4/22/08

Saga of Puppy- Motherhood.

It IS Thursday. I thought puppy fatigue had taken over but I see that it really IS Thursday. After 8 hours - yes 8 hours - sleep last night, the pups and I headed for an early morning vet visit. This makes me nervous. There are germs in vet offices, but he agreed to see them early so no one has brought in any contaminated filthy dogs yet. Good news! The puppies have made it three weeks. They are over the threshold barring severe something or the others which I did not ask the vet to list for me because I would then be spending all day on the net researching the symptoms. The bad news is that I have two "obese" puppies. Now, to me this isn't bad news but revenge. The vet had been operating under the assumption that I could not keep these puppies fed - instead, they are obese. Yes people, you read this right- there is such a term as "puppy obesity". It's apparently an uncommon term since most puppies are raised with a mother and compete which keeps them more active and less fat. SO, the vet still reminded me, much to my surprise, that I am not a dog or a b....h! Hmmmmmmm.

By the American Puppy Legal Weight Measuring Association Standards (just made that up in case you are wondering), two of my pups are obese. This means that even though they look like warm, furry pumpkins with barking heads, they are actually simply fat. I am now supposed to weigh and measure and measure and weigh but then again, since I am introducing them to eating out of the same bowl of food as their siblings (competition), this situation may resolve itself. I'm sorry folks - there will be no puppy diets implemented in my household! If they eat, they eat. If they cry, they eat. It's who I am- you live with me, you get spoiled/fat. I am sure all the other puppies on the playground will laugh at them and make fun of them as they roll themselves out of the puppy classroom except I intend to homeschool them and protect them from this situation.My husband was sitting in his recliner last night and said "something smells like sh....t!"

My daughter, in her normal smart alec manner said something like "it's probably your feet!" Funny thing was - it was... I know EWWWWWWWWW. He promptly donated the funds to purchase them their new wading pool. This has been a standing request for a week now. While everyone else probably thinks this is gross, just seeing her say that, him actually looking to discover that yes, there were puppy treats on his foot still makes me laugh. Of course, I can laugh now after using an entire bottle of Pine Sol, carpet cleaner and forcing him to take another shower. I am quickly learning that those coveted pristine, disinfected floors are a thing of the distant past. Hopefully, with the new wading pool, I can once again keep them that way.

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Last night, after consulting with the only experts I know, I decided that the puppies were in need of something more solid in their diets. This was the result of their requesting a bottle on an hourly basis and their inability to sleep or do anything else without wanting more food. If you can't snuggle them without them slurping on you, even after feeding just 30 minutes ago, something has to be wrong. So, last night, I ground up a few morsels of puppy food and placed it in the blender with their food.

My family has now professed to never eat or drink another item from this blender even though it does wash out. I don't think they will have to worry as the blender seems to be having issues with the major useage that has been applied to it.I fed the first puppy. It was little "BB" my brindle baby. After several corrections to the nipple, getting new nipples and correcting them, he went through six ounces of this new concoction without hesitation. I thought I had killed him. He burped, gulped, burped, gulped and literally passed out in my arms. I handed him to my daughter who agreed to snuggle him and wake him every few minutes to make sure he was still alive. First puppy being successfully slaughtered, I didn't back down from my master plan but proceeded to feed two more with the same results - hey - if you go into overkill - go full speed ahead. The fourth puppy simply refused the bottle - he's done this now for that past week. So, I made the mix a little thicker and placed it in a saucer. He dove in with all four feet, head, belly, and proceeded to lick the saucer clean. Wow, this guy is way ahead of his siblings. Then, the result was the same.So, we put the pups to bed and I proceeded to get up about every hour to check to make sure they were still alive. They were. They were simply sleeping very soundly. They have now outgrown their box and when they form their usual "puppy pile" one will eventually fall off and out of the box and onto the floor. Then, they wander off to some spot, do their thing and then begin crying. I would get up, step in their thing and then find the crying mongrel and put it back in the box, next to the pile, turn on the lights, say a few words, clean up the mess and go back to bed. This happened three times last night.

