Archive for the ‘awesome’ Category

15 Days Old!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

The lighting the puppy room are lower than usual because as of last night everybody has two eyes open! Now the Mr Magoo period starts. They are starting to be able to almost-walk a few steps and will move towards you if you are close enough for them to make you out (their vision isn’t good yet). They try to nurse on everything and if you’re snuggling them they try to nurse on your chin.

Some Helpful Links

Saturday, November 21st, 2020

Here are some links I think might be useful:

Puppy Culture Stories is Jane KIllion’s blog, there are some excellent articles on there. Especially this one about Socializing Puppies During The Coronavirus Pandemic

And here is the FREE course for puppy owners!


Saturday, November 21st, 2020

I thought green boy Delta was “looking around” sort of this morning but it didn’t look like his eyes were really opening yet, but Jim was just in visiting the puppies and THREE of them have eyes opening!

Green boy Delta has two eyes just starting to open, and purple girl Foxtrot and orange boy Bravo each have one eye opening.

Now we’re just about to start the really fun time – they’ll be Mr Magoos for a while as their eyes and brains start learning to work and work together.

The puppycam will be off or dim for a while so that we don’t overwhelm their brand new peepers!

And here is a video I took in the middle of the night last night as yellow girl Charlie tried to scale Mount Alice

Baking Not Puppies

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

I make Nova Scotia Oatcakes pretty often. I probably make them a couple of times a month at least, I certainly make them more than any other baked good. I’m Canadian originally, but I’m from Toronto and the child of English immigrant parents and I never had them growing up so it’s not like I can claim that I make them for nostalgic reasons. I make them because they’re amazing.

I usually use this recipe. And I can even make them in our toaster oven (which is also awesome and we refer to it as “the science oven”) which means I can bake these in the summer and not heat up the whole house.

And once in a while, if you don’t mind sacrilege, you can add a splash of vanilla, or dried wild blueberries, or even chocolate chips.

They’re delicious, not too sweet, a bit salty, chewy and oaty and just awesome. Filling and tasty and they have oats so they must be good for you.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled puppy programming.

Day 6!

Sunday, November 15th, 2020

We got the maternal nomograph results from CAVIDS last night. It shows that the optimal time for these puppies’ first distemper/parvo vaccine is 9 weeks then 13 weeks. I will be sending home a copy of this test with each puppy, and the results will be included in the letter I send home for the puppy’s new veterinarian. Nomograph testing is some pretty cool science, it shows when the maternal antibodies will have waned enough to make vaccinating the puppies more effective (while Alice’s antibodies are still at a high level in the puppies’ bloodstreams a vaccine will not provoke the puppies’ own immune systems to create its own antibodies, which can leave the puppy less protected from disease if the maternal antibodies wear off before the next booster vaccine is given).

I am a believer in LESS vaccination, not NO vaccination, finding the happy medium between overvaccination and lack of protection. I’m really glad my repro vet and repro vet tech told me about maternal nomograph testing!

They are motoring around the box quite actively over the last day, this means that they’ve started getting themselves stuck in corners on occasion and squeaking until someone comes and rescues them. Once their eyes open in about a week they won’t get stuck anymore, but this next week between 1-2 weeks of age is when they really need someone watching them (the first week the big danger is mom lying or stepping on them, although Alice has been really careful), the second week is when they’re mobile but still can’t see or hear so they can get themselves into jams.

Today’s episode is brought to you by the letter T
This looks like a very important meeting
Alfa has feet
Bravo pins his brother Delta to win the bout
Golf blep

Here’s a cool little video where you can see the little pops and jerks that are signs of “activated sleep”, where the puppies’ nervous systems and muscles are coming online and getting a workout.


Friday, November 13th, 2020

Day 4! Nail Trims!

Friday, November 13th, 2020

So their nails were sharp so I trimmed them. It’s a bit fraught since the nails are tiny at this age. I use a human nail nipper and just catch the hook at the end of the nail and snip it. I didn’t do back nails yet, I’ll do those tomorrow.

