Raising puppies isn’t for the faint of heart

On Nov. 23rd one of our dogs had puppies. Nine were born. The last one was born sleeping and mom wouldn’t take care of number eight so I did my best to hand feed him, but after a couple days of her rejecting him I figured she must have known something was wrong. He passed away between 3:00 and 4:00 am when I was asleep; between attempts to get him to eat and stimulate his digestive system. It was very sad but we had to focus on the remaining seven puppies. Three girls and four boys. And oh boy were they cute! The first couple of weeks weren’t too bad, I didn’t have to do much except listen to what sounded like a pack of ravenous coyotes when they all woke up and wanted to nurse. We had them in a kiddie pool in the bedroom – it seemed like a good idea but in hindsight I would never have had them in there. 

At two weeks old, mom decided she was over the whole thing and refused to take care of them. So … that left me. My husband works out of town so he couldn’t help. If you have never had puppies before it’s like having seven infants that don’t wear diapers. Week two to three wasn’t so bad. They couldn’t get out of the pool and I could sometimes get mom to nurse them. 

Then week three started: she flat out refused to even look at them. Growled and ran away. At this point they could get out of the pool so they were all over the place. I couldn’t let them out into the rest of the house because I didn’t want them getting hurt, or risk their dad killing them or mom biting them. It was a lot. A lot of poo. Luckily I am not that squeamish – I was a kennel girl/vet tech for years and I have a pre-vet degree. I can handle a lot. But THIS? This was too much. I was afraid to get out of bed in the morning to take care of them. On more than one occasion I did cry. I debated whether or not to drag a hose into the house and spray it all out the front door. For once I managed my impulse control and didn’t do that. But boy oh boy did I want to!

The other thing working against me is my ADHD. My life revolved around puppies. They slept. They woke up. They went to the bathroom in the house. I had to keep chasing after them. We also had that cold snap when they were a month old. I tried. I tried so hard. But I couldn’t get seven puppies outside to use the bathroom at the same time. So my floors were the collateral damage. By this time I was letting them into the living room so I was mopping every two hours while they slept. This doesn’t work for a person who can’t keep a schedule to save her life. 

I couldn’t keep them in a kennel or they whined and cried. I decided for my sanity the mess was worth the noise. But really, I had no sanity left, so there we were. I have a new mop now, tho, since the other one literally wore out during the last two months. Bonus! 

Initially I likened them to ‘accountants who’s sheets don’t balance’ when they were in the bedroom and wandering around whining for who knows what. By the time most of them went to their new homes I was referring to them as the ‘Walking Dead’ because they could be dead asleep and as soon as I walked into the room they were up and following me around in their lurching, wobbling manner. When I filled the food bowls it was like seven ravenous gray sharks swarming around my ankles, biting and grabbing at my pants. 

By week five I felt like their mother had run off to a rave, was drunk, and had left me with seven toddlers that kept removing their pants – and she was never coming home.

I am really thankful for my bearded collie. She may only be five months old herself but she stepped in as a ‘super aunt’ when mom stopped taking care of them. I can’t teach them to be dogs, but I guess she can. And my husband, who wanted to ‘experience puppies’ learned he maybe didn’t want to do that again.

Our house is now quiet. We ended up keeping the runt because I think he has more health problems than being just so tiny. I do miss them, in a way, but I sure love my house staying clean for more than a couple hours…

All in all, I know that being a dog breeder will not be my future career. And hats off to those of you who can do it!! This was a pupocalypse of epic proportions I don’t care to repeat without proper dog runs. And only in the spring and summer.

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