The Kaya-Bruiser Puppies are Here -- Born October 16, 2008.

Kaya || Bruiser || Puppy weights

Kaya is a three-year old daughter of MBIS BISS Am/Au Ch Camelot's Code Red, ROM, and Ch Camelot's Mistress of the Hunt, ROM. She was bred with frozen semen from her great grandfather, Am/SA/Zim Ch Camelot's Technical Knockout, ROM. The semen was collected in 1993, 15 years ago!

The puppies from this litter are all placed. My friend Vanessa Lawrence has bred her girl, Ch Camelot's Southern Bell (Scarlett) and is expecting puppies around Christmas. You can contact Vanessa by email.


Sunday, October 12, 2008: I went out to Fairfield where Kaya lives with her primary owners, Alex & Darla D'Ambrosio, and picked Kaya up for the trip to Camelot. She is enormous! Dr. Cain's estimate, based on her ultrasound exam, was 7-9 puppies. Based on Kaya's size, with a week still to go, I wouldn't be surprised if there are more. In the morning we will begin monitoring her temperature, two times a day. We are looking for a drop of 1-1.5 degrees about 24 hours before whelp.

Monday, October 13, 2008: Kaya spends a lot of time at our house when Alex and Darla travel, and she has also been here from time to time when she was showing and I would have her for long show weekends. Nevertheless, it is always a challenge getting a "new" dog reinstalled in the pack, even if the pack knows the visitor. There has to be posturing and demonstrations to convince the newcomer of her rightful place in the pecking order. For that reason, I introduced Kaya to the resident pack in stages. First to 12-year old Dawn and 3-month old Hamilton, who were in the house when Kaya arrived. After she had gotten comfortable with those two, I took her to the yard and let the two 5-year old females, Elvira and Monroe, meet Kaya. That having gone smoothly, after dinner, I left Ellie, Monroe and Hamilton in the kennel and brought in the boys, Napa and Hadley. Now we are all fully equilibrated and I can have the whole pack together.

Kaya's evening temp yesterday was 100.0 and her morning temp today was 100.7. We did her nails this morning and I will probably give her a bath this afternoon. She is about as pregnant as I have ever seen one at this age (see following photo taken this morning):

Photo of Kaya's big belly at 8 1/2 weeks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008: Kaya got her bath last night. Her temp last night was 100.1 and this morning it was 99.7. She slept on our bed again last night. Kaya is very respectful of our space and curls up (as much as a beached whale can "curl up") at the bottom of our king-sized bed. That's usually ok but last night 12-year old Dawn decided to join her in our bed in the middle of the night and things got pretty crowded! This morning Kaya showed absolutely no signs of pre-labor, so I am thinking we have a few more days. I am at work now but will go home early today just to be sure nothing interesting is happening.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008: Evening temp was 100.0 and morning temp was 99.4. Kaya is showing no signs of pre-labor. Her appetite is, well, voracious. This is par for the course when you are eating for 8 or 10! Today I am preparing the whelping room. This is a small room, about 6 ft x 6 ft that adjoins our master bathroom. When the house was built it was intended as an eventual sauna, but it was never built out. So for the almost 14 years we have lived here this has been "the whelping room." The following photo shows our 4 ft x 4 ft whelping box and a little cardboard box that is ready to be secondary containment for early puppies when later ones are being born (to keep anyone from getting stepped on in the excitement).

The Camelot Whelping Box

Many Ridgebacks have entered the world in this room and this box, including some of the great ones--Marley, Leelu, Mojave, Ruger. In fact, Kaya's litter will be the 30th Camelot litter since we began breeding in 1990.

Thursday, October 16, 2008: The puppies were born between 6:30 and 10:05 pm on Thursday evening, October 16. Click here to read about the whelp day.

Friday, October 17, 2008: The night was uneventful. This is a very vigorous bunch of puppies who are quite good at taking care of themselves. I slept on the floor by the whelping box but I only had to intervene once to rescue a pup who had strayed to the far corner of the box and couldn't find his way back to the milk bar. Well, actually, there isn't really much milk yet, just colostrum. I will record weights and do the first DS check this morning. I did discover last night that puppy #3, 19-ounce male, has a kink at the base of his tail.

After breakfast I weighed everyone again (no real gain yet since they are not getting much actual milk yet). I also checked my gender count to be sure I didn't make a mistake during the rather short and hectic whelp time--no change, still six boys and one girl. I did the first dermoid sinus check and found none. On the first day they are so small and wiggly that about all you can check on this day is the neck area, but this is where 85% of the dermoids occur.

Click here to see some photos taken on Friday morning?

Saturday, October 18, 2008 8:01 AM The puppies acquired names yesterday, thanks to the inspired suggestion of Lovie van der Horst that I use a M*A*S*H theme for this litter. Therefore, the seven pups will be known henceforth as Hot Lips, B.J., Trapper, Hawkeye, Klinger, Radar and Sherm. Kaya is a fabulous mom, probably from having "raised" two-year-old Giovanni, one of her human housemates. When she gets back in the whelping box after eating or making an excursion to the yard for private business, she carefully places each paw, one by one, so as to avoid stepping on any of the nebishes. Her appetite is back and all seven puppies are nursing enthusiastically. The average weight gain for the first day was about two-thirds of an ounce each. I expect the weight gain to kick in tomorros and average around 2-3 ounces per puppy per day for the next couple of weeks. The top of the page has a link for the weight chart, which I will update daily.

Last night Cheri and I took bottled water and challenge trophies to the show grounds for the BARRC specialty, which is today. It was the first time I have left the house since the puppies are born, but Kaya is so trustworthy that I had no hesitation. Today I will probably drop in at the show for a short time while bitch classes are showing, as one of our puppies from a previous breeding is showing in 12-18 class.

I found out today that Kaya has a hard time counting to seven. I was weiging the puppies one by one while they were nursing. When I was finished Kaya got very agitated and jumped out of the box and began to explore all of the corners of the room, including a lot of sniffing at the plastic box on the kitchen scale that I use for weighing. It was clear that she was looking for a missing puppy and even when I got in the box with her and moved each of them to her, she wasn't convinced and jumped out to search some more. After about 10 minutes of this anxeity, she settled in with the crew and they went back to their nursing.

Weights continue to increase marginally, and Hot Lips and B.J. even lost slightly in the morning weighing. Partly this is because Kaya's milk hasn't really begun to flow fully (it probably will today) and partly because I moved weighing from afternoon to morning for my own convenience.

4:44 PM To see some photos taken yesterday and today, click here. As you will see from a photo taken yesterday when Alex, Darla and two-year old Giovanni visited, Kaya is fine with visitors, as long as she knows them very well. Today when I brought my 7-year old granddaughter Camille to the whelping room, Kaya was not at all OK with that. She was fine as long as Camille sat on my lap, but when I left the room and had Camille sitting on the chair next to the whelping box, Kaya grumbled. So if may be awhile before Kaya is comfortable having visitors outside her immediate family. She also doesn't much care about the other dogs poking their heads around the door to see what is in the whelping box.

Sunday, October 19, 2008 8:08 AM Kaya's milk is fully flowing and the pups are beginning to gain weight at the expected rate--the average gain in the last 24 hours was about 3.5 ounces. This always amazes me--that is a 14% gain in weight in just 24 hours. For the 7 puppies, this adds up to a total weight gain of 1.5 pounds in a day! No wonder Kaya has a healthy appetite!

