Archive for November, 2010
On Sunday we hosted 4 of the families who are thinking about taking the puppies. It was a L-O-N-G day. But worth it. Most were friends of mine so that was an added bonus – hanging out with puppies and friends is a good way to spend a rainy afternoon. But I am beat after all of it. For me, there is still a certain level of stress until all the puppies are accounted for. And even then I worry until Puppy Take Home Day. And even THEN I worry for the first 3 days, the first 3 weeks, the first 3 months. Once we hit that mark things are usually set. I don’t think I’ve ever had a puppy returned after 3 months. But then I always worry extra long about the mamas. I do so hope that Greta finds her forever home soon. She is such an amazing dog but so funny looking – she will take a special person but she will give that person SO much love and fun.
The final weeks are upon us. The puppies are no longer little blobs of fuzzy cuteness, but active, demanding creatures with personalities – and very sharp little teeth. I’ve noticed lately that they are in the stage where they begin craving human interaction but don’t quite know what to do with it. I watch them interact with Greta and they clamber around her, clawing and biting and trying desperately to nurse. Once they are satisfied with that, they really don’t know what else to do with her. It is sort of like that with me. When they see me, they swarm around my legs and jump up at me, biting. If I bend down they try desperately to put their mouth on my hands some how. If I let them, they try to crawl up my arms toward my face. If I let them, they arrive at my face with their eyes looking crazy and their mouths open and snapping. Really, I think they have no idea what to do – they just W A N T.
I understand that there are many things they are learning now, how to eat from a bowl, and drink water, how to potty outside and how to relate to one another. I’ve seen every litter go through that learning process. But this is the first time I’ve realized that learning how to relate to people is also something they have to learn. They have to understand and get used to cuddling, being petted, and playing with someone (rather than simply chewing on someone). All this is learned, of course. I just hadn’t realized it until tonight.
Greta looks like she is a 1.5 year old Dachshund/Basset Hound mix. Shes about 40 pounds with a honey brown, short haired coat, big floppy ears and a long tail that ends in a tip of white. She is an absolute sweetheart, house broken, quiet in the house, and walks nicely on a leash. She has such a happy disposition and puts her whole heart into what she is doing. She loves to play, loves children, and loves running around and just being outside. She also likes to cuddle up at night or chew a good bone. She is great with other dogs. She would love an active family with children who would love her and play with her. She came to us from Southern Illinois and has been taking care of her 5 puppies for two months. Now it is her turn to be taken care of. She is up to date on all her shots, microchipped, and on preventative heartworm and flea products.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN GRETA, please fill out the H.E.L.P. Adoption Application. This is the first step in meeting the dog. Our web site is updated regularly, so if you see a dog posted here, most likely, he/she is still available. Please fill out an application and submit it as indicated on the app. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN ADOPTING!!!
Link to Greta on Petfinder
Today the pups had their first foray into the wild outside world. I timed it correctly because they were curious and happy about being out there. When I put pups out and they aren’t ready, they all stand in a bunch and cry pitifully. But today then sniffed around and chewed on leaves and generally had a good time. I got a bunch of good photographs that will be going up on Petfinder. They are 4 1/2 weeks old and we’ll have them less than one more month. This time will fly by. I’ve really enjoyed this group and will miss them when they go.
I was awakened by a puppy crying. Now, this isn’t an unusual thing – this particular group of puppies includes a few big time whiners. But the sound of this crying was different. There was a sense of urgency and of pain. I ran downstairs with my pjs still on, and thank god I did. Fritz, the male, was in trouble. He had gotten the upper part of his front leg caught between the barrier we have (had!) up to keep the young but still sort of mobile pups in the sleeping section of the room. It has never been a problem before – 5 litters for a combined total of 40 puppies and never a problem - But somehow he’d figured out how to get himself caught.
