Puppies were born on Wednesday, May 13.
If you are interested in being considered for one of the Frida-Arlo puppies, please download the Camelot new owner questionaire, fill it out, rename it with your own name (for example, Smith.doc) and return by email to Camelot.
I should say however, that I already have many more applications than puppies so chances are not good.
Wednesday May 13
The litter was whelped by C-section this afternoon. I chose that method because of the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was able to pick up Frida and the puppies outside Bishop Ranch at 5:30 and get them back here and installed in my master bathroom, their home for the next month.
Because Frida is a first-time mom and did not suffer the normal 24 hours of labor, her oxytocin hasn't kicked in yet and she really does not have a mother instinct yet. That will come but for the next couple of days I will have to be here with her and the puppies 24/7 and try to teach her.
First exam and weigh-in:Liver female 12 1/4
Ridges look good; no kinks
Here are a few photos.
Thursday May 14
Last night was tough, as it always is. When I brought her home she was totally clueless about the significance of the puppies. She had absolutely no maternal instinct yet and she didn’t even really want to be with them. I expected that because since she didn’t have labor she didn’t get the oxytocin rush going and that’s what is responsible for the mother instinct. She wouldn’t even get in the whelping box with them and of course they were very unhappy in that big open space. So I brought a dog bed from the front room back into the bathroom, put an old sheet over it and made her lay down on it. I put the seven puppies beside her and covered the whole lot up with an old blanket. She escaped a couple of times but I made her get back in with the puppies. Then I just sat here in a chair by them until about 1 AM and then I got down on the floor and used the side of the dog bed as a pillow and I had a few minutes of fitful sleep. About 3 o’clock the oxytocin finally kicked in and she began to lick the puppies. This calmed them down of course and it made me feel much more comfortable so I went out to the front and got another big dog bed and lay down on it and was able to sleep for a couple of hours. So now she and the puppies are in the whelping box and she’s had her breakfast and I think we’re settling into a normal routine. She seems very gentle with the puppies so I think she is now a mother.
YouTube video of Frida's first breakfast.
Friday May 15
The last day was hard. Frida had not started lactating and yesterday afternoon I finally started bottle feeding. The pups are very small and haven't learned yet how to nurse since Frida was not producing any milk. Nevertheless, I was able to get them each to take about 1/2 to 2/3 ounce of the special supplement made of goats milk (1 qt), plain yoghurt (1 cup), corn syrup (1 tbs), mayonaise (2 tbs) and one egg yolk.
However, when went in to check on the puppies at 3 am, I found that one of the puppies had died. It was the smallest one, a liver female who had weighed 12 1/4 ounces on Wednesday but had lost to 9 3/4 ounces by Thursday afteroon. I warmed up the formula again and managed to get the six remaining puppies to drink a about 4 ounces total.
Dr. Cain suggested I try an herb named fenugreek, which is used by human mothers as a lactation aid. So I sent my son over to Whole Foods to buy some and I gave Frida her first two capsules around 9:30. I don't know if it was the cause but about an hour later I was able to see two puppies nursing with milk smears around their lips, so I think Frida has finally started to produce some milk. Hopefully this will continue. In the mean time I have the milk bottle handy and offer it from time to time.
So with the loss, we now have three boys and three girls, three livers and three blacks.
Liver male 12 1/2 white right front paw
Liver female 12 1/2
Liver male 12 5/8
Black male 13
Black female 13
Black female 11 3/4 rear dew claws
Sunday May 17
The last two days were stressful. Another of the puppies died, a black-nosed female. Because Frida's milk was slow to come in I have been supplementing the puppies with the goat's milk formula. For puppies this size the stomach volume is only 15 mL, which is about 1/2 ounce. So I am still offering them bottle several times a day. Yesterday it was four times, starting about 5 am. I fed them through the day, up to 2 pm. I checked about 4 pm a and then went outside to pick up some poop in the yard and when I came in to check on them I found one of the puppies laying limp in the middle of the whelping box, unresponsive. So I don’t know what happened.
I am continuing to supplement the pupppies when they will take it and they do seem to be getting some milk from mom now. Their weights are back to about what they were when I brought them from the vet on Wednesday and all showed a gain since yesterday.