Monday, October 20, 2008 11:56 AM Things continue to go smoothly. Weights increased an average of 2 1/4 ounces in the last day, another 10% increase over Sunday. We are at the stage where it is difficult to discern crowns, so ridges on several of the puppis are problematic (single crown or two?). Hot Lips has a superb ridge and both crowns are still clearly visible. Some of the boys have longer coats and the tops of their ridges are somewhat indistinct. I did discover that a second boy (Radar) has a kink at the base of his tail, so this means that at least three of the males are definitely "pet quality." These tail kinks clearly come from Bruiser, as a male in his litter with Ch Camelot's Centennial Mt Tango had an almost identical kink. As this dog great older, the kink became less visible and he was eventually shown. To my knowledge, no judge ever noticed the kink. However, I knew it was there and I could always feel it when I went over him, even as an adult.

Day 5 photo

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 7:19 AM Kaya is starting to get lonesome for adult companionship. Several times during the night she visited my bedside and gave me a lick and at about 5:30 she finally climbed up on the bed and spent about 15 minutes snoozing by my side. Her appetite is in full gear and when I brought her bowl of food from the kennel back to her room, she raced me there and was sitting waiting to be fed when I arrived. We are feeding her Honest Kitchen FORCE three times a day, about two cups each time. The gas she was having the first few days, probably from eating some of the afterbirth, has subsided. This will be the first day I have left Kaya for a substantial time because I need to go to the University for about 5 hours today. However, Kaya is fully in control of things now and the puppies are strong enough to take care of themselves. They can scoot around the box pretty fast and although they still can't see, they can sense the other puppies and Kaya's food bar, probably by smell.

Tuesday nursing bar

Kaya is also getting more comfortable with visitors. For the first few days she became wary and grumbled when the other dogs ventured into the whelping room for a peek at the puppies. Last night she let little 3-month old Hamilton stand and peer in for about 10 minutes. He was captivated, and may have vague memories of being in a similar place two months ago.

I think I finally have the puppies all sorted out so that I can recognize them now. Hot Lips is obvious, only girl. She is also easy to find from the top because of her ridge. Sherm is also easy because he is the only ridgeless. Radar is the smallest and has the little kink at the top of his tail so he is easy. Klinger is the second smallest and has a darker coat at this point (sort of reminds me of Klinger's black hair). Hawkeye is also easy to find; he has the tail kink and white toes on all four feet. The two I have trouble with are B.J. and Trapper. Trapper's chest marking is a white horizontal bar and B.J. has two white dots, one smaller than the other. Also, BJ is the biggest.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 7:11 AM Kaya is getting lonesome for canine companionship. This morning when I let the other dogs out of their crates, she stood in front of each one and greeted the other dog as he or she came out. She even poked her head inside to greet a couple before they even stirred from their beds. She is also comfortable now having the other dogs visit the whelping room. Mostly they respect her turf and stay away, but a couple do like to go back and just look at the puppies. Weights are up another 10% today and Sherm and B.J. are both two pounds. I am beginning to think that B.J. may have a single crown.

12:29 PM For a few midday photos, click here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008 7:59 AM It is getting to that time when the mother does not feel compelled to be with the puppies 24/7; Kaya spent a couple of periods last night sleeping on our bed. She would get up to go nurse every few hours, and then return. Weights continue to increase; average gain per puppy of 2 1/4 ounces for a total 24-hour increase of 8%.

Big news is that the puppies have a human "sister" as Darla gave birth to a healthy baby girl on Tuesday. No name so far but I think she looks like her dad.

Friday, October 24, 2008 6:47 AM We were up early today because this is the day the house-cleaning and yard maintenance crews come. The dogs are all fed and in the kennel for the day. Because of the early weighing, the average gain since yesterday is only 1 1/2 ounces, but even this is another 5% increase. I took the safety rails out of the whelping box this morning. We have those in the first week to prevent a mother accidentally smothering a puppy. But the puppies are big enough and strong enough to stay out of harm's way, and Kaya is very careful entering and leaving the box. Furthermore, some of them are getting big enough that they could soon get entangled in the rails.

I am packing for a four-day trip to Colorado to speak in a memorial symposium Saturday for one of my long-time professional friends, Al Meyers, who passed away last year. Then I will travel to San Antonio where I will attend a dedication ceremony for Pleasant Howe Hobbs, my great grandfather. Pleasant was born in 1825 and died in 1895. He was a Texas Ranger and the Rangers are erecting a memorial star on his grave marker at the Nockenut Cemetery. I am sort of an amateur historian and it was my work that revealed he was a Ranger, so I am giving a little talk about his life. I will be back here on Tuesday evening, so there won't be any weights, photos or other blog material until then.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 6:35 AM I returned from my trip last night. The puppies have continued to put on weight but the rate of progress has diminished to an average daily gain of about 1 3/4 ounces per puppy. You can see the decline in rate of growth on the chart (the days highlighted in light green are interpolated because they were not actually weighed while I was away). I am going to boost Kaya's food today to prime the milk pump and I may prepare some formula to give the smaller puppies, particularly Hot Lips, a boost. Their eyes are beginning to open and they are now lurching about the whelping box rather than scooting, as they do for the first week.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 7:14 AM Yesterday I prepared some milk formula and gave about 12 ounces to the three smallest puppies, Hot Lips, Radar and Klinger. The formula is made up of:

  • 1 quart goat's milk
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons mayonaise
  • I started with Hot Lips. It took her a few minutes to get the hang of how to nurse on the rubber nipple, but when she got it, she was very motivated to continue. After she had 3 ounces, I took the bottle away. Later, after evening nursing by Kaya, I brought the bottle back and got in the box to give some to Radar. By now Hot Lips has figured out what this is about, and she managed to crawl up on my leg and actually tried to dislodge Radar from the nipple to get more. So After Radar had drunk 3 ounces, I let Hot Lips have the final ounce in the bottle. I refilled the bottle with another 5 ounces and gave 4 to Klinger and another ounce to Radar. So the three smallest all got a boost yesterday and I will see if it shows in their weights later this morning.

    We also did their nails this morning. I took each puppy out, one at a time, and Cheri clipped their needle-sharp nails with a toenail clipper, while I held. I transferred them to the dog bed by the whelping box where Kaya hangs out most of the time and then cleaned up the box. Our whelping box is 4x4 feet and there is a sheet of 1/2-inch foam stapled to the bottom. I cover that with a layer of newspapers and on top of that is a piece of indoor-outdoor carpet. On top of the carpet, covering half the box, is a folded blanket where the puppies sleep in their little puppy pile and where Kaya lays for nursing. When the puppies wake up, they stagger over to the side of the box that is just carpet to pee (well, they don't always make it all the way off the blanket, but usually do). So the first stages of house training are beginning.

    7:45 AM I weighed them while they were napping after their morning nursing. Average weight gain is now back over 3 ounces per puppy and Hot Lips actually put on 4 ounces. I will probably supplement the three smallest pups today and tomorrow and then they will be on their own. Some people have asked me how puppy size translates into adult size. The answer is not very much. The ultimate size is governed by the DNA and has more to do with the sizes of the parents and grandparents than with the birth or early puppy size, which is mostly due to differing nutrition. For example, take a look at the weight chart for our 2002 Marley litter. You will see that at day 14 the smallest puppy weighed only 40 ounces, similar to today's weights for Hot Lips, Klinger and Radar. This is Napa and if you have been to our house, you have probably met him--he is now a solid 85 pounds.

