The funny faces of Rhani and pups eating - ALWAYS eating!
A lot has happened since I last posted! Where to begin? Rick Rack? Puppy weights? Dew Claws? First Visitor? Early Neuro Stimulation?
How about rick rack? So, I usually use different colors of rick rack to identify puppies when they are newborns since they are mostly white. This time was no different except for Goldy since she's the only girl. I ought to be able to keep her straight! The problem this time was that no matter how many times I retied it, I kept finding puppies with a front leg poked through the ribbon around his neck. That was just not going to end well, so as we were doing the mug shots the other day, I cut the rick rack off thinking I knew who was who. Yadi is the smallest. Albert has fully finished trim. So if it wasn't the small one and it didn't have finished nose trim, it must be Waino!
Well, yesterday, when we weighed puppies, I thought the first I picked up was Waino because it was a boy, wasn't Albert and was big. Then I picked up a small puppy. Here's Yadi. Yadi had what seemed like a really low weight, but I didn't have the chart with the prior day's weight in front of me, so I wrote down the weight with some concern and went on to the next puppy. I picked up a hefty boy thinking it was Albert, looked at his face and realized it was NOT Albert. I went to the small puppy (Yadi) and discovered that was Albert! He had lost a dangerous amount of weight, He'd been the largest puppy at birth and now weighed less than the smallest puppy at birth. We finished weighing Goldy, and I called Meg. When I told her how much weight Albert had dropped, she said "That is not good". Meg is not an alarmist, so now I was really worried. She suggested a corn syrup, water and pinch of salt mixture to rub on his gums and then put him alone with Rhani to see what happened. He found a nipple and started eating. I spent a lot of time with the pups yesterday observing their behavior related to the milk bar. Turns out that Albert is eager to eat but slow to find a nipple. He spends a lot of energy looking for it while his siblings latch on and then toss and turn in their vigorous enjoyment of dining. The tossing and turning would throw Albert off and then he'd have to start his quest all over again. If the siblings weren't causing him trouble, Rhani would decide to give him a good cleaning that would sometimes knock him off. So I made sure he got some alone time throughout the day and evening before putting the others back in the box. It worked! This morning when we weighed him, he had gained 1 1/4 ounces! I think he will be just fine with a few more days of giving him a little advantage. Shew! It was a very stressful day though.
BTW - all puppies except Albert have passed the 1 lb mark in weight. I'm sure Albert will catch the others soon!
So back to Yadi and Waino. Turns out that size is not a distinguishing feature! I probably spent more than an hour trying to figure out which one was which. It probably doesn't matter, but it did to me! We had a lot of photos from the mug shots from earlier in the week so I sat down to blow them up on the screen and compare them to the puppy in my hand. Their nose trim is almost identical. The spots on their noses and snout are almost identical. There are differences in spots on the pads of their feet but I had no photos of those. Anyway, I finally found some very subtle differences that I think sorted them out, but Yadi now sports some blue nail polish on his belly so I can tell him from Waino!
Some of you may have noticed LONG toe nails in the puppies newborn mug shots. Just one more sign they were past due! I decided to do something about that yesterday. JoJo's brother, Maxwell's, family told me about a Cayfus nail grinder they purchased that was super quiet. I bought one from Smile.Amazon.com (supports DCAF!) and it really is quiet. It works ok on the adult dogs but I still use a regular dremmel for them. I hate clippers. A cut is such a definite thing. Grinding gives you warning that you are about to go too short. Anyway, I got out the Cayfus and it worked great on these tiny nails.
We also started Early Neuro Stimulation exercises yesterday. These will continue daily for 13 days. It takes very little time and is shown to have many great benefits to behavior, aptitude, and even health throughout the dogs' lives. I won't bore you here with more details, but if you want to read more, you can read it here. None of the puppies were fond of being held upside down, on their backs or sitting on a cold damp towel!
Today, started with ENS followed by their second car ride back to the vet's office for dew claw removal. Dr. Owen was impressed with their strength and vigor - even Albert. She thinks he's fine and will just take a few days to catch up in size. All the staff that helped reported that Goldy is one feisty little girl! I concur.
Finally, the puppies had their first visitor today - their Aunt Linda. Linda is my very good friend who is the reason we ever got a Dalmatian in the fist place and the reason we ever got a show dog! Rhani knows her well, but kept the stink eye on her the entire time she visited.
So it's been a busy few days.
Until next time....
I had lots of ideas about what to call this litter, but since there are just four puppies, and it is such a memorable season for the Cardinals, I settled on THE Cardinal Litter. (You can look up the word cardinal when used as an adjective for the double entendres!).
Meet the babies, (in birth order) Yadi, Waino, Albert and Goldy - all future Hall of Famers! Three boys and one girl - all black. (At least I think for now they are all black). All of them have really good trim; All of them came out vigorous, strong and HUNGRY. And they were all a pretty good weight ranging from 13 3/4 oz to 15 3/8 oz. All are 7-8 1/2" long (head to butt). Yadi is the smallest (of course) but has gained the most weight since he arrived.
HOW WE GOT HERE!
It was a long road to these puppies! First, Rhani came in season more than a month early (even for her) back in July! Her co-owner and my friend, Carola Adams, from New Brunswick, Canada, scrambled to figure out what to do. Then we had to scramble even faster when Rhani tested ready to breed just a few days after coming in season! Thanks to another good friend, Meg Hennessey, we got the job done! Because we weren't sure what we would do, we did all the progesterone and LH testing (necessary for a frozen semen litter) The LH gave us the exact ovulation date which gave us an exact due date. Well, as is Rhani's nature, sure had other ideas even though she was huge and clearly uncomfortable.
After about 36 hours (post her due date) of Rhani's non-stop restlessness during which I was with her the entire time (aka no sleep), she finally decided to start labor at about 3AM. 50 minutes later the first puppy arrived and then the second 10 minutes after that! Yadi and Waino came out butt first and hungry! I called Dave (upstairs sleeping) after Yadi and told him to come on down and join the party! He's a pretty good whelper helper!
Then Rhani decided to take a break. I was just getting worried after 90 minutes when she pushed some more. Out came blood and then two feet and a tail OUTSIDE THE SAC! None of this was good! And Rhani quit pushing. After a couple minutes, I called my friend Donna Mitchell who had been through a tough delivery before and is a nurse. She talked me through getting the puppy out. I was confident it would be dead because all this had taken at least 5 minutes. But, when I cleared what was left of the sac from Albert's face, he said, "Hey, I'm here. Where's the milk bar?" Now all the boys were nursing away and Rhani just went to sleep. I knew, based on ultrasounds and an Xray that there were at least 2 more puppies in there. After about two hours and consultations with Meg and Carola, I called our repro vet's on call number. Dr. Boillot answered immediately and told me to bring her in. So I loaded up Rhani and the puppies (first car ride!) and off we went.
I like to keep a diary of the puppies as much for myself as for prospective puppy buyers and interested friends. Sadly my blogs for Lucy's and Baili's litters are no longer available due to legacy systems, but I recently reviewed the Imagine Litter blog. It was a good refresher on all kinds of things and brought back lots of good memories. Looking forward to Cardinal memories too!