Tuesday, 25 February 2020

3 weeks old

As promised, the puppies are more or less crunchy with dried-in food at this age.  They have started to eat solid food - and by solid, I mean puppy kibble soaked into mush and mixed with warm puppy milk.  Any that they don't manage to get on themselves while they are eating, their littermates spread when they start playing after meals.

They will have their first taste of raw food tomorrow - yum!  But in the meantime, here they are at 3 weeks old.  They still mostly sleep, but when they're awake, they are barking, growling, playing, stomping around and wagging. 







Thursday, 20 February 2020


I have to say, these puppies look enormous to me.  They feel fat & heavy & very cuddly.  Don't ask me why - I have no idea why I have this perception, because apparently it's not true!  The numbers don't lie, and as you can see from from nerdy charts below, it seems that these puppies are extremely average in size and weight (if extreme average-ness isn't an oxymoron).

In other news, the puppies have been wormed for the first time.  That never goes down well because it's a liquid and they tell me it tastes terrible.  As proof, you can see their uncles from Tuuli's first litter being wormed at the same age here.  

This time I tried Drontal wormer instead of the Panacur I normally use.  I do believe the puppies tolerated the terrible taste more readily than others have coped with Panacur in the past.  I was slightly concerned as the Drontal is obviously a stronger drug, because you only give it once whereas the Panacur you give once a day for 3 days.  However, there have been no apparent ill effects, and it can only be a good thing for them not to have more than one day of it at a time.  

And here are the weights.  The puppies were weighed twice a day for the first week and then daily for the second week.  From now on they will only be weighed weekly.  The first table shows their weekly weight followed by a chart showing the same information in diagram size; and they are all extremely close.  The last chart is my litter average weight comparison chart.  See - I told you it was nerdy.  

If you're having trouble seeing the images, you can click on them for a larger size.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

2 weeks old

In haste because I'm quite tired tonight (and who thought it would be a good idea for me to do these weekly updates on Tuesday nights, anyway?)

The puppies' eyes are all now open, or at least just starting to open.  Now that they can see each other, they are getting funny, heaving themselves to their feet, trying to play and practicing their growling and barking.

Next week I promise to try and get sharp photos!







Tuesday, 11 February 2020

1 week old

The Onnekas puppies turned a week old this morning.  They have all more than doubled their weight and are starting to really motor around the box.  I really must try to get a good video of that.  In another week they will be opening their eyes.

Puppy 1 - Neot

Puppy 2 - Penny
Puppy 3 - Fowey
Puppy 4 - Trever
Puppy 5 - Kensey
Puppy 6 - Ottery

Saturday, 8 February 2020


Being a breeder is hard. 

Yes, there is great joy.  Usually all those things you worry about - the health of the dam, her comfort and happiness, the health of the puppies, their strength and vigour, all the freak accidents that can befall them when you're unable to sit with eyes on them 24 hours a day - never come to pass. 

Usually the tragedy doesn't happen. Usually the dam gives birth with no complications, is a happy and dedicated mama.  Usually the puppies are all born safely and are strong and vigorous and grow through their first, delicate week. 

Usually there is a period of weeks in which you work hard to raise a family of outgoing, confident and healthy puppies and deliver them into the eager arms of their new families. Usually those families love and care for those puppies and dogs through their whole lives. 

And sometimes things go wrong.  Sometimes you find yourself driving to the vet in freezing temperatures in the middle of the night with a dam who is struggling to give birth.  Sometimes one of your beloved puppies grows up to develop a debilitating illness or condition.  And sometimes puppies die.  Sometimes for a good reason, and sometimes not. 

I've been mostly lucky, I know.  I have had some heart-stopping moments during whelping and especially in a litter’s first fragile week of life.  I’ve had a bitch who was unable to deliver naturally and had to have a caesarean section who then struggled to care for her litter properly.  I’ve had to hand-feed 2 puppies in 2 separate litters for the first 2 weeks of their life.  In one litter I had one puppy who died just a few hours after birth. I had no idea anything was wrong with him, but his dam did, and she kept pushing him away from her.

That's sad.  It's hard. But you can console yourself with the knowledge that you cannot argue with nature, that for some reason you don’t know, the puppy wasn’t viable and that it never had a chance anyway.  But the absolute worst is to lose a puppy a few days after birth.  To lose her to a terrible accident.  A puppy who is strong and healthy and beautiful. 

Last night we lost our precious tiny Loveny. Yes, she was small, but not dangerously so, and she was growing at a good pace.  There was no reason whatever to think she wouldn't continue to develop and thrive.  But somehow she died.

I wasn't there when it happened, but I did arrive shortly after, and the only thing I can think happened was that Anni either landed on her when she jumped into the box after having her after-dinner wee, or that she sat on her and accidentally suffocated her.

Both of those things happen often.  Some mothers are more careful and aware than others, but frequently dams will sit on the puppies seemingly deliberately.  I don’t know if it’s nature’s way of toughening up the puppies by giving them a bit of a fright and a way of ensuring only those strong enough to wiggle out of the way survive.  Normally, when a dam accidentally hurts a puppy as she jumps into the box, they cry out, she comforts them, and everything is fine. When she accidentally, or deliberately, lays on a puppy, they cry out and either she shifts her weight so they can squeeze out, or the humans go running to the rescue before she has a chance to do so.

Whelping boxes have rails on the side for this reason – somewhere for the puppies to go to avoid getting squashed against the side by a tired and heavy dam.  I no longer use the rails because of a couple of bad experiences in the past, but this tragedy has made me re-think that maybe I should.  Although, I don’t think they would have saved this puppy because she wasn’t up against the side. 

Anni had just had her dinner and short walk to do her nighttime stuff before returning to settle with the puppies.  I was out with the rest of the big dogs for their after-dinner wees.  When I returned I went to check on Anni and the babies as I do many, many times throughout the day and night.  Loveny was lying behind Anni and slightly underneath her hip.  I wasn’t worried straight away – this, too, is not unusual.  I pulled her out to place her back at the milkbar but she was already gone.  Heartbreakingly, we lost one of our beautiful puppies.

I showed her to Anni who sniffed and licked and prodded her a few times. But nature is very prosaic; she turned her attention to her other puppies and barely looked as I took the little lost one away.