    4:56 PM Here is a photo of Radar nursing the bottle this afternoon:

    Friday, October 31, 2008 2:12 PM Kaya and the puppies had visitors today. Alex, Darla, Giovanni and 10-day old Mariana came and visited for about an hour this morning. Giovanni is two and likes to get in the whelping box with the puppies.

    Kaya was happy to see her "real" family and I think she was torn when they left about whether she wanted to go with them, or stay here with her brood. While the D'Ambrosio family was here my sister Peggy came by for a short visit. Kaya doesn't know Peggy but she was fine with her coming into the whelping room, so I guess she is ready to have general visitors. Sunday I am hosting several of the families at noon to visit the pups and see what two-week olds are like.

    They are getting to the point where they are starting to show some personality. Their eyes are fully open now and they are up on their feet as they creep around the whelping box. They haven't gotten to the point where they stand and put their feet up on the side of the whelping box, but that will some soon.

    Saturday, November 1, 2008 7:48 AM It was a pretty uneventful night. It is raining here and when Kaya went out to the yard to do her business at 5:30 she came back dripping wet! Of course, she had to come over to the bed and give me a big slurpy kiss before going back to the whelping box. I am not sure what the puppies thought of all that water.

    Weight gain this morning averaged 2 3/4 ounces per puppy. I supplemented Hot Lips, Klinger, and Radar yesterday--total of 8 ounces between the three of them. As you can see from the weight chart, they are catching up with the bigger boys, especially Radar, who has gained more than 1/2 pound in the last 48 hours! But I think I have created a monster in Hot Lips. She was the first to learn the nursing bottle and she really took to it. Now every time Cheri or I pick her up, she begins to root around looking for a nipple to suck.

    Sunday, November 2, 2008 6:51 AM The little critters slept soundly last night -- no 4 am uproar, which has been the case for a few days. It was probably because I had their room a lot warmer. I have an oil heater in the 6x6 whelping room and another one in the master bathroom to which it opens. Last night I had both on high and it was so warm that Kaya came out and slept on the floor in our bedroom, until about 4 am when she climbed into bed beside me for the rest of the night. The weight gain for the last day was a little over two ounces per puppy. I did not give much supplement yesterday, just about 2 ounces shared between Hot Lips and Radar.

    Today we have visitors at noon--several families who are on the list for one of the puppies. It will be their first time for lots of visitors. It is good for them to experience being held by various people at this age, a step in their socialization.

    At 2 pm, right after our visitors leave, I am off to the airport for an overnight trip to Chicago for a business meeting. I will return Monday night. This is still a time when being away is pretty easy. Mom is in total control of matters and the only duty is to change the papers in the whelping box once a day and feed the mom three times a day. On that subject, Kaya is now eating a prodigous amount. We are feeding her Honest Kitchen FORCE three times a day. Morning and evening she gets 3 1/4 cups dry and midday another 2 cups dry. This is a total of 8 1/5 cups dry FORCE per day. For comparison, our four resident Ridgebacks eat FORCE in the morning only (raw chicken backs at night) and the total FORCE for the four adults is only 4 cups. So Kaya's calorie intake is about equal to our other four dogs combined.

    9:25 PM I said no more blogs but here I am in my Chicago hotel room with nothing to do but watch TV. The open house today was very successful--we had 19 people, including six kids. Kaya and the pups were troopers. I made out a bit late, 2:30, and then did something really DUMB--I went to the wrong airport, Oakland instead of SFO. Trouble was that by the time I realized it I had already parked my car at the off-site parking facilty named Expresso and was at the Oakland terminal. So I had to grab a cab and hotfoot it to SFO. I made it in time, but tomorrow night I will have to repeat the cross-bay cab ride back to the Oakland airport to get my car. This is the first time I ever parked my car in Oakland for a San Francisco flight!

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008 8:38 AM I returned at midnight and got up a bit late today, weighed the puppies and changed the bedding in the box. Weights for the two days since the last weighing increased an average of 4 1/2 ounces per pup and all are three pounds--BJ is now 4 pounds. Click here to see some photos I took when the visitors were here on Sunday.

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008 6:54 AM The pups are growing like weeds; average weight gain is still about 5% per day but since they are bigger than they were a week ago, 5% gain is almost 4 ounces per puppy! That is a gain of 1/4 pound per day per puppy; total of 1 3/4 pounds of puppy growth per day. This always amazes me, as all of that growth has to come from the milk that Kaya produces. Their teeth have erupted now and Kaya is definitely conflicted about the whole nursing thing. In another week I will begin the transition to pan food.

    They are also starting to play with each other and practice their barks and growls. Cheri rounded up some of the old puppy toys and put them in the box last night. These are just little soft toys that they can pick up in their mouths, and a tennis ball that they can roll around. They still haven't started standing up with their front feet on the side of the whelping box, but that will probably start soon. They can walk pretty well now and when Kaya gets in the box they all come running to her.

    BJ's ridge is pretty clear now and he is definitely a pet because there is only one crown. That leaves three possible show-quality puppies--Hot Lips, Trapper and Klinger.

    9:55 PM Here is a short little movie of the pack at nursing time.

    Thursday, November 6, 2008 8:03 AM Three weeks old today and they are starting to be more like little dogs than gerbils. Cheri and I did their nails this morning when I was weighing them and changing the papers and bedding in their box. Some are more tolerant of the nail clipping than others. At this point the nails are small enough that we use a human toenail clipper. Since each puppy has 18 nails (four per foot plus the dew claws on the front feet), that is 126 nails to clip! The clipping wasn't as bad for them as having to be out of the box on the floor after each one was weighed and groomed. By the time we processed the 7th puppy, there was quite an uproar going. To calm them down, I got in the freshly-made box with them and let the pack go to sleep between my legs, then carefully excused myself from the sleeping heap.

    It is getting close to time to start with some pan food and I will probably start that Sunday morning after I get back from my next trip (leaving tomorrow morning for Boston to judge RRs at the Framingham KC show on Saturday; back here late Saturday). We start the transition to pan food by using the same goats milk formula I used for supplementation last week, with some Gerber's rice cereal mixed in. This gets them used to eating from a pan but doesn't change the quality of their poop much so mom will stay on cleanup duty. As soon as we start mixing in ground kibble, mom will go off duty and cleanup will be up to us.

    Friday, November 7, 2008 6:18 AM This morning's uproar was a bit louder than usual. The routine is that Cheri, who gets up before me in the morning, prepares Kaya's food and takes it to the bathroom that adjoins the whelping room. Kaya eats and this usually wakes the puppies, who think that since she has just eaten, they should too. She isn't usually ready just yet, so their is a lot of noisy uproar. You can experience it for yourself with this little movie.

    You can see that the pups are now able to move pretty adroitly and also can stand up and hang over the side of the whelping box. I have a board that I slip in place to raise the low side at this time--it will keep the little heathens in for another week. The insert board has a piece of fleece fastened to it so that Kaya doesn't injure her boobs when she jumps in and out of the box.

