Mandy's 2018 Litter


18, 20 Sep
Mandy ("MACH2 Shaksper Amanda Seyfried") was bred by side-by-side AI (artificial insemination) to Bentley ("GCH Taliesin Double Brass") owned by Annie Bone. Here are some pictures of Bentley: photo1, photo2, photo3, and photo4.

Bentley lives in San Francisco. So I originally thought this breeding would be by shipped semen from California to North Carolina. But it turned out that Bentley's owner had a trip planned to New York City that included bringing Bentley. Mandy must have heard this, as Mandy held off coming into season until right before Bentley was scheduled to fly to New York City. So ... road-trip!

But before we left, we had to estimate (by progesterone testing) the best date for a breeding. Hurricane Michael choose that time to hit North Carolina, shutting down NC State University in Raleigh where I go for repro services. Fortunately I knew of a repro vet in Richmond Virginia (Dr. Kolster) who does same-day progesterone testing. So Mandy and I did a day trip to Richmond as the hurricane hit North Carolina. (I live near the border between North Carolina and Virginia, so I was not affected by the hurricane as much as people further south.)

Once the progesterone results told us the estimated best breeding date, Mandy and I drove and stayed in northern New Jersey. Bentley and Annie came down from Manhattan and we met at the offices of Dr. Stora, a repro vet on Staten Island. Once Bentley caught a wiff of Mandy, he was ready! And Mandy, the little hussy, was equally willing, as you can see in this mp4 video (Mandy is in the blue harness):

I actually had to take Mandy outside shortly afterwards as Bentley was just getting so worked up and frustrated. We tried to let Mandy and Bentley breed naturally (with Dr. Stora's assistance), but Bentley was unable to make a tie. So Dr. Stora did an AI. (Think "turkey baster".)

16 Oct 2018
Ultrasound today showed that Mandy is pregnant. Two healthy puppies were seen and one reabsorption site. (Instead of miscarriages, dogs reabsorbs fetuses.) Because of the reabsorption, we pulled some blood from Mandy to check her progesterone level. For breeding, you want to see the progesterone level rise. But for pregnancy you want to see the progesterone level slowly fall. But too fast a fall is bad.

I was really happy to hear that Mandy is pregnant. This is her last breeding opportunity. (Mandy just turned six years old, which is starting to get up there in years for her biological breeding clock.) Also I have had bad luck recently with three consecutive unsuccessful breedings with different girls of mine.

Estimated due date is around 18 November.

24 Oct
Another ultrasound and progesterone check. Again two healthy puppies, but this time the ultrasound showed two reabsorption sites. Mandy's progesterone level seems fine.
31 Oct
Holding Mandy for another ultrasound. Again two healthy puppies are seen on the ultrasound. You can see one puppy at the top of the screen. The repro vets discussing Mandy's ultrasound. Again we checked Mandy's progesterone level, which seemed fine.
12 Nov
Today was x-ray day. An x-ray gives a more accurate count of the number of puppies than an ultrasound. Plus an x-ray helps in deciding whether to try to let Mandy free whelp or have a c-section.

Unfortunately, the x-ray showed only one puppy. (When they did the ultrasound, they must have seen the same puppy from different angles; not two puppies.) This explains why Mandy has not been plumping up as I expected. I was worried that I might not be feeding her enough. The reality is that she only has one puppy. Since a singleton puppy does not have to share nutrients with siblings, a singleton puppy is almost always too large to free whelp. So Mandy will be having a scheduled c-section. Exactly when this will be scheduled is still to be determined.

15 Nov
Another ultrasound and blood draw (to check Mandy's progesterone level). The repro vets tell me that everything looks good ... but that the puppy has not "cooked" enough yet to come out. Right now, the best guess is that Mandy will have her c-section on Saturday.

With the due date rapidly approaching, I spent today getting Mandy's welping box ready. (It really is the "nursery", as I never have had any puppies born in it. But because of its configuration, it is called a "whelping box".) First I had to move all the piles of books - unread, half-read, and books that I like to re-read - away from my bed, where they somehow seem to migrate. Then I washed down with a bleach solution all surfaces that the puppy will either come into contact with or be near. (This included the whelping box.) Here is Mandy checking out the welping box now next to my bed.

16 Nov
Another ultrasound and blood draw. This is what will happen each day until the repro vets decide Mandy's puppy is ready for a c-section. Again, the ultrasound shows that the puppy is doing well. Now the best guess is that the c-section will be either Saturday or Sunday. I went to the grocery store today to stock up, so that after the puppy comes, then I do not have to go out shopping for several days.
17 Nov
Another ultrasound, another blood draw, and another decision to wait. The ultrasound again shows that the puppy looks good and is doing fine. Besides a picture, the ultrasound machine is able to measure the fetal heart rate ... too low indicates a problem. But the fetal heart rate was fine at around 200 beats per minute.

The repro vets tell me that they will do the c-section tomorrow, no matter what Mandy's progesterone number is. Sometime singleton puppies are so comfortable, that they do not signal to the mother (by a drop in progesterone) that they are ready to come out!

Week 1

18 Nov
Today started out like the last several: an early morning ultrasound and blood draw. Clearly Mandy is getting bored with this routine! But this time, I left Mandy in the care of the repro vets, drove the rest of my dogs to my petsitter, and then went to visit some friends.

Around 11 am I got a phone call informing me that Mandy would be having her c-section starting at 1:30 pm, and asking that I be in the waiting room at that time in case they needed to consult with me. Around 1:50 pm, one of the vets came out and told me that the puppy was a girl, that both Mandy and puppy were doing find, and that they were just closing Mandy up.

A while later I got my first look at the puppy. Besides trying to get the puppy to nurse to get that important "first milk" (colostrum) that has lots of maternal antibodies, the vets tube fed the puppy some plasma (which also has antibodies) from a donor dog. For approximately twelve hours, a puppy's gut will allow large antibody molecules to pass into the puppy's blood stream. After that, the gut closes and antibodies can not get through. This is why it is important for a puppy to nurse soon after birth.

