'Woodland Walk Litter'
Ch Tesoro De Ria Vela for Thornywait JW x Amabea Setting Sun
3 Boys & 6 Girls
Born 29th April 2017
Pictures of our puppies 2017 will now be on Instagram
Mr.Baby Blue Mr.Lime Green Mr.Chocolate
Miss.Peach Miss.Lilac Miss.Lemon Sherbet Miss.Sky Blue Miss.Pink Miss.Rose Gold
After 2 years of thinking about it, I finally decided to go ahead and try for a litter of puppies with my lovely girl Sky. Such a special girl, I knew I would regret not trying, and the prospect of having a daughter with us from Sky was too hard to resist. So fast forward to the present day, and here we are with a litter of 9 bonnie babies, 2 days old and the most beautiful of puppies. Six little baby girls, and 3 cute little baby boys. It was an easy pregnancy quite as expected from our easy breezy girl. No drama, no sensation. Just a hearty robust girl, getting on with her growing tummy with calmness and serenity. So you can imagine our fear, as we approached her delivery date, to find she was possibly having a problem that could have threatened her puppies even before one had been born. Thanks to the vigilance of Libbi, who spotted a problem and to the skill of our vet, we finally brought our Lady and new babies home from the practice at midnight on the 29th April, 3 days shy of her due date. A healthy happy Sky, and no sad puppy losses. It came as no surprise, that Sky got on with mothering these puppies immediately. No shock and wonder from her at where on earth this bundle of treasures had come from. It could have been a memory she carried of her lovely caring attitude to Bea's second litter, or it could have been a fancy I had had over the last three weeks of her pregnancy. That she would turn and talk to her bulging tummy, in Sky doggy sentences. A conversation that would make me smile at its purpose. We are here now at home, a familiar routine, made easy by sky's competance. Nine cracking little persons, all shiney, sweet and hungry. Another litter of 9, and there is something about this number that fits.
Mr.Baby Blue 1lb 2oz
Mr.Lime Green 1lb 1oz
Mr.Chocolate 1lb 4oz
Miss.Peach 1lb 2oz
Miss.Lilac 1lb 1oz
Miss.Lemon Sherbet 1lb 1oz
Miss.Sky Blue 1lb 2oz
Miss.Pink 1lb 2oz
Miss.Rose Gold 1lb 3oz
Within 2 days of the arrival of puppies, Sky was beginning to look more like her old self. Of course she did not want to leave her babies to begin with so as per usual, I fed her tasty appetisers in the den. It wasn't until day 3 though that I began to notice my nature girl searching in the garden on her short potty breaks away from her brood. That her interrupted labour because of our visit to the vet for her c-section had disrupted her natural process of making a home in which to give birth. So she looked and looked, and looked again in all the garden nooks and crannies, for where she thought her babies should be. A little bit sad, and very significant, it made me realise, not that I needed to, that these beloved friends of ours are not just companions and friends, but animals in their own right. With all the instincts intact from their ancestors way back in the past. So I encouraged her back to our 2nd best nursery, and watched over those first few days as she began to join the dots in her memory. That this now is her starting off place and safe haven for her puppies. This is where I am sat as I type this diary. Day 5. Day shift. Counting Puppies.
Life during week 1-2 with fast growing chubbly puppies is a series of routines, repeated over and over again and then some. Then a pause and silence, while we stare at sleeping babies and feel happy and blessed to not only have such a pretty litter, but also to have homes waiting that support and are willing to continue with our natural approach here at Amabea. Our third bunch of puppies have highlighted the fact that we actually now have some valuable experience to fall back on, with of course help from our trusted guide, 'Puppy Culture'. It has been Sky though that has simply blown us away with her steady Mothering. Thorough, gentle and very instictive, we have been able to watch from a distance whilst she dotes on her lovely brood. Caring, methodical and nurturing...with the occasional suprise thrown in for good measure. Every bone, that she used to relish, is now buried here and there in the garden and we know exactly what she is doing. These larders are her food supply for hungry babies during weaning and we watch her with wonder and pride as she plans ahead her feeding of 9 hungry puppies. I don't think we could all love her more than we do right now. The puppies are growing fast and are little squidgy lumps of gorgeousness. We trim their nails at least every other day, weigh regularly and hold them carefully to help Sky scrub their bottoms to keep them spick and span. Then the best bit, cuddles and kisses and teeny puppy scratches on tummies that are always face upwards in lazy sleepy positions. And the moment every breeder loves the most I'm sure, tiny blinking eyes that open and twinkle in the light. It is hard to believe that at such a young age, we can see little characters starting to emerge, though it seems like each baby is as placid and calm as the next. We haven't experienced such a contented bunch before, and so many girls...As we approach the start of week 3, we have ears to open and steadier legs to walk on and a whole lot of excitement amoungst the fantastical hard work. And we really can't wait.