    I am off again this morning and will return late on Saturday, so the next entry in the blog will be Sunday morning, when I will start introducing them to pan feeding.

    Sunday, November 9, 2008 7:56 AM My trip to Boston was long for a short stay. But it was a good experience to be able to examine a lot of East Coast RRs and pick my favorites, then renew acquaintences with my friends there, and make some new friends. The pups have turned into little dogs. They stand and walk pretty normally (although every now and then one topples over--they haven't acquired balance yet). There muzzles are growing out, but the ears are lagging behind. We have seen this before--at 3-4 weeks they all look like they have very small ears and at 5-6 weeks the ears sprout. I changed the box this moring after Kaya fed and they are all sleeping now. Cheri and I are off to the Farmer's Market now and will stop at the grocery store to buy some goats milk and Gerber rice cereal for the first pan meal. It it goes as usual, there will be a lot of messy puppies to clean up with warm wash rags after the first meal. I will try to capture it on a little mpeg movie. Weight gain is declining--average of about 3.6% per day the last two days. This will pick up again as they go on pan food.

    12:31 PM The pack took like veterans to their first pan meal. I prepared the goats milk formula as outlined a few days ago, then slurried Gerbers Rice Cereal into 3 cups of the warmed formula to make a slurry like runny oatmeal. This went into the donut-shaped puppy pan, which was placed in their little pen. They had been sleeping in their crate, another new experience! I use a 300 Varikennel with the door removed and this is in the 4 ft x 6 ft pen, in the bathroom right next to the whelping room. When the first one emerged from the puppy pile in the crate and began to slurp up the cereal, the rest soon followed. Except Radar, who was still snoozing. I had to pick him up and put him at the bowl. However, he was the last one at the pan when all the other puppies had left. Here is a short movie of the first meal. Cleanup consisted of towelling off each of the messy puppies with a wet wash cloth. Our experience is that they develop table manners pretty fast and after a few days the cleanup won't be necessary. For a few photos that I snapped before and after the eating orgy, click here.

    Monday, November 10, 2008 7:04 AM Kaya had her breakfast at 6 am and fed the pups at 6:30. While they were snoozing, I weighed them one by one and put them into their pen, with their little Varikennel and a pan of fresh water, which they are learning to drink. They are now rioting, but in a few minutes I expect they will settle down and make their pile inside the crate and return to their nap. At this age, any change of venue is cause for alarm and changes are part of the necessary socialization process. About 10 this morning I will give them another pan feeding. As expected, introducing the pan food yesterday kicked up the weight gain. BJ and Sherm are both an even 5 pounds today and Radar, the smallest, is an even 4 pounds. Average gain since yesterday was more than a quarter-pound per puppy.

    12:41 PM The pups have spent the day in their little pen and at 11 am I fed them another meal from their puppy pan. As you can see from the following photo, table manners have improved dramatically from yesterday--only one puppy walked in the food and cleanup was much easier.

    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    There was one noteworthy aspect to this feeding. I warmed the formula and stirred in the Gerbers rice cereal that was left in the box, then opened a fresh box, which was still wrapped in its plastic paper. This was left over from Monroe's singleton litter in February. I poured some into the partially-prepared cereal slurry and found that it was full of weevils! I suppose the puppies wouldn't have minded--just a little protein--but I couldn't bring myself to serve them bugs at such a young age, so I scooped out all of the weevils and finished making the gruel with Honest Kitchen FORCE. This what Kaya is eating and what I will wean the pups to eventually anyway. They didn't seem to notice the substitution and were just as happy with the food as they were yesterday.

    After eating, they took a long nap in their crate and then got up to try to convince mom to come in the pen and feed them the old-fashioned way (check movie). I am going to clean their whelping box now and put them in for the rest of the day, so Kaya can let them nurse when she feels the urge. I may give them another small meal about 4:30. I am off for a red-eye flight to Chicago tonight at 11:30 for a business meeting tomorrow so I won't have a blog tomorrow. I'll be back tomorrow night and will update again on Wednesday morning.

    Wednesday, November 12, 2008 6:56 AM I returned from Chicago about 11 last night. During my absence, Cheri fed the pups one pan meal, Tuesday afternoon after she got home from work. The rest of the time they were in the whelping box where Kaya could tend to them. She is definitely entering the conflicted phase--instinct makes her want to jump in and feed and clean up, but when all seven puppies swarm her she usually jumps back out. Here is a little movie that sort of shows the angst that this creates for the pack. Last night before I returned home, Cheri sat with her in the dog bed next to the whelping box and took the pups out one by one and let them each nurse. Kaya was fine with that as long as Cheri sat with her. Weight gain has tapered off somewhat; average gain only 2.4% per day for the last two days. This is because Kaya is definitely not feeding very often and we haven't yet swung into full pan feeding mode. That starts today. They has a morning feeding at 6:45 and will have two more today. While I was preparing the food, Cheri let Hawkeye nurse solo, since he only gained one ounce the last two days. [Sometimes thinks like this are anomalies--I may have recorded his weight wrong on Monday, or maybe didn't have the scale properly zeroed that day.] One more thing I noticed this morning--ears are growing!

    8:22 PM Today was a BIG eating day for the pups. I fed them their normal goats milk-rice cereal meal three times, at 6:45, again just before I left for the University at 10 am, and when I returned home at 4:30 pm. Each time was 3 cups of the formula and enough rice cereal to make stiff oatmeal consistency. They spent the whole day in the pen and Kaya didn't nurse them at all. About 6:30 I fed the adults, including Kaya. By this time she was so packed with milk that it was literally dribbling out of her teats so she ran back in the whelping room to see the pups--who were happy to see mom trailing milk. She jumped in the whelping box and I handed the pups in to her. Kaya immediately stretched out and the M*A*S*H crew all gorged for the fourth time in about 12 hours. I have to say that I haven't seen such stuffed puppies for a long time. Here is a picture of BJ from the top:

    So for those of you who are following this litter and who will be whelping and raising your own litter, here is the "lessons learned". The first day you switch to pan food full time, let mom nurse them before the third meal of the day!

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 6:29 AM The pups spent the night in their little pen, curled up in their crate. At 5:20 they came out and did their business, then started their little whining noises to indicate that it was meal time. I got up and prepared the goats milk-rice cereal meal for the pups, picked up the poopy papers from their little pen, and gave them their pan of food. The table manners are quite well developed now and no one stepped in it! After they ate (took less than 5 minutes), I put them in their box, changed the papers in the pen, and returned them there, where they are curled up now asleep. Today I have to be gone from 7:45 until after 5 (I am on the SAB of a local biotech company named Plexxikon and today is the SAB meeting in Berkeley). So my strategy for the day was to give the pups a big breakfast early and then I will weigh them and put them in the whelping box to spend the day. Hopefully Kaya will nurse them at least once during the day--she does get the urge when her boobs get really full of milk, even though another part of her doesn't want the little critters chewing on her nipples with their non-well-developed teeth! I will feed them again when I get back home this afternoon.

