Guardian Angels …
It was an exciting weekend here at Glenannon Station Retrievers! Gracie’s puppies arrived in the early hours of Sunday morning according to their own agenda, not by the scheduled c-section that was supposed to take place a few hours later. We had opted for c-section since she was carrying such a large litter. We now have 7 adorable little boys and 3 very cute little girls. These little ones came into the world with the help of Dr. Emily Seager, her veterinary technician- Bonnie & some very special Guardian Angels, who gave up a restful night’s sleep to help bring these little pups into the world. The pups re-paid them with some snuggles while their mama was recuperating.
Bringing puppies into the world is very similar to birthing human babies. Just like human babies, puppies’ immune systems aren’t fully developed which makes them susceptible to infectious diseases. Their mom passes her own immunities to the pups through colostrum to help defend against diseases. When the pups arrive, they need to be assessed and made sure they’re all able to suckle well. It’s vital that the puppies ingest colostrum (A.K.A liquid gold). It’s also imperative the puppies are licked by mom, as this is the only way their urinary & intestinal tracts are stimulated. If puppies aren’t licked they fail to thrive or survive. Licking also grooms the puppies and helps with bonding which therefore speeds the maturation of the nervous system. Bonding with mom and puppy is just as important in dogs as it is with humans.
Mama also needs to be well looked after and ensured she is recovering well, drinking, and eating. In the days following the puppy’s birth, I consider it a team effort- mama feeds & licks her puppies and I feed & look after mama to make sure she remains strong and healthy for herself and babies. It’s often crossed my mind that I should have been more like a mama dog with her puppies when I brought my babies home; focussing on just us instead of all the ‘to-dos’ new moms feel we need to stay on top of.
Today is Day 3!
Pups are eating well and are very healthy, so we began their very first lesson today. Early Neurological Stimulation was initially developed by the US Military in their canine program. These simple stimulation exercises have lasting, important effects on the puppy’s brains. We will be doing these exercises once a day for the next 2 weeks and recording the puppy’s reactions each time. We will already begin to have insight into their personalities, even at this young age. Plus, these exercises help to strengthen & regulate their heart rates, give them more tolerance to stress & resistance to disease, and help them develop stronger adrenal gland.