Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Dinner

A good friend of mine was thoughtful enough to bring me some Christmas dinner last night as I was not able to leave Halo and a dozen babies to go to my parent's house this year. I didn't really notice it was Christmas Day except the over-riding knowledge that if anything went wrong I had to depend on an on-call vet. Sure they are on-call but how "on-call" is on-call really? Emergencies don't differentiate Christmas Day from any other day ... but who's to know how quick someone will jump up from their Christmas dinner to meet me and my baker's dozen of dogs at the clinic? It weighed on me heavily yesterday, I'm just glad today is today.

It didn't matter anyhow as everyone is just fine. For now. We did have a crushing incident yesterday but I managed to cheat death. Halo lay on the first puppy that was born - light wheaton boy - he was foaming a bit and generally having trouble breathing with 75 pounds of Halo on him. Here's a picture of him napping on Momma's foot all recovered from her attentions. To me that Halo look says "So you're still here huh?"

I gave it a lot of thought last night - not sure why it was such a quandry for me - and decided it was time to supplement. I was weighing my options of whether I'd take a chance and see if they improved today or just forestall the possibility they wouldn't. A few of them just seemed lethargic and that's a slippery slope when you're a fragile 24 hour old puppy. I had expressed milk from Halo's last litter because she was suffering so much from the unrelieved pressure when she was weaning. It may be weird to imagine someone effectively "milking" a dog but I am 100% glad I did it and will do it again this time if I can. So last night there I was at midnight feeding several puppies who just didn't seem quite as vigorous as I'd like to see. I used up all the Halo reserves this morning and then went out to buy goat's milk. Apparently it's the universal wonder product that cures what ails you. Several of the puppies got the benefit of this miracle milk today and are doing very well indeed.
Halo is producing an astounding amount of milk but the puppies seemed not to be getting the benefit of her efforts. I think they would start to nurse, get halfway full, someone would push them off and the cycle would start again. Effectively none of the puppies would ever get a full tummy. They were also very noisy - usually this means distress so as soon as tummies were full of milky goodness they were silent and sleeping. Best sound ever that occasional grunt and the little twitchy bodies in a tidy row all warm and snug.
Halo gave me a couple scares in the night, I heard her walking around and then that familiar "BLECH" and more wandering. I got up and found her looking forlorn and vomit in the hall. She did this at 2am and 3am and then wouldn't touch her breakfast, This opened up a whole new kettle of worry. For whatever reason she did eventually eat her food and also her lunch too. She is fine now so maybe this morning she was just a little nauseous. I guess that comes with eating 12 placentas ...
I will continue to supplement until I see fatness occurring and just keep weighing everyone to make sure they are gaining. I didn't really worry about it last litter because there was never any doubt about them getting enough food ... they were rolly little sausages in no time.
We just have to survive tonight and live to the excitement of tomorrow when they will have their rear dewclaws removed. What fun.

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