We spent the rest of the afternoon getting the puppy to nurse. Here are more pictures of the puppy: photo1 and photo2. We had to wrestle Mandy to her side, then lay on the floor holding the puppy up against a teat. Finally the vets were satisfied that the puppy had nursed sufficiently and released us.

Mandy, the puppy, and I got home after dark. After weighing the puppy (188 grams), I wrestled Mandy to her side and got the puppy to nurse. Now the puppy is sleeping up against Mandy. I expect my sleep to be interrupted several times tonight getting the puppy to nurse.

19 Nov
I was up most of last night, on my hands and knees over the whelping box trying to get the puppy to nurse. It was almost like she was saying "You CAN'T make me eat!". At moments like that, you wonder how puppies ever survive. Finally I would get her to suckle for a bit, then fall asleep. I would crawl into bed, only to be woken up a few minutes later with the puppy whining. I think she whined and whimpered most of the night. I spent today in a haze of fatigue.

Sometime this morning the puppy seemed to figure out this "nursing thing". Since then I have not had to do much more than point the puppy back to Mandy when the puppy started crawling in the wrong direction. The puppy's belly looks to be fat and full of milk. And this afternoon, I noticed that the constant whimpering had (mercifully) stopped.

Here is a picture of the puppy while she is nursing that shows her size. The red coloring in the picture is from my heat lamp that is over the whelping box.

Mandy has now totally accepted the puppy. Other than quick runs outdoors to do her potty business, Mandy is constantly in the whelping box licking and cuddling her puppy. I have to feed Mandy in the whelping box and bring her water, otherwise she would starve and dehydrate herself.

20 Nov
I always know when a puppy is nursing from the "head bob". The puppy pushes the mother's belly with the puppy's front paws to encourage the milk to come down the teat. This forces the head to move up in relation to the puppy's body. Then the puppy relaxes her front paws, and the head moves down. So you see this "head bob", then a pause while the puppy sucks the milk, then another "head bob", etc. After nursing, mommy makes a great pillow.

You will note that I did not have the heat lamp on when I took these pictures. I love my radiant floor heating, but it is not something that you can adjust quickly. You have to raise the thermostat just a few degrees, then let the floor come up to that temperature, then wait a few hours to see how it feels, then repeat as necessary. It you overshoot the mark, you can make the indoors be unbearably hot. I now think I have raised the temperature to where I want it. Because puppies can not generate their own internal body heat until around three weeks of age, and because you do not want them to get a chill which can be deadly, you want their room to be as warm as possible. But not too warm! Otherwise the mother will not want to be there. So I raise the temperature to just where the mother starts to dig up the whelping box (in an attempt to find cooler ground underneath), and then I dial back a bit. I still use the heat lamp, especially at night, if I feel that the room has gotten cool.

Normally when a mother goes outside to do her potty business, puppies will all gather in a pile to conserve heat. Being a singleton, my puppy just starts whimpering as she has no siblings. I have been picking her up and holding her until mommy comes back. Today I started experimenting with using a sock filled with uncooked rice and heated in my microwave, as an artificial sibling.

21 Nov
Today my other dogs came back from my petsitter. Mandy came out to great everyone ... but as soon as one of the other dogs got close to the whelping box, Mandy was all growls and bared teeth. After which, Mandy stayed close to the whelping box to protect her puppy.

Puppies normally loose weight in the first 24 or so hours after birth, after which they gain weight. This puppy has done the same; however she now is not gaining weight as quickly as I would like. Her belly always seems full, when sleeping she twitches (which is normal), and she is not crying or whimpering. She is slowly (very slowly) gaining weight. Perhaps I am worrying for nothing, but I wish she would regain her birth weight. With young puppies, there always seems to be something about which to worry!

22 Nov
A big gain in weight last night and then again today. The puppy now weighs more than her birth weight. Yeah! The puppy's belly is very large. The puppy nursing. What I usually see when I look in the whelping box: mom and puppy.
23 Nov
Upon taking Mandy's temperature today, I was horrified to discover that it was 103.2. Her normal temperature range with my thermometer is 99-101. Looking back, Mandy had seemed a little subdued in the morning. I could find nothing else wrong with Mandy. Her incision looked like it was healing normally. Her nipples seemed fine. (Mastitis is always a worry when breastfeeding.) I called the repro vets at NC State and we decided to watch Mandy closely for any change. Three hours later with Mandy's temperature having risen to 103.3, Mandy, puppy, and I drove to NC State.

At NC State, the repro vets carefully checked Mandy's incision and nipples. Everything looked fine. Next, was an ultrasound. The ultrsound showed that Mandy had some fluid in her uterus, and that the uterus had not shrunk normally. Mandy was given a shot of oxytocin for her uterus. Next, Mandy had a blood draw to check her blood chemistry. Then we had to wait for the blood results. While waiting, the puppy got checked out. Another picture of the puppy. While waiting, Mandy continued to keep the puppy clean.

The blood chemistry came back and showed that Mandy's calcium was in the normal range. When nursing, it is easy for a bitch's calcium to get abnormally depleted. But this is unlikely with a singleton puppy, plus I have been giving Mandy cottage cheese to boost her calcium. The blood chemistry also showed that Mandy's white cell count was normal. So there was no sign of infection. The vets were reluctant to put Mandy on antibiotics (which would affect the puppy through Mandy's milk) without a clear sign of infection. All the other blood chemistry values were in the normal range. So there was not a good explanation for Mandy's temperature rise.

The vets gave Mandy some Metacam for her fever. I was told to watch Mandy carefully, given a long list of things to watch out for, and told to call if there was any problem. By the time we got home, Mandy's temperature was down to 100.7.

24 Nov
Mandy and puppy cuddling.

Mandy has been acting normally, and I have been taking her temperature every four hours. So far her temperature has stayed in a normal range.

