Tuesday, 30 November 2010


Yesterday was a lovely day at the beach. No, really. While the rest of the UK was labouring under snow like I didn't even know was possible in this country, south Devon remained blissfully frosty and flake-free. Lapphunds, needless to say, adore cold weather, and I've lost count of the number of cute-Lappy-playing-in-the-snow photos I've seen. But I've kept them secret from our dogs who would be very jealous if they knew what fun their relatives were having.

Shhh! - here's Lana (formerly Jonna/Jaana) being a meerdog and gazing longingly out at the winter wonderland beyond her window.

Oh, pleeeeeeease can't I go out and play in the snow?

So to make up for what they are missing out on, we took advantage of a conveniently timed low tide for a quick run on the beach before work.

Keksi has mere days - nay, hours! - left and so has officially passed the "running" stage and will now even take a pass on "playing". "Sitting" is her favorite activity these days (after eating, obviously).

Keskiyo playing his favorite game: chasing stuff thrown into the water

Maija chilling out waiting for the 'photo' bit of the walk to be over with

And chilling a bit too much when she gets caught out - oops!

Today will be stuffed full of chores as I scramble to get ready for the newcomers. It's been a hectic couple of weeks; I can and do work a great deal from home, but much of my work can only be done at work, so I've been trying to get ahead for when I can't leave the puppies.

Progress to date: precious little

Jay once again inherited the job of clearing out the puppy room and although I was too embarrassed to post a photo like I did last time, it started out looking remarkably the same. So today the whelping box is in place and... well, that's about it. As for where all the stuff from the puppy room went, let's just say my lounge looks like a junk room exploded in it. And there's a reason for that: a junk room exploded in it.

Progress to date: a little

I've been shamefully slow in compiling the rest of the puppy whelping stuff. I have my "puppy kit" box that contains the latex gloves, syringes, thermometer, etc. But I haven't yet located the hot water bottle, set up my holding box or sterilised all the necessaries. I have purchased new tiny nail clippers for the puppies' new tiny nails, but I can't quite remember where I've put them. Even more serious, I haven't yet laundered all the dog towels in readiness.

What I have done, though, is collected enough newspaper. Or, perhaps I should say that Jay's parents have collected enough. They've been brilliant and now we have enough newspaper for 2 litters. Or one litter of 9 (I remember it well, how much newspaper we went through that time.)

We have 8 or 10 stacks like this one. Isn't it good to see real recycling in action.

Progress to date: newspaper fully loaded & good to go!

Where visitors to the last litter were not welcome to cross the threshold until they had crossed my palm with newsprint, I am pleased to say that we will subject our visitors to nothing more intrusive than a full pocket and bag search as they leave (to ensure we are left with the full complement of puppies after the visitors have gone).

Monday, 29 November 2010


We can now count the time before Keksi's due date in days rather than weeks. Or, to be more precise, a week and a bit. In our house we're getting a little nervous because so many things can go wrong. However, Keksi seems her usual chilled self so I'm certainly not trying to stress her out with my worries. In spite of her sister's more difficult time, she does come from good whelping stock in Neka, so I'm being optimistic.

She has been on Panacur 10% wormer for a while now to make sure the puppies have no disgusting parasites. Perhaps I've been lucky, but I have yet to see canine worms.

And, to be absolutely clear, in case it does not go without saying, I have no wish to see any either.

So Keksi has now moved back in with us for the duration of her pregnancy, the arrival of the puppies and staying until they are fully weaned at 6 or 7 weeks. She has slowed down considerably, although she's still up for a game if anyone is offering. She is doing a bit of running with Maija on their walks in the woods. Very quickly, though, she decides that she probably shouldn't be running after all. As well as slowing down, she is panting quite a bit when she's just lying around.

But most dramatic is the change in her shape. Here she is lying down at work this morning.

Only 5 puppies? Really?

In the meantime, in other news, after an enormous amount of work done on one side of our garden a couple of years ago, we decided to rush and get the fence on the other side replaced before we have a bunch of Finnish Lapphund adults and puppies running around. There were a couple of weak spots and one or two actual holes that no canines had discovered as yet. However, the puppies would have for sure, being nosey, clever and capable of finding everything single thing they ought not to.

I did feel sorry for the fencing guy, though, as we've been having sub-zero temperatures for a few days now and he was out there working in arctic conditions. In this weather, I've been making sure to keep the bird seed topped up and lots of fat balls hanging from the trees. That brought all kinds of visitors to the garden, including the usual array of bluetits, great tits, chaffinches, sparrows, black birds & robins. Then yesterday we had the rare treat of seeing a few goldfinches and even my own personal favorite, longtail tits.

Then an even more colourful visitor in the shape of this young male pheasant (perched on the fence).

Of course, he didn't hang around long once he spotted Keskiyo trotting over to say hello.

