Portia's 2019 Litter


5, 7, 8 Sep 2019
Portia ("Shaksper Portia Catonis AX AXJ CGCA") was bred to Sammy ("CH Abbedale Earl Of Sammywich NA OAJ") owned by Esther Newton. The breeding was an "outside" natural tie - "outside" meaning that insertion was not complete and the dogs were held together.

9 Oct
Ultrasound shows two, maybe three, puppies. It also showed one reabsorption site (dogs reabsorb rather than have miscarrages). Because Portia's mother and grandmother both had preemie litters, this pregnancy will be checked weekly by ultrasound and progesterone levels. Because of the reabsorption site, my vets started Portia on a drug called terbutaline.

17 Oct
Portia's ultrasound today showed three puppies, all with healthy heartbeats. Portia's due date has been calculated to be around 9 November.

24 Oct
Portia's ultrasound today again showed healthy puppies. Blood was drawn to check Portia's progesterone levels. During a pregnancy, the progesterone level slowly drops. If the progesterone level gets too low too quickly, it can result in preemie puppies.

Here are two ultrasound pictures:

31 Oct
While in the waiting room for Portia's weekly ultrasound and progesterone check, I noticed that Portia's abdnomen has really swelled. Note how Portia's harness goes around her chest as compared to her abdnomen. For these last two weeks of Portia's pregnancy, I have switched her to puppy kibble, and I am slowly increasing the amount of food that she eats.

5 Nov
Another ultrasound and progesterone test today. Normally my dogs stand for the ultrasound, but all Portia wanted to do today was lay down. During this last week of pregnancy, I suspect that Portia is starting to really feel uncomfortable.

Today was also x-ray day, to check on the number of puppies - since numbers from ultrasound can be unreliable - and to measure the size of the puppys' skulls in relation to Portia's pelvic size. The good news is that the x-ray showed three puppies, as we suspected from the ultrasounds. The bad news is that two of the puppys' skulls are already too large to pass through Portia's pelvic area. So that means that Portia will need to have a cesarean. This is in spite of my being very strict with Portia's diet, in the hope that the puppies would not get too large. (In fact my repro vets were encouraging me to give Portia extra food.) Since Portia is going to have a c-section, I now can feed her extra food as it does not matter how large the puppies get.

7 Nov
Another ultrasound and blood draw to check Portia's progesterone level. Now my repro vets are trying to determine the optimal day to do Portia's c-section. They are looking for activity in the puppys' intestines - it amazes me that they can see movement in an unborn puppy's GI tract with an ultrasound - and for Portia's progesterone level to drop below 2.0 - which indicates the start of labor. However on both of these criteria, my repro vets said "not today", and asked me to bring Portia back tomorrow.

Week 1

8 Nov
Last night during Portia's late evening feeding, she only ate half her meal. And this morning, she turned her nose up at breakfast. To me, this was a sign that Portia was getting ready to go into labor. So I packed Portia and all my other dogs into my car, and we drove to NC State for Portia's early morning appointment.

This time my repro vets saw (via ultrsound) significant movement in the puppys' GI tracts. And Portia's progesterone level was 0.4. Here is Portia while we were waiting on her progesterone result. So my repro vets said it was time, and they took Portia off to get an IV catheter inserted so that anesthesia could get started for her c-section. I signed the necessary paperwork consenting to surgery. At that point I left and took my other dogs to my petsitter, then went to have a late lunch while I waited. Just as I was finishing lunch, I got a phone call - Portia was out of surgery. There were two boys and one girl, and everyone was doing well. So I hurried back to NC State.

Here is my first view of the puppies. The two boys have collars on. All the puppies were tube-fed with serum from another dog. For the first 24 hours or so of life, the puppies GI tract will allow large molecules to pass into their blood stream. So it is important that they get antibodies into their system. Usually they get this from their mother when they nurse, but the serum is just a backup method in case they do not get sufficient from Portia. After that the puppies were encouraged to nurse to get some of Portia's antibodies. Notice that Portia's belly has been shaved and that you can see her incision from her c-section. Here is another view of all the puppies after they had nursed. Portia, the puppies, and I then began the long drive home, with the puppies in a partially-covered box (so I could keep an eye on them). The box had a hot-water bottle wrapped in a towel to help keep the puppies warn.

We arrived home just as it was getting dark to find the house warm. (I had turned up the heat before we left, as the forcast was for a cold night). I weighed all the puppies. The boy puppy with the black collar - whom I will call "White" - weighed 175 grams. The boy with the green collar - whom I will call "Green" - also weighed 175 grams. (I suspect my scale rounds to the newest multiple of 5.) The girl weighed only 100 grams.

I then put Portia and the puppies in my whelping box (really a nursing box) that I had placed next to my bed. (The red light is from an infrared lamp used to add heat to the whelping box.) I fed Portia some cottage cheese. (It will be important over the next several weeks while Portia is nursing to keep her calcium level up.) At that point, I tried to get the puppies to nurse. But neither Portia nor the puppies were having anything to do with my attempts. Portia did not want to lay on her side. I had to wrestle her over. Then went I picked up a puppy, Portia rolled over. If I put Portia on her side and held her down, then I could not get a puppy to nurse, in spite of holding the puppy right at a teat. I was getting very frustrated. And then the infrared light bulb went out. (The bulb blew.) All Portia wanted to do was have the puppies tucked up underneath her, and the puppies seemed fairly content with that arrangement. So I made an emergency trip to town to pick up an infrared heating bulb. (Lesson for future litters. Have a spare infrared bulb on hand.)

When I got home it was evident from the full bellies that Portia had fed the puppies. She gave me a look that seemed to say "I do not need your help to nurse puppies. Your job is just to pay the bills and bring me food and water." So I said fine and turned in for the night.

9 Nov
My sleep was interrupted multiple times last night, so I have been a zombie all day today. Even a nap did not help. A puppy would be crying (usually the girl), so I would wake up and move the puppies around to different teats until they quieted down. Then I would get an hour or so of sleep, until someone started crying again. Mostly I am trying to move the girl to the rear teats (which usually have more milk), and make sure that her brothers do not push her away. Here is what I saw when I woke up in the morning. Portia likes to keep the puppies tucked up underneath her. Since Portia had moved the pad, that tells me that the whelping box is warm enough, perhaps too warm. When I have handled the puppies to weigh them, they seem warm ... so Portia is taking care of them.

The puppies have lost a little weight today, which is normal in the first 24 hours after birth. The boys are each down 10 grams and the girl is down 5 grams. Mostly the puppies are quiet and have round bellies, so they must be nursing sufficently.

10 Nov
The puppies only woke me up twice last night, so I was able to get a decent amount of sleep. Here are the puppies, note the Girl's head just underneath Green's head.

Initially, Portia did not leave the whelping box for ten hours before she went outside for a quick potty break. Now she is leaving the puppies more often. When she does, I turn on the heat lamp to keep the puppies warm. Here are Green, Girl, and White. And a bedraggled looking Portia with her puppies.

What I like to see of course are the puppies nursing. Here is the Girl nursing. (Note that you can just see her tongue where she is sucking on Portia's teat.) I weigh the puppies in the morning and evening. As of this evening, both boys have gained five grams over their birth weight. But - worrisome - the Girl has kept the same weight for the past 48 hours - five grams below her birth weight. She seems to be getting nursing time. Her belly is round as if it is full, and she is not crying. Every time I check on the puppies, I make sure the Girl is near the rear teats which have more milk. This evening I started supplimenting her with Esbilac - a puppy milk replacement - fed very slowly via syringe. The Girl has a strong suckle reflex and sucks the end of the syringe as I slowly push the plunger.