Week 2

25 Nov
Today the puppy is one week old. This morning she weighed 277 grams. I am continuing to keep a close eye on Mandy, taking her temperature regularly. So far everything seems ok.

Mandy continues to keep the puppy clean. Actually Mandy is licking the puppy to stimulate the puppy to pee and poop ... which Mandy then eats. Yes, it sounds gross, but in the wild it might make the difference between life and death ... a smelly den would attract predators. Afterwards, the puppy twists its body in order to roll over.

"Does this picture make me look fat?"

26 Nov
I am not normally like the character played by Debra Winger in the tearjerker movie "Terms of Endearment". Recall that she climbs into her baby's crib and wakes the baby because she hysterically thinks that the baby is not breathing. But that is the way that I acted last night.

No, I did not wake the puppy. I admit that every time that I am near the whelping box, I look at the puppy to make sure it is breathing and twitching. (The twitches are believed to be caused by the growth of the nervous system, and are very normal. A puppy that does not twitch is in trouble.) I often turn on my bedside light when I wake up at various times at night to make sure that everything is ok. This is what happened last night. After watching the puppy and observing that all was well, I noticed that Mandy was very still. Usually if I turn on the light, she will open an eye to make sure everything is ok. But her eyes were closed. And when I put my hand on her, again she did not wake up. Now I am starting to panic. After shaking her, she finally woke up. Evidently I had caught Mandy when she was in some deep sleep cycle. After my heartbeat slowed down, I realized that I had acted just like the Debra Winger character.

Mandy is starting to put the puppy on a "schedule". Mandy is feeding the puppy, then coming out of my bedroom to be with my other dogs and me. Right now it is only for a few minutes, as the puppy, while getting better at being alone, will wake up and cry ... and then Mandy heads back to the whelping box. These periods when Mandy is away from the puppy will get longer and longer as time goes on.

Here are two pictures to show the size of the puppy: picture 1 and picture 2. Notice how much the puppy has grown in just a week!

27 Nov
Today I had to leave Mandy and the puppy for most of the day. One of my other dogs had a dental scheduled ... and since dental appointments are hard to get, and Mandy and puppy were doing ok, I crossed my fingers that leaving them would turn out all right.

I got up early in the morning, fed everyone (except the dog getting the dental), weighed Mandy and the puppy, and took Mandy's temperature. Then I drove the dog getting the dental to the city for his early morning check-in, and then had to wait in the city until he was finished. While waiting, I got two meetings accomplished in various parts of the city, an agility lesson with another of my dogs, and mailed a package. I admit that I was worried about Mandy and the puppy all day. When we finally got home, everyone was ok. Mandy gave me hell for leaving her (which she always does) ... although in this case she had good reason as it was past her dinner time!

28 Nov
Mommy makes the best pillow.
29 Nov
Puppy nursing. And later, Mandy cleaning the puppy.

I have not seen the puppy open her eyes yet. That is the next major milestone and should happen any day now.

30 Nov
Puppy on her back.

I have to judge this weekend, so Mandy and the puppy went to stay with some friends, and I took the rest of my dogs to my petsitter. Here are Mandy and puppy in their new temporary home.

Puppy's eyes are still not open.

1 Dec
Pictures from my friends:

Week 3

2 Dec
The puppy is two weeks old today. More pictures from my friends:
3 Dec
More pictures from my friends: My first look at the puppy's eyes. While my friend was holding the puppy, I trimmed the puppy's nails. (Her first nail trim!)

When we got home, I found that the puppy weighed 470 grams. From my friends' notes, the puppy doubled her birth weight on 30 November, and weighed 428 grams when she turned two weeks old.

4 Dec
The puppy has started raising her head, but I have not yet been able to get a picture of her doing so. All I could get were pictures of Mandy and puppy sleeping together. Another picture.

Puppies do not see well at first, but I have started adding toys to the welping box to give the puppy something to focus on.

It is time to start thinking about possible names for the puppy. I always name my puppies from characters or actors from the last Shakespeare play that I saw (or was reminded of) prior to the litter being born. In this case it was seeing the movie "The Lord of the Rings" on television. What does "The Lord of the Rings" have to do with Shakespeare, you ask? As you may know, Sir Ian McKellen plays Gandalf in the movie "The Lord of the Rings". Now when I lived in England, I was fortunate enough to see Ian McKellen perform in a couple of Shakespeare plays. But the performance of his that most impressed me was his Iago in the play Othello. The performance was recorded and is available on DVD. So this is my "Othello (1990 film)" litter. You can see the cast list on the Wikipedi page for Othello (1990 film). Any suggestions for a name for the puppy?

5 Dec
I finally got some pictures of the puppy holding up her head: picture 1 and picture 2. The white bar in the background is called a "pig rail". Evidently sows will roll over and squish their pigletts, hence the pig rail to stop this from happening. I have never felt that my Norwich mothers would squish their young. However whelping boxes come with pig rails.

After a fearsome battle with an alien invader of the whelping box, a tired puppy rests on the defeated body of her foe.

Catching some rays. (It was rainy and chilly today, so I had the heat lamp on.)

6 Dec
Yesterday the puppy crossed the 500 gram weight threshold.

My dogs sometimes try to convince me to get up early ... because you know, they think they are being starved and want breakfast early. Usually if I roll over and ignore them, they will wait for sunrise ... when they get really insistent that I get up and feed them. So it was this morning, at 6 am and still dark outside my dogs wanted me to get up. The puppy was fussing and Mandy was not in the welping box. So I reached over, picked the puppy up and put the puppy in the crook of my arm and laid back down. At this, Mandy came up the ramp onto my bed to check on the puppy. Seeing that the puppy was ok, Mandy laid down next to me with the puppy between us. At this the puppy settled down and went to sleep. Evidently so did I, as the next thing I knew there was light in the sky. (This would have been about 7 am.) What actually woke me was Mandy moving away. The puppy was fine. I put the puppy back in the whelping box and got up to feed my miserable animals who wanted breakfast.

