It’s a week today since we lost our little boy, and three weeks yesterday since the pups were born. I’ve been rather reluctant to blog about the remaining pup since then, for a few reasons.
I’ve been afraid that bonding too tightly with her, as I did with her brother, would be unhealthy. I was afraid, superstitiously, that loving her too much would somehow put her in danger. So silly, I know. I can justify it by saying that I had a few issues with her putting on weight last week, even as I knew full well that it wasn’t at all the same thing as what happened to her brother.
Sailor had a bit of a bladder infection, and that combined with a solo pup nursing resulted in her having lessened milk production. The little girl stalled in her weight, and I was quite frankly too distracted by her brother to notice right away. By the time I did, she hadn’t gained an ounce in two days, and this in a pup who was regularly putting on a full ounce a day. So, it was once more time to break out the bottle and formula. She’s all caught up again now, weighing 1 lb 14 ounces as of this morning, and back to her ounce a day weight gain. Crisis averted.
It’s all made me realize that she’s been rather the second class citizen in this litter from birth. Her brother has overshadowed her, and I feel rather guilty about that. I also felt she deserved a name, so she’s now officially Delilah – or, rather, unofficially, since Delilah is her call name, and not her registered name. Yesterday, as she was restlessly moving from nipple to nipple on Sailor, and then stop-start-stalling with me on the bottle, I scolded her for being “So stubborn” and “So fussy”. I then realized that what she really is, is “So Rebellious”.
I now introduce you to Delilah – aka Bullmarket Absolut So Rebellious
Photos and more about her after the cut.
Handy tip – in a pinch, dried pablum substitutes quite nicely for concrete.
For those of you who’ve never weaned a puppy before, it’s similar to weaning a baby onto solid foods by sticking them in front of a wading pool full of pablum and encouraging them to do the backstroke through it. Tomorrow, I’m going to video it, because it really is something you need to see to appreciate. She notices us when we enter the whelping room now, running to the side of the pool and squeaking at us until we pick her up. She spends a lot of time being carried from place to place, and dangles quite happily from your hand, like a little furry piece of luggage.
I worry about her being a singleton puppy. I’ve only had one before, Charlotte Creeley’s Stoney, but I had another litter on the ground at the time, and he was able to integrate into it. I had read that weaning could be a challenge without litter mates to encourage competition, but Delilah dove right into the pablum, literally head first, and lapped until her belly looked like she’d swallowed a basketball. Singletons face challenges when it comes to learning social skills. They don’t learn bite inhibition from their siblings, and they can become bored and under challenged. We spend a lot of time playing with her, and letting her chew our fingers.We gently wrestle and rough house with her, and try to keep her stimulated and challenged.
We’ll be moving her into a playpen in the family room as of tomorrow, where she’ll be whenever we are in the same room. This will give her new sights and sounds, and she’ll be able to watch the other dogs coming and going. It will also allow the other dogs to get used to her more quickly. We’ll try to integrate her into the rest of our pack as soon as we can safely do so, but we’ll always make sure to supervise her play until she’s old enough to hold her own.
I fully expect her to be the most spoiled dog who ever lived – although Tessa is happy to challenge her for that title.
A few photos below, or see the full set on Flickr.