Puppies are less wobbly, eyes are focusing and little ears are picking up the smallest of sounds...but these haven't been the events of the week most special or memorable. It is Grannie Bea that has stolen the show, taking mothering to a whole new level with her daughter Sky and consequently nine tiny grandchildren. For two weeks, Bea watched the whelping box inside the pen from a respectable distance, but kept asking over and over again to visit Sky's babies and sniff the warm bundles of fur in the nursery nest. Then at the end of week 2, I accidentally left the pen gate open, and found her tucked into the corner, tiny and small, watching the puppies and holding fort whilst Sky snoozed in the kitchen. And that was it. The moment when Bea joined the team and began caring for the babies, flipping and cleaning bits and bobs alongside her calm and devoted daughter. The whelping box came down and once a bundle of cuddlies became the new nest, that is where I could find Bea, protecting Sky's babies and watching over them all through the night. For me this was and is a complete revelation and also a minor godsend, for although these puppies are easy breezy and calm, I have still lost plenty of sleep getting up and down from the next door snug to check on sleeping babies and supervising feeds. Now I peer into the pen and see Sky feeding a few hungry peeps, whilst Bea rests with several babies buried into her body. It is a vision of great peace and tranquility and I caress Bea's face and tell her 'good job' to make her feel proud. It makes me smile every time. So as we approach week 4 we wait patiently for the chaos to begin, then another week of calm goes by. Bliss. Am loving this litter so much...and then there is the weaning. Out comes the goats milk and my favourite part of this journey. Excited puppies and a healthy, tasty raw food diet. Our second generation, Amabea goldens.
Kennel Club Approved Names
Amabea Tom Kitten
Amabea Benjamin Bunny
Amabea Samuel Whiskers
Amabea Lady Mouse
Amabea Miss Moppet
Amabea Miss Tittlemouse
Amabea Tabitha Twitchit
You know that feeling you get when you have had a smashing meal, but you could eat it again? Well some of the bigger puppies were just in that place, so at 3 1/2 weeks we decide to slowly begin the weaning process, and give the babies their first lick at raw goats milk. So after a Sky feed, out came the big feeding dish and we all watched as they tucked into the milk, yoghurt, honey and slippery elm drink. A great soothing introduction to the beginning of raw feeding at 4 weeks. Other events this week include play fights and mouthing, toiletting all on their own and little attempts at self grooming. Hilarious as they topple over and roll onto their backs loosing their balance. Significant though, and the part of development we enjoy the most, is watching tiny personalities begin to emerge from the scrabble of fur. The puppies that like to sit and work things out and those that like to blast into a new experience with gusto. This litter though is seeming to be delicious in every way. Quiet...so far and ever so playful and calm. We love that they peer at us with their little trusting faces and my are those faces handsome. They chop and change every day too. Sweet little Peaches places her head in Libbi's hand today, Sherbet Lemon or Chocci Chock the day after. Like bees they bumble about the pen then give us sticky licks. We all love these wakey up times. As for Sky, she is enjoying more time out from the hard work of feeding and breaks in the garden are just perfect for her to relax and get some of her old routines back. Then the sun comes out and we all start planning the pen in the garden, and their first tumble into the big outside.
