Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back from VA; and Changes!

I'm sorry if I worried anyone (yup, that's me with Mr. Lime above).

In the nuts-ness of getting out of here early Friday, I completely forgot to let you know I'd be away in Virginia until late Sunday. And then yesterday I was gone literally all day (early morning til late night) helping DTS (Dear Twin Sister) get some paperwork together for her next divorce mediation (it's been a really tough week for her; last Wednesday would've been their 25th wedding anniversary). I can't believe what a nightmare this whole process is (divorce), and my heart goes out to any of you who've gone through it.


I'll tell you; I really needed a puppy-fix last night when I got home. I don't think I realized how much these little guys refresh my soul. And after speaking this weekend and then spending the next day helping DTS with her divorce prep stuff (a divorce, btw, she never wanted, and yet she still has to do all the paperwork?! Aaaargh!). I came home to the puppies climbing all over me in the whelping box, and that (probably more than anything else could have) renewed my sense of child-like, wide-eyed, joy-filled delight over all things good. There really are good things left in this world. There really are evidences of grace.

Happiness is a warm puppy planting wet, tickly kisses all over your face, eh?

Well, the pups have developed enough where they're doing that now (giving kisses!!!). They're offically 25 days olds now.

Here's what's happening on the development plain:

Their noses and muzzles are fully black (this is wrinkly faced Miss Pink):

Most (but not all) of their pads have turned black, too:

They can all hear and see proficiently enough to explore their worlds and interact with toys (here's Mr. Red attacking a stuffless racoon):

They're all sitting quite well (even balancing now), and they're using their vocal chords so all the world can hear (that's Mr. Green sitting on the right and Miss Sky, who lost her rickrack, singing quite nicely for us on the left):

They still sleep nearly 80% of the time (they have hard work to do growing up!):

And they're making nice progress in confidence. When I first removed the small partition on the whelping box's front (on Friday before I left for VA), the pups seemed reluctant to try climbing over the lip and out into the play area beyond. Here they are sizing up the challenge:

When I came back 2.5 days later, I learned that they'd come to adopt the outside of the whelping box as their favorite hang-out, play, and sleeping place.

I'll expand the play area outside the box today (add more pen-wall sections), since they've already outgrown the little area we set up four days ago (where they're sleeping above).

They climb pretty well now, too (here's Mr. White trying to walk up my leg as if it were a log over a creek -- I'm sitting in the whelping box with my legs extended):

I was actually surprised at how much they'd grown in dexterity in the few days I was gone. It's as if they changed overnight. And they had.

Here are more changes that are occurring (or will occur) this week:
  • They're starting dominance play (their first attempts at "fighting").
  • They'll develop a very loose pecking order over this week, but it's only preliminary.
  • They all have teeth, so we'll introduce solid foods (well, gruel really) gradually.
  • They'll establish a potty place on their own -- somewhere apart from their normal living areas (that's why I have to expand their territory!).
  • Since they all can hear, we'll be deliberately startling them (dropping pans on the floor, closing doors loudly, banging kitchen cabinet doors) -- they need to learn to startle and recover without associated fear. And because their ability to imprint fear doesn't really begin for another week or two, it's important to startle them now. It helps them become more secure, confident, and better equipped to adapt to their new homes.
  • We'll also be making the usual around-the-house loud noises at varying volumes, durations, and intensities: radio, TV, stereo, coffee grinder, microwave, ice-cube maker, blender, tea kettle, dishwasher, other kitchen appliances, vacuum cleaner, the other dogs barking, lawn mower, etc. They have to grow accustomed to hearing these so their new homes won't terrify them.
  • We'll continue to expose them to different textures under their feet (so far, they've been on fleece fabric, soft cotton fabric, linoleum, rubber matting, terry toweling, paper, and wood laminate). This week we'll expose them to brick, concrete, carpet, and hardwood floorings (all in our home still). But we won't move outside until next week.
  • They'll also be spending less time with their dam (Momma Elsie).
  • And they'll be handled boatloads more by their humans. :o)
Oh joy, oh joy, oh joy. :o)

This is the stage (they are officially out of the"transition" stage and into the "awareness" stage now) of young puppy development I like best. :o) And it's coming at a good time: I'm a bit weary of "life stuff" and hurting for DTS, so I need all the puppy-fixes I can get -- as can she!

And what a balm they are to our hearts!

So that's about where the pups are in development at 25 days (3.5 weeks) old. Though small still, Black, White, and Red are doing just fine. Green is on the smaller end now, too. Sky and Pink, though both still somewhat big, seem to be leveling off. Yellow and Lime are holding their own on the bigger side. And Mr. Blue is our moose! :o)

I think that's it for now. I hope you're all well.

I'm sure enjoying puppy kisses here. :o)

'Til next time,


JuliaR said...

That howl on Miss Sky just cracks me up. There was a documentary some years ago about this mouse that lives in the desert and it had a "hunting howl" and even the baby mice howled! Now, whenever we see a baby howling, we call it the hunting howl. You should have seen those mice - it was amazing.

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

what lovely pics! so cute too! I just found your blog and was hoping it would be ok if I link mine to yours?