At long last, after 10 nights of broken dreams, I managed to sleep for a full 5 hours in a row. I'm used to at least 8 or 9 hours in a row (sue me) so to get even 5 was some kind of breakthrough. Leeloo slept on the bed for all that time, I guess she needed a break too! At 4am we were up feeding babies though and they were little ravenous monsters just as expected. They can now go about 5 or 6 hours without being fed but I like to try and get some food in their tummies a little more often if Leeloo will oblige. Added to which, Leeloo is almost bursting with milk if we leave it too long!
I do, obviously, still own other dogs whose lives have also been turned upside down by the introduction of a litter of puppies. We have been going for walks in the woods once the puppies were 3 days old because by then cabin fever had set in and I was sure Cora was going to start making her own plans on how to get out of the house. We go without Leeloo who is generally fine with us leaving without her since she has other things to keep her mind occupied.
Since I no longer live in a large city where there are dog parks I don't really run the risk of running into a lot of the germs they can pick up in those places. I always worry about bringing something home to the puppies which is why I restrict the dog shows I attend (a petri dish of dog germs if ever there was one) and was careful to clean dog feet as they came back into the house from the park. Still, for a couple litters they ended up with cocci which is easy enough to cure but a pain just the same.
Esme knows it's important to get dirty to build your immune system so she makes a solid effort to bring half the forest home with her.
Cora does too in her own way, she likes to carefully select a stick or two and carry it around. She never gets to bring them home since she usually eventually eats them. Good roughage.
Boy loves to explore the woods - it's almost his favorite place to be (besides lying on the bed next to me) and he could care less about the puppies. This is his 4 litter experience and his expression, when he looks at them, is generally one of resigned patience. He knows what's coming, he knows they will leave (except that damn Cora) and he knows that although I may be distracted for a time, in the end he will always be mine.