We made the A-List!! - a distinguished list is born...
Sometimes deliveries go as planned, sometimes even better than planned and, sometimes, they march to the beat of their own drummer. Two weeks ago, Pekoe delivered her A-Team with the least amount of stress and fuss that I have EVER seen in a whelping. Now I realized that she hogged all the 'good' ways to deliver puppies and left Dipper without an edge. So, Dipper's temperature dropped, as expected. On Monday evening, she ate dinner so we figured we were good for the night. She was restless and nesting, sometimes panting, but no labor ensued. Tues morning, her due date, she refused breakfast and continued nesting but no labor. I've been doing this long enough to know when to doublecheck progress so, we arranged to meet Dr Steven Escobar (my good friend, excellent repro doctor, and all around marvelous human being) at 1PM for an ultrasound to check on the puppies. The ultrasound revealed that a couple of the puppies' heart rates had slowed down which can indicate fetal distress. The options were to take her home and give her another 12 hours to get the delivery done (then go for C-section if it didn't happen) or to just take the puppies then and there. In the interest of better safe than sorry and risking a middle of the night emergency trip, we elected to proceed with the section. This is something that Dr Steve and his team do very frequently and they have it down to a science. The goal is to get the puppies out as quickly as possible so they are less affected by the anesthesia crossing the placenta to the puppies. From induction to all four puppies out was exactly 11 minutes. The puppies came out squirming, each going to an experienced vet tech, assistant, and in this case even to board certified theriogenologist, and real sweetheart, Dr Kara Kolster. The babies were squealing in no time! We stashed them in my puppy transport to warm up while we waited for Dipper to come out of surgery then got them nursing just to get things started. They were not particularly enthusiastic yet and Dipper was high on morphine so didn't even notice them.
Then we packed up and headed home. By the time we arrived back home, the puppies were toasty warm and wide awake and hungry. Dipper went into the whelping box and stretched out and I put the puppies in with her where they all latched on and nursed mightily. Dipper was still out of it and didn't really notice so I did the cleaning and stimulation part after they fed. Within the hour Dipper was awake enough to want food. She wolfed down a 1/2 lb of ground goat then finally noticed the puppies and LEFT. She jumped onto my sleeping mat and curled up. I handed her a puppy...she took one look and left again, going to a cuddle bed in the corner and giving me the hairy eyeball for pushing a space monkey at her. I explained that these were HER babies and that she needed to care for them, put her back in the whelping box and made her lie down and got the puppies nursing again. Then she relaxed, allowed it, and finally started sniffing them, gave a tentative lick, then the oxytocin (the body's hormone that stimulates both milk letdown and maternal instinct) kicked in and she curled up around them and cleaned them and was so careful and gentle when changing position. Wondering how a new mother will react to puppies born by section is always a concern and it was very rewarding to watch the rapid transistion from 'horror, what IS that!" to 'my babies, mine, mine, mine!!"
The theme for this litter has been bouncing around in my head for a while. Because this was Dipper's first litter, I wanted to continue with the A names. Pekoe has the A-Team so now Dipper has the A-Listers. There are all sorts of A-Lists out there but I wanted this one to be super special so our A-Listers are named after people who have accomplished good things, not just people who are famous (although a couple of these folks are also famous.)
#1. "Angie" solid black female 4.5oz (solid black without a speck of white is unusual here!) Angie is named after Angelina Jolie. (1975 – ) US actress, film producer, humanitarian. Jolie has been active as a UN Special envoy and has visited many war zones and spoken on humanitarian issues.
Derivation is English, Bugarian, or Macedonian and means angel, or messenger.
#2. "Aldo" black/tan with white male 5oz Aldo is named for Aldo Leopold (January 11, 1887 – April 21, 1948) was an American author, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin and is best known for his book A Sand County Almanac (1949), which has sold more than two million copies. Leopold was influential in the development of modern environmental ethics and in the movement for wilderness conservation. His ethics of nature and wildlife preservation had a profound impact on the environmental movement, with his ecocentric or holistic ethics regarding land. He emphasized biodiversity and ecology and was a founder of the science of wildlife management.
Derivation is Italian, Portuguese, or Ancient Germanic and means Noble, or old.