    7:16 AM I did the morning weighing and discovered that we have outgrown the Salter kitchen balance, which seems to be topped out at a bit over 5 pounds. So I moved to a postal scale that I use for the pups between 5 and about 25 pounds. As I expected, yesterday's engorgement resulted in a very large increase--almost 11 ounces per puppy! This is a whopping 14.3% increase in just 24 hours. They are back in the whelping box with mom at the moment and will have about 10 hours before I return home and feed them this afternoon. Following is a photo of Hot Lips being weighed on the postal scale. Because it weigs in pounds, with 1/4 pound increments, I am converting the weight chart to pounds.

    Friday, November 14, 2008 8:26 AM Yesterday I got home from Plexxikon at about 4 pm and fed the puppies. I am starting to change them to the diet they will have going forward. I prepared 2 cups of the goats milk formula with 1 cup of water and stirred in 1 1/2 cups of Honest Kitchen FORCE and 1 1/2 cups of the rice cereal. They were hungry since they hadn't eaten since 7 am and they polished it all off. Later, just before bedtime, I gave them another lighter meal consisting of 1 cup of goats milk formula, 1 cup of water and about 1 cup of rice cereal. They slept completely through the night in their crate in the little pen and didn't start the morning uproar until about 7 am. The photo below shows their pen--it is in the master bathroom, right next to the whelping room. I have a vinyl tarp on the floor and use a small exercise pen (18 inch height). I actually have a complete pen and another section so that I have a space of 4 x 6 feet. Inside the pen is the 300 Varikennel, with door removed. I paper the inside of the pen with newspaper and the pups have a few toys and a water bowl. They are growing so fast that they will soon outgrow the 300 Varikennel and I will replace it with a 400.

    The morning weights appear to be erratic, compared to yesterday. The postal scale resolution is 1/4 pound, with is about the amount a pup can be expected to put on in a day, so the weight lines now will appear to be jumpy. From now on, I will just weigh them every two or three days and interpolate the intervening days. This morning I got two at 6 pounds (BJ and Sherm), four at 5 1/2 pounds (Hot Lips, Trapper, Hawkeye and Klinger) and one at 5 pounds (Radar).

    Kaya didn't nurse at all yesterday, so I am going to take her home Saturday so she can dry up and not have the constant irritation of wanting to nurse--not wanting to nurse. Next weekend she will come back to mother the pups for a few more weeks. It is good for them to have mom to teach them manners, but until they get completely transitioned to their food, all they want to do is chase her around and try to nurse, which causes her to flee.

    Saturday, November 15, 2008 1:01 PM This morning my granddaughter Camille came over to pose for a few dozen photos for a possible 2008 holiday card (see top photo for the current leading candidate). It was the first time the pups had been outside and they were a little reluctant to come out at first. They quickly got used to the new venue and when the visitors came at 11:30 they got out on the grass for the first time and seemed to really enjoy themselves. They are still out in the yard, napping on one of the dog beds and will probably spend the rest of the afternoon there, getting use to being outside. Here are some more photos taken today.

    Sunday, November 16, 2008 6:22 PM Well, Kaya went home yesterday. Alex, Darla, Giovanni and Mariana came about 1 pm and spent time in the yard with the pups, during which time Kaya plopped down and nursed the crown one last time. When they headed for their car for the trip home, Kaya seemed happy to accompany them. Hopefully her milk train will dry up over the week and she can come back for some serious mothering next weekend

    We had a busy day today. This morning I fed the pups at 7:30 and have started the next phase of their food experience. Todays meals consisted of 1 cup of Honest Kitchen FORCE, 1 cup of ground-up (Waring blender) Evo kibble, and three cups of warm water. This makes a gruel that the pups seem to really enjoy. They had three of these meals today, the second at noon and the last one at 5 pm. We are going to bed early tonight because we have to get up at 4 am and leave the house at 5:15 am, so the pups won't eat again today, but will have an early breakfast.

    After breakfast I moved them to their new digs in the kennel (photos). They have a 5 ft by 8 ft indoor space, connected by a full-sized dog door to a 5 ft by 38 foot outdoor run. The dog door is open during the day to encourage them to use the outside, especially for doing their toilet business. At night the dog door is covered but only with a towel. The room has an oil heater and in addition, at night, we have a little 800-watt forced air heater blowing into the room.

    When I first opened the kennel door to the outside this morning, I had an opportunity to see which of the pups were bravest about venturing out the dog door, down the steps, and into a completely new environment. I sat outside on the dog bed and called them to come through the door. At first, they all crowded around the door and only stuck their noses through. Then, one by one, they began to step out onto the first step, but with a lot of nervous mewing. The first one to exit and bound down the steps to come to my lap was Hot Lips, followed by Sherm, Radar, and then BJ. Hawkeye was pretty funny--he actually got three feet out the door onto the top step but he would not take his last foot out of the room and over the threshold. He set up quite a wail, but finally got up the courage to move the last foot outside and then came down the steps. The last two out of the door were Trapper and Klinger--they are the cautious ones!

    Monday, November 17, 2008 12:40 PM It has already been a full day for me. To start the day, we rose at 4 am and cleaned the run and fed the pups their morning meal. Then Cheri took me over to Marin County for a 6 am appointment to have minor surgery on my right eyelid. For some time I have had a "droopy" right eyelid and as a result, I have a lot of dry eye--quite annoying. It is sort of like your windshield wipers when they get old and don't connect with the glass. So although my tear ducts work fine, the tears just pool in the saggy eyelid and don't do what they are supposed to do--lubricate the eyeball. The procedure was to put in a stitch, anchored to a couple of small holes that were drilled in my orbital rim. I have a few external stitches that will come out Friday. In the meantime, I have to ice the eye occasionally to help with swelling. Otherwise, except for a little local pain, I can operate more or less normally.

    After returning here at about 10, I fed the pups again and cleaned up, then snoozed for an hour in my recliner, with ice pack, then went out to reconfigure the pup's kennel run. I raided the wine cellar and snagged a couple of wooden wine boxes, which gives them a much more spacious porch. They are now more willing to exit. I also dropped the towel over the inner door while they were all outside. When I returned in another hour, they had all figured out that they could go back inside by pushing the towel aside and were sleeping in their crate.

    When they heard me cleaning up the porch outside with the pooper scooper, they all tumbled out and had some play time. When I left, I discovered that a couple of the more inventive ones had figured out that they can squeeze through the crack between the cyclone fence door and the post to which it fastens. You can see a few photos and a couple of short movies here.

    Tuesday, November 18, 2008 1:17 PM These days in a litter are the most challenging. With mom out of the house-cleaning picture, sanitation falls completely on my shoulders. The pups are comfortable going in and out of the towel-draped dog door now, but during the cold night, they wouldn't think of going outside to poop and pee. Therefore, when I come out at 6:30 am and wake them, I find a sea of poopy and pee-saturated newsprint in their little kennel room. What I did this morning was to open the door to the outside gravel run and step out and call them. They did all follow--about five feet out into the cold air, where they all squatted and peed, in unison. But they they ran back into the warm room. I went into the house and prepared their breakfast (1 cup each of Evo small bites kibble and Honest Kitchen FORCE, ground to a powder with a Waring blender, then slurried in two cups of warm water). It took less than five minutes to prepare the chow and pour it into the puppy pan. When I got back to the kennel, there were 7 poop piles in the big kennel room, and one or more puppies had managed to step in most of them. I found a relatively clear place in the room and put the pan down, whereup the pups went to work eating breakfast while I cleaned up all the poop with paper towels. I then quicly collected all of the poopy papers from their 5x8 room and put down a new layer of newsprint (thanks to my friend Barb Bridwell for contributing a large stack of her old newspapers--we especially like the Wall Street Journal). I managed to get the kennel room done about the time the pups finished with the chow and I put them all back in it, while I washed the puppy eating pan and mopped the floor. Then I fed the four adult dogs and after I cleaned up their dishes and sent them back in the house, I went into the puppy room and sat on the floor and let all seven pups go to sleep on my lap. This is their very favorite time of the day, and they were raising a high stink the whole time I was mopping, feeding adults, and cleaning up after adults! After they settled into their nap, I excused myself and went in the house to work on a research project at my computer.

