Ali’s puppy blog

By Angie Meroshnekoff
Pompier Working Great Pyrenees

(Ed note: Ali is a 2-yr old working Great Pyrenees bitch who helps care for the stock at White Dog Ranch in Mendocino County, California. This is the story of the first five weeks of her first litter.)

Whelping Day

I had planned to take Ali in for a pre-whelping X-Ray on Monday morning but at feeding time on Sunday she was acting strange. Digging in the corner of the kennel and refusing food, I took her temp and it was 98 degrees, uh-oh will whelp within 24 hrs.! I set up the whelping room in a big hurry and brought her in the house. She settled pretty quickly for a barn dog. She was even happy to hang out in the whelping box. I checked on her every hour during the night and she wasn’t doing much, stayed very quiet. That changed quickly when I checked her just before going out do morning feeding. She was just popping a pup out! I’d checked her 15 minutes prior and she hadn’t seem stressed or in serious labor.

So unlike any of my other bitches, she kept popping pups out one right after the other. No time to go grab a cup of coffee. I had a minute to grab the puppy warmer and stick it in the microwave to heat – ran back to the room to find her whelping another. The first 7 pups were all born in less than 2 hrs- a record for my girls. The 4 th pup was born dead, I could tell the minute the pup was out that it wouldn’t be revivable (though I did try). Tiny size, completely flaccid, extremely wrinkled skin and pale white membranes. The placenta was attached and it was a weird greyish green so it must have separated some time ago. The pup after that one was born minutes later and was a big healthy male. She continued to produce a pup every 15 to 20 minutes until the 8 th one was born. Then we had a 3 hour break until the last pup was born and it was a very good size healthy bitch. She produced a placenta with every pup except this last one, so that was going along well too.

Like I always do when a bitch is whelping, I took each pup away from her after she’d cleaned it, recorded it’s markings on the whelping chart, weighed each one and put them in a warming box (hence the need for the microwaved puppy warmer). That way there is no risk of them getting stepped on when contractions start again. She was pretty cute however with each pup – after cleaning it, she would attempt to curl up around the pup but she kept misjudging where the pup was and would often set herself down on top of it. She looked like a hen trying to set on an egg! By mid day the last pup was born so I took her for a short walk, cleaned the whelping box, laid down the underpads and puppy rug and covered it all with large towels. Pups were placed in the middle of the box and I brought her back in. She took to them immediately, cleaning and snuffling them all over the place.

But nothing is without drama it seems. After evening ranch chores my friend Debi came to poke her head in to see the pups, I asked her to walk Ali while I cleaned the box again and took care of necessary things for me (I was still in the clothes I was going to feed in that morning and hadn’t even brushed my hair). But quickly Debi arrived back at the whelping room door with a soaking wet dog! Ali decided to take a swim in the pool all by herself. Debi fished her out but now we had to get her dry so she wouldn’t chill the pups. Lots of towels and a run to the kennel for the blow dryer and a half hour later she was mostly dry. I put her back in the whelping box on top of more towels to let her finish drying and ran yet another load of towels. By this time the washer – which is right outside the whelping area- had been going full time since 10 am. The strange day wasn’t over yet. After she was dry, I took the pups out of the warming box so they could nurse but noticed that one of the larger males seemed to be gasping for air and choking – he started turning blue even. What the heck could a new born pup choke on? I patted his back, did the newborn – clear the lungs – shake and his color pinked up but still he was choking. I opened his mouth and it was full of puppy poop! Somehow he’d gotten a huge mouthful and it was lodged way back in his throat. What to do? I grabbed the bulb syringe that I keep in the whelping kit and started suctioning. I had to be careful not to push it further down and block what little air he was getting. That eventually worked, it feels like I took a lot out but I don’t think there was all that much in there. Now how to get the bulb syringe clean again?

Steve is really patient with all the fuss going on. He did both morning and evening chores, brought me coffee all day and even brought me dinner. Now it’s bed time and he’s going to sleep alone so I can stay with the pups

Day 2.

