Monday, November 24, 2008
My Dog has OCD
Yes indeed, Cadi is obsessive and compulsive -- about cleanliness. Next thing you know she will be washing her paws 100 times per hour but for now, it is all about the babies. There has never been such clean puppies! She licks and licks and licks some more. Right now they are sleeping next to her under the sweet blanket Liz knitted for them. I put the blanket over them to help keep their little wet bodies warm and also to protect them from further salivary assaults. It is not working too well -- I keep replacing the blanket as Cadi is nothing if not persistent!
The puppies are doing well. They are gaining weight very nicely thanks to Cadi's enthusiastic response to that "got milk?" campaign. I am still worried about Geneva -- she is the girl who blows milk bubbles out her nose near the end of her feedings. There does not seem to be much to do about this except to watch it and consider antibiotics to guard against aspirate pneumonia -- anyone have ideas on this?
This first week is a stressful one. We made it through the first Big Drama -- the delivery. There was indeed a distressed puppy, which is why we had green discharge on Saturday and so good thing we did the c section and got everyone out safely. But c sections are so scary because the puppies do not have the benefit of getting squeezed and stimulated by a vaginal birth, and so they are limp when they come out, and they come out fast so suddenly there are all these wet, lifeless puppies in their watery sacs all around. We were very lucky to have enough hands at the vet clinic to support this, and all puppies were quickly breathing and doing well.
We are now in the throes of the stressful first week. Survival is not guaranteed and so we anxiously watch the puppies for signs that they are not okay. We weigh them twice a day, recording their weights on individual data sheets to watch for trends and compare progress. A lack of weight gain would be an early sign of problems so this is more than just tracking growth.
Puppies are lost from suffocation and Cadi is, well, she has never been exactly a dainty, quiet creature. She approaches life with a Big Presence and so we watch her exuberance closely to make sure puppies stay safe. In her zeal at attacking the cleaning of one, she tends to forget about the others and they are too small to be effective at signaling distress if she is on top of them and so we are the Puppy Safety Patrol for now. We are staying awake with her all the time -- Galen and I are splitting up the nights and so I slept from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. and now I am up while Galen sleeps. Yesterday we were discussing our puppy counting methods -- Galen does four and four, and I look for three, three and two.
In addition to worry and lack of sleep, the first week is marked by laundry. New moms are messy and so we have Cadi with discharge and of course, puppies pee/poop so we go through a lot of towels and washcloths and fleece. The washer/dryer are almost always going these days as we try to stay ahead of the laundry.
All the attention required by a new litter means that there is less energy/time for anything else. I have to make a conscious effort to do other things. Yesterday I made certain that all of the other dogs got walked and that I did some training. Asia is getting ready for the Invitational (December 13 - 14) and we have to practice and also stay on top of her grooming. I am definitely sliding off the top with that, but all we can do is our best -- right?!
And so the first week is a challenging one but it is also temporary. I find it useful to remind myself of that -- like everything else in life, this will pass and I will never again have the first week with the Glitter Litter. Staying present in the moment and not letting the worry/stress/laundry/lack of time overwhelm me allows me to appreciate the fact that we created new life and they are here, inviting the opportunity to honor the miracle by doing this as well as we possibly can. Unfortunately, Cadi and I have different ideas about how to do this well -- hers involves wet puppies being pushed all over the whelping box and mine involves warm, dry puppies collected neatly under a blanket -- time to get up for the tenth time since I started this post and replace that blanket!!
The pictures capture life here at Puppy Central pretty well. There are two of Cadi in her obsessive cleaning mode, including one in which the puppy is upside down! Puppies eat and sleep right now, and this makes for some very sweet pictures. Galen was holding one of the boys last night and out came his tongue!
I wish you well in your day -- I hope it is a warm one, even if the weather is not.
Posted by Mary-Ann Bowman at 2:16 AM