Puppies may take forever to learn basic commands but they have elephantine memories once they have snook into the study for a little one on one time. So they retrace their steps over and over again, on their first little journey into this forbidden land and whimper and whine to be let back in to the place where the big dog toybox lives with nice smelly socks and magic squeeky toys belonging to Gem, Bea, Sky and Idgie. At 5 weeks old, one at a time, each puppy is allowed to potter around the kitchen. They are sturdy little lumps now and incredibly dexterous. Keen to explore and wander about with confidence we are aware of week 5 and their first wee fear spike. New toys like a play tent and mini climbing frame we decide to set up therefore at the end of the week, in the outdoor playpen, once the sun pops out again. Everything here will be easy breezy this week. All routines kept the same, and my do puppies like and thrive on routine. We are now getting to know our families and studying these babies carefully to get a feel for their characters, though as before in previous litters, each puppy chops and changes from sweet and squidgy to boisterous and lively on a daily basis. They are consistant though in their friendliness and playfulness which is the hallmark of this delightful breed though we know with certainty that the pairing of Sky and Thomas has been a delightful match. One lovely temperament combined with another. As for the rest of the magic potion, diet here is absolutely significant. As second generation raw fed babies, the difference in robustness in these poppets is astounding. Sky is still the primary feeder of these lumps, and we are in no hurry to wean these puppies too soon. As long as Sky is happy, we carry on with the regular milk feeds. We offer them two mince meals a day which they chomp with gusto, but it is the feed with mummy that they love the most, and with Sky's fantastic appetite, they are blossoming. What is looming this week then as we approach week 6 with now active puppies that need attention inbetween shorter naps...is of course the wing. The chuck wing sensation that is the move from peeps to little dogs. This is when the theory of a species appropriate diet becomes practice, and we know here that lots of practice becomes perfect for the health of this special breed.
'We four form a multitude'
Though strictly speaking and all things considered...I should say eight. Our team golden have shown skills as individuals that have made this journey much easier than expected and consequently given me an insight into canine behaviour I would forever been ignorant of. From Bea and her eternal nurturing to Gem and her giddy playfulness mixed with keen protectiveness. Then Idgie, our naughty antelope. Young and still a baby in our eyes yet chock full of instinct that has both stunned and surprised us at every turn. Being wary of her exhuberance, I kept her away from the puppies until I thought they were sturdy enough to cope with her bowling ball attitude to life. Indeed as she lept around them with joy when first allowed in the pen, I wondered if our bonnie nine would soon become much less in number, but I need not have worried. Idgie played and played, then played some more, until we all noticed that her contribution was more than just a matter of occupying a naughty bunch of babies and tiring them out at bedtime. Idgie is doing what good canine Aunties do and much much more than wrestling and tickling. She expertly breaks up puppy playfights and uses a technique called a muzzle grab...gently holding a puppy muzzle to calm down toothy playfights. She distracts, watches each puppy and accounts for all of them as they wander in and out of the house and expertly is teaching them how to own a toy with a gentle nose nudge if puppy tries to steal or be rude. And this is why we keep puppies longer than 7-8 weeks. All the better for puppies to be taught the ways of the world, with safe and kind relatives. Can the puppies take liberties? Yes indeed and they do frequently and joyfully. They climb all over her back and sit their pretty little bottoms on her face and she rolls in pleasure and rubs her nose into their fur and nibbles and nibbles their necks in delight. If there is such a thing as love in the world of the dog, then this truely must be it. What an amazing helper and friend she is and we could not have managed without her...5 years older that we all are since our first litter. In this week 5 of little fear frights she has definately helped these babies to stay calm and been a useful base to run to for reasurance. Now my mind is begining to roll with an idea thank you to this amazing team us...and how well we 17 fit together...:)
Things here began to hot up, literally, towards the end of week 6. So out came the paddling pool, and nine happy puppies had their first taste of deeper water and a noisy hosepipe, all good experiences to help make babies brave and confident. Just slow and steady fits the bill though and we notice something special about this gang. All have trusting sweet expressions, and they use this gaze constantly like a little group of meercats. Adorable. Whatever we present them with, they trust us and have a go. They respond to 'naughty monkey' when caught in the act of chewing or escaping their pen, and wriggle and grin at us with joy. They smile constantly, especially when rolling on their backs to be tickled and really really seem to love us all, well...of course we believe this to be true. This is not going to be easy, the next 2 weeks. In week 6, we give our puppies their first calm bath, introduce them to grass...yum yum and continue to introduce new foods to their diet. As they sample and all enjoy blueberries (Waitrose finest) duck necks and turkey hearts I ponder over the right time to introduce green tripe then have the decision made for me, as Sky, ever the Mama extraordinaire, regurgitates her dinner and they all sample this green wonder food like a shoal of piranas. Problem solved. They are being reduced slowly their feeds from Sky and her technique though sad for the puppies is working very slowly to make them independent, though she does not leave them high and dry. Everytime I give her a bone, she carries it dutifully to her babies. Amazing. Sky has always been such a foody, so this proves how dedicated she is to this litter. Oh and we get out our syringes for the treat of custard squirts directly into puppy mouths. A great way to calm down over excited puppies after crazy rough and tumbles. And finally strong English mustard...smeared onto my disappearing door sill to deter naughty chewers went down a treat this week. Maybe some of my families want to add that to their shopping list.
