Cruise-Sheila Breeding, Summer 2012

Sheila || Cruise || Weight Chart

Sheila is an international dog! She was born in Australia but her mother was born in the United States (at Camelot) and her father was born in England and imported to Australia. Not only that, but her paternal grandfather was born in The Netherlands. Sheila's dam is Aust GrCh Camelot's The Fifth Element ROM (Leelu), past winner of the Australian Rhodesian Ridgeback National Specialty (the only livernose who has ever done that). Leelu was born at Camelot and was our house pet until she was sent to our good friend Lisa Barrenger in 2008. Sheila's sire was "Red", Rekaylahn Kwa Red at Ujumaa, owned by Vicki Moritz. Red was lost in the tragic Melbourne wildfires in early 2009.

Cruise is a young dog who was bred by Alice Caplinger and Neil McDevitt and is owned by Alice. He has sired several litters and a number of his sons and daughters are being shown.

The puppies were born on July 26, 2012 and puppies will be released to new owners on approximately September 22.

Prospective Owners

If you are interested in being considered as a family for one of these puppies from this breeding, please download our questionaire and return it by email to Clayton Heathcock.

When the puppies are old enough (about 4 weeks), I will arrange visits for families who are interested in buying one of the puppies. Since I prefer to place puppies with people I have met in person, I am not normally willing to ship puppies to other locations. Exceptions can be made, however, if I feel I have interacted with someone enough. In those cases, I prefer that the new owner come to Camelot to pick up the puppy. All pet-quality puppies are sold with limited AKC registration, meaning that they cannot be exhibited in AKC conformation events and, if bred, their offspring cannot be registered with the AKC. In addition, pet-quality puppies are sold with a contract that requires neutering or spaying by the age of nine months. For show-quality puppies, preference is given to individuals who are members of one of the recognized Rhodesian Ridgeback breed clubs (preferably the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States, RRCUS) or who have prior conformation experience.

Whelping Day, July 25-26

9 PM Wednesday. Sheila has been in early stages of labor all day today. She has been showing nesting behavior, scratching up the bedding in her crate and in all of the dog around our living room. It is now 9 PM and she is resting quietly in her crate.

Although we have an appointment with Dr. Cain for C-section at 8:30 o'clock tomorrow morning, I'm not sure if she will make it that long. Just in case, the whelping box is set up and ready to go.

11:52 pm Wednesday. Her water broke so we will for sure have puppies before our 8:30 am appt with Dr. Cain tomorrow.

12:23 am Thursday. Sheila has been in the box for an hour and is having occasional contractions and panting heavily.

12:45 am Thursday. Strong contractions about every 5 minutes but no puppy apparent in birth canal.

1:15 am Thursday. Strong contractions and heavy panting continue but still no sign of a puppy in canal. Took her for walk to front of house and into backyard. She squatted to pee several times. Came back in bedroom and got in her crate. We got her out because we don't want her delivering in such inaccessible quarters. So now she is back in the whelping box.

2:15 am Thursday. Finally the first puppy was born. Ridged male. Breech. 18.5 ounces. He was fully encased in sac and placenta was passed. Very strong and nursed immediately.

3:03 am Thursday. Second puppy. Ridged female. Extra crown. Breech. 20.3 ounces. Fully encased in sac with placenta.

3:13 am Thursday. Third puppy. Ridged male. Breech. 16.5 ounces. Sac & placenta.

4:50 am Thursday. Fourth puppy. Ridged male. Breech. 20 ounces. Sac & placenta. White toes on all feet. White on belly.

6:15 am Thursday. Fifth puppy. Ridged male. Breech. 17 ounces. Sac & placenta. Lighter color. White on toes.

Because sheila had trouble completing her first litter, and we lost a nice puppy because her labor stalled midway, we had planned all along to have the litter by C-section. However, as recounted above, she went into labor during the night before her schedule C-section and had popped out five puppies by about 7:30. I was in contact with Dr. Cain by email and since Sheila seemed to be slowing down and there were still an unknown number of puppies inside, we decided to take her to Bishop Ranch, about 45-minute drive from our house during the morning rush hour. So at 7:45 Cheri and I set out for Bishop Ranch so that Dr. Cain could determine how many more puppies were present and decide whether it would be advisable to complete the whelp by C-section. I walked Sheila on leash through our inner back yard to go to the garage and on the way she squatted as though to pee and, just like that, laid the 6th puppy out on the grass. I rushed the pup in sac with placenta back into the house for Cheri to clean up while continuing to the car with Sheila.

