Monday, March 3, 2014

Puppy Cute Overload

If you follow or friend me on facebook then you already know about the puppies and have enjoyed the puppy eye-candy.
So here's the story of the puppies being born:

Here's the thing: spay and neuter your pets.
Now that we've established that ...
We made a very conscious choice to breed Eden and Wesley - our pure bred Great Pyrenees dogs. We need more livestock dogs and our impression is: we aren't the only ones.

On Christmas Day (yes, seriously) we saw Eden and Wesley rolling in the hay ... actually they freaked everyone out by being stuck together (known as "tied up" in the dog-breeding world). Dogs come in to heat twice a year, but I'm not confident Eden has even come in to heat that frequently. She was a few months from being 3 years old. She and Wesley took full advantage of Eden's in-heat status over the next few days.

We knew that Great Pyr's are pregnant for about 60 days, so two months later we were watching. Eden was larger in the middle and her mammary glands were filling out.

Around 2am Eden started whining in the hallway near our bedroom. I went and felt her belly, looked at her vulva, but no action yet.
The next morning she was up and acting her usual self.

Ren Man was off to work for the day.
"I bet Eden has her babies today and there's some big disaster because I'm at work," he predicted. I groaned. This would not be the first time a disaster has befallen the farm while Ren Man is at work and I'm juggling kids and farming chores.

I clean up from doing morning chores and get the kids breakfast. Check email and notice the man I had talked to the previous day about a possible camper has not emailed pictures, as he said he would. He had said he was better with texting, so I send a quick text saying: hey, I haven't received an email from you - here's my address in case you lose it. Then I clean up from breakfast and start picking up toys.

"Sarah! Come here!" my dad calls from the back door.
I know. At least, I think I know.
I race through the house, dodging random children who are reaching for a pickup.
My dad is through the mudroom in the "not garage".
"She's started," my dad reports, puppy in hand.
"Where is she?" I ask.
"Over here," he motions, leading me over and bringing the puppy to Eden. "She dropped this one over there, and then moved here," he explained.
"Is that the first one?" I ask.
"I think so," he says and we notice that two others are near her, already birthed. She's licking the puppies frantically (she's very adept at obsessively licking herself all over - so now all that cleaning practice pays off!).
Another puppy slips from her vulva. Ignoring the three older puppies, she licks this one who is already mewing and working on biting off its cord.
"I'm so glad she chose here to birth," I say. This is exactly where Ren Man and I had discussed her birthing. "But it's really cold," I say. We'd had a warm spell for the previous day or two but now we were back in to frigid temps and the not-garage is unheated and uninsulated, sitting on a concrete slab. I leave Eden to find a heat lamp. The 100 chicks we bought in December are getting more mature and they have three, I hope they can spare one. I bring it back to where Eden is whelping and spend a lot of time and effort trying to wrestle pieces of cardboard under her and the puppies so they aren't directly on the concrete.

I watch as she births two more puppies in fairly quick succession.

Six puppies!
Someone who comes regularly to the farm to pick up food, arrives. I tell him about the puppies and lead him around the cooler and freezer to show him. Eden starts growling. This surprises me slightly because I've been here, there, and everywhere all over her and the puppies and she's been very ambivalent about my interference. He makes a respectfully hasty escape.

Eden is resting and continuing to clean up the pups. They seem frigid - even Eden is shivering - whether that's from cold or the effort of birth, I don't know. I do know that I'm cold! Especially my hands as the birth fluids dry from them in the cold air. I keep putting puppies to nipples hoping they'll suck, but they don't. Child D. has insisted on standing out in the cold not-garage with me. She asks frequently to hold a puppy and motions and says "rock baby, rock baby". I remind her that Eden needs to take care of her puppies and she wouldn't like it if we held them.

I call Ren Man at work.
"Listen to this," I say and hold the phone down to the puppies. They are crying in a way that is disturbingly like a human baby newborn.
"Did you hear that?" I ask.
"What is that?" he asks.
"PUPPIES!" I answer.
"Oh! I thought it might be Child D. making a funny sound," he responds. "Where are they?"
"In the not-garage, it's really cold," I explain. "There are six, I think she's done. I kind of want to move her but I don't know where."
"What about in the mudroom in that corner by the bench - you'll just have to clear it out," he suggests.
"Okay, I'll do that," I say.

I go in the house and raid our modest stack of newspapers that lives by the wood stove and grab a wool blanket. My dad has another wool blanket. I clear out the corner roughly and put down a layer of cardboard and then a layer of newspaper and then my dad folds a blanket as a top layer. He then rolls up the other blanket to use as a barricade for the puppies.
I scoop up the puppies and bring them in to the blanket, assuming Eden won't leave them. While moving them I do a gender check, it appears there are 3 males and 3 females. I call to Eden, but she won't come. I go and take her collar and move her to the doorway so she can see and hear her pups. She gets the idea and moves right in to their blanket and continues her cleaning process.

"I don't think she's done," my dad says.
I'm doubtful. She seems relaxed and this is coming from the man who predicted she'd have 4 puppies.

It's lunch time and I have a text back from my camper-guy. He's sent pictures. I forward them to my influential friend (I might have to just name her because "influential friend" is cumbersome and really sounds like she's out convincing the world of something - maybe just a vintage camper love - and that's not all she does in life). My camper-friend also sends directions to the camper and tells me to go look at it any time - it's unlocked and I get the impression he's not in the area.
My friend implies she can come check out the camper with me, which I'd prefer, but only today (tomorrow doesn't work for her, and I want to see it soon!). I'd have to leave in about an hour to meet her. But it's nap time. But it's life. So I tell her to meet me and when the kids are done with lunch I get them geared up for the brief road trip. Google says (although they lie, every time, in my experience) that it will take 40mins. I have enough time to get to the camper, look at it for 20mins, and make it back to pick up Child F.

It's hard to leave the puppies to go check out the camper. But as I leave everyone is doing well, and maybe this quiet time (where I'm not going to check every 22 seconds) will be good for them. Del delights in seeing the pups and asks if we can name one "Lilly" and one "Daisy" and actually can we name them all flower names?!?!

I ask my dad to peek on them every once in a while to make sure everyone is alive and well.

Half way there I get a call from my dad. My heart is in my throat.
"Did you forget your mother-in-law was coming today?" he asks.
Ooops, yes, yes I did. And I would be bummed to miss her. I tell him to tell her when I'll be back and hope she'll stick around, although that's really above and beyond because I know she's passing through after a weekend visiting my sister-in-law and is probably more than ready to be home.
But the puppies are all still doing well.

When I arrive home a couple of hours later my mother-in-law is still there!
"How many puppies were there when you left?" she asks.
"Six," I respond.
"There's eight now," she says.
I rush back out to Eden and see that my dad has moved a mobile radiator nearby. Sure enough, 8 tiny puppies - two clearly recent arrivals, still slightly sticky.

Eight puppies.

So that's the puppy story. We've lost one, I think mom might have suffocated him. At first I thought there were three boys and three girls - and then I didn't know what the gender split was when there were 8 puppies. I tried to look more recently and there appears to me two are female.

Everyone is fattening up and feels solid. They're so small and warm and soft with their eyes squeezed shut. Eden is an excellent mom, which is a relief.

So here's more puppy cute (most have already been posted to fb):


Emily said...

Ha! You can name me, I don't mind. Influential friend isn't so bad, though. Better than crazy friend :-D

lovermont said...

haha - cool! That will make this easier! :) You're not crazy enough to get the "crazy-friend" title.