The trouble was that after his leg got caught he clearly had tried to free it and had somehow done a summersault so his leg was twisted in a very unnatural way. I was absolutely certain that the leg was broken. There was swelling but not blood. I knew it had just happened but it was wedged in there tight. I couldn’t free it. I tried removing the barrier but we’d tacked it in good so that wasn’t an option. I kept staring at the terrible angle of his leg and he kept on screaming and it was difficult to think straight. Finally, I decided I had to untwist him. I began to lift his body up and over but that only increased his screams. I held him there, slightly elevated and began panicking for real when out slide his leg! “Ok,” I thought, “now let’s see if it is broken.” I started at the paw and worked my way up gently squeezing and moving his leg at the various joints. I listened close for an increase in his painful vocalizations, (which had thankfully decreased at this point) and never heard anything. I worked my way all the way up to his shoulder and all seemed fine. I put him down and he began whimpering again. So I held him for about 15 minutes. Then he began licking my arm and wagging his tail and clearly feeling back to his old self. So, I tried putting him on the floor again and this time he allowed the leg to carry weight. At this point, he seems fine! Needless to say, that wooden barrier was removed immediately.
The pups are huge and very advanced! Which is good as Greta seems to have had enough of mothering. I had her outside with me the entire morning (nearly 5 hours) and not once did she seem stressed about being away from her puppies. She ran around joyfully, sniffing and exploring. She tired to get Hermes to play by body slamming into him, but he wasn’t as into being outside as she was. She seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself. In fact, when I returned her to the puppy room I expected her to be happy to see her pups as she hadn’t nursed them at all. However, when I went back into the room a bit later she still hadn’t nursed them! That was at least 7 hours without nursing! And her teats were really taught…I had to rather forcefully “encourage” her to nurse them. Now that she has, she is scratching on the door, desperate to get out again! I think Greta has had enough of mothering.
The puppies are really growing. In just the last two days they have begun to play. Prior to this, their days included eating and sleeping. That was it except for an occasional crawl around to get comfortable. Now after eating they spend about 10 minutes wrestling and playing with each other. There are also a lot of tail wags. Dogs wag their tails as a social cue, now that they are interacting it makes sense that this behavior is beginning to surface.
I’ve also begun to introduce food to them, first formula and now moistened kibble. They have the hang of the formula, but they cry and basically freak out when the kibble is in the bowl. I think I’ve mentioned how overly vocal (and dramatic) this group is, so any change, anything new, they really react to. Just imagine how they’ll be the first time I take them outside!
There are some moments in time where you think, “if only I had a camera!” But I’ve found that when I feel that way I have to become very present to what I’m experiencing… then I can make a memory that is far richer than any photograph.
Wednesday was one of those nights. I’ve been coming down to spend an hour with Greta and the pups each night. For the past two nights I’ve been introducing them to the concept of eating by lapping food, rather than sucking. These guys are getting it but they are so confused! And when this litter gets confused or frustrated they whine so loud. I put a bowl of warm formula on the floor and put them all around it. They got excited and began to lap. Then they got confused and started crawling around and crying. Then they cried louder and walked through the food. Then they started licking it off of each other. Then they started lapping the milk again. Then they got confused and cried even louder. You get the picture. It was funny but noisy.
Afterward they all huddled around mama and had a proper meal. They nursed like champs for a half an hour, until they all fell asleep. They crawled around to Greta’s head and tried to snuggle as close as possible. At one point, one of them crawled right up her neck, and Greta, being the good mama that she is, just kept moving her head until she was looking straight up at the ceiling. The little pup sighed and feel asleep and Greta shot me a look that was unmistakably, “You’ve got to be kidding!” She wrestled the pup gently back down and pushed her away with her nose. Then, she laid her head on the pile of pups that had formed around her and feel asleep. Seeing all those warm, satisfied bodies all curled up into one another made me feel all warm and safe and happy inside. That was the “photo” I took tonight. Too bad I didn’t have a camera for you all to see it.