Spinnaker & Ivy Puppies – 4 weeks old!

Big changes this week in the life and times of Ivy’s little family!!   We added on a large extension area for the pups to play in and although the pups were quite tentative to explore the space initially, they have now embraced the new space and have quite a lot of fun playing with the toys and making use of every square inch.   The one main attraction in the larger space is our activity cube.   This is a large plastic cube structure with various treasures suspended from the upper bars (spoons, balls, mobiles, metal cups) … something that I started using a few years back as an additional way to introduce new sights and sounds to our puppies.   I have always believed that puppies need to be exposed to a myriad of sensory experiences during their time here with us…  In my opinion the first 8 weeks of puppyhood are like building the foundation of a house, both in terms of health and mental well-being; if you don’t do things right in the first 8 weeks the foundation will be faulty and even your best efforts after that can never repair things completely…   Anyway – long story short I like to make sure our pups are surrounded by lots of things to stimulate their senses in every aspect.  Even something as simple as clanging spoons and metal cups starts building a comfort and confidence in a young puppy that can’t be taught at a later age…

The pups are all gaining well and are all weighing in between 5-1/2 to 6 pounds now.    Most of the girls are on the lighter side of that scale (which is natural) but there are a couple that are determined to keep up with the boy’s club 🙂   In any event they all truly enjoy their food and are eating 4 meals of mush and kibble during the day along with side snacks a la Ivy.   Ivy is such an amazing mum — she will sit at the side of their eating area and watch OH SO patiently while they eat their meal.  Only when they are all finished (and starting to pass out) will she enter their little eating area and lick up whatever is left (and lick up whatever the pups have covered themselves in).

The pups are becoming much more interactive with our family and are SWEETNESS personified as they scamper up for cuddles or attention whenever they hear someone’s voice.   Clearly it would be easy to spend the entire day just sitting in their play area and being a part of their world — they are really a darling bunch and love everybody and everything.

We will look very much forward to watching the pups as they continue to grow in confidence and character in the week ahead!


Spinnaker X Ivy Puppies – 3 weeks old


Just TOO cute!

Ivy’s pups have had another wonderful week.  They are now spending more time awake than last week and their awareness of the world around them, and the people in their lives is becoming more and more acute.   They still spend a great deal of the day sleeping, but when they are awake they toddle around the whelping box and climb over toys or fellow littermates – almost always looking for something to eat…   Ivy is still the centre of their universe but they love to cuddle with our family as well and come scampering to the entrance of the whelping box when they know we are near.

Generally the pups are a pretty quiet bunch, except for the heightened squeals when they anticipate mealtime which is usually around every 3 hours.    Things at the milk bar are now “standing room only” – but fortunately we are at the 3 week mark which means most puppies have reached the next stage of development where they can “lap up” milk, not just suckle it.    So we officially started a new chapter in the smorgasbord of puppy meals today and the pups did fantastically.   We introduced the puppies to their first platter of puppy mush – which consists of goat’s milk, yogurt, eggs, honey, and a bit of liver water (for the taurine) and although they ended up wearing almost as much as they ate – they did seem to quite enjoy it.   Of course afterwards the pups spend a good 15 minutes licking each other clean – and then Ivy licks the pups clean a second time!  It certainly did not take any convincing at all to get them interested in this new menu item so we will have a great week ahead continuing with the puppy mush – and we will gradually add in some ground meat and eventually a bit of ground kibble.   I’m sure Ivy will appreciate a bit of a relief from feeding duties (although she will still nurse the pups as we transition to solid food and even beyond that). The pups are all weighing around 4 pounds now and Ivy has done a wonderful job of keeping every happy and bellies full.

We will look forward to watching the puppies interact even more with the world around them over this next week and by the weekend we will add an extension onto the whelping box so they have more room to roam and play.

Spinnaker & Ivy Puppies – 2 weeks old


The puppies have had another great week and continue to sleep and eat – and sleep and eat – and grow.    They are all weighing around 3 pounds now and things are definitely starting to get crowded for Ivy at meal times.   Ivy has recently developed a new technique to feed the pups whereby she sits up when the pups are nursing – that way there is lots of space for everyone to find a spot!  The pups almost appear to hang from Ivy as they jockey for a position at the milk bar – but everyone seems quite happy with the new arrangement and bellies are always full.  The pups have an endless appetite and if Ivy has been away from the whelping box for any length of time they squeal and yelp with great delight as soon as she is close enough for them to smell that meals-on-wheels has arrived!    We will have one more week of Ivy providing the main course and then we will very slowly start to introduce the puppies to some puppy gruel as they begin their transition towards solid food.