7 am. Long night but that’s normal , I slept better than I expected however. Ali was pretty quiet most of the night, I mostly worry when the bitches change position because that’s when the pups are most at risk of getting laid on. I’m a very light sleeper so anytime she moves or the puppies get fussy I wake up. It seemed like she had to shift position about every hour, then from 1 am to about 2:30 the pups were really fussy, 2 of them kept getting too far away and would set up a commotion when they couldn’t find mom. But other than that it was a quiet night.

10 am. I really hate to leave Steve with all the feeding chores so after walking Ali and changing the box towels (another load for the washer) I put the pups in the warming tote and put a lid on it to keep her from raiding it, gave her a bowl of dry food and went out to do chores. We fed as quickly as possible and I rushed back, knowing that Ali hated to be separated from the pups, she’d already tried to take pups out of the warming box once. Got a big surprise – Ali had dragged the entire tote into the whelping box! It’s a big Rubbermaid tub – a 20 gallon one. And filled with 15 or more lbs of puppy, warmer and towels. She managed to carry it – lid still on, right over the 2 ft high walls of the box where she proceeded to remove the lid and lay down next to it. Hmm got to come up with a better plan. Anyway after breakfast I made up individual record pages for each pup and put them into the whelping binder. I weighed each pup and all except one has actually made gains. I ‘m surprised because often pups loose a bit after birth if mom isn’t milking full on yet. The one that hasn’t gained looks pretty spry however so I think she’ll catch up.

11 am. Funny I just watched her do something that should not have surprised me considering how smart this breed is. She sat up to re-arrange herself and nose a pup that had wandered away and in the process several pups crawled under her to try and nurse. I was afraid she would lay straight back down and squash them but instead she got up and moved to the other side of the pile of pups before laying back down. That way none were under her.

1:30 pm Ok maybe not so smart. I’m sitting here at the computer and as she changes positions again I hear a puppy’s muffled screaming. I drag her up and sure enough there was one underneath- sigh. Steve came in to baby sit while I went out and set up the days’ grain feeding for the horses. I still don’t have time to clean kennels though. Debi just posted that since Ali likes water so much maybe the pups should be named after boats?

4 pm Put the pups in the warming tote and put Ali outside so I could go talk to some customers who just arrived. Got back to find her trying to tear the door down to get to the pups! Family all back together – now to deal with my lack of sleep headache.

5:30 pm. Left Steve with the pups for 10 minutes while I ran to the corner market and came back to talk to a few customers – I had to cancel lessons the last 2 days because of the pups- they are costing me money! Anyway Steve was very relieved when I returned because watching the pups is stressful J

7 pm. Ali got up to clean up after the pups and lays back down right on top of one. I heard a choked off scream and dragged her up off the pup. I hate how restless bitches are the first few days, she’s been up and down at least 10 times in the last hour. I keep jumping up to check that they are all fine. I tried to put all the pups in the tote so I could eat dinner and shower but she kept dragging the tote into the whelping box. No shower and fast dinner.

Midnight. I got frustrated with her restlessness so about 10pm I put all but 2 pups in the warming tote. That worked because she (and I) slept for a solid 2 hrs!. I returned the rest of the pups so we’ll see how it goes now.

Day 3.

7 am It was a pretty quiet night after all, she got up to drink a few times during the night but was very careful when laying back down so everything was good. I have to go feed the horses so I’m going to leave her 2 of the pups while I’m gone and hope she doesn’t try to drag the tote in again.

8 am That worked really well, the pups were quiet so she didn’t try getting the tote. Changed the bedding in the box and weighed all the pups. The smallest 2 gained ¾ of an ounce, the 4 middle pups 1 ounce each and the 2 largest gained 1 ½ ounces so it was a consistent percentage of gain for all. Funny thing I forgot – she came into full milk all at once about mid day yesterday. I was sitting on the bed reading when I heard several pups sneezing and gagging. I checked and 3 of them had milk running out of their noses, when I looked at her she was dripping milk. Guess they’d gotten used to sucking hard to get a bit of milk and turning the spigot on surprised them.