Keskiyo, of course, has been spending as much time out in the freezing garden as we will allow. These days he has tennis balls permanently frozen into the pond that he likes to bark at from time to time. Easily amused.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

we're having puppies

At last, some blog-worthy news: Keksi is having 5 puppies - wh00! Well, that's how many we're expecting anyway, following the scan a couple of days ago.

For a couple of weeks, it's been is-she-isn't-she. Daniel reported a terrible kitchen bin raid during which Keksi spread rubbish all over the kitchen and hallway looking for food. Food stealing is usually a good sign that a bitch is in whelp. In the case of most bitches, anyway. In Keksi's case, you would think she was always in whelp, she's such a scavenger. Her sister Taika is bad too, but Keksi makes even her look like an amateur. 'Tenacious' and 'cunning' were two words one of her owners used to describe her food thieving exertions. In fact, since she has been here while said owners have been away, I've been quite astonished by her ingenuity in finding food in the kitchen. This dog who barely breaks her sedate waddle out on walks will stop at nothing to acquire the least little morsel.

So, while the bin escapade was a sign, I wasn't convinced by that alone. I asked Daniel whether Keksi was showing a little skirt of fur in front of her back thighs. That was something that Neka showed in both her pregnancies. Suddenly the fur on the sides, just behind the rib cage, stuck straight out in a ruff. No, Daniel said, no skirt.

Then she came to stay with us. There was definitely a skirt. And you can sort of see it here:

So, did I say so to Daniel? No, I didn't want to get everyone's hopes up, just in case. Did I say so to anyone? Of course! But only to Jay. I wanted someone to know I was right, after all.

So, the scan said 5 puppies, same as Taika had. We might get 5, we might get 4, we might get 6. The 5 is, shall we say, "fluid" at this point. Things can still change, but at least she's definitely in whelp. And so I have to start getting ready.

First things first: make sure Keksi is as fit as she can be. This is a tough one for a dog who doesn't really like to break a sweat. Daniel was under strict instructions to get her fit before she was mated, and he gave it a good shot. Then she put on a bit of weight, got lazy, as she is prone to do. This girl has to squeeze out some puppies in a few weeks time, so she's now on a gentle fitness drive before she's too far gone. Since she arrived here, she's been out for long walks at least twice a day - and not leisurely strolls either. She trots, she runs, she breaks a sweat. Is she impressed? Probably not. Is her shape improving? Her stamina? Yep and yep.

Today she had fun on the beach then came home and has a snooze with Maija on the sofa to recover.

When she puts her ears on sideways like this you can see why Jay & I have nicknamed her the brown sheep.

In no time at all she's back to her usual funny self, asking when dinner is going to be ready.

Classic Lappy-no-ears face

And this is how adorable she was at 6 weeks:

Monday, 1 November 2010


The lovely beach in the last post is at Teignmouth, south Devon. We are so lucky to be within spitting - or at least driving - distance of many, many fabulous beaches. It was one of the reasons I moved here and it is one of the 3 things that keep me here. The beach at Teignmouth is small but conveniently located and the town is one of the few seaside towns that still retains some of it's charm. Forget Torquay & Dawlish and don't even go near Paignton - for me Teignmouth is the little coastal gem around here. And it's only a 10-minute drive from home.

Granted, on a day like Saturday it was a 15-minute drive over icy hills, but we made it unscathed.

A couple of weeks ago we were on a very different, very much longer, flatter, muddier beach at Weston-Super-Mare for a mini Infindigo reunion and impromptu Lappy walk. In addition to the various people attached to each dog, we had Neka & Keskiyo, the girls Taika & Keksi and the boy Taito from Neka's first litter, the girls Maija & Kaija and the boy Rauhan from the second litter and sisters Minna & Kesa from the last litter. In addition to the Infindigos, we had Keksi's housemate Ismo, Rauhan's housemate Sukka and little 14-week-old Miika out on his very first Lappy walk who had a grand old time chasing the older dogs. We even had 2 non-Lappies whose names escape me now, but there was a very fetching (and large) 8-month-old Rottie X and her tiny terrier housemate. Unfortunately my camera had given up before they joined the group for photos.

L-R: (in shot) Sukka, Miika, Taito, Kaija, Neka, Maija, Taika, Kesa, Keksi, Rauhan, Ismo
Hidden behind other dogs: Keskiyo, Minna
Missing from photo: non-Lappy guests

3 generations of girls
L-R: Taika, her daughters Minna & Kesa, her mum Neka

Keskiyo's family
L-R: Neka, Keskiyo, their girls Maija & Kaija (Sulo) and boy Rauhan

Shame everyone was already sandy, muddy and bedraggled by the time we took the photos, but that's just the way it has to be when you're at the beach. Needless to say, no one was in the mood to pose before the walk. We even had quite a time trying to keep Minna still after the walk, as you can see from her expression: "Let me go!"