The pups spend a bit more time awake these days; they seem quite aware whenever I come and sit in the whelping box – although they are usually more interested in checking out any exposed fingers or toes I have to see if maybe I might be a source of milk too!!   They have enjoyed checking out the stuffed toys that are now in the whelping box and I’m sure their curiosity will continue as we add more and more toys and objects to peak their interest in the weeks to come.

The biggest achievement of this past week is that the pups now see the world with open eyes!!  They can’t really see much more than fuzzy shapes at the moment – but it still is a wonderful thing to be able to look into the sweet faces of these puppies and have them looking back at you!!  The pups had their first nail trim already this past week and a couple of them have already learned how to escape out of the whelping box – so we now will have the little door in place that keeps everyone safe and in one spot (for the moment).   Ivy is enjoying her walks a little more every day and has graduated to sleeping just outside the whelping box as it is getting both too crowded and too warm for her in there.    In the weeks to come we will move the puppies to a larger area – but for now they are content in a smaller space where they can snuggle together and are familiar with the scents and sights.

We are enjoying every minute with these little beauties and feel so very lucky to be a part of these early weeks.


Spinnaker & Ivy Pups – 1 week old


It’s hard to believe that the first week of puppy life has already come and gone.   It may not look like it but there are indeed 10 puppies somewhere in that photo above – we have a couple that really like to lay between Ivy’s front paws so sometimes they miss out on the photo op!    As you might be able to tell, things are getting a little crowded at the milk bar with 10 hungry mouths to feed – but Ivy is doing an excellent job of caring for her puppies and I try to keep a vigilant eye to make sure that everyone gets an equal chance to eat. (In a sense I am the milk bar police – ensuring that the premium spots located farthest from Ivy’s head [where there is usually more milk] are shared amongst everyone; there are a couple of boys that like to steal those spots).

The pups have all gained well and have almost doubled in size since they were born.   They are all weighing close to 2 pounds now and seem to grow overnight.    They really only have two things on their agenda these days:  EAT and SLEEP!   Both of which they do quite well.    Over this upcoming week they will become a little more active as they gain mobility – although already they are quite agile at crawling around the whelping box.   Their eyes have not yet opened, and they cannot hear yet either – but they have an amplified sense of smell – so no matter where Ivy is in the whelping box they can easily locate her and scoot quite quickly to reach her.

My main job at this point is to keep Ivy completely satisfied and supported in the food department.   Feeding 10 puppies requires a huge amount of food intake – and offering meals that are too large in size does not help her tummy very much.   So I break down her energy requirements into 4 or 5 meals throughout the day.   Her meals currently consist of beef, turkey or fish mixed with ground veggies like spinach and carrots, rice or oatmeal once a day to give her some carbs for energy, a splash of goat’s milk or yogurt, eggs, sardines or a beef bone – as well as probiotics, kelp and a vitamin blend.   So far Ivy is truly enjoying the endless buffet of food!

I also make sure bedding is kept clean and dry and that no one gets trampled or accidentally squished whenever Ivy comes in and out of the whelping box.   We also weigh the puppies daily during the first week to make sure that everyone is gaining fairly and adjust puppies at the milk bar accordingly if need be…

Lastly I make sure Ivy gets out for a little R&R break from the babies for a nice walk every day – fortunately it hasn’t been too cold here lately, a little rainy but Ivy never minds.

We will look forward to an exciting week ahead as the pups become more active and open their eyes for the first time sometime next week!

Spinnaker & Ivy Pups – The new kids in town

Ivy and pups 2018We are thrilled to announce that Spinnaker and Ivy’s pups have finally made their grand entrance into the world!!  Ivy is now the proud mom of 7 lovely girls and 3 adorable boys.   We did actually have one other little girl puppy born, but she took a bit too long to get out of the birth canal and unfortunately she could not be revived when she arrived.   It is always a very sad occasion to lose a puppy – and an unfortunate reminder of just how fragile life is.   Just as every human parent marvels at the birth of a child – I always feel a huge sense of awe when any puppy is born.   Every new life is such an intricate miracle.

