Dam: Multi CH Elfin's Last Word From Feliz RA CGC "Pala"
Creating the Floats - Birth... If you look in the dictionary under 'faithful, loyal, eager to please', you will find "Pala". Affectionately called my 'college girl' Pala's prime directive in life is to please. So, when I happened to mention to her that there were a number of people hoping for a puppy, leave it to Pala to step up and have enough for everyone... EIGHT puppies...the largest litter ever in Elfinland. 9 weeks in the making, the parade floats made their way into the staging area on July 14, 2009, right on schedule!
Never mind that Innovative Air was still here, finishing the installation of the geo-thermal heat pump (we're going green), so we didn't have air conditioning,or that the plumber was here installing new faucets in the delivery room, or that the AC guys accidentally knocked out my DSL line so no internet, plucky Pala was unfazed and went right to work (or labor, if you will) and had 4 beautiful girls and 4 handsome boys. Because we were working on a Deadline, all their call names begin with D and all are based on things that were happening during the delivery.
Digger - M - Black ... for the geothermal trenches Dolly - F - Black/white markings ... for moving the heat pumps around Dusty - M - Black/tan Parti Belton ... for the dust raised during digging Delta - F - Black ... for the faucets installed during her birth Divot - F - Black/white markings ... for all the clumps of grass lying on the bare clay now Dirk - M - Black/white markings ... for the head of the heat pump installation team Dozer - M - Black/white markings ... for the bulldozer that lived in our yard Done - F - Black/tan/white markings ...for Ahhh, done at last!
This page will be updated each week until the Parade marches off to their new homes.
Staging the Floats - Week 1... After the tumult surrounding the birth of the parade, this week has been blissfully uneventful. Pala has been a wonderful mother and the babies are growing and thriving. Last Fri they had their dewclaws removed and each morning they had their 'superpuppy' exercise routine. This involves holding them for 10 seconds each in the head up, head down and supine positions and having their little feet tickled. They were weighed daily until it was obvious that they have been steadily gaining weight. Pala has been downing about three times her usual food intake with added Greek yogurt. She gets a large sardine each day for extra calcium. The babies' eyes will likely open by the weekend so look for them to be looking back at you next week.
No Rain on this Parade!
The Parade Begins - Week 2... Last week, the world looked at the puppies. This week, the puppies look back at the world. Yes, we have 16 almond shaped eyes in the growing babies. There's this great furry throw that makes such a great background (see photo above) but now it had to be abandoned as the babies refused to face forward, just SURE that a nipple was hidden somewhere in the fur! Pala is doing great at keeping 8 puppies pudgy. She is eating alot of food now and gets her Greek yogurt and large sardine daily to help supply calcium. By next weekend, parade should be moving out into the world as they start to toddle, are introduced to piddle pads and look forward to meeting the grass in the puppy yard.
Here's looking back at you, kid!
On the move - Week Three... What a difference a week makes. It's like someone snuck in there and stole my little do nothing puppies and replaced them with miniature dogs. On Sunday, Dusty hung on for dear life and followed Pala right out of the box...there's one in every litter with 'super-suction' and who tells me when it's time to reconfigure the 'nest'. So, out came the whelping box and in went a bed and a potty area and we raised the bar of the playpen to keep the pups from going over the wall. Now everyone is using the piddle pads, which is the first of 4 potty substrates that we expose Elfin pups to before they leave home. Puppies develop a substrate preference early on and offering a variety of substrates helps with housebreaking later on as they are willing to be flexible.
Ok, so they pee like dogs...what else can the super puppies do? Well, they have found their voices...Dolly and Dusty woofed at me yesterday. And, they've found their other ends, too...little wags are happening. They respond to my voice and presence with kisses and wagging tails (and a woof or two.) Cathy and Les, who have big sis Lolly, brought toys...a blue one and a pink one and soon they will be playing with them. We had lots of visitors on Sunday who played pass the puppy so they are getting used to other people, too. Pala is doing a great job keeping up with the octopups...next week, they'll be moving into the kitchen and be introduced to solid food which will ease the demand onPala. Here comes the Parade!
The Parade March!
Four Blocks on the Parade Route - Week Four... What a huge difference a week makes in the life of a puppy. It's like someone snuck in one night and replaced my wee pups with miniature dogs. They bark, they wag, they wrestle, they play...they are just too cute for words (good thing we have a camera!) On Sat, a few days shy of 4 weeks, they moved into their kitchen digs. With 8 the playpen just seemed to have shrunk so out they came. They moved Sat morning and, as usual when puppies move to a new place, they whined, howled, moaned and protested. They had a great audience for this performance as the three young dogs here were delighted to watch the parade in action! I just left and went to work and by the time I got home, they were used to the new surroundings.