Noon. This is nice! I’ve actually been able to leave the house for a bit in between checking on Ali and the pups. Every time I check on them, she and the pups are sleeping – except for one that’s eating and yelling at the same time. I carry a baby monitor where ever I go so I can hear if she gets up or one of them gets really fussy. I got the kennels cleaned and moved one of the older pups into the main barnyard to learn about being a big boy then I came back in the house and have been doing some housework (yuck!)

8 pm. I was able to teach one lesson while Steve kept an eye on the pups. He said it was very stressful, he looked in on them every 10 minutes – or more when they fussed. Ali is being very good, she actually asked to go out when I came back in the house, pretty good for a dog who’s never been housebroken. I’m somewhat concerned about her, she’s bleeding a bit more than I expected – but that’s one reason I’m writing this because it seems to me that some of my bitches have done that in the past and I didn’t write it down and can’t remember stuff anymore. We’ll see how things look in the morning, I hope we won’t be making a trip to the vet. The good news is that she is drinking and eating normally so that helps. I jumped up a few times when she got up to drink and upset the pups but she was careful and didn’t step on any.

Day 4

Had a good night – mostly. Ali was quiet and she has way less discharge this morning. Several of the pups fussed a lot during the night, one keeps getting behind her and starts screaming when he can’t find food. The other issue was the outside dogs barking! It was a full moon so the older pups barked at everything that moved – and the coyotes were singing so they barked at that too. Can’t blame them but I needed to sleep so I went out at midnight finally and locked them in the barn. Then I had 2 pissed off goat kids because they couldn’t join their doggie playmates.

9 am. Just finished weighing the pups. 7 pups gained weight but 3 had much smaller gains than I expected and one didn’t gain at all so I put the 4 better gaining ones in the warming tote and left her with the 4 smaller ones. She seems to have plenty of milk and she was so quiet all night that I know the pups had a chance to eat so maybe this is just to make up for the loss they didn’t have right after birth? (not) . Ali had her walk while I changed the box and washed another load of towels. Just heard one scream on the monitor while I’m writing this- ran in there and she was moving around again but the pups are fine so she must have stepped on a toe or tail.

9:30 am. Well that didn’t work! I heard a huge amount of fussing on the monitor and went in to find the warming tote back in the whelping box halfway on top of the other 4 pups and Ali looking very guilty. Oh well it was a thought. All 8 pups back with mom now.

1:30 pm. Things going well today, Steve and I trade off staying in range of the puppy monitor to keep an ear out but Ali has slept most of the day. They got their first outside visitors, my Mom and Sister came by to ride so they stuck their heads in quietly. (No shoes allowed in the room!)

9 pm. I went to walk Ali but she was sound asleep and I didn’t want to bother her. I’m planning to try sleeping in my own bed tonight so I’ll turn the monitor up loud in case she wants out.

11pm. Just as I suspected Ali started moving things around in the whelping room and was sitting in front of the door so I let her out for a walk. For some reason she could NOT pick a potty spot and it took her 20 minutes to decide.

Midnight. Heard noise again so I checked, found Ali outside of the box lying on the linoleum floor. The house felt warm to me so I think she’s trying to cool off. I’m happy to see that she has relaxed enough to be able to leave them for a bit. She cleaned up all the food I left so another good sign.

1:30 am. I got some sleep but the pups were fussing and woke me up. Everything looks OK so I move them around on her and went back to bed. Oh well it’s only sleep……

 

Day 5

7 am. Everything went well after 1:30, morning check showed the pups lying in 3 separate piles which to me is a good sign that they are warm and well fed.

9 am. Morning chores done – Ali walked, puppies weighed and box cleaned so I feel pretty good. She has almost no discharge today so I was worrying for nothing I guess. The pups all gained. Yay! The smallest one gained ½ ounce but she is active and feels full, the others all gained 1 to 1 ½ ounces. Funny thing, I’m used to puppies wiggling and fussing while being weighed and all of these sleep through it. Ali sat and worried the whole time, apparently thinking I was going to steal the pups again.

2 pm. The puppies are sound asleep and Ali wants to go out. She must be feeling better, instead of doing her business she wanted to play. We spent a few minutes playing then she headed back to the house to check on the pups. One of them talks even in her sleep- she squeaks a lot.