7:50 am Thursday. Sixth puppy. Ridged female. On grass in back yard, on way to car to go to Bishop Ranch. Sac & placenta. 17 ounces. White stripe on belly. Here is a photo of the six puppies in their transport box.

After that little adventure, we continued to Bishop Ranch, where we met up with Louise Vansgaard. Ultrasound revealed that there were four more puppies, all apparently in good condition. The C-section was carried out by Dr. Cain, with the aid of Dr. Michelle Dodds for postnatal care, assisted by three vet techs.

9:30 am Thursday, C-section. After being prepped and anesthesized, Sheila was placed on her back in the foam holder that Dr. Cain uses for such procedure, covered with the typical blue hospital covering (just like you see on ER or Gray's Anatomy) and Dr. Cain went to work. Cheri, Louise and I were permitted to stand outside the operating room and view through a large window. The procedure was very fast and as Dr. Cain pulled each puppy from the uterus, she broke the water sac, pinched off the umbical cord with forceps, and handed the puppy to an assisting vet tech, who took it in a blue towel and proceeded to massage it, removing excess fluid. Soon there were four puppies on the "assembly line" with Dr. Dodds in charge. Each puppy had his or her umbical cord tied off and swabbed with iodine as disinfectant and each received a subcutaneous shot of naloxone, to counter any possible opiod effects on the puppy (Sheila had been treated with morphine for the procedure). Here is a photo of the puppy assembly line.

Seventh through tenth puppies. Livernose male, 20 ounces. Black nose female, 15 ounces. Black nose female, pet ridge, 16 ounces. Black nose female, 18 ounces.

Cheri drove Louise's car back to our house, leaving Louise to stay with me and bring Sheila and the ten puppies home after Sheila recovered from the effects of the anesthesia. Here is a picture of Sheila sitting with Sheila on the floor of one of the exam rooms.

First Day, July 27

During the night Cheri and I took turns keeping an eye on Sheila and the ten puppies. At 9:30, after Sheila had her dinner and took a walk outside, I put the ten puppies in their "vault", which is a deep plastic tub equipped with a heating pad that is covered with a soft

I set my alarm for 12:30 an so Cheri and I were able to get 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep. At 12:30 I got up and moved the pups from the vault to mom so that she could lick them and let them nurse. I sat with them until 2 am and when they were all back to sound sleep, moved the pups back to their vault and went back to bed. Cheri heard Sheila wimpering at about 3:45 and got up to move the pups back by her side. After they had a good nurse, Cheri let Sheila outside for a pee and then made a bed on the floor. This is how I found them at 7 when I got up.

Having made it through the first night, we are at a stage where we don't have to sit by the box 24/7. Sheila is a very dutiful mom and takes great care when she stands to exit the whelping box or just to turn on her other side. As well, the pups are all very strong and can scoot around very well. That is the nice thing about having a bunch of puppies that all weigh more than a pound. Here is their photo at 9 this morning.

Second Day, July 28

The big event today was a visit by my son and his family. Eleven-year old Camille sat in the whelping box with Sheila and the puppies for about an hour. It was good for the puppies to have her hold them. At this age they benefit by being held several times each day -- it teaches them not to be fearful of different situations or contact with humans.

Three Days Old, July 29

Louise came over this morning so that I could show her my routine for weighing the puppies and changing the bedding in the whelping box. This is because mom and pups, along with the whelping box, will be relocated to Louise's house in San Mateo on Tuesday. She will care for the pups for three weeks, as I have a couple of trips planned. This is the period during which the pups are in the whelping box 24/7 so a kennel environment isn't necessary or even helpful. When it is time to wean, we will bring the pups back to my house so that they can use one of my indoor-outdoor kennel runs until they are ready fo go to their new homes about the 3rd week of September.