No interesting pictures of the puppy today, just one of her sleeping.

When I got up, I noticed that Mandy was making unusual nasal sounds when she breathed. I also noticed on the floor some grass that had been vomited up. Uh oh, I thought. I hope Mandy does not have some grass up her nose. I could not see anything when I shined a flashlight up Mandy's nose. I decided to take two of my dogs to a scheduled agility lesson, and see how Mandy was when we got back. I know as soon as we returned home that Mandy was not better. Usually Mandy barks (a lot) when I return home. This time she was not barking, and when I got inside I heard the same nasal sounds as in the morning. So I got my other dogs settled, and then took Mandy to my local vet. As I did not expect to be gone long, I left the puppy at home. So this was the first time that Mandy was away from the puppy.

My vet examined Mandy, also could not see any grass up Mandy's nostrals, but also thought the most likely explanation for the nasal sounds was a bit of grass in the nose. My vet flushed Mandy's nasal passages, but did not see any grass. (Mandy could have swallowed it.) Mandy did not sound much better afterwards. My vet said this could be from the nasal irrigation. I was advised that if Mandy did not sound better in the morning to take Mandy to the NC State Vet Hospital.

7 Dec
I checked Mandy at various times during the night, but she did not sound better. When I got up in the morning I made the decision to take Mandy to the NC State veterinary hospital emergency room. I fed all my adult dogs except Mandy who I suspected would need to be anesthetized. Rather than being vocally annoyed at not getting food, Mandy just gave me sad looks. This confirmed to me that Mandy was not feeling well. When I weighed the puppy, I found that she had lost weight (2 grams). This was the puppy's first weight loss since she was born. This again confirmed to me that Mandy was not well. So Mandy, the puppy, and I drove to NC State, arriving a bit before 9 am.

The staff at NC State evaluated Mandy and decided to do a rhinoscopy - scoping the nasal passages with a camera from both the front (up the nose) and the rear (back of the throat). As Mandy's condition was not considered life threatening, they were unsure when the procedure would happen, as they had scheduled surgeries plus any emergency surgeries that came in. So the puppy and I went to visit some friends, the same ones where Mandy and the puppy had stayed when I was away judging. So the puppy was back in a familar place.

I thought we would only be visiting for a few hours, but it turned out to be the entire day. The puppy got held, did not seemed stressed as evidenced by her yawn, and bottle fed.

Finally around 5 pm, I was told to come get Mandy. They had found a two inch blade of grass up the back of her nose. Evidently when Mandy had vomited up some grass that she had been eating, some of it got lodged up the back of her nasal passage. I could tell as soon as they brought her out, that Mandy was feeling much better. We then drove home, where my other dogs told me that they had been horribly abused because dinner was late. When I weighed the puppy, I found that the puppy had lost two days of weight gain. (Yes, Jennifer, I should have let you feed the puppy more.)

8 Dec
When I weighed the puppy this morning, I found that the puppy had made up her weight loss, and even gained some weight.

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing."

Week 4

9 Dec
Today the puppy is three weeks old. The puppy weighed 569 grams this morning. Rather than weigh the puppy twice a day, I now will only be weighing the puppy once a day. And now that the puppy is three weeks old, my pessimism now turns to cautious optimism that the puppy will live.

Today is also "name day". Over the past week I have been trying out various names that have been suggested. (Thank you to all of you who suggested names.) I have decided to call the puppy "Siri" with registered name "Shaksper Serina Mckellen". Serina is a nickname given to Sir Ian McKellen by his friend Stephen Frye. (Say "Sir Ian" and "Serina" quickly together.)

When I hold Siri, I now can smell "puppy breath" ... one of the best smells in the world! If only I could bottle it.

Besides eating and sleeping, Siri is now spending a little time exploring her world of the whelping box. She gets up on her front legs and pushes, while trying (unsuccessfully) to get her back legs underneath her fat belly. So sometimes when she pushes she goes backwards instead of forwards, which frustrates her no end. But after a minute or two she gives up and goes back to sleep.

Mandy seems to be recovering from her ordeal with the blade of grass.

10 Dec
Siri has been mostly sleeping during the day. I think Mandy is trying to put Siri on a schedule where Siri sleeps during the day, so Mandy can go off and "hunt" during the day (actually hang out with me and my other dogs). Mandy spends all night in the whelping box with Siri, with a lot of nursing happening a night.

"My first pony".

11 Dec
If Siri had siblings, whenever Mandy would get into the whelping box, there would be a mad scramble to get to Mandy first (in order to get milk). Because Siri is a singleton, she does not have this competition. A fellow breeder has suggested that I put lots of plush toys in the whelping box, in order to encourage Siri to use her hind legs (so that she learns to walk). So every time that I have been passing my box of dog toys, I have been grabbing some and putting them in the whelping box. Siri is not sure about this strategy.
12 Dec
Where's Siri?

Hearing is the last sense that a puppy gets, and I think Siri is beginning to hear sounds now.

Mandy really has Siri on a schedule now, as Mandy is spending very little time in the whelping box ... just enough to clean up Siri and let her nurse. Since Siri continues to gain weight, she must be getting enough nourishment.

13 Dec
Where's Siri now?

And now where's Siri? (hard)

Siri sometimes makes what I will call "crocodile cries". (The vocal equivalent of "crocodile tears".) Mandy clearly has this ploy by Siri figured out. Sometimes Mandy will race to see what is wrong; other times Mandy just ignores Siri, and after a moment Siri gives up and goes to sleep.

Sometimes when I pick Siri up, she will make this deep trill sound, which I think is her puppy growl indicating that she is angry (probably because I woke her up).

14 Dec
I have to play the game of "Where's Siri?" every time that I look in the whelping box. It can be especially challenging during those times in the middle of the night when I stagger bleary-eyed to the bathroom! In case you are wondering where all the toys came from, they are toys that my other dogs won at various agility trials. I have a small box of toys in my living room from which my dogs occasionally pick something out to play with, and a much larger box of toys out in my barn.

