Steele & Opal Puppies – 3 weeks old

3 weeks old and living life to the fullest !!!!

3 weeks old and living life to the fullest !!!!

This has been a bit of a difficult entry to write — as we have had our share of both joys and sorrows this past week.   Firstly – we celebrate all the wonderful progress that Opal’s puppies have made.  They are moving around with more mobility, more awareness — and even more CUTENESS than ever before.  I love each and every one of them so dearly…    However we have also had the very sad passing this week of little Miss Sherbert.    Words cannot describe how deeply affected our entire family has been with her goodbye.  Early in the week things started to decline with her health and by Wednesday it became clear that she would be leaving us.   As much as we have tried to help her along from the very first day she was born; through monitored feedings with Opal to extra hand-fed bottles every few hours ………..  sometimes our human intervention is not enough to convince Mother Nature of what may have already been written in the stars.   Most certainly little Sherbert is a shining star somewhere up in the heavens tonight.

Fortunately Opal did not seem to grieve over the fact that Sherbert was no longer with us.   I know that may sound insensitive — but I don’t think Opal really had a chance to let any of it sink in…. With 13 puppies the demand and “need” level is pretty extreme most of the time.  Even though Opal is a super mum — I think the responsibilities get a bit overwhelming at times.     She has little time to think about anything other than the little lives immediately depending on her.

On a bright note the puppies just keep getting more adorable by the minute.   They are spending more time trying to manoevre around on all 4’s and they gently interact/play with each other.    They seem to be able to smell or sense when Opal is even within a few feet of the whelping box area — and likewise they are even excited when they know I am closeby.  They seem to quickly remember any bottle feedings I have done and readily suck on any of my fingers, hands….anything — in the great milk pursuit.

The puppies still spend the majority of their timing sleeping – but that will become less and less in the weeks ahead.

They are a happy and contented bunch – and really fairly quite — until that time just before dawn when Opal draws near and they know that breakfast is about to be served 🙂

We will introduce puppy “mush” this week and look forward to spending time with the pups as they start to interact more with the world around them !!

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Steele & Star Puppies ~ Steele & Abby Puppies – 8 weeks old

Ready for the next chapter !!

Ready for the next chapter !!

The house is seeming a little quieter every day as both Star’s and Abby’s puppies have begun their departure.    This is always a bittersweet time in our home….   8 weeks of loving each of these little cuties does not go without leaving its mark on our hearts and our memories.   It is extremely hard to say good-bye to such beautiful little pups that we have loved and cared for  — yet at the same time, by this stage in development each one clearly wants more time and attention than a person can possibly give to them individually.    It has certainly been a whirlwind of a time and such a joy to see how each of these puppies has started to mature and come into their own.

We did not get to spend much time outside this week.   Cold, wet, record rainfall continued to fall here and was often combined again with sleet or wet snow.    As much as the puppies love to be outdoors, they only last a few minutes when the weather is that cold, damp and just plain miserable.   Amazingly all 13 of them can manage to fit themselves into the little dog house we have in their play area!!   This was the place where they had to run for cover a couple of times before I could scoot them all back indoors.

So needless to say our kitchen was a pretty busy place all week with 13 puppies and a mixture of our other goldens romping and playing !   It was all good fun and always interesting to see how the pups interact with our older crew.

We also had a big bath and grooming day along with a trip to the vet.   The pups enjoyed their visit to the clinic and always bask in all the extra attention they receive.  We did actually go in two separate groups (Star’s litter one day and Abby’s the next) which worked out well.    The puppies were very well behaved and charming – so I was quite proud of all of them.

As we did our final photos this week – I looked at each one of them and wondered what kind of adventures await them.    I hope they will bring great joy to every home and every life they touch.     I hope the legacy of their sweet and beautiful parents will live on in each of them.     Each one will be greatly missed – and we wish them a long and rich life as they head out for new horizons….

Steele X Opal Puppies – 2 weeks old

Lost in dreamland....

Lost in dreamland….

It’s hard to believe that we are already at the two week mark of the limited time we have with Opal’s pups !!  The pups are all doing very well and we are enjoying every minute with them.  The biggest event of the week was the opening of little eyes.   This always is a fun part of puppy develpment – as the pups seem to take on a whole new dimension once you can gaze into those little faces and have them look back at you (even if what they are seeing is completely blurry at this stage).