The pups are starting to gain weight now, as Sheila's milk has come in. Today's weights ranged from 17 1/2 ounces to 23 ounces, with an average of just over 20 ounces. This represents a gain of 7% over the day before.

Four Days Old, July 30

Louise came today for another practice run weighing the puppies. We are preparing to move them to her house tomorrow morning. Since we weighed earlier today than yesterday, the average gain appears to have slowed down. We decided to leave the five puppies who have the least weight gain since birth with Sheila and put the five who have gained the most (about 1/4 pound each) in their warm box for the morning. That will give the smaller pups a better competitive advantage at the food bar.

Moving Day, July 31

Today was moving day. After feeding Sheila breakfast, I weighed the pups (whopping 10% gain since yesterday) and we put them in their little warm "vault" for the one-hour drive to Louise's house. Cheri and I dismantled the whelping box and loaded it and all of the extra mats, the kitchen balance we use for weighing, and newspapers for use under the whelping box mats into Cheri's Lexus SUV. Sheila and the pups went into the back of my Highlander SUV and we set off for San Mateo.

The drive was uneventful and we arrived at Louise's house about 10:15 am. It only took a half hour to set the box up in the room Louise has set up for them to use the next three weeks. It is a great little detached cottage that Sheila already likes a lot.

Reports later in the day are that the pups are doing very well in their new quarters and Sheila has adapted to the change of scenery.

First Day at Louise's House, August 1

The pups had their first full day at Louise's house in San Mateo. Here are a couple of cute photos.

Friday, August 3

This morning's weighings showed that some of the smaller puppies were lagging in weight gain. This isn't unusual for a big litter--there are ten mouths and only about 8 active nipples. So as the piggies get stronger they have a competitive advantage. So I went over to Louise's house and we gave a round of puppy milk formula to most of the puppies, skipping only a couple of the biggest piggies. I have published the formula in past blogs, but here it is again:

Puppy Milk Formula

  • 1 quart goat's milk
  • 1 cup of plain yoghurt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons of mayonaise
  • 1 tablespoon of corn syrup
  • While we mixed the formula and warmed the little 4-oz baby bottles, Sheila sat and watched from the chair in the living room.

    We gave each of the puppies about 2 ounces of the formula. Most of the puppies caught on right away.

    After their little snack, the puppies curled up for a long nap.

    Sunday, August 5

    Louise gave the puppies a second supplement Saturday and that is all the help they will need. The weight chart shows that over the last two days the weight gain has gone into hyperdrive--17% gain in just 48 hours! I see this happen in most litters--there comes a day when the pups all get strong enough to hold their own at the milk bar. The challenge then is to feed mom enough that she makes enoungh milk to go around. Even if the smaller pups don't get at the nipples first, they fill up and the smaller ones can finish emptying the tap. Four of the pups are over two pounds now and the two smallest girls are over 1 1/2 pounds. I will be going over to Louise's house this afternoon to take a larger balance, since the pups are getting too big for my little Salter kitchen balance.

    Wednesday, August 8, Stitches Out

    Cheri and I drove to Louise's house in the morning to remove Sheila's stitches. Sheila was happy to see us and while Louise and Cheri were doing the stitch removal I went over all 10 puppies one more time for dermoids. None were found so our streak of DS-free litters is extended to 35. As I examined each puppy, I put it in the "vault", a large plastic storage box that the puppies really like.

    Weight gain continues with the average now being more than two pounds per puppy. Because the litter is large, Louise is still supplementing the smaller puppies to be sure that they don't lose out to the larger, stronger ones.

    Thursday, August 9, Naming

    We always like to give our puppies temporary names. Even though we only have them for about two months, it is fun to call them by a name other than "blue boy" or "purple girl". This year the theme was almost automatic--London Olympic Games notables. So here we go; the five girl puppies are named after the US women's gymnastic team:

  • Jordyn (pet)
  • Aly (show)
  • Gabbay (likely pet)
  • McKayla (pet)
  • Kyla (pet)
  • The five boy puppies are named after male swimmers and runners who have made an impact in the Games, for various reasons:

  • Usain (show)
  • Oscar (pet)
  • Yohan (show)
  • Lochte (pet)
  • Phelps (show)
  • Tuesday, August 14

    Cheri and I went over to visit the puppies today. We did the nails and gave a few of the smaller puppies supplement bottles. Generally the pups are doing very well--they are all strong and vigorous. However, with ten puppies it seems that every day a couple don't gain over the previous day. This is because there are more pups than there are nipples and when Sheila feeds, the pups who are biggest and strongest manage to monopolize the food bar.