Husband is working as I write on a new box with better walls and easy cleanability. I am a neat freak about my floors and this new intrusion is something I am struggling with accepting - even from beloved puppies - NOT - they can do whatever they want, they are my new children!This morning, they were awake and ready to eat their breakfast. It was the same routine as last night except I tried the saucer with the other three. Two of them played in it and little "BB" my stubborn Brutus offspring, simply kept putting his head into the air looking for his bottle. O.K. He's not ready yet. My assumption that this would reduce the feeding time was quickly negated by the time it took to clean up the mess they made. The cats have taken to sitting within touching distance and staring at the puppies. Their expressions fluctuate from extreme hatred to disgust to the occasional playful expression.

My new trial will be do I or do I not let these puppies get new homes. I have people calling me who knew Diamond and who know Brutus. They want to buy a puppy. But which ones do I let go? How do I screen the applicants? Who will know that these are not just dogs - they are family? Husband doesn't share this sentiment. I think he has horrific visions of four full grown bulldogs destroying the farm one fence post at a time. The cats seem to agree with husband. 3/11/08:The babies suddenly have noticed they have feet. Yes, they are using them to try to walk and easily climb out of their box, but they can be laying around and all of a sudden - FEET!

It's so funny how they react. First they look and their little faces scrunch up as if they never knew those things were there. Then, they begin biting at them in their ever so sluggish 2 1/2 week old method. They eventually end up trying to stand up and look at them, then bite at them and lose their balance and roll over. They are now eating 4 cups of formula a day. That's four recipes worth - nearly a dozen eggs. But, to my good fortune, yesterday evening I discovered that the evil possums had not been consuming my eggs as I had suspected. Well...they have gotten a few, but I found the coveted hidden nest in the chicken house. I got a yield of 18 eggs. With five laying hens at 5 a day, that's about 3 days worth of laying. The other nest must belong to some renegade hen who refuses to go with the flow - a rebel - a hen after my own heart! As a sidenote - the roosters have finally learned to crow.

When I was a child, I did not realize that crowing was a learned artform. It's instinct to want to crow, but it's effort to learn to crow. They began as just a sqawk or sound as if they were choking, but they have now begun crowing. I LOVE waking to that sound. I have three roosters - all beautiful creatures - and all now crowing.Even the most disgusting things puppies do are entertaining. They are learning to stand and relieve themselves. They stand on wobbly legs, strain, moan and groan (the same sounds that have qued us for the last two weeks that it's time to grab the paper towels) and then, normally, tip over and bang their noses on the floor! Of course, as a parent, one tries not to laugh, but it's really hard to not giggle at their er...struggles. This tipping usually results in an equal and opposite reaction of sneezing and then...sitting in their mess! So, they get their revenge because I then have to bathe them......again!

We are now averaging two baths a day and they are rather well tolerant of these baths. I think they like the warmth of the running water and blow drier. And they LOVE the massage I give them as I dry them off.The puppies also have a full force of "puppy breath". Puppy breath is that skunky, distinct odor that only puppies have. It's the scent of love, kisses, hugs and it's memories of childhoods and simpler times. I noticed it in a couple of puppies last week but they now all have it. I am assuming that this means I am providing the appropriate nourishment. I was concerned that I would only get to experience this wonderfully stinky sensation if they were with their mother. I am grateful their breath stinks!And it's Monday again. I like Mondays. I have always found the opportunity to start a fresh new week with a fresh new perspective quite rewarding. Today, however, was Monday an hour earlier. Even that was o.k. The feeding schedule was easily adjusted. The babies are now hungry anytime a bottle is offered even if you wake them from a deep sleep. The chickens are now contributing to the effort -leaving me 3 or 4 eggs a day. I have to beat the possums to them however. Brutus tries to catch them, but hasn't succeeded completely. If I don't get the eggs before dusk, they are quickly devoured. Even with all the wiring and foundation work, they still manage to rip open a section of fence here and there and take whatever spoils are left.One puppy has begun walking on shaking legs and he gets around quite well. He has decided that HE will belong to my daughter. He's not exactly the one she picked out being the only brindle and her wanting the only white one, but he's picked her out. His temperament is identical to his father. He sleeps fitfully making all sorts of noises and jerking around. He barks when he hears his father barking outside and he literally bull dozes over the other puppies even though they are equal in size. Feeding him is a record breaking effort. He can consume five ouces of formula in less than five minutes. Burbing him is another story. Having eaten that fast, the burbing effort is quite gruesome.

