Zelda places her front paws firmly on the head of her sleeping brother and with a Geronimo inspired cry, hurls herself over the high side of the whelping box. Zany immediately starts yipping, places her paws on the top of the whelping box wall and determinedly pulls herself up and over. Zeus squeezes his eyes shut against the commotion, wanting to enjoy a little more sleep before joining in his sisters’ adventures.
Abby Kennels’ Z litter is growing up! The changes in the five week old puppies are so startling; sometimes it’s hard to remember how tiny and helpless they once were. Distinct personalities are emerging. The puppies constantly wrestle with each other, fighting for their place in the loose hierarchy that’s taking shape.
Newborn puppies cannot regulate their own body heat. They are born with their eyes and ears closed. They softly mew or grunt. They cannot sit upright, paddle crawl instead of walk, struggle to support their head, and sleep 90 percent of the time, waking only to nurse.
At five weeks, the grunting and mewing are replaced with distinct yelps, whines and barks. When awake, they are constantly in motion, eager to explore and investigate. While their mother Ziva is still a powerful presence in their lives, she spends more and more time away from them. Ziva is getting restless with nursing because of the discomfort of their needle sharp puppy teeth and their insatiable appetite. In addition to nursing, the puppies now eat a slushy mixture of goat’s milk, Blue Seal puppy kibble and canned tripe. They are gaining in independence every day in anticipation of leaving the safety of the litter for forever homes.
In another week, the breeder, Kevin Lanouette, will begin testing the puppies for responses to various stimuli. Each puppy is unique and observing their reactions helps identify which puppy is more dominant or social or timid …. Careful consideration and respect for the individual needs of both the new owner and the puppy determine placement.
For now, we simply watch the puppies grow stronger and more independent every day. We’re privileged to play a small but critical role in their lifetime journey.
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