    When I next checked on the pups, about 9:30, I saw that they had woken from their nap and had all gone outside to the kennel run where they were playing with each other in the sun. About noon I went out to the big back yard (about 1/2 acre, fenced and completely covered with park grass) and walked the whole yard with my pooper scooper (I do this three times a week and today is the day we put out our garbage). While I was policing the yard, I opened the end gate to the puppy kennel run so that they could come out and play in the grass. Five of them did and the other two remained in their run wrestling with each other. One of the pups who came out was Hawkeye, who followed me on my rounds. I police by walking back and forth from one fence to the other, with each trip being about 6-8 feet from the previous one. It takes about 5 round trips of roughly 160 feet each. This is a total trip of 800 feet (almost three football fields). It doesn't sound like much, but to a little 4 1/2 old puppy, it is quite a hike!

    After their playtime in the yard the pups went back inside and took another snooze in their crate and at 1 pm I brought out their midday meal, which was 2 cups of ground-up Evo and 2 cups of warm water. They polished it right down and are now napping again.

    Tonight's meal will be raw chicken. For the last 5-6 years we have fed our dogs the Honest Kitchen FORCE for the morning meal and raw chicken for the evening meal. The adults get about 1 pound each of chicken. I feed them "backs and necks" that I get from Whole Foods in Walnut Creek. This is the parts that are left over when the butchers prepare the more expensive chicken that customers usually buy. Although I order "backs and necks", the packages also contain other waste parts, notably the chicken breast sides that are left over when the butcher prepares boneless chicken breasts and sometimes the thigh bones that are waste from bonless thighs. These waste chicken parts constitute the entire evening meal for our adults. Yes, bones and all. Most people are afraid of giving dogs chicken bones. This fear is well founded if the chicken has been cooked, because the bones become brittle when they are cooked. Cooked fowl bones can shatter and become sharp as needles. However, uncooked bones are soft and easily digestable. [If this still sounds hard to believe, just ask yourself if the average wolf cooks his pheasant or turkey before he eats it.]

    These pups aren't big enough to take on whole chicken backs, or even wings. So I have ground up a bunch of the waste chicken parts and will give them this for their first raw chicken meal tonight. Here are some photos of the preparation.

    6:46 PM The first raw chicken meal was a big hit. I put the pan down in the big kennel room and opened the door to the puppy room. At the end of the meal the pan was licked absolutely empty, as shown by the last two photos.

    Thursday, November 20, 2008 8:28 AM We have settled into a routine now. I feed the pups Honest Kitchen FORCE in the morning, usually around 7. At midday they have Evo and in the evening they have the ground chicken backs, necks and other waste parts. The amounts are pretty impressive--2 1/2 cups of dry FORCE with 3 cups water in the am, 2 1/2 cups of ground up Evo with 3 cups of water at lunch, and 2 pounds of the chicken hamburger at night. The total consumption is about half what my four adult RRs consume in each meal (but they only get two meals per day). Weight gain continues to be about 4-5% per day, but today's graph suggests that Sherm, Radar and Hot Lips are lagging. This could well be deceptive, since the postal freight scale I am using has only 1/4 pound resolution. For example, on Tuesday Sherm may have actually been just a tad below 7.0 pounds and today he may have been just a tad over 7.25 pounds. So his actual gain for two days could be closer to 1/2 pound than the 1/4 pound that I recorded.

    The pups are very well acquainted with the towel that covers their dog door. They always go out to play on their porch when the sun comes up in the morning and after play time they retire to their crate for napping. They are doing most of their pooping outside in the gravel run during the day, but at night it seems to be to cold for them to venture out and they still make quite a mess in the newspapered kennel room, which I clean up while they eat their Honest Kitchen breakfast every morning. Now that they are used to coming and going to the gravel run through the dog door, tomorrow I will let the rubber flap down. This will provide a better draft barrier than the towel and help to keep their kennel room warm. I will do this in the day time when it is warm outside as I don't want to have a puppy stuck outside and not be able to get in and I want to be sure that they all "get it" before I leave the heavy rubber flap down at night.

    Saturday, November 22, 2008 10:47 AM The pups are little wide-body trucks now. During the day I have the cyclone fence gate between the two 5 ft x 30 ft gravel kennel runs open so the pups can play in both sides.

    There is a dog bed on the porch of one run so that they can nap in the sun, which some seem to like to do, even when others have gone back inside to nap in the crate.

    Today we have lots of visitors, so the pups will have a busy social day. They are still eating three meals a day; Honest Kitchen in the am, Evo midday, and chicken hamburger in the evening. I will weigh them when the visitors are here today.

    Visiting hours were long today--we had people to play with the puppies from before noon until after 6 pm, with a few breaks during the day, during which I managed to watch most of the touchdowns in Cal's 37-16 route of Stanford. Here are some photos. Weights continue to increase strongly, averaging more than 5% per puppy per day. Cheri and I have an activity away from home from abou t9 am until 7 pm tomorrow, so the pups will have a large breakfast and a large dinner but no lunch. Then, Monday, I have an early flight to Seattle for a business meeting, so I probably won't update the blog again until Tuesday.

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 12:26 PM As I said, the puppies only had two meals Sunday and Monday. We did increase the amount of food in each since there would be no one home at midday for a meal then. However, you can see by the weight chart that the average weight gain was only about half of what it has been recently--about 2.5% per puppy per day. One of the pups, Radar, actually hasn't gained since the last weighing Saturday. As I have said before, this can be partly because of the precision of the balance, but nevertheless, I will give him his share of the food in a separate bowl at lunch and dinner tonight to be sure he is getting his share.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008 10:37 AM The puppies are beginning to be real little dogs now. They average about 8 pounds and they can move much faster than I can. It seems like they will all be around one leg nipping at my pants and then when I step forward they are already there! Alex and Darla dropped Kaya off this morning on their way to a dentist appointment in El Cerrito. She raced out to the kennel to see the pups and I turned all of them out into the large kennel run (this is a gravel run, half covered, that is 10 feet by about 60 feet in length); it connects through a dog door to our main crate room). Of course, they all recognized her immediately and five of the puppies chased her around and tried to nurse. For some reason, two had no interest in chasing mom and instead followed me around with the poop scoop while I cleaned up the kennel run (maybe I have become mom in their eyes). Kaya is pretty well dried up now, so the pups soon realized that they weren't going to get anything useful from her. At this point instinct kicked in and Kaya vomited her breakfast, whereupon all of the puppies began to eat it right up. This may seem gross, but it is the way of Nature. When the pups are too big to nurse but not big enough to hunt on their own, the mother continues to feed them by hunting, eating, and then going back to the den where she regurgitates the food she has recently eaten for the pups. It is actually the same way that birds feed their young. Nevertheless, since the pups were eating the vomited Honest Kitchen from the gravel and since I didn't want them ingesting a lot of pea gravel with their windfall meal, I put them back in their own kennel and cleaned up Kaya's contribution.

