Polly's 2020 Litter

Pregnancy

15-20 Jun 2020
Polly ("Shaksper Hippolyta RN OA AXJ NF CGC") was bred by side-by-side AI (artificial insemination) to Gunner ("CH Coventry's Have Gunner Will Travel CGC TKI") owned by Darrell Roy.

Polly is a "fluffy" Norwich. This means that Polly has two copies of the (recessive) long coat allele that makes a long (and soft) coat. So Polly does not look like a typical Norwich, either in terms of the feel of her coat or its color. In the picture, Polly is shaved down. Gunner does not carry the fluffy allele, so any puppies from a Gunner x Polly breeding will have a normal Norwich coat.

Polly lives in Maryland with her primary owner, Lynn S. I sold Polly to Lynn under the condition that I could breed Polly for one litter. The plan is for Polly to come stay with me for the last two weeks of her pregnancy and for the three months while Polly is raising her puppies. After that Polly will return to Lynn, who intends to spay Polly.

17 Jul
Ultrasound today shows that Polly is pregnant with possibly four puppies. It can be difficult to accurately count puppies using ultrasound. The ultrasound picture seems to indicate that one puppy is in one horn of Polly's uterus, and the other three are in the other horn.

5 Aug
I picked up Polly today from Lynn. (We met in Virigina halfway between our respective homes.) Polly spent the rest of the day checking out the dog beds in my house.

Polly clearly remembers me. (Dogs never forget their breeder. I suspect it is because our scent in imprinted as a very early memory.) Polly also vaguely remembers my house. But she is clearly a bit confused about the change in her living arrangements, especially being so far advanced in her pregnancy.

7 Aug
Polly had a "meet and greet" appointment with my repro vets at NC State University today. Polly had an ultrasound, and my vets said that they also think there are four puppies in there. (Although on the written discharge paperwork they said "three, possibly four" as ultrasound is an unreliable way to count puppies.) They said that all the puppies seem to be doing fine. Here is a picture from the ultrasound. In pre-pandemic days, I would have been in the room and the vets would have been pointing things out to me. Now of course, I have to wait in my car while they take Polly inside. I think that is a puppy at the top of the picture, with the head on the left and the spine being the bright line in the middle.

12 Aug
Some pictures of a very pregnant Polly ... and she still has about a week to go!

13 Aug
Today was x-ray day. The x-ray showed that Polly is definitely carrying four puppies. My repro vets could see four distinct spines. Also my repro vets measured the size of the puppys' skulls and the size of Polly's pelvis. My repro vets recommendation is to let Polly try to free whelp the puppies, as they think the puppies - even if they grow a bit - will fit through Polly's pelvis.

I am now taking Polly's temperature several times a day. At first to get a baseline, but later to watch for a temporary drop in temperature which will indicate that labor will start within the next 24 to 48 hours. Because Polly was bred so many times, we do not have an accurate "due date" other than "sometime next week". Monday is the day when I will start watching Polly closely for any changes in behavior - panting and digging (nesting) - that might indicate stage one labor. Stage one usually lasts for several hours before stage two labor - active pushing - begins.

About now is when I start feeling like Prissy in "Gone with the Wind" ... "Oh, Miss Scarlett! I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies!".

16 Aug
This morning I saw a one degree drop below Polly's normal temperature. And then she did not finish her breakfast. Polly has done some nesting this morning, and then turned her nose up at lunch. So I think Polly is in stage one labor. Thus I am putting my whelping plan into effect. I am taking my other dogs to my petsitter, and Polly and I are going to a hotel near the NC State Vet School. If there are any problems with Polly's whelping, I will be close to the NC State veterinary emergency room.

Week 1

16 Aug
In the afternoon Polly and I checked into a room at a hotel near the NC State veterinary school. While I got everything arranged, Polly checked out the room. I then put Polly into a pen that I had setup and she mostly stayed in her crate. Around 5:20 pm, I noticed that Polly had had a green discharge. Green indicates placental separation. I immediately called the emergency number for my repro vets. The vet who answered advised that I wait 15 minuted to see if a puppy appeared. After 15 minutes and no puppy, I was told to bring Polly to the vet school to be checked out.

Polly was examined and I was told that the puppys' heartbeats all were in the normal range. Polly was given a shot of oxytocin to encourage contractions. After a wait and still no puppies, Polly was given another dose of oxytocin and again we waited. Around 8:30 pm and still no puppies the vets decided that a cesarean section might be necessary. They told me that Polly was having strong contractions, but they were only seeing minimal movement of the puppies. They said that they were going to start prepping for a c-section. If Polly started having puppies naturally, the surgery could be cancelled.

All this time because of the pandemic, I was waiting in the parking lot. Fortunately the weather was nice. I was keeping Polly's primary owner informed about what was going on both by text messages and phone calls. I went back to the hotel, packed up our things, and checked out. No matter how Polly had her puppies, we would be driving back home.

Around 10 pm, I got a phone call from the resident (junior) repro vet that Polly's c-section was starting. A 11 pm, the attending (senior) repro vet came out to tell me that Polly and her four puppies were all doing well, and that it was two boys and two girls. He apologized that it had taken so long to start the c-section, but explained that an emergency hospital has to prioritize and that it takes time to clean up and setup a surgical suite for another procedure. I asked, but he said that he did not have a good answer as to why Polly was not able to deliver naturally. Polly was having contractions, so it was not a problem of uterine inertia. The head of the puppy in the birth canal was not too large - he said he could get a finger around the puppy's head when examining Polly - so it was not a problem of fetal-pelvic disproportion. So we are left with a mystery. Shortly afterwards, I got my first look at the puppies. Polly was still pretty groggy from the anesthesia.

We then began the long drive home. The puppies traveled in a covered box with a hot-water bottle to keep them warm. I could tell from the noise coming from the box that some of the puppies did not appreciate this new mode of travel. We arrived home around 1 pm.

I put Polly in the whelping box next to my bed. (Nursing box would be a better name, but everyone calls them whelping boxes.) I gave Polly a squirt up the nose of an oxytocin spray to stimulate her maternal instincts. At first Polly wanted nothing to do with these strange creatures that I put next to the side of her belly. She would move to the other side of the whelping box. But on the fourth attempt and with the puppies starting to suckle, Polly's maternal instincts kicked in and she started licking the puppies. At that point I heaved a sigh of relief. I kept watch for a while to make sure there was no further problems, but then around 2 am fell into bed and turned out the light.

17 Aug
I woke up a couple of times in the night - especially when I heard a sound - checking on Polly and her puppies. But Polly had everything in hand, with the puppies tucked up underneath her to keep them warm. For the first two weeks or so, puppies can not regulate their own body temperature. Here is what I saw when I woke up and mostly throughout the day:

This morning Polly was very concerned when I took the first puppy to be weighed, even though I was sitting with the scale just outside the whelping box. But Polly relaxed somewhat when she saw that I gave the puppy back. However Polly kept a sharp eye on me the whole time.

Here are the puppies, their birth weights, and you can read their morning weight on the scale. (I will be weighing the puppies twice a day for the first three weeks or so.) The vet school puts colored velcro collars on the puppies. I dislike this type of collar on puppies, preferring colored yarn. (Both have their advantages and disadvantages.) I will replace their collars in a day or so. Until I do, I will refer to each puppy by its current collar color and its future collar color.

It is not unusual for puppies to lose weight in the first 24 hours or so after birth. The fact that the two girls gained some weight overnight indicates the Polly is starting to produce milk.

Later in the day, I was talking on the phone with Polly's primary owner and also watching Polly and her puppies. I noticed Polly's head bobbing up and down as if she was struggling to stay awke. Finally Polly laid down. I think this was the first time Polly had laid down since we had gotten home. I know that I was exhausted after a short night's sleep; I can only imagine how tired Polly must feel.

Puppies nursing. The blue wrap is where Polly had her IV catheter in her leg for her surgery.

Mostly my job for the next couple of weeks is to act as Polly's butler - putting food and water in front of Polly so that she does not have to leave the puppies. Usually Polly stays seated, but this time stood up. Polly is eating cottage cheese to keep her calcium levels up. Hypocalcemia (low calcium) is a common problem of lactating bitches ... and it can be deadly.

