Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Retirement Life

  The dogs are loving my retirement as much as I am!  Since I am home almost every day, they get to play in the yards all day long.  The ones who need to lose weight (Phoebe) are less chunky, the ones who need some toning (Sadie) are less flabby and everybody is getting groomed and nails filed on a regular basis.  Ben, at 11 1/2, has a new lease on life!  I make sure he doesn't over do and yesteday's rain seemed to aggravate his arthritis, but most days he has a spring to his step and is interested in the kennel happenings.  I'm spending much more time playing with the dogs and giving them one-on-one time.  Gibson seems to be benefiting the most from this, he's very relaxed and has become quite mischevious!  Even Dixie has settled a little bit, showing flashes of a sweet girl that will walk calmly with me and come when I call her.  But don't worry, "Bad Baby" is still her dominate character trait!
  I also get to spend much more time with the puppies and am marveling at big changes in a short amount of time.  When I was working, I wouldn't see puppies for 9-10 hours at a time and didn't get to see the little milestones or how quickly one development leads to another.  With this litter, I've seen how much can happen in just a couple of hours!  One eye opens, then the other, followed by the ears--suddenly, the same noise I made an hour earlier scares them.  Just as quickly though, they recognize my voice and scent and are eager for me to pet them.  They manage to stand up, start walking in no time and within a day are running!
  Yep, life is good!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two Weeks Old!

  The puppies are now two weeks old.  For those not on Facebook to know this update, we had another loss yesterday.  The tiny girl died early in the morning.  I'm not sure what caused it, but she was not gaining as quickly as her bigger siblings.  Often in the last week and a half, I'd find Jewel feeding her separately from the others so I didn't think I needed to supplement her.  She was moving well, trying to stand and was almost the first to scoot to Jewel when it was feeding time for the whole crew.  Friday morning, I found her and Jewel outside the box.  I think she was still nursing when Jewel left the box and being tiny, Jewel must not have realized she was still hanging on.  Perhaps when the pup fell off the nipple and hit the floor she was injured?  The heat lamp also burned out during the night on Saturday and the room was cool when I discovered it.  I got the tiny pup warmed up and started to supplement as she wouldn't nurse anymore.  At first it seemed she was responding, but while she would swallow the formula, she wouldn't suckle.  She would still scoot over to Jewel but wouldn't try to nurse.  It seemed she was behaving by instinct and had lost ground developmentally.  When I went into the nursery first thing yesterday morning, I knew she was gone.  Jewel was laying in the box, puzzled by her still baby but still wanting to mother her.  Jewel's been good with her smaller family and was not distressed when I took away the little pup.
  The remaining six puppies are fat and active.  Jewel is not nursing them continuously but she still needs a lot to eat to keep up with their demands.  She's eating about six cups of food a day!  I'm sure she'll be glad when it's time to introduce cereal.
Here are some birthday pictures:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jackson at Casanel Vineyards

  On Saturday, we took advantage of being within walking distance of a winery and took Jackson to Casanel for an afternoon of relaxing and listening to live music from a local band, Andy Hawk and the Train Wreck Endings  (makes for a very cheap date!).  That was the farthest Jackson has walked on a leash!  He did pretty well and enjoyed himself on the patio.  The only available table was closer to the band that I wanted to be, but Jackson was fine with it.  He got to make the rounds of the other tables and meet the band, then quickly realized he would far more enjoy the cheese I brought for us than his dog cookies.  I made him "show" for his cheese, then let him drape himself across my legs while I listened to the music.  We realized while we were at Casanel that it was Jackson's birthday!  He's 3 months old!  So of course, he got to finish off the cheese plate. We decided we needed to go home after some Boston Terriers arrived and didn't want Jackson near their table, or even near our table.  Their owners kept saying everything was fine, but when the dogs rushed at Jackson who was under my chair, we thought the wine may have clouded their judgement (and they certainly weren't keeping their dogs under control) and went home.

Jackson hoping more cheese is in the offering!

Andy Hawk and the Train Wreck Endings

Friday, September 17, 2010

Settling In

We've had a good first week.  All the puppies are gaining weight and thriving.  Here they are at five days old:
Smooth male

