Into the light

The pups have been moved into the “public” space of the dining room; in other words, the pups will no longer be hidden in the “den”, though there will be a place for them to retire, we will set up a cage for them. They are now visible to the other dogs in the house. Casia now has to let everyone look in on her brood. (There still remains the meeting of all the dogs – pups and adults – at some time later.)

The very next step will be the exploration of the new area. Up until today, they have only been in the whelping box, in a room wherein no one except Mary and I have been.

There has been some dissatisfaction with the new accommodation, but in general all is well with the pups.

They are sleeping and relaxed about everything finally today.

When the puppies “scream”

The pups are growing apace, starting to interact with one another and with the environment. One thing they are doing is moving more effectively. Not to say they did not move on their own, but they are now “up” (well, sort of) on their legs, no longer moving like salamanders dragging their bellies on the ground. With this movement comes the possibility of exploration and getting “in the way” of mother when she enters the den.

Whenever we hear a puppy’s scream we rush to the whelping box. “What can that possibly be?” runs through our minds as we fret about the possibilities. “Is one of them having a bad dream?” “Are the pups on top of one another?” “Is she being too vigourous with her toilette of one of the puppies?” “Did she step on a foot?” “Did she just crush someone as she lay down?”

So many questions, as we race to the other room. Or worse still, when we are woken from a dead sleep in the middle of the night. Jolted to consciousness, all we hear is the pup’s scream. “What happened?” is all that is on our mind.

Well, usually it is nothing too bad. A puppy is on the wrong side of Casia, cornered, and the pup cannot climb over the mountain of mother yet. Or, there is one caught under the space between elbow and body of mother as she lies. It was supposed to be a short-cut to the milk bar, but they are just too big to fit now.

We rush from the other end of the house to rescue the screaming puppy. Too often we arrive in the puppy room to find no damage has been done, nothing is out of place, just the boy staggering from one point in the box to another on the bedding.

We have found by staying in the puppy room for long periods (a great hardship for anyone, of course 😉 ) that, quite often, it is not the girls making this awful noise, but the boy. Too often the boy is stuck on his back and cannot right himself, and so the screams begin. It seems he rolls over and off the bedding and ends up on his back. The screams begin and we begin our little panic.

Happily, these “screams” tell us that all is well. That the pups are struggling with life and winning! While there is a lot of noise, we are remembering that all is well. We are beginning to worry when we hear nothing at all from the puppy room, but usually there is some sound, either Casia padding in and out of the “cave” or the pups suckling or making some sort of noise in some way.

Today’s thought

Mary said, “Look.” And there was a puppy scratching himself.

Mary then said “Look.” And there was one puppy chewing on an ear.

A little later, there was a mêleé – as much of a mêleé as nine two-week-old pups can make. they were up off their bellies and staggering around for a whole thirty seconds. Then they all collapsed in a heap and there was silence.

Real interaction is occuring between the pups and with as much of the environment in which they can stumble about.

But they do just knock themselves out and go straight to sleep, even in the midst of doing something.

The time they are awake is lengthening, so it looks that our days will become more busy watching the pups so that they can stay safe.

Still hidden in the nest

The pups still remain in their little “cave” – the whelping box. As their eyes are still not fully open, they are not ready to come out into the sunlight – yet. Once their eyes are open, they will be moved to another room, nearer to the garden, fresh air and Lebensraum. This will happen sometime after they are three weeks old.

Here are some pictures from the whelping room.

This “den” is what the bitch would create in the wild. We have seen it happen with our “girls” just before they whelp, they go out and find a nice cozy spot under a thick bush and scratch up, sometimes making a sizeable nest. Zaffre, who came into season at about the same time as Casia, did this sometimes on her walks, finding a nice thick hedge, getting into the middle of it and scratching up. A few times she wanted to get into a hollow tree.

Who says we have bred the instincts out of our dogs?

The question we keep asking, “Are there nine puppies there?”

A quieter moment in the den.

At two weeks today

Mary was watching the pups this afternoon and remarked “They are really starting to look like dogs now!” I had to agree, since the pups were now all showing spots, and moving about at a fair speed – well, as fair a speed as a two week old puppy can. Then Mary said, “They are starting to get up off their bellies. – They are starting to stagger, just like you do after some cider.” Since I have never seen myself stagger, I had to take her word for it. But a further thought struck us – now the work will really begin, the chasing of the pups when you want to do something, or making sure they don’t jump off your lap while you were trying to cuddle them (they don’t bounce like those chicks David Attenborough showed on one of his programmes who hurl themselves out of their nests and down the cliff-face before they waddle off into the surf when it is time to fledge).

The E Litter at ten days

It has been a week or so of broken nights’ sleep and wonder at these little “white rats” in the box with Casia. Now, however, they have started taking the shape of dalmatians and at ten days the spots are coming through. There are two patched girls, one we have called “patches” just to identify her, and the other is being called “eye-patch” for the obvious reason. The boy has been the largest of the lot and is called “bruiser” – for the obvious reason, as he is still twice the weight of the lightest bitch. No other names at this point, apart from the identity marks we gave them, i.e. a little nail polish at strategic points, so we have the captivating names as “tail”, “right front” and so on.

at ten days

The scrum is starting to take shape, no more the amorphous mass of white on the vet bed.

Now we can start looking at them and discerning who is who and making up “proper” names for them as their characters unfold.

Pictures of individuals will be coming, slowly but surely, as I get to grips with this new technology.

Litter due soon

We are pleased to say that Casia (Tolutim Chartreuse) is expecting puppies. The litter is due on the weekend of Crufts (13 March). We chose Harry (Ch Fakenham Flash Gordon) to be the sire, owned by Sid Bolt.

At seven weeks

Like Casia, Harry has a wonderful temperament and his puppies have had good hearing results. See the pedigree

We are looking for good owners. Casia’s first litter went to a variety of owners – experienced, new, families with young children. One of them has been shown and has done extremely well for her new and novice owners.

Enquiries and visits are welcome. Please contact us on 01453 890 783 or by email.