6:30 pm. Afternoon chores and lessons done. Steve says the pups have been quiet. I brought Ali her food and the pups were all sound asleep. Took her for a walk and she wanted to play again. But as soon as the door opened she was all mom, went right over and checked the pups. Of course now they are all awake and wanting to eat……

11 pm. Ali is restless again, tried digging in the plastic covering the floor of the room and that woke me up. So out she went for a walk.

 

Day 6

8 am. What a long night!!!! I guess to make up for the easy day yesterday, they decided to keep me up all night. Ali kept digging the box up and causing some of the pups to become separated from her and start fussing. I got up almost constantly to straighten the bedding and put the pups back with her. Finally about 5 am I was able to get to sleep – woke up very late! The smallest one fusses a lot so I think she must not be eating well. If she’s not showing weight gain I may have to supplement her.

10:30. Late morning for chores. I weighed all the pups and 7 of them are gaining really well. More than an ounce on all of them, however the small girl (who was first born) gained less than a half ounce. She is not very active and I think gets pushed away from the teats easily. I got a bottle of milk replacer going and tried to feed her but she kept rejecting the nipple. She would suck for a second but as soon as she tasted the milk replacer she spit the nipple out. Grrr. I kept at it for a while but she’s not having any of that! So for now the plan is to put her on a teat every time I go in there, which today will be more often than yesterday.

Noon Things look good except the small pup was sleeping so I woke her up and put her on a teat. I had done the same thing at 11.

1:30 pm. Taught a riding lesson for an hour, came back in and Ali has the box torn up again from digging in it. I put the bedding back and she decided to go lay down on the tile floor for a while.

4:30 pm. The last 2 times I’ve checked on the pups the smallest one has been busy nursing so hopefully things will turn around soon. I’m so tired I feel like I’m walking through molasses, can’t seem to get any energy going!

8 pm. Going to bed early, I am so tired. Everything looks good with Ali and the pups, she’s spending more time out of the box but the pups are sleeping quietly so they must be full.

11 pm. #$#%&@()$!!! The puppy monitor is right by my head at night and Ali just started barking. She was so loud that it scared me right up out of bed. The neighbors were having a pot cutting party and it set all the dogs off. I could not get Ali to settle for almost a half hour. Puppies are nursing again, I’m going back to bed now.

Day 7

6:30 am. It was a pretty good night after the barking fright. I was up about 3 because of one fussy pup (I was having nightmares about dying puppies) but it wasn’t the little one. She was latched on tight, but there is one pup who can’t seem to find mom easily. I piled him on the rest and went back to sleep. His fussing woke me again just now so I helped him find mom, all the others were already eating.

9 am. Morning chores done, Ali walked, box cleaned, puppy bedding washed and pups weighed – whew. Wooo Hooo, the little girl gained a whole ounce! I think this may be the turning point. I checked their 6 day weight against the weights of the last two litters and as a whole – except for the little girl – this litter is larger than the last two. Interesting.

Day 8

9 am. Well back to the drawing board? The little one back slid on her gain this morning so I’m going to town for fresh milk replacer and a brand new nipple. The old one runs fast so maybe that’s why she won’t eat? I am beginning to suspect that she may have Renal Dysplasia. I didn’t get around to testing mom for it yet because I thought I had a bit more time!

Noon. Back from town, spent 20 minutes trying to get a pin hole size opening in this stupid puppy nurser nipple, I should have just bought a new baby bottle. I got it done but the pup still refuses it, she’ll suck a few seconds and spit the nipple out and start yelling. I managed to get her to eat a half ounce but what a job!

7 pm. It’s been a mostly quiet day as far as the dogs, I went in about every 2 hrs, if the pups weren’t all nursing I woke the little one up to nurse. If Ali wasn’t in with them she would jump in as soon as the girl made noise and sit up so she could nurse.

Day 9

12 am. I was so focused on getting the tiny pup to nurse that I forgot to walk Ali before I went to bed, heard a big fuss on the monitor and checked – she had an “accident” on the floor. Considering that she is an outside farm dog she’s done really well until now. Good thing I covered the floor in plastic before putting the whelping box in.

