Franklin impresses again

I have been going to the vet a lot lately, dealing with the Kennel Cough coursing its way through my pack. On this particular day I was feeling bad about leaving Franklin home alone again so I decided to bring him along. He loves car rides, getting all fluffy as the wind blows him from the open windows (I transport him in his bedtime cage).



Anyway, he was very sweetly sitting on his opened cage as the vet was listening to Bella‘s heart. He was taking extra long because he thought he heard a murmur but then decided he hadn’t. As he was bending over her, listening through his stethoscope Franklin was watching intently, head cocked. Then I hear the unmistakable sound of him mimicking a heartbeat! The first time I heard that sound was after I was cuddling him close to my chest a month or so ago. He was lying his head on me as I scratched his neck. As I pulled him away and brought him up to my face to talk to him he looked me right in the eye and made an unmistakable heartbeat sound! I figured he had heard my heart as I scratched him. So, at the vet when he made the sound I was shocked…could he really have understood what was going on?? He has never made that sound randomly, only when mimicking me or when he hears my heart. Very very weird. He may be WAY smarter than I realize. Good ‘ole Frank Frank.

July 11, 2009 • Tags: , , , • Posted in: behavior, bird, Franklin • No Comments

Kennel Cough

I was at the vet (again) with another one of my dogs who has caught Williow‘s kennel cough. Now, I am embarrassed to admit this but I have not had my dogs vaccinated for kennel cough. I feel stupid now but had my dogs not gotten it (like they haven’t for the last few times mamas with kennel cough have lived with us) I would be feeling validated. I guess I always knew I was taking a risk but it seemed worth it to avoid over vaccinating them. Anyway, I have changed my mind. I will now vaccinate Hermes and Bella routinely, every 6 months like recommended. They are the two who go everywhere with me and it seems only fair. As for the other two, I may vaccinate them again when we are preparing for another mama. But since I am greatly anticipating a break from puppy rearing that can wait a bit.

Poor dogs, everyone is hacking up a lung over here. All except for Lollie…hmm. She has such a strong immune system I wonder if she’ll succumb? As a puppy, she lived with a littler mate who had Parvo (a very serious case of it, requiring 16 days in intensive care in the hospital to overcome it) and she was fine. Never caught it. We will see.

July 11, 2009 • Tags: , , , , , • Posted in: health, Willow • No Comments

Puppies start to walk and open eyes

Well tonight (Monday) it was clear that these pups are out of the woods. And I am relieved. I noticed two days ago that some of them had little slits opening in their eye lids and today about half of them have their eyes almost completely open. We won’t be having photos for a week as the flash is harmful to their developing eye tissue. I may try on a sunny day to get some but not tonight. In addition to their eye development, they are starting to walk! It is only for a few steps, and they are very wobbly, but they are walking!! They seem to be right on schedule, so their bout of kennel cough didn’t set them back, developmentally, at all. In fact, as I watched them nurse tonight I was struck by how vigorous they all are. I think they are really hungry now, and I’ve noticed Daisy‘s food intake increasing (finally). Yes, it seems the consensus is for the name Daisy so Daisy it is. I may be supplementing their nursing sooner than I had planned…I usually wait until they can stand (duh) to introduce them to lapping formula from a bowl and that usually happens after week 3…but here we are at 2 weeks plus one day and already they seem ravenous. If Daisy can keep up, then I’ll let her.

I also gave them their first worming today and from about 1.5 pounds at day 3 they are up to 4 pounds!! Yeah. I am really proud of this group. Also, I cut toenails tonight. They were crazy long and really scratchy. You are welcome, Daisy.

About instincts – Mine and the mama dog’s

mama dog

Daisy May? Angie?

Tonight I tentatively let out a sigh of relief…it seems our mama, Daisy May? Angie? has again decided to act like a mother. Her pups seemed content and are quietly sleeping when alone and vigorously crawling when she’s nursing them. They seem cleaner and as I watched her tonight she is attending to each of their elimination needs. although somewhat frantically. So it seems whatever derailed her a few nights ago is past us, that she’s back on track.

So, thinking this, I took her out for her last potty of the night. And I see her sniff and squat and I think “FINALLY” and then she sits down and watches the fireflies…sigh. But sooner than usual she gets down to business and potties…hurray. These little steps, like her realizing that she gets only a few times outside and that is the time for her to do her business, are huge accomplishments for her. As I was scooping up her liquid poop with a plastic bag in the dark while trying to hold onto her leash the thought hit me, “do veterinarians really know what they are talking about? Really?” I was told that whipworm is extremely contagious and that I should pick up all the poop immediately. As the vet told me this I said, “really? How?” and then as if an after thought they say “do the best you can” But when I ask abut how to protect myself and my family they say “make sure you wash your hands with soap and water.” SO, this highly contagious parasite that can live in the soil for FIVE years is adequately done away with using common soap and water. Why then can’t I just carry a spray bottle of the stuff and after unsuccessfully removing the poop blob just spray the whole thing with the apparently toxic bathroom staple?? Something doesn’t jive; either the parasite’s virulence is overrated or the merits of soap and water are. Either way, I think it is clear that NO ONE IN MY VET”s clinic (and I have to say I like these people a lot) have had to deal with a dog with whipworm or her poop lately – otherwise they would never advise me to remove all the poop, they’d say, “get the majority of it up and then NEVER WALK ANY ANIMAL ON THAT STRETCH OF LAWN FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.” Right?


pups asleepSo, the puppies are all sounding snotty and nasally. Sigh. I also feel sort of duped by the vet for bringing them all in and then getting no advice (or treatment) on how to stop what I knew was going to be an outbreak of kennel cough across my entire litter. I also suspect that the vet visit was a major contributing factor in making mama Angie or Daisy May or whatever we are going to call her feel like rejecting her pups….Sigh. Should have followed my gut there. Next time.

Now don’t get me wrong. I like medical advice. I also like medicine. But we need to always listen to our instincts and not follow other people’s advice without checking it out with ourselves first. Lesson learned, again.

Ravenous Mama Dog

Annie’s cold is getting better – finally. Have I mentioned that yet? She came to us with the beginnings of kennel cough and has been on antibiotics since. She has stopped coughing and now just sneezes huge amounts of snot everywhere. It’s gross but I’m glad she’s getting better.

She continues to gain weight. I was talking with a friend and when I mentioned how much she is eating she was shocked…so I thought I’d let you all know. Normally, a lactating female dog needs 3 to 4 times their regular food intake. Annie is eating the following each day – 2 cups puppy formula, 6 cups dry puppy food, and two cans of puppy food. I guess that is a lot. She is still ravenous at each feeding so I haven’t noticed how much she is actually eating until I listed it out. It is sort of crazy. But she is trying to make up for her lean times before coming to us and in addition she’s feeding 8 pups.

Annie nursing pups

Annie nursing pups

Nursing takes a lot out of a mama! It gives a lot too, though. The hormones, prolactin and oxytocin, that are released help mellow out the mama dog and make her more attached to her pups. And the immunity that is transferred during nursing is invaluable. Even though Annie is sneezing all over her pups (and then dutifully licking them clean) they are not getting her cold. The antibodies her body is creating to fight her cold are going directly to her pups as well, keeping them safe. And don’t think that because we have puppy formula we will be using it with the pups – it is simply a fast way to get a high quality balanced meal into Annie. I strongly believe in letting nature take its course and letting mama wean her pups. It happens easily enough because at 3 weeks the pups get their sharp little teeth and start using them on everything. That shortens the nursing sessions abruptly!