13 June 2017
It’s not anyone’s birthday, today. It was our latest litter of Tibetan Terrier puppies’ birthday, yesterday. Happy birthday, little ones! And boy, did these puppies take their own sweet time making their way into the world. ;>)
Time is a gift.
To have spare time, to share time with a friend; both are wonderfully valuable. To remain hopeful when the going gets tough? That is challenging.
To sit for 18 hours watching and waiting? That is the opposite of having spare time. It feels frustrating and value-less. Feels a bit like you’re wasting time – but you are not. And you think about giving up hope.
Watching a pregnant dam live through contractions and the repositioning of the puppies inside her? It’s a longsuffering act of love. An important part of the bonding that happens, when a human helps an animal. A part not to be missed and an important part of the whelping process.
Billie’s previous two litters were unusual, in that we lost just about half of the puppies each time and there was no early stage of labor. Lovely, perfectly formed sable puppies. Strong, apparently well developed and with good body fat – but they didn’t even make it being born. Billie loves the cold and whelped the first puppies in her crate without a sound and without any apparent early stage symptoms. Both times, I found myself surprised – but ready with a warm whelping box. Both times, we had problems; problems I did NOT want to repeat. And the continued challenge of these problems is that I cannot understand why they happened. So, my new strategy was going to have to be all encompassing, in order to avoid them.
Nutrition was an area where I thought I might improve my strategy. This time during Billie’s last tri-mester, we fed freeze dried and frozen raw – something I’d not done with previous dams – and supplemented with puppy kibble & yogurt for the additional calcium & phosphorous, both mothers and developing puppies need for health and strength. We even added canned Fromm’s to the puppy kibble and presented food every two hours, during the last week. And of course, I made lots of organic sweet potato chips in the AGA. If Billie was the least bit hungry? There was going to be quality nutrition with probiotics in her face. ;>)
We de-wormed with Panacure, three weeks PRIOR to whelping and on Days 1, 2 and 3 of life – both the dam and the puppies. Had it been a parasite infestation? It wasn’t going to happen again. These things called ‘worms’ are often missed, as they are so common in the environment, a re-infestation can happen with exposure to leftover dog droppings in a field. The eggs can live for up to two years – even in VT, with our extremes of temperature. Between monthly doses of Interceptor and an aggressive de-worming protocol during pregnancy, we eliminated the possibility of parasites in this 2017 litter.
And we changed the sire.
As I racked my brain trying to think of any and all contributing factors? Changing the genetic mix came to mind and I chose one of my bred bys whose genetic heritage was closer to Billie’s, both on her father’s and mother’s sides. This, was going to be a breeding designed to maximize the heritage on her father’s side; an effort to produce a closer version of her father, Michael (RinChen’s Blazing Black Icon). And we did it by breeding Billie to Yogi, a male sired by her brother and out of Georgie Girl. Tempered with the best of my mentor’s breeding program and with my influence on her mother’s side, I thought this might just produce some magic.
And when the time came for me to begin my watch? I had help. And Billie had help. She had three human hand maidens who studied her every move and kept vigilant watch. Those first contractions at 9:15am on Sunday, June 11th? They were the beginning of a true early stage labor and Billie didn’t go fast; she went s l o w. Slowly, through the first 18 hours of discomfort and panting, as the puppies arranged themselves for their trip down the birth canal. And at a moderate pace of seven puppies in six hours during her active labor, the puppies arrived. Each was perfect, each was alive and each was male.
Thank you, Mother Nature, for sharing your humor with us. I get it. Everything in balance, at the end of the day. But out of balance along the way? It happens. ;>)
And huge thanks to Lynne Fardell of Sunsi Tibetan Terriers and Cheryl Mattiace, chef extraordinaire and wonderful friend. Your help to me and Billie was invaluable!
Now? Welcome Mario, Bravo, Luigi, Rumor, Boca, Baci and Nero! Our sweet angels who are vigorous, of sturdy size and bone – and alive! All of them! It is so exciting and a reason to hold onto that hope, especially when you feel like it’s slipping away.
We will be welcoming visitors again, later in July. These seven puppies have already been reserved by deposit. Our next breeding is expected to take place next week, with puppies available to their humans in October 2017.