19 October 2015
Unbelievably, it has been eleven weeks, since our 2015 puppies have joined us 3D. When you’re in the ‘thick of it’, every day feels 48 hours long. But then, when the puppies have left for their forever homes . . . it feels as though they’ve been gone much longer than they have. Thanks to the generosity of our forever families, we dined on hand made chicken pot pies, had French wine delivered, wonderful pastries, vegetables, foods prepared for late night nibbling and a huge plastic bin of Swizzlers! I took care of the puppies and the dogs – and our families took care of me. Thank you!
When it comes to reproductive cycling; as humans do, canine girls who live together, cycle together, and we had the good fortune of our two 2015 litters coming one day apart and both during daylight. Those of you unfamiliar with whelping won’t necessarily appreciate this – but those of you who’ve joined me or experienced this on your own will understand the beauty of afternoon arrivals.
Billie gave us her three puppies on the 3rd of August, while Gigi’s litter arrived EXACTLY 24 hours later. This was Gigi’s second litter and the puppies came more effortlessly than her first litter in December 2014. All six puppies arrived within a two hour window; two males and four females – black with white markings and white with black markings. One very interesting difference, though: Billie’s milk came in a couple of days prior to her whelping the puppies – so, when her puppies arrived, they had free-flowing faucets. Gigi seems to have whelped the puppies several days early and her milk didn’t fully come in, until a couple of days after the pups had been born. So, her puppies had to work a little more . . . but once that milk came in? It was all hands on deck!
Billie’s litter was more difficult to deliver and we lost four of the seven. All looked to be perfect on the outside and of solid weight, both at birth and when we examined them carefully post mortem. We believe that the placentas separated early and the puppies took a long time, coming down the birth canal. Whether Billie was nervous and tried to control what was happening; I don’t know. As a result of her first experience, I am considering a scheduled C-section for her next litter, as all puppies were gorgeous and I want to give every puppy the best chance possible to survive. Even at a cost of $2000, if we save one puppy, the procedure will pay for itself. And while losing puppies is part of the heartbreak and stress of bringing puppies into the world, in comparison to some other experiences – we had a relatively easy go of it.
This is the first time that we’ve had two litters at the same time and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s not twice as difficult as caring for only one litter. And while I know that I can’t rely on Mother Nature, I would welcome an opportunity to bring two litters into the world within such a short period of time, again! Since I whelp and raise my puppies on natural fibers, having two litters means that every time I clean the puppy beds, I have a full load of laundry to do! I have two Bosch washer/dryer sets – one, for humans and the other, for the dogs. With the heavy duty cycle, my pads and towels come clean and two loads each day becomes the rhythm. Once the puppies are fully weaned, the outdoor exercise pens get put into use and this eases the need for daily fresh linens. However, even when the ‘load is light’ – falling behind is NOT something I want to do, especially in hot weather.
Gigi’s puppies all had forever homes, before they were born, except for the female I thought I was going to keep. But I decided not to add a fifth animal to my pack and was happy to have a referral from a two time Kensington forever family who had been thinking of a Tibetan Terrier for a couple of years and everything fell into place easily. Little Vivi is now Chloe and has three older human sisters and three adults with whom to share her life. A happy life!
It is now October and we have only Big Ben from Billie’s litter with us. His forever family has just bought their first house and they need to fence in the yard and prepare for his arrival. They will come to join us in Stowe for our well known Halloween tradition and have a chance to relax with him and help entertain the kiddies, before heading home on Sunday. It will be a great opportunity to further Ben’s socialization by exposing him to 750 people in costume that night! And all at the front door!
I am fortunate to be able to board the animals I breed and so, I get to see them from time to time, either via photos or 3D. Studying the many personalities and intrinsic tendencies helps me to decide whether to repeat a breeding or to reach out and try something new.
We loved the puppies from these two litters and may repeat both breedings in February 2016. Time will tell!