Friday, April 29, 2011
We weighed our little 'brood' this morning and some of these 'sweet little pups' have gained nearly a pound in five days! How can this be?? All the information I have poured over said they can gain twice their birth weight in 7-10 days but, 5 days?? Holy Cow! Actually they look more like little piglets than cows. Their poor mother, Ruby, closely resembles the cow right now. Poor girl, the birth experience isn't so pretty for female dogs either. Although she has her sleek and gorgeous physique back - if you look at her from above her body. This is her 'shapely' view. All you have to do is merely glance at her from the side or rear end view and it looks like she has actual 'udders' hanging down. It is not pretty. The kids and I took her for a walk last night and as she ran around happily, Jorah asked if I could hear that horrible noise? I could hear it, (unfortunately) and it was her milk sacs? breasts? They literally were smacking together in a sickening and painful way as she ran. I tried to stop her from running just so I wouldn't have to listen to it, (selfish I know) but she acted oblivious to the obvious - so I let her be. Secretly I promised her that we'd never, ever do this to her again. Of course this was said under duress as I had to listen to the hateful 'smacking' sound. As soon as we were home and I had a puppy back in my lap, inhaling it's sweet perfume, I forgot all about that silly promise. We are on a 'puppy high' right now. Yes I actually do think that the combination of their smell; blinding cuteness; adorable sounds they make, and the feel of their warm silky sweetness, might actually be able to get us 'high'. Certainly it has become addictive. All you have to do is look around at all that ISN'T getting done at our house. Pretty much EVERYTHING. Except of course, playing with the puppies. We have that chore all buttoned up. Back to the issue of 'nursing obsession' - our puppies have it. Their bellies are so full of moo that they literally look 'sloshy'. Ruby just eats; drinks and nurses. At this rate by the time they CAN walk, their bellies will possibly have them 'grounded' and unable to do anything but roll. New photos are at the end of the blogs, just scroll down to view. Remember they are actually puppies and not piglets, you'll be able to verify by looking at their tails :)
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
I thought it would be so easy to breed a dog. Their instincts, fueled by mother nature, would take over and ta-da - we'd have puppies on the way, right?? Wrong, as it turns out. First off we thought we'd missed the window of opportunity because our girl Ruby was already having her period which for us humans means the egg's time has run out. Turns out this is NOT the case in the canine's world. Actually the spotting of red blood indicates that it's not quite time yet and we needed to watch carefully for the color of the blood to change to light pink. Supposedly, according to information obtained via the almighty 'google' search engine, when the color of the female's blood changes, then the magical time has arrived. So we still had time and thus began our search for a compatable puppy Daddy. We happened upon a family here in Anchorage, who like us, are in love with their Labrador and wanted to have one of his puppies to add to their family. We set up a time to meet and it turned out that Buddy and Ruby REALLY liked one another - big surprise. Buddy and Ruby both, ironically, weighed 72 lbs., another sure sign of destiny at work. Buddy is a beautiful butterscotch color and with Labradors the puppies will be born in solid colors, not spotty, so it's o.k. to mix and match colors. We were happy about this because Ruby is from a golden mom and a black dad so her and Buddy's puppies would hopefully be a mix of golden and black. Yea - we have found our future 'puppy Daddy' so this sounds like an open/shut deal right? Wrong again. Both of our sweet (a.k.a, innocent & virgin) Labs had no 'experience' at this kind of courtship. On their first 'date' they chased and played and resorted to an exorbitant amount of sniffing and licking - but no actual 'togetherness'. Nuff said. Date number two was a repeat of their first, but this time we went to Buddy's house and had the dogs in a more confined space in Buddy's garage. On their third meeting, Buddy's owner Darla, noticed that Buddy seemed distracted by her presence so she left the garage. Right away Buddy started paying attention to me in Darla's absence. So I left the garage as well. Thankfully Darla's two son's were available to stay and supervise the dogs and, like magic, once the garage was cleared of all other females, Buddy and Ruby got down to business and formed the sought after 'tie'. Buddy instinctively knew he was locked-in to Ruby and didn't struggle, (smart boy). Ruby however, wanted no part in waiting around so we had to hold her and keep her calm. This is why breeding dogs should always be supervised - there are actually 'safety' issues - who knew?? Success at last! Two days later we got them together again, this time Darla and I enlisted our husbands to help supervise (as all the females were staying out of the garage now that we figured out the magical formula) and success again! Two or three 'ties' are recommended to insure fertilization of the female. Now we were pretty sure that puppies would be on the way and as an added bonus, all the time we spent 'trying' with Ruby and Buddy was not in vain. We were able to get to know Buddy and his whole family a little better, which was a blessing. The more time we spent with their family the more we were happy that we found them specifically. Buddy also charmed his way into our hearts and we were more excited than ever to see how their puppies would turn out. Now we just wait and see . . . . . and keep our fingers, and Ruby's paws, crossed (literally) as we didn't want her to meet any other males which could cause disaster to all our plans so Ruby's freedom had to be curtailed in a big way, at least for a while.
This is our first (and last) litter of puppies. I say 'last' because we are not 'breeders' we are just a family who loves our dogs and decided to take this journey into 'puppyhood' for the experience and because our purebred girl, Ruby, is beautiful and a wonderful family dog. We are believers in not bringing more homeless puppies into the world and so this decision was not made lightly and would not have been made at all if we didn't have a papered dog that we bred with another purebred, very sweet male. Both Mom and Dad come from long lines of healthy purebred Labradors who are thankfully free of hip issues. We had people already interested in puppies before we began so that helped us in our decision. So all that being said . . . Ruby met Buddy and so the fairytale begins. Oops, I mean that I found Buddy's family on the internet and was thrilled that they also have a house full of children and declared Buddy their very best friend. It seemed like a match made in heaven so we got the two of them together and as time permits we will share our ensuing adventures.