Ivy is usually no drama queen but she certainly chose to draw out this particular chapter in her life.    Over the last few days she was getting slower and slower on our walks and wanted to be the centre of attention at all times (which we were only too happy to oblige).   By Wednesday she began pacing and panting and digging and searching for a perfect outdoor location to have her pups!   Fortunately I was able to convince her that I had a much better spot in mind – INDOORS!   As Wednesday turned into Thursday’s dawn the panting, pacing, restless behaviour became more intense and by Thursday at 1:00 p.m. (after around 15 hours of Stage 1 labour) we had our first little bundle of joy – a big boy who came bursting into the world and seemed only too ready to take his first breath.   Following that, Ivy took a fairly leisurely pace with delivering her puppies – sometimes an hour break in between and then a large 2 hour break after the 7th puppy.    Her last puppy was born at 10 pm so it was a full day of puppy whelping for Ivy…. I’m sure she was exhausted by the time it was all done but at the same time she seemed very relieved to not be carrying around 20 extra puppy pounds anymore.

This is Ivy’s second litter so she has quickly settled into her maternal duties and has been spending her hours carefully cleaning and caring for each puppy.    She whines as soon as one of them wanders into another corner of the whelping box and is most content when all ten are snuggled up to her tummy for a drink.     She will only leave them for a quick 60 second bathroom break or to quickly lap up a bowl of food…..  She is definitely one dedicated mama.

My biggest job now will be keeping bedding clean and Ivy comfy and fed around the clock.  My other important job is to make sure that everyone gets an equal turn at the milk bar….   Sometimes the boys tend to monopolize things and the girls get left for last — so I try to monitor things and ensure everyone gets a fair share.  The milk demands of 10 puppies will be high so we will make sure that Ivy has 24 hour room service and lots of highly nutritious meals.

We are grateful for this wonderful new family of pups and can’t wait to watch them grow!


Spinnaker & Ivy – Ivy at 56 days


We are heading into the final stretch of Ivy’s pregnancy and counting down the days until we hear the pitter patter of little paws in our home once again!    Ivy’s waistline has been growing bigger with every passing day; she still loves her time outdoors but there is a definite waddle in her walk and the extra weight of babies on board is seemingly starting to slow her down just a little.   We will still try to maintain a couple of leisurely walks each day to keep her in top form for delivery day.

Ivy is quite happy that we have increased her diet over the last few weeks and she enjoys a broad variety of foods these days:  beef tripe, smelt, eggs, raw beef or turkey with spinach, apples, blueberries, carrots, and sometimes a little bit of rice or pasta.   I’m sure her appetite will start to slow down this next week as the available space for food in her tummy becomes less and less.

Over this next week we will set up the whelping area and get all the towels and blankets and puppy supplies sorted out and ready.   We will keep a watchful eye for any signs that the puppies are getting ready to make their appearance and do our best to keep Ivy pampered and comfortable until the big day is here!

Hugo & Sparkle’s Pups – 8 weeks old!!

IMG_8941The puppies have had a wonderful week.  How could they not?   They are such a cheerful and happy bunch.   They greet every day and every person with a wagging tail and a full heart.   Rain or shine, no matter what the day brings they are ready to make the most of it!

This week the pups have increased in their playing and interaction with each other and with every individual they come in contact with.   They don’t miss much and are a very observant and interactive bunch.   Even when we’ve had a long play session together or have spent time together – they really don’t like being left alone anymore (in their puppy play area).  They long for human connection and attention whenever they can get it.

We had a busy day today with baths, microchipping, our trip to the vet and then the health exam itself.   All the puppies did very well.   They are always the stars of the show when they arrive at the clinic.  They were very curious and interested to see the other patients at the clinic and of course loved meeting all the technicians and doctors.

By the time we arrived back home in the afternoon the pups seemed quite exhausted from the excitement and quickly sought out a nice shady spot to enjoy a nap.

Tomorrow the first of the pups will begin to leave and it will be time for me to hand over these precious little bundles to their new families.    As a breeder you think that saying good-bye will someday get easier but it never does.    I fall in love with each of these little darlings a 100 times over in the 8 weeks they are here with us and letting go is hard.     The only thing that makes their departure any easier is seeing the great joy that they bring to their families.

So we wish you the very best, little ones, as you start this next new chapter in your lives.   It has been a privilege to the be the first one to hold you and love you.   Fare thee well ❤