New mama dog and pups

new pupsChloe the mama dog is beautiful and so even tempered. For some reason she was barking like crazy the first night so we nipped that in the bud and she’s been an angel ever since. I was torn about using the “bark collar” as we call it. An electronic collar that gives a “correction” when the dog’s bark sets it off. As it was her first night I expected a bit of a struggle for her to acclimate but I am someone who NEEDS sleep so I gave into my need and strapped the collar on. It took her about 10 minutes to figure out that her barking caused the shock and then she stopped. She has been quiet since. I think barking is self reinforcing – meaning I don’t need to do anything but let her bark to get her to bark more often. For that reason I am a user of electronic shock collars to stop barking. In my own dogs I have trained them to quiet on command. Franklin the bird has even learned to yell “QUIET” when the dogs start to bark. It’s crazy how fast he learned that! Anyway, back to the puppies.

such a cute puppy!They have just started to cut their baby teeth, putting them at about 3 and 1/2 weeks old. So I will now officially set their birthday at April 22, 2009. Luckily for us the home that had Chloe (our name for the sweet Irish setter looking mama) kept her until Friday because if we had gotten her while she was still pregnant it would have interrupted some important family birthday celebrations! See, everything works out as it should.

So, after settling Chloe in the first order of business is always a bath. She did not seem to like the whole idea of bathing but allowed it. She is a very willing and submissive dog. Her coat is beautiful and full, reminding me of a Chow Chow’s coat. She also looks like an Irish Setter to my untrained eye and does “point” with her front leg when interested in something. And of course, she also looks like a golden retriever. A very pretty girl.

puppy pile!

a puppy pile!

Her puppies are so cute! They look like they’re going to have their mama’s thick beautiful coat. Their are some interesting color markings on them all and the one boy who is mostly white seems to have sky blue eyes! Wow, that will make for a stunning dog. They seem to have been handled and aren’t afraid of me, wagging their tails as they explore my hand. They are just starting to walk and talk and like I said, their little baby teeth are just coming in. I introduced them to “formula” in a saucer today and about half of them took to it. We’ll keep presenting it once a day for a bit, there is no rush. But when the mama’s are as thin as Chloe is, it is good to start supplementing them sooner rather than later. For now, everyone seems to be doing good. Chloe is eating well but not overly ravenously, the pups seem active and happy and I am relieved. Another fostering experience seems to be off to a good start.

She really is quite thin, as they all are, and her puppies seem weaker than I remember 4 week old puppies being. More Chole & pups coming to ~ stay tuned!!!

A new mama dog in need?

Nisha is a mama in waiting

Nisha is a mama in waiting

I got an email I was expecting to get. You know how you get a feeling that something is going to happen and then when it does it isn’t that surprising because you were expecting it? Anyway that’s what I felt when I got an email from Michelle (from H.E.L.P.), telling us about another dog that needed a home. She is a cute dog and the usual size, around 50 lbs. I’d take her in a heart beat. The time with Annie and her pups has faded into memory and the puppy room is just gathering dust anyway.

But here’s the catch – we are DEEP into remodeling our kitchen. And I mean DEEP. Like, today my neighbor and I sledge hammered our tile floor out, kind of deep. The thought of taking on another mama and her pups at this point seems exhausting and impossible, which means it will probably happen. See, I told Michelle that I’d prefer to have another foster (more…)

February 12, 2009 • Tags: , • Posted in: fostering dogs • No Comments

Adoption Process Underway

Annie and her no-nursing shirt

Annie and her no-nursing shirt

Yesterday was a busy busy day for everyone. We had numerous viewings of the puppies as well as a few families who came by to play with and cuddle their new family members. The puppies are now 7 weeks old and aren’t ready to leave just yet. I like to wait until closer to 8 weeks to give them as long as possible with their littermates and mama. Annie continues to be a stellar mother, nursing them whenever they ask for it. I have to keep chasing her out of the puppy room to stop that as she will be leaving soon. I was up until 11:30 last night sewing her a little shirt to keep her teats in and away from the puppies. I was using an old t-shirt but the pups were climbing into the shirt through the arm (more…)

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!