Again, because there are so many, I decided to offer them solid food a few days early to try to spare Pala a bit (although she is doing just a fabulous job maintaining condition while keeping the puppies plenty solid. Well, wouldn't you know that the two smallest girls were first to the trough...Dolly and Delta dove in! By afternoon, all 8 were eating like champs. This week, the Parade will march out the front door and be introduced to grass. We've had an awful hot spell (upper 90s) but it's supposed to cool down in the next few days so they don't melt. On with the Parade...
Dolly and Delta dive into dinner!
The Lunch Wagon!
Pala's Parade Marches On!
Halfway there - Week Five... Week Five is like dancing in front of Macy's in the Thanksgiving Parade. The little kids marched outside this week and have discovered the joy of pooping in the grass. It's been so hot here that they only stay out for a short time but they are delighted with all the new sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors. Pala is less and less inclined to endure the onslaught of greedy milk lustful mouths, not even for the lure of eating up their food. Understandable...when I step over the fence into their pen to change piddle pads and clean, it's like swimming in the Amazon only the piranha don't have many teeth yet. Tomorrow is payback time...they will get their first baths and, boy, do they need it. Week five is the week of 'stinkypot' puppies, not yet all that aware of where they are stepping and what they are stepping in. Mostly, it's food...they are getting really great at pooping in the litter pan...there are two litter pans in the pen to accommodate the crowd. They still pee on the piddle pads but there are fewer of them in the pen now....soon they will start shredding them and then the pads will be gone.
We've had lots of visitors and tomorrow we get children in to meet the babies. This should be a well socialized bunch of puppies with all the workers and visitors that have been in and out of here! Their personalities are starting to blossom and, as I would expect from a match up between Max and Pala, they are shaping up as an outgoing, playful, happy little bunch of puppies. That said, this week I had the bright idea of of digging out the big Frog King to join the pups in their weekly portrait...well, we did get some very worried looks...like 'please don't eat me!'...but, all survived!
Pala's Parade with the Frog King
Turning the corner - Week Six... Oh have we been having fun this week! On Thurs we got our first baths and we were such little angels! We didn't fuss at all in the bath or when being dried. It was Spa day in Elfinland. We got our feet trimmed and nails cut, too. While we were having our baths we got visitors, too! Bonnie brought 2 of her children to visit us. We'd never seen little people before...they were FUN. We got to sit in their laps and they were very gentle with us.
We get to go outside several times/day now that the weather isn't SO hot. We fooled Doc, though...she thought that the front yard was secure because she lined it with expens but we figured out we could slip through the lattice and hide under the porch...Doc was not amused. In fact, she got Carlos, our clever carpenter, to cover the lattice with screen...phooey, foiled again! But, we have a neat staircase to climb and we can even get down the stairs all by ourselves! Doc got these neat soft rubber treads so when we tumble, it's a soft landing.
Guess what we have! A pet cat...yes, Elliot has become our personal kitty. He jumps into our pen to share our food and we try to find milk spouts on him but haven't had any luck yet. Our Mama Pala is not very forthcoming with milk any more...mean mom even growls when we try to get to the milk bar....grrrrr!
We are getting really good at pottying in the right places. We found that messing up piddle pads is fun but, again, no fun Doc, took them out except for ONE in a frame that we haven't figured out how to mess up yet. Some of us REALLY want to do our business outside so we hit the litter box but holler at the pen fence cause we want OUT and Doc takes us out to potty cause that's a good thing to do.
Next week we will get to run with the 'big' dogs. Doc will protect us in case they get too rough. Lark and Karma have already played with us a little and it's time we learn how to act respectful around the rest of the pack. We're in for it now!
Delta does stairs!
Our personal play yard!
Elliot getting outta Dodge!
Sunlight dappled puppies!
Marching Down the Avenue - Week Seven... This has been a fun and growing week for the little parade marchers. The weather today was simply glorious and the puppies just had a blast running and playing outside without getting hot and diving for shade. They even had a picnic supper, dining al fresco! On Sunday they had their second bath and they were excellent. Nails clipped, feet trimmed, all without protest. I had to lock the side dog door as Dolly watched a cat go out and decided she could, too...out the door, down the (newly finished puppy friendly side porch steps) and out to play in the side yard. This one is not puppy proof so had to end that little adventure!