Everyone is growing well, and Alice is really proving to be just a stellar mother. She is quite upset if I leave her for any length of time right now but that will ease off with time.

Turn your volume up for what puppies sound like when they’re practicing the theremin complaining about someone muscling in on their nipple:

Alice being a good mama:


I hope to get the puppycam up and running asap!

Weigh in:

Alfa (and yes, that’s how it’s spelled in international radio code): 318 grams (213 at birth)

Bravo: 283 grams (205 at birth)

Charlie: 269 grams (173 at birth)

Delta: 332 grams (220 at birth)

Echo: 273 grams (176 at birth)

Foxtrot: 337 grams (213 at birth) – CHONK!

Golf: 325 grams (225 at birth)


Friday, November 13th, 2020

Skip this if biology isn’t your thing, but I took this short video of a really good strong contraction during Monday’s “best whelping ever”. If you’re interested, I gave a subcutaneous calcium injection once we had strong contractions per my repro vet’s advice, Pedialyte with glucose given a couple of times to keep her strength up but honestly this was just so smooth and easy, she kept contracting like this throughout and didn’t get exhausted at all.

The puppies nursing helps with oxytocin release which also helps strengthen the contractions (calcium helps support the muscles doing the work), which is why I don’t understand when breeders take the puppies away until labor is finished – if you have a bitch who is moving around a lot while she’s laboring you can put the puppies in a safe warm box in the whelping box area to keep them safe if needed, but then put them back with her as much as possible. Alice was very chill throughout so the puppies stayed right on her the whole time. It’s much more natural this way and it all helps both her AND the puppies (she gets the oxytocin to help with labor and bonding and they get colostrum from nursing and stimulating from her cleaning them).

If every whelping was as perfect as this one I’d never worry about it!

Day 2! Meet The Lucky Sevens!

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

Everyone did great overnight, Alice was much more settled other than the usual post-whelping diarrhea (improving but still a few trips outside overnight), and getting up for overnight meals (she has kibble available all the time but I am feeding her meals of canned gastrointestinal food, mother’s porridge and tripe).

Good morning!

Just after lunch she wanted to go out and DEMANDED to play some fetch. It was nice to see her shift out of mom mode and into Alice mode, then she shifted right back and wanted to come back into the puppy room. She had a great time running around again, she hasn’t been able to run normally for several weeks because she was so huge.

I’ve been enormously impressed with how easily and quickly Alice settled into mothering. Usually a first timer can get a bit panicky with the first puppy or two, but she’s such a steady dog in all respects that this was no different, she took on mothering just like she’s taken on everything else. No muss, no fuss. Being a good mother is so important, there are breeds that tend to be awful mothers and I can’t imagine how much more work that is for breeders. Most Vallhunds tend to be great mothers and my lines certainly are.

The world pretty much stops when a litter is born here, at least for the first few days. As nice as it is to think about time off work and nesting in with the puppies, it’s actually a lot of work, especially at the start. I was so sore yesterday after spending most of Monday on my hands and knees crawling around on the floor, and I have a rug burn on my elbow from getting puppies suctioned and cleaned up.

We put collars on the puppies today. Usually I don’t because they’re easy enough to tell apart with markings, but even though we have some really flashy markings in this litter, two of the females AND two of the males are similar enough that it was making me anxious that I couldn’t reliably tell them apart, and that really matters for weight checks since you need to know if someone isn’t gaining as they should. Just like last time, the collar colors are not gendered and are simply rainbow colors in birth order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet and pink). These are breakaway collars but even so, someone is in the room with them just about all the time just in case!

So without further ado, meet the Lucky Sevens (in birth order):

Alfa (red collar) female with four white feet and a white chest and belly with a black stripe on her white belly. Birth weight 213 grams, weighed in this morning at 246 grams!


Bravo (orange collar) male with no white on his front feet, a tiny white stripe on his chest and white back toes. Birth weight 205 grams, weighed in this morning at 231 grams!