Orange/Pink has already learned that one way to reach a nipple is to lay on one's back.

In the evening, a pile of puppies.

18 Aug
At this morning's weighing, all the puppies had exceeded their birth weight - which is good. If it seems like Polly is always panting, she is. But it is not because the room is warm, although I do keep the room around 80 degrees to help keep the puppies warm. Rather Polly's panting is because producing milk is hard work that requires oxygen and getting rid of waste heat. Polly's belly is warm to the touch.

The two brothers, White and Blue, sleeping next to each other, while Green uses her sister Pink as a pillow. The reddish glow is from my heat lamp. When Polly leaves the whelping box, I turn on the heat lamp on to keep the puppies warm. Usually right after I turn the heat lamp on, Polly jumps back in the whelping box. So I have to turn off the lamp otherwise Polly gets too warm. A butler's job is never done.

Since Polly had surgery, I have been taking Polly's temperature daily to make sure that there are no residual problems. Today I discovered that Polly has a low-grade fever ... but it was close enough to what is considered a high-grade fever (102.5 degrees for dogs) that I called my repro vets for advice. I was also concerned because it seemed to me that Polly was not drinking as much water as she should. (Producing milk requires lots of water.) I was advised to keep an eye on Polly and add some Gatorade to her water (as the sugar would make the water sweet and encourage her to drink more). Naturally I did not have any Gatorade in the house. After I got some from the local grocery store, Polly turned her nose up at this funny tasting water. In the later afternoon, Polly's fever was down but in the evening it was back up again. Polly's fever did not seem to affect the puppies who continued to nurse and gain weight.

19 Aug
I was up several times during the night checking on Polly. Polly's fever and lack of water intake had me worried. I started using a small syringe to give Polly water by mouth, which she licked from the syringe and seemed to appreciate. By morning, both Polly and I were exhausted. As far as I could tell, Polly had been sitting up all night panting and licking her puppies. Unfortunately Polly still had a low-grade temperature and was not finishing the food I put in front of her. (The old adage is that if a Norwich is not eating then the dog is either sick or pregnant. Norwich love to eat!) Fortunately Polly's puppies were all still gaining weight.

The boy White seems to be the explorer of the group. I always seem to find him crawling around the whelping box away from the others. He does not seem in distress, just on a mission. White is also leading the puppies in the race to gain weight. The girl Green is bringing up the rear, but gaining weight.

Later in the morning, Polly finally laid down and got some sleep. I heard her yip while having a dream. But when she woke up, she continually kept digging up the bedding in the whelping box (which I had to straighten). Polly felt hot from her fever, so was trying to "dig" down to cooler ground. With her temperature slowly rising (although still low grade), I called my repro vets and got an appointment.

I loaded Polly and her puppies in a large crate and we made the trek to NC State. When we got there, they took the crate with Polly and her puppies inside. Polly's blood chemistry showed an elevated white blood count, which indicated an infection. The attending repro vet diagnosed mastitis on Polly's right rear teat. Now I have been flipping Polly over on her back once a day to check her c-section incision for any redness (which would indicate infection) and also to check Polly's teats for any redness or stiffness (which would indicates mastitis). However I have never seen mastitis and I had only read about it. The attending vet told me that we had caught the mastitis early. We then waited to get some antibiotics from the veterinary hospital's pharmacy. (Also I made sure that there were still four puppies in the crate with Polly!) After which we headed home, and upon arrival I gave Polly a dose of the antibiotic. I checked Polly's temperature, but it had continued to rise. Again I gave Polly water to lick from a syringe. When I checked Polly's temperature before turning in for the night, her temperature was still rising. Evidently the antibiotics had not yet kicked in.

20 Aug
Checking Polly first thing in the moring, her temperature was back in the normal range. Yeah! And the puppies also had gained weight during the night. And Polly ate breakfast and drank normally. I was so relieved.

Green using her sister Pink as a pillow. Puppies are born blind and deaf, the only senses they have are feeling and smell. Their eyes open later (usually around ten to fourteen days after birth), and their ear canals open severals days after their eyes open.

Puppies nursing. Polly slept soundly for several hours this morning, including several yips as she dreamt.

When puppies nurse, they often push with a paw against the mother's stomach to help the milk let down into the nipple. This pushing causes a puppy's head to move backwards. So you get this bobbing motion of the head. Today I was watching all four puppies nurse, and their four heads looked like the pistons on an engine bobbing up and down.

Puppies at bedtime. A few minutes later they had crawled into yet another combination. Until mommy came back and it was time to nurse and sleep again.

21 Aug
Morning puppies. It is interesting how White and Green are the same shade, and Blue and Pink are slightly darker. All will be red or red grizzle. It will be interesting to see what color each will be as they grow up.

Polly checking out the crate in the playpen in my living room. I have set up the playpen for Portia and her puppy Gwynie to use as a whelping box. All my other dogs are coming home today.

Puppies nursing. The puppies eat until they fall asleep. And puppies nursing later in the day. This is really all that the puppies do ... eat and sleep. I am a bit worried about Green. She is not gaining weight as fast as the other puppies. Blue - who along with Green - were the two smallest puppies at birth, has pulled even in weight with his sister Pink.

The big news of the day was the return of my other dogs, including Portia and her puppy Gwynie. Both mothers were very interested in the other's puppies. Each tolerated the other being near her puppies. Polly seemed happy to have canine company, but was not sure about the extra puppy. Was she supposed to feed it? If so, she would need a lot more milk as the new puppy seemed like a whale (Gwynie is almost four weeks old) compared in size to her puppies. Or perhaps she was to trade her puppies for this new puppy? It was all very confusing.

I had planned for Portia and Gwynie to sleep in the playpen in my living room. That lasted about five minutes. Portia let me know in no uncertain terms that she was going to sleep in my bed as she always does. And I could not leave Gwynie alone out in living room. So I set up a small pen for Gwynie in my bedroom as an ersatz whelping box. This actually worked out better, as I could easily check on Gwynie during the night. But again Polly was confused. First Polly would go sit with Gwynie who seemed all alone (although her mother could easily see Gwynie from my bed). Then one of Polly's puppies would make a sound, so Polly would rush back to her whelping box to check and get everyone settled down. The Polly would return to siting with Gwynie. This must have happened at least four times until I turned out the light.

22 Aug
I think the puppies may be trying out for a synchronized dance troupe.

White, no surprise, is the first to reach the 200 gram weight mark. Blue has lapped his sister Pink and is now in second place. Green continues to bring up the rear. If I see the puppies nursing, I make sure Green has a spot ... even if it means pulling White off a nipple.

Polly has clearly put the puppies on a schedule (known only to her) and is spending more time during the day out in the living room with me. However if Polly hears a squeak from my bedroom, she immediately rushes back to check on the puppies. Here is Polly admiring herself in a mirrow.

Puppies nursing in the evening. The mat in the whelping box is staying more and more clean. While Polly is cleaning up after the puppies, Polly herself has slight - and normal - discharges from her uterus as the uterus heals from the c-section. I have two mats for the whelping box, one in use and the other being washed and dried.

Week 2

23 Aug
The puppies are one week old today and weigh as follows: White 225 grams, Blue 190 grams, Green 170 grams, and Pink 185 grams. At the evening weighings, Blue joined the 200 gram club.

Polly also gets weighed daily. I want to make sure that I am feeding Polly appropriately given that she is nursing four puppies. Polly also lost slightly more that half a pound when she had mastitis, so I want to slowly get her weight back up. Besides a quarter cup of cottage cheese a day (to prevent hypocalcemia), Polly is now getting slightly more than double the amount of kibble that she normally gets. This will go up even more as the puppies make increased nutritional demands on Polly.

It looks like Polly has a pom-pom. This is where Polly was shaved for the IV catheter for her c-section.

Pink seems to be the noisy one of the group. Whenever there is a cry from the whelping box and Polly goes to investigate - with me following - invariable it will be Pink who is the one making a sound.