11 Nov
Green seems to think that his sister is his own personal pillow. When the puppies are sleeping underneath the heat lamp, I often find Green sleeping with his head on his sister.

While the Girl gained 10 grams overnight (probably because I supplemented her yesterday evening) she has not gained today. On the advice of my repro vets I have started to tube feed her. Tube feeding is basically forced feeding. You stick a tube down the puppy's throat, and put formula (Esbilac) directly into their stomach. If it sounds unpleasant, it is. The puppy is not happy about the procedure.

I brought two of my dogs (Tami and Siri) home from my petsitter. Portia was initially happy to see them, but then not happy when they wanted to go into my bedroom to check out the puppies. I have put up a gate to keep them out of the bedroom. Portia just barely tolerated it when Tami and Siri came to sleep on my bed for the night.

12 Nov
What I like to see - puppies nursing. I continued to tube feed the Girl today. She had a nice weight gain last night and today.

13 Nov
The Girl gained weight last night, but not today. I do not think the Girl's poor weight gain indicates that anything is wrong with her. It is just that her brothers are so much bigger that they push her off when nursing. If I see either of the boys nursing but not the girl, I pull the boy off and push the Girl next to a teat.

Green has pulled ahead of his brother in the weight race game.

14 Nov
The Girl gained 15 grams since yesterday. I am continuing to tube feed her. I am really only supplementing what the Girl is getting from Portia, as the Girl continues to nurse.

In a surprising move, White has jumped ahead of Green in the weight gain race. For the first time I saw a downward fluctuation in one of the boys; Green lost 5 grams today. I am not worried about it, as often a slight loss is made up by a dramatic gain on the next weighing.

Week 2

15 Nov
The puppies are one week old today! They weigh as follows: White - 305 grams, Green - 305, and Girl - 160. Both White and Green broke the 300 gram barrier together, but by the evening weighing Green had again pulled ahead. The Girl continues to gain, and by the evening weighting was just five grams shy of White and Green's birth weight.

16 Nov
The Girl had a big weight gain last night (15 grams!) and now weights 10 grams more than the birth weight of her two brothers. During the day I check on the puppies in my bedroom frequently. (It seems like every ten minutes or so.) If any puppy is nursing, I make sure that the Girl is getting her fair share of time at the "milk bar". If the puppies are sleeping, I look to make sure that they are "twitching". A puppy will be still, then all of a sudden jerk as if something startled it while it was sleeping. It is hypothesized that this twitching has to do with nerves growing. Whatever the reason, I always spend a few moments making sure that each puppy is twitching, as that means all is right.

17 Nov
All three puppies doubled their birth weight today. Green continues his small lead over White in the weight race game. Of course both boys are still twice the size of the Girl.

Here is Portia and her puppies.

Nursing puppies evidently takes lots of energy, thus generating lots of heat. At night, I can always tell without turning the lights on when Portia is nursing her puppies. She will be panting furiously. This is also one of the few times that I let a Norwich eat as much as she wants, because of the increased nutritional requirements to produce milk. And Portia's appetite will only increase over the next few weeks as the puppies demand more and more milk.

18 Nov
White has overtaken his brother in the weight race. The Girl also had a nice increase. I am still tube-feeding the Girl. Portia is spending more and more time away from the puppies, only going into the whelping box to nurse and then clean the puppies. Young puppies need to be stimulated to pee and poop, which Portia does by licking the puppys' abdomens and genitalia. Portia eats any poop, thus keeping the whelping box clean.

19 Nov
White is holding onto his lead in the weight race. Both boys had a big gain last night, then a small loss today (which is not unusual after a big gain). The Girl gained some weight last night; her evening weight was the same as her morning weight. As an experiement I did not tube-feed the Girl for the past 24 hours. I plan to resume tube-feeding the Girl to supplement what she is getting from her mother.

Green is the first of the puppies that I have seen sleeping on his back. Perhaps the caption should be "I can't believe I ate that much!" Notice the white mark on Green's chest. As he gets older, it will almost disappear. White has hardly any white on his chest. The Girl has a big white area.

I expect all three puppies to grow up to have a red-colored coat. However looking at the puppies closely in the daylight - and it may not be evident from photographs - Green and the Girl have the same shade of fur, whereas White has a slightly lighter shade of fur. It will be interesting to see the shade of red of each puppy's coat when they grow up.

20 Nov
Green has surged past his brother to retake the lead in the weight race. The girl had a nice gain (15 grams) last night, but only 5 grams today in spite of my tube-feeding her several times. I have noticed that when Portia gets into the whelping box, that she usually wakes the Girl up first, who then gets to nurse first.

The puppies are sill only sleeping or nursing.

21 Nov
Puppies sleeping. This picture nicely shows the color shade difference of White from his two siblings.

A rare sighting of puppy poop. Normally Portia cleans poop up (eats it) and I never see it. But Portia was out of the whelping box in my yard. So I cleaned the poop up. (With a tissue. I did not eat it.) When Portia came back to the whelping box, she could still smell the scent of poop and spent quite a bit of time looking for it.

Week 3

22 Nov
The puppies are two weeks old today, and weigh as follows: White, 500 grams; Green, 505; Girl 280. Both White and Green broke the 500 mark together, with Green maintaining a slight lead in the weight race.

As a birthday present, the puppies got new collars, as the boys had outgrown the velcro collars that NC State had given them at birth. I use colored yarn for collars. White finally has a white color.

When puppies are born they only have the sense of smell, which they use to find their mother's teats. I once watched the Girl crawl directly towards Portia from halfway across the whelping box. So I know she has a good sense of smell!

Today the puppies started to open their eyes. Just slits, but they are definitely peaking at the world. The Girl - to be different - has only opened her left eye.

23 Nov
The puppys' eyes are all open today. It will take them a day or two before they start to focus and recognize things.

Green gained 5 grams last night, but both White and the Girl lost 5 grams. Portia also lost weight. I saw Portia throw up yesterday and she did not want to eat dinner last night. I think something that I fed Portia did not agree with her. (I took Portia's temperature today, and it was normal.) By this evening, everyone had gained weight - except for the Girl who was the same weight in the evening as in the morning..

The Girl having pinned her brother tells him "Quit hogging all the milk!". White says that he just wants to sleep ... or eat.

24 Nov
The Girl had a nice weight gain last night breaking the 300 gram mark, and only a small loss today. I have stopped tube feeding the Girl. Instead I am holding the boys back for a few minutes and letting the Girl have a head start when nursing. This of course depends on my catching when Portia decides to feed the puppies. Portia definitely has the puppies on a schedule (known only to her). Green has retaken the lead in the weight race with his brother.

I put the puppies temporarily on my bed while I do the daily change of the pad in their whelping box. Portia usually gets up on my bed to reassure the puppies that everything is all right. Today after I put the two boys back in the whelping box, I found that the Girl was taking advantage of the "alone time" with her mother and was nursing.

I am now putting random toys in the whelping box so that the puppies get used to the idea that this is an ever changing world!

25 Nov
A very nice weight gain by the Girl over the past 24 hours! At the end of the day, White and Green were tied in their weight race.

The puppies often sleep in a pile or next to each other for warmth. Portia will get in the whelping box, and roughly use her nose to flip over a puppy and start licking the puppy to stimulate the puppy to pee and poop. This also is the signal to the puppies that it is time to wake up and eat. White gives a yawn at this wake-up call. Later I caught the Girl yawning. Green bumped into the purple bear, although I think it was more accident than deliberate. The puppies are staying awake after nursing. It was just for a few seconds, lifting their heads before falling back asleep. Now is is for a moment or so, moving around and exploring their world. Their times awake will quickly get longer and longer ... and I will be fondly remembering the time when all they did was eat and sleep!

