I have thought about how I can break this down to introduce each puppy without this blog going on for days and days of reading, so I came up with this: I will condense it to Parts 1 through 5.
As I mentioned, Cleo gave birth to 14 puppies in total. However, only 9 survived. She was a great mom in the beginning. She nursed them, constantly cleaned them and took excellent care of them. This went on for about two weeks and Cleo decided she did not want to nurse any longer. So, without any other options, I stepped in to take over. I purchased nursing bottles, extra nipples, special formula for newborn puppies…..the whole works. In the beginning, the excitement overpowered my desire to tire. It was only after 2 days that exhaustion set in. I was up every two hours trying to feed 9 hungry and demanding puppies and I do not need to remind you I was working with only two hands. I did this for about 2 weeks until I was in the pet store walking through the aisles like a zombie in search of more puppy formula and I had an idea. Why not mix a little human baby cereal in with the puppy formula? Yes, that was a grand idea. That would keep them full for longer and I would be able to get some uninterrupted sleep. It worked and I was extremely relieved. I substituted the baby cereal for puppy chow (still mixed with puppy formula) when they were about 5 weeks old. I was told that may have been too early, but I think it is up to the puppy. I caught a couple of them trying to eat the kibble in one of my other adult dog food bowls and that told me they were ready to slowly and completely step up to the final weening process. So, now I tried mixing puppy chow and a little bit of formula and gradually cut back on the amount of formula until “voila”! The puppies were now entirely weened. Next came socialization skills along with house training and the chewing stages, etc. I will not go into that whole nightmare, but I will say all was a success.
I think it is quite clear, at this point, that I became attached to these puppies. I knew I could financially care for them, but could I handle this number of dogs? I decided I could, so with me they all stayed 🙂 They turned 3 years old this last February and they are a tremendous joy to my family. They all have been spayed and neutered and they all get along with one another, with the exception of an every now and then growl, which is bound to happen with so many dogs.
I will begin with the first puppy introduction with Puppy Joe. Where do I start? He is the only dog I have ever known who literally watches television. That is only if there is a dog or any other animal on the screen. Once he sees it, he constantly watches for it and, of course, barks and barks until I either have to watch something else or fast forward that particular scene. It is quite funny actually. He also goes completely nuts if he sees other dogs when he is going for a car ride, which is why his car trips are rare.
I decided a while ago to take a sabbatical and travel (with all of the dogs) to New England. I plan on writing a blog on that trip or adventure in the future and believe me some of the things that happened on that trip were incredible and so surreal and hard to believe. I made it to Utah and had stopped at a rest area that had a fenced in dog park. While there, Puppy and one of his brothers were bitten by a snake. I immediately found a Vet where both puppies given IV fluids and medicine. Sadly, Puppy’s brother did not make it and passed away. I was devastated. to say the least. Puppy was struggling to heal and his foot (where the snakebite was) became swollen ….almost the size of a tennis ball. He was very lethargic, would not eat much and I had to make him drink water by first taking it in a straw myself and transferring to him. Once we arrived in New Hampshire, I immediately took him to a local vet where he was hospitalized for a few days and after a few follow up visits, lots of TLC and medicine, he pulled through like a camper. Today, although he is not the alpha dog of the litter, he grew to be the largest in both size and ego. Puppy is one of the more vocal dogs from the others. He loves to snuggle anytime you want to, eat and play. I always say he reminds me of a deer and it is because of his “doe” like eyes. With the combination of his big brown eyes and the memory of the snakebite story and how I almost lost him makes him able to get away with almost anything……and he does 😉
Next blog will be Part 2 and more puppies will be introduced 🙂
E.L. / Septemeber 2011