#3. "Albie" solid black male 6oz (another rarity!) Albie is named for Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) Einstein was leading physicist of his generation. He also adopted strong positions on pacifism and spoke in favour of international co-operation.
Derivation is English or French or German and means Noble or Bright.
#4 "Aila" (pronounced EYE-la) Black with wht markings female 6.6 oz Aila is named for Aila Inkeri Keto (1943 -) founder and President of the Rainforest Conservation Society in Queensland, Australia, now known as the Australia Rainforest Conservation Society. Born in Tully, Queensland, Australia, Dr Keto originally studied biochemistry and worked at the University of Queensland. Keto was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1994 and was nominated as Queenslander of the Yearin 2000. In 2001 she was awarded the Centenary Medal
Derivation is Finnish and means Holy or Blessed.
Can you tell I expect great things from these babies? Hopefully they will grow into brilliant, altruists who do good things for this world!
The A-List arrives.
Current Events 1 - Double ornothing... This week has passed so quickly with amazing changes for Dipper and the A-Listers. As you may recall, one week ago today, Dipper was groggy and just figuring out that the babies were, indeed, her babies and not a bunch of space monkeys to be avoided at all costs. Well, there has never been a more devoted mother than Dipper. She is so careful and devoted to these babies. It's only been in the last 2 days that she's been willing to leave the forest at all and then it's only to zip out, say hi! to the other dogs, give Mom and me a few kisses, run out to pee, then racing back to the forest to be sure that her babies are safe.
As for the babies, one week ago they were scrawny little newborns, but they were strong and determined to succeed (as befits their theme names) and, thrive they have. Today they are plump and shiny and very active. Taking their portraits is a challenge as they tend to scoot off pretty quickly! And when I first brought Aldo out, Dipper was right behind me, and photobombed him as she was getting ready to pick him up and take him back. We did come to an agreement which allowed me to take photos as long as I promised to hurry!
Superpuppy exercises have been a fun affair with Dipper getting her 2 cents into the process but we manage. Managing two Moms with different styles has been an experience. In the first week I interceded with Pekoe many times when a puppy was behind her and she didn't notice. Not so with Dipper...she is very aware of where the babies are and very careful to arrange herself accordingly and I have not had to move a puppy a single time. Dipper is eating almost 1 lb of Darwin's/day and her milk has come in fully and the babies are full and content.
Next week I will attempt to move the A-listers to the grooming room and find out if Dipper will accept that without protesting. The Forest has been the perfect, quiet, isolated from activity, place for Dipper and the A-Listers to recover from the C-section and get a great start. But, they'll need to come out of the closet and get into the swing of things soon! Check out these shiny beauties!
#Black is Beautiful!
Current Events 2 - Moving right along... an expedition into the deepest forest discovered a rare and beautiful family of Silks! An effort was quickly organized to bring these lovely animals out of the forest and into civilization. A new habitat was set, in an area which allows freedom of movement and access to a safe outdoor enclosure. While the mother was distracted, our crew gathered the pups and moved them to their new home. This was called 'coming out of the closet.'
Ok, seriously....big shake up this week. Pekoe's A-Team outgrew their whelping box so that box was removed, giving them the entire playpen to use, which was divided into bed and toilet, which they are using well. Pekoe's whelping box was relocated to the grooming room playpen as that box is larger than Dipper's box. While the dogs were outside pottying, I moved the A-Listers to their new home. When the dogs came back in, I took Dipper to her babies and she settled in well. It only took 4 trips back to the forest to convince her that there was no pup left behind. After the 1st trip, I removed everything so there'd be no attraction. Now Dipper is happily ensconced in the grooming room and the babies are in a more open environment so they are ready for more outside stimulation, sounds, smells, etc. And Dipper can use the dog door to go bark at Smoky Joe (her quarter horse arch nemesis) whenever he has the nerve to get too close to the yard.
Now Pekoe is landlocked in the kitchen but is regularly let out through the front or back doors (there are three separate fenced yards here.) That said, Dipper does like to join the rest of the girls for morning 'crunch' time (communal breakfast) and to go out in the front or backyards. When Pekoe and Dipper come back in. Dipper has been very careful to route her trip to the grooming room (which is off the kitchen, separated by a dutch door) around the side of the kitchen island that does not take her close to Pekoe's puppies so that Pekoe doesn't feel defensive. The dynamics are so interesting to watch develop. I know a lot of breeds where you could never have two mothers in the same room, even in passing...the Silks are such sweet, social dogs...such a pleasure!