Visitors this week. Everyone spending moments looking and cuddling for the last time before puppy collection dates that loom on the horizon. With two weeks to go this starts to pull heavy on our heart strings. We have the all important visit from our practice Vet and all the puppies pass their health check with flying colours, and with the help of squeezy cheese cope with the awful micro-chipping. Not a squeak from anyone. Weaning is reaching some kind of conclusion and it is lovely to see how Sky moves to the next level of caring for her growing brood. We all become accustomed to her reguritating her dinners and carrying bones into the puppy den and her milk feeds become completely random and only twice a day. Very telling though is how she usually decides to do one of these feeds when families are here, almost to say, 'these are my babies...just remember that everyone'. We have mass breakouts into the main part of the house, puppies charging with abandon from room to room, and whether we like it or not, notice how much these babies are needing new experiences. Families of their own and a new environment to explore. We can only do so much here at Amabea for such a large litter of growing puppies. Food is a big feature this week and the list of new ingredients grows and grows. The babies all love fruit, bananas and blueberries. Yoghurt, honey, goats milk, minces, chicken wings, necks and carcass but most of all their super dooper special favourite, hearts...I don't think I have ever seen such gusto for food as when we cook up a batch of these little gems. So that is that, possibly the hardest physical week of this journey, then rounded off with the best bit. Grandad Lloydy and his special lady Josie make an incredible journey to visit our puppies and this 'King of King's' grandchildren and for this I am so grateful. All this litter is lovely and I ponder over a couple of little girls with a great deal of advice and coversation with Josie. What a treat to have a Judge with her keen eye, assessing the quality of Sky's puppies. To have such a handsome boy wandering around our home is surreal too...and of course he did his usual party piece. Out he strolls from the kitchen with an empty bread packet, minus the bread. After he has gone we find a large breadroll complete with a huge tooth mark on the kitchen floor. I can only assume that Sky stared him down and he thought better of eating it. Such a kind and considerate boy, and it is this temperament that we recognise in all of these puppers in this amazing litter.
We always knew this would be a difficult week, that countdown to goodbye. We knew what to expect. However, just because we were feeling sad about our babies going, does not mean we felt sad about where they were going. The families waiting all matched our expectations for an Amabea puppy and in all cases exceeded them with regard to patience...with me and my over fussy demands for this and that and all the whatnots inbetween. So as the day to say goodbye came, Libbi and I shed profuse tears, then just a few more on the handover day. We knew each puppy was going to a beautiful home, with beautiful people and a future of loves and cuddles, good grub, comfort and many years of happiness. Over this last week, we watched each puppy grow in confidence, as the canine pack began to teach them doggie manners. Sky came into her own as a caring but firm playmate, giving her last comfort feed one day before the first puppy left. Idgie carried on with her attention to puppy disputes and rough and tumbles. Gem started her goosie rollovers which the babies loved, and Bea taught the litter that although she was a loving and caring Grandma, she was also the pack leader. No meant no when puppies were rude enough to jump on her back without permission. We are happy. Job done from all the team, and a few days after this week 9 write up we ponder about what has just hit us and whether or not we could ever do this again...though I am certain this will be the last time. We now have 2 babies here to carry on rearing. My girl Scout and Libbi's boy Hunter. Our 2 huggable chubbly Sky bears. Keeping two puppies so far, though we are counting just days, has been the best fun and a lovely come down from the excitement of nine. See our puppers grow on their own website pages, or follow them on Instagram (account pending). We are sure there will be many fun posts to amuse and inspire.