Sunday, 14 April 2013


We're counting down the final days of Podge's pregnancy. She's scheduled in the diary to whelp on Tuesday, but when did writing something like that in a diary ever make any difference?

I've helped birth foals and lambs, chicks and ducklings, but Podge's will be my first time assisting in the birth of puppies. Which is a coincidence as it will be Podge's first time having puppies.

The weather is not at all conducive to keeping tiny puppies alive so, after taking some advice from another breeder, I've moved Podge indoors to a quiet room of her own, not too warm, but safe from the elements.

Well, the intention was she should have it to herself, but the house dogs have been visiting. During the day, Pip comes in and hangs out by the kennel -

It's ten o'clock now and Dakota appears to be taking the evening shift -

And don't think she's sleeping on the job, she's definitely on guard -

In this case, defending the house against neighbour children dropping off cupcakes...

It's compelling to want to anthropomorphise the situation and ascribe nurturing feelings to Podge's companions. I think it's safe to say that Pip and Dakota know something is "different" and want to be part of it. The three of them work together beating the woods for birds during shoot season, and seem comfortable in each other's company. I love to think they're friends. (Even though Dakota did stand over Podge and pee on her the first time they met.)

The only one who doesn't appear comfortable is a very pregnant Podge -

I took her temperature this evening and it's below 100 deg F, an indicator that birth is imminent in the next 24 hours. I'll keep you posted.


OlmanFeelyus said...

Good luck!

Poppy Cottage said...

Experienced dog midwife on call anytime.

Anonymous said...

Nine animals constitute a pack and Dakota and Pip are acting as they would in the wild.

It doesn't matter to the dogs that, in this case, the dominant male and the dominant female happen to be human.

When a bitch is too heavily pregnant to join the hunt she won't be left by herself. Another, junior, member of the pack will stay behind with her. This happens after birth too. If the mother wants to join the hunt, one of the junior adults, not always the same one, will "babysit" the pups.

If this is interesting to you, I strongly recommend an old book called "Never cry wolf" by Farley Mowat the Canadian biologist. His first job after leaving university was to go into the Canadian wilderness to see if the wolf population was as destructive as hunters and farmers claimed they were. It is not only very informative but it is frequently laugh-out-loud funny
as he pokes fun at himself for his lack of knowledge and his (university-taught) wrong ideas.

(The paperback copy I finally tracked down (I first read it at school) does not have an ISBN No I'm afraid.)

Accidental Mick

Jennifer Montero said...

AM - Thank you for the perspective, and for the book title which I will be looking up asap. I'm very interested, and read as many animal behaviour books as I can find - as with any subject some are enlightning, some are drivel. A humourous one would be amazing!

Initially I tried to give Podge space to feel safe during her whelping, but as she showed signs of preferring the other bitches' company, I let it carry on. Under supervision of course.

Poppy Cottage said...

All of my other dogs stood guard when either Daz or Smudge gave birth. Nice to know why. Daz even took over feeding smudge's puppies. It was so strange. Smudge had the pups and Daz's milk came in. She would wait by the bed until Smudge go up and would get straight in. She was their Gran so it was kind of sweet, a reall extended family xx

Seester said...

OK- it is officially Tuesday for you, so I am hoping that means there are a bunch of wiggly brown puppies in your home, and that Podge is sleeping it off after a well-deserved treat of some sort.
Please post pics as soon as possible!

janice bendixen said...

Yay! Podgelets! Please do post photos as soon as you're able (once free of midwifery duties). I, too, will look up the recommended book. I've ready Mowat's work before and can attest that he is a fine writer. So excited about your impending arrivals. And freeing Podge from her happy burden.

Anonymous said...

Is there any news yet?

ArdenwoodPatti said...

I'm glad you brought Podge into the house. I'm sending happy, healthy whelping wishes her way.

Puppies can't maintain their body temperature for several days, so keeping them warm is a major priority. If you feel that they aren't warm enough, fill some socks or some flannel tubes with rice or beans, and either microwave them or heat them in to oven. Puppies can move toward or away from the warmth, as needed.

Jennifer Montero said...

AP - All midwifery advice greatly received! People have with experience have valuable tips and tricks, so keep the comments coming. I have some of those wheat bags I can heat in the microwave, that's a great idea. I think bringing Podge in the house was a better idea too.

ArdenwoodPatti said...

I use Snuggle Safe Microwave Heating Pads. Microwave for six minutes, they put out heat for twelve hours. They are also great for old dogs, and warming cold human beds in the winter.

Jennifer Montero said...

AP - Thanks for the link. I have just ordered 2!

me said...

I love my Snuggle safe! (So does the dog.)

I think its awesome that they want to keep her company.

BilboWaggins said...

OK, it's Thursday ... has anyone told Podge?

re: keeping warm. Daisy feels the cold (very short hair, thin skin, bla bla) and after a few disturbed nights when she jumped onto my bed at 3.00am because she was chilly (and subsequently at 4.00am because the hot water bottle I'd put in her bed had got cold) I bought her a Heat Pad from Petnap. So Little Miss Spoilt Rotten now has her own electric blanket and everyone gets an undisturbed night!

No affiliation, but very pleased with it.