26 Nov
Both White and Green broke the 600 gram mark today, with Green again taking the lead. The Girl continues to slowly gain weight.

Green again says "I can't beleive I ate so much", while Portia grooms White, and both White and Girl continue to nurse.

The puppies are now giving off "puppy breathe" - that wonderful yeasty smell that is so great about puppies.

27 Nov
The Girl had a nice weight gain over the past twenty-four hours.

Aliens have invaded the whelping box! It is hard to know which is more alien - little green men or puppies!

What I like to see - puppies nursing.

The puppies now can stand on their front legs for a moment or so. These three puppies are soon going to be walking. Right now they have not figured out how to coordinate their legs. But they are making attempts to walk ... especially when Mommy gets in the whelping box and the "milk bar" becomes open.

To give you some idea of the nutritional demands on Portia when she is nursing, normally Portia eats 3/8 of a cup of kibble a day. Right now Portia is eating almost a cup of kibble four times a day!

28 Nov
This morning I reached into the whelping box and pulled out a puppy for the morning weighing. "Who are you?" I said to myself as I looked for the collar. I was surprised to realized it was the Girl! Usually I recognize the Girl because of her size. While the Girl is still smaller than her brothers, she has been growing!

In their brief times awake, the puppies are noticing each other. Today I saw one of the boys trying to taste the Girl's tail. And this evening I saw Green up on all four legs for just a second, before he plopped down on his rear.

Week 4

29 Nov
The puppies are three weeks old today, and weigh as follows: White, 690 grams; Green, 710; Girl, 420. Green is the first to break the 700 gram mark, and the Girl broke the 400 gram mark. Now that the puppies are three weeks old, I am cautiously optimistic that they will survive.

I have to judge in Virginia this weekend, so today I loaded the puppies in a carrier. (You can not see the Girl in the back. There is a hot water bottle underneath the towel.) I took Portia and the puppies to the home of Jennifer and Keith, who have Boo ("Shaksper Guiderius"). Jennifer and Keith are going to look after the puppies this weekend. Here are the three puppies being held by Jennifer - from left to right, Green, White, and the Girl. And here are the three puppies exploring their temporary home. After getting Portia and the puppies settled, I drove my other dogs to my pet sitter, then drove to Virginia.

2 Dec
Today I picked up my other dogs from my pet sitter, then picked up Portia and her puppies from Jennifer and Keith's house, and then drove home. All the puppies are well, have gained weight, and grown.

Jennifer and Keith took the following pictures during the weekend:

3 Dec
Since I am cautiously optimistic that the puppies are going to survive, it is time to name them. This is going to be my Hamlet litter. So their call names (what I will call them) and their registered names are going to be:

White = Tommy ("Shaksper Rosencrantz")
Green = Gilly ("Shaksper Guildenstern")
Girl = Ophelia ("Shaksper Ophelia")

Of course call names can be changed at any time ... and frequently are when puppies go to new homes. For example, Jennifer is already calling White "Blondie" and Green "Bear". But Tommy, Gilly, and Ophelia are what I am going to call the puppies from now on ... unless I change my mind.

The puppies are all walking, although it is more of a wobble than a walk as their rear-end coordination is not great. But they can all sit up. Here is Gilly sitting up and trying to taste the pig rail. And the puppies are interacting with each other, trying to taste each other, and also sparing (i.e., playing "thumb war" but with their mouths). One moment Gilly has Tommy, a moment later Tommy has Gilly.

Since the puppies seemed bored with my whelping box ... and so that I do not have to go into my bedroom every 15 minutes or so to check on them, I set up my puppy playpen in my living room. However the puppies do not seem happy about this move, and only would come out of the crate if Portia is around. Later the puppies met Aunt Tami (in the foreground), but could not figure out why she did not have any milk.

In the evening the puppies returned to the whelping box in my bedroom for the night.

4 Dec
Ophelia finally reached 500 grams today. Tommy and Gilly are currently tied in their weight race.

The puppies spent most of the day sleeping in their crate, only coming out if Mommy was around. I tried offering the puppies some Esbilac (a commercial milk formula for puppies), but they only licked where I had rubbed the Esbilac around the rim. (I always seem to try too early to see if puppies will eat on their own.) Ophila says that she was framed. Later I found that Ophilia was the first to escape my puppy playpen, which I thought was a smart way to get some alone time at the milk bar. Later both boys escaped. I am not sure how they did it. I suspect that they were nursing, Portia got up to go outside to bark at something, and the boys - hanging onto a teat - got partially dragged over the wooden barrier that I have to let Mommy go in and out, but keep puppies in.

5 Dec
Sleeping puppies - from left to right: Ophelia, Gilly, and Tommy. Now that the puppies can generate their own body heat, I have lowered the heat in my house to something more comfortable.

Portia really scrunches herself up in the back of the crate in the puppy playpen to let the puppies nurse. Once I realized it was the two boys nursing, I pulled them away and put Ophelia in to nurse.

The puppies seem a bit more comfortable in the puppy playpen. Of course, they are still mostly sleeping in the crate in the playpen. But when awake, what they really want is Mommy. As I watched, each one of the puppies crawled over the wooden barrier, to get to Mommy and her milk.

In the evening, I saw Ophelia and Gilly playing "mouth war" with each other. I have seen the boys play, but this was the first time that I have seen Ophelia play with her brothers.

The puppies are mostly quiet ... which as a breeder is what I want to hear. (A crying puppy is a sick puppy.) But the puppies do make occassional sounds. There is a short cry when they wake up and want Mommy to come feed them. There is a mournful howl when they are alone and away from their siblings. And there is much slurping when they are nursing. They are noisy eaters!

Week 5

6 Dec
The puppies are four weeks old today, and weigh as follows: Tommy, 890 grams; Gilly, 900; and Ophelia, 545. Gilly is the first to make 900 grams.

Now that the puppies are four weeks old, I really want them to start eating. But there is not much interest, and Mommy is more interesting. Finally, Tommy seems to get the idea.

7 Dec
Tommy has taken the lead over his brother in the weight race game. I think eating the rice yesterday helped him take the lead.

Ophelia says that her brother makes a nice pillow.

Mommy is still the prefered source of nourishment. But with the puppies growing and demanding more food, Portia will not be able to keep up. When I put some food down, Tommy went right over and started eating. Then Gilly gave it a try. Finally Ophelia joined Gilly. The puppies did a creditable job eating their food. Mommy ate the leftovers.

Cousin Siri got in the puppy playpen and let Gilly check her for milk. (Notice the Siri has her rear leg off the ground.) Of course Siri does not have any milk, so Gilly was disappointed.

9 Dec
For several years now, the puppies' aunt Mandy has qualified for the national event, the AKC Agility Invitational, where the top five agility dogs of each breed are invited. Unfortunately Mandy has not been able to attend because of mommy duty. Now that Mandy is finished with her breeding career, I promised her that she could attend the Invitational if she qualified. And Mandy did qualify for the 2019 Invitational, which is next weekend held in Orlando Florida. Since I am coming to Florida, I must visit some family whom I have not seen in a few years.

So today I loaded everyone in the car and took Portia and the puppies to Jennifer and Keith, who will look after them for the ten days while I am away. Before Keith could even get a playpen erected, Jennifer had the puppies out and was playing with them.

Some pictures by Jennifer:

I will miss the puppies but I know that they are in good hands.

