Friday, March 29, 2013

An ordeal - or - Viola's litter!

As the puppies turn one week old, we finally have enough room to breathe, and to catch you up on the ordeal -- umm, blessing! -- of Viola's first litter. This litter has been very hands-on, to say the least. Viola is finally turning into a good mommy but we have been through:
  1. scary c-section with her under anesthesia for over three hours
  2. Vi ignoring puppies
  3. Vi not eating
  4. finally deciding puppies were okay but lying on them and ignoring their squeaks of protest (this meant she could really never be left alone for several days and very little sleep for me -- my temporary bed is next to her box and I wake up with every squeal)
  5. Vi having housebreaking issues -- turned out she was waiting as long as possible to ask to go out, then couldn't make it to the door
  6. Vi deciding to move the puppies out of the box into her self-made bed just next to it. We solved that one (we think) by putting a very, very thick fleece in the box and she has left them alone for the time being. Apparently the Queen Mum was not comfortable enough.
  7. Viola's milk not coming in. We are still coping with that one, having to supplement the smaller puppies several times a day and weigh them twice daily, deciding on an hourly basis which ones to supplement. They are doing well, just taking a lot of care. It is a balancing act to supplement them enough to keep them strong but not so much that we interfere with their nursing...if they don't nurse enough, mom's body goes into weaning mode and milk production shuts down.

Fortunately Viola is sweet and biddable, which makes all this much easier. Instinct has kicked in and she does love her puppies now (we were beginning to worry about that) and doesn't want to be away from them.

Boy, does this make me appreciate her mama Juliet, who hardly needed me at all. I was so sick with a cold during her last litter that I swear she was waking me up to say, "Hey, we have another one...all cleaned up for you. I'm going to take a nap too now, okay?" 

Viola, on the other hand, with her first contractions, went into OMG!!!! mode and stayed there, except when she was napping, which seemed like entirely too often for someone in labor! Finally after five were delivered, she decided that was all the puppies she needed and just quit on us. Thus, the c-section. We were expecting maybe one or two more, and there were FIVE more, Unfortunately we did lose one little girl, who had apparently died some time before delivery and was holding up the works. She is buried near her great-great Grandma Ivy and I am sure wherever they are, she is the BEST mannered little puppy you'd ever meet. Grandma Ivy takes no prisoners.


Clarence Gelwicks said...

I went through a very similar ordeal in 1998 with my friends who were the owners of the mother of my 2 now very senior boy and girl. She had 7 puppies naturally and 4 by C section. We fed them around the clock for the first 4-5 days because her mild didn't drop and within the first 2 days we lost the 4 that were C section. The vet had used the wrong anesthesia and they bled out. It was heartbreaking. The bond that was formed with the bottle feeding was and still is treasured. I won't ever forget that I helped my kids make it through their first crucial hours and days. Good luck. They are beauties.

Johannah Layson Hutchens Gage said...

Thank you, Clarence, for sharing your experience. It sounds absolutely heartbreaking, but so rewarding to raise the bottle-fed puppies. Two years ago, we had a cleft palate born here at Timbreblue. Most breeders would have put her down, but Walt tube-fed her round the clock until she was 14 weeks old and ready for surgery. The experts at Virginia Tech fixed her, and now she is a bratty, sassy, healthy little "teenage" whippet. The bond that is formed through intensive care lasts forever. -Jo