    Friday, August 17

    Since my last blog entry, I drove my 38-ft RV with Molly and Carley to Greeley CO for the four shows here this weekend. We are finished with the first two and have two more to go. Tomorrow is the largest, and the Colorado Rhodesian Ridgeback Club regional specialty. During my absence, Louise is sending me the daily weights and lots of photos and little videos she is taking with her iPhone. I am amazed at how much the puppies have matured since I last saw them on Tuesday! Here are a couple of pics she sent today

    Wednesday, August 22

    I returned from Colorado on Monday night. It was a productive trip as Molly took Best of Breed in the Colorado Rhodesian Ridgeback Club Specialty on Saturday. She was also Best of Breed at the big Greeley Kennel Club show on Sunday and sister Salsa was Select Bitch. Little 11-month old Carly was Reserve Winner's Bitch to a 5-point major on Sunday. I brought Salsa home after her 8-month sojurn with my friend Mary Lynne Elliott and she has settled down to the life in her California pack, although I am sure she misses her Colorado pack.

    Yesterday I went over to Louise's house to visit the puppies. My how they have changed in just one week! When I last saw them Tuesday they were barely creeping around and their eyes had just opened. Now they are running around the whelping box and the pen that Louise has made outside the box--they are little dogs!

    The pups are getting two meals a day from a pan. The fare for these meals is the goat's milk formula I described above with Gerber's Rice Cereal stirred in to make a consistency like oatmeal. They are prodigous eaters--each meal is a whole quantity of the formula described above (about 1 1/2 quarts total) with about a cup of the rice cereal. On top of this, they are still nursing occasionally. As a result, they are gaining like crazy--average weight gain of 1/4 pound per puppy per day for the last few days. The biggest puppy (Oscar) is now well over 5 pounds and the smallest (Kyla) is over 3 1/2 pounds.

    Thursday, August 23: Moving Day

    This morning I prepared one of my 5x8 ft kennel rooms for the pups new home. They have a 500 Varikennel with door removed, an oil heater protected by X-pen so they can't chew the cord, and a water bowl. They have a dog door to the outside 5x30 gravel run and for the time being both flaps of the dog door are stapled up to the wall.

    Cheri and I drove over to Louise's house and loaded the puppies into a large wire crate in the back of my car and dismantled the whelping box and loaded it and all of the other paraphenelia in the car. Louise bid the pups farewell until she can come for her first visit.

    Following are a few pictures of the pups getting acquainted with their new digs and having their first pan meal at the kennel.

    The pups are continuing to grow like little weeds with an average gain of 1/4 pound per puppy per day. Big Oscar is up to 92 ounces (5 3/4 pounds) and the smallest, little Aly is at 3 3/4 pounds. They are on three pan meals a day now that they are weaning (Sheila stayed home to dry up; she will come back in a week to provide adult supervision for a few weeks).

    Wednesday, August 29

    The last week has been a blur of activity. The pups now live in their little 5 x 8 foot kennel room with full access to the 30-foot gravel run through a dog door. They sleep in their Varikennel but the last few days I have been leaving a big dog bed in the room and they like that better than the kennel. They do most of their poops outside in the kennel run but they still pee on the newspapers that we have spread all over the floor of their room.

    Over the last week I have transitioned them from the goats milk and rice cereal to full kibble, soaked in warm water until soft. The change has resulted in a challenge for their tummies and for a few days we have been dealing with an epidemic of "pudding poop". Last night Cheri and I gave each of the pups 2 cc of liquid Pepto Bismol. We use a little syringe to squirt it into the mouth--they hate it but they swallow most or all of it. This morning the stools seem to be improving.

