Archive for the ‘fostering dogs’ Category

Greta’s puppies outside for the first time

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.

Puppies first day outside

Puppies first day outside

Puppies first day outside


Puppies first day outside

Puppies first day outside

Puppies first day outside


Crisis at 6:30 in the morning.

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.

Fritz on October 30, 2010


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.

November 12, 2010 • Tags: , • Posted in: fostering dogs, Greta, health, pups • No Comments

Greta’s puppies are growing

growing pups 1The 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.

growing pups 2I’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!


Taking a mental picture

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.

Greta and her 5 new puppies

Greta & her 8-hour old puppies

Greta & her 8-hour old puppies

Well, another cycle begins! On Monday night around 9:30 I was sure that Greta was going to have her pups…she hadn’t eaten since noon, was peeing frequently and hiding out in her crate. I sat with her and watched the pups wriggling around under her skin. I could see bodies pass by, a head graze the surface, then a leg. It was intense and it seemed clear that they were readying themselves for action. But Greta, after grunting and looking at her back end with a startled look on a few occasions fell into a deep, deep sleep. I left after watching the scene for an hour, convinced there would be puppies by morning.

However, when I left for work at 8am, no one had arrived. I figured she’d wait until tonight, as most of the mama’s we’ve had deliver in the evenings. Was I surprised when I got home in the afternoon to find 6 dogs where originally there had been one! There are two white ones with black markings (a male and a female), one white one with brown markings, one solid brown one who looks like Greta, and one almost dark gray one, all females. Five in all and only one male. They are strong and healthy – no ribs showing at all! This is by far the healthiest litter we’ve had, and it further supports my belief that Greta was an owner surrender. Makes me sad, as she was clearly loved and cared for. She is the sweetest, friendliest and most easy going dog we’ve had. I have really grown attached to her and am a bit sad to have to share her now with her puppies.

Greta's 8-hour old puppy

Greta's 8-hour old puppy

Dogs change when they have their litters to care for – they become more serious, and far less “needy” of my attention. Where just a day ago Greta tried everything in her power to get me to pet her and pay attention to her, happily wagging her tail anytime I was in her line of vision, now she just looks at me with a calm gaze, suggesting that my presence, while benign, is slightly annoying. I actually feel out of place around her! She has it all together and my attempts to help feel clumsy and unnecessary. It really felt good to see her reaction when I opened a can of wet food. She didn’t need the wet food, I just opened it to see that look again – her joy at my abilities to provide her with something she wanted. I know that this will change, as she gets tired of her role, she’ll want to be a dog again, but for now, I feel left out.

Greta has her puppies!

THEY HAVE ARRIVED! 5 of them and Greta (no longer called Honey) did it all by herself. I got home from work and headed down there to see them squirming around. They look great, healthy and strong. She had the cleanest labor I’ve ever seen. Nice job mama dog! Pictures soon.

October 12, 2010 • Tags: , , • Posted in: fostering dogs, pups, whelping • No Comments