The only female is surpassing her brothers in size and formula consumption. I feed her first most days because she insists I do so. Two weeks ago, she was almost dead. Now, she has the largest appetite. We have named her Rubye. She's not her mother - not the Diamond that was such a precious addition to our family- but she's not far from it hopefully. So, we decided to call her a gem just the same.We are now left with only one puppy that we have not named. He's equally adorable and cute. He's just so layed back and easy going we often forget he's there. He will probably be the best of the litter as far as pets go. Nothing disturbs him. He never complains. He simply does what he does. I currently call him "Slow Joe" because the bottle isn't even a big deal to him. He takes as long as the other three combined to consume his formula. He just sips and lays around and sips and lays around as if he's on some vacation.Mother's log - stardate 3/8/08 (I always wanted to do that)

Today I have realized that the puppies have grown. When I crawled under the deck in the pouring rain, they were so small that I could pull out two at the time with one hand. Now, it takes two hands to hold them on their backs while propping them up. It takes two hands to wash them and it takes two hands to hold them and snuggle them. They have at least doubled in size. I probably should have weighed them but I did not.We had a picture of Diamond out from when she just came home to us at 3 weeks old. The smallest male looks just like her even down to the expressions he makes. His name is Chip - he's my Diamond chip. If you are a fan of "King of Queens", there is a character in that show named Spence. As we were watching the reruns the other evening and I was feeding Chip, we laughingly realized that Chip and Spence have the same facial expressions. So, sometimes we call him Spence. However, my daughter's ex-boyfriend is named Spencer and she doesn't like having anything of any value with that name.This morning was quite nice. Yes, I was awakened at 2:00 am as usual - the one day reprieve was really JUST a one day reprieve, but being home today, I have had more time to hold, feed and clean them. They are getting used to their baths and relax when they hear the blow dryer. I am hopeful that I have done some future owner a big favor with this. They are also learning to sit and look around. Their front legs will now support a sitting position. They are also learning to climb out of the box and seem to know which direction the bedroom and the "feeding recliner" are in.

The "J's - A and B" our two cats that we raised on bottles last year, are not really happy about these additions to their household. First, it's highly insulting that the new milk supply goes exclusively to the mongrels. I see them staring into the box often - I believe they are plotting some evil scheme or possibly telling the puppies horrific stories of life on this farm in hopes they will run away the instant their legs can carry them. Second, it's quite disconcerting to the J's that the puppies garner any attention from their humans. If they actually walk across the same spot a puppy just touched, they go into a huge drama of shaking their feet and hissing. They do not like the contamination these creatures have brought into the household.My kitchen, at first glance, could be mistaken for a bar.

Two blenders sit waiting the next time to mix formula, measuring cups and spoons sit on ready as do the various articles that become formula. Several times a day the blender is running and husband asks what I may be mixing. Why doesn't he know now, after two weeks that the only thing I have time to mix is formula. I have considered responding with "Oh, I've invented this great new health drink" and giving it to him. It would be fun to see him freak out, but eggs are too expensive and therefore, I won't waste them even on such an enticing comedy.I have one more week, actually less than a week before I start the puppies on puppy chow. I am looking forward to that. Their appetites have increased astronomically and I think they too may be looking forward to it. But, I actually might miss the 2:00 feedings, the re-runs of old movies I watch during these feedings and the very fact that right now, I am the most needed individual in their life.3/6/08:Two of the puppies were in the floor this morning waddling around on shaky legs. It seems that their new sight has resulted in a new curiosity about the world around them. They seemed glad to see me but I think it was because they KNOW that I bring food. This weekend husband has promised to construct a newer stronger, taller walled box for their home.

There has been discussion about WHEN they will move outside, but it's been a one-sided discussion.I have learned in the last two weeks that puppies when little can not "relieve" themselves as a reflex. They have to be encouraged into it. Yes, it's gross but it's a fact of life. These last few days, however, they are learning to do their dirties on their own. What a relief. I wonder if the fellas will ever stop streaming fountain effects when I rub their bellies. I can see it now-some visitor comes to the house, the little guy rolls over, the visitor rubs the belly and gets it right in the face. It's abnormal for humans to participate in this part of the raising, so I wonder how many habits will be formed that are not there when they are raised naturally.My daughter is thrilled to now discover that the puppies are ready to "cuddle" when held. No longer do they root and try to latch on to anything they can but they actually observe, nuzzle, sniff and snuggle. They are recognizing the hard plastic bottle as their source of nourishment.

