We have purchased the Puppy Culture program to help us prepare the puppies we raise to become better canine citizens. By nature we have done some of these things, but our goal is to be proactive in the best timing and setting for the puppies.
Initially we postponed the Early Neurological Stimulation – ENS due to the number of puppies and their struggles in the first week while Mesa established her milk supply. On day eight we began to institute the ENS protocols. Here is a chart of their first eight days.
Of course, after I’ve messed up numerous times, I read the suggestion in the workbook to chart in pencil. Between the excitement of new puppies and the anticipation of Ravine’s litter, along with the supplementing and care the first week was pretty much a blur making sure we learned which puppy was which! With the advent of week two we began to formulate a rhythm to the process of weighing and implementing the ENS protocols.
Here is a link that explains the purpose and instruction of each protocol.
We most certainly didn’t perform all the protocols perfectly, but I will say we have a pile of very sweet, calm, receptive puppies that just fall asleep in your hands on their backs now.
The puppies are now toddling around so we’ve tried to designate sleeping and potty areas. With this size of litter I think it is a little more difficult. Although they can all fit on their bumper pad nest, they often overflow onto the pee pads which isn’t making the delineation between clean and dirty as concrete. Overall, they are doing a good job of trying to clear the nest to do their business.
Yesterday we discovered almost all the puppies in line. Cat sprung into action to capture their cuteness. She had a couple of dissidents to contend with, but got them all lined up.
I am amazed at how quickly the pigment fills in on the puppies. Their little feet and faces are so pink when they are born. Already their noses are jet black, except “Journey” who has a teeny pink spot on her nose on the white half of her face.
The puppies are gaining, but not as quickly or as consistently as we would expect compared to a smaller litter. Cat’s super power is getting the puppies to eat at a good rate. So, we put Brian to work stimulating the puppies to void before putting them back to rest. Mesa could do a little better keeping them clean so we switched the Early Neurological Stimulation cold to a scrub with a nice warm cloth. We want the pups to associate clean smells among themselves so they void out of the nest as soon as they’re ready.
We chose “The Faces of America” as a hopeful reminder of what makes the United States “us”. Our nation is truly a melting pot to rejoice. People of every kingdom, tribe, and nation coming together with all the their diversity of gifts, talents, and work ethic, all to better each of our life’s circumstances. This is who we are, fallen people who sin and stand upright. One nation under God with liberty and justice for ALL. May we all love our neighbor’s as ourselves.
I sit here contemplating what to say and where to begin. My first thought is prayer and thanksgiving. We have been very blessed to have such a beautiful litter. Although our trials are real, there is so much going on in our country and the world as a whole. Before I begin I want to pray for all of those affected by the massive fires in the west. The devastation and loss is inconceivable as I sit in my safe home untouched by the horrors. May hearts turn toward the Lord. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. Psalm20:7
This post is going to be incomplete today. Our computer crashed and is presently at the repair shop. Apparently, the hard drive passed inspection, but something is not allowing the computer to access it. Our prayer is that tomorrow the troubles are reparable and we will get to enjoy the 1,000’s of photos of our family and farm from the last seven years. Additionally, there will be no individual pictures, names and biographies of each pup as promised.
As promised we are chronicling our Puppy Culture journey. Considering the number of pups, their birth weight’s, the supplementation and the days of stress as we awaited Mesa’s milk to come, we have postponed ENS Early Neurological Stimulation. The pups all had successful nail trims today which should provide Mesa a little more comfort while nursing. The puppies should have doubled their birth weight by today, none have quite made it. We will continue to weigh daily as a part of Puppy Culture and to make sure no one falls behind.
We wait another day, expectantly wondering when the blessed event will occur. Ravine skipped breakfast this morning, fried eggs in bacon grease, I thought it was a good sign her confinement would soon end…,nope, not today. Have a good night and feel free to remember a safe delivery plea in your prayers.
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.