    Thursday, November 27, 2008 12:00 PM It is noon on Thanksgiving, the 20-pound turkey is done (2 hours early) and resting in the oven, and our family will arrive around 1:30 (14 in all, including Cheri and me). Yesterday the pups got their first worming at midday meal. I use a product called Erliworm, which is a liquid with a synthetic chocolate taste that the dogs like. You use one teaspoon per 10 pounds of dog and since my 7 puppies weigh about 60 pounds in aggregate, that meant two tablespoons mixed in the kibble meal. This medication is for roundworms and if they have them you will see the roundworms in their poop the next day. We didn't see any, so they didn't have roundworms.

    The average weight is now 9 pounds, with a range from 8 for Hot Lips and Radar to 10 1/2 for BJ. They were getting pretty stinky and since we have all the family coming and I know that they will want to play with the pups this afternoon, I gave them all a bath. They had very different reactions to the bath, ranging from Hot Lips, who seemed to really like it and just sat camly in the pan of warm soapy water, to Radar, who made it very clear that this was not his idea of how to spend Thanksgiving. The others were in between, with some being relatively forgiving of the warm water spray to some who struggled and were very happy to be over the ordeal.

    After each bath I towelled the puppy off and put him/her into their clean kennel room with our little 800-watt forced air heater.

    Usually they crowded around the front of the heater for a few minutes, and then they all piled up on their newly-washed dog bed for a nap.

    Saturday, November 29, 2008 10:19 AM Yesterday Cheri and I took a few audition photos of the three puppies that are still considered show potential. You can see the photos here. At this point I like Trapper best of the two show-potential boys and I am holding my judgement on Hot Lips. She has a wonderful temperament and a beautiful head. Her croup is still flat and tail carriage higher than I prefer and she isn't as angulated in the rear as the two boys.

    This morning when the sun came up over the yard the puppies were all out playing in the two adjoining kennel runs. Kaya went outside to the concrete walk along one of the runs and the pups all came to the fence to be near her. Whereupon she barfed up her breakfast on the sidewalk--instinct again! So I let the pups out to have the 2nd breakfast that mom brought them. Afterwards they played in the yard and Kaya was able to give them some lessons in good puppy manners. Here are some photos.

    Sunday, November 30, 2008 1:37 PM This long holiday weekend has been a busy work time; I am working on two reports for my consulting business that are due in the next week or so. Consequently, we did not have a visiting day this weekend, but plan one next weekend. It is hard to believe that the pups are as big as they are already (average >10 pounds) and that they will be going to their new homes in just two more weeks. However, as adorable as they are individually, they are challenging in a pack. They can definitely move faster than me and it is difficult to walk around the mob without stepping on one! Last night when I fed the adults their chicken backs, Hot Lips had managed to figure out how to get in the high dog door to the kennel where mom was eating. She nabbed one of the backs that I put in Kaya's bowl and went to work on it (see photo below). Interestingly, Kaya ate the other one and let Hot Lips have at the one she had. I let the puppy toy with it for awhile and then put her back in the other side with the other pups. Kaya still would not pick up the back that Hot Lips had been chewing but did when I finally picked it up and gave it to her.

    Wednesday, December 3, 2008 5:50 PM The pups are up to almost 12 pounds and they are getting too clever! Every day when I am working at home I open their kennel gate when it gets warm enough so they can go out and play in the yard. The adults are free to go out and interact with them, but only Kaya really does, and that isn't too much. She checks in from time to time, but she really isn't very much interested any more. I will take her home Saturday so that she can have some quality time with Alex and Darla before they leave for their holiday vacation on December 22 (and Kaya comes back here to stay until they return).

    The pups have figured out how to navigate the "tall" doggy door and climb up into the kennel room where Kaya always has her dinner. Last night Hot Lips busted in while Kaya was eating and nabbed a piece of mom's chicken. It wasn't a very large piece, but she did manage to down it.

    I am feeding the pups about 3 pounds of ground chicken backs, necks and sides each evening meal--grinding all that chicken is getting old!

    Saturday, December 6, 2008 2:14 PM Yesterday I took all seven pups to the vet for their wellness exam. It is 30 minutes each way and they were all little angels in their crate in the back of my Chevy Tahoe (Napa and Elvira also went for various checkups). With the assistance of two vet techs I got them all into the exam room where the techs had spread out a blanket on the floor. The pups all lounged on the blanket while Dr. Lisel Pedersen examined them. They were all fine with being poked by the rectal thermometer, having Dr. Pedersen listen to the hearts, peer into their mouths, wiggle their joints, and examine for testicles on the six boys. Everyone passed with flying colors and I must say that it was the most civilized bunch of 7-week old Camelot puppies I have ever taken in for their exams at this age. Not a single poop or pee on the exam room floor--an alltime new accomplishment!

    This morning Cheri helped me give vaccinations. We use a five-way without lepto. The pups will have two more vaccinations with the same 5-way at 10 and 13 weeks of age. For the pups who will live in the Bay Area, we have the owners bring them back for those two vaccinations. It gives us a chance to see the pups over their first six weeks away from us and be sure they are not getting chubby!

    At about noon today my friends David Bueno and Greg Castillo came over to weigh in with their opinons on which of the two boys (Klinger or Trapper) has the best show/breeding potential. David is very experienced at stacking puppies and he helped me take some audition photos of Klinger and Trapper. The sun finally came out about then so the pups had a couple of hours playtime in the yard, then their midday lunch of Innova Evo.

    Monday, December 8, 2008 7:32 PM We had a few visitors Sunday and the pups got their first chicken meal that wasn't ground. I had gone to the Lunardi's and bought seven chicken wings (the whole wing, all three pieces). I tossed the seven wings on the patio, there was a frenzy and each puppy came away with one. It was really interesting that they all went to remote places in the yard, each distancing themself from the nearest by about 15 feet. We had seven little puppies all chewing on their piece of chicken, with ample space between them and the neighbors that they didn't feel threatened. Of course, some got through their piece of chicken sooner and then there was a bit of contesting and a couple of tug-o-wars.

    This morning I added 1/2 pound of chicken livers and 1/2 pound of chicken gizzards to the Honest Kitchen and for lunch I went all the way and give the pups a total of 2 1/2 pounds of chicken backs. They had been trimmed pretty well and each puppy got two backs--mainly the backbone and ribs coming off it. This is pretty nutritious for them because it includes a lot of marrow and organ meat. They handled it fine and form now on I will give them raw chicken backs for one meal each day.

    Friday, December 12, 2008 8:32 PM Well, this is the last night for the full M*A*S*H crew. I spent part of today getting all of the "puppy packages" together for tomorrow's pickup, which starts at 9 am. Five of the pups are going to their new homes tomorrow and two (Klinger and Trapper) are staying one more week. These two boys are in consideration for pick male show dog and the lucky owner, Elayne Patton, is coming a week from tomorrow to pick which will be her boy. The other will become a permanent member of the Savarse family, who have had two Ridgebacks before (including one of the early Camelot males, Ch Camelot's Hasso von Chakari.

