity. The puppy bares it teeth. The older dog growls; the puppy squeals. If another puppy is nearby, it gets into the action - usually biting at a rear leg. So while this picture looks like someone is getting killed, no one get seriously hurt. This activity will continue for several minutes. If the noise level gets loud enough to where I get worried, I break it up ... and then everyone looks at me with an expression of "Whats the problem?". Sometimes they stop; often they go right back at it. The older dogs will switch from one puppy to another.
Perhaps it is a way to tire out the puppies, as they often go to sleep not long afterwards. Here is Robin asleep. And Princess Mia.
I have now seen both Mia and Polly go through my doggy door. I admit that I gave them a little coaxing yesterday, but today they did it on their own.
While Mandy still seems to be carrying milk, I have not seen her let the puppies nurse now for two days.
This morning when I let the puppies outside, I watched them make a slow circumnavigation of my fence line, with several stops to look out. This evening they watched with envy as the big dogs ran outside the fence line. I will soon have to take the puppies outside the fence line with me present; otherwise they will find some opportunity to engineer an escape. I always try to delay this moment as long as possible. It is so hard letting puppies go outside on their own. I worry about them not finding their way back, or about a predator. In the two years that I have lived in the middle of a forest, I have not yet had a problem. But there is always the worry.
In talking with other Norwich breeders who have had fluffies, I learned today that you have to cut or clipper the hair on the ears, otherwise the weight of the hair stops the ear from standing up. (And a "prick ear" is the distinguishing feature of a Norwich terrier.) Here is Robin before and after I took some snub-nosed scissors to his ears. If you look closely - and it can be difficult to see in the photograph - his left ear looks less like a hack job than the right. I started on his left ear when he was sleepy from lunch, but by the time I got to his right ear, he did not want to cooperate. And I did not want to cut him. I hope to do a better job tomorrow, and also do Polly.
Polly (inside) and Mia (outside) arguing at my doggy door.
Today I put two chicken wings in the puppy pen at dinner time. (When I say chicken wing, I actually mean the the tip-half of the wing. The rest I break up with a cleaver, and give to the older dogs.) First Robin tired to gather both for his lordly self. But it was always easy to steal one, so eventually Robin had one and the other was being fought over by the two girls. As I expected, Mia got the better of it ... until she got tired and had to take a nap. It takes the puppies forty or so minutes to pick a chicken wing clean.
Early this morning there was a heavy rainstorm. Of course, at that time the puppies woke me up telling me that they wanted to go outside to potty. I did not want to subject them to the heavy rain, so I put them in the puppy play area figuring that I would clean up the mess later. And then I went back to bed. A while later, the puppies woke me up saying that they really wanted to go outside. Thinking that the rain had stopped I took them outside. But instead of stopping, there now was just a steady rain, not heavy nor light. So I said let us see what happens and I put the puppies down. Each went off for about twenty feet in the rain, pooped, and then came back to me on the porch. I was so proud of them! They clearly are getting the idea that potty business is done outside.
This morning the puppy evaluator came. Every area has a puppy evaluator - someone breeders call to look at litters of puppies and give independent evaluations of the temperament of the puppies. We took the puppies to a room they had never been in before, which in this case was my barn/garage. The evaluator picked up each puppy in turn, played with their feet, craddled the puppy on its back like a baby, tried to look in the puppy's mouth (Polly gave kisses!), etc. The puppies were introduced to a new surface to see how they would react. (All did fine.) The evaluator dropped a pan to see how the puppies would react to a strange sound. (Interestingly, Robin backed away.) The evaluator played with the puppies to see if they would follow a toy. (If you look closely, you can see the hack job I did on Robin's right ear.) The evaluator put down some food for each puppy, and then saw how the puppy reacted when she took the food away. (No one was food-possessive.) The evaluator walked each puppy on a slip-lead. And there were other tests.
The evaluator's conclusions were very similar to mine. Polly is mellow; Mia is "piss and vinegar" (the evaluator's words); Robin is a typical boy. There were two observations she said that surprised me. One is that Robin is slightly sound sensative. I have been playing for the puppies my CD with lots of noises - dogs barking, fireworks, vacuum noises, sirens, etc. But all that was in a familiar environment (when the puppies are in the puppy play pen). Perhaps Robin is slightly sound sensitive. Another possibility is that Robin is entering one of the several fear periods that puppies go through.
The other observation that surprised me is that the evaluator said the Mia looked for me when I went out of the room. Usually Polly is at my feet and keeps close to me. Perhaps Mia was worried about being left along with this strange woman who did crazy things like dropping pans!
The puppies all got worn out by all the testing and went to sleep ... which ended the evaluation!
