Last night, Hunter had 3 boys and 2 girls via c-section. They are very large puppies (18 ounces for the biggest and 15.5 for the smallest), and the first in line got stuck and so surgery was necessary. Some of the puppies didn't make it, unfortunately, but I'm very pleased with this very handsome 5 pack. All are black and tan/red, but more info and details will have to wait a bit longer.
I've been up all night because Hunter's momma instincts haven't kicked in (first time moms having c-sections seem to miss some crucial instinctive "switch" that happens when first cleaning off the placentas), so she's not sure about these puppy things. She's letting them nurse as long as I scritch her head, but she doesn't feel like she needs to take care of them yet. So, I'm making sure they get food every hour or so, stay warm at all times (heating pad), and helping them eliminate (which is stimulated by mom's licking [or a warm washcloth] for their first week). Hopefully the instincts will click in as she wakes up more from the anesthesia.
I think Hunter's still a bit stoned, based on her ears in this picture....
Shortly after writing this up, I turned around and saw Hunter with a grin on her face and nuzzling her pups. I think the instincts have clicked in....
On Saturday, I took Macha (Musket's lesser-known sister) over to visit the Manor of Mixed Blessings, complete with Macha's big sister Zille (formerly known as Kari), doberfriends, and some excellent human company for myself. There are more pictures at the Manor blog, so click through to read more. Macha learned to play bitey face and how to empty a baby pool of water. She tasted cherry tomatoes (odd, she thought) and blueberries, which she liked, although she made faces at the tartness. She also got to play with a very small cat with a very big personality, and she walked UNDER a Doberman. It was an excellent adventure for Macha--and not too bad for me either. :)
At some point in the afternoon, I introduced Andrea to my new dog. My mom said, "ohhh, you didn't!" But yes, yes I did--I got a new girl, straight from Germany. She was too special to pass up. And so, V-Xita v Ludwigseck, KK1a, Sch1, has come to the United States. She flew in on Friday and has been adapting well, although she's not sure yet that I'm good for much more than butt scritches and nommy foods. Xita, and her bloodlines, is a bit of a change for me, a step forward, I think, introducing some excellent new lines to my current bloodlines. I hope to improve overall conformation in my dogs and introduce Xita's steadiness of temperament. She's 100% DDR lines, known for big heads and bones, medium size with strong builds, good overall conformation, and high intelligence and practical working ability. She's a beautiful girl and an incredible mover without being extreme. Even her Koer report comments on her good movement, "sehr gut Gangwerk."
Andrea was kind and patient enough to let me stack Xita in her front yard while she took an exorbitant amount of pictures (at my request! just a couple more, OK??). Xita was very good for the first 10 minutes then decided that this really sucked.
So far, she's fitting in well--she's met the cats and the terriers and Coal with no incidents and she's sniffed Nike through the gate. I'm limiting her interaction with my other dogs for now--I want her to settle in and be comfortable here. She's very alert and watchful of everything new, but very confident and calm. Just assessing and observing so far. I like her lots!
And that's good, because she's pregnant! She was bred in Germany to V Laruh v Grafental, KK1a, SchH3. This is a 100% DDR breeding, linebred on some very good DDR dogs. I've already got a lot of interest in this litter, so I'll start taking deposits in a few more weeks, as soon as I am *positive* she's pregnant.
Her litter will be born in early July, which means I'll have a plethora of puppies this summer. That's a first for me--I very rarely have more than one litter a year, much less more than one at a time!
Since Hunter will be in the office with her puppies, I think Xita's pups will be born in my bedroom. I do love the white-noise murmur of nursing newborn pups. But, I guess I'll adapt as needed. As long as both girls are comfortable and feel secure, I think the actual location matters little to them. But that is the first goal--security and comfort for the mommas and their babies.
A note of administrivia first--if you have emailed me and not gotten a reply, please re-send. I recently realized that an SMTP setting was blocking my reply emails, and while I haven't fixed the problem, I do have a workaround so I promise I'll reply!
Hunter is very pregnant and lying on the couch dreaming right now--she's due in about 4 days. She's quite big, so I'm thinking 6-7 big puppies. She's handled the pregnancy well--only a few bouts of nausea, very active, and seems quite happy with the new whelping box I put together for her, although she does have this look of UGH I ATE TOO MUCH in this picture....
I'm debating an xray to count the puppies, but I think I'm going to pass on it this time. They can be valuable tools if you aren't sure whether mom has birthed all the babies, but the counts can be inaccurate, especially if mom is full of little baby skeletons and is storing any up under her ribs.
So, in the next few days, I'll encourage Hunter to spend more time relaxing in or near the whelping box (not difficult since that's in my office and she spends a lot of time there already). I'll probably start taking her temperature twice a day. Normal temperature for a pregnant bitch is lower than normal canine body temps. Normal is around 102 degrees, but I expect that I will find Hunter's temperature around 99.5 to 100.5 for the next few days. If I see it drop below 99, though, or two degrees below her current "normal"--then I will know she's likely to begin having her puppies within 12 hours.
The signs of very early labor are heavy breathing and some restlessness, which is really not that unusual in the summer heat.... But if you know a bitch well, you can see the difference.... there's a look they get, like they're focusing inward; she may get somewhat obsessive about finding just the right spot. If I take her outside then, I will have to watch her carefully, she may duck under the boxwood bushes and begin to den in the cool dirt, out of sight and somewhat out of the weather.
I took a break in mid-writing and took dogs for a romp, which turned into a splash. Some peektures!
Coal wants to know if he can get wet already....
Grandma Nike's still got IT....
(it being the ball)
Being pregnant can make it hard to be graceful....
Hunter goes snorkling for the ball.
Hmmm. I bet I can carry 2....
Entertainment!Puppy (Musket) is growing up handsome
Lynx jumps... or falls
and walks on water
I love this picture of Nike jumping side by side with her grandson Lynx
Whew. Having fun is a lot of hard work says Musket.