    Today's midday meal was 3 1/2 pounds of full chicken back-neck pieces. I put them out in the puppy pan and the little carnivores went to work. It took them about 20 minutes to do the job, but they all did manage to down their share, about 1/2 pound of raw chicken each! There breakfast the last few days has been 5 cups of Honest Kitchen FORCE, spiked with 1/2 pound of chicken gizzards and 1/2 pounds of chicken livers. They are living high on the chicken! When they go to their new families tomorrow, they will all go with a 1/2-pound chicken back-neck for lunch when they get home. Also, I have placed a bulk order for Honest Kitchen FORCE and will be dispensing about 130 pounds to a collection of the new owners.

    Saturday, December 13, 2008 1:48 PM Five of the little critters are gone and the yard seems very empty with just Klinger and Trapper left. We have them for another week, when the Pattons and Savareses collect them. It was a busy morning with Jodi Lom picking up Hawkeye at 9, Michael and Tracy Ware picking up BJ and Hot Lips at 10, Larry and Candy Smith picking up Radar (now Kruger) at about 10:30, and Giacomo Bernardi and Nicole Crane, plus their son and daughter, picking up Sherm (now Shaka Zulu) about 12:30. Following are pick-up pictures, except Hawkeye. He was to be a surprise for the children, so only Jodi came. I am promised a family photo in due time.

    Tracy and Michael with BJ and Hot Lips

    Larry and Candy with Radar (aka Kruger)

    Giacomo, Nicole and their children, with Sherm (aka Shaka Zulu)

    Sunday, December 14, 2008 7:13 AM [Today's blog is written by a guest editor, Cheri.] Trapper and Klinger began their 'closed-crate' training last night. We arrived home from an excellent vietnamese dinner at Le Cheval in Walnut Creek around 8:30 and immediately fed them and took them out to do whatever business was forthcoming. It was about 9pm by then so we bedded down our big dogs in their crates in our bedroom and brought the pups into the house for a romp. They were avid explorers! A final trip out to the yard around 9:45 prepped them for finding themselves closed in a very comfy 500 varikennel together in our bedroom, with a towel covering the door. There was a bit of wimpering for a few minutes, but no real protest and all was quiet by the time we turned off the lamps. I heard light whimpering for a minute around 11, again around 12, and again around 3 when Clayton got up briefly, but each time they quickly went back to sleep on their own. I was expecting to hear some real noise from them at some point, telling that they needed to go out to pee. But in fact they were then quiet until 6:45! What little troopers! So just goes to show that under ideal circumstances (in a warm plush crate with a litter mate) they actually can go 8 hours at night at 8 and a half weeks of age! We hope to hear if our 4 new families had endearing 'first nights' with their new babies, although I bet we had the easiest and most sleepful experience of all.

    Saturday, December 20, 2008 3:56 PM And then there was just one! This week Trapper and Klinger have been best buddies, hanging out in their double kennel room/run during the day, playing in the yard during midday when it was sunny, and sleeping (in separate crates) in our bedroom at night. They are troopers--usually make it to 4:30 before they need to go out and whizz, then right back in the crate (together) for two more hours of sack time. At night they always have run of the house for an hour after the adults are put to bed and before Cheri and I turn in. Believe it or not, only a couple of indoor accidents all week.

    Today Elayne and Richard Patton came from New Mexico and picked out Trapper as their boy (his show name will be Camelot's Unanimous Decision; exact call name not quite decided yet). They are staying the weekend with relatives in downtown San Francisco, so Redford is staying here until their departure Tuesday morning when I will deliver him (in his Sherpa bag) to Elayne and Richard outside the American Airlines departure door at SFO.

    John, Kathy, Brando and Emmy Savarese just left with Klinger (now Redford and his show name will be Camelot's Out of Africa). [My friend Greg Castillo suggested that we keep Klinger as a callname and name him Camelot's Cross Dresser, but I demurred.]

    Trapper with Richard and Elayne Patton

    Klinger with John, Kathy,Emmy and Brando Savarese

    The next blog installment will be a week from today when we have a puppy reunion for playtime and second vaccination.

    Sunday, December 21, 2008 1:04 PM Well, I said no more blog until next Saturday but I couldn't miss this. I am sitting at my workstation today working on a report and Trapper, Monroe and Elvira (my two adult females) are in a dog bed at my feet with Trapper napping in between:

    Next thing I knew, Trapper was actually nursing on Monroe (who had a singleton litter in February, so she knows what being a mom is all about):

    Monday, December 22, 2008 3:26 PM I was supposed to be in Seattle today but a big snowstorm resulted in Seatac airport being closed, so my trip was rescheduled for next week. I am at home working, and Trapper is inside on his last day before heading out tomorrow morning to go to his new home in New Mexico. Although his mom is here now (Alex and Darla headed to Florida today for the holidays with family), Trapper has taken up with his "adopted mom," five-year old Monroe. Following is a pretty cute picture of them curled up in the dog bed beside my work station:

    I did manage to get one photo of Kaya and Trapper together when they were together in a kennel run for feeding:

    Tuesday, December 23, 2008 1:28 PM I miss my puppies! I delivered Trapper to Elayne and Richard curbside at SFO this morning, with his sherpa bag, and they are on their way to New Mexico at the moment. Hopefully the storms that are ravaging the Norwest, Northeast and Midwest won't delay them too much on their way. But at least Elayne and Richard will have Trapper with them all the time.

    The litter tyke worked his way into our hearts the last three days when he was the last remaining puppy. Sunday and Monday he mostly lay curled up in the dog bed at my feet by my workstation, usually with Monroe, his adopted mom. Since she returned Sunday, Kaya has been much less interested in Trapper than Monroe. Interesting. Monroe did have a single puppy litter in February and she was a very diligent mom to Darwin, up to the age of about 12 weeks, so maybe this was deja vu for her.

    Last night, for his last night at Camelot, Trapper got to sleep in bed with Cheri and me. He was a very good bed-mate, and actually didn't stir until 5:30 when he began to give my face a bath!

    All in all, this was a very fun litter. The seven puppies got six really great families, and I had a ball raising them. I'll post followups, with some photos, when the six local ones come back for 2nd vaccination and playtime next Saturday.

    Saturday, December 27, 2008 2:21 PM We had M*A*S*H reunion and vaccination clinic this morning. Everyone got their 2nd DHPP and the five who hadn't already been collected had their cheek swab collected for the DM DNA marker tests. After that, the pups had a 90-minute romp in the yard while the humans stood around and talked doggy stuff and drank coffee. Cheri also gave a demonstration of ear cleaning and nail clipping. All of the familes are continuing the routine of Honest Kitchen FORCE in the am, chicken backs at lunch and Innova EVO in the evening. I had ordered a big batch of Honest Kitchen and dispensed some to the people who still hadn't got the full amount that they ordered. Here are some photos,

    Since Trapper has already gone to New Mexico, he wasn't there, so I will just show the following picture of Trapper with his new friend Layla, sent by Elayne on Wednesday.

    This is probably the end of the blog, although I may add another installment on January 17 when everyone comes back to Camelot for the 3rd vaccination and another play reunion.

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