9am. Tried to feed the little one again and she just fights me. She is really strong for such a tiny girl but she does show a small gain so making sure she’s nursing on mom seems to be helping.

7 pm. Everyone looks good. The pups are sleeping almost all of the time but when I wake the tiny one up, she gets really busy and tried to walk to mom. I gave up trying to feed her on the bottle.

Day 10

9 am. Little girl’s weight is up ¼ ounce again (I really need to name her!) and while that’s not huge she is only a half lb behind the other 2 smaller ones but it’s a full lb behind the behemoth pup – there is always one of those in every litter! I have to go to work today so they are on their own for 5 hrs. Steve will check on them.

4 pm. Home from work and they look good. The weather has been warm so I can leave the outside door open for Ali to come and go if she needs to pee. The downside is the she tracks in dirt so I have to change the puppy bedding twice a day. More laundry!!

Day 11

9 am. Still really good weight gains on most of the litter, the little one gained a very tiny amount but at least she didn’t lose any. I took the 5 big pups away from Ali and put them in the warming tote, we’ll see how that goes

Noon. Ali was great, she left the pups in the tote alone and they were actually quiet so they didn’t worry her. Every time I checked this morning the other 3 were eating. They are all trying to walk which is pretty funny to watch. And they are cutthroat about eating, climbing on the pile or diving underneath to get a teat.

7 pm. I took the big kids out again around 4 so the little ones could eat and just put them back around 6:30. Just now heard a fuss and discovered that Ali can’t count, she was pushing the tote around trying to see if there was another pup inside!

 

Day 12.

9 am. I was up and down all night, Ali was good but one of the pups has learned to bark so he did a lot of that last night. I finally gave up trying to sleep at 6 am. Did chores then back in for breakfast and puppy weighing. The little girl gained a whole ounce! I took the 5 biggest day that I’m going to try that again today to see if this keeps up.

1 pm. I was late getting back in the house and worried that Ali would have dragged the tote around but everything was peaceful. Big pups back with mom but not before the little one was given first choice of teats.

9 pm. I went to close the outside door (it gets very cold at night) and discovered that Ali has been hanging out – at least partly – in the pool. Her feet were wet up to her knees and the puppy towels were damp. Oh well, change puppy bedding again. More laundry.

Day 13.

6:30 am. I finally slept all night! I turned off the puppy monitor about 11 because they are doing so well and I actually slept until 6. Ali was quiet and didn’t ask to go out until I checked them this morning J . I took advantage of getting up early and weighed the pups. Little girl gained a full half ounce so the big puppy removal plan is still working. She is feisty and resists being weighed. The other don’t fuss at all about it but the 2 biggest ones are getting 2 big for the basket. I’ll have to switch scales soon.

11:30. I rushed in to check Ali and the pups in- between talking to some potential puppy buyers and setting up for our annual Halloween barn party – and she had gone swimming! That does it, the pups are getting water oriented names. I dried her quickly but left her slightly damp. I’ll just have to change the puppy bedding again – sigh….

9 pm. All settled in, yes I did 2 bedding changes today because of Ali’s dip in the pool. The pups are getting big enough that I had to add the higher barricade to the whelping box in case they start trying to climb out.

Day 14

9 am. Another good night’s sleep, I can leave the monitor off all night and Ali is so good about “holding it” until I get up at 6:30 to put her out. The little pup’s weigh continues to climb by small amounts, she is 1 lb 6 ounces today but the others are 2 ½ to 3 lbs so she’s pretty tiny. She continues to eat well and is quite feisty, she’s walking better than the big pups. Ali decided she was tired of staying inside (door still closed because it’s cold out) so she moved the X pen all over the room. Oh well, the pups can handle a little cold air, so I left the door open. Hope she doesn’t go swimming again!!

Day 15

They are 2 weeks old today! A big milestone. I had to work last night so Steve was in charge for a while. He put Ali out for one last walk around 8:30 pm and closed the back door before going to bed. I came home at 3:30 am and checked on her. The pups were all sleeping so I put Ali out for a walk but apparently their ears are opening because when I started talking to the pups, 2 of them woke up and headed towards me.