They are recognizing the soft, warm, human as comfort. Another relief.Last but not least, I got nearly 8 hours sleep last night. They simply forgot at 2:00 that it was time to start crying out. They remembered it about 4:00 a.m. though. I have attempted to move them from what was once every 2 hours to every 4 hours and now to every 6 hours. But 8 hours was our schedule last night. Perhaps they were as tired as I was.Now....if I can only get my husband to recover from the flu, the normal state of abnormal can be restored in our household.Original entry:Most people who know me here know that my life revolves around family and farm life. Last year, my beloved Trusty, a horse of 34 years, passed away. I was ready for that-he was old and crippled and his spirit outlived his body by a good year or so. I can't describe the grief of losing such an asset in my life nor the thrill of knowing I got to experience him for over 16 years.I don't blog much these days.

I more live life and enjoy each moment of it. Blogging seemed to clutter my life short of my renewed desire to share testimony with others.For now, this blog is my journal. You don't have to read it, respond to it or like it. I am writing it for me because what few spare minutes I have in my days, I am going to record my new experiences here to reflect on at a later date.Two weeks ago tomorrow, my precious Diamond - the dog in my photos- an awesome blue eyed, naked bulldog- had five puppies. After the first five, something went terribly wrong and we lost our Diamond. She was five years old - four and a half years older than the vet said she would ever be. Even though I knew her life was to be short, unlike Trusty, I was not ready. However, I have distractions to ease the suffering.Despite the loss of Diamond, we decided to take the orphans in and raise them the best we could.

Thanks to the advice of some very trusted experts, we have managed so far to keep four of them healthy and alive. The tiny little girl did not make it.So, this blog for now, when I have the time is a documentary of my adventure as a surrogate dog (oh yeah- there are names you can use - but I've heard them before) mother. It's for me and my daughter to reflect back on simply because it's easier than any other method of documentation in the midst of our upcoming move from old place to new one.Last week was a challenge. The puppies would eat, then they wouldn't eat. I spent a virtual fortune on different bottle types, nipple types, etc. until I found just the right one. Two puppies like the "medium flow" nipple, one likes the "newborn" nipple and one simply sits and gulps as we squeeze the milk into his mouth by whatever means we can. They've got it made so far. They have service every four hours, cleaning, no one telling them to shut up, get off the furniture, quit chewing everything or to stop fighting.They did four things in the last week, eat, sleep, poop and tinkle. No five- stink. My days were consumed with feeding, cleaning, washing bedding, going to work, going home on breaks, mixing formula, and starting all over. My husband and daughter also took advantage of this time to contract the flu so, all effort was mine single handedly (I look forward to the day they both recover and I can lay guilt to the level of some new outfit on them for abandoning me in the hour of need). The pups must have been happy because they didn't cry a lot like I expected. My daughter was distressed because she wanted to play with them and they only were awake long enough to eat. One of them, I call him "BB" for Baby Brutus since he's the only brindle, actually took up most of our time since he did not like the bottle or the formula. This week his attitude has changed.

This morning the eyes of the tiniest puppy were opened. I was thrilled to see that they were blue. I was not thrilled to realize that he now is in wonder about his entire world including the bottle, me, my husband and everything else. I wonder what he thought when he saw the blue and pink piece of plastic in front of him that was providing nourishment. From his expression when he saw my husband leaning over him, he was thinking he was on the wrong planet. My "schedule" for the feedings was disrupted by his newfound curiosity. But, his expressions when he SAW the bottle, me, my husband were so entertaining. SO, I opted to go to work late today and enjoy the new personality emerging from this little character.Tomorrow is day 14. My little Diamond clusters - like the shiny one on my finger - have become true jewels in my daily life. Yes, they are just little dogs -puppies all nasty and noisy and useless, but they are Diamond's parting gift to me. I am grateful that the 4 hour feeding schedule will soon end, but I am enjoying every minute of it while it lasts. Then again, I can't wait until my daughter CAN play with them. From the looks of things, that won't be long.

1 comment:

TRT said...

Thank the Lord for Godly country girls who know the difference between hard work Godly work.