Charlie (yellow collar) female with a white neck spot, all four feet white. Birth weight 173 grams, weighing in this morning at 194 grams.


Delta (green collar) male with a white chest with a white stripe to his belly, four white feet. Birth weight 220 grams, weighing in this morning at 257 grams!


Echo (blue collar), male with no white on his front feet, and a little white stripe on his chest. Birth weight 176 grams, weighing in this morning at 206 grams.


Foxtrot (purple collar) female with four white feet, white from her chest to her throat and a black spot on her umbilicus. Birth weight 213 grams, weighing in this morning at 256 grams.


Golf (pink collar) female with no white on her front feet and tiny white back toes. Birth weight 225 grams, weighing in this morning at 249 grams.


The puppy room is our guest room off the family room, so the puppies get the sounds (when they can hear) and smells of the household while still being in a secluded spot so mom doesn’t get stressed. We have a baby gate across the door to keep the other dogs out. Grandma Zhora and Great-Grandma Nina are fascinated, and Zhora cries when the puppies are squeaking like she thinks she needs to come in and tend to them.

Grandma Zhora and Great-Grandma Nina
Keeping vigil

I am very lucky to have an awesome husband who, while he won’t touch puppies before they’re born (he thinks feeling puppies moving in the womb is “gross” and “probably aliens”), he spends a lot of time cuddling with them once they’re born. He will probably hold one of his Zoom lecture classes from the puppy pen.

Alice keeps a close eye on things but doesn’t mind

Day 1

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

(I call the birthday day 0 which makes today day 1)

We had a bit of a rough night, what can sometimes happen is low calcium can cause restlessness and anxiety, and that’s what happened overnight. I’m so thankful to have the amazing resource of the Canine Repro group on Facebook. So I was up all night getting calcium into Alice until we reached the level that relaxed her. Since about 5 AM she’s been calm and mothering perfectly. Today I’ll make her some special food (Mother’s Porridge) to help support her milk supply and calcium levels in addition to the Doc Roy’s Healthy Bones I’m using (they’re a balanced calcium/phosphorus supplement and they’re tasty too). She’ll stay on the calcium supplement until the puppies are weaned, and then I’ll gradually wean her off it. She may not need to be on the amount she’s on right now, I will try reducing it gradually after a day or two to find the sweet spot. Short term calcium supplementation is safe, and dogs (especially with large litters) are at risk for eclampsia, especially around the week 2 and week 4 marks, which is when the puppies really grow and put a lot of demand on her.

In addition to the calcium she’s getting 1 sunflower lecithin capsule twice daily to help prevent mastitis, plus her usual DHA supplement and probiotic.

She’s got a bowl of her regular ProPlan Sport food available at all times and I’m giving her Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Puppy canned food, which should be easy on her system (they often have diarrhea for a few days after whelping, and she also ate the placentas), so far she hasn’t even pooped though!

The lucky sevens all did GREAT overnight, everyone gained which is very unusual (usually they lose a bit in the first 24 hours then start gaining again). The average weight of the litter at birth was 194.7 grams (I weigh them in grams because I’m from Canada originally and because it’s easier to track small changes in grams), average weight this morning is 211 grams and average weight gain was 6.45 %. I have a nerd spreadsheet that calculates all this stuff for me, because math.

I generally don’t like to put collars on at birth and usually you get enough markings etc. to keep track of who’s who, poor Jim is the note taker while sleep-deprived I calls out what sex they are and what markings they have. Unfortunately this can mean that you end up with descriptions that can fit more than one puppy. I try to refine this on day 1 now that they’re dry and plumped up, so that even if I mixed up puppies between birth and day 1, it’s at least accurate going forward. Tracking weights is important because it can give you an early warning of someone not thriving who might need some extra help. I will hand feed them all a bit eventually anyway because I think it starts them feeling good things about people early on (thanks to my Rottweiler breeder friend Diane Richardson who does this and who told me about it)