10 Dec
Jennifer reports that both boys broke the 1000 gram (1 kilogram) mark today. Jennifer wrote me the following note in which I have added some explanations (in brackets).


How about we give the name TomTom to Bear's brother?

[Jennifer like to use different call names for the puppies. Here is a guide: White=Gilly=Bear, Green=Tommy=TomTom, Ophelia is just Ophelia.]

TomTom is awake the most, moves around quickly, explores the most, and is very alert. He's super fast, especially backwards. He often adds a backwards leap. All three puppies are enjoying free rein of the living room and easily walk on carpet.

Ophelia and Bear are adventurous and exploring well too. They wander in and out of the cover of the sofa, mostly staying in the middle of the room playing. Bear may be chewing the most. TomTom's back teeth are poking out. Ophelia gets cold easily, so if she's not wandering, she's being held or is sleeping near a space heater. All three puppies enjoy being held. The boys are wrestling, without being too hard on Ophelia.

Portia sometimes likes to move in between her puppies and most living creatures, so we give them some space when needed. She hasn't been overprotective, still playing with Boo on occasion, and no loud growls at him.

[Boo is Jennifer and Keith's dog, and is a nephew to Portia, so a cousin to the puppies.]

Boo's not sure about the three little creatures who have taken over the living room. He had several startles yesterday that caused him to jump from the down position to highly alert stand. The puppies haven't figured out that Boo doesn't have bits like Portia. When they've tried to nurse Boo, he's quite startled by the experience. It is very funny to witness.

The puppies are making the cutest purs, barks and sounds. Their back legs spread out cutely during their wobble walks, leaving their little bottoms tilting side to side.

Today I'm trying the alfalfa tray. - wish me luck.

[I potty train puppies by taking them outside. Another method is to give puppies an indoor potty area. Jennifer wanted to try this method and is using alfalfa pellets for the potty material.]

Orson visited the puppies yesterday. Portia seems quite comfortable with both Orson and Cyrus. She will lick both boys.

[Orson and Cyrus are Jennifer's young nephews.]

I'm absolutely loving caring for the puppies. Thank you for these moments.


Some pictures by Jennifer:

The puppys' father, Sammy ("Abbedale Earl Of Sammywich"), is currently wintering in Florida with his owner Esther ... and just happens to be in the same area as my family that I am visiting. So I arranged a play date with my dogs and Sammy.

11 Dec
More from Jennifer:


Everyone seemed to have had a good night. Potty training yesterday had a good start, with Blondie doing the best. I've gone back and forth calling him Blondie, Tommy and Denmark too. His front teeth came in yesterday. He stays awake longer than the other puppies, and he seems more independent.

Orson visited yesterday and all puppies and dogs were interested.

Ophelia is asleep on my lap at the moment. She and Bear seek me out a good bit.

Christmas puppy


Week 6

13 Dec
The puppies are five weeks old today. Jennifer sent me the following weights, note, and pictures: Tommy, 1085 grams; Gilly, 1090; and Ophelia 655.

Jennifer writes:

Bear's front teeth came in yesterday. Tommy's came in the day before. Ophelia hasn't been teething too much, instead she prefers to lick your face.

Ophelia woke up very hungry this morning. She must have missed her previous nursing opportunity. So while her brothers slept, we went downstairs in search of Mommy, who was eating her extended breakfast. The floor was cold and Ophelia sometimes has trouble reaching, so I turned Ophelia upside down in my palm and placed her under Portia's belly. While Portia ate, Ophelia laid in her hand-hammock eating, making for a very contented puppy.

Today is fatten up Ophelia day. Although she's gaining at the same rate as her brothers, I'm going to offer her more food throughout the day, since its sitting well on their tummies.

All of the puppies cuddle nicely together. Bear seems to seek out Ophelia most often. When I parted with him a few minutes ago, and took him from my lap to their baby bed, he first nuzzled Ophelia's ear for a short time before falling asleep.

Right now Tommy seems to be the athlete and explorer of the family. He's bright eyed and inquisitive.

The puppies back legs are getting stronger, but they're still puppies. It's delightful to see a misstep - a leg that doesn't firmly plant itself, followed by a tumble, - weighty heads that can be hard to balance, especially while wrestling.

Potty training is off to a good start. I've been working on liquid accidents, but this morning I was happy to find someone had pooped in the litter box on their own volition. Yay!

15 Dec
Jennifer reports that Ophelia is now 700 grams. More pictures from Jennifer:

16 Dec
Jennifer writes "After 6 days of potty training, having some good success. Everyone just woke up and went potty, so now living room is open and available for play! Puppies leaping higher and play is tougher. Christmas tree under attack"

17 Dec
Jennifer writes "Litter box training went exceptionally well. Even Ophelia, who slides on the pellets, is going to the box."

I picked up the puppies today. Boy have they grown! Now they walk like regular dogs. And they can really move. When I walk around the house, now I have to do the "puppy shuffle" - just slid my feet, so as not to accidently step on a puppy. And their puppy teeth have started to come in.

The first thing to do when we got home was to go potty. My way of potty training is different than Jennifer's. I prefer to just take the puppies outside and put them in a pen for a few moments ... and encourage them to "do their business" (my potty command). This method requires that I take the puppies outside as soon as they wake up from a nap, after they eat, and in the middle of the night. I will continue to make a litter box available to the puppies so as to continue Jennifer's training.

The second thing after we got home was to feed the puppies. I ground up some puppy kibble and added Esbilac (puppy milk). The puppies ate some, but were more interested in exploring. I think it is really good for the puppys' socialization to go back and forth between my house and Jennifer and Keith's house.

Later in the evening, I fed my older dogs (including Portia) some meat. I watched Portia pick up a chunk, take it to the puppies, and drop it in front of them. It was as if she was saying "Ok, you now have teeth. You need to start eating on your own." So I offered the puppies some kibble (without any liquid). They thought this was great! Ophelia especially liked it.

Of course, Mommy is still best. While Mommy was cleaning up left overs, Ophelia got a drink.

18 Dec
Ok, Jennifer has got me doing it so I am going to bow to social pressure and instead of using the call name of Gilly for "Shaksper Guildenstern", I will call him "Bear". He does look like a little bear. Tommy has retaken the lead in the weight race with Bear.

I am still putting the puppies back in the whelping box next to my bed at night. However the puppies now can climb out of the whelping box. So I have to lock them in (with a sliding door). Portia now wakes me up in the middle of the night when she says it is time to feed puppies.

The puppies are much more confident today, exploring my living room and kitchen. When I was feeding Portia this morning, Ophelia came over and put both feet in the dish, and started eating Portia's kibble. Instead of napping in their crate in the puppy playpen, the puppies now are taking naps on one of the dog pillows that I have around my house. For dinner, I cooked some ground turkey to add to my dogs' kibble. I gave the puppies some which quickly disappeared. I like to introduce puppies to a variety of foods, so that they have healthy gut bacteria. But I have to be careful when introducing a new food to only give them a little, as otherwise diarrhea can result. Of course, Mommy's milk is still the best. (My house is heated by radiant floor heating, so my floor tiles are relatively warm.)

19 Dec
The puppies enjoy playing with an empty water bottle. Bear decided my tippy board should hold still and the best way to do ths was to bite it. (Notce Ophelia in the background eating from her mother's dish.) If it is warm and sunny enough I let the puppies outside for a few moments of outdoor play, but they will nurse anywhere mommy Portia will let them. "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil." (Bear, Ophelia, and Tommy.) Bear will still nap on his back.