10 am. This morning they are all trying to walk and one is really testing his voice by barking. The little one gained another ounce so she's up to 1 lb 7. I compared weights from this litter to the last 4 and they are as an average heavier than those except for the little girl. I’m glad I keep records, it reminded me there was a pup in one of those litters who did the same thing and at 3 weeks he turned around and started growing normally. Time will tell.

Day 16

11 am. I slept really late today because of getting almost no sleep yesterday, got up at 7 and let Ali out, she was great all night and didn’t ask to go out before. After feeding and holding some horses for the farrier I came in for puppy duty to change the bedding and weighed the little one. She gained more than an ounce 1.3 to be exact so I’m thrilled. I’m not weighing the rest of the pups this week because they are all growing well and they have actually outgrown my little house scale. I’ll start reweighing them again when they go on solid food.

Day 17

Huge gain for the little pup, a full 1 and a half ounces! Ali has been hanging out in the garden during the day and tracking dirt back into the whelping box, guess I need to keep the door closed L All the pups are walking now – well trying to anyway, but they sleep a huge amount. I wake them up to change the bedding and they almost instantly go back to sleep – what a lazy bunch. But they are all full and fat so no worries there.

Day 18

Slight setback, the little one didn’t show any gain this morning but at least she didn’t lose weight. But I did have a rather funny experience with Ali today. I decided that since she keeps getting into the pool and then dragging dirt into the box with the pups, that I would try leaving her locked in the room and let her out every few hours for a potty walk. So I filled her steel water bucket to the brim and went to do chores. I came back in 2 hrs later to let her out for a walk and found the room awash! Ali apparently decided she needed the water bucket in the whelping box with her so she dragged across the room sloshing water everywhere, then up over the foot high rim of the whelping box where she proceeded to dump it all over the puppy’s rug! The pups were dry but the rug, towels and disposable pads were soaked. Sigh…. I changed the bedding and did another load of laundry. But the door is open to the backyard again.

Day 19

Only a tiny gain for the little girl but everyone else looks good. Ali was well behaved all day and night, didn’t throw much around except for pushing all the towels to the corner of the whelping box.

Day 20

Worming day! Yucky job, everyone got weighed so I could dispense an exact amount of puppy wormer. Most of them took it well but two of the spit it all back out – they were the largest of course so now I’m covered in sticky wormer. I finally named the pups. Funny because I usually name them by the time they are a week old but I guess I kept thinking the little one wasn’t going to make it and I was afraid to make the attachment stronger by naming her. She is up to 1 #10 ounces and that’s a really slow gain for 2 days. However she continues to be strong and active. I’ve named the pups for a water theme since Ali has this strange affinity for water! The tiny one is named Nixie who was a Celtic water sprite.

Day 21

Ali decided she was being too good, last night she dumped the water bucket all over again and this morning dragged the puppy’s weighing basket outside. Sigh…. Still no real weight gain for Nixie so I decided to do something different today. I normally wait until the pups are almost 4 weeks old before I feed them solid food, but I decided mix up a tiny batch for Nixie and see what happens. Turns out she loved it, she dived right in so she must be hungry. Since it was late afternoon when I fed her, I’ll wait until morning and feed her again.

3 weeks old today!

Nixie gained a half ounce so I went ahead and fed her mush again this morning. She snacked on that while I cleaned the whelping box and picked up all the stuff mom dragged around during the night (towels, puppy pads, writing material…..). I’ll feed her again this afternoon.

Day 22

Nixie is up to 1 lb 11 ½ ounces, she gained a whole ounce. She also ate 2 ½ ounces of mush after weighing so we’ll see what sticks J

I fed her 3 times today and she ate every little bite. I mix up 3 ounces of Esbilac with a large tablespoon of dry puppy food in the blender and put that in a pie tin. She’s a messy eater and gets it all over herself, not a problem though – Ali cleans up the mess.

Day 23

Big gain! Nixie is 1 lb 15 ounces before feeding. And she cleaned her bowl again.

