Mandy's 2017 Litter

Pregnancy

13 Feb 2017
Mandy is in season! This is a month earlier than I predicted (based upon the average interval between her previous seasons). Everyone has been telling me that because Mandy just free-whelped a litter and nursed her puppies that her next season would be later than usual. Evidently Mandy did not get that memo!

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.

21 Feb - 23 Feb
Mandy (Shaksper Amanda Seyfried) bred to Porter (Dreamweaver Up The Ante @ Coventry) owned by Dale Martins. Estimated due date is the last week in April. Ultrasound scheduled for three days before the Nationals. So if Mandy is not pregnant, then we can still make the Nationals.
21 Mar
Ultrasound shows that Mandy is pregnant, possibly with three puppies. I was so fascinated by the ultrasound pictures ... I could see the three little blobs ... that I forgot to take a picture. (Mandy has not forgiven me.) Now it is official, we are not going to the Nationals.
20 Apr
Today was x-ray day ... to count puppies and get the repro vet's opinion as to whether Mandy could free-whelp ... or whether I need to schedule a C-section. This time I remembered to take pictures. Here is Dr. Bailey counting the number of puppies. If you look closely, you will see four lines (from heads along the spines). So the surprise is that Mandy has four puppies, not three as we saw on the ultrasound. This explains why Mandy is already so plump and why her weight is higher this pregnancy than at the equivalent stage of her previous pregnancy (when she had three puppies). Here is Dr. Bailey measuring fetal head sizes and comparing against the pelvic opening size. Dr. Bailey's opinion is that we should try to let Mandy free-whelp. Since Dr. Bailey can not see any puppy teeth on the x-ray (indicating that the puppies are not "ripe" enough), we made an appointment to come back on Tuesday for another x-ray ... assuming Mandy has not whelped her puppies by then.

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.

21 Apr
Here is Mandy gestating in her favoriate spot. Ever since I blocked off the area under my bed, Mandy has claimed this spot in my bedroom as "her spot".

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!

22 Apr
(Nothing yet.) The Norwich terrier's idea of food portion control is "give me more". This is especially true for a pregnant Norwich. However if the puppies grow too big, then they will not be able to pass through the birth canal, and you end up with an emergency C-section. I am following the dietary protocol given to me by my vet - feed a usual amount of a good quality kibble, then two weeks before the puppies are due, switch to a good quality puppy kibble (which has more calories) and slowly increase the amount until at one week prior, you are feeding 1.5 times a dog's usual amount of food.
23 Apr
(Nothing yet.) I now have to be careful when Mandy goes outside that either the gate is closed or I am with her. I do not want her heading off into the woods to find a place to have her puppies! We have had rain all day - and are forecast to have rain all tomorrow - so mostly everyone wants to stay indoors. But I still panic every time I can not quickly locate Mandy.
24 Apr
Mandy's temperature was lower at noon, which made me think that puppies might be on the way. Now after taking her temperature this afternoon, I am not so sure.

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).

Week 1

25 Apr
During the night, I made the decision to put my whelping plan into action. There was not one thing that made the decision, but rather a combination of things. First Mandy did some nesting (digging of her beding) ... nothing dramatic, but some. Next, she spent a lot of time during the night in her crate. And there was the temperature drop. But when Mandy got into the whelping box around 4 a.m. - which she had not done before - I realized that she was telling me that it was time. Here is Mandy in the whelping box, with Guido - her almost six-month old puppy from her last litter - in the foreground.

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.

26 Apr
I had very interrupted sleep last night. Every time one of the puppies cried, I had to check that everything was ok. But when I got up in the morning, everyone was well ... in fact, the puppies all had fat bellies and their fur looked nice and shiney. Mandy really is a good mommy!

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.

27 Apr
Besides the several times that I woke up last night because I heard one of the puppies making a sound, at around 1 a.m. Mandy woke me when she started digging in the whelping box. Evidently she was trying to get down to cooler ground. So I switched the heating lamp off. Mandy then settled down as if to say "I told you so!". Today her temperature is also down.