Now that the puppies are one week old, I start to relax about any of the puppies having puppy lung development disease. Babies (and puppies) lungs continue to develop after birth. If a puppy has puppy lung development disease, the puppy initially seem normal but then starts to have difficulty breathing, and goes down hill quickly and dies. It is horrible to watch and no treatment is available. I have had two puppies with puppy lung development disease, and both their bodies were sent off for research. It is thought that puppy lung development disease may be related to alveolar capillary dysplasia in humans. The scientists are excited about possibly finding an animal model for this rare fatal disorder in human infants. Genetic studies are underway.

24 Aug
Puppies sleeping. Pink joined the 200 gram club today.

Polly is spending much more time away from the puppies now.

25 Aug
Morning puppies. Green joing the 200 gram club today, the last puppy to do so. I decided this morning that the collars on the puppies were getting a bit tight, so here they are with shiney new collars.

Canine mothers keep the whelping box clean by drinking their puppy's pee and eating the puppy's poop. The mother licks the puppy to stimulate the puppy to pee and poop. Here Polly has flipped Pink over and is licking Pink. (Notice that Pink has gotten her arm through her new collar, so I had to cut off her collar and fit her with a slightly tighter collar.)

Puppies nursing.

Evening puppies.

26 Aug
Sleeping puppies. When I check on the puppies now and find them sleeping, I am looking to make sure that each puppy is "twitching". Intermittent twitching is normal and is hypothesized to be because nerves are growing. Sometimes the twitches are very minor and I have to stare at the puppy for a minute or so to make sure I am seeing a twitch. Other times the puppy's whole body will give a big twitch. If a puppy is not twitching, that indicates a problem. Fortunately everyone is twitching.

Polly finished the antibiotic for her mastitis today. She seems all better, and the puppies are nursing from the two rear teats. Polly continues to spend more time with me during the day, but still spends the majority of the night sleeping with the puppies. Here is Polly about to go inside through my doggy door, with her cousin Ophelia.

Puppies nursing. Blue has already had enough and fallen asleep.

27 Aug
Puppies almost in a line. (Polly's food bowl is on the left. Polly had just finished breakfast.) We were up early, as my older dogs had an early morning agility lesson. I felt comfortable leaving Polly and her puppies at home alone for the morning. Polly had everything under control.

White and Blue both joined the 300 gram club today, with White holding a slight lead. Green and Pink are now close together in the weight gain race.

Another puppy audition photo for the June Taylor Dancers. (June Talor was the chorographer of a dance troupe on the Jackie Gleeson Show, where her signature was the overhead camera shot of the dancers making kaleidoscopic geometric patterns.)

28 Aug
This morning when I picked Blue up for his morning weighing Blue opened his right eye. At the evening weighing, Blue opened both eyes. But for the rest of the day Blue's eyes were firmly closed as he slept. None of the other puppies opened their eyes today.

The puppies do not always sleep in a pile. I suppose it depends on the temperature in my bedroom, which I keep around 78 to 80 degrees. It may also mean that the puppies are starting to learn to regulate their own body temperature.

Puppies nursing. Notice the tails in the air, indicating approval of the milk being served. Polly raised her head to check on what I was doing. But after realizing that the camera was no threat to her puppies, Polly put her head back down.

29 Aug
Pink joined the 300 gram club today and opened her right eye.

The puppies were in a nice arc. By the time I grabbed my camera, Blue (on the far left) had started to crawl towards Pink.

What I like to see ... puppies sleeping on their side. If a puppy spends too much time on its stomach, the force of gravity causes the puppy's chest to flatten (as puppy bones are very plastic at this age). This flattening can lead to a puppy being a "swimmer" who only crawls and does not learn to walk.

Blue is the first puppy to sleep on his back. The white patch on Blue's chest will "shrink" as he grows, until as an adult most likely the only white on Blue's chest will be a small line of white hairs.

Week 3

30 Aug
The puppies are two weeks old and weigh as follows:

The puppies are not still when they are on the scale, but crawling around in circles looking for mommy.

Some head shots of the puppies:

Pink had both eyes open at the morning weighing. And in the evening Green had both eyes open. So now all four puppies have opened both eyes. So I can scratch off one more thing off my "worry list", as sometimes puppies will have one eye stuck shut necessitating a trip to my vet. Also I was happy at the evening weighing to see some weight gain by Green, as his weight had been staying constant for over 24 hours - a cause for concern.

Now that the puppies are two weeks old, I start trying out names. This is going to be my "Henry IV" litter, as I was recently watching the Henry IV DVDs with Jeremy Irons as Henry IV and Tom Hiddleston as Prince Hal. For each puppy I need both a registered name ("Shaksper ...") and a simple "call" name. Names can be any character from the play or actor from the DVD or some combination or reference. (For example my girl "Siri" is "Shaksper Serena Mckellen" named after the the actor Sir Ian Mckellen.) Feel free to send me suggestions. I register puppies when they are three weeks old, so I have to decide upon names by then. Of course, when puppies go to their new homes, their new owners can call their puppy whatever they want - and sometimes do, not liking my choice. (And sometimes I am horrified at their choice!)

The puppies like to sleep underneath the pig rails.

Polly had to spend some time in her crate today, as I put a topical heartworm medicine (Revolution) on Polly and it had to dry before she was allowed back with the puppies. Revolution also kills cheyletiella mites. Cheyletiella mites are zoonatic, meaning that they will also infect humans. I can attest from personal experience that these mites are very itchy! Normally Polly's immune system keeps these mites under control at a very low level (unless Polly is exposed to a large number). However while giving birth, the female immune system is busy with other things, and these mites and various worms (normally encapsulated as spores) proliferate. Polly was given Revolution and also wormed before the birth of the puppies, was wormed again two days after giving birth, and is getting Revolution and another worming now.

Another audition photo for a synchronized dance troupe.

31 Aug
Green did not get the memo.

Polly nursing the puppies. It is getting crowded underneath Polly now that the puppies are getting bigger.

White and Blue both joined the 400 gram club today; White in the morning, and Blue in the evening. Green - still bringing up the rear - finally joined the 300 gram club today.

1 Sep
Puppies sleeping. The puppies may be able to open their eyes but the puppies still spend almost all the day asleep.

Green sleeping. And White after eating his fill.

2 Sep
Morning puppies

Blue has learned the most efficient way to get milk. Blue sleeping next to the purple bunny.

Polly with sagging teets. After Polly stops nursing and dries up, she again will have a flat stomach.

I stopped worrying about eyes too soon. This morning I noticed that Green's left eye was not opening, and it looked like there was white crust along the length of the closed eye. A gentle wipe with a wet cotton ball did not allow Green to open his left eye. So I called my local vet and got an appointment in the afternoon. Here is Polly and all the puppies in Polly's crate on the way to my vet. As I suspected, the problem was conjunctivitis - an inflamation most likely caused by bacteria - which dogs often get. My vet was able to gently pry Green's left eye open, stain the eye to make sure there were no scatches on the eye, and - seeing none - prescribd an antibiotic ointment for Green's left eye.

In the thirty seconds or so when the puppies are not nursing or sleeping, they are trying to raise themselves using their front two legs. While the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. The puppies will get up on one leg, then have trouble with the second and then fall over. I think I saw Pink briefly accomplish getting up on two front legs today.

3 Sep
Puppies nursing. The fourth puppy is around on the other side of Polly. Given the size of the puppies, it is crowded now at nursing time.

A fan of puppies. One can clearly see that Green (on the far left) is smaller than her siblings. Pink joined the 400 gram club today, leaving Green as the sole remaining member of the 300 gram club. Green is now approximately 50 grams lighter than Pink. As long as Green continues to gain weight, I am not too concerned but I am watching Green's weight closely. Green's left eye seems all normal today, although I will continue to apply the antibiotic ointment for several more days.

White sleeping, as mommy checks the whelping box to make sure everything is ok. Often I find the puppies sleeping underneath the pig rails.

In the evening I was watching the puppies right after they had nursed. Polly got out of the whelping box, and for thirty seconds or so the puppies kept looking for mommy before falling asleep. But while they were awake, the puppies looked like drunken sailors - they got up on one leg only to fall over, bumped into their littermates and fell over, etc. It was hilarious.

