Archive for the ‘development’ Category
Greta has found a forever home!! I don’t have many details but I do know that she has found a home where there are children to play with and people home a lot. She loves it and they love her. So, a happy ending for her. She deserves it!
Last weekend we had a mini reunion of Greta’s pups – 4 of the 5 were in attendance at the Petco puppy playtime I host. The interesting thing was, after the initial happy tail wagging greetings, the four of them fought like madmen!! We literally spent the entire hour pulling little bully puppies off of their sisters and brother. And it wasn’t like there was one who was trouble. It seemed like all of them have learned to “play” that way. I gave it some serious thought and came to the conclusion that their time in my puppy room confined their movements, and Greta’s young age caused her to react like a peer rather than a parent, so they had no choice and weren’t discouraged from acting out their urges to practice social dominance.
Most of my litters have been in the summer where the group spends the majority of the time outside, in a big fenced space with trees and rocks to hide in. They can romp and run if they want, or wrestle, or just get away from the group. But stuck inside in one room, with a mama who not only allowed the fighting but participated in it created a little group of monsters!! The funny thing was, they reacted with submission to puppies not of their group. And one little dog helped the group realize there were other ways to play. She taught them that running and chasing was a game worth participating in. So it seems, Greta’s group has some learning to do – they need to learn other methods of interacting and playing that don’t involve fighting and wrestling.
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.
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.
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.
Here are some more pictures of the puppies around 2.5 weeks. They are starting to sit up and walk around more frequently and more steadily. And look at how big they’ve gotten! It’s crazy.
So, the puppies are two weeks old yesterday. They are huge. I know I haven’t had pups in the house for a year but I don’t remember them being so big so young. And these little ones are already trying to walk! It is so cute to see them wobbling around, bumping their noses on the ground as they toddle about. All of them have their eyes opened to little slits, which is why there are no photos today – the room is too dark to take pictures without using the flash, and the flash isn’t safe for their newly opened eyes. There will be more photos soon though!
On Saturday, I noticed one of the females was sounding really stuffy and coughing. Then by Sunday night all of them had it, but not Greta. By Monday, it seemed one of them was getting better and today, two of them seem to have fought it off. I’ll keep watching them closely but so far it seems they are shaking this on their own, with Greta’s help. I sure would like to avoid of repeat of what happened with Willow‘s pups! She and her 8 pups all had a severe case of kennel cough when the pups were only 3 days old. I had to bring the entire litter into the vet’s office. Once we got home, Willow refused to nurse them. Totally rejected them, didn’t clean them or care for them. It was awful and scary for me. I ended up, I’m sort of embarrassed to say, literally restraining her about 4 times a day to let her pups nurse. It was stressful for both of us but finally, after three days of that her mothering instincts kicked back in and she finished off her duties properly. Never again will I do that though. If a vet needs to see a litter of pups under 5 weeks of age again, I’d make sure they did a house call.
Anyway, it seems that we are out of that particular woods. I’ll keep you posted. Pictures soon, and some video of their wobbly attempts at walking.
And anyone out there have any suggestions for names? One of Chloe’s puppies adoptive moms (Karen with Jackson) suggested the following names: Elsa, Trina, Amelia and Delia for the females and Fritz for the male. I like the October themed German names to go with Greta.
Greta‘s pups are getting so big. It’s been over a week since they were born and small enough to hold in the palm of my hands. Now they overflow, wriggling and squirming their way out. Just a day ago I noticed a lot of squeaking and practice barking. I wondered to myself what was up and realized that their ears were starting to open. To test this I gently but clearly tapped on the side of their whelping pen (the green wading pool you see in the pictures) and sure enough, they all startled! So cool to see their bodies right on target developmentally.
Greta has been sick but is finally getting better. I counted and she was having a loose, runny, large volume poop every two hours! You know what fun that is? I can’t even begin to tell you. The vet thinks her whipworm or hookworm infections may not have cleared with the first round of Panacur so we are doing a second three day dose. She also included a general antibiotic just in case in was something bacterial. It seems to have done the trick as she pooped three times today, just like a normal dog. Hopefully we’ll be out of that particular woods soon.
I feel so bad for Greta. Until the foster mamas are given a clean bill of health I have to keep them quarantined, which basically means she spends the majority of the day and night by herself (with her pups of course) in a room. She does get frequent short potty walks (and is keeping her room clean!) and at least two long walks (45 minutes) each day, but still, she is bored and wants to hang out with me and the other dogs. Poor girl. Hopefully soon she’ll be able to get out and about more.
As you see from the pictures, the puppies mostly sleep. Lately I have been catching them sleeping on their backs with their little mouths open! So cute. They are clearly feeling safe and happy. When they are hungry and hear and smell Greta, they “walk” (more like a seal like of waddle thing than a really doggy walk) around their whelping pen crying their heads off, “looking” for her. Their eyes are still closed so mostly they snuffle around, bumping into one another. eventually they give up and just huddle together in a lump. Very cute.