Bunny Pups Birthday, and Delilah is Slightly Better

Possibly Po (His mom & Dad aren't 100% on his name yet)

The Bunny pups turn two weeks old today, and I have to say that they are one of the most stress free litters I’ve ever had (thanks mostly to Bunny’s exceptional mothering skills). They rarely cry, and they’re all unbelievably chubby little babies. Bunny keeps them immaculately clean, and rarely is out of the whelping box. Every litter should be this easy.

Basket Full of Puppies

Delilah, on the other, is a graduate of the same slacker mom school of parenthood that her sister Penelope attended. She is getting better – she has some milk, finally, although not very much, and she’s occasionally cleaning the puppies, but over all her attitude is one of “this is all a bad dream”. Hauling the puppies to Bunny for feedings was starting to stress Bun out – she became agitated every time I took them back away from again, barking and jumping up and down in a way that clearly said “Where do you think you’re going with those babies?”. We were faced with a choice – either leave the puppies with Bunny for good, or start supplementing with a bottle. The size difference between the Bunny pups and Delilah’s wee babies would have made it risky to leave them with Bunny, so we chose bottle feeding. Thankfully, the bottle is just there to ‘top them up’ after they’ve nursed, so it’s a little less onerous than a full regimen of bottle feeding four puppies would usually be.

We’re still getting up every two hours for feedings, but now the routine is –

  • Get up, put Delilah on bed, get puppies, put on bed with Delilah
  • Put Delilah on her side (she’s still not thrilled with this, but it no longer requires wrestling moves to get her into position)
  • Put puppies on nipples, making sure the smaller ones (the two brindle girls) get the premium real estate
  • When pups drop off, top pups up with a bottle feeding. Each puppy drinks about 10 ml of formula, which doesn’t sound like much, but is making all the difference in their weight gain, and yet is still little enough to not impact Delilah’s milk production
  • Clean puppy bottoms, trying first to get Delilah to lick them, and then, if that fails, using cotton balls dipped in warm water
  • Put pups back in whelping box, feed Delilah, let her outside to pee, stagger back to bed

.. repeat in two hours. With any luck, Delilah’s motherhood skills will increase over the next week, so that I can start getting some real sleep, instead of just running on coffee and adrenaline. In the meantime, kissing Vela’s fat little tummy is a remarkable pick me up.

The rest of the photos are over here on Flickr.

So much for her girlish figure…

Tula is waay pregnant

If I had any remaining doubt about Tula being preggers, it went out the window when I shot this photo of her. Holy cow!

Honestly, I hadn’t really noticed how huuuuge she was until I took a good look at this picture. Considering how svelte Tula normally is, this is a pretty dramatic change for a dog who’s only one month and change into her 62 day pregnancy.

Dexter sits pretty

Dexter continues to grow up – unfortunately, he’s started to sit when there’s food on offer. When it’s snacking time, all the dogs have to do a good, solid sit to get their treat – looks like he learned by imitation.

Uh oh…

That’s a no no for a dog with a (hopeful) future in the conformation show ring. Back to the drawing board – I need to train him the ‘stand’ command all over again. On the plus side, way to learn the sit command, Dexter! Now, just don’t tell Barb.

Hey, want to see some old photos of our dogs? I just uploaded almost 160 old French Bulldog photos onto Flickr – and I have about another 200 to scan. These ones aren’t organized yet – they don’t even really have proper titles, but feel free to check them out. There are some interesting shots in there – take this one, for example:

Diva, Felix and Dragon

That’s a shot of Felix, to the left, and Diva, in the center, along with their siblings.

Diva is Bunny’s mom, and Tula’s great grandmother. Felix is Elliott’s dad. So, in this photo, you have two dogs who will both appear in the pedigree of the puppies Tula is carrying. This is important, since the dogs who came before my dogs today, will influence the dogs that we produce tomorrow.

Interesting stuff, if you’re interested in that kind of stuff.

Penelope is puzzling

I am inspired by the fact that my dogs set the bar ever higher when it comes to puzzling “What the hell is THAT all about?” type scenarios.

Penelope was bred 2.5 weeks ago. For the last few days, we’ve been seeing the occasional teeny tiny, pinkie nail sized clots just fall out of her vagina.

It happened to Sean first, and as he said himself “I think I’m taking it pretty well, all things considered”. Not every man can refrain from shrieking with horror when a piece of blood clot falls out of his dog’s vajayjay and lands on his shirt, so big thumbs up there, fella!

Literally, they just fall out – you’re holding her on your lap, and ploop! A tiny solid piece of whatthehellever falls on your lap. In between ploops, she’s got no discharge of any kind.

The clots are solidly formed, with no bad smell. She’s not sick. She has no fever. She’s not lethargic. Or off her food. Or drinking too much/too little. All of those are the signs of pyometria, which was my first worrisome concern. After a check over by the vet, we’re both pretty sure that pyo is what she doesn’t have – it’s what she does have that’s still puzzling us.