Smooth male

Smooth female

Smooth female

Smooth female

Rough female

Rough female

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Jewel's Puppies

Jewel whelped the puppies last Wednesday, September 8.  Like her sister, Sadie, she delivered before her due date and very quietly.  Also like Sadie, she didn't exhibit any delivery is near symptoms--no nesting, no change in temperature, just the appearance of puppies.  I checked on Jewel around noon and she was in her crate, dozing. She was panting a bit but it was a warm day so that wasn't out of the ordinary.  She had had a couple of accidents in the house, which was unusual for her but I just chalked it up to late pregnancy. When I checked on Jewel a little bit before 2:00, the first thing I saw was another accident--and a puppy. Jewel was in her crate, obviously in labor.  It didn't look like the pup was alive so I quickly got Jewel into the whelping box as it appeared another pup was on the way.  She settled in right away and focused on the next delivery, which gave me a chance to check on the first pup.  Unfortunately, it was not alive.  I wrapped him up in a towel and whisked him out of the room before Jewel understood what was happening.  At 2:10, the next puppy was born--a 12 ounce boy!  She delivered two more good size males, each in half hour increments, then took about an hour break.  At 4:20, it was the girls' turn.  Two girls were born half an hour apart and then I thought Jewel was finished.  She had an appointment at the vet's for an x-ray at 6:45, but after a potty break and a snack, whelped two more girls before it was time to leave!  Even though the "tape measure test" indicated Jewel was going to have 9 puppies, I didn't really think it would be more accurate than an ultrasound.  The vet's palpatation of her stomach didn't indicate any more pups so an x-ray was done just to be sure.  Surprise!!!  One more pup, way up in the horn of the uterus.  We quickly packed up the puppies and Jewel and hurried home.  The vet's office didn't have any oxytocin, which helps bring on contractions, but since Jewel didn't appear to be in uterine inertia and it was only a little over 5 hours since the first puppy had been born, the vet thought we might be o.k.  The plan was to let the puppies nurse, which also helps with contractions, but take Jewel to the Emergency Care Center if the pup didn't appear by 8:30.  On the way home, Jewel started grunting--a good sign!  We got her back into the whelping box, started the pups nursing and I could see contractions starting.  By 8:15, the contractions slowed and stopped at 8:30.  I took Jewel to the Emergency Care, arriving a little before 9:00.  An x-ray showed that the pup had not moved but was in good position to be born naturally. An ultrasound confirmed a heartbeat and no puppy distress.  Jewel had a shot of oxytocin and started with contractions 45 minutes later, but no puppy.  By this time, I was concerned about the puppies at home as it had been about two hours since they had nursed.  I went home to get the puppies (and a jacket as it was really cold in the waiting room!).  Jewel got a second shot of oxytocin and shortly after I left the ER, at 10:50, the last baby girl was born!  She was a tiny mite, weighing only a little over 7 ounces.  I was concerned at first, as she was not interested in nursing and looked so tiny next to her bigger siblings.  But, the entire litter got a chance to nurse at the ER, Jewel got to rest and by the time we left, all the pups had had a good meal.
  The first night went well.  Jewel is an excellent mother and spends almost all her time in the whelping box, letting the pups nurse as they wish.  I slept downstairs, checking on the new family frequently.  Jewel had some intestinal upsets which is not unusual for whelping a large litter and I wasn't concerned.  I was concentrating on the tiny girl,making sure she was nursing and gaining weight.  All seemed well those first 24 hours, then one of the boys was outside of the group.  Jewel had been licking him and he was wet and chilled.  I dried him off, warmed him up and kept placing him in the best spots to nurse, but he didn't try to nurse.  I gave him a little bit of the milk supplement the ER had given me for the tiny girl, which seemed to help.  In the evening, he started with seizures and we lost him about 9:30. 
  The next morning, Jewel's temperature was up and she was agitated.  She had had several bouts of diarrhea and I was suspecting the canned food we had recently given her was not agreeing with her.  Some post-partum hormones probably was also contributing to her agitation but by mid morning, she had settled back down.  We changed her canned food and she's on some pro-biotics, which helped immediately.  Jewel is a content girl once again, enjoying her family, which is growing by leaps and bounds!  The tiny mite girl is a strong nurser, not letting her bigger siblings knock her off the best meal opportunities.  All the puppies glow with good health (thank heavens!) and seem to be much stronger than Sadie's puppies at this stage.
  I'm now superstitous about posting pictures to either this blog or Facebook.  It seems (at least for the last 3 litters) that as soon as I post a picture, I lose a pup.  So, for the time being, no pictures of these puppies, but they are beautiful!  We have 2 males and 5 females, not sure of the smooth to rough breakdown but it looks like mainly smooth. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Retirement Projects

  After 32 years with Loudoun County Public Library, I retired last week.  I'm sure I will need to go back to work at some point, but for the next few months, I'm home!  I'm catching up on things--gardening, bills, housework--and doing different projects.
  I decided the whelping box needed a make-over before Jewel's puppies arrived.  I tiled the floor, but after discovering the difficulties in measuring, cutting and fitting the corners, decided to nix the idea of tiling the walls, too.  I painted the outside and inside in white, then stenciled the outside with pink and blue paw prints, toys and a puppy.  I know it sounds like I already have too much time on my hands, but I figured when I spend so much time in the nursery, I'd like to have something nice to look at!
  Here's how it turned out:

Look real carefully in the left hand corner and you'll see the first occupants!  Jewel gave me enough time to clean up the room before going into early labor.  Complete details in my next post!

Virginia Scottish Games

  On Sunday, we took Gibson and Jackson to the Virginia Scottish Games at Great Meadow as part of our booth for the Northern Virginia Collie Club.  It was a long day!  We were there by 8:00, set up and started greeting people by 8:30 and stayed until 3:30 or so.  Neither Gibson nor Jackson were that enamored of the bagpipes and drums--although I liked them!--and Gibson particularly didn't like being poked and prodded by little fingers.  He was good and patient with the children, though, but by mid afternoon, I thought he had been patient enough.  Both the boys drew lots of attention, Gibson because he's smooth, Jackson because he's a puppy.  We got lots of questions about smooth coats and the blue merle coloring.
  We had Jackson try the "Terrier Wannabee" races.  A chute is marked with fencing and the dog chases a "rabbit" into a hole made of hay bales.  Jackson took off after the rabbit, but immediately got distracted by the people lining along the way.  He ambled down the course, greeting people one side then the other, finally just stopping at the hay bales, wagging his tail.  He did win a first place ribbon though!
Jackson getting ready for the "Terrier Wannabee" race

"Going to Ground"

Jackson's reaction to bagpipes and drums

Gibson and Jackson greeting visitors

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Busy Days

Jackson has been spending the nice days outside and loves it.  There's lots to see and do--the big dogs in the yards next to his, new toys to play with, a climbing gym to explore.  

Meeting Mosby

Meeting Sophie
Trying out the gym

Jackson tries out the tire tug toy