4 Sep
A pile of puppies. White is the first to join the 500 gram club today.

Two mothers - Polly (on left) and Portia.

Green sleeping with the purple bunny.

Blue trying to walk. All the puppies are trying to walk; coordination of four legs just needs to be worked out.

Puppies nursing. At nursing time there is a lot of slurping sounds. The puppies are generally quiet. Pink is probably the most vocal. Today rather than just a squeak, I heard Pink make a trilling sound as her mother cleaned her.

Besides twitching, the puppies will occasionally do a big stretch, then go back to sleep. Here is Green streching. Notice Green's left eye is open. I am continuing to apply the antibiotic to her left eye.

5 Sep
Blue overtook White today for first place in the weight race; Green (finally) joined the 400 gram club.

The puppies practicing on the ground their cheerleading squad routine.

Five-week old cousin Gwynie really wanted to see the puppies today. Finally I put Gwynie in the whelping box, and Gwynie licked the puppies ... but nobody wanted to wake up and play.

Week 4

6 Sep
This morning around 3 am I found Portia - the mother of my other litter - in the whelping box nursing Polly's puppies. Polly looked at me as if to say "What is going on?". I had to tell her that I did not know. Polly was not upset; Polly is very mellow and has always defered to Portia. After Portia left the whelping box, Polly got in, checked out all the puppies, and nursed the puppies some more. As this was my first time with two simultaneous litters, later that morning I checked with a breeder-friend who advised that as long as the mothers were ok with it, to allow both mothers to nurse each others puppies. Throughout the day Portia continued to get into the whelping box and nurse Polly's puppies. And later I found Polly nursing Gwynie, Portia's puppy. It all made me very confused!

The puppies are three weeks old today, and my pessimism turns to cautious optimism that they will survive. It is also name day. The theme for this litter is Shakespeare's play Henry IV. So their registered and call names are:

I should explain the choices. In the play, Hotspur and Mortimer are part of the rebel faction who fight with Owen Glendower, a Welsh chieften. So there is a "western" connection as suggested by the owner of the sire ("Coventry's Have Gunner Will Travel") of the puppies - just western Great Britain, not western United States. Lady Percy, the sister of Mortimer, was the wife of Hotspur ... and if you will recall White and Pink were the two largest puppies at birth. Shakespeare called Hotspur's wife "Kate" even though her real given name was "Elizabeth". This may be a problem for me, as my first Norwich was named Kate (but Kate from "Taming of the Shrew"). "Catrin" is a welsh name, and she was a daughter of Owen Glendower. In the play, Catrin could only speak Welsh and her husband, Mortimer, could only speak English. I tried cutsy call names, but in the end just decided to be traditional. Of course, call names can always be changed and frequently my puppies have several call names - "sock stealer" being a common one.

Today the puppies weighed as follows:

Polly later in the day nursing the puppies.

7 Sep
Kate joined the 500 gram club today.

Cousin Gwynie (who is almost six weeks old) figured out how to climb into the whelping box to play with the puppies.

Portia has continued to nurse Polly's puppies. If you look carefully, you will see five puppies in the photo! (Polly's puppies and Gwynie). Hotspur telling Gwynie "You are in my spot".

Ten-month old cousin Ophelia is also getting in the whelping box to play with the puppies. Here is Kate checking if Ophelia makes a good pillow.

Puppies playing watched over by second-mommy Portia with cousin Ophelia in the background.

8 Sep
Portia continues to aid Polly in nursing the puppies. I will not mention it again until I see a day when Portia does not nurse the puppies.

Morning puppies.

Hotspur sneaking up and attacking the orange dinosaur from the rear.

The puppies are now being active for a few minutes before they fall asleep.

9 Sep
Both Hotspur and Mortimer joined the 600 gram club today. Hotspur has retaken the lead from Mortimer in the weight race.

The puppies are much more active. Mortimer even began planning his escape from the whelping box.

The puppies got new collars today - not helped by ten-month old Ophelia who decided to TP my living room with the balls of yarn.

When Gwynie hardly touched her evening meal of "gruel", as an experiment I put the bowl in the whelping box with the puppies. The puppies thought this was a great present and cleaned the bowl! I have never had puppies so young interested in food.

10 Sep
Since the puppies liked baby rice and Esbilac - a canine milk replacement - I gave the puppies some for breakfast in a proper puppy feeding pan. Again it was a hit. Of course, Polly - like all moms - had to clean up the leftovers.

I moved the puppies out to the playpen in my living room for the day. There was much concern about this move from both Polly and Portia. At first the puppies did not want to come out of the crate. Or wanted back in, like Catrin here. And throughout the day, the puppies would occasionally realize that they were not in the whelping box and would sing out their displeasure at this change of venue.

But eventually the puppies came out - all except Mortimer who prefered the safety of the crate. No, that is not a dead puppy in the foreground - just Kate sleeping on her back. Later I found Kate had stuck her muzzle through the bars of the pen, and was sleeping with her head resting on one of the cross bars of the pan.

A nice picture of Polly.

Eventually, Mortimer came out and joined the others. Here are the puppies sleeping in the North-South-East-West position.

There was a little exploring of the play pen, but the puppies mostly slept ... and ate. Notice how there is really only room now for three puppies when nursing. Polly and Portia seem to be taking shifts feeding the puppies. All the puppies are gaining weight nicely. Catrin - still bringing up the rear - joined the 500 gram club today. But sleeping was still the major order of the day. Here are Catrin and Kate sleeping on the other side of the pen from Polly. Towards the end of the day, Mortimer went back into the crate to sleep. In the evening I returned the puppies to the whelping box for the night.

11 Sep
The puppies were a bit more comfortable in the playpen today. Mortimer is still sleeping inside the crate when I took this picture.

I keep an extra eye on ten-month old Ophelia when she is with the puppies. Ophelia can sometimes be rough with the puppies. But Ophelia can also be surprising gentle, like when I watched Ophelia lay down and lick a puppy.

The two mothers, nursing puppies together.

Note that Portia's puppy, Gwynie, is in the playpen also getting some milk. To my surprise, Gwynie mostly stays out of the playpen; seeming to realize that the playpen is for the younger puppies and no longer for her.

12 Sep
Hotspur and Mortimer both joined the 700 gram club today, with Hotspur holding onto his lead but hard pressed by Mortimer. Kate joined the 600 gram club today.

When in the playpen, the puppies often sleep inside a dog crate whose door I have taken off. Catrin was sleeping outside the crate.

Hotspur is the first to climb over the wall (the wooden block) and get outside the playpen. Mortimer was a bit more cautious, but quickly followed. Both puppies were not sure what to do next and found my tile floor slippery. I put both back in the playpen. Hotspur took a long nap after his excursion.

I have only been feeding the puppies breakfast of baby rice and Esbilac the past few days. I am amazed that with nursing from two mothers that the puppies are still interested in eating. The puppies are almost 4 weeks old - the age when I usually start trying to interest puppies in food. So at dinner time, I decided to try feeding the puppies dinner. After eating, the puppies feel asleep.

Note Catrin, who has fallen asleep in the feeding pan! The white specks are some baby rice that the puppies have gotten on them. Dinner was such a success that I fed the puppies another meal just before bedtime, which they gobbled down. So going forward I will feed the puppies four times a day.

Week 5

13 Sep
The puppies are four weeks old today and weigh as follows:

Polly and morning puppies. I can tell from the picture that it is morning because the puppies have not soiled the mats. Now that the puppies are bigger, Polly can not drink all their urine, so yellow spots appear on the mats during the day. And since I have started feeding the puppies - although the puppies are still getting most of their nutrition from their two mommies - Polly has said "Right, you clean up the messes." So add sanitation detail to my list of chores. This includes inspecting rear ends; and if necessary, cleaning any messy rear ends with a cotton ball dipped in warm water.

Mortimer "going over the wall":

Hotspur surveying lands to conquer. (The puppy pan is in the middle of the floor so that the older dogs will clean it before I give it a wash.)

