This is the blog about our 2013 Leila/Junior litter. Blog posts appear most recent first.
Here is Athena at five and a half months old, on the left, and six months old on the right. What a beauty she is becoming. She is now as big as her mom Leila, and will certainly be a bigger girl than her mom when full grown.
Athena at nine weeks old. She loves the snow! The second pic shows her with her daddy John. Athena is still with us at least until the end of the week (Joe and John are doing some renovations in their house next door so it’s better she’s here).
Today we learned to share our food with kitties.
The how-to-get-food-off-nose lesson will have to wait for another day.
The puppies will be one month old tomorrow! Can’t believe it. Our time with them is almost half over. So sad! I haven’t weighed them in a few days, but they must be pushing close to 8 pounds now. They are climbing out of the whelping box and exploring the wide world (of the whelping room, at least). Athena has discovered Iggy’s bed…
Puppies are 17 days old, and Roman has caught up to Athena; they are now both exactly 5 and a quarter pounds. Iggy is getting nervous. Very nervous.
December 2 – BONUS post – Kitten pics! Enjoy…
Backstory: about 2 weeks ago, we found kittens and an adult who had been left as a “gift” for us at our barn. The adult has found a wonderful home with Joe and John’s parents. Petra and Fuzzy have been living with us, and Joe and John are thinking of adopting Fuzzy (they are the future parents of Athena). I finally had time to take the kittens to the vet today, and guess what? Petra is pregnant. Oh. Lovely.
December 1 – pups are 15 days old.
Pictures of mom and puppies from the past 2 weeks.
Big day today! Puppies had five visitors, including 3-year-old Carl. I think they were very excited to meet their first child! I am kicking myself for not taking his picture with the pups. Carl also got to meet two kittens, two other dogs including Iggy (the little poodle, whom he wanted to take home), and a handful of adult cats, too. Pretty much like visiting the zoo, isn’t it, Carl?
The puppies’ eyes are opening, and they are trying to see. Today I petted Athena’s back, and she turned around to see who it was. I also think they are starting to hear sounds. They are taking their first steps, too! So much fun to watch them develop.
Puppy personalities at 1 week old:
Roman – clingy to mom / prefers to sleep touching or near her, squeaky / talks a lot, snuggly; predict a strong and loving male.
Athena – independent, not afraid to be alone in the corner of the whelping box, quiet and self-contained; predict a courageous, proud, alpha female.
November 23 – Puppies 1 week old
Athena’s Daddy Joe (John’s brother) met his new puppy earlier this week.
The pups have just about doubled in weight, as is normal and expected. It’s still pretty amazing!
Iggy would like to point out that since the puppies were born, he is no longer the smallest animal on the totem pole.
November 22 – Happy 3rd Birthday, Leila!
November 19 – Puppies 3 days old
The puppies are gaining weight nicely. They are so pudgy. Fat little puppy bellies.
Leila is reluctant to leave the whelping box. We have to coax her to go outside for walks. And her appetite is almost non-existent. She is trying to survive on turkey jerky. I feel like I should be putting her on the scale.
November 18 – Puppies’ day 2
Yesterday Leila’s maternal instincts kicked in. Mid-afternoon, she saw me cleaning the pups and was curious. She came over and helped. An hour later, she started nesting furiously in her bed upstairs. Then in her crate in the whelping room, and then she got in the whelping box and just laid down. The puppies came over to her, nursed, and she hasn’t left them since. According to our brother in China, who watched the cam overnight, she spent the night feeding and cleaning them! We couldn’t be happier. Not only does this makes our lives so much easier, it’s much better for the puppies’ development to have the constant love and care and protection of their mom.
Leila is doing great. She seems so proud of her offspring. She is not showing any signs of being in pain, and her incision is healing so quickly.
Today Athena gets to meet one of her future owners, and he gets to meet his puppy! Brothers Joe and John will be moving in next door to us, and Athena will be theirs. John is coming for visit, Joe has family obligations but will come one day soon. So happy one of the pups will be staying close. We’ll be able to see her every day, and we couldn’t ask for better parents for her.
November 17 – Puppies 1st day
Noontime update – we were up every two hours putting the pups on Leila last night. A dam who has had a c-section should not be left alone with the pups for the first few days. She might still be groggy and accidentally lay on them, etc. So nursing is done under human supervision only. Leila is eating and drinking and seems to be recovering well, although she must certainly still be in pain. The pups are extremely strong, big and healthy! We will be putting Leila in the box to nurse them later in the day so everyone viewing the puppy cam can watch. Little Roman makes the funniest noises when he is nursing, and wiggles all around. It’s like he has to do a happy dance when he’s getting his milk.
November 16 – Puppies are born!
No contractions on AM monitor session. When a female has contractions and then none, our on-call vet say they follow a three-strike rule. This is Leila’s third strike, and probably means that she is getting started with labor but not following through, and she will need a c-section. The on-call vet is calling Dr. Mary so we can go in and maybe have a c-section… at least get a check-up.
6pm – we are home, Leila has two healthy puppies delivered via c-section at 2pm. One boy and one girl. Roman and Athena. Athena weighs 1lb 15oz, Roman weighs 1lb 3.5 oz. BIG puppies! Both healthy and strong and were looking to nurse the second they were born.
