Grand Dam Elsie is expecting and due in about ten days (give or take a couple of days either way). Our bouncy buddy Tuc is the sire (his first time as Master Studly). We expect the litter to have yellow or black coats only this time, and what gorgeous puppies these will be!
After Kenya's false pregnancy in December, I hesitated to write about Elsie's planned litter for this spring until we were absolutely certain, and last night's trip to the vet confirmed what we suspected: there's nothing false about this pregnancy.
Upon reading Elsie's pregnancy confirmation/puppy count x-ray last night, our beloved vet said he sees five puppies in utero. I see seven. Just so you know, the last time Dr. Wagner saw five, Elsie delivered nine. Apprently puppy counting in utero is not an exact science. Take a look for yourselves:
If you look at the very center of the picture, you'll see something that looks like a tiny curved ladder (rungs are lighter/brighter white). That's a puppy spine.
If you look toward the right of center and down a little bit, you'll see something that looks almost like the edges of a soap bubble (can see the left side of the bubble more clearly). That's a puppy skull.
If you'd like to try counting puppies for yourself, you can click on the picture to enlarge it. Then count spines (they're easier to see).
As I look at it and futz with the contrasts in the image, I'm absolutely sure I see six, and possibly a seventh. Puppies are quite adept at hiding, so there well could be more. (We have a running joke with Dr. Wagner about puppy counts, hehe). :o )
So there it is: five, six, seven, eight... who knows? Only time will tell.
Elsie is doing quite well; vigorous, healthy, happy and growing more hippo-like daily (bless her heart):
We're back to call her "jugs" and "wide load" and "Mama Elsie" -- all terms of the fondest affection and endearment. She's our Elsie Girl.
But she's also an experienced dam, so we thankfully don't expect any complications. And, since she's 6.5 yo now, this will be her last litter. As far as we're concerned, three litters in five years is plenty. We'll have her spayed this summer at which time she'll join Ridge in retirement.
Ai yi yi. Puppies. Oh boy! Ack!
My guess is that Elsie will whelp next weekend; we'll start taking her temperature mid-week to look for the stage-one-labor temperature drop. She's at Day 51 today (of gestation). She whelped at Day 58 with her first litter and Day 59 with her second. I doubt she'll go longer than that this time. Canine gestation is supposed to be 63 days, but the longest we've seen is 60 days and that was with Kenya.
Admittedly, I hope Elsie goes closer to her norm (Day 58 or 59); she's quite big already and getting more uncomfortable. But no matter how much she pleads with her eyes (photo taken this morning)...
the only way out for her is through. Poor girl.
In the meantime, we're preparing. DH is re-assembling the whelping box this weekend, and I'll be washing and sterilizing and setting up over the next two days just to be sure. Then, before we know it, the little ones will be here, complete with puppy grunts, puppy nuzzles, puppy breath, and puppy songs! :)
And you, of course, know what that means: I'll be here documenting it all.
Stay tuned. It's almost puppy time! :)
'Til next time,