After I had some lunch, I took the puppies outside to potty. The puppies were not interested in lunch, they just wanted to sleep. So I laid down for a quick nap, figuring the puppies would have me up in an hour or less for lunch. Instead the puppies let me sleep for over three hours. (I found Robin on my bed next to me when I woke up.) So the puppies had a very late lunch!
Polly checking for monsters underneath the tippy board before laying down for a nap.
My vet did not think anything was broken, just that Robin had somehow hurt his upper right arm. My vet prescribed Rimadyl and said to try to keep Robin quiet. Robin came home and slept, and now is restricted to my puppy play pen, the outside puppy potty pen, and his crate. No wrestling with the big dogs.
Robin seems better this evening. He is putting weight on his right front leg. And he is already telling me that he is bored.
If you look closely at Robin's picture, you will notice that Robin has a cowlick - a line of hair on the top of his nose extending the length of his nose that stands straight up. The evalulator yesterday pointed it out. I had not noticed it.
I heard today from Michigan State about the puppy "Pink". It was definitely abnormal lung developement disease that killed Pink. So far the researchers have received the bodies of nine Norwich puppies that died prior to the age of two weeks. All had evidence of abnormal lung development disease. A written report is promised soon.
I have started the game with the puppies of "if you let me look at your teeth, I will give you a treat". (Polly after getting her treat.) It looks like everyone has nice scissors bites. I have not gotten a good enough look yet to count lower and upper incisors.
Mia and Polly sleeping after eating dinner. Raw chicken wings take a long time and a lot of energy for puppies to eat. Just the thing for puppies with a lot of energy! (The green water is water with the supplement "Healthy Mouth".)
Note that Robin's left ear is coming up. This is the ear that I got a lot of hair off. A fellow breeder has told me that the best way to get the hair off the ears - rather than struggle with scissors - is to use clippers with a surgical blade. (This is what vets use when they want to shave fur away for surgery.) I have ordered some clippers with a surgical blade before proceeding further.
I feed the puppies in the puppy play pen. After finishing dinner, Robin indicated that he wanted out of the play pen. (He pawed at the pen.) So I let him out. He went directly out my doggy door, into the yard, and pooped. I was so proud of him! Clearly he has the idea that you poop outside.
(Mia, on the other hand, came out of the play pen and peed on the tile. Then she went outside to poop. ... And I suspect it was Mia who peed on my bed the other day. So now the ramp to my bed has to be removed during the day when the puppies are loose.)
While Mandy is no longer letting the puppies nurse, she is still attentive. As the puppies were taking a post meal nap, I watched Mandy come up to Polly, check to see if Polly needed her vulva cleaned, then lick Polly's ears, and finally lick Polly's eyes.
I was asked if the fluffy coat is a better coat than the normal hard coat of a Norwich. I guess it depends on your viewpoint. A purist would say "no" - the breed standard says that a Norwich should have a harsh coat. (So if you took a fluffy into the conformation ring, you would be very unlikely to win.) The harsh coat does mean that if a Norwich gets muddy, as soon as the mud dries, the mud will fall off. (A little combing helps.) On the other hand, the harsh coat requires "stripping" - a skill that few groomers know.
I was always told that the fluffy coat attacts dirt - but I have not noticed this yet with Robin and Polly. And of course, none of the puppies have (so far) been in mud. To groom a fluffy, one would use scissors. Using scissors is a skill with which all groomers are familiar.
The fluffy coat is caused by a single gene and is a simple recessive mutation. This means that a puppy has to inherit one copy of the fluffy mutation from both the mother and the father to have a fluffy coat. There is a DNA test for this fluffy mutation. I knew that both the mother, Mandy, and the father, Porter, carried one copy of the fluffy mutation - which meant that on average any puppy from their breeding had a 1/4 chance of being a fluffy. But as being a fluffy is not a health issue, it was low on my list of things to worry about when choosing a sire.
Some Norwich breeders joke - but not within earshot of the purists - that we could make a fortune starting a new breed - "soft-coated Norwich terriers". Certainly a fluffy is very cute. I almost did not get Robin back from the receptionists when we went to the vet a few days ago!
I am sure Great-Aunt Bianca is thinking "Get these puppies away from me".
Instead of just climbing over this block of wood, Polly likes to get on it and walk its length. (Of course, as soon as Polly saw me with the camera, she turned to come towards me. So this picture does not exactly show her walking on the block of wood.) I guess Polly is thinking about doing gymnastics at the Olympics and is practicing for the balance beam.
Dinner for the each dog tonight was half a can of sardines mixed with kibble. This was the puppies first taste of sardines, and it was a big hit. (If you look carefully in the last photo, you will see three empty bowls.)
Today I watch Mia get up from a nap, head for the door, go out the doggy door, and go out in the yard and pee. I was so proud of her! While I am not ready to declare mission accomplished, it is nice to see my efforts at potty training pay off.
Mia says that fluffy sister Polly makes a nice pillow.
