Friday, March 16, 2018

A Highlight

Well, Elva here, I figured you might all like to know how it is going with Bess and her new family. It is going great! 

Bess and I both had a couple of sleepless nights at the beginning, as both of us jumped anytime we heard a squealing pup, but now we are used to their little puppy noises, which are frequent and loud, considering how little they are! Last night, I only woke up when Bess got up and changed position, which caused a mighty ruckus from her children…”Hey! What is going on? Where did the milk go! What’s happening!!” I quickly jumped up and repositioned all the puppies, and soon they were once again content.

Bess is a most excellent mother. She really would rather not leave her pups at all, so my strategy for getting her outside is to wait until all the pups are done nursing and are sleeping. Then I carefully transfer them to a box with a fleece blanket and the hot water bottle. Then I plead and cajole with Bess until she finally heaves herself out of the puppy pool. She then stops for a long drink before going outside. I tried keeping a water dish in with her and the pups, but that was a minor disaster.

Once Bess is outside, she is happy and rolls around in the snow. She is happy to go on a hike with the border collies up until she remembers her pups, and then she whines, spins around and runs back home. Before I let her inside, I wash her off carefully with warm water, as she still has a little bit of discharge from having the pups. She is very patient with me cleaning her off and brushing her. When I finally open the door, she runs to the box containing the pups, but I explain to her that she has to get in the proper spot first. She then jumps in the pool, and I get her properly positioned in the middle of the pool, so that all the pups have plenty of room. Then I carefully transfer each pup, who then remembers that they are suddenly starving.

The pups are unbelievably beautiful! They have these funny little tails and short legs. They like to sleep on their backs, and if you scratch their chests and bellies, their legs start moving, just like a real dog!! 

They appear to have a huge vocabulary, and make all sorts of interesting noises. It is very pleasant to listen to! It reminds me of when I have a raised some chicks in the house, and just before they fall asleep in the night, they make these sweet whistling noises. The pups make noises like that, but even better.

Bess is now eating everything I give her, which makes me happy. It is more fun to cook for someone who appreciates it! Just before she had the pups, she had no appetite, and I worked hard to get her to eat anything. Now she eats four meals a day, each consisting of kibble, one soft-boiled egg, a generous hunk of raw roast beef, lots of bone broth, some organ meat, and lavish splash of raw milk. All this stuff comes from my farm, except the kibble, so I know it is good for her. She eats all her meals in the puppy pool, and she is very neat about it!

Blog reader Ninergirl04 had the excellent suggestion that I put identifying rick rack collars on the pups and then track their weight. I know she is right, but I have this collar phobia, worrying that they could get their feet stuck in each other’s collars or something. I think I will do this when they get a little bit older. Right now, whenever I put the pups in the box when Bess goes out, I carefully examine each one and then also watch how they nurse when I put them back with Bess. I really feel that all of them are doing very, very well.

Another thing I agonized over was whether the pups were warm enough. It was suggested that I use a heat lamp, but I know that Bess would hate that, so I compromised with the hot water bottle. I change this about every two hours in the day, but then take it out at night, as I am afraid it would cool off too much before I woke up. Instead, I roll a fleece or wool blanket up and place it so that they can snuggle up to it. They sleep in between Bess and this rolled-up blanket. So far, this seems to be working well. Tonight I am going to put a hunk of unwashed fleece in the pool, so that they can get used to the smell of sheep.

Well that’s about all that is going on now, but I must say that having these pups is one of the highlights of my life! It is really a special event, and both Bess and I will never forget it!

One last thing…March 16th is RB’s birthday, so Happy Birthday from all of us. Her present from me will be that she gets to see the puppies! What more could a person want for their birthday?


  1. Puppies do well when they clump up together for warmth too. I think you are doing a great job! I don't think I put collars on the pups I had in the house until they were about 6 weeks old? It was long ago anyway! The water bottle trick is a wonderful one.
    So glad to see things are going well.

    We need photo bombs! LOL!

  2. Thanks for the update. It really takes a village to raise a litter of pups!

  3. To Elva, it sounds like you and Bess are being most excellent mothers to the new brood. I'm the reader that suggested the use of different colored rickrack collars for the puppies so you can track their progress. I messaged Kris tonight on her Facebook page and posted 3 photos for you to look at. I can tell you that it is a very common practice among show dog breeders with all their puppies and are used from day one. We use a baby scale to weigh each puppy each day to make sure they are gaining and not losing weight and rickrack collars allow you to I.D. each puppy easily. As they grow, it also lets you easily I.D. who is the first puppy to sit up/to walk/to bark/to crawl out of the whelping box (or pool in your case) and also follow their personality traits (who seems to be a dominant pup or a more submissive pup in the litter heirarchy). I commonly used a heating pad on the low setting in the whelping box that was wrapped in a towel. I would put it on the opposite side of the whelping box and the puppies would gravitate/crawl to it when mom was out of the box. Hope all continues to go well and that the puppies all thrive! You and Bess are giving them an excellent start in life. Have fun! Puppies are the best! Vicki ~

    1. Thank you very much for all of these tips. I greatly appreciate them!

    2. You're welcome! I have "puppy envy"! It's been a long time since I had the pleasure (even if it is a lot of work!) of raising a litter. Treasure every minute! :-)

  4. Thanks for the details; very interesting.

  5. They are getting lots and lots of great care. Thanks for sharing.
    Happy late B'day to RB.