Week 7

20 Dec
The puppies are six weeks old today and weigh as follows: Tommy, 1370 grams; Bear, 1325 grams; and Ophelia, 805 grams.

The puppies' aunt Mandy and I are competing at an agility trial in Raleigh this weekend. Since I will be away from home for long hours, Portia and the puppies will spend the weekend with Jennifer and Keith. So the puppies had another long car ride but easily settled into being back with Jennifer and Keith.

According to breeder folklore, a puppy at six weeks of age look like a miniature version of what it will look like as an adult. The next time that this happens is supposedly when a puppy is six months old. Between those times, different parts of a puppy grow at different rates and a puppy can look gangly (as human teenagers often do). So I try to take posed pictures when puppies are six weeks old. However I am not very good at stacking puppies ... and puppies never want to cooperate. But these are my attempts:

21 Dec
Jennifer writes:

Caught on camera. Tommy started to poop on the carpet tonight. My choice: clean the carpet or prevent the poop from landing, with the only tool in reach...my hand. In the end the carpet was spared and everyone else in the room had a great laugh.

A sleeping Bear.

22 Dec
More pictures from Jennifer. Puppies playing with cousin Boo:

In the evening I picked up Portia and the puppies for the drive home.

23 Dec
Bear is the first to climb up the ramp to my bed. Now I have to remember to take the ramp down each morning. While the puppies would find my bed a great place for a nap, they would also think it is a great place to go potty.

Puppies nursing. It is amazing how big they have gotten so quickly.

Ophelia looking at the pretty puppy in the mirror.

Cousin Siri was napping in the puppies' crate. Ophelia crawled in, curled up, and went to sleep. There being no room inside, Bear slept at the entrance.

24 Dec
The puppies can now run as fast as I can walk ... which means that they love to chase my feet and bite at my slippers and pant legs. I have to be careful when walking and turning around so that I do not step on anyone.

The puppies have watched my older dogs go outside via my doggy door. How this is done is still a mystery to them - especially to the boys who are most interested. Today I watched as Tommy was determined to follow the big dogs ... and succeeded in pushing his way through my doggy door to get outside. So far he has not repeated going through my doggy door.

"Two against one is fun, if you are one of the two."

The puppies - especially the boys - love to wrestle and tussle. This involves gentle biting of each others ears, legs, and torso. When the play becomes too rough, the one on the receiving end will let out a squeal which usually stops things for a moment. This is how puppies learn "bite inhibition" - how to bite just enough to grab but not to hurt.

Today I noticed that ears are starting to come up. Tommy and Ophelia now have somewhat erect ears. Bear's ears are still down.

Ophelia showing off her teeth.

25 Dec
The "laying on your back" method of nursing. With the puppies heads getting bigger, it is harder for all of them to fit in a row and nurse from one side of Portia.

Tommy was the first to climb up on my baby dog walk. Bear was the first to go over my baby teeter and make it bang. He then proceeded to go over the teeter several more times to make it bang.

For their Christmas feast, I gave the puppies some raw chicken wings. While there is strong (almost religious) opinions about feeding raw versus feeding kibble, I take an agnostic approach - I feed raw food, cooked food, and kibble. I mostly feed kibble, as the problem with the raw and cooked diets is getting the proper amount of nutrients. The important thing about bones is to only feed raw bones, as cooked bones can splinter and cause internal damage. The puppies spent a long time chewing on the chicken wings, to little effect. My older dogs enjoyed cleaning up the leftovers.

26 Dec
Attacking a paper wrapper that I let the puppies play with for a few moments.

Portia demonstrating the "standing method" of nursing.

Bear really likes making the teeter go bang. Bear is the first to go through my wooden tunnel.

The puppies attacking the paper bag that dared to invade the kitchen.

Week 8

27 Dec
The puppies are seven weeks old today, and weigh as follows: Tommy, 1615 grams; Bear, 1580 grams; and Ophelia, 950 grams.

Bear and Tommy on my baby dogwalk. With the weather being nice, I have tried to have the puppies outside as much as possible. Of course, this means that I have to be outside with them. The puppies are just the right size for a hawk or owl to scoop them up, and there is the ever present danger from coyotes. Consequently, I am just barely keeping up with things.

Ophelia likes to nap near the communal water bowl. The reason the water looks like green scummy pond water is because of a water additive (Healthy Mouth) that is supposed to help dogs teeth. Healthy Mouth has the seal of the Veterinary Oral Health Council, so I know that there is some science that says that the product has an effect.

The puppies are playing more and more roughly. Sometimes if things seem to be getting out of hand, one of my older dogs will step in to stop the roughhousing. Here is aunt Tami about to separate Ophelia and Bear, with another adult coming over to help.

28 Dec
I have to get up usually twice during a night to take the puppies outside to potty. (And then being awake, I have a hard time going back to sleep.) This morning with the sun barely a glow on the horizon, the puppies wanted to go out. After taking them out, rather than getting up and feeding everyone breakfast, I wanted some more sleep. So I put the puppies in their play pen and went back to bed. Evidently I forgot to latch the play pen, as a while later a puppy was nibbling my ear. Not just one puppy, but all three! All three had nosed their way out of the play pen, then all three had climbed the ramp to the foot of my bed, and then they all crawled up my covered body to my exposed ear. At that point I gave up, got up, and fed everyone breakfast. When the puppies are napping in the afternoon, I have started laying down for a nap myself.

Ophelia got her head stuck in a plush toy. (Tommy and Bear's heads are too big to fit in this toy.)

Portia is starting to avoid the puppies when the puppies want to nurse. She often gets up on things so that the puppies can not reach her. But Portia is still letting the puppies occasionally nurse.

Bear admiring the handsome puppy.

Ophelia went up my baby dogwalk and over my baby teeter today. Here she is on top of the dogwalk.

These puppies are going to be used to the sound of dogs barking and guns going off. It is the end of hunting season here in the rural county in which I live. The weather being nice, the hunters and their dogs were out in force today. My county allows hunters to use dogs to flush game such as deer or bears. Consequently when hunting dogs are about, I have to keep my dogs inside my fenced yard; otherwise they might chase any game plus any hunting dogs. My dogs take great exception to all the hunting dogs, and run back and forth along my fence barking incessently. If the puppies had looked up at the right moment, they would have seen a deer cross the northern edge of the field around my house followed by some hunting dogs. My older dogs saw the deer and were barking furiously.

A tired (after all that barking) cousin Siri sleeping next to Bear.

29 Dec
Mommy Portia is starting to wean the puppies. She is not letting the puppies nurse as often and the puppies are now eating more kibble.

Ophelia and mommy Portia having brunch. (I was feeding Portia and Ophelia came over to eat some of mommy's food.)

One of Tommy's ears is partially down. As the puppies teethe, ears will go up and down.

The puppies playing with cousin Siri.

Bear let out a high pitched bark today. He is the first puppy to bark. I also watched Ophelia today run at a full gallop for a good 20 feet. For her little size, Ophelia can really move!

30 Dec
Bear got his head stuck in the plush toy that I think of as a "puppy helmet". He was shaking his head before I helped him extract his head.

I had appointments in the city today. So the puppies had another long car ride. I left Portia and the puppies at the home of some good friends. Sara, their granddaughter, took care of the puppies while I went to my appointments and ran some errands. Sara's grandmother told me that Sara played with the puppies, took the puppies outside regularly to potty, and stayed in the same room as the puppies when the puppies slept after all the play. In the evening, I drove Portia and the puppies home.

31 Dec
Tommy dreaming of being "Underdog" - a superhero dog who appeared in an animated television show in the late 60s and early 70s. (Underdog is the canine equivalent of Superman, complete with a cape and the ability to fly).

