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.
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.
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.
Well, it seems Willow (formerly Daisy, formerly Angel too!) is not at all happy about the puppies teeth coming through their gums. She yelped when they latched on last night. So, since they are very mobile for 3 week olds and since she seems to want to end her mama duties sooner rather than later, I introduced them to some formula and BOY did they ever get into it! They, more than any other litter seem very ready to eat from a bowl. They finished each of the meals I’ve given them, although clean up takes as long as their eating does. They trash the room with milky puppy foot prints. And each of them are literally covered in milk. I am hoping they get better at it soon.
As promised at the tail end of Mama Dog Gets a Bath, here we have an amazing video of eight 12-day old pups nursing their mama. TURN UP THE SOUND to hear all of the precious puppy grunts and slurps!
See this video and many other CanineFostering.com videos on YouTube.
Well, today was SO hot that I figured if I bathed Sandy? Daisy? Angie? (still haven’t found a name right for her) outside she wouldn’t mind the cold water and she’d dry off in a snap. Plus I figured she’d like the time outside. Boy was she freaked out by the water! It could be that it was spraying at her from the hose (I tried to be gentle but there isn’t that gentle a way for one to spray another with a hose) or that it was cold, or that she’s never had a bath or a hose bath before – I’m not sure which it is. But once she realized that all I was doing was hosing her down and that she couldn’t get away from me, she submitted. It sort of was humbling to me, how dogs let us submit our will on them rather easily. Now I know what I was doing was for her own good and she ultimately seemed to really enjoy being clean (you know how dogs do that rubbing thing on the carpet once they’re clean? She was rubbing herself along the garage door!!) but it sort of hit me how I could have been doing anything to her and she would eventually give in. How trusting, and how sad that so many people betray that trust. It just really hit me today for some reason.
But anyway, hopefully she will be ok with her next bath and hopefully I didn’t teach her to be deathly afraid of them…I think not as, like I said, she clearly got into it after a bit. And it is nice to have her clean!! Birth is a yucky business and that first week continues to be a bit yucky. Add to that her bout of whipworm and the poop that goes a long with that, and her pups crawling all over her and THEIR loose stool and… well, you get the picture. The dog needed a bath. (more…)
The pups are getting bigger and stronger. And mama is doing better. I’m not sure what to call her, Angel doesn’t really fit…she is far too fallible and young for such a name. I had thought of calling her Brittany, which would be a perfect name for her personality wise, but I suspect she will be getting more mature more quickly than her namesake.
She is getting to be a better mother. Early on the first day as she licked her pups clean she would basically send them sailing across the blanket with the force of her tongue! But now she is more gentle and the pups are stronger so they tend to hang on and only roll around a bit. Plus they seem to be nursing well and are much better at finding and lacking onto the teats. So I am feeling a little more relieved.
Watch this video on YouTube.
Well, this puppy group is finally ready to move on. I know it as I see them play more and more with each other and less with Chloe. They still try to nurse but their attempts are half hearted and easily redirected. For her part Chloe is continuing to show herself to be a sweet, loving mother. I will miss watching her mother these little guys. She is so gentle as she tells them to stop nursing, carefully biting their muzzles away growling under her breath. They respond by climbing on all over her, chewing her ears and tail and nuzzling up to her and drifting off to sleep. It is a wonderful, heartwarming thing to see.
They come to me now as I call them into the puppy room in the afternoon. I clap and say in a high pitched voice “Pup pup pup pup pup” and they come running. Last night after I walked into the puppy room and woke everyone up I put them outside to potty. Usually after dark I just let them pee in the room on the newspaper covered floor but I’m trying to get them ready to be house trained by their new families. They did great! First they were a bit disoriented but after a bit they all spread out to do their business. The adoptive families will have an easy time of training them I think.