Heading into the final week and still looking beautiful !
Not to be overshadowed by all of the puppy activity in our household… Opal continues to d0 well as she heads into this last week of pregnancy. She has slowed down considerably the last 2 days and her appetite is also waning a bit — probably because there is no room left to put anything !! We are accommodating her by fitting in as many small meals throughout the day as possible, as well as catering to whatever she is in the mood for !!
Opal is now measuring around 93 cms at the waist — so she has quite a bit of extra weight to carry around. She still loves a walk in the woods — even though her tummy usually drags along on what is left of our snow !! The biggest task right now is to keep her out of the garden where she is trying to dig away at the perfect little birth place for her puppies !! (which just so happens to be the same spot that she picked out last time !! I’m not sure why some of my girls prefer a dirty corner of the garden to the comfy, clean blankets and towels that I have all set up for them in the whelping box).
At this point – all of the puppies’ major development as far as organs, bones etc. has been completed. The puppies can be safely born anytime now — but goldens tend to wait out the entire 63 days of their gestation period (when calculated from exact date of ovulation).
We are looking ahead with great anticipation to the BIG DAY and will try to keep Opal as comfortable and happy during this next week as humanly possible !
Sibling fun !
Abby’s puppies have had a good week and are spending more time awake and playing with each other. It is quite entertaining to watch their interactions with each other — especially when one brother or sister teases the other to get them engaged in play. It is amazing how gentle they are with each other and how even at this age their soft retriever “mouthing” instinct comes into play.
The milestone this week was the introduction of puppy mush. Mush is the name we fondly give to the sloppy concoction of oatmeal, goat’s milk, yogurt and ground kibble which helps the puppies begin their transition to solid food. This is probably also one of the messiest weeks in puppy life as the puppies usually end up with mush everywhere (except where it should be) when it is first introduced. The pups usually take almost a week to get the hang of slurping up mush without being completely covered from head to toe…. so they are getting pretty good at it now ! Mush is a welcomed break for Abby as the sharp teeth and ravenous appetite of her little family starts to get a bit overwhelming by this time.
Abby is spending more time away from her pups and will spend time in the kitchen or outdoors with our other adult goldens – however her favorite spot has become perched on the living couch keeping an eye on all the puppies in the room ! She has also located a very special spot in the garden which she seems to be preparing to move all of her puppies to !! I haven’t broken the news to her yet that the pups will not be moving there – but to the sunroom just off the kitchen sometime this week. The sunroom will give the pups more room to play and will help accommodate their house-training as they continue to grow over the next 4 weeks.
The puppies all continue to be very good-natured and both litters are actually very quiet most of the time. They still make a bit of a fuss at mealtime – but other than that you would barely know they are here. Their personalities are blossoming just a little more every day and this is an exciting time and stage in their development !
Mr. Pine taking it all in….
The biggest event of the week for Star’s puppies has been the introduction of “mush”. Mush is the fond name that we give to a mixture of oatmeal, goat’s milk, and eventually some ground kibble to begin the transition to solid food for the puppies. The first few days of mush are usually a messy fiasco with more mush ending up ON puppies than IN puppies !! But they quickly learn how to gobble things up and lick the dish (and each other) clean !! Mush is always a welcome sight for mums — as by four weeks of age the puppies have razor-sharp teeth as well as voracious appetites. As this next week progresses the mush will contain less liquid and more puppy kibble as we make the move to independence in the meal department.
The puppies all continue to gain well with the gap closing a bit between boys and girls now that I can give the girls preferred seating at mush time ! The boys are all weighing around 6 pounds and the girls just over 5 pounds. They are becoming more mobile all the time and spend much more of their daytime hours awake. They also play and interact increasingly with each other; their favorite game seems to be chewing on each others’ legs or tail — just enough to entice a bit of wrestling and good fun.
Star is spending much less time in the whelping box with them. Although she still keeps a watchful eye on them and also visits frequently for snacks, she now spends most of the day in the kitchen or the outdoors with the rest of the goldens – and of course LOVES her walk through the woods every day. This is just the normal progression of the mother/pup relationship as she prepares them for their own independence and departure in another 4 weeks time.
This week we will be moving the puppies to a larger space of their own in the sunroom so that they have more freedom to run and play. We will also make steps towards house-training to keep things clean now that the puppies are getting bigger. It is exciting to watch their personalities emerge a little more every day and we look forward to the adventures ahead.
The lovely “lady-in-waiting” ~ Opal
Love has certainly been in the air around here and our sweet girl Opal has been confirmed to be expecting puppies by our casanova Steele, due to arrive in early April (just about the time Abby and Star’s pups will be departing). Opal is doing very well although she did experience a few days of “morning sickness” during the third week of her pregnancy – which often happens with golden mums. Her tummy is starting to visibly expand and she is losing her shapely, athletic, hour-glass figure – however she is still as active as usual and doesn’t seem to miss a beat.
