Sailor’s litter is due next week, on the 15th. I’ll be making the 1 1/2 hour drive to Michigan to whelp her litter, then it’s back here to my home to raise them. I admit it – I can’t wait, but I’m also a little nervous.
It’s been a long time since I had puppies here at home with me. In fact, I had my last litter at home with me in 2001 – almost six years ago. In that time, I’ve moved from a four bedroom, 2500 square foot house in the suburbs to a 900 square foot loft in downtown Toronto, and then to a 2200 square foot house way out in Mennonite country. In the middle of that first move, a lot of downsizing occurred, and among the things I lost, sold or gave away were all of my whelping supplies.
This might not sound like much, to some people, but the breeders out there are shaking their heads in woe at what my shopping list must have been like to re-stock. All of those things we pick up, bit by bit as we go along? Gone.
So, here’s what I had to acquire over the last few days, to prepare for Sailor’s litter:
- two sizes of plastic swimming pools (God’s gift to dog breeders for their usefulness as easily cleaned whelping boxes, in my opinion)
- Dozens of whelping box blankets. My local No Frills store had soft, fleecy throws on sale for just $3.99 – less than what the second hand store wanted for blankets. I bought tons of them
- towels for the first few, dirty, bloody days after the section
- a queen sized foam ‘egg carton’ mattress pad. I believe that placing a section of this padding under the blankets gets puppies up on their feet faster, by giving them a non slick, textured surface to walk on.
- two heating pads
- one reflector light and soft white bulb, to warm puppies from above
- room thermometer
- two hot water bottles
- digital thermometer
- cotton balls, baby wipes, baby oil (for stimulating puppies’ defecation and urination over the first few days)
- an emergency back up supply of powdered milk replacer
- puppy sized bottles and a “only in case of a TOTAL emergency tube feeding kit”
- two cases of disposable incontinence pads. These make awesome replacements for newspapers in the whelping box, and are much cheaper than ‘puppy pads’. Bonus: here in Canada, there’s no tax on them, as they are considered ‘medical supplies’
- digital postal scale, for checking newborn puppy weights in grams or ounces (Side note to my daughter: Hey Nicole – any idea where my other scale is?)
All of this pales in comparison to the really hard work – creating and prepping a dedicated whelping room. I made one promise when we started looking for a house, and it’s the same one almost every dog person makes:
“As God is my witness, I will never have a house with carpets again!”
Sure enough, our new house had no carpets, except for in the room I planned to use for the dogs. Doesn’t that just figure?
So, we’ve spent the past few months ripping out carpet, scraping up glue, installing tile flooring and baseboards, stripping off the “my little pony pink” wallpaper border, painting the walls, re-painting them after our inept tile installer covered them with grout and thin set, and re installing the closet doors. Now I just need to move the furniture in, set up the whelping box, and breathe deeply and try to relax.
Sailor, in the meantime, is fat as little moo cow, leaking milk all over the place, and generally muttering “Get this thing out of me” under her breath every time I look in her general direction.
I’m sorry, Sailor. Just five more days, I swear.
On a side note, I also invested in some additional techno toys, including a new Sony Digital Video camera, which I’ve set up as a web cam. As soon as Sailor and the pup arrive home from the Vet in Michigan, the cam will be online 24/7
You can get a sneak peek here, but you’re only going to see some truly boring footage of the dogs sitting on their bed and chewing on water bottles. I know it’s blurry – my stupid, slow, over priced Satellite internet connection isn’t good enough for true streaming. Sorry about that.
In the meantime, wish me luck in the whelping room!