Puppy watch in the madhouse

Sleep is for the Weak

When I arrived at Seven Pines, I did not only meet the 17 dogs, but also the first two litters - a seven-puppy-sized Boston Terrier litter and a six-puppy-sized Wolfhound litter (both from the end of August). And if that would not already be enough, another dog was just days away from giving birth to her own litter.

I did not want to miss that for the world, of course, and when Leah turned up in my room one night around 2:30 AM, I was wide awake from one second to the next.

The puppies are a mix of Boxer and Boston Terrier (the mix is called Boston Boxer in breeder circles) and the last puppy came into this world around 7:30 in the morning - the first five were born in 45-minute-intervals, the sixth and last one after a longer break, which apparently is normal in dog births.

And with that, work just started for real.

In the first few days the newborn pups and their mother have to be kept under watch full-time, in case the mother accidentally steps or sits down on one of the babies, or squeezes them against a wall when changing position. During the day, that does not pose much of a problem, between the family and the three helpers, there is always someone in the house to keep an eye on the puppies, but for the first few nights we actually slept in shifts, so someone was up and watching them at every hour to make sure nothing would happen to the newborns.

Now the puppies are old (and the mother practiced) enough that we only have to check on them every now and then, and the mother also dares again to leave her babies for more than just a few seconds at a time.

That gives us more time to play with the other litters - because they ask for attention and entertainment themselves. Biting squealing siblings seems to be only half as much fun as chewing on a shoe lace or gnawing away on the sofa corner.

Despite the energy it costs to watch after the babies and playing with the older puppies I cannot wait for the last litter to open their eyes and start exploring the world outside of their box - they are growing so fast, you can practically watch them do it.

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