Dr. Cain is allowed back in the clinic today so I’m going to take Frida and the five remaining puppies for an exam at 4:45. And when I tried for a 7 o’clock feeding today I was able to get the half an ounce into two of the liver puppies but the other liver puppy and the two black puppies had already filled up on mom because they would not take anything and they seemed pretty plump so maybe we’re headed in the right direction now.
Monday May 18
It looks like we turned the corner yesterday. I took Frida and the puppies to Dr. Cain for an examination yesterday afternoon. She was able to demonstrate to me that Frida is producing milk, certainly enough for five puppies. This made me feel a little bit sheepish, but I actually think the milk production kicked in shortly before we got to Bishop Ranch. She also examined the puppy that died on Saturday to be sure she didn’t have some kind of evidence of disease and could find nothing.
So last night I let Frida and the puppies spend the night in a dog bed covered by old sheet on the floor of my bathroom. They were perfectly happy, no fretting all night, because they were finally getting enough food and were not hungry and cold. At morning weigh in everybody had gained weight. The three liver puppies are 14 to 14 1/4, the black girl is 15 1/4 and the black boy is 17. Total gain for the fab five was 6 1/4 ounces.
Tuesday May 19B
Now that Frida's milk bar is fully functional the pups are always satisfied and not rooting around crying, which is pretty much what they were doing the first few days. So live in the puppy pile is pretty routine. Frida has preferred to nest with the puppies in a dog bed on the bathroom floor and I have let her to that up to today. But now that the puppies are getting stronger and more mobile they climb over the side and onto the floor. They aren't really big enough to climb back in yet so mom hops out and "helps" by picking the errant pup up in her mouth and then puts it back in the nest. While this is pretty cute, I don't like it because I am aftraid she might damage the pup.
So this morning the family was moved to the whelping box, which is set up with two crate mats. Frida is not nearly as comfortable in this condo as whe was in the nest, but hopefully she will quickly accommodate.
On the morning weigh-in I found that all five puppies are continuing to gain weight with three within a few ounces of a pound and one nearing a pound and a quarter. With each litter I assign temporary names because I will be living with these critters for a couple of months and I just want to be able to call them something other than "blue boy" or "green girl." The theme for this litter was pretty obvious--it is the COV ID-19 litter, so here is a little run down.
Birx is a pretty little livernosed girl with a perfect show ridge. She weighed in at 11 3/4 ounces at birth and is now close to a pound.
Fauci is a livernosed boy, almost a twin of Birx, very feisty. He was 14 ounces at birth and now the same as Birx, 15 3/4 ounces.
Spike is a livernosed boy with a front white paw. He has a perfect show ridge as well and today he is the smallest of the litter at 14 7/8 ounces.
Corona is a blacknosed girl. She also has a show ridge and at the moment has a lot of very dark hair, so has a sort of ebony color. I expect this to lighten as she grows and she will end up about the color of mom. She is very vocal and today weighed in at an even pound.
Virus is a blacknosed boy with a show ridge. Many litters have an early over-acheiver on weight gain and for this one it is Virus. He came into the world last Wednesday at 14 3/8 ounce, dropped down to 12 1/4 over the first day, but from there it has been steadily up and today he tipped the scale at 19 1/4 ounces.
Thursday May 21
Frida has settled into a smooth routine. She has finally accepted the whelping box as "her" place and the puppies seem at home now. My main job is to keep the carpet and crate mat in place and to keep the room warm enough that the puppies don't try to get warm by creeping under the crate mat. But they are now big enough and strong enough to be able to look after themselves. All are comfortably over a pound now and Virus weighed in at 21 3/8 ounces this morning.
These photos show something that we always see with young puppies. When they are born and for the first few days the ridges are very visible. Then about a week of age as the hair grows in and they become more rotund, the ridges are less distinctive. This will last a couple of weeks and then the ridge lines come back into focus.
Friday May 22
Nothing of merit to report. We are in the period where care for the puppies is minimal. Frida has it under control. The pups are strong and getting around well so I do not have to be so watchful to be sure one doesn't get trapped behing mom's back or that she doesn't accidentally roll over on one. They are able to take care of themselves. Virus is up to 1 1/2 pounds and the smallest is over 17 ounces.
Last edited May 22, 2020
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