The pups have all gained well – although there is an obvious gap between girls and boys which is typical, especially in a large litter.  The boys are all weighing around 1.3-1.5 kgs (around 3 pounds) and the girls are all just slightly lighter than that.   Opal is doing a great job of trying to keep 13 tummies full…. but I am of course helping her with supplemental bottle feedings to those that look like they might have missed out on anything.    The smallest lone pup is our little Sherbert – who is only weighing in at around 1-1/2 pounds despite my attempts to offer her a bottle every couple of hours.   She is a slower and less enthusisatic eater ….. however we will just keep on trying to give her whatever she wants and needs.   She seems happy in every other respect –food is just not her number one priorty (like it seems to be for everyone else).

The puppies are becoming more mobile in the whelping box and can take quite a few awkward and wobbly steps in succession – especially when there is a race for the milk bar.   They love to snuggle up together and are a content and happy little bunch.    Opal continues to watch over everyone with complete devotion and does not seem to waver in her care for her little family.   She is still trying to convince me that the puppies should be living in the nest/hole she dug for them in the garden outside (& an often dirt-covered Opal is still making revisions to the landscape of this little location)… but it will be awhile before the pups will have any outdoor adventures !

We will look forward to watching the puppies become more alert and mobile in the week ahead.   Exciting days ahead!

Steele & Abby Puppies – 7 weeks old

Ready to play !

Ready to play !

The majority of the puppies’ time was spent indoors this week – the weather simply did not co-operate in any shape or form.   Most days consisted of  a mix of freezing rain, sleet, wet snow and cold rain – none of which would make time oustide a pleasant experience for the puppies.   The puppies did make it out for a few minutes on a couple of the better days – but even then the wind was so bitterly cold they didn’t want to be out there for long.

So it was an “indoor recess” kind of week and the pups were happy to find things to do in the kitchen.   They are at an age now where they are more active – so they love to chase each other (or Josh) around the kitchen.  They also enjoyed playing with the various ages of other goldens we have — although their favorites seemed to be my “youngsters” — Nina, Charlotte and Delilah who are all 4-5 months old.     The instant hit was also the new raised dog bed that we acquired.   The puppies spent hours hiding under it, playing on it, chasing each other around it – and lastly – snoozing on it !

The puppies enjoyed our many visitors this week – not puppy families this week but friends and children’s friends.    There was no shortage of snuggles and cuddles to go around and the puppies seem to always be ready for a visitor of any age !!!

The pups all had a big bath day on Saturday – which was quite the production by the time all 13 puppies (between both Abby’s and Star’s families) were all bathed, nails trimmed and brushed….    Never a dull moment with puppies in the house !

We will have a busy week with a trip to the vet and hopefully some nicer weather will arrive for adventures outdoors !!!

Steele X Star Puppies – 7 weeks old

 

Miss Margarita & Mr. Spruce snuggled up

Miss Margarita & Mr. Spruce snuggled up

The pups spent most of their time indoors this week.   Since our weather consisted mainly of freezing rain, sleet, wet snow and cold rain –  the puppies never lasted more than a few minutes outside.  So much for springtime in Muskoka !!!

The mainstay of the puppies’ daily routine was time in the kitchen – playing with toys, playing with our older goldens – and chasing Josh around the island.   The highlight of the week seemed to be the new raised dog bed that we acquired — the pups loved playing on it, sleeping on it, chasing each other around it and hiding under it !!   They were able to entertain themselves for hours with the new bed !!  They also enjoyed pulling all of the dog toys out of the toy bin. It always amazes me how even with a whole basketfull of toys to choose from – they all usually want the same one — which most days consisted of a little green stuffy that everyone was trying to claim.

The pups are much more active now – not only with each other but with our family as well.   They are definitely an enthusiastic welcoming committee every morning and look forward to every minute of time spent with people.  Fortunately we have had another week with lots of visitors – so the puppies get many opportunities to bask in the attention and affection of their fans !