Jennifer and Keith, their niece Rosalind, and their two Norwich came to visit today to see the puppies. So the puppies had their first trip outside where we were sitting.

Exploring the new environment is tiring and the puppies quickly feel asleep. Fortunately Gwynie had lots of energy to entertain us.

14 Sep
Catrin joined the 600 gram club today.

Three puppies wrestling. Mortimer and Kate wrestling. Puppy wrestling is like sumo wrestling - the objective seems to be to push the opponent over.

After the puppies eat and I see that the puppies no longer interested in the food pan, I let Polly in to clean up. This always generates renewed interest in the food pan by the puppies.

I watched Hotspur and Mortimer go "over the wall" together, then Hotspur went right along the fence and Mortimer went left. Obviously they could explore more area if they split up! Later I saw the two boys again escape from my puppy playpen, but this time with an objective - Portia and her milk. Afterwards Mortimer found a dog bed for a nap. This bed is one of Polly's favorites, so I expect that the bed has Polly's scent.

15 Sep
Kate joined the 700 gram club today.

Puppies eating breakfast. If the color of the "gruel" (baby rice) looks different, it is because I had to use a different milk source. I had not expected Polly's puppies to start eating so soon, so I misjudged the number of cans of Esbilac (puppy milk replacement) to have on hand. Consequently I have run out of Esbilac. (I have more on order.) So I am using goats milk (which most grocery stores carry) which can be used as a substitute for Esbilac - although Esbilac is better as it specially formulated for canine puppies.

I had to be out of the house for the morning. I did not want any of the puppies to go "walk-about" (get out of their puppy playpen) yet I wanted Polly to be with them so that the puppies could nurse. So I temporarily increased the size of the puppy playpen and locked Polly and her puppies inside (with a bowl of water for Polly). When I got home, I put the playpan back to its traditional shape.

Kate is the third puppy to "go over the wall". I did not see the escape, but only turned around to find her the middle puppy nursing from Portia. In the background you can see Polly getting into the playpen to nurse Catrin.

16 Sep
Both Hotspur and Mortimer joined the 800 gram club today. For the past two day, both have been exactly tied in their weight race to be first.

Morning puppies

When I put the food pan down, the puppies - even if asleep - seem to smell the food (probably the milk) and they come tumbling out of their crate to eat (usually lead by Catrin). Today as an experiment, for breakfast I also gave the puppies a mixture of ground puppy kibble mixed with goats milk. Hotspur, being the adventurous one, was the first to try this new food. Then the others came over to try it. But Catrin showed the most interest. Mostly the puppies licked up the milk. I doubt whether the puppies ate much of the kibble.

Nursing together - Portia nursing three of Polly's puppies and Polly nursing Portia's puppy. And later nursing together outside.

Instead of nursing with his siblings, Hotspur is off exploring my baby tunnel. Hotspur found the entrance yesterday, but can not figure out why he can not get in today. Kate went into the tunnel. (Portia watches from the other end.) And Catrin also went exploring in the tunnel ... and does not seem upset by the spider.

After exploring outside, I brought the puppies in for a nap. Catrin and Kate guard the entrance while the boys sleep in the back.

My dogs got scrambled egg on top of their kibble for dinner today. I gave some scrambled egg to the puppies, but only Kate seemed to appreciate my cooking. I suspect that the puppies have not yet figured out biting, only licking and sucking to get food. Mommy Polly was very happy to eat the leftovers!

17 Sep
Hotspur has pulled ahead of Mortimer in their weight race.

Today I wormed the puppies. Each got 0.1 ml of pyrantel pamoate (sometimes known by its brand name of Strongid). I use a small syringe and put the liquid in their mouth. Fortunately pyrantel pamoate must taste ok, as the puppies lick it up. This is actually the puppies second worming,as I wormed the puppies for two days ten days ago. Now we repeat for two days.

Morning puppies

The puppies are climbing out of the playpen more and more now and exploring. Here is Hotspur with my "tippy board" - actually a balance exercise board; there is a ball underneath so the board can tip in any direction. Usually I bring the tippy board out when puppies are older, but it was already out because of cousin Gwynie (who is three weeks older). Several of the puppies have played with the tippy board in previous days; this was the first time I could get a picture of someone on the board.

Two mothers nursing - Portia on the left, Polly on the right.

I often let cousin Gwynie into the puppy playpen to help clean up leftovers. Here is Hotspur checking Gwynie out by sticking his nose underneath Gwynie. I am not sure if Hotspur is being precocious or just looking for milk.

When the puppies are now out of the playpen, they are scattering in various directions - which makes keeping track of them difficult!

For dinner, my dogs got cooked ground turkey on top of their kibble. I gave some of the cooked grouned turkey to the puppies, but only Mortimer was willing to give it a try. Mortimer gave it the "four paw get in the pan and eat" seal of approval. So that Mortimer did not get diarrhea from eating too much of this new food, I let mommy Polly in early to each the rest.

18 Sep
Kate joined the 700 gram club today. Kate continues to bring up the rear in the weight race (but of course someone must). Kate continues to show steady weight gain so I am not concerned.

Mortimer is the first to taste the water from my dogs' water bowl. The water is green because of a water additive (Healthy Mouth) recommended by my dental vet that aids in plaque control.

Hotspur sleeping. Kate found a different place to sleep - in one of my big dog's crates. Perhaps Kate was attracted to the old pink tee-shirt in the crate. But more likely the attraction was the scent of mommy, as Polly likes to eat in that crate.

Mommies nursing together again.

Puppies playing outside. I am starting to take the puppies outside more as it is time to start potty training.

Finally some nice pictures of Catrin.

There was a near riot in the playpen at lunch time when I put in a small bowl of ground kibble soaked in Esbilac. Only two puppies could get their heads in the bowl at one time. I guess it is time to add ground kibble as a regular menu item to meals.

Mortimer is the first to discover my baby teeter and went back and forth tipping it several times.

19 Sep
Hotspur joined the 900 gram club today, pulling ahead with his lead over Mortimer. I noticed today that the puppies baby teeth are starting to appear.

Puppies at breakfast. The puppies will eat for a bit, then wander away from the "table", then come back for more. This often repeats several times.

As an experiment today, I put Gwynie in with Polly's puppies to eat lunch. Gwynie was not eating when I put her alone in a crate. Puppies often eat better when there is competitioin. Also I conjectured that eating together might help Gwynie bond with the puppies. I rated the experiment a success, and plan to feed all the puppies together going forward.

Even though the others are less interested, Kate and Mortimer are still interested in auditioning for a dance troupe.

All the puppies trying to nurse from Portia. The puppies are now so big that it is difficult for all of them to nurse at the same time.

Week 6

20 Sep
The puppies are five weeks old today, and weigh as follows:

Morning puppies. All the puppies were lined up with their front paws on the pig rail, but I could not grab my camera in time. It will not be long before the puppies will be climbing out of the whelping box.

Breakfast. For any given meal, different items seem to be popular. Sometimes it is baby rice. Other times it is ground puppy kibble. The two puppies in the bottom left have their snouts in a small bowl of unground puppy kibble. Cousin Gwynie continues to join the puppies for meals.

Mortimer and Hotspur sleeping together. This is their mother's favorite dog bed.

Puppies wrestling.

Mommy Polly posing with two puppies.

Puppies sleeping in a huddle.

21 Sep
Puppies out for their morning constitutional. Catrin at the top of the photo is pooping.

Puppies nursing

Puppies nursing outside. Cousin Gwynie has snuck in to get some milk. Portia waits nearby.

Mortimer and Polly sleeping together.

22 Sep
Catrin joined the 800 gram club today.

I had to be out of the house for the morning. So I temporarily expanded the puppy playpen again.

Mortimer and Catrin wrestling. The puppies baby teeth are now coming in.

Kate walking underneath aunt Portia. And later Kate taking a quick nap using mommy Polly's paw as a pillow.

Cousin Gwynie sleeping with Kate and Hotspur.