    They have become very mobile and can run fast enough that it hard to get out of their room through the swinging door. As well, we have an explorer (Kyla) who is small enough to squeeze out of the opening of the cyclone fence gate separating the kennel run from the yard. Twice we found her walking around outside the kennel run, once all the way over at the sliding back door from the yard into our family room. This necessitated remedial measures:

    Now that they are on solid food, the weight gain is running about a quarter-pound per puppy per day--the range is 4 3/4 pounds for the two smallest girls, Aly and Kyla, to 7 pounds for Ocsar.

    Friday, August 31

    The pups had a big day. First, they passed the first door test. Our dog doors are made by Hale and have an inner and an outer flap. When the pups are first housed in the kennel room I staple both doors up to the wall so that the dog door is an open passage to the outside run.

    The puppies quickly get used to this and house-train themselves in just a few days. They do all their poops and most of their pees outside. After a week I let the inner door flap down and the pups have to learn to push around it to get in and out of their room. I always do that in the morning and I start the process by getting the pups out in the run. After a time they learn to push around the flap to get back inside. By this afternoon they were very adept at going in and out of the single-flap door. After a couple of days, when I am sure that they are all able to negotiate the flap (and not just following two or three siblings through), I will lower the outside flap and they will learn to push past both flaps. The double flap door makes it very much easier to keep their kennel room warm at night, so at that point I can remove the space heater.

    The other big event is that mom is back. Louise came for a visit this morning and brought Sheila back. She has pretty much dried up but the pups still swarm her and try to nurse.

    Our kennel is set up with two side-by side inner rooms, each 5 x 8 feet and each connected by one of the Hale dog doors to a 5 x 30 foot gravel run. There is a gate between the two runs so that they can be used separately or as one combined area. When Sheila is with the puppies I have the gate between the two runs open. She can be with the pups or she can enter the "other" dog door into the adjoining inside room. The pups can't follow her because the dog door is too high above the outside grade and there is no step, such as I have for the door into their room. This is only temporary, as it won't be long before the pups learn to climb up into the second dog door.

    I am still battling pudding poop. I have been feeding the puppies Taste of the Wild grain-free fowl kibble but every one of them is still squirting. So this afternoon I put them back on a fructooligosaccharide (FOS) low-residue kibble that is manufactured by Iams and is only available at veterinarian offices. The idea is that the FOS is not as easily digested by the intestinal bacteria that are responsible for the diarrhea. We have used it for years with our adult RRs--it is close to a miracle for our adult dogs when they have diarrhea. They had FOS for the first time at lunch today and they will have it again tonight and tomorrow morning. I will report back later on the result.

    Monday, September 3; The Divided Camp

    The puddle poop situation is now understood and control measures are underway. Saturday afternoon I took the puppies to Bishop Ranch Veterinary Clinic for the normal wellness exam. The pups are great travellers--here is a photo of them in their wire crate in the back of my SUV. back. She has pretty much dried up but the pups still swarm her and try to nurse.

    When we got to the vet, Cheri and I, assisted by a whole fleet of Veterinary Technicians, carried the puppies back to the exam room and Dr. Lisel Petersen did the exams. The exams consisted of weighing and rectal temperature, which was done by the techs, followed by complete exam by Dr. Petersen. She examines the mouth for teeth and possible cleft palate, then the anus for evidence of hernia, checks the movement of the joints on each leg, then listens to heart with a stethoscope. For the boys she examined for testicles. All 10 puppies passed the exam, with no issues at all. For a couple of the boys the testicles were there but not completely descended yet. This is normal for 5-week old puppies.

    With regard to the pudding poop problem, she asked me to bring in a stool sample, selecting from several puppies to assure a consistent sample. I did that and the result came in this morning. The pups have both roundworms and coccidia. So, we are treating with daily doses of Panacur for the worms and Albon for the coccidia.