Leila is doing great, although she is still quite groggy. This is normal, as she was under for quite some time. Dr. Cojocar had to make a T or Y-shaped incision instead of just the usual slit, because the puppies were one-on-each-side, and so huge. He then had to suture her back up — no staples as this would be dangerous for nursing pups. So… much longer than the usual c-section.
9am monitoring session showed FIVE contractions per hour on her left side. Checking her on the other side now. She may be in early labor.
11am – same on right side. Best estimate for puppy delivery is now 8-12 hours. I will most likely be turning on puppy cam this PM.
6pm – 2 contractions, longer than any before, but not strong.
10pm – no contractions. She may have to have a c-section. We’ll talk to Dr. Mary in the morning.
12:30am – seven contractions this time! She is all over the place with her numbers. We’ve been checking the puppies’ heart rates and they are still strong and good – over 200 BPM. Setting the alarm for 3am to get up and check them again. I feel like I haven’t slept very much!
Just 3 contractions per hour at both the 1am and 10am uterine monitoring sessions. Labor is said to start at 5 contractions per hour, and full-on labor (like when she’s delivering) is 7-8. So we’ve still got a ways to go! The waiting is the hardest part for us humans.
6pm – the result of her late afternoon monitoring: 3 contractions per hour still. Ugh! I just read an online article by a breeder entitled: “A Watched Bitch Never Whelps.” Boy is this ever how we’re feeling right about now! One more pre-bedtime monitoring session and we’ll call it a night.
11:30 Monitoring session – no contractions, just “uterine irritability” (not cause for concern, normal, but of course we wanted many contractions).
Official report from this morning’s uterine monitoring session from vet:
“The puppies are having a boxing match in there.”
PM Report – 3 contractions per hour. It looks like things are getting started.
Leila was fooling us with her restlessness. Thank goodness for the uterine monitor and ultrasound equipment we rented to listen to the puppies’ heartbeats. They are fine – and she is only having a couple contractions per hour, so she is not yet in labor! Her target due date (based on her LH surge) was today. Which is now passed as I type. But the puppies’ heart rates sound great – they are not in distress… so she is just hanging onto them for a bit longer. We will now be checking puppy heart rates several times per day, and sending her data from the uterine monitoring equipment to the vet repro specialist at least twice per day. Because we want the puppies soon, Leila!! 🙂
It looks like tonight will be the night. Leila has been getting used to her whelping box today, apparently trying it on for size. We’ve been in the whelping room a lot today, and she seems to know this is where the action is going to take place. She was very restless all day. I was keeping all of our other animals out of the whelping room. Then Iggy slipped in, and it’s amazing how she calmed right down and curled up. She is so bonded to her little poodle friend, that I now realize it’s good to have him in the room with her. Every night they curl up together, and stay that way all night. I think she was feeling lost without him!
Downspike has begun. AM temp: 99.9 F. Puppies by Tuesday, by all estimates. Last-minute finishing touches to the whelping room being done now, and we are cranking up the portable heaters and humidifiers!
Houston, we have our upspike.
Leila’s temperature has been 100.1 – 100.4 F for the past 6 days. 9pm temperature reading tonight: 101.3. We expect to see a drop to around 99 or 98.x tomorrow, which typically means the puppies will be born within 24 hours. Target date for the puppies’ arrival is now MONDAY.
If you’re interested in seeing how temperature is used to predict when whelping will occur, check out the chart on Debbie Jensen’s Whelping Temperature Info Page.
Puppies next week!! Leila is really, really showing. We have decided to have her x-rayed, because she is so big. If she is carrying only two puppies, they may be very large, and we may have to consider a c-section. But our guess is she will have more than two based on her size. We are having the x-ray done on Wednesday, and I will of course update the blog.
Today I am planning on getting out the clippers and shaving her belly and her furry hind-quarters. This is generally done to make overseeing the birth more straightforward, and allow the pups to find the teats more easily. It also keeps everything cleaner. Birthing is not exactly a tidy process.
Our whelping monitoring equipment (ultrasound device, etc.) will be arriving shortly. I am eager to try it out. We will be able to hear the pups’ heartbeats.
Today we put down temporary flooring in our family room. That’s where we’ve decided that we will whelp the pups. It’s right between the kitchen and the laundry room – two important rooms when you have puppies! The vinyl will protect the wood floor underneath.
When I say “we” put the flooring down, I mean Nora-the-cat and me. She was there every step of the way.
Thanks so much for your help, Nora. I’m sure I couldn’t have done it without you.
The floor looks pretty good. Considering the job was done by a photographer and a cat.
Leila is showing! And eating more than usual, and not being quite as active. We have stopped throwing the frisbee for her, as we don’t want the puppies to take a roller coaster ride in her belly. But she still loves our long walks. Here she is enjoying some freshly baked treats from The Canine Cafe in Hackettstown. We’re very picky about what she’s eating right now – only all-natural ingredients, and a lot of homemade food – and these treats fit the bill. If you’re in the area – head to 229 Main Street. It always smells amazing – they bake the dog treats right there. Yum!
And… we have a feeling she’s carrying more than two! Just based on her size. We’re debating whether or not to x-ray the pups a few days before she’s due (to count the skulls to see how many pups are in there). We are using whelping monitoring equipment from WhelpAssist. The ultrasound will detect if there are any more heartbeats after two puppies are born, so it’s not critical to do an x-ray.
We got confirmation today that Leila is carrying puppies! Two of them. We had our ultrasound at Pleasant Valley Vets. Here is a pic of one of the little puppybeans.