23 Sep
I have begun serious potty training of the puppies. As soon as I spot one puppy wake up from a nap, I try to get them all outside before there is an accident. After the puppies eat, we go outside for a while. And when I wake up at night, I now take the puppies outside to potty (along with cousin Gwynie). Puppies naturally want to keep their area clean. Sometimes at night a puppy will wake me up with its cry, and when I take the puppy outside the puppy will poop. I can carry two puppies at one time (and even three if they are not squirming too much). Carrying four puppies at one time is beyond me, and I have to make two trips to get all four puppies outside. (When you add cousin Gwynie at night, that is three trips.) The secret to potty training is consistency and avoiding as much as possible accidents in the house.

Around four this morning I got up to take the puppies outside ... and found Mortimer outside the whelping box. Mortimer had evidently climbed on a toy in the whelping box, then onto the pig rail, then gotten out of the whelping box. Mortimer was not distressed; he was just exploring! It will not be long until the puppies have to move to crates for the night.

At this morning's weigh-in, Hotspur is the first to join the one kilogram club.

I thought today might be the day when aunt Portia stopped nursing Polly's puppies. But late in the day I saw Portia nursing Gwynie and one of Polly's puppies. Polly does the majority of the nursing of her puppies. And Polly spends time in the evening with her puppies in the whelping box.

Kate laying underneath mommy. That is a lovely show stack by Polly and nicely shows off her proportions.

24 Sep
Kate joined the 900 gram club today.

Aunt Portia nursing Kate, cousin Gwynie, Mortimer, and Catrin. And later both mothers, Polly and Portia, nursing puppies together.

Polly sleeping with Kate. And later Catrin using Hotspur as a pillow. It is easier to get good pictures when the puppies are sleeping and not moving around!

Hotspur is the first to use my doggy door to go outside.

25 Sep
Mortimer joined the one kilogram club today.

From top to bottom - Hotspur, cousin Gwynie, and Kate. On a nearby dog bed, Mortimer was using Catrin as a pillow.

Puppies nursing with aunt Portia. Cousin Gwynie at far left; Mortimer is getting a lick from cousin Ophelia.

Catrin

Mortimer thinking about climbing up my drain pipe.

Hotspur (showing his rear end), Kate, and Cartrin at the entrance to my baby tunnel.

Catrin practicing her "Norwich stare" on her mother. Norwich are very good at using their stare to encourage people to feed them! And Catrin showing the effects of stress on a puppy.

At the evening feeding before bed, while the puppies ate their baby rice, they really chowed down on the puppy kibble. It is time to start fading baby rice from the menu.

27 Sep
At night when I take the puppies out to potty, I do not let them have the run of my fenced yard. Rather I have a small pen in which I put the first two, then go back for the other two. Around 5 am there was a puppy crying so I turned on the light and got out of bed to take the puppies outside. But there was only one puppy in the whelping box! In my sleep-deprived state, the first thought that ran through my mind was "Did I somehow leave the other puppies in the pen the last time I was up?" A quick glance outside my windown showed me that the pen was empty. I found the other three on a dog bed in my bedroom. They had evidently climbed out of the whelping box, and the remaining puppy was complaining of being left behind. Going forward there will be changes in the puppys' sleeping arrangements.

Later in the morning, all four puppies sleeping on the dog bed underneath my desk.

Catrin playing on my tippy board.

Two puppies sleeping on mommy's paws.

Cousins Boo and Bear and their owners Jennifer and Keith (along with their nephew Rosalind) came to visit again today. Jennifer - who has a much better eye than I do (and also a better camera) - took lots of pictures of the puppies. As Jennifer sends me copies I will add them here.

Some observations about the puppies.

When I put the food bowl down, the two girls are always the first to rush over and start eating. I suspect the two boys - who are now larger - are crowding the girls away from mommy's nipples when the puppies are all nursing together.

It used to be that when I took the puppies outside, that they would all try to stay together. Now they all scatter in four different directions. It is the same when they are loose in my living room. It often now seems that I am missing a puppy whenever I check on everyone.

Now that the puppies have teeth, cousin Gwynie is more respectful of the puppies. If Gwynie starts to play too rough, more often than not a puppy will turn on Gwynie with snapping teeth.

The puppies are wrestling (playing?) more and more with each other. Usually the girls play together and the boys play together, but not always. The boys are very similar - in size and temperament - to each other, as are the girls to each other.

Since the puppies have demonstrated that they can climb out of the whelping box, now at night they are locked into the box with a sliding panel. It also means that I have to raise and lower the panel when mommy or aunt Portia want to nurse the puppies - which is usually twice during the night right now.

Week 7

27 Sep
The puppies are six weeks old today, and weigh as follows:

  • Hotspur - 1120 grams
  • Mortimer - 1055 grams
  • Catrin - 915 grams
  • Kate - 950 grams

According to breeder folklore, puppies at six weeks look like miniature versions of what they will look like as adults. Going forward, differnt body parts will have different growth spurts. Breeder folklore says that at six months the puppies again look like they will as adults, then they become gangly teenagers until they become adults. Yesterday Jennifer took stacked and head shots of each puppy. I plan to post her photographs under 26 September when Jennifer sends them to me. (The puppies would not hold still for me today!)

Notice how floppy are the tips of Hotspur's ears. Later the puppys' ears will stand firmly erect.

Catrin can almost fit inside a cinder block.

Mortimer realizing that there are more worlds to conquer.

Puppies sleeping on the dog bed underneath my desk.

A swirling mass of Norwich.

Polly letting the puppies nurse. Now that the puppies have teeth, Polly (and aunt Portia) are starting to cut the puppies off from the milk bar, letting the puppies nurse for only a minute or so before moving away.

Three generations - Polly's mother Mandy on the other side of the fence from Polly and three of Polly's puppies.

Hotspur letting it all hang out for the world to see.

Catrin sleeping on Polly's rear leg.

Whenever the puppies are outside, I like to be with them. I have never had a problem, but young puppies are just the right size to tempt a hawk or owl. If an adult dog is outside with them, I will sometimes come inside for a moment to take care of something, but I always hurry back outside. Today I came inside to do something, and watched as Catrin went through my doggy door from the outside to the inside, and came over and got a drink of water. Usually my puppies first learn to go from the inside to the outside. Catrin just has to be different! And in the evening before I turned the lights out for the night, I noticed Catrin walking on a pig rail in the whelping box!

28 Sep
Two puppies sleeping on my bathmat while I took a shower.

Every time I think that aunt Portia has stopped nursing puppies, Portia proves me wrong.

Puppies wrestling. Notice the teeth.

Polly nursing a puppy underneath my porch chair.

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

Puppy wedged into a space to nap. Evidently it is a "safe" spot.

Cooked ground turkey over a bed of ground puppy kibble was on the menu for supper. Evidently the meal was a hit, as the puppies are eating "seconds" and they cleaned their plate a second time.

29 Sep
Kate became "Miss Kilogram" today.

Portia did not nurse the puppies the previous night, but did last night. It sometimes seems as if Polly and Portia have divided the nightime nursing duty; one taking the early shift, the other the later shift. Other times, one will nurse the puppies, then the other will climb into the whelping box and the puppies will nurse again. It is very amicable.

Empty plastic bottles make great toys.

Polly nursing Catrin and Hotspur. Notice how big the puppies have become in comparison to Polly.

I decided to change all the puppies' collars today as they were looking rather ragged. Hotspur decided to help me when I had the pink yarn.

Kate (with her new collar) making the tippy board stop moving.

In the evening, all the little darlings tucked up for the night.

30 Sep
Polly nursing her puppies. On the other side of the room Portia was nursing Gwynie. The two mothers were looking at each other.

Hotspur and Mortimer wrestling

Kate hugging with mommy Polly.

Playing on the tippy board.

1 Oct
When Polly comes in to eat leftovers, the puppies all take this as an opportunity to get some milk. Mommy does sort of a shuffle so she can continue to clean the plate but not let the puppies nurse.

Mortimer using sister Catrin as a pillow.

Hotspur has a new nickname - "Pigpen" - as he has already gotten his new collar dirty.

Mortimer with puppies playing in background.

