This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Wednesday 30 August 2017

More about the newborn puppies and what goes on in the garden

It has been one week since our dachshund “Elsa” gave birth to 6 very cute and beautiful puppies.

With a litter of 6 pups in our house, our focus has been on the wellbeing of the puppies, their mom Elsa, and Reggy, the dad of the litter who has been very interested in this whole process. So other activities took a back stage.  Just like newborn babies, all they do is eat, poop, sleep- and repeat. However, the pups have grown considerably and have already doubled their birth weight.  I presume it will be another week before they are going to open their eyes for the first time but they do crawl around in their whelping box searching for their mama or to find their siblings to cuddle with.

So in the past week I had to get up several times at night to let Elsa outside to do her business.  The pups feed every few hours and Elsa’s food intake has doubled, too. She does a great job looking after her puppies and cleans them up regularly.  This does affect her digestive system in addition to the affects after giving birth. What it also means is that in order to keep the whelping box clean there is an increase of laundry in the house. I’m glad I have a good washer and dryer in addition to a pile of extra towels.

The first night I spent on the sofa next to the whelping box to keep an eye on Elsa and the newborn pups ready to assist. Instinctively Elsa knew what to do but there was some unrest. The pups wanted to feed and Elsa nursed them often.  Now, a week later, the pups and Elsa have gone into a more settled routine and times in-between feeding are longer and the pups sleep content for longer time periods.  This is probably due to her increased milk production and I think in the quality (and quantity) of food she now consumes. While Elsa spent all the time with the pups in the first days, she now leaves them to sleep by themselves. She stays close by napping but checks on them frequently.

 Elsa cuddling next to a pup

Reggy sniffing a pup

I am glad that so far Elsa seems to be producing enough milk to feed her pups.  We have the Esbilac Puppy Milk Replacer powder (a USA product) at standby (thank-you Teresa Warren), but I was not able to feed any to the pups yet.  They refused the nipple and/or the milk. 
If you think the cost of a can of powdered milk ($33) is exorbitant, then the cost of the little plastic pet nursing bottles ($9) and the plastic syringes ($8) are ridiculously outrageous. (Both products are produced in China and they were the only options available at the pet stores). They look like children’s’ toys to me! Not only are the nipples of the bottles too hard for sucking, even with a cross cut opening and squeezed, there is hardly any milk flowing out. 
In desperation I bought the syringes but I fear I could harm the pups with their hard and pointy tip. So I keep the milk as a supplement for feeding once they are old enough to start on solid food.

It’s all a learning process, but I have to say we adore the puppies and I enjoy the whole progression and involvement of it. It is an experience I would not want to miss.

Meanwhile in the garden I have been amazed at the size of some of my Canna Indica plants. Their growth might be attributed to the rich soil they are planted in.  Last fall I had cut up several banana peels which I dug under at the spot I buried the roots of the Cannas.  Also I wanted to share some of the critters in our garden. At least the ones I managed to capture. :-)

Tuesday 22 August 2017

At 5 A.M. the whelping process began…

On Monday the 21st Elsa (female dachshund) didn’t eat her breakfast.  Reggy (male dachshund) would have gobbled it up in addition to his own portion, but I took it away from him. He has a pretty good appetite and I don’t want an overweight little doggy. Benno offered each dog a slice of Kielbasa sausage, which they both happily accepted.  Half an hour later Elsa brought her snack back up.
It was a gorgeous day with temps at 30C and hardly any wind.  Most of of the day I spent outside sitting under the gazebo on the deck reading while both dogs stayed with me. Occasionally I went inside accompanied by both dogs as they usually do.  It was the day we had the partial eclipse, which started here in our region at about 2:20 in the afternoon.  While I don’t have the proper glasses to watch this event, I dared and put two dark lenses from my set of Polaroid sunglasses together and had a peek through them.  Yes, the moon was partially obscuring the sun and I felt a slight drop in temperature as well I noticed a more curtained sunlight.  Later on I cooked up a batch of skinless chicken legs with the backs attached. Once cooked I removed the bones and cut the meat in small chunks, then portioned it to be put into the freezer for another weeks’ supply of dog food.

When it was feeding time I handfed Elsa some chicken morsels but she didn’t have any appetite. However, she licked the plate clean of the chicken broth that I gave her.

At 5 a.m. today (Tuesday morning) I woke up hearing Elsa panting.  Reggy was restless too, rummaging around in his crate. Both dogs had to go out to do their business.  After eating our breakfast I warmed up the uneaten portions of the dogs food. Reggy didn’t waste any time chomping down Elsa’s Monday breakfast and Elsa ate all of her leftover dinner.  OK, so far so good.