A lot of hard play today - both among the puppies and with the adult dogs, especially cousin Siri. Tommy is going in and out my doggy door at will ... which is making me crazy trying to keep track of him. Bear has started going out the doggy door, but I do not think Bear has yet learned how to come back inside. Between all that play, the puppies took naps together on the dog bed underneath my desk, not once but twice. Unusally now the puppies find separate pillows to sleep on, so it was a testament to how tired they were that they slept together.

1 Jan 2020
Yesterday I watched Tommy and Ophelia do a circumnavigation of my fenced yard (follow the fence line all around the yard) for the first time. Bear turned back. Today I watched all three puppies make a circumnavigation.

Today I watch Tommy wake up from a nap and - before I could grab him to hustle him outside to go potty - he walked over to my doggy door, went outsde, and did his potty business. I was so proud! Of course, this does not mean that Tommy is now house-trained. I fully expect more potty accidents. But it does make me feel that my efforts to house-train is having an effect.

The puppies are starting to have "puppy dreams" - while sleeping they will make "yipping" sounds and sometimes move their legs as if running. Perhaps the puppies are dreaming of chasing a rabbit?

Ophelia was shy, and would not let me get a good picture of her head and rear.

Being the first of the month, I treated my adult dogs with topical flea and tick medication. The particular medication I use recommends that any puppies be kept away for two hours. Ophelia slept in a nearby crate while her mother Portia was isolated.

I brought out my puppy tunnel today which the puppies enjoyed investigating.

2 Jan
The older dogs are starting to do what I call toughing up the puppy" - the older dogs will gang up on one puppy, put the puppy on its back, and annoy the puppy (growling, pushing wih their nose, gently grabing with their teeth) causing the puppy to fight back.

I finally got a head shot of Ophelia, although it is not a good shot, as visually Ophelia is cute. Here is Ophelia's rear.

Cousin Siri, who is just over a year old, is spending more time playing with the puppies.

Week 9

3 Jan
The puppies are eight weeks old today, and weigh as follows: Tommy, 1810 grams; Bear, 1865 grams; and Ophelia, 1100 grams. Ophelia finally broke the one kilogram mark!

Last night was the last time that the puppies would sleep in the whelping box. At about 3 am I got this picture of Portia nursing the puppies. Notice how big the puppies are in relation to the whelping box.

Since the puppies are eight weeks old, it is time for their first puppy shots. Here are the puppies at the vet in the waiting room (in their new crates). Of course the puppies did not stay in their crates for long, but got cuddled by the receptionists.

The puppies will get a series of three shots for DHPP - distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvo. (Distemper and parvo are the really nasty diseases.) Initially the puppies got protection (antibodies) for these diseases from the first milk (colostrum) that they got from Portia. Although for these puppies, they also got antibodies from the serum of a donor dog that was given to the puppies just after they were born by c-section. These antibodies break down (stop working) over time. So the puppies will get a series of three shots for DHPP that hopefully will span the time frame from when the antibodies are protecting the puppy to when the antibodies are no longer protecting the puppy. Any antibodies in the puppy's system will block the DHPP vaccine. But when the antibodies are gone, the DHPP vaccine will prime the puppy's immune system, which will then protect the puppy.

Predicting that window of time when the puppies should get their puppy shots is difficult. When Portia was pregnant, I had her serum tested (titered) to see how many antibodies she had. And I also had a sample of the donor dog's serum titered. From the results, scientists at the University of Wisconsin made a recommendation that these puppies should have puppy shots at 8, 12, and 15 weeks. So today they are getting their first puppy shot.

While we were waiting for the vet to come into the exam room, I let Ophelia play on the examination table. Ophelia climbed onto the scale and I was able to get this (another poor) head shot. Ophelia checked out the scale (which is showing her weight in pounds). Then the vet came in, examined Ophelia and gave Ophelia her first puppy shot. The it was Tommy's turn to be examined and get his shot. Finally Bear got examineed and got his first shot. The vet said that all the puppies were healthy.

Afterwards, we headed to the city to stay with friends for the weekend as aunt Mandy and I are entered in an agility trial this weekend.

4 Jan
Jennifer and Keith being away on vacation, Sara took care of the puppies for a day. Portia also helped. In the evening I took Portia and the puppies to Jennifer and Keith's house, as Jennifer and Keith had returned from vacation. Ophelia and the puppies will stay with Jennifer and Keith for the next couple of days.

6 Jan
I picked up the puppies today and took them to NC State University to have their eyes checked. Here they are in the waiting room (from left to right - Tommy, Ophelia, and Bear). Bear was not happy ... and he let us know that he was not happy! The puppies all had their eyes dialated. Here is a worried Tommy, waiting while the eye drops took effect. The veterinary ophthalmologist looked in the eyes of the puppies with a bright light (just like they do with humans). The specialist reported that all eyes looked normal. After which, I returned the puppies to Jennifer and Keith's house.

7 Jan
I got up very early this morning and took my older dogs for their annual dental exams. (This was the reason why I left the puppies with Jennifer and Keith. Otherwise the puppies would have spent a lot of time in their crates going back and forth to the city. I figured the puppies would have a better time at Jennifer and Keith's house ... and it is great socialization for the puppies.) After dropping my older dogs off at my dental vet, I went to Jennifer and Keith's house to hang out until it was time to pick up my older dogs.

I caught this picture of Ophelia and Tommy on the practice teeter in Jennifer and Keith's back yard. Fortunately the puppies did not go up the teeter to make it tip. But Tommy did jump off.

Of course after playing outside the puppies took a nap (from left to right, Tommy, Bear, and Ophelia) Finally I got the call to come pick up my older dogs. So I thanked Jennifer for keeping the puppies over the long weekend, loaded the puppies in my car, and drove to my dental vet. While I was picking up my older dogs up, I mentioned that I had puppies in the car. I was immediately asked to bring the puppies in so that everyone could "pass the puppy" - picture 1 (with Dr. Nan on the right) and picture 2. Being handled by lots of strange people is great socialization for the puppies. Now that the puppies have had their first puppy shot, the more that I can get them out and about the better.

The puppies will now be sleeping in my "puppy condo" - dog creates stacked on a table (where the whelping box used to be) next to my bed. Initially the puppies were not happy about this new sleeping arrangement, but after a while settled down and when to sleep. (Ophelia is in the very back of the bottom right crate.) With the puppies now sleeping in crates at night, I have to take them out to potty when they wake up and want to go out. The rule of thumb is that a puppy can "hold it" for as many hours as they are old in months. From experience, I know that I am going to be short on sleep for the next several weeks.

8 Jan
There is a rhythm to taking care of puppies. You know when to take them outside to potty, when you can get things done when they are napping, etc. You can keep track of the puppies even if they are going in different directions. Unfortunately I lose that rhythm when I am away from the puppies for any length of time (like the past couple of days). So there were lots of puppy potty accidents today. I wanted to kill the little darlings.
9 Jan
While Tommy regularly goes in and out my doggy door, Bear and Ophelia still have not figured out how to use it. So I have started showing them how. Today Bear came from the outside to the inside for the first time on his own.

Week 10

10 Jan
The puppies are nine weeks old today, and weigh as follows: Tommy, 2160 grams; Bear, 2105 grams, and Ophelia, 1270 grams.

Bear doing his "Underdog" impression. Notice his teeth. Puppy teeth are very sharp.

Portia is still letting the puppies nurse.