Kate in my training earthdog-liner. Earthdog is a small-terrier dog sport that simulates hunting vermon. Dogs go underground through a 9 inch by 9 inch tunnel to reach rats in a cage (so the rats are not hurt by the terriers who want to kill the rats). The sport does not have much visual appeal ... watching it is like watching submarine races. But most terriers enjoy it and it is nice to see the dogs excited about what they were bred to do. My training earthdog-liner is a short 9 inch by 9 inch tunnel to get the puppies used to the size.

When we are outside and the puppies get tired of playing, they will often take a nap inside my training earthdog-liner. Here is Mortimer snuggled with his siblings.

Hotspur spooning with mommy Polly.

Polly nursing five puppies - her four puppies and her niece, Gwynie.

2 Oct
I always feel like the Pied Piper when moving the puppies from the inside to the outside or vice versa. I call out in a high pitched voice "Puppies, puppies, puppies, come" and four little puppies all come scampering towards me.

Morning puppies all fascinated by something.

Whenever I put the camera down to take a face shot, the puppies charge the camera. So some of these photos are not as sharp as I would wish.

Puppies playing with Mommy.

Aunt Ophelia was wrestling (playing? teaching?) cousin Gwynie. Mortimer was right in there, helping aunt Ophelia. After all, two against one is fun if you are one of the two.

The puppies - usually the boys - are making use of my doggy door again. The girls seem to prefer me to hold the door open for them. Partly this is a function of body size, because a puppy has to use a certain amount of force to open the doggy door. I often see a puppy up on its hind legs using its body weight to open my doggy door.

I have several DNA tests that I want to do on the puppies before they leave me. Today I swabbed the inside cheek of the two girls with a swab for a test that I am particularly interested in to help me decide which girl to keep. I will swab the two boys for this test later. So the puppies have begun their lives of contributing to science! To swab a puppy, I have to catch the puppy after it has a long nap but before the puppy can drink any water or interact with any siblings.

3 Oct
Catrin joined the kilogram club today. Now that all the puppies weight at least one kilogram, I can relax about their weight. They each have a little extra reserve in case of illness. I will continue to record their weight daily for probably another week, but after that go to weekly weighings.

I have stopped adding Esbilac (puppy milk replacement) to the puppies' food. The puppies seem content to eat dry food - mostly ground-up puppy kibble and sometimes regular puppy kibble that I also offer. Afterwards, the puppies want to get a drink of water ... or even better some milk from mommy. I would estimate that the puppies are now getting more than half their calories from kibble rather than their mother's (or aunt's) milk.

I am also starting to offer the puppies small bites of other types of food. The crushed blueberries I often put in their morning meal are disappearing. I often use human sandwich meat (usually turkey) as training treats for my older dogs, and I sometimes gives some to the puppies. When I feed kibble to my dogs at supper, I like to put something tasty on top - cheese, a teaspoon of wet dog food, etc. So now the puppies are getting a taste of whatever I am offering the older dogs. I think a varied diet is good for dogs, as it makes their gut bacteria more robust.

From left to right, cousin Gwynie, Catrin, and Kate.

This evening cousin Gwynie had the "zoomies" - Gwynie was racing around the house. (Like a young child, I think Gwynie really needed a nap.) In the most animated I have every seen Polly, she chased after Gwynie and tried to hold Gwynie down. I have also started to see Polly wrestling (teaching?) her puppies.

I know from having DNA tested both of the parents of the puppies that the puppies body color will be red (or possibly red grizzle). The dark black hairs that the puppies currently have are call "guard hairs". Some breeders strip out the guard hairs, but I prefer to let the guard hairs fall out naturally.

Week 8

4 Oct
The puppies are seven weeks today old and weight as follows.

Today is "Montgomery". Beginning in 1997, every year on this day I have been in Montgomery County Pennsylvania, where a terrier-only conformation show almost always has the largest gathering of Norwich terriers in the world. And the week preceeding is known as "Montgomery Week" as there are normally lots of terrier activities (agility, obedience, etc), talks, and club meetings held in Pennsylavania. Of course, this year because of the pandemic there is no Montgomery show and no Montgomery activities. The clubs have held Zoom meetings ... and while business has been done, it is just not the same as meeting in person, seeing old friends and acquaintences.

Puppies sleeping with mommy. And later, all the puppies taking a nap in another of their syncronized positions. I do not want to give the impression that the puppies spend all their time sleeping. The puppies spend a lot of time playing, wrestling, and running around outside - and inside! But I tend to get blurry photos when the puppies are moving.

Kate, cousin Gwynie, and Hotspur are nursing from aunt Portia. Eleven-month old aunt Ophelia looks on.

All the puppies gathered around grandmother Mandy on the other side of the fence.

5 Oct
For the past two nights, neither milkmaid (mommy Polly or aunt Portia) has wanted to nurse the puppies in the night. So this morning is the last time that the puppies will be in the whelping box.

Catrin was playing on my baby teeter. She went up the teeter, made the teeter tip, and then go bang as it hit the concrete. Catrin then immediately turned around and went back up the teeter to make the it bang again. Catrin must have done this three or four times in succession.

Cousin Gwynie and Catrin getting milk from aunt Portia. Mortimer looks on before joining a few minutes later.

Mortimer and Catrin wrestling.

Hotspur checking out a hole that does not go anywhere.

I had thrown a bed sheet on the floor with plans to take it to the laundry. Catrin decided it was a nice place for a nap.

Hotspur demonstrating his mastery of my balance board. Hotspur was able to stay on the board for a good minute without being thrown off.

Hotspur playing with a piece of spinach that accidently fell on the floor as I was preparing myself dinner.

Shaksper Towers open for new occupancy. And after the first tenants have moved in. Since the puppies are used to sleeping with each other, initially they will sleep two to a crate. The penthouse is reserved for cousin Gwynie who has been sleeping in a crate for several weeks now. Gwynie being older - by three weeks - gets to stay up later. Gwynie is allowed to play on my bed with my older dogs while I read or watch a movie in the evening. Gwynie usually falls asleep on my bed and then gets transfered to her crate. To my delight, none of the puppies complained excessively about the new sleeping arrangements.

6 Oct
All the puppies have given the bed sheet on the floor their approval as a place to take a nap. Since they seem to enjoy the sheet so much, I hesitate to put it in the laundry.

I had just about convinced the puppies not to bite my toes and ankles. Now we have had some chilly days causing me to wear long pants. The puppies think it is great fun to bite this new material at their level. Cousin Gwynie especially likes to bite my pant legs and hold on while I try to walk.

7 Oct
When I took my older dogs for an agility lesson today, I brought the puppies along. The puppies traveled in individual crates for a long car ride, got to meet their first Sheltie, and played with a young girl during the lesson. Polly came along during the trip and I got a chance to run Polly on an agility course.

You may have noticed that I took the puppies out in public before they had their first puppy shots. I assessed the risk to the puppies as low for the following three reasons:

1. Prior to the breeding, Polly was titered and the results showed that Polly has high levels of antibodies for distemper and parvovirus. Polly nursed the puppies during the first couple of hours after the puppies were born. During this time, the intestines of the puppies allowed maternal antibodies to pass from Polly into the puppies.

2. Recall that the puppies were born at NC State University via cesarean section. Following NC State's protocol for c-section puppies, the puppies were given serum from a donor dog. So the puppies got antibodies from the donor dog, in addition to the antibodies from Polly. (Although titering a sample of the donor dog's serum showed that the donor dog's serum did not have protection for parvovirus.)

3. I knew that any dogs that the puppies met during the outing would have been appropriately vaccinated.

When we got home, all the puppies took a long nap.

In the evening, the puppies went to sleep in Shaksper Terrace. As an experiment I put each puppy in their own crate. This experiment was not successful, with Kate leading the chorus of protest.

8 Oct
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is take the puppies outside to potty. Remember this is three trips (carrying two puppies at a time, and remembering cousin Gwynie). Then I take my protesting bladder to the bathroom so that I can potty. I then like to bring the puppies inside and feed everyone - puppies and adult dogs. Evidently this morning the breakfast chef was not quick enough, as Polly was already feeding all the puppies.