In the cool of the morning, I have been taking my portable grooming table out on the porch and doing some stripping of brother Guido. This morning Polly curled up next to a leg of the table and went to sleep. Polly was evidently sleeping so hard that when I finished and removed the table, she continued to sleep. You can see some of Guido's fur on the porch around Polly.
The puppies seem to be growing almost in front of my eyes. It is most noticable when they are next to one of the adult dogs. And they have the appetites to match. The puppies had a normal breakfast and big lunch. Then for dinner, each had the tip half of a raw chicken wing. After devouring that, each ate a quarter cup of kibble. Either would be a full meal for my adult dogs, which are only fed twice a day.
I believe in feeding puppies (and dogs) a wide variety of things, so that their gut bacteria does not become used to just one thing. Kibble, cooked food, raw food ... I am not religious about what I feed my dogs.
Today I found Robin and Polly both squeezed behing my toilet sleeping head to tail. Robin's head is towards the camera, Polly's head is in the distance.
As part of lunch today, I made the puppies hard boiled eggs. Here is Mia and Polly discovering that there is a tasty center to each egg.
Mia decided that between the x-pen and the wall would be a great place for a nap, altough to me it looks uncomfortable.
This was also the day that Robin and Polly got their ears shaved. (The clippers arrived yesterday, but I had to let them charge.) My nephew was a big help in holding the puppies. With him holding a puppy in the air, I was able to clip without the puppy squirming too much. I got the hair off the ears ... but I also nicked both puppies. Neither puppy seemed to notice. Fortunately Kwik-Stop works on ears as well as it does on nails to stop minor bleeds.
Here is Robin with his shaved ears. In his weigh picture, Mandy is licking where Robin got nicked.
And here is Polly with shaved ears.
When it cooled down in the evening, my nephew and I took the puppies (and the older dogs) for their first official walk outside the fence line. Initially the puppies stayed close to the house. But when the puppies started to follow the older dogs into the forest, I was glad my nephew was with me to stop the puppies before they made the tree line. I could grab two puppies, but I needed an extra pair of hands for the third puppy.
Great-aunt Bianca and Mia, Polly, and I believe that is older brother, Guido, in the rear. Bianca is not having a good day today.
Polly's ears have definitely come up. Robin has one ear up, and the other only partially up.
Robin and older-brother Guido
It is not unusually for young puppies to throw up during a car ride. As far as I could tell, only Polly and Mia threw up during the car ride to my cousin's house. By the ride home, all seemed to have gotten their "car legs" ... or maybe they were just too tired. They had had a long and for them, an unusual day.
The puppies sleeping underneath my desk - Polly in front, Mia on the pillow, and Robin off to the side.
Today was the day that the puppies went to the vet for their first puppy shot and also to get microchipped. Week 12 may seem late for a first puppy shot, but a new service from the University of Wisconsin called a "nomograph" allows better timing as to when to give the puppy shots. Right before Mandy was bred, I sent some of Mandy's serum to the University of Wisconsin. They titered Mandy's serum, found that Mandy had high levels of antibodies, and - provided that the puppies got colostrum (milk) within the first twenty-four hours of birth (which they did) - the University of Wisconsin recommended that the first puppy shot could be given at week 12.
The puppies explored the exam room, but then laid down to wait for the vet. Here is Mia laying down in front of Robin's crate; Robin is inside. Later Polly squeezed between the crates for a quick nap, while Robin kept lookout.
Finally the vet came, and everyone got shots and microchiped. Here is Polly on the exam table. (I really need to cut the fur around the fluffies eyes. Also they have a lot of fur on the bottoms of their feet.) Peanut butter was used to distract the puppies as they got their shots. Mia definitely liked it!
As you can tell, it is hard now for me to keep this blog going. The puppies have settled into a routine, and my visiting nephew and I are doing things. My nephew is a big help holding puppies when I cut nails. When I let everyone out in the cool of the evening for a run in the field around my house, my nephew is a big help in rounding up puppies when they try to follow the big dogs going off into the nearby forest. (I do not want to be cutting burrs out of the fluffies coat.) At night, sometimes after our middle of the night potty break, instead of putting the puppies back in their crates, I let them sleep the rest of the night in my bed. But basically the puppies life consists of eating (still three meals a day), playing, and sleeping.
Yesterday, I swabbed the inside of each puppy's cheeks with a DNA swab. I then mailed the swabs to the AKC, who will send them out to a lab. The results will be used for identification, and also for confirming the parentage of the puppies. The results will be back in six to eight weeks.
Today I decided to count teeth. It looks like each puppy has six incisors on the top (the little teeth in the front of the mouth). But only Robin has six incisors on the bottom. Polly has five bottom incisors, and Mia only has four. Ideally, a dog should have six bottom incisors.
Mia said that she did not want me to take her away from Polly, as Polly makes a good pillow.