As there is another agility trial this weekend in Raleigh that the puppies' aunt Mandy and I are entered in, again Portia and the puppies will stay with Jennifer and Keith for the weekend. Here is Jennifer holding Bear. And Jennifer's nephew playing with Tommy and Ophelia.

13 Jan
I picked up Ophelia and the puppies last night and we all came home.

There is a story about a lady who had neighbors who kept inviting themselves over for dinner. To discourge this, one time after dinner in full view of the neighbors the lady put the dirty dishes down on the floor, let her dogs clean the dishes, then put the dishes back in her kitchen cabinet. The story goes that the neighbors never came back for dinner. I am not like the lady in the story ... I wash my dishes after my dogs have cleaned them. Here are the puppies cleaning my bowl.

We are having lots of rain today. The puppies are good about going out in the rain to do their potty business. Here is a wet puppy.

14 Jan
Ophelia and her pink bunny.

While mommy Portia was out running with my other adult dogs in the nearby field and forest, I let aunt Mandy come in and meet the puppies (from top to bottom: Ophelia, Tommy, and Bear). While Mandy has seen the puppies before, this is her first time actually meeting them. Unfortunately Portia and Mandy hate each other. They will fight if together ... and when bitches fight it is serious. So I have to keep Mandy and Portia separated.

Ophelia demonstrating how a normal puppy sleeps. Tommy, on the other hand, prefers to do his own thing.

15 Jan
Portia is still letting the puppies nurse. Sometimes it is like a mugging, as the puppies will push Porita over to get at her nipples. As Portia's weight was increasing, I have cut back on the amount that I am feeding her. I am still feeding Portia cottage cheese to keep her calcium level up.

I gathered some sticks from the nearby forest and put them inside my fenced area. Bear was the first one to find the sticks. Tommy was next; finally Ophelia joined in. Sticks are nature's "chew toys" for sharp puppy teeth. But it does mean that I will have sticks in my house as the puppies drag pieces of sticks inside and turn them into matchsticks.

Chewing sticks is tiring (Bear is on the left, Tommy is resting his head on Ophelia).

Cousin Siri had an agility lesson today, so I brought the puppies along. (The puppies ate very little lunch, being more intersted in what was going on.) The puppies got to meet their first Border Collie. But the real hit according to the puppies was meeting the instructor's young daughter. She let the puppies lick her. And she got down on all fours to play with the puppies. The mother of the young girl was just outside the fence supervising ... although growing up in a houseful of dogs the young girl was used to dogs. This was great socialization for the puppies ... meeting a young child who squealed and moved in unpredictable ways.

16 Jan
Bear is now regularly coming through my doggy door from the outside to the inside, but not the other way around. Ophelia still wants me to help her through the door.

Ophelia biting mommy's tail.

Portia letting the puppies nurse. I am amazed that Portia is continuing to nurse the puppies. She is a good mommy.

Week 11

17 Jan
The puppies are ten weeks old today, and weigh as follows: Tommy, 2385 grams; Bear, 2360 grams; and Ophelia, 1415 grams.

Sleeping puppies: Ophelia on the left, Bear on the right, and Tommy in the middle.

Bear at the vet's office. While we were waiting for the vet, I was playing with my phone and took this selfie of Bear. The vet examined Bear, injected Bear with a microchip so that he can easily be identified, and filled out and signed Bear's certificate of health (which Bear will need tomorrow).

18 Jan
All three puppies nursing, probably for the last time together.

After agonizing over the decision of which puppy, Jennifer and Keith finally decided the Bear would best fit their household. Today they came to pick up Bear and take him to his new home. I prefer to keep puppies until they are twelve weeks old, but this is a special case. Bear has been to Jennifer and Keith's home several times. Jennifer and Keith have Boo, Bear's cousin, who will keep Bear in line and continue to socialize him. Plus I am back and forth to the city so often that Bear will see his siblings again in the next two weeks. Here are two pictures of the new family, both with Keith hold Boo, one with Bear kissing Jennifer and one with Bear looking at the camera.

And then there were just two.

19 Jan
I am always a bit sad and depressed after a puppy leaves. Jennifer has been kind enough to call today and let me know that Bear is doing well.

Mommy Portia "toughening up" Ophelia. Portia is grabbing at one of Ophelia's legs until Ophelia fights back.

20 Jan
I had to go to the city today to take Mandy for a dental recheck. So I brought Tommy and Ophelia for a play date with Bear. Here are cousins Boo (with his back to us) and Mandy, and the three puppies playing together.

While everyone was playing, Ophelia decided to go up the practice teeter in Jennifer and Keigh's back yard. This time Ophelia went past the "tip point" causing the teeter to move. I rushed over, but Ophelia road the slowly tipper teeter down, then without getting off, turned around and went to the other end, again causing the teeter to tip. She then got off the teeter. To show that it was not a fluke, Ophelia then turned around, got on the teeter again, and repeated the performance.

Cousins Mandy (in the green harness) and Boo and the three puppies "attacking me" when I laid down on the floor. I had to cover my ears or they would have been nibbled off. When I rolled over, Mandy got on my stomach (and I had to protect my face so that no one scratched me with their paws).

21 Jan
Puppies nursing. There is more room now that there are only two puppies.

22 Jan
I am still trying to teach Ophelia to go in and out my doggy door. I think Ophelia is trying to teach me to hold the door open for her.

The puppies stare longingly when I let my older dogs outside my fence line for a run in the field and forest. But the puppies are too young for me to let them out.

23 Jan
Mommy Portia and Tommy playing "tug-of-war" with a chew stick.

Tommy and Ophelia attacking a box that I will let them destroy.

I had fed puppies and dogs and was cooking dinner for myself. I turned around to find Tommy and Ophelia, who had been watching me, had fallen asleep. Notice their large stomachs after eating a big dinner. I call this the "tick look" as they look like ticks - all stomach.

Week 12

24 Jan
The puppies are eleven weeks old today. Tommy weighs 2660 grams and Ophelia weighs 1630 grams.

I took this picture of mommy Portia nursing Ophelia around 3 am. I had taken the puppies outside to potty, had brought them back in, and picked up Tommy and put him back in his crate. When I came back I found Ophelia nursing. This may be one of the last times that Portia lets a puppy nurse, as she is definitely cutting the puppies off. Portia certainly looks a mess. As soon as she stops nursing, I plan to strip her.

Ophelia finally seems to have figured out my doggy door and is now coming inside on her own. We are now working on learning to go outside. She continues to want me to open the door for her.

After two days of no potty accidents in the house, today we had two accidents. So the "days since last potty accident" clock gets set back to zero.

Tommy peaking out of a box.

Ophelia looking up at me

25 Jan
With just the hint of the sun on the horizon this morning, the puppies wanted to get up. After taking the puppies out to potty, I let the puppies be on my bed while I laid down to hopefully get some more sleep. Little chance! I had to guard my ears, eyes, and nose from sharp puppy teeth.

Today the puppies met Mr. Dremel (the wood working tool, not a person), that I use to keep my dog's nails short. Because of their black nails, it can be easy to cut Norwich nails (which are really claws) too short and cause them to bleed. I prefer to use a dremel to keep my dogs' nails short. I smeared some goopy Nutri-Cal (which is mostly sugar) on their face, then quickly touched the rotating dremel head to the tips of the nails of one paw. Then I repeated the Nutri-Cal treatment for the next paw.

We travelled to the city again today. Mommy Portia, Tommy, and Ophelia will be spending the night at Jennifer and Keith's house with cousin Boo and brother Bear. Here are the three puppies together again - Bear sniffing cousin Siri's butt, while Tommy and Ophelia check out Jennifer's feet. Ophelia had to tip the teeter again. (You can see Jennifer's hands, as Jennifer was afraid Ophelia would fall off.) Then all three puppies played at the end of the teeter after Ophelia tipped the teeter.