As the puppies grow, their pen gets bigger and and the toilet area shrinks. They have begun shredding the piddle pads so those are being phased out. They are also completely weaned now and have given up crying for their mommy. That said, everytime they get to be with the 'big' dogs, they dive hopefully under any available belly, only to be sadly disappointed. On Friday, they will have their first road trip as they will go to the office with me and meet Liza, the groomer! This weekend we're going to have lots of visitors...puppies call visitors 'fresh meat"...yes, they are really teething hard now!
The Parade apres baths
Keeping up the Pace - Week Eight... These little troopers have really learned how to march and how to ride and how to find fun where ever they go. On Friday they had their first road trip. Carol Ann, our puppy sitter, was out of town so we all went to work together to Cardinal Animal Hospital. There Liza, our vet assistant cheerfully volunteered to bathe all eight. They got to play in the backyard and they were the best little travelers...very little whining, settled down quickly and no car sickness. Saturday and Sunday and Monday we had visitors...and the babies simply charmed them all.
Today, at eight weeks, they had their second road trip to the office. Today they had their BAER test to be sure that they all hear normally. Well, the verdict is in...when they ignore me, they are simply ignoring me...they all have normal hearing! They were excellent during the BAER test...good little babies, no fussing. They also got their soaped pictures for evaluation...now that was an entirely different story. We did have some non-compliant puppies there. I mean we JUST had a bath on Fri...too soon, too soon? I'm wet, I don't WANNA pose. Being totally objective, their soaped pictures are less than stellar. They all have all their parts and I swear that Dusty's back legs will hold him up under normal circumstances...grin.
On Thurs, Marsha is coming to do their PAT (Puppy Aptitude Test) for me. I already have a pretty good idea about their personalities but this test will help with an objective assessment and will be used as part of the determination on what pup goes to which home.
Dolly Runs, too.
as does Dusty!
On the Bench waiting for Game.
Potholes and Puddles - Week Nine... Puppies are starting to think we have a water fetish. At the suggestion of our friend, Diane, we decided to redo the soap pictures...this time we did it outside, 88 degrees, nice warm water and the babies were much more relaxed and cooperative cause they weren't cold and shivery. We had a big tote with 6" of very warm water...wet down, lathered up, photographed then in to finish bath and rinse. Lovely.
As if that wasn't enough, the afternoon continued with "Alice's Restaurant"...inspected, injected, mug shots! They had their comprehensive physicals, first vaccination (distemper/parvo) and the ones going home this weekend, microchips. They were really, really good. Not a single squeak for the vaccination (we feed them freeze-dried liver while they get the shot and it really works to distract them)...the microchips did elicit a protest but then that's understandable! Had another fecal sample...negative...all good!
Where did the time go? The pups begin leaving this weekend...and will be trickling out of here over the next 3 weeks. That really helps...when they don't all leave at once. They have been so good...they love to play in the frontyard...running up and down the steps, doing the little teeter-totter, sleeping under the steps and playing king of the hill on the cooleroo bed. When it's time to come in, they come running up the stairs, onto the porch, in the front door into the dining room and, from there, get a boost over the gate into their pen. The little parade of puppies marching in the door under their own power has really saved my back!
The Parade Finale - Week 10... Walking this route with Pala's parade has been a sheer pleasure. It's really hard to post an update when the whole family is no longer together. On Sept 19th, Dirk, Done and Dusty packed their bags (literally) and left for their new homes. Dirk, now Zero, stayed in the Richmond area, Done, now Chakra, went to MD and Dusty left for TN. On Sept 22nd, Delta, now LuLu, moved to NY to ease the hearts of a family who'd just lost their Elfin kid from the 90's. Last Thurs, Divot, now Sophie moved to her new home in Richmond and then Monday, Dozer, now Ashes, also left but will stay in the area. That leaves Dolly, now Dahli, and Digger, now Luke...who are both leaving for NY on Oct 11th. Dahli and Luke now get to spend time running with the 'big' dogs and coming to work with me so they have plenty to keep them amused. So, this is the wrap up for Pala's Parade...8 wonderful puppies who should bring year's of happiness to their new families.
Of course, life would not be complete without a sequel...Penny's in heat and will be bred to Sonic (Max's handsome sire) so puppies are expected in December 2009.
Luke, the good boy, hits the spot!
Sophie(divot) and Dahli (dolly) the little princesses!