Monday, June 18, 2012

And then there were none

Sleeping past 6am for the first time in weeks, what a new concept.  No pups yelping and playing tag in the pen.  The smell of puppy poop wasn't drifting across the house.  Everything was oddly quiet.  Compared to the busyness of this past weekend when seven puppies went out the door, our morning routine was leisurely.   Two dogs to take care of?  Easy. Beginning on Friday, the babies left one by one in the midst of last minute instructions, hugs and goodbyes. Sophie got up this morning and went to check out the puppy pen.  Nope, no puppies returned in the night.  News so far has filled me in on the successes and challenges as these engaging little babies get to know their new families and settle in to their new lives.  Their new names are already familiar to me.  Nine weeks ago today the pups were born and in the intervening weeks we developed a close bond that is unlikely to change over the coming years. Though I won't see most of these little guys again, they have left us with many wonderful memories.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Most Mornings...

On most mornings, Sophie peeks in at the puppies at around 5:30am.  As soon as they see their mom, they erupt in loud--very loud--and frantic barking. After a quick walk, Sophie nurses her puppies while a more substantial puppy breakfast is being prepared. Each of the puppies is eating about 1/2 cup of kibble three times a day.  We've introduced various wet foods - cottage cheese, canned dog food and yogurt, and they've tried dog biscuits too.  Yesterday they had their first haircuts and it was quite the assembly line.  For the most part they were surprisingly willing to stand on the table for the electric clippers.  They didn't exactly hold still, but that would be asking more than an eight-week old puppy can do.  On the other hand, if their families introduce them early and often to brief and cheerful grooming sessions, they should be good clients at their local dog grooming salons!  Tonight they're restless, squealing and growling at each other, tussling and barking.  It's quite the commotion.  They missed their evening outing in the pen with Clarence and have to get rid of their excess energy somehow!   A week from today, the pen will be nearly empty, most puppies off to begin their lives with their new families.  Eight weeks has passed incredibly quickly and it is hard to imagine that it is almost time to say a happy goodbye.

Monday, June 4, 2012

No Holds Barred

The pups celebrated their seven-week birthday with a "no holds barred" romp through the dining room this evening--a rare treat.  The fun wasn't over until every pup had pooped at least once (and likely run through it) and every neat stack of newspaper, an essential piece of puppy pen equipment, was strewn around the room.   At the end of our session our goal was reached: every puppy was tired out and ready for a good night's sleep.  The pups are eating three times a day with the last meal around dinner time.  They are good sleepers overnight and then ready for their breakfast at 6am each morning.  Their primary food is kibble in increasing amounts--1/4 cup or more per pup, per meal; I mix some cottage cheese or wet dog food into the kibble and within minutes every morsel is gone.  Today the pups got some new chewing bones but shortly thereafter, I noticed that Clarence was chewing one of them.  "How do the older dogs get the puppy toys?"  This is another mystery exceeded only by the biggest puzzle of all "How do the puppies' collars become untied overnight?"  This morning Yellow Boy and Light Blue Boy needed to be sorted out.  Today all of the boys are wearing double collars.  I'm tempted to set up a web cam to learn which puppy has learned how to cleverly untie knots.  Yesterday the puppies had their "temperament" tests; it is always interesting to observe the puppies' reactions to a series of activities in the absence of their litter mates.  All of the puppies were playful, confident and sociable and one turns out to be an excellent retriever!  Several loved climbing the handler's stool and most didn't mind being in a strange room with the door shut.  The temperament tests--more art than science--provide some additional insights into how the puppies react to other people, unusual sounds and experiences, handling by a stranger and separation anxiety.