The pups had a big bath day on the weekend – followed by nail trimming and brushing — which they all seemed to enjoy.    Mind you I am not sure who was more soaked by the time we were all finished — between both litters we sudsed up 13 puppies …..  So it was a busy, wet time !

We will have an exciting week with a trip to the vet and hopefully some outdoor adventures in the sunshine SOON ….

 

Steele & Opal Puppies – 1 week old

Supermum Opal !

Supermum Opal !

Opal has easily settled into the enormous task of raising 13 little pups – and is doing an excellent job of caring for her little family.    The first few days almost seemed a bit overwhelming for her but she is back to being her normal, happy, easy-going self and is never far from her pups.    Often she will not even leave the whelping box for a meal – so of course I provide room service whenever needed.  We have been augmenting Opal’s usual diet with lots of goat’s milk, natural yogurt, fresh eggs and liver to try and help her keep up to the huge demands of nursing pups.   I am also bottle-feeding the cuties a couple of times daily – and usually more for the smallest one – Miss Pink Sherbert.

The majority of the pups are quite uniform in size, they have all doubled their birth weight and are tipping the scales at around 2 pounds each.    They are not missing out on anything !

The biggest part of their day is spent sleeping although they do crawl around the whelping box a bit from time to time, especially if they know that Opal has come back into the vicinity with dinner.   Mealtime is a flurry of little, happy, wagging tails and scurrying bodies as everyone tries to race for first position at the milk bar.    My job is to make sure that there is an equal opportunity for everyone – and that the pushy boys don’t get all the best seating in the house !

This week the pups’ pigment has deepened – their noses are pink at birth but by now foot pads, noses and eyelid rims have all turned to that lovely dark color that gives the English-type goldens their striking looks.      They are also quite aware now of even my presence in the whelping area – looking for fingers, toes or anything that even looks close to a bottle to suckle on.  They are becoming more mobile with every day and it won’t be long until they are walking (albeit unsteady) on all fours.

We look forward to an exciting week ahead — the pups will begin to hear this week and they will also open their eyes — My favorite part in puppy development !

Steele X Abby Puppies — 6 weeks old !

Ready for anything !

Ready for anything !

Abby’s puppies continue to grow and mature… They have had a fantastic week and like to keep us all on our toes (which is normal for puppies at 6 weeks old !!).   We of course wouldn’t want it any other way and enjoy seeing the world through their eyes.  Everything is new, exciting and fun…   In true golden fashion every person they meet is a snuggle or cuddle waiting to happen ! They are so trusting, loving and innocent at this age — all the things I cherish and try to build upon as best we can.   This is a big chapter in puppy development and we love seeing their little personalities come to life as they experience things for the first time.

The highlight of the week was being able to get outdoors which the puppies LOVED !!  Even though the weather wasn’t the nicest — it was warm enough and dry enough that the puppies could play up on the fenced in deck area we have for them and play hide and seek behind the chairs, stairs and other obstacles.    One of their favorite games is to also bat an empty water bottle around — I know – not the most expensive or highly sought after dog toy – but they get the biggest kick out of the crackling sound that a plastic bottle makes as it is being batted from one puppy to another.  They also enjoyed being able to chew on a soup bone (marrow bone) which had first been picked clean (for the most part) by the older dogs.   They have their share of balls and stuffy toys as well – but usually the simplest toys seem to be the most entertaining !

Some of their puppy time is spent with their half-brothers and sisters from Steele and Star’s litter – and then they also have separate time either in the kitchen or outdoors.  I like to give the pups as many different settings and personality dynamics as possible to give them the best possible start to their own character.    The pups love to play with one another and even though their tag-team wrestling can look a bit rough from time to time – they are all very soft-mouthed and seem to know exactly how far they can push things with their playmates.

The pups have all continued to progress magnificently in regards to eating etiquette and potty duties — I have included more of a detailed description in the notes on Steele and Star’s pups if you want the full story.   They do learn very quickly to have a preference of cleanliness over other things — although all goldens seem to love mud so I’m not sure exactly how that fits into the picture !

All of the pups are very sweet and gentle-natured – and continue to be one of our quieter litters here – except for mealtime which always brings a chorus of hungry little voices.

We will be hoping for warm, sunny days this week coming and can hardly wait to journey through this next week of adventures with Abby’s puppies !