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.

28 Apr
Today the boy crossed the 200 gram mark. This is not unexpected, as he started with the highest weight. But when puppies are so tiny, you celebrate every milestone.

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.

29 Apr
A pile of puppies. (One is tucked in the back underneath the "pig rails".) Another view. Note how much room they have underneath the pig rails. This will change!

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.

30 Apr
Today White passed the 200 gram mark. Sadly Pink does not seen to be thriving. Her weight seems to be staying the same. Note Pink's size in relation to the other puppies. So today I began to tube feed Pink. This is basically force feeding - I put a tube down Pink's throat into her stomach, and slowly inject Esbilac - a puppy milk replacement - directly into her stomach. Pink does not like this ... nor do I. But in spite of doing this several times today, Pink has only gained a little weight. (I weigh the puppies twice a day; in the morning and in the evening.)

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.)

1 May
I woke up this morning fully expecting to find that Pink had died during the night. (Actually I woke up several times during the night to check on Pink.) Since she was still alive I took Pink ... and Mandy and the other puppies ... to my vet. The puppies travelled in a plastic box with a hot water bottle underneath a towel to keep them warm.

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.

Week 2

2 May
The puppies are one week old today! I had to give Green and White new collars as their old ones were getting too tight. If you look closely, you can see that White is yawning.

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.

3 May
Pink died at about 10 pm last night. I was just getting ready to tube-feed Pink when I noticed that her breathing was very shallow. As I watched, she stopped breathing. Mandy gave Pink's body a couple of licks, then turned her attention to her other puppies. It was a very sad night at my house.

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.

4 May
Eating and sleeping - the life of newborn puppies. Yesterday, the Boy broke the 300 gram mark, and today reclaimed the title of heaviest puppy from Green. White - who somehow has lost her collar - today also broke the 300 gram mark. Both Green and White have doubled their birth weight, and the Boy is close to doing the same.
5 May
I slept yesterday afternoon, then all night, and still felt tired this morning. And I felt really sad this morning. After feeding everyone breakfast, I laid down again. I finally realized that I was depressed because of the death of Pink. Mandy got up on my bed and gave me a very gentle lick, as if to say "It is ok, you did everything you could." I know that I am anthropomorphizing, but that is how it felt.

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.

6 May
I check on the puppies in the whelping box multiple times during the day. Either the puppies are nursing or they are in different configurations ... such as this one ... and a few minutes later, like this (from left to right - Green, White, Boy resting on White).

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.

7 May
When I pick up the puppies, all of them now open both eyes. But I was not able to get any picture of any of them in the whelping box with their eyes open. All they want to do is eat and sleep. Today Green passed the 400 gram mark. I have noticed when I pick up the puppies that their bodies are now generating heat. So I reduced the temperature in my bedroom by a few degrees to make it a little more comfortable for Mandy and me.
8 May
All the puppies are still camera-shy and refuse to look at the camera. Here is the Boy with his eyes closed. White gave me a scare this morning when after opening both eyes yesterday, she was only opening her left eye this morning. But by this evening she was opening both eyes when I picked her up for her evening weigh-in. With breeding, there is always something to worry about!

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.

Week 3

9 May
The puppies are two weeks old today. Green, who is next to my yardstick, weighs 490 grams. The Boy, who is between the two girls, weighs 498 grams. And White, who is furthest from the yardstick, weights 416 grams. Every time I see the puppies nursing, I make sure that White is attached to a nipple. If I have to, I pull one of the others off so that White gets a chance to nurse. But with only three puppies, I do not have to do this often, as there are a sufficient number of nipples to go around.

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.

10 May
Both the Boy and Green broke the 500 gram mark today. White is about 50 grams shy of this mark. Today I saw the Boy and White raise their heads for a second or two, and standing on their front legs. I finally caught a picture of White with her eyes open. Immediately after the yawn White closed her eyes and went back to sleep.