Polly wrestling (playing? training?) with the boys, while the girls also wrestled. Afterwards, there was a pile of tired puppies.

Catrin using brother Hotspur as a pillow.

I had a delivery today brought by a large freight truck. I was curious as to how the puppies would react to the noise and the unusual sight. I had all the puppies outside so that they could observe. I am happy to report that none of the puppies showed any fear. The puppies just watched with quiet curiosity as the truck rolled by.

For dinner, the chef put a garnish of tuna fish on the evening's kibble. This was met with great approval by all the puppies.

9 Oct
Catrin and Kate on the bed sheet in the corner. I washed the sheet, but since the puppies like it so much I have put it back in the corner.

The puppies have now explored the far reaches of my fenced yard. Other than a single nap in the morning, another in the afternoon, and a third after dinner, the puppies are up and playing. I - on the other hand - am exhausted from getting up with the puppies at night. The puppies can go through my doggy door if they want. But mostly they wait for me to open the door. Keeping track of the puppies and staying with them when they are outside is a full-time job ... and the puppies (and my other dogs) want me to do other things - prepare their food (very important to everyone!), clean up after puppy "accidents" in the house, wash the mats in the puppy play-pen, pay bills, etc. So more and more I have to trust that the puppies will be ok if alone outside during the day. (I still do not like to leave the puppies alone outside at night.) I want to protect the puppies, so this "letting go" is hard.

Today the puppies were not interested in a late night meal. So it is time to cut the puppies down from four meals a day to just three.

After taking the puppies outside for a last potty trip before bed, I put the ramp to my bed up. I wanted to see who would come up onto my bed while I watched a movie. Hotspur (the explorer) was first, followed by Catrin. The two played on my bed before falling asleep. Afterwards I transfered them to their crates for the night.

10 Oct
Puppy in a safe spot behind mommy.

It has been raining today so all the puppies including Catrin either looked liked drowned rats or fluff balls.

Kate practicing for her Playboy centerfold shoot. Notice that the patch of white on Kate's chest is slowing shrinking as Kate is growing. Eventually there will be just a single line of white hairs hardly visible on Kate's chest. I am told the same will be true of the white on Kate's chin. This is first time that I have had a puppy with white on the chin.

Kate using brother Hotspur as a pillow.

Hotspur and Mortimer playing tug-of-war with the cardboard center of a paper towel roll. The cardboard makes a great toy, but I have to get the cardboard away from the puppies before they shred the cardboard and scatter it everywhere.

Anytime I open the refrigerator door, I usually have a puppy sticking a nose in to take a sniff at all the interesting smells. If there is more than one puppy, I have difficult time closing the door.

Week 9

11 Oct
The puppies are eight weeks today and weigh as follows:

The puppies are now sleeping in individual crates, with only occasional protests.

This morning Polly was nursing her puppies and Portia was nursing cousin Gwynie. I have not seen Polly nurse Gwynie recently. I have seen Polly tell Gwynie "no" when Polly has come over to nurse. I have also seen Polly tell her puppies "no". I occasionally still see one of Polly's puppies sneak a drink while cousin Gwynie is getting some milk from Portia, but mostly Polly's puppies no longer rush over to nurse from Portia.

Puppies playing - wrestling in the foreground, playing with a toy in the background. My floors are a mine field of toys as the puppies scatter the toys around.

Catrin and Hotspur interested in something.

Polly wrestling (teaching? playing?) with the puppies. Evidently the reward for doing well is a drink. Polly's face is wet from playing with wet puppies as today was very rainy.

I have stopped grinding puppy kibble. The puppies now chew whole kibble just like big dogs. A little something on top of the kibble encourages eating. This evening it was cooked ground turkcy. And boy, are the puppies eating much more now! I wish I had purchased the big bag of puppy kibble last week, rather than the usual size bag that I normally buy.

12 Oct
Polly next to two of her puppies. And aunt Portia nursing cousin Gwynie. Gwynie is now eleven weeks old. Notice how big the puppies are compared to their mothers. To seems that the puppies are growing and changing every day right before my eyes.

I saw a puppy today biting at the concrete pad on my porch. So I knew it was time to go collect some sticks. Fortunately the nearby woods provide lots of sticks. The puppies thought the sticks I got were great to chew on. Sticks - natures's chew toy for teething puppies!

13 Oct
Catrin about to get a drink of water. The water is green because of a water additive (Healthy Mouth) recommended by my dental vet.

Puppies playing and mommy Polly supervising.

Puppies getting some milk from aunt Portia.

Catrin on top of Kate wrestling.

Mortimer next to cousin Gwynie. If Mortimer was standing, the size difference would not be so dramatic, but you can see the three weeks difference in their ages.

14 Oct
Some of Polly's puppies nursing, but Polly telling cousin Gwynie "no".

Polly's puppies went to stay with Jennifer and Keith today to have a play-date with uncles Boo and Bear. The rest of us went to an agility lesson. Here is mommy Polly on the A-frame. After all her mommy duty, Polly is very happy to get to do something fun. Cousin Gwynie got to play with a little boy, and be held by the boy, and also do some puppy and agility training.

Some pictures by Jennifer and Keith:

After further travels and adventures, we returned to Jennifer and Keith's house to pick up Polly's puppies. Here is Kate looking at me over an agility jump in Jennifer and Keith's back yard.

Cousin Gwynie getting some milk from her mother, Portia.

15 Oct
Hotspur using mommy Polly as a pillow.

Polly is under this pile of puppies (Polly's four and cousin Gwynie). Polly is actually letting the puppies nurse.

The puppies outside playing.

The two sisters, Catrin and Kate, were wrestling and it was getting too rough, so mommy came over to investigate.

Kate climbing over "aunt" Ophelia. Technically Kate and Ophelia are first-cousins once-removed. But Ophelia being older gets the honorific title of aunt. I think of Ophelia as being an adult, even though she is only eleven months old.

Catrin napping.

For dinner this evening, the puppies had a meal of kibble with a drizzle of cooked chicken liver. The puppies complemented the chef by cleaning their plate. My adult dogs had the chicken livers as a garnish to their kibble. It is getting time to start feeding the puppies individually in their crates, rather than having communal meals.

I am always amazed at how Norwich mothers will allow their puppies to nurse even as the puppies get older. I am definitely seeing a decrease in frequency in nursing, and I have not seen Polly allow cousin Gwynie to nurse in a couple of days. Here is Polly nursing three of her puppies.

16 Oct
A rainy day today, so the puppies all got wet when they went outside. Here are three wet puppies, trying to get warm using shared bodily warmth.

Mortimer with a stick he had been chewing.

A succession of shots of Hotspur running towards me: Pic 1, Pic 2, and Pic 3.

The puppies now are going in and out my doggy door at will. My doggy door is in my outside storm/screen door, with a hole in my main door in case both are closed. Usually I leave the main door open, so the puppies have an easy time going throug my doggy door. While I try to be careful when I am going in or out not to have the storm door close on or hit a puppy, it inevitably does happen. The puppies have learned to be careful around the door especially if I am near it. Sometimes they wait for me to go first and let the door close before they come through the doggy door. Other times they will come with me and race to beat the door before it closes.

17 Oct
Two puppies napping while mommy looks on.

Today was the start of deer hunting season in the rural county in which I live. My county allows hunting with dogs. So the local hunt clubs have packs of fox hound-type dogs that the hunters use to flush deer. Of course my dogs hear the baying of these other dogs and feel that they have to bark to warn off these other dogs. Occasionally some of the hunting dogs will get lost and come through the woods to my place. Then my dogs really start barking to chase these interlopers away! But none of the puppies seem disturbed by all the barking nor by the gunshots in the distance.

Catrin chewing on a stick. Catrin and Kate seemed to spend a lot of time wrestling today. It almost seemed like fighting with the older dogs sometimes breaking it up. Possibly the two girls were establishing their position in the pack. The boys just watched, their attitude being "like whatever". All the puppies have gotten the nickname of "evil puppy" - especially when I have to clean up a potty accident!

I have started to feed the puppies individually in their crates. I can not tell if the puppies like or hate this new seating arrangement.