'Night & Day'
Denmarella Follow The Sun JW ShCM x Kendaamber Shining Light at Amabea
5 boys & 4 girls
Born 16th January 2013
Our first puppy girl was born just past midnight on a very frosty January morning with puppy number nine towards dawn. The snug became the den for Bea to nestle down with her babies, a lovely quiet and restful place away from the hustle and bustle of the house. Once she got over the shock of her babies, Bea settled down to become an attentive and thorough mum, completely at ease with myself and two daughters keeping a watchful eye over the nest. Bea had most of her meals in the whelping box while we kept the room nice and warm. The puppies varied in weight from 12.3oz-1lb.5oz and we put little coloured ribbons on them for identification. Colours ranged from pale cream to dark gold.
Bea is still busy washing and feeding the babies. We weigh each puppy daily to make sure their weights are increasing steadily and every day clean out the whelping box, putting the puppies in a snuggly little cardboard box to keep them warm. Bea is enjoying her usual meals with a few extras. Cooked chicken or goats’ milk, honey and yoghurt are her favourites, also tasty minces with beef heart and vegetables. Ribbons are replaced with little dots of non-toxic crayon, even though we are spending every moment with them and know exactly who is who. I am still sleeping on a bed downstairs and little Mr Chestnut keeps me awake, always hungry and shouting out for more milk.
The puppies’ eyes are open now and we move them into the dog room adjacent to the snug for brief periods while we clean out the whelping box. The ribbons go back on the babies while we do our first little photo shoot and we have one or two visitors though no one is choosing a favourite yet. We pay a great deal of attention to the developing personalities, ready to match the right puppy to the right owner and already little characters are showing through. They are also getting very active, ‘Aunty Gem’ is a frequent visitor, completely smitten by all the little babies and we spend most of the time cuddling and taking images of all the lovely poses. The puppy pen goes up in the dog room, to give Bea more space, and also to allow the puppies to get used to all the household noises. We are also starting to wean the babies, earlier than expected, but Bea needs help with feeding the ever hungrier crowd. This is a porridge made from chicken, then raw beef mince which the puppies adore. We trim the toe nails once a week, much easier now the puppies are chunkier. Puppies are wobbling around now and getting to know each other.
Weaning is now the main priority. Bea is feeding less and less so we offer mince meals, chicken mousse and a goat’s milk/yoghurt honey gruel. We have tried a processed dog food as an alternative, but upset tums are the result, so we stay with the natural menu. We start with the large communal feeding bowl then give the puppies their own dishes so we can top up the greedy pups and check each is getting enough to eat. There is a lot of playtime now so we provide lots of toys for stimulation. Gem is a frequent visitor into the dog room and we now start meeting prospective families. We give the puppies their first ‘lick’ of a chicken wing. They have sharp little teeth so we know they are almost ready to start munching. The puppies are developing different personalities. Mr Green and Mr Midnight are the explorers, Miss Pink and Miss Lilac the ‘Tomboys’, Mr White and Miss Sky Blue the observers, Mr Chestnut the ‘Foody’, Mr Red and Miss Yellow are little friends to everybody.
Now the real work is starting. Lots of activity in the playpen so we open it up during the day so puppies can play in the dog room with extra toys. Every now and again we get a ‘breakout’ into the Kitchen when someone leaves the barn door open, so we have regular round ups of tearaway puppies. We decide to let this happen as a matter of course to allow the babies access to different experiences, especially the sounds and smells in the kitchen. It is a full time job cleaning up after them but apart from tiddles here and there, they are surprisingly clean. We leave the door slightly open into the garden and each puppy starts to get the hang of pottering outside for a poo. It is cold though, and each pup experiences slight sprinklings of snow which they love.
Puppies are really into the natural diet now and love their mealtimes. The raw chicken wings are gobbled up, some puppies eating 2 in one sitting. The favourite meal of the day, some pups find a hidey corner to munch in peace, others gobble and swallow and wait for seconds. Libbi spends all her waking moments either playing or cuddling the babies and we now have a great routine between us; we are exhausted though and can never seem to get enough sleep. Families are choosing a first and second pick puppy, and we are surprised and delighted to find that each family chooses or is ‘chosen’ by the puppy we have secretly imagined for them. Our Vet visits to do the health checks and micro-chipping and Josie comes all way from Devon to help us choose our little girl. We get a bonus too, Lloydy gets to meet his babies and is so calm and cool with puppies scampering around his feet. This is the moment when the choice of Stud dog becomes so relevant…a gentle well-mannered boy, calm and collected in an unfamiliar house, completely unfazed by chaos and other resident pets.
All the puppies are leaving us now. This is a very difficult time for myself and Libbi. We have got attached to each little baby and handing them over hits us quite hard. We do know however that each little ‘person’ is going to exactly the right home, with lots of love waiting to be showered on them. Mr Red becomes ‘Hupsu’, Finnish for daft. Mr Midnight is ‘Boo’, Mr White is ‘Dylan’, Mr Chestnut is ‘Hector’, Miss Pink is ‘Romy’, Miss Lilac is ‘Lottie’, Mr Green is ‘Bowie’, Miss Yellow is ‘Belle’ and finally the little girl we are keeping Miss Sky Blue, stays ‘Sky’.