Siri is starting that stage where she wants to taste everything and put everything in her mouth. If I pick her up, she opens her mouth and puts it on my arm. I have watched her crawl over one toy to get to another and then start "tasting" it. This afternoon, I watched as Siri discovered that Mandy has ears ... and so Siri just had to try to taste them!

15 Dec
Siri nursign while Mandy takes care of the stuff coming out the other end.

Today I got worried that Siri is still not up and walking. Because of her fat belly, her hind legs are not getting underneath her body. So I used some masking tape and hobbled her rear feet so that she could move them, but that her feet are now underneath her belly.

Week 5

16 Dec
Siri is four weeks old today and weighs 735 grams. Over the past week, I have slowly been letting the temperature in my house decrease to a more normal level. When I pick Siri up, I notice that Siri is a warm little fur ball. Also Siri is now eliminating on her own, as Mandy licks spots where Siri has urinated. Siri is now awake for approximately ten minutes at a time, before she needs a nap of a couple of hours. It is fun watching Siri explore the world!

With Sir's hind legs hobbled, she is able to look out of the whelping box, stand on her own, and even walk for a few steps before she plunks down. She clearly knows what to do, but the muscles in her hind legs are not strong enough to carry her belly.

17 Dec
Siri was sleeping on her back, so I was able to get this picture of how I have hobbled her hind legs,

Today Siri met her aunt Tami. Mandy was sitting right next to me at the time, and Tami kept looking over to make sure that Mandy did not mind. Siri was very interested in her aunt.

In the evening I had Siri on my chest while I was laying on my bed. Siri decided to see what my nose tasted like. She opened her mouth and tried to get as much of my nose inside as would fit. Fortunately Siri does not have teeth yet!

18 Dec
I have given Siri plenty of room to walk in the whelping box. Siri is still hobbled.

Siri stalking the camera.

I was watching Siri in the whelphing box - as I often do now when I notice that she is active - and saw that she was walking backwards. "Well" I thought to myself "you certainly have walking backwards down" as she was walking backwards as well as any puppy that I have seen. Then I realized that Siri was trying to poop. Siri's first poop. Before I could clean it up, Mandy jumped in and did the job by eating the poop. But I changed out the bedding anyway. This is the start of my washing machine working every day!

19 Dec
Siri grabbed the pink toy with her mouth and was vigorously shaking the pink toy as if were a rat until she killed it.

I just noticed that Siri's ears are now down. They had been up earlier. This is normal and her ears will go back up later.

Today I decided to build Siri's play area next to my desk. Some of my other dogs had to inspect and give their approval. Note Mandy inside the crate.

When I first brought Siri out to her new daytime digs, she was not sure about it. But some of mommy's milk reduced her anxiety. Then Mandy showed Siri the crate. Siri spent most of the day in the crate. Puppies seem to like to have something over their head, especially when sleeping. In the evening I took Siri back to the whelping box next to my bed. She is now officially a commuter!

20 Dec
I had to be out of the house for most of the day today. I left Siri in her new daytime playpen. When I got home, I found Siri outside of the playpen, right near the entrance to the playpen. I can only assume that Siri crawled over the wooden block to get out. I do not know when she got out. Later, I saw Siri run the length of the playpen. It was the first time that I have seen her run.
21 Dec
"I was framed ... I tell ya ... I was framed." Plotting escape. However I did not see Siri go over the "wall" today.

Siri is still sleeping a lot. Most of the day actually. When Siri is awake aunt Tami has been getting in the playpen and playing with Tami.

I noticed today that Siri is just starting to get teeth.

22 Dec
Siri furiously killing a stuffed toy.

Mandy (left) and aunt Tami (right) ganging up on Siri. There was much growling from all three. I have seen this in previous litters and call this "toughening up the puppy". If you had not seen it before, you would think that the bigger dogs are hurting the puppy ... but that is not the case. It seems to be some sort of play, or perhaps teaching of manners.

Today I decided to start offering Siri food, in this case some ground up puppy kibble soaked in Esbilac (a milk substitute for puppies). Siri lapped up the Esbilac, but left the kibble ... which Mandy was more than happy to eat.

Week 6

23 Dec
Siri is five weeks old today and weighs 852 grams. Siri continues to steadily gain weight, and become more active. Here are Mandy and Siri sleeping nearby each other.

I remembered today that instead of starting with ground kibble, I should be starting with baby rice cereal mixed with Esbilac. Siri approved of this change of cuisine. Of course Mandy likes to eat what Siri leaves. I am feeding Siri four times a day - breakfast, lunch, dinner, and before bed.

24 Dec
Siri' Christmas Eve feast was a choice of baby rice cereal or plain yogurt. Both got tasted. Siri is still relying on Mom for most of her nutrition.
25 Dec
Siri had a quiet Christmas. She did decide to climb out of her playpen. Mandy came right over to check Siri out. I put Siri back in the playpen. Later I saw Siri climb out again, but them immediately turn around and climb back in. I guess she wanted to prove that she could do it!

For her Christmas feast, Siri got her first taste of baby chicken puree. Mandy is always happy to eat any leftovers. When Siri saw Mandy cleaning the bowl, Siri came over to see what mommy was doing. I do not mind the extra calories for Mandy. Until Siri starts eating more on her own, Siri is making a heavy demand on Mandy for nutrition.

26 Dec
"Life is boring when there is no one to play with."

Last night when I put Tami in the whelping box, she was very active, wrestling with all the toys, digging up the matting ... it was almost like she was tearing the place up. Today she has been quiet and subdued, and mostly sleeping.

27 Dec
Helping Mommy clean up the dishes.

Siri's appetite is improving. She still prefers rice cereal. I offered her some baby turkey puree today, but she only tasted it.

28 Dec
I noticed last night that Siri's nails (more accurately "claws") have turned dark. They were clear when she was born and for several weeks afterwards.