    The other issue is that one of our young show dogs (Carly, just turned one year old) came home from the recent Colorado shows with kennel cough. Kennel cough is like a bad cold in humans--it isn't a big deal for an older dog, but can be serious in puppies as it can progress to pneumonia. Like colds, kennel cough is a viral disease and there are various strains. The incubation period for her version of kennel cough that Carly had seems to be about 6-7 days, because almost exactly a week after we got home from Colorado she started to wheese and hack, spitting up sticky flem. Then a week later, three of our 2-year old dogs came down with the same symptoms. One of them, Lola, doesn't live here but was with Carly for one day for a dog show in Santa Rosa on August 25.

    Dr. Petersen had us bring one of the 2-year olds in for a culture sample so she can determine which strain of the virus we have. That way, if the pups do come down with kennel cough, she will be prepared to select the best medication to treat them. In the meantime, we are keeping Sheila and the puppies in the kennel and our six house dogs in the house. We have the yard divided so that the house dogs are constratined to an area that does not adjoin the kennel so they can't even interact with the puppies through the fence. Fortunately, the strain we have doesn't seem to be really bad. The infected dogs are not acting sick except for the hack--they still have great appetites and are vigorous and active. Carly, our "typhoid Mary", is almost completely recovered. None of our older dogs have come down, suggesting that the strain we have has been around in the past and they already have immunity.

    We had planned a general visit day for people who are interested in having one of the puppies but we decided to postpone that until next weekend--hopefully the kennel cough situation will have resolved by then.

    Because we don't want her to carry kennel cough virus from the house to the puppies, we are keeping Sheila in the kennel with the puppies, even overnight. As I described previously, there are two adjoining 5 x 8 inside rooms, each connecting to the gravel run by a dog door. One room is for the puppies--it has their crate and dog bed are there is a porch outside the dog door. The other room is Sheila's. It does not have a porch so it is very difficult for the pups to get into it. However, they are gradually learning how and every morning I find two or three puppies in Sheila's room.

    Tuesday, September 4

    Yesterday was an eventful day. Louise came over in the morning to visit the puppies and take Sheila for a walk. On the way she stopped at Bishop Ranch and picked up Albon, the medicine to treat the coccidia. Each puppy gets 3.5 mL and Sheila gets 20 mL of the yellow suspension. We add Sheila's to her food in the evening meal but to be sure every puppy gets the right quantity, I give it with a syringe. Sheila's. It does not have a porch so it is very difficult for the pups to get into it. However, they are gradually learning how and every morning I find two or three puppies in Sheila's room.

    In the afternoon we had a few visitors to meet the puppies. Because of our "divided camp", we didn't let the visitors come into the house where the dogs with cough are. Instead, they came through the garage directly into the kennel. We have a pan of weak bleach outside the kennel room door so that people can sterilize their shoes and each visitor washes hands with Betadine disenfectant. The little kennel room was pretty crowded with the visitors, Sheila and 10 heathen puppies.

    During the middle of the day we are actually careful about encouraging the puppies to go out into the yard because of the yellow jacket wasps. September is always the worst month for these nasty critters so we hung four new traps. The traps are baited with the yellow jacket sex attractant (heptyl butyrate) and chunks of chicken. Here is a photo of one that had been out for only 45 minutes.

    We are keeping the six adult house dogs completely separate from the kennel. The yard is set up with a fence that restricts our house dogs so that they cannot even approach the cyclone fence of the kennel run used by Sheila and the pups. So far, the kennel cough seems to have affected only younger dogs. Salsa, Ruby and Molly (all 2 1/2 years old) have it but the three older dogs (9-12 years old) don't. So probably the virus has been around before and the older dogs have immunity. Here is a photo of the three sisters, hanging out in my office.

    Weight gain has tapered off. Because of the diarrhea, we haven't increased the quantity of food very much over the last 4 days. However, now that the cause of the diarrhea has been identified and the puppies are getting treatment, I am ramping up the quantity fof kibble. I am also transitioning from the Iams Low Residue back to Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Fowl kibble. Hopefully, in the next few days we will have conquered the round worms and coccidia and escaped the kennel cough. Keep posted.

    Wedesday, September 5

    The coccidia and round worm medications seem to be working--poops are almost back to normal appearance for 6-week old puppies and they are on normal Taste of the Wild kibble. They are very vigorous and have learned to negotiate both dog doors so they can easily enter and leave the room Sheila uses, even though they have to leap out to get down the 10-inches from the door to the ground outside.