Elsa and Reggy this morning

As the morning progressed, Elsa displayed an increased unrest. She constantly changed her positions and berths.  Sometimes she would sit with me on the couch, then go to the day bed only to wander around the house a few minutes later to the crates or jump onto the sofa in the guest room. Sporadically she panted. Moments later I found her buried under the big cushion on the couch, and then she would sit in her crate.  At short intervals she needed to go outside and right back inside.  We ate an early lunch of Dr. Oetker's Hawaiian pizza (because its quick and easy), meanwhile keeping an eye on Elsa.  She now definitely suffered from contractions, moaning every so often. Reggy traipsed around her, sniffing her behind but kept quiet.  I tried to comfort her, stroking her head and belly, but she was restless.

Benno left to make a quick run to the Rona building center (owned by Lowes) to get electrical supplies (Romex, device boxes, duplex outlets etc.) for his future shed.  (I presume he looked for an excuse to get away for a little bit.)  Elsa kept moving around and then settled in her night crate/kennel.  Reggy and I sat with her. All of a sudden she jumped up, yelped and a sac containing a puppy fell from her.  It was exactly 1 o’clock in the afternoon and I was all by myself. Having read so many websites I tried to stay cool, grabbed Elsa including puppy and blanket and took them to the whelping box.  There I helped to clean up the pup, cut the umbilical cord and disposed of the afterbirth. Elsa kept licking the little pup, a boy, and I watched.  The little guy felt cold after a while from being licked so much so I wrapped him in a small towel and held him in my hands.  An hour went by and nothing happened. Then Benno came home and found me holding the first pup.  I guess men are a bit helpless when it comes to babies or in this case puppies. I sensed that I would not get all the help I might need from my hubby, so I called Teresa, my friend and neighbor.  She came right over and I handed the little bundle over to her to hold and warm him.  Meanwhile Elsa was restless and she started to pant again. An hour and a half after giving birth to her first puppy she delivered another boy. This one was heavier and seemed a bit larger, too.  For the next half hour we were busy assisting Elsa in cleaning her second pup and looking after her wellbeing.  Around three o’clock a little girl pup was born, then another girl. This forth puppy looks a little bit different with a brown coat and white nails, while all the others are black with tan spots above their eyes.

The first pup a few minutes after birth

We tried to attach the little ones to Elsa’s nipples, but she wouldn’t let us.  I looked for the phone number of our Pet Valu Store in town to see if they sold any milk for our puppies. They did and Teresa offered to make a run into town to get it.  While I was speaking on the phone and telling the sales lady the milk was for 4 puppies, Teresa yelled there comes another one.  I cut my phone call short saying I’d be by and dropped the phone to help. This one was another boy.  Benno went outside to speak to Dave, Teresa’s husband, and when he came back inside a few minutes after, I proclaimed that the sixth puppy, another boy had just been born. This one was smaller than its brothers and sisters, so it’s the runt, but not by much.

Teresa holding 4 pups

Teresa did drive uptown to get the powdered milk and a couple of bottles to feed our pups. It so happened that as soon as she left the sky opened up and we had a hefty downpour but Teresa is a good trooper and it didn’t faze her.  Thank you so much, Teresa. You were a big, big help!

All is well at the moment in the whelping box. Elsa is resting and the little ones are nursing or sleeping.  I am prepared to keep watch and assist with the additional milk we bought to keep the pups well fed.

Stay tuned…

Thursday 17 August 2017

Now we are waiting

Ever since Heidi went home last week our house seems so empty now. Our two granddaughters sure livened things up around here and we hope to host them again next summer and eventually their little brother, too when he’s old enough to be away from Mom and Dad. Of course the whole family is welcome here and they had been staying in the camper and guestroom in the past, but to have one grandkid at a time allowed us to happily entertain and spoil them to our hearts content.

So now it’s back to our old routines. However, the quietness in the house will not be for too long, I think.  We are preparing for Elsa to give birth to her puppies. It is my guess it will perhaps happen in a week’s time or 10 days. 

After we had dropped off Heidi in London to her waiting Dad who had parked at the McDonald on Wellington Road South close to the 401 Highway, we moved the now finished whelping box eagerly into our guest room. Benno did a great job building the whelping box.  There is a fair amount of information on the Internet and we tried to get the clues there of what to do.  Mind you there are many puppy mills that do not provide anything like this for the expectant dog and her offspring and puppies are being born regardless of what has or has not been provided for them. 