Dipper's A-Listers this week are in the process of opening their eyes. Aldo and Aila have both eyes open, Angie has one, and Albie is just starting...little Einstein probably too busy doing math problems to be interested in seeing what's going on around him. They continue to grow and thrive. Today's weights ranged from14.5oz to 1lb 4oz.
Dipper & Pekoe join in for 'crunch' time breakfast!
The A-Lister's new digs.
Living Love...the Elfin Silks!
Current Events 3 - Expanding Horizons...the biggest environmental change this week is the transition from whelping mat to bed and bath. We are now in a real bed with bumper edges and we are learning to climb out onto the piddle pad to potty. Ok, so we're not great yet but there are multiple beds here so we get frequent changes and we ARE learning. We are also growing more aware of our surrounds...and more responsive. Now we give kisses and toddle over for chin scritching and petting. And we have toys (hand me downs from the A-Team...sigh.)
We are starting to exhibit little personality differences. Albie is the busiest of us...his photo should have been a video. Angie give the best kisses. Aila and Aldo like fingers to chew on. We are all shiny and just starting to grow some ruffles on our necks. We are listening to NPR...sounds drifting in from the kitchen where the A-Team listens all day long.
The overhead light died...bummed. But we're getting brand new lights soon so things will brighten up. In the meantime we have auxiliary lighting cause we're not mushrooms and do not want to be kept in the dark!
Aren't we just little black beautifuls!
Current Events 4 - the times they are achangin'... following in the footsteps of our cousins, the A-Team, we have outgrown our whelping box and have expanded into the entire playpen. We are getting very good at toddling out of bed so use the toilet appropriately. And, guess what...tails are for wagging! And mouths are for speaking. Yes, we have discovered our voices and we know how to purr...or grr, depending on interpretation. When Mom shows up with the milk wagon, we are competitive, yes we grr!
Our coats are growing and there are cowlicks happening all over us. Aila has the least cowlicky coat...smooth and plush. Patty came to visit us. Pekoe has spoiled her by allowing her to play with the A-Team but Dipper 'splained to her that we are off limits. But, Dipper was very polite today and shared us with lots of visitors who got to hold us and hug us (but she watched them very closely to be sure we didn't slip into any pockets.) And she rolled on her back and showed everyone her best side (at least we think it's the best...yum!)
And MaryEllen brought our Daddy to visit but he only visited with humans and the grown girls. Dipper said, "Look what you DID to me!!", but we know she loves us cause she's a great Mommy.
Tomorrow we get new lights in our room and, after that, we're going to move out of the playpen and into even bigger digs...romper room to run! We visited the A-Team over the weekend...they are big compared to us but they were nice. Maybe in a couple of weeks we'll move in with them...Doc likes puppy communes!
Update 9/16/15...we moved into our new digs. See video below of us trying to figure out what happened !
We are thinking altruistic thoughts...how to save the world.
Current Events 5 - Expanding Horizons... Well, we ARE the A-Listers, you know, so we only hang out with the best sorts of people and there have been a lot of them around this week. And, we really, really LIKE it when good people come to visit even if they act as accomplices when crimes against puppies are committed (more about that later!) The renovations have been coming quickly. A very nice man came and put new lights in our house so we can see really well. And our house is growing a lot and we got a big dog potty park in there now and we are getting better about putting it to good use because we are eating REAL food now so Mom isn't, um, well, cleaning up after us anymore. We have most excellent appetites (just like our Mom!) We are eating Darwin's raw and Primal and our little tails wag very hard when we hear the food bell clang!
And we go to go outside and we loved it. So now we get to go out every day and we are learning to cope with the bullies in the schoolyard (aka A-Team..Augie thinks he's Mr T and if we hear "Pity the fool" out of him one more time, he's going DOWN.) Yes, we're running with the big dogs now but we are brave and we are smart and we are learning to duck and weave. The weather brought us beautiful, fresh air and sunshine. Good timing for us! Scroll down and you can see a video of Angela & Ruby when they came to visit on Sunday and we all got to go out and climb all over them. And on Saturday Betsy came then Michelle and her family came to meet us. It was a good weekend and we were properly adored!