Today. Siri climbed over the wall and went for a "walkabout". Here she is with aunt Tami. Siri figured out how to climb up on my dog beds which are as tall as she is. After further exploration, Siri decided the my slippered foot was a good place for a nap. When I finally had to move my foot because it was falling asleep, Siri went over and played with Mom. Afterwards, I watched as Siri crawled back over the wall into her playpen.

Now that Siri knows how to get out, there will be no rest as I try to keep track of where she is. I also have to do the "puppy shuffle" so that I make sure that I do not step on her. As I write this, she is out again, exploring.

29 Dec
I forgot to mention that yesterday Siri passed the 1000 gram (1 kilogram) milestone in weight. This morning it was so nice weather-wise that I took Siri outside for the first time. But she was having nothing of it, sticking close to my feet.

Siri is now more out than in of her playpen, unless I specifically lock her in. Fortunately, Mommy delivers.

In the afternoon, I tried taking Siri outside again. This was more successful, with Mommy supervising. Or aunt Tami. Here is Siri on gravel, looking at something in the distance. And if Mommy was going to sit on my baby dogwalk, Siri had to check it out.

Week 7

30 Dec
Siri is six weeks old today. I forgot to weigh her this morning (for the second day running), which shows you that I am much more relaxed about her now.

Here is Siri carrying around a little plush toy in her mouth.

Breeder lore says that a puppy at six weeks of age looks like it will as an adult. Here is a side shot and a head shot of Siri. Siri is a red, even though right now you see a lot of dark black hairs. The dark hairs are called "guard hairs" and will eventually fall out. I am not sure why they are called guard hairs as some breeders pull them out.

"Like mother, like daughter".

Siri made it as far as my bathroom today, before deciding that was too scary and coming back to my living room. Now that Siri is running around, I am starting her potty training. I try to catch her right when she wakes up from a nap. I then take her outside and praise her when she pees on the grass.

31 Dec
I am currently stripping aunt Tami. Siri likes to play with the fur that I throw out for the birds.

1 Jan 2019
In the evening, I normally retire to my bed where I read or watch a movie before turning in for the night. I let Siri play on my bed, and she usually falls asleep after a bit. Last night as usual when it was time to go to sleep, I put Siri in the whelping box and turned out the light. There was this loud scream from the whelping box. I turned on the light to find out what was the matter. Mandy came over to investigate. It turned out that Siri was not happy about being in the whelping box. So much so, that she climbed out! It was the first time that she has climbed out.

I had to be gone all day today, and expected to find a mess when I got home. But Mandy is still cleaning up after Siri.

I saw Siri drink for the first time out of her water dish in her playpen.

2 Jan
I think Mandy is starting to wean Siri. Siri is much more interested in the food that I offer. Here she is eating ground up puppy kibble.

3 Jan
Siri has decided that the back of Mandy's crate is the best place to nap.

Mandy keeping watch while Siri is outside.

I was chaning the sheets on my bed today, and Siri climbed up the ramp that my dogs use to get on my bed. Siri then proceeded to pee on my bed ... which got her promptly taken outside. I think every puppy I have had in my house has baptized my bed.

4 Jan
This moring in that twilight before becoming fully awake, I heard Mandy get in the whelping box and nurse Siri. But it was only for a short time. Then Mandy got out of the whelping, and came up onto my bed to check on me. Sometimes by playing possum, I can get a few more minutes of rest before my dogs insist that I get up. Then I heard Siri get out of the whelping box, walk to the end of my bed, climb up the ramp to my bed, and join Mandy who had started pawing at me to wake me up. As punishment for not waking up quick enough, Siri baptized my comforter. So a couple of lessons. One, wake up quicker and take Siri outside. Two, during the day I must take my bed ramp down, otherwise Siri will be up on my bed when I am not looking. And three, at night I will now need to lock Siri in the whelping box (and wake up and open it if Mandy wants to nurse Siri).

Siri doing my baby dog walk.

Siri meets an empty paper towel roll.

Siri meets my tippy board. This is just a round board with a ball underneath and is actually a human exercise board for balance. So far I have only seen Siri put two feet on my tippy board.

Of course, all this meeting new things is exhausting. But I do not understand why Siri thinks a wooden block makes a good pillow.

5 Jan
Siri spent all night (other than potty breaks when I got up) locked in her whelping box. Mandy did not ask to get in to nurse Siri. I watched all morning, and there was no nursing. But in the afternoon, Mandy let Siri nurse. There were several nursing sessions in the afternoon and evening.

Siri meets a ball.

Week 8

6 Jan
Siri is now 7 weeks old, and now weighs 1295 grams.

After breakfast this morning, I found that Siri had climbed into her whelping box in order to take a nap. Evidently Siri feels that the whelping box is a safe place.

Siri's ears have begun to come up.

When I went out today to run a brief errand, I left Siri in a crate to begin to crate train her. She initially fussed, but then settled down.

7 Jan
Siri had a big adventure today! January is my traditional month to have all my dogs' eyes checked. Today was our appointment at NC State. So Siri had her first car ride since her eyes opened. She did very well, did not complain about being in her crate, and did not get car sick. Like my other dogs, Siri had her eyes dilated, and then the ophthalmologist shined a bright light into her eyes. Everything is normal according to the ophthalmologist.

Afterwards we went and visited Siri's older brother, Boo, and his owners. Siri was initially hesitent, thought biting my sweater was fun, but eventually got brave enough to stalk brother Boo. Later both Mandy and Siri tried to climb onto my lap. Siri even got to meet aunt Portia. Portia and Mandy do not get along, so normally Siri never sees aunt Portia.

I was very pleased with how Siri reacted to all the new places, people and circumstances. She showed normal initial hesitation, but quickly adapted to the new sights and sounds.

8 Jan
Siri slept on my bed with me last night, with the exception of some potty breaks outside when I got up myself to use the bathroom. Siri found it convenient, as Mandy was also sleeping on my bed. So when Siri wanted to nurse, she did not have to go far.