The vet, on being told about the little bits of stuff that were falling out of Nell, said “What the hell could THAT be?”. Gee doc, if I knew that, I wouldn’t be here! Just kidding, I love my vet. And hey, it’s sort of stimulating to be the case that causes her to say, with some excitement, “This, this is really quite fascinating, to be honest with you”.

Cell cytology revealed.. nothing. No pus, no infection, no plethora of white cells.

Google searched it – nothing.

The veterinarian did a  Vet Med search on it – nothing, other than a repro vet suggestion to ultrasound her uterus, to which I said “And what does THAT tell us?”, to which the vet said “Nothing”.

So… what the hell? Anyone ever seen this? If you have, what was it? And did your girl still conceive?

I’m going to go bang my head on the desk for a while now..

(Almost) All the ladies love McLovin

Squeamish readers take note: This post contains descriptive terms you might not enjoy reading. Feel free to skip by looking at this cute video of a kitten.

Tessa the French Bulldog is done with lovin'

McLovin is slowly losing his mind, and I can’t say I blame him. Poor Elliott – it’s not easy being the only mature boy in a house full of French Bulldog ladies in the mood for love.

The progesterone fest, however, is slowly winding down. Only Paris still remains committed to her one true love (or at least her one true ‘you’ll do for now’), with Penelope and Tula having come to the conclusion that he isn’t, in fact, all that and a bag of chips.

It was a different story last week however, when Penelope spent most of her time either pining for her beloved, or screeching at the top of her lungs whenever she caught sight of him. Elliott was busily peeing every place he caught scent of her, which apparently included the leather recliner and my suede Converse running shoes.

Tula’s infatuation wore off mighty quick. Within 24 hours, she went from “Ooooh baby” to “Ewwww, icky”, a sea change she expressed with her fine white teeth and an impressive show of snarling. Elliott, being a typical, easy going male French Bulldog, shrugged off her change of heart with some befuddled confusion and a great deal of sangfroid.

Penelope, on the other hand, objected mightily to Ms. Tula dissing her beloved, and a quick and fierce battle over whether or not Elliott was, indeed, the most handsome Frenchie alive was only broken up when I intervened with a bucket of water and a hose. Rumors that the other dogs were hanging around in the background chanting “Jerry, Jerry” and that Sailor, Penelope’s mom, stepped in and swung a chair at Tula’s head are unsubstantiated.

The fight was declared a draw, with Tula walking away muttering “I still say he stinks“, while Nell, gazing at Elliott with moony love struck eyes, hummed “one day, my frog prince will come”.

Less than a week later, and oh how things have changed. Nell and Tula are now united in their disdain for Elliott’s manly ways, and have expressed that opinion with several “Get the hell away from me or I’ll neuter you with my teeth” conversations. Elliott has decided that he’ll just stick with Paris for now.

What a surprise he’s in for when Paris falls out of love with him. That girl will eat him alive if he comes sniffing around too insistently…

Tessa, being old and experienced in the ways of amour, has said that love and romance are dearly over rated, and pale in comparison to a nice nap in a sunny spot in the garden.

Love is in the air….

French Bulldog romeo

So, according to the progesterone results, and the fact that Tula has been sluttishly jamming her girly bits into the face of every dog who comes close to her, today was her first breeding day.

I tossed Tula, wearing a stylish pair of skull and cross bones printed season panties, and Elliott (who was wearing a slightly poopy butt and non matching camo print color) into the Element, and headed for the vet’s office. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, boy Frenchies are pretty much inept when it comes to breeding. They might be willing, but they most definitely are not able, so veterinary assistance is usually required. Barb, of course, handles this herself, but since I’m both more squeamish and much more clumsy, I prefer to leave things like this to the professionals. It’s well worth the hundred bucks and change per breeding to not have the after images lingering in my head for days.

Elliott, who is one of the best tempered intact male Frenchies I’ve ever met, was so thrilled to meet everyone at the vet clinic that he sort of forgot all about Tula and the reason for his visit.

Tula, who had done just about everything short of donning hot pants and crooning “me love you long time” into Elliott’s ear in an attempt to get his attention, finally smacked him against the wall with her rear and commanded him to just get on with it, thank you.

That did the trick. Elliott woke up, realized “Oh hey, that’s what I’m here for”, and proceeded to woo his new lady love – or rather, he wooed the vet, but since the end result was what matters, we’ll leave that alone. Elliott, in fact, was so happy to be reminded of his purpose on life that he was ready for another go, so we tossed the newly nicknamed ‘McLovin’ into a crate, and helped Tula onto the path towards motherhood.

Monday we’ll repeat the entire sordid procedure. Who says dog breeding isn’t glamorous?