At evening feeding tonight she’s looking kind of bloated and I realized that I’ve probably made her food a little too rich so tomorrow I’ll thin it out

Day 24

Wow, Nixie is finally over 2 lbs, I am sooo happy. I skipped her breakfast to let her work the bloated belly out. At lunch I cut the dry milk that I’ve been adding to her food in half and made the mush a bit wetter. She loved it and cleaned her bowl. Ali is jealous and wants the attention that I’m giving the pup. The others continue to grow really well, they are at the mouth fighting / playing stage and it’s so much fun to watch them.

Day 25

I’ll be out of town so Steve will be feeding. Even though Nixie is clearly the smallest in the litter I was worried that Steve wouldn’t get the right pup, so I inked her head with a red felt pen. Now we called her the red headed pup J Steve has very detailed instructions on care and feeding of the litter for these 2 days and is going to keep me updated

Day 29

They are 4 weeks today! Steve did a great job with them while I was gone although there was a lot of laundry to do. I started all the pups on solid (mush) food today. Funny how they were not quite as thrilled with the food as Nixie, she continues to vacuum her meals every day, not shy there.

Days 30 to 33

The days with the pups are pretty much the same now, I grind up puppy food in the blender with lots of water and serve them 3 pie pans full of puppy mush. They are all great eaters and mostly clean their dishes. However if there is any left at all, Nixie cleans that up after she finishes her private bowl. That girl likes to eat.

Day 34 – 2 days shy of 5 weeks

What a scare! I went to feed the pups tonight and found the whelping box gate bent over and 2 pups missing! There were 3 in the box, 3 wandering the room and 2 missing completely. I herded the pups back in the box and went outside looking. There was tiny little Nixie hanging out in the backyard with her mom, looking very proud of herself. Still panicked, I frantically looked for the other one and found her hiding under the bushes in a very dirty hole. After bringing them back in, I realized that 2 of the other pups were just as dirty as the two wanderers so all 4 must have been outside! I repaired the whelping box and locked Ali in for the night. I hope that’s the last time they do that. They are scheduled to move to the outside pen sometime next week.

Ali wants to play instead of going inside.

Day 38

Managing pups during a prolonged power outage (in a crazy storm). I had planned to move the pups outside today but this insane hurricane force dry storm occurred so I didn’t get the outside kennel power-washed and disinfected. We have no power, so for a while there was no running water in the barn and kennel. We spent the morning figuring out where to house and feed the horses that were now out of stall space due to the complete destruction of one barn and part of another so the puppy pen was put on a back burner. In the meantime of course they still have to eat and they still poop! So their box was only changed twice today since I have no way to do laundry. Also I’ve been forced to keep Ali inside most of the day because of the high winds so she’s not happy. The pups have had their two meals soaked, not blenderized because of the power outage but they don’t seem to mind. Steve got the generator hooked to the well today so I’ll use that to hook up the power washer and get the kennel clean so I can move these poopy pups out!

The rest of the story.

The pups were moved outside the day after that last paragraph was written, my wonderful family arrived en-masse to help repair storm damage and sister-in-law Debi took on the project of cleaning and disinfecting the puppy kennel while Mom drove to town and did loads and loads of puppy laundry. The pups thrived in the outside pen, we put them in a small area fenced with a portable exercise pen and gated that with a bale of hay. That way Ali could jump over the hay to come and go but the pups couldn’t. Well mostly: one pup – Cori – found out very quickly how to climb the hay bale and spent lots of quality time with Ali. The pen was expanded each week until they were old enough to have the whole 15 X 30 area. When the pups were 7 weeks old they went to the vet for a check up, I focused on the 3 smallest – Nixie had continued to grow but was still one-third the size of the others, Cori was small but not tiny and one male “Dorien” was not gaining the way I felt he should. All the pups passed their health checkup except Dorien. Blood and urine checks on the other 7 were normal but Dorien had a serious heart murmur. The vet said Nixie was not a dwarf, only a small girl. A week later I took Dorien to a cardiologist and he was diagnosed with a severely deformed heart. I was given medication for him but his life will be short so we’ll keep him and give him a happy stress free life as long as we can. Nixie continues to thrive but is still only half the size of the other girls. She is a busy, feisty girl and will make someone a wonderful pet. At 10 weeks I had everyone but Dorien spayed or neutered and that went well and they are now ready for their forever homes.