Today we had another long car ride. Mandy and aunt Portia needed to have some blood drawn in preparation for their upcoming annual dental exams. Siri got passed around by the vet techs ("pass the puppy"). She also got to see cars whizzing past when we walked outside. Initially she was frightened, but then she realized that the cars were not going to hurt her, so mostly she ignored them afterwards. Like my other dogs, Siri got a chicken McNugget when I stopped for lunch.

For dinner, after Siri ate some ground-up puppy chow, I gave her a raw chicken wing to chew on. (Never give a dog cooked bones which can splinter.) As Siri's sharp puppy teeth are coming in, Siri had great fun chewing on the raw chicken wing. Siri still does not yet have the jaw strength to eat a chicken wing. She wanted to save the chicken wing in her crate, at which point I took it away from her.

I had to break out the Bitter Apple today, as Siri started to pull up and chew on her playpen's Pish Pad, something that I do not want her to do. Bitter Apple gives a bad taste to anything that you spray it on ... and is indispensible when you have teething puppies.

9 Jan
I am trying to expose Siri to as many new things as possible while she is a puppy. Today I got out a tarp and let Siri walk on it. Siri also accompanied me when I went out to run a short errand in town today.

Siri sleeping with one of her favorite toys.

10 Jan
Puppies love to squeeze themselves into tight spots for naps. I guess they feel safer in such spots.

Today I took Mandy and Siri to a friends' house to spend the next two nights. I have to make a long trip tomorrow, and it would not be possible to take Siri along to keep up with her potty training. Staying at my friends' house will be good socialization for Siri ... lots of new sounds and people.

11 Jan
Pictures from my friends:
12 Jan
I picked Mandy and Siri up today and brought them home. Siri was greeted at home by aunt Tami and aunt Portia.

Week 9

13 Jan
Siri is eight weeks old today and weighs 1490 grams. It is a cold rainy day, and I can not blame Siri for any potty accidents today. Even I do not want to go outside.
14 Jan
Siri and the Coke can. Empty water bottles are also great toys!
15-18 Jan
We spent several days visiting some friends (the C's). Siri was very good during the trip. She did not have any potty accidents while we were visiting. However when we got home, she ran around greeting all her toys, trying to play with each one, and then ran up onto my bed and peed on my bed cover. So the "time since last accident" clock had to be reset to zero.

Siri did have her introduction to crate training while we visited. At night I put her in her crate next to my bed. After a bit of fussing, she settled down and went to sleep. When I got up during the night, I took Siri outside to potty. The rule of thumb is that a puppy can spend an hour in a crate for every month of age. So according to the rule, Siri can spend up to two hours in a crate without expecting an accident. In my experience, puppies can go a bit longer, maybe as much as an extra hour. I will admit that in the early mornings I sometimes snuck Siri into bed with me.

I only saw Siri nurse twice. Once was when I was laying on the couch with Siri on my chest. Mandy was up on the top of the back of the couch making sure that all was well. Siri stood up on her hind legs and got some milk. I was surprised that Mandy let her; although perhaps Mandy was happy to get rid of the milk.

19 Jan
Mandy letting Siri nurse. Siri now has a full set of very sharp teeth, so I always find it amazing a mother lets the puppy nurse with so many sharp teeth.

Siri met Mr. Dremel today. Just a quick meeting touching every nail. Technically, dogs have claws, not nails.

If Siri gets overtired, she runs around bitting everything. At such times, she gets the nickname "evil little puppy" and gets put up until she falls asleep.

Week 10

20 Jan
Siri is nine weeks old today and weighs 1720 grams.

Since Siri is no longer using it, I have packed away the whelping box and set up Siri's high rise next to my bed. I have also picked up the "Pish Pad" in Siri's play pen. I want to reduce the number of soft surfaces that would tempt Siri to have a potty accident.

Most of the field around my house is brown, but there are a few green spots. Here are (from left to right) aunt Tami, Siri, and Mandy. And just Siri.

21 Jan
Siri had a big day today. First up was her first vet visit. She got weighed and her temperature taken. (Rectally, so she was surprised about that!) Then after the vet examined her, Siri got her first puppy vaccination shot. You might think that nine weeks is late to get a first puppy shot. Recall that a puppy who nurses within the first 12 to 24 hours after being born is able to absorb maternal antibodies in the mother s milk. These maternal antibodies slowly wear off over time. Puppies get a series of puppy shots, the idea being to cover the period when the maternal antibodies are just wearing off. If you vaccinate too early, the maternal antibodies block the vaccination; too late and the puppy is unprotected for a period of time. The tricky part is knowing when to vaccinate. Some mothers have more antibodies than others in their system. So right before Mandy was bred, I sent off some of her blood serum to the University of Wisconsin. They analyzed the serum for Mandy's antibodies and calculated that the optimum time for Siri to get her puppy shots is 9, 12, and 15 weeks.

In the evening, I took Siri to a meeting of my local dog club. Since I live in the country it is a two hour drive to the club building, so I do not get there often. Tonight the guest speaker was Dr. Brian Hare of Dognition, whose talk I wanted to hear. Siri was the object of a big game of "pass the puppy". It was a great way to socialize her to lots of different people.

22 Jan
After all the excitement of yesterday, I thought a quiet day at home was best for Siri. So no new experiences today.

23 Jan
I think Mandy has finally cut Siri off from the milk bar (nursing). Of course, I have predicted this before, and been wrong. But this time, I noticed that Mandy was growling at Siri every time Siri tried to nurse today.

Both Mandy and aunt Tami have been playing "toughen up the puppy". Siri will be running around either inside or in my yard, then all of a sudden both Mandy and Tami will charge Siri, flip Siri on her back, and there is much growling from all three. For all the noise, Mandy and Tami are surprisingly gentle, just holding Siri down. Siri of course, does not know that it is a game, and she is growling and trying to bite. (Notice her sharp puppy teeth.) Then all of a sudden it stops, and Mandy and Tami walk away ... only to turn around and charge Siri and the whole thing starts over again.