At this stage of development the puppies are approximately 45 mm in length. They have already established whisker buds, toes, claws; and the majority of organs and bones are developed. The pigment of the puppies has also begun to develop, although when the pups are born their noses will be a pinkish color that quickly turns black within the first few days. An exponential amount of growing goes on during the 63 days of gestation!! That’s why it is always important that any expectant mum be in the very best physical condition and be maintained on a superior diet and exercise program; pregnancy places very high demands on them.
We will make sure that Opal stays pampered and treated with the utmost TLC as the final weeks of her pregnancy unfold – and can hardly wait for the big day to arrive !!
Puppy fetus at approx 39 days
Girls just wanna have fun !
Abby’s pups are all doing well and continue to grow in cuteness as well as size ! The pups are becoming more playful with each other and are increasingly aware of the people and the world that surrounds them. They also can smell/tell when mum Abby is within close proximity of the whelping box – which usually means an excited chorus of puppies asking for mealtime ! Dinnertime is still very clearly their favorite part of the day.
The pups are still spending quite a large portion of the day sleeping, but they are doing a great deal of growing in these early weeks so their little bodies require a great amount of both sleep and nourishment. The weight of all Abby’s puppies is quite uniform throughout both the girls and the boys – with all of the pups weighing in just around the 4 pound mark. Mr. Maple from Star’s litter is still “sleeping over” as a special guest — but he is treated like one of the family and nobody seems to mind that he is one of the bunch. The pups all had ribbons changed on the weekend which is always a reminder of just how much growing they are doing – as well as nails trimmed to try and protect Abby’s poor tummy from too much abuse. The pups are also JUST sprouting sharp, little teeth so mealtimes will become a bit more heroic for Abby from here on in.
We are enjoying the time that we spend with each one of them – they are so precious at this age as their dark eyes gaze up to you in wonderment. It will be interesting to see how their personalities start to shape over these next few weeks and we look forward to all the new adventures that are waiting ahead !!
3 weeks old !
Hard to believe that it has already been three whole weeks since Steele and Star’s babies arrived on the scene ! They are spending more time awake now and their awareness of the world around them is increasing. They play for short spurts of time with littermates and are even curious now of the stuffed toys that are in the whelping box. They also seem much more aware of our family whenever we are cuddling them or talking to them.
There is a growing variance in size this week amongst the puppies. The girls are all about average size for this age – weighing between 3-4 pounds — whereas a few of the boys have really taken off in size, with Mr. Pine “taking the cake” and weighing in today at just under 5 pounds !! If the NFL is looking for a future linebacker – Mr. Pine is their man ! Over the past 10 days I have made a concentrated effort to even things out when the pups are nursing, however Mr. Pine must be ordering in from elsewhere; He seems to gain ounces just looking at the milk bar ! Fortunately – we will be introducing puppy mush soon – so I will divide the dainty girls from those insatiable boys to try and regulate things.
The puppies are also sporting teeth now – so mealtime will start to become much less pleasant for Star from here on in. She will start to encourage a little bit more independence on the pups’ behalf. She is still very watchful of her pups, and does a super job cleaning them and caring for them — but the natural progression will be for her to spend less time with them now that they are getting bigger and make the transition to an alternate food source.
We will look forward to a new week of interaction with the pups and can hardly wait to see a bit more of each personality emerge.
Seeing the world for the first time ….
Star and Abby’s puppies are all doing well and becoming cuter by the minute (if that’s possible!!). By next week I will give each of the litters a separate post in the PUPPY CHRONICLES – but the development of both litters has been very uniform to date.
Star and Abby have both been excellent mums and dote on their puppies’ every need. They will sometimes sleep just outside the whelping box now, and they will leave for short periods during the day to go outside for a walk or playtime, but for the most part they are still very connected to their babies and spend their day watching over them. Abby has developed a quirky little habit since the early days when I would set her dinner (and all meals) inside the whelping box for her to eat (as she didn’t want to leave her family even for food). Even now she will not eat her meals unless I set them in the whelping box where she can stay close to her pups 🙂
The puppies reached a big milestone this week. Their EYES are now open which is always an exciting time in their development. Suddenly they just seem more aware of the world around them and there is nothing sweeter than looking into those deep, dark puppy eyes. Their vision is still very blurry at best – but a whole new level of awareness now begins. The puppies are also becoming more mobile and often take a few steps on wobbly legs before clumsily toppling over. They all show a definite, excited interest when mum enters the whelping box. Mealtime is hands down their favorite time of the day !
The boys are all gaining particularly well — all of them are around 3 pounds with Mr. Pine of Star’s litter being the most “rolly-polly” of all. I think he must sneak out to the kitchen and raid the refrigerator in the middle of the night when no one is looking ! The girls are doing well also – but are lighter than the boys (which is normal) — ranging from 2-2.5 pounds. Mr. Maple (from Star’s litter) is still hanging out most of the time with Abby’s pups to try and even out the milk demand — he doesn’t seem to mind in the least (and if Abby or Star mind – they sure haven’t made it evident).
All in all the puppies are very content and both litters are quite peaceful and quiet the majority of the time (mealtime is another matter of course !!). They are the highlight of our home right now – and we are enjoying this time to cuddle with each one, and get to know their emerging personalities. It will be exciting to watch them learn and grow in this week ahead.