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!)

11 May
I know that this is the calm before the storm ... that soon the three puppies will be running around like maniacs with me trying to keep up ... but right now they just eat and sleep ... which leaves me with little to do but worry.

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.

12 May
White today passed the 500 gram mark. White's fur has darkened and is now very similar to her sister, Green. Besides the lack of a white spot on White's chest, the way that I tell them apart is that Green has black markings on her muzzle. I may have to put colored yarn back on them in order to tell them apart.

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.

13 May
I have had to chase Tami out of the whelping box several times today. Here she is in the whelping box. Note Green in the sitting position. Both Green and the Boy have made attempts to walk. The get up on their front legs, get their back legs tucked underneath ... but when they try to stand up and take a step ... well, the coordination of their limbs still needs work.

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.

14 May
Lest you think that Mandy is neglecting her puppies, the opposite is the case. She regularly lets them nurse. (From left to right, the Boy, Green, and White.) If they make a sound, Mandy checks that the puppies are ok.

All the puppies were making attempts to walk today. Here is the Boy sitting.

15 May
Guido and aunt Portia in with the puppies. Guido with the puppies. The puppies are being a bit more active, but mostly I still see them sleeping. A favorite spot is under the pig rails.

Week 4

16 May
Today the puppies are three weeks old. Now my pessimisim and worry turns to cautious optimisim that the puppies will survive. Bad things can still happen, but is much less likely.

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.)

17 May
What I like to see - puppies nursing (from left to right - Puck, Mia, Polly). Afterwards Mia had to yawn. Then Polly had to yawn ... or was she just playing "peak-a-boo"? (Actually she was licking her leg.) Mia was the first to wrestle an invader
18 May
The puppies are all walking ... although their back legs are still a bit unsteady. If you look closely, you can see air underneath Polly as she greats the multicolored alien. Now instead of eating and sleeping, the puppies eat, then play for a few minutes, then fall sleep. The puppies also now react to sound.

Polly resting on Mia.

19 May
Guido was in the whelping box again. He was licking the puppies faces, and Polly grabbed Guido's fur. Polly and Mia were sparing, when Mia noticed me with the camera.
20 May
Brother is nice to sleep on. Three sitting puppies: from left to right, Puck, Mia, and Polly. Puck is the first to put a paw up on the pig rail. Mandy was jealous that I was taking pictures of the puppies, and wanted me to take a picture of her. Since the puppies were starting to do (staggering) laps in the whelping box, I set up a play area for the puppies in my living room. Mandy kept watch from outside. The puppies were very interested in Aunt Tami, with whom they previously have had very little contact ... possibly because Tami is partially stripped and her fur feels different. Yes, that is Aunt Portia in the crate. Puck joined Portia in the crate a few moments later. Two puppies with two older dogs. Finally the puppies fell asleep, only to wake up later and nurse. With the puppies in the living room next to my desk during the day, I will have a hard time getting any work done!
21 May
Puppies sleeping in a box. Polly was the first puppy that I saw take a drink of water. Mia walking underneath Aunt Tami. Mia realizing that there is a wider world. Jail break! After the warden put us back, it was time to take a nap.
22 May
Mia and Polly and Puck

Week 5

23 May
Today the puppies are four weeks old: (from left to right) Mia (767 grams), Polly (792 grams), and Puck (853 grams). As a birthday present, I made the puppies some baby-rice mixed with Esbilac. But the puppies were underimpressed with the gift, even after for each puppy I dipped a finger in the mush then stuck my finger in a mouth. (I did feel teeth starting to form in the mouths.) Mandy had no reservations about eating the mixture. Mia has learned that if mommy is standing up, all Mia needs to do is lay on her back and she is at the right height to reach a nipple.
24 May
The puppies spent a lot of time sleeping today. It has been an overcast day, maybe they are sensitive to the atmosphere.
25 May
I have decided to changed the call name of Puck to Robin. Puck and Polly just sound too much alike. I will save the name Puck for when Robin is being mischievious (which I am sure will happen).