24 Jan
Today was nail day at my house, so everyone got their nails dremeled. Siri got her face smeared with Nutri-Cal (mostly glucose) to distract her from the Dremel. Afterwards Mommy washed Siri's face.

Today we took a walk all the way to the tree line around my house. Siri liked all the sticks and pine cones. Notice how Siri blends in. Can you find her in this picture of "Where's Siri?". (She is in the middle of the picture.)

25 Jan
I had to go into the city today, so Siri got a play date with older brother Boo. (I called him Guido, but his owners renamed him Boo.) Some pictures taken by Jennifer:

As we were driving out of the city, I noticed that the car in front of me had a bumper sticker that said "I love my Norwich terrier." So when the car pulled into an office parking lot, I followed. I introduced myself to the car owner (Sarah) and asked about her Norwich. Sarah wanted to see mine, so (socialization moment!) I got Siri out. Sarah took Siri into her office (more socialization!) to meet her coworkers.

I have a small garbage can in which I put dog hair that I have combed or stripped out. When we got home, in a moment of industy, I dumped the can in my yard. Siri thinks it is great fun to play with the hair.

26 Jan
For the first time, I saw Siri sleeping on the floor. Perhaps it was the sunlight heating the tile, or more likely the radiant floor pipe underneath had warmed the tile. Up till now, Siri had always slept on one of the dog beds around my house or in a crate. Later Siri moved to Mommy's crate to sleep. Siri's sleep is no longer like a puppy (a heavy sleep) but rather a light sleep like an older dog - any nearby noise or movement causes Siri to open her eyes and come awake.

Week 11

27 Jan
Siri is ten weeks old today, and weighs 1900 grams.

Siri had her first agility lesson today. (Actually Siri had come along with another of my dogs who had a lesson.) Siri had great fun meeting the instructor's young children and chasing them as they ran around. A game of "Siri, come" had Siri running back and forth among three adults who had yummy treats. Siri even ran twice through a shortened straight tunnel, with me calling "Siri, come" and giving a treat. (Siri had run through my baby tunnel at home, but on her own initiative.) And at the end of the lesson, Siri met her first Sheltie, who arrived for the next lesson.

28 Jan
Today Siri accompanied aunt Portia who had a meeting with my repro vets. Siri's feet never touched the ground as she got passed from one person to another.

Afterwards, Siri had a play date with older brother Boo. Jennifer took several pictures. First of Siri and me: picture 1, picture 2, and picture 3. Then Jennifer got a series of Siri and Boo playing:

While it may look like Siri and Boo are fighting, it was definitely play. I guess since dogs do not have opposable thumbs, they play thumb war with their teeth.

29 Jan
Siri has learned how to come through my doggy door ... but so far she has only come from the outside to indoors. I am not in a rush for Siri to go outdoors on her own, but it will happen soon.

While I continue to take Siri outside to potty on a regular basis, the "time since last accident" clock keeps being reset as I mis-time taking Siri outside, and Siri has an accident.

30 Jan
Last night while sleeping next to me, Siri had a potty accident. So now Siri will be banned from my bed for a few day and have to sleep in her crate.

I often feed my dogs a crushed organic blueberry with their breakfast. (They will not eat the non-organic kind.) Today I gave Siri her first blueberry, which got quickly eaten. So from now on, a blueberry will be a normal part of Siri's breakfast.

31 Jan
Today Siri accompanied aunts Tami and Portia who had appointments with my repro vets at NC State. Dr. Lyle missed seeing Siri on her last visit, and so I was under orders to bring Siri back.

Afterwards Siri had a play date with her older brother Boo. Here are some pictures Jennifer took:

1 Feb
Siri accompanied Mandy for her agility lesson today. At at the end, Siri got her own lesson. A game of "Siri come" among three adults with treats, running though a long straight tunnel, and even going down the down-ramp of a dog walk were all a part of Siri's "lesson".. But the best part, was meeting the young child of the instructor. (Notice the "play bow" that Siri gave the child.) Afterwards, Siri and the child went for a walk.

2 Feb
"Please sir, I want some more."

Siri has learned how to go out my doggy door. So now I have to get comfortable with her being outside in my fenced yard without my supervision. Of course, when I notice that she is not inside, I check on her outside to make sure she is ok.

With some unseasonably warm weather, I have let Siri accompany myself and my older dogs in short walks outside my fenced yard. I keep a bag of treats with me, and call "Siri come" whenever she gets too far from me. All the dogs when they come get a treat.

Week 12

3 Feb
Siri is eleven weeks old today and weighs 2070 grams. So Siri has broken the 2 kilogram mark! She will eventually weigh around 5 kilograms.

Another trip to the city, this time to take aunt Portia for a progesterone test. So Siri got another play date with older brother Boo. Here are some pictures Jennifer took of Siri and her Jennifer's nephew:

During this visit, Siri showed that she now can go up stairs!

When we got home, Siri had a big walk ... all the way around my barn.

4 Feb
A quiet day home ... with Siri running in an out my doggy door ... playing with all her toys ... and another long walk, this time down to a nearby stream. I think that Siri is starting to become house broken, as I have seen her go outside on her own (before I can suggest it) and go potty.
5 Feb
Another trip to the city ... another play date with older brother Boo.
8-10 Feb
We stayed with friends so that Mandy could participate in a local agility trial, her first since having Siri. Mandy was very happy to be running agility again, qualifying in six out of eight runs and coming home with six (!) blue ribbons (first place).


11 Feb
Siri was tweleve weeks old yesterday. Today she weighs 2375 grams and she got her second (of three) puppy shots. Twelve weeks is when I release puppies to their new homes. Siri's new home ... is with me. I plan to keep Siri. So this is a good spot to end Siri's puppy blog.