    Cheri helped me stack the puppies for their six-week audition photos, which are shown here. This is the first look at basic structure and there are several caveats. First, the croups look flat but my experience is that croups drop between 6 and 7 weeks, so we need to withhold judgement on croups until the 7-week audition. Generally, I am pleased with the heads and with the balance of rib cage and loin. Right now some are rather leggy and mostly they have pretty large rear angulation, which makes it hard for them to stretch out in a "show stack".

    Friday, September 7

    The bug affecting Salsa, Ruby and Molly has been cultured and found to be simple parainfluenza. There are two strains, one that makes dogs really sick and one that isn't as serious. We have the less serious version. Typoid Carly, the first to get the cough, is fully recovered, as is Moe, her brother and house-mate. Lola hasn't coughed for a couple of days and is on her way to Oregon with her handler. Ruby had the mildest case of the three sisters who live with us and she hasn't coughed for a couple of days. Salsa had the worst case and is still hacking. Molly was intermediate. She is still coughing but is clearly on the mend. Dr. Petersen recommended that I give the puppies their DHPP vaccinations as soon as possible. Normally I would give the first vaccination at 7 weeks, with followups at 10 and 13 weeks. This is because the pups are protected from birth by the maternal antibodies they get from mom in the first few days of nursing. If you give a vaccine before the material antibodies have worn off, the vaccine is simply neutralized and has no effect. Even the 7-week vaccination might be mostly neutralized by the maternal antibodies. The reason we give followup vaccinations is to assure that we give at least one dose of vaccine when the maternal antibodies have diminished enough that the vaccine will be able to have it's intended effect. One of the components of the DHPP is parainfluenza and Dr. Petersen recommended that I go ahead and give the first vaccination now as this might help the puppies resist any exposure they might have to the house dogs. So I ordered the vaccine I use, Vanguard DHPP-5. The package came this morning and I was disappointed to find that the supplier sent the wrong items. I called them and they are sending out a new package today; it should arrive tomorrow.

    Louise came over this morning and played with the puppies while I weighed them and gave them their daily medicine--Panacur and Albon. It was the last dose of Panacur and they still have about 5 more days of Albon. Then we should have the roundworms and coccidia behind us. Poops are back to normal for almost all of the puppies, although one seems still to have a little softness.

    Saturday, September 8

    Well, the big news today is that our attempts at quarantine failed. This morning I observed Sheila coughing and about noon Cheri saw two of the puppies coughing. We had visitors in the afternoon and one more was coughing. So far, the affected puppies are Jordyn, Phelps and Usain. I am sure that by tomorrow they will all be coughing. Bishop Ranch gave us a liquid Clavomox prescription and each puppy gets 1.2 cc two times a day. This won't do anything for the virus that is causing the cough, but it will help head off secondary infections--the real danger with puppies is that the cough can lead to general debilitation and pneunomia.

    Sunday, September 9

    Bishop Ranch prescribed liquid Clavomox for the puppies--0.5 cc two times a day. So far only Jordyn, Phelps and Usain are coughing. As with our older house dogs, the puppies do not lack in appetite or energy. So it seems fortunate that the strain of parainfluenza we are dealing with isn't a really serious one. The pups did have visitors yesterday. My daughter-in-law Diana Conner came with granddaughter Camille Heathcock and her friend Abby. They sat on the kennel floor and played with the puppies for awile.

    With the quarantine broken, we were able to let Sheila sleep in a crate in our bedroom last night. She was coughing badly during the night. This morning I fed her along with our six other house dogs. Molly started coughing yesterday pretty bad, joining Salsa and Ruby. I am feeding the seven adults in the kitchen, rather than in the kennel. This is a residue of our quarantine attempt and we will probably go back to having the dogs, even the affected ones, eat in the kennel tonight.

