Here are two ultrasound pictures:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Green has pulled ahead of his brother in the weight race game.
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.
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.
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.
The puppies are sill only sleeping or nursing.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Jennifer and Keith took the following pictures during the weekend:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.)
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:
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.
In the evening I picked up Portia and the puppies for the drive home.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Mommy Portia "toughening up" Ophelia. Portia is grabbing at one of Ophelia's legs until Ophelia fights back.
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).
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.
Tommy and Ophelia attacking a box that I will let them destroy.