Elsa’s box I painted with non-toxic varnish on the inside and a white Urethane paint on the outside. To decorate the box a bit I painted little paw prints around the entrance.  The yellow wood piece on top is a seat so we can sit there and watch what is going on inside.  I might have gone overboard with all this, but it is for our enjoyment too and we are excited to be experiencing this event. Elsa seems to know exactly what the box is for and has moved in with her toys.  Reggy, interestingly, has not put a paw in at all but likes to sit on the sofa to look in from above.  For the time being we have protected the carpet underneath the box with plastic table protectors, which I happened to have laying around and inside the box I have put a triple folded blanket and several bath towels. 

We want Elsa to have her puppies in the comfort of the house and to nurse them here for a little while.  When the pups start to become active we will relocate the setup to the (heated, if needed) garage where we will provide them with a play and poop area as well.  The box has a slide in door to close up when needed. Additionally Benno fabricated two little ramps for the little puppies to get in and out of the box when the time comes for them to explore their next surroundings.

So now it’s waiting time as I’m observing Elsa’s growing belly.  She rests and sleeps more now than before her pregnancy and although Reggy tries to tempt her to play with him, she rarely gives in.

I told both dogs that they could lay down on the sofa where it would be more comfy, 
but this is where they wanted to sleep

Monday 7 August 2017

A funny little story

This update was going to be all about Elsa, but I thought I tell you about last week’s happenings first and a funny little story.

It was Annaliese’s turn again to visit us for a week. Both dogs were very happy to see her again and of course get lots of belly rubs, which she happily administered. A six year old sure can keep you busy and I have no idea how her parents manage household chores and working full-time with three kids but they have my admiration.  I had good intentions to blog during the week but I could not find the energy in the evenings to sit at my computer let alone compose anything at all.

So to the little story: One of Annaliese’s front teeth had been wiggling when she arrived and I could tell it would not be long before it would fall out. About mid-week all of a sudden she felt it coming loose and she held that tooth proudly in her hand.  That is such an excitement for a six year old. She wanted to keep the tooth to show her Mommy and Daddy and of course it was needed for the Tooth Fairy.  I gave her a little plastic Ziploc bag to keep the tooth in and then went about our dinner preparation.  A short while after I hear Annaliese bursting out in a heart wrenching crying and she runs sobbing into the kitchen saying she lost the tooth in the toilet. What? 
You could see Benno’s face changing from his normal smile into a   please don't do that to me face, he pictured himself sticking his arm up to the elbow into the toilet and searching for the tooth, but feeling something soft and sticky.
No, she didn’t loose the tooth in the toilet.  She was trying to clean the tooth under the running faucet at the sink in the bathroom and it slipped out of her fingers and dropped down the drain.  Oh no.  Opa had to come to the rescue.
In the process of retrieving the lost tooth by dismantling the drainage pipe, Benno got splashed with wastewater in his face and yelled for me to quickly give him a towel and a container to dump the contents of the pipe. In it oh joy, we found the lost tooth.  All was well now and the tears dried up quickly.
But, this tooth was so precious that Annaliese had to look at it several times every day until Sunday when it was time to drive back to London for the swap when her Daddy was picking her up and for Heidi to come with us.  The moment her Daddy pulled into the parking lot she ran out to show him her tooth, but the bag ripped open and the tooth fell out never to be found again.
Her dad thinks that the Tooth Fairy, which had come already to our house and had left two very shiny golden Loonies (Canadian Dollar), must have now taken the tooth.

Elsa is gaining weight now and she is showing a little belly. We thought it to be time to build her a whelping box and to do that we all piled into the truck and drove to the Rona Building Center (owned by Lowes) in town to get the material.  You think this is a quick thing to do, however a mix-up at the service counter with wrong part numbers, redoing the paperwork, having the correct plywood cut to our specifications, getting a refund and finding an error on their calculations, getting another refund and more paperwork took forever.  Thank goodness Annaliese is a patient little girl and she never complained about all that waiting time.  Then it was off to another store to get the right screws, washers and other hardware before she and I could go shopping for some fun stuff for her. 

Benno got busy to build the box where Elsa and her puppies can rest.  Once he had the box assembled he took it apart again for me to paint.  I put three coats of white paint on the outside and I am now working on varnishing the inside.  This varnish is water dissolvable and non-toxic.  When all completed I will take a picture again.

So while we worked on this project Annaliese was busy experimenting mixing the watercolor paints to paint all the rocks she had collected at the beach in a different color. One afternoon we took the dogs for a walk at the Kopegaron Woods Conservation Area. This park has long boardwalks throughout and the trail leads you through the forest in a big circle back to the parking lot.  Our dogs love this park and we like it too, especially when we don’t encounter anyone else walking it.

I guess you'll have to wait until my next post about Elsa's progress. So please stay tuned.