26 Jan
Ophelia playing with a toy at Jennifer and Keith's house.

Tommy (at the top) and Ophelia napping after we returned home. Visiting relatives is exhausting!

While Tommy is all boy, he still squats to pee like a girl. It will not be until puberty hits that he will start lifting his leg.

I can always tell when the puppies are ready to go into their crates for the night. Like young children, puppies get hyper in the evening when they are very tired. A few minutes after I put them in their crates, I find the puppies fast asleep.

27 Jan
My other dogs were outside my fence running in the field and nearby forest. So I brought Mandy in to play with the puppies. But Mandy, Tommy, and Ophelia were more interested in the dogs running in the field.

I caught this cute moment when Ophelia and Tommy - just waking up from a nap - were watching me. They even let me get a close up shot.

Ophelia dreaming of being Underdog.

The puppies tackled mommy Portia right before lunch and did a little nursing. There was much slurping, but I do not think the puppies got much milk as the puppies ate a full lunch. I wonder if this will be the last nursing of this litter. Portia certainly has been a good mommy.

Jennifer and Keith reported to me that because of some crust around Bear's penis, upon the advice of their vet, they collected some urine from Bear and had it analyzed. The analysis showed that there was bacteria in the urine, indicating a urinary tract infection (UTI). Bear was started on antibiotics. So I went out today to collect some urine from the puppies. I find this difficult even with my adult dogs, as my dogs do not like me shoving a collection tray underneath them when they are trying to pee. To my surprise, I was able to collect some urine from little Ophelia. I immediately took the urine sample to my vet - you want the urine to be fresh for a urinanalysis - who analyzed it and reported that Ophelia also has a urinary track infection. I started Ophelia on antibiotics (Clavamox) at dinner time.

28 Jan
With Ophelia and Bear having a UTI, what about Tommy? I made it my mission today to collect some urine from Tommy. He was not very cooperative ... jumping away when I stuck a collection pan underneath him when he was trying to pee. But I finally got a small sample - not enough for a full urinanalysis - but enough to confirm that Tommy also has a UTI. So I started Tommy on Clavamox - a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, a UTI is the most common infection dogs get, caused by bacteria on the body or in the gut invading the urinary track. It is estimated that approximately 14 percent of all dogs will get a UTI some time during their life.

I have had older dogs get a UTI, but never before a puppy. And it is weird that all three puppies came down with it. But perhaps not too surprising given that the puppies have all been exposed to basically the same things, and have spent a lot of time jumping and rolling on each other. While I would like to know the cause, I may never know ... and I can only hope that the antibiotic will clear up the infection.

Ophelia chasing my robot vacuum cleaner.

29 Jan
The puppies have been sleeping longer and longer in their crates at night. The rule of thumb is that a puppy can "hold it" in a crate for as many hours as it is old in months. However what I have observed in this and previous litters is that at night puppies hold it for as much as an hour extra. Usually it is Ophelia who wakes me up with a soft cry wanting to go out. Tommy often would prefer to stay in his crate sleeping. But when one wants to go out, both go out.

After potty business at the crack of dawn I have been letting the puppies come up on my bed while I try to get some extra sleep. After some attempts to eat my ear, Tommy and Ophelia have been settling down snuggled next to me and going to sleep. This morning rather than just dozing, I was able to get some extra sleep.

When I finally get up - or rather when the puppies' stirring wakes me up - we have another potty break. Then I fix and feed breakfast for the puppies and my older dogs ... and finally me. While my adult dogs gobble down their food, the puppies take a more relaxed time, eating some kibble, walking away, then coming back for another couple of bites. It can be hard to know when they are finally done. But I give them a reasonable amount of time, then I pick up what has not been eaten. It is not a good idea to leave food down for a puppy all day ... as that way leads to obesity. And at my house, my older dogs would eat any food left down.

After the puppies have breakfast, I hustle them outside as I know that they will have to poop. Once I have seen some solid business, we come inside. After a few minutes of play, the puppies settle down for a nap on one of the pillows around my house. I then get to finish my breakfast.

After a nap, it is time to play. I caught this moment of Ophelia on top of cousin Siri who is on her back, while mommy Portia is playing with Tommy. Play is rough among terriers!

There were some potty accidents in the house today, which I attribute to the UTIs. But I did watch one time today as Tommy headed to the door and - before I could get up to help - he went outside on his own to the grass and peed.

Other than some potty accidents and some dribbling, I would not have suspected that Tommy has a UTI. He is acting like he always does. Ophelia on the other hand seems to have a decreased appetite, has thrown up, and has diarrhea. Possibly the antibiotic is the cause of some of this. I am watching her carefully. So far she is still active. But if she turns lethargic, we will be going to my vet.

To encourage more drinking of water (to flush the urinary track), I have been giving the puppies regular chicken broth to drink. Hopefully the extra salt in the broth will increase thirst.

30 Jan
Ophelia seems much better today. She has her normal appetite, and her diarrhea seems to have stopped. (Her stool is now the consistency of soft ice cream.) I really think that it was the antibiotic that was throwing off her system.

Tommy keeping Ophelia warm.

While getting ready for bed in the evening, Tommy ran up the ramp onto my bed and seems to be saying "I would rather sleep here". (Instead I put him in his crate for the night.)

Week 13

31 Jan
Tommy and Ophelia are twelve weeks old today and weight as follows: Tommy, 2890 grams; Ophelia, 1735 grams.

After taking Tommy and Ophelia out to potty around 3 am, I said "What the heck" and let them get into bed with me. Both quickly settled down snuggled next to me and we all slept until sunlight started to peak over the horizon. Both Tommy and Ophelia seem to like to burrown underneath the covers. This morning Ophelia was playing at my feet while I got dressed, but suddenly turned and ran out of the room. I next heard my dogggy door, but could not see who had gone through. I looked outside and saw Ophelia doing her potty business. It is nice to see that my house training efforts are having an effect.

Both Tommy and Ophelia went to the vet today to get their second puppy shot. (Tommy is in the crate on the left; Ophelia on the right.) While waiting for the vet, I took this selfie of Tommy. Besides his puppy shot, Tommy also got his microchip and certificate of health since he will be going to his new home tomorrow. Ophelia just got her puppy shot. Since Ophelia will be staying with me, I would like her to get a bit bigger before she gets microchipped.

Afterward running some errands, we drove where aunt Mandy and cousin Siri had an agility lesson. Tommy and Ophelia got to watch and play with the instructor's daughter. After the lesson we played with the puppies, and even got Ophelia and then Tommy to get up on an agility table by themselves.

1 Feb
I started the day by traveling to Jennifer and Keith's house so that Portia's litter could have one last get together. Here are Ophelia, Portia, and Tommy on the top step, Bear on the next step, and cousin Boo on the bottom. I caught this nice photo of Tommy (on the left) and Bear. I could not get everyone to look at me, but I got this photo (from left to right) Ophelia, cousin Boo, Portia, Tommy, and Bear.

Leaving Ophelia for a play date with brother Bear, Portia, Tommy, and I travelled to Tommy's new home. Here are Tommy's new owners, Kristy (holding Tommy) and Christopher (holding Portia). I know Kristy and Christopher will take good care of Tommy. However Portia and I had a a bittersweet ride as we drove to pick up Ophelia before heading home.

Ophelia is staying with me, so that brings this puppy blog to a close.

Kristy and Christopher have told me that they plan to call Tommy by a new name - "Valor".