When we last left our heroine, Sparky had just delivered nine beautiful, healthy, HUNGRY puppies. Five girls, four boys. 5 solid gray and 4 with white. Nice split! Newborn puppies eyes and ears are sealed. They can smell and they instinctively move toward mother's warm body. We refer to this as the"baked potato" stage. They are cute, but about as interesting as a baked potato. They do 3 things: Eat. Sleep. Poop. Mom takes care of cleaning up after them for these first few weeks, though we change the blankets and wipe down the box at least once a day. Now is the time to get some rest, because in a few weeks, it's gonna get REAL crazy!
Did you know it takes fourteen days to make a superdog?
Sparky's been an awesome mom, there's just a certain glow about her. She took to the new roll very naturally and seems to be reveling in her new duties. Mattie seems to enjoy being a Great Grandma.
Towards the end of the 2nd week we get some good news. The wait is finally over! We're closing on our new house at the end of the week. I've got some plumbing issues to get taken care of, a doggie door to install, an enclosure to build for the puppies, and THEN we get to move ELEVEN gray beasts, this should be interesting.... Fortunately, I have the name of a good handyman, my wonderful mom is a workhorse and my new friend, Kim from work is willing to pitch in. I load up the van, one old dog, one mama dog and 9 little gray piglets for the 10 mile drive to our new home.
Well, they say that home is where the heart is. If that is true then our Sherman St house has lots of heart. We all settled in quickly, the gray dogs eager to explore their new surroundings. The next weeks go by quickly as we try to unpack and keep up with the puppies. That first week in the new house, 3 puppies learned to climb out of the whelping box. If that wasn't enough, little purple girl learned to climb back IN the whelping box. Since the box is raised off the floor, the sides are 2.5 inches TALLER from the outside. Week 4 and the new thing is learning to carry things. Again it's purple girl, tennis ball in her mouth, pacing in front of the whelping box. The long side of the box is 6 feet, but all but 12 inches is blocked off. She's trying to figure out how to get back in the box with the the ball. I am dumbfounded.... She's about 80% there when a sneak attack from behind distracts her from her task.
Week 5 and it's time to start feeding the little monsters. This is when the real work starts, the beginning of the big poopy mountain as one breeder friend of mine puts it. It's a wonder how it always seems that there is more coming OUT of the puppies than you put IN to the puppies. With 9 puppies, someone is always pooping at any given time. Generally this is the time when mom says, "I've had enough! They're all yours!" But Sparky's beginning to really have fun with the little tykes, they are learning to play! She's also not that worried about closing the "titty bar" anytime soon.
Week 6 brought the first barrage of visitors, a family of 6 with kids in all sizes and varieties. The puppies are a little uncertain of what to make of the invasion at first, but quickly warm up to the new humans. Afterwards they are exhausted, as am I. Late in the week we have our first formal photo shoot, getting a good look at structure. This is purple girl. Amy took one look at this picture and emailed me a message, "If you don't want her, I do. And YES, I'm serious!"
Amy comes ups to help with week 7 photos and meet the gang in person.
Week 8 and time is running out for evaluations. We'll be testing the youngsters on birds, doing temperament testing and our final conformation evaluations, then deciding who goes where. The suspense is killing EVERYONE!!!