Starting at 1:00 a.m. on Saturday September 3, 2020 Mesa gave birth to her first puppy. By 8:00 a.m. she was the slightly overwhelmed mama of 13 puppies. Until the last two puppies, the total was 10 to 1 in favor of the girls. One little girl was half the size of her average litter mate. As expected one fourth of the pups were tri-colored and the others are all sable and white.
Early on it was quite apparent our tiny warrior was going to need a little extra help. She was vigorous, but without putting part of the litter in a warming box alongside, she could not get to the milk bar. Little Miss Mighty had a great suck reflex and was determined to make it in this world. We wanted to help her along and began supplementing her with some stored colostrum we had for emergencies in the freezer. She quickly learned to suck on a colostrum filled makeup sponge. Before noon of her second day, she was doing great and had regained her lost birth weight. Just after I left working near the puppies, Mesa came to me in the kitchen. I followed her back to the puppies in the next room and immediately saw that our special little girl was no longer with us. We all felt grieved, but are trusting that God’s will is best.
Saturday was very physically challenging. Much of the family had gone up to meet our older sons, daughter-in-law and grandchildren for a canoe trip on the Wisconsin river. Cat and I kept rotating puppies, trying to help Mesa relax and encouraging puppies to eat the stored colostrum while waiting for Mesa’s milk to come in. Friends came alongside to bring needed supplies and help with the puppies care. It became apparent by evening that we had to make formula with the raw goat milk and begin bottle feeding. A few of the puppies were becoming dehydrated. Bottle feeding was time consuming as we tried to learn together. Some puppies were more cooperative than others and actually began gobbling their formula.
By 11 p.m. Cat, her friends and I had the puppies settled in, and off to bed they went. By the time I finished the last cleanup I only had an hour before I had to begin again. Since my proficiency lacked; by the time I fed the last pup, took Mesa out for a potty break, cleaned up the bottles and supplies, it was time to start all over. Finally, I thought I was going to get back to bed when the weather became threatening. Thankfully, Cat climbed out of bed and we scrambled to care for the rest of the animals on the farm. Lo and behold, by the time we finished it was time to bottle feed, again! After some success, off to bed I finally went for a short nap.
Church time was spent feeding puppies while streaming our service. By this time more puppies were refusing the bottle. Thank you Lord, Mesa’s milk was truly in. Cat and her friends went to town and not terribly later, the family was back at home. Life suddenly was calm. The puppies were full and Mesa felt settled with her people back.
We have not supplemented at all today, hoping Mesa establishes a good milk supply. Our early evening weighing of the pups showed gains for all. A couple of the smaller ones need a few of their more aggressive siblings to take a break so, they’re resting in a basket under the heat lamp.