Monday afternoon Kim & Gwen arrived and they just can't get enough of us so they stayed and they are still here...good thing for Doc cause they are keeping us busy so you all can get this update, finally. As we mentioned before, we like Kim & Gwen a lot...even though Kim got talked into holding us for our first paw trimming and getting our nails done AND then she even documented our first...gasp...BATH. But guess what...we were GOOD and now we are sweet smelling, clean little babies, even more huggable than before. We are getting more visitors tomorrow...that's cause we are VIPs (Very Incredible Puppies!)...the A-Listers.
First baths...so good!
Clean little A-Listers
Current Events 6 - Thinking big... Yes, we KNOW we are the 'little' kids but that's only on the outside. We were living next door to the A-Team but we believe in breaking down barriers so talked Doc into giving us more space...walls were removed and we all get to play together and even have room for puppy sized runlikehells! Oh, we LOVE the playgym...it's just the best. And the big kids are learning that size does not matter...we will defend our honor! And we're all getting along great! The only bad thing is that it's raining...and it's been raining...and it's going to keep raining so we can't get outside. It's a good thing we have more room cause otherwised we'd be stir crazy.
Before it started raining, though, we graduated from the wee front yard to the giant sideyard...it is BIG. And there are a lot of steps to get there, but we're not doing that yet. We get 'rides' down the steps. Some of the big kids can do the steps but even 6" steps look steep to us. We hope it stops raining soon because we love to go outside...as soon as we get there, we potty...it's called 'instinct'.
Our pictures are not the greatest this week. By the time Doc got to our portrait session, it was tonight and without good light we just don't look right. In fact, we sort of look chocolate but we guarantee you there is nothing the least bit chocolately about us (if you don't count poo, that is) cause we are jet blackish! So everyone please, please think sunshine so we can get out in the country air again!
Update: 10/01/15...couldn't stand bad pix...Listers got bathed and blown dry and had their portraits redone during the day...much mo' better!
The 6 week portraits, redone.
Current Events 7 - Here comes the SUN...we are SO excited! After 4 solid days of rain during which we had to play pretend Carousel Horses...going round and round and round inside, we finally caught a break and got some great weather. We get to go outside several times/day and we learned how to use the doggy door and let ourselves out (when the barrier is opened...curses when we are foiled...sigh.) And we are learning the steps, too...the big kids keep running up and down and showing us how. And the big dogs just taught us out to bark when they hear something. We are singing the soprano parts!
We are doing better at finding the piddle pads and potty parks but sometimes we still forget and the big kids make fun of us then...call us pissy pants. Snort...we'll get it, we're still little....how soon they forget what it's like to be young. And we know we are doing better than they did when they were our age so pfftttt on the big kids' big egos. We are starting to venture farther afield from the landing now but not as far as they do. We've learned to get out of the way when they run crazy. Doc says we are the cutest little ones ever...and Doc is always right!
Yes, definitely the cutest little ones!
Current Events 8 - Stairway to Heaven... yes, we have mastered the stairs! And the doggie door. We are, like Seabiscuit, small, but mighty. There is no holding us back now...watch out big kids, the A-Listers are here. And, we, along with the A-Team, have mastered our first command. When Doc calls out, Puppies, Come for Cookies, we come flying! And we have video to prove it...see below.
We dodged a bullet today...I know, you're wondering where our freshly bathed portraits are...well, we really do not mind a bit that this didn't happen today. Hey, we don't need no stinkin' baths cause we are clean, sweet smelling puppies, you betcha! But, it's just a short delay. Doc's sidekick technician couldn't come today and we are due for an overhaul, oil change & lube so it's all going to happen tomorrow. PAT, BAER test, soaps...wish us luck cause it's going to be a sad day in puppyville for us. So, check back tomorrow night for the rest of the story, complete with the 8x10 color glossy photos, with the circles and arrows...in the meantime, enjoy our video.
