It's gestational day #61 (the same day on which Kenya started labor with her last litter). And she's not showing even the remotest sign of Stage One labor (like pre-labor in humans). She's still eating. Her temp bumped up over 100 degrees (F) this morning (after steady decline the last couple of days), she's romping and wiggling and acting quite normal. No extra neediness (a classic sign in her when she grows uncomfortable) and no nesting (digging at the rugs or trying to hide in corners).
So here she is, the Kenya bean in all her "with puppy" glory. :O)
It's funny. As I look at these photos, I see a calm, sweet, lovely, mature, expectant dam, full of Lab faithfulness, dignity and grace. And all of that is true.
But the Kenya of my heart and mind is still our wiggly Kenya Bean; our "look Mom and Dad, I have a bone in my mouth and that makes me special" waggle-butt, our affectionate-but-quite-content-to-sleep-on-our-feet snuggler, our faithful trot-by-our-sides-watching-our-every-move companion.
In some ways, she'll forever be a puppy-squirt to me. Long-time Reader might remember when we brought Kenya home as an eight-week-old from her breeder's in VA to meet Baxter (who lived with us then), Ridge (who passed over the rainbow bridge a few months ago), and Elsie. But for those of you who never knew the Kenya Bean as a pup, here's a brief trip down Memory Lane:
|Puppy Kenya snuggling with old man Ridge (who is now over the Rainbow Bridge)|
|Puppy Kenya snuggling with almost 2 yo Elsie|
|Puppy Kenya meeting then-Sarah's-boyfriend-now-our-son-in-law-for-almost-four-years-and-soon-to-be-dad-himself Chris!|
|My favorite picture of the Kenya Bean as a little squirt|
|Puppy Kenya not long after we brought her home. :o)|
|Puppy Kenya sleeping head-to-head with the Boos (Baxter, who lives with DSD and her hubby, and has for nearly four years now).|
|Ten-week-old Kenya in her pink cast snugging with Elsie (Kenya broke her leg romping with one of the bigger dogs -- and recovered just fine).|
|"Watcha doing with Ridge, Dad??? Huh? Huh? Huh? Huh?"|
|Kenya watching the big doggies retrieve.|
We love our Kenya Bean. :) And we think she represents the best of what the Lab breed has to offer (across the board). That's why we've chosen to breed her.
We suspect the pups in her belly are going to be lovely, smart, faithful, intelligent, loyal, eager-to-please, affectionate, people-pleasing retrievers, and we can hardly wait to meet them face to snout (oh boy, puppy breath!). :)
I have to admit, however, that the longer Kenya's labor waits to start, the more concerned I'm becoming because of the size of these in-utero pups. Whelping is usually easy for Labs, but can become a risk to the dam with smaller litters whose pups grow too large before whelping. As much as we love these babies already, our primary concern for now is our Kenya Bean.
Let's just hope all goes smoothly and starts soon.
We'll keep you updated!
'til next time,