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.

26-28 May
My puppies - along with my other dogs - were at my petsitter. My petsitter reported that the puppies are "little eating machines".
29 May
I picked up my dogs from my petsitter and we all returned home today. I fed the puppies their first jar of baby-food chicken. It was a big hit! From left to right, that is Robin, Mia, and Polly. Notice how long Robin and Polly's fur is compared to Mia's fur. I really think that both Robin and Polly are "fluffies"; that is they have two copies of the long coat gene, which is a simple recessive, and so they will have long soft fur.

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.

Week 6

30 May
Today the puppies are five weeks old: (from left to right) Polly (940 grams), Mia (954 grams), and Robin (1071 grams). (Yes, that is Portia in the kennel crate.)
31 May
They say to be careful what you name a dog ... as the dog will live up to the name. Here is Robin (aka Puck) pulling on Mandy's tail. Both Mia and Robin climb out of my puppy play pen with ease (Robin especially) and go exploring. However when Mia gets tired, she climbs back into the play pen. Robin just finds a place to lay his head. (Guido helped Robin get his head out.)

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.

1 Jun
The puppies are starting to reserve one side of their play pen for potty business. So they are now ready for potty training. Today as soon as I saw one begin to wake up, I rushed them all outside. I let them potty and play a bit, then bring them inside for some food. After some more play, they fall asleep ... and then the cycle repeats.

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!

2-5 Jun I had a judging assignment this weekend. First thing Friday, I put everyone in my car, took the dogs to my petsitter, then went on to the airport. On Monday the processes was reversed. Naturally the puppies have grown since I was away. Here they are outside when we got home. Another photo with Aunt Tami.

Week 7

6 Jun
Today the puppies are six weeks old: Robin (1265 grams) is on the left, Polly (1061 grams) is on the right, and Mia (1090 grams) is at the bottom of the picture. All are now over a kilogram and thus have outgrown my puppy scale. From now on, I will be weighing them on my "big dog" scale. Here is Polly sleeping next to Mandy. The puppies do not spend all their time sleeping. It is just harder to get photos of the puppies when they are moving. And they can move! The puppies can now gallop about as fast as I can walk. Often when I am walking across a room, I will feel a puppy chasing my feet.

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.

7 Jun
Polly was the first to discover and successfully mount my "tippy board". Later in the day, Robin and Mia did the same. Mia actually tried to bite the disc to drag it away!

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.)

8 Jun
Today the puppies met Great-Aunt Bianca. All the puppies sniffed Bianca. Mia went nose-to-nose with Bianca, but of course had moved away by the time I was able to get my camera. Great-Aunt is an honorific because of Bianca's age - Bianca is 16 years old - technically, Bianca and the puppies are first cousins, twice removed. ("Jerusalem Tyler Too" is the common ancestor - the grandfather of Bianca and great-great-grandfather of the puppies.) Bianca is in failing health, being is in stage III kidney failure. Normally I do not have Bianca with my other dogs, as they sometimes attack Bianca because Bianca is weak.

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.

9 Jun
Polly got her head stuck in a toy. After I helped her out, she stuck her head in the toy again! (And I helped her out again.)

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.

10 Jun
The puppies can all climb out of the whelping box. At night I have to put the sliding panel in, so that the puppies are totally enclosed in the whelping box and can not get out. This means that I have to wake up - around midnight and around four am - to let Mandy into the whelping box to feed the puppies. (Someone always wakes me up ... either Mandy scratching at the whelping box or the puppies saying they are hungry.) After the puppies are fed, I have to take the puppies outside to potty. So it only takes a few days for me to get a sleep deficit.

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.

11 Jun
Today I watched Robin go through my doggy door from the outside to the inside. (Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me.) I had taken everyone outside to potty. It was hot, and Robin decided he wanted to go back inside. At first he had difficulty finding the door, and then he had to struggle to get though the door, but he finally made it.

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.)