Update - 08/14/15 Today was our BIG day and we were just the best. We started with the PAT so we'd be in a good mood and boy, were we EVER. Stephanie, who was Doc's veterinary technician til Doc retired came out and we loved her a lot. She said we were amazing. Doc thought the A-Team would be a hard act to follow but we tried harder. We did just as great as they did only with even MORE enthusiasm (if that is possible.) Our reward for being such exceptional puppies was to get BAER tested...ICK! Needles stuck in our heads, stinky alcohol, plugs stuck in our ears and space tones piped into our brains. Yes, it's true...and we can all hear just fine!
Then we got to go outside and play...finally fun. Then, just when we thought we were in the clear, Soaps reared its ugly head. Lathered up, smoothed down, squeezed then expected to pose proudly...I don't THINK so! But, we did try and Doc said our soaps were pretty darned good. Then Stephanie tried to blow us away with the dryer and, after ALL that Doc said "Say Cheese"...harumph. So, if we look a little put out, you can understand why. Still the cutest babies ever, right?
And, in the even more news...we have our forever names! Angie is Piper, Aldo is Ollie, Albie is AJ and Aila is keeping Aila! More on our future plans next week!
Freshly bathed, did not appreciate it!
Current Events 9 - Counting Down to D-Day... can you believe it's been 9 weeks since our first D-Day? Delivery day! Now we are counting down to our second D-Day...Departure Day. This has been a great week for us...no needles, no testing, no baths, just fun in the sun, playing, sleeping, chowing down. Ah this is the life. The weather has been SO good that we get to spend lots of time romping in the yard. You can see us playing in a couple of new videos elsewhere on the site. On the "About us" page we joined the big kids and big dogs in playing with Smoky Joe, the Quarter Horse. On the front page you get to see what happens when big kids pick on little kids (ie US!)
We've been diligently chewing on our bully sticks and other chewies, working hard to get our teeth to come through...we come from a long line of slow to get teeth dogs. Doc says no rush cause when we chew on her toes it doesn't really hurt and since we don't need to catch our food and rip it to shreds, we'll do fine until they are all the way in. Little kids came to visit us today. Kellan is 4 and Vivien is 2 and we gave them a jillion kisses. Kellan said he didn't need to take a bath tonight!
We are getting more visitors tomorrow and MaryEllen's coming Thurs with our Daddy, Max, and Doc says she's going to take us for a ride in the Cocoon, so we can get used to traveling. (note from Doc: The Cocoon is the Sprinter van, so named because it is grey and often filled with Silks.) This way we'll find out whether or not we might get carsick on the trip to new home...and be prepared. Hmm...not so sure about this one! We'll let you know next week if 'going for a ride' is a fun thing!
Cutest puppies ever!
Current Events 10 - Goodnight, Sweetheart... well, it's time to go, I hate to leave you but I really must say, Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight. It's that time again when little puppies are about to leave the nest. We have done our best to prepare them to join their new families and grow into wonderful companions who love and are loved. Every week they just get better and cuter and more adorable. Each week they've learned a little more about how to get along with each other, how to be respectful of the adult dogs, how to relate to people. Today we worked on,"please do not bite my socks and hang on my feet when I'm picking up poop." Hey, it's all in a day's education.
We are still working on cutting teeth, making it all the way to the potty, how to be patient when meals are being prepared. Today they found out that you don't want to stay out too long when it's cold and rainy. They learn by doing...wanted out, I told them it was raining...they ran out...got wet, came in, OH, RAINING...got it. Towel please! Yesterday my cousin, Aileen, came to pick up Muggles and she spent a lot of time sitting in the puppy pen getting a major immersion puppy experience. Today my friend Judi came to visit the babies...She liked them a lot....she may be a Silk convert. Tomorrow Stephanie is coming...go hide babies, it's vaccine and microchip day! But then later friends are coming to visit so the day will end on a happy note.
Thursday Piper, AJ, & Aila will be leaving...it's going to be a long day. Ollie is staying until Sunday. Fortunately Ada will keep him company. It's always a privilege and pleasure to raise babies for people, knowing that they will be enjoying delightful dogs for years to come but these pups, and the A-Team, have been so special and fun. The house is going to be very quiet next week...signing off, til next time!