    We did have one "adventure" this morning. After I fed the puppies, I let them all run out in our large gravel side yard to do their business. Sheila was hanging around the fence wanting to be with them so I let her in. She promptly went out in the run and barfed up her entire breakfast. Before I was what had happened, the puppies dove in and snarfed it up. So in addition to the 7 cups of kibble I fed them, they also got 2 more cups that mom provided them. In the process, they also got her daily dose of Albon and Tussin DM, a cough suppressant I am giving Sheila, Ruby, Molly and Salsa. Although it may seem gross, this is maternal instinct and we have had other mothers who provide regurgitated food for puppies at this age. In the wild, the mom wolf would be out hunting and would bring food back to her litter by barfing up what she had eaten of her kill. Nevertheless, we will take care to keep Sheila away from the puppies for 2-3 hours after she has eaten.

    Monday, September 10

    The Albon appears to have done its work--all poops are back to normal. Coccidia is a bacterial parasite that is carried particularly by fowl. It is present in the intestinal flora of most dogs but causes no problems. However, with young puppies it can take hold and produces the sort of diarrhea we saw with Sheila's puppies. This does not mean that the pup immune systems are not functioning well. In fact, the opposite seems to be true. Two of the puppies have had stings by the yellow jacket wasps and there has been no serious allergic reaction, such as we have seen in the past when young dogs were stung. The reactions have just been local swelling and itching, as evidenced by the puppy vigorously licking the bite site. In addition, although three of the puppies have caught the kennel cough from our two-year olds, the others seem to be successfully fending it off, even though the pack is still sleeping in one big pile.

    Friday, September 14

    This week I was in Seattle Tuesday through Thursday so Cheri took care of the puppies for me. The kennel cough has affected the litter in a very minor way. Four of the pups have coughed but the others seem unaffected. The ones who have coughed have not shown decreased appetite or any other signs. They are still taking the liquid Clavomox to protect against possible secondary infection and will have their last dose tonight.

    They get to go out into the big yard early in the day and after dusk, because the place is swarming with yellow jackets during the hot part of the day. This morning Jordyn puppy got a yellow jacket bite on her foot. It swelled up somewhat but there were no hives or other general reactions as we have seen in some of our past litters.

    Cheri stacked the puppies for me this morning for the 7-week "2nd Audition Photos." Here are a few photos of each of the puppies:

  • Usain, show male
  • Phelps, show male
  • Yohan, show male
  • Oscar, pet male
  • Lochte, pet male
  • Aly, show female
  • Kyla, show female
  • Gabbay, show female
  • Jordyn, pet female
  • McKayla, pet female
  • Thursday, September 20

    I have been travelling again this week so haven't written since last Friday. Pups are almost "done" as they are 8 weeks old today and the first batch will start going to new homes this weekend. We had first vaccination today and this afternoon Cheri helped me take the 8-week audition photos. This is a very nice bunch of puppies from a conformation point of view. Even the ones with cosmetic flaws--Oscar, Lochte, Jordyn and McKayla--have outstanding conformation and I have no doubt that they would all finish AKC championships were it not for their cosmetic faults. Here are a few photos of each puppy on their 8-week birthday:

  • Usain, show male
  • Phelps, show male
  • Yohan, show male
  • Oscar, pet male
  • Lochte, pet male
  • Aly, show female
  • Kyla, show female
  • Gabbay, show female
  • Jordyn, pet female
  • McKayla, pet female
  • After the photo shoot, we took Oscar and Phelps to Bishop Ranch for exam and to get health certs, since they will both be flying to their new homes in the next few days.

    Friday, September 21

    Today the first puppies go to their new home. Usain and Gabbay are going to live with the Gillam family in Kentfield. In preparation for arrival of visitors, all ten puppies got baths (their very first one) and Usain and Gabbay had a mani/pedi. The following photos are of Cheri drying off Lochte and Oscar after their baths.

    Matt and Shawn Gillam and children Ari and Jackson came to pick up Usain (new name Bolt) and Gabbay (new name Coco).

    Monday, September 24

    We had an eventful weekend dealing off puppies to new families. We are now down to five and after Phelps goes to Colorado later this morning, we will be down to just four -- Yohan, Aly, Kyla and McKayla. Here are photos of Jordyn with her new family, Pamela and Shauna Brown, Lochte with the Raugust family, and Ashleigh Chapman, who was taking Oscar to the airport for his flight to Orange County.