12 Jun
The puppies are currently fed four times a day - breakfast, noon, around 4 pm, and around 8 pm. (If you add Mandy letting the puppies nurse around midnight and 4 am, that is six feedings.) Last night after the 8 pm feeding, I took the puppies out for a potty break, then brought everyone inside. I left the gate open for the big dogs, as it had been so hot during the day that the big dogs wanted to run while it was cooling down but before it got dark.

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.

Week 8

13 Jun
Today the puppies are seven weeks old. The puppies seem to have outgrown sleeping together in a pile. Robin now weighs 1.450 kilograms, Polly weighs 1.210 kilograms, and Mia weights 1.275 kilograms.

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.)

14 Jun
After the puppies play, they fall asleep in various places around my house. Each puppy seems to have several favorite spots, although often they surprise me with a new one. Polly had a new spot today - next to my tippy board, which is one of her favorite toys. Polly has been over my puppy dog walk, uses my puppy teeter, and likes to run through my puppy tunnel.

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.

15 Jun
Robin is the first to figure out how to chew on a rawhide chew stick. I have to remember to only give chew sticks to the puppies when they are in an enclosed space (like their play area when it is closed) or when they are in their crates; otherwise the big dogs will steal the chew sticks and quickly eat them.

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.

16 Jun
The puppies were running through my baby tunnel. I caught this picture of Mia running through the tunnel. (I also took a lot of pictures that turned out to be blurrs!) At the other end of the tunnel is a portion of an earthdog liner.

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.

17 Jun
Mia trying to reach Mandy sitting on top of an earthdog liner. Aunt Portia is in the rear.

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.

18 Jun
Besides going through tunnels and earthdog liners, it is also fun to go between them. Here are Mia and Polly barking at each other.

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.

19 Jun
For some reason, the puppies like to sleep on my toilet mat. I wash it regularly, but it must have some of my "sent". I can understand sleeping behind the toilet (like Robin in the picture), as that is a cool place on a warm afternoon. (Yes, my floor need swept. But with multiple dogs wandering about, it can be hard to keep the floor clean.)

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.

Week 9

20 Jun
Today the puppies are eight weeks old. Robin now weighs 1.680 kilograms, Polly weighs 1.365 kilograms, and Mia weighs 1.510 kilograms.

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.

21 Jun
I woke up this morning and found Robin was lame. He would not put any weight on his front right leg, and he was hiding from all the other dogs. So off to the vet we went.

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.

22 Jun
Mia visiting "prisoner" Robin. (Actually they were barking at each other.) Trying to get Robin to rest is hard!

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".)

23 Jun
I put mats and towels down in the puppy play pen, to catch any potty accidents from the puppies. Robin, - being confined to the puppy play pen - decided he would dig down to the tile underneath. I suspect he likes the cool tile against his belly.

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!

24 Jun
Robin sleeping on his back. (Just as I took this picture, he started to roll over.)

Polly sleeping

I am sure Great-Aunt Bianca is thinking "Get these puppies away from me".

25 Jun
The puppies find the most unusual places to go to sleep. Here is Polly squeezed between the leg of my computer table and a milk carton on which my printer rests. You would think it would be uncomfortable, but she is back there again as I write this. Here is Robin behind my toilet. He sleeps back there frequently. When I want to get him out - for example, when I am taking the puppies out to potty - I have to pull him out by his tail. (Fortunately he he has a full tail. I do not know what I would do if his tail was docked.) Mia picked a more reasonable spot, near the water bowls. But she occasionally surprises me with where she wants to sleep. There is a perfectly good crate with an open door in the puppy play pen. But rarely now do I find a puppy inside it.

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.)

26 Jun
Polly joins Brother Guido in a tug-of-war with Aunt Portia. Aunt Tami referees.

Week 10

27 Jun
Today the puppies are nine weeks old. Robin weighs 1.765 kilograms, Polly weighs 1.465 kilograms, and Mia weighs 1.605 kilograms.