Sunday, January 29, 2012

EIGHT WEEKS!! Woohoo!!

Made with Practically Perfect by LDrag Designs to be released soon at
It's a beautiful day in the House of Briarwood!  The pups turned 8 weeks old yesterday - hard to believe!!  I should have planned a birthday party!  But they had lots of fun as some prospective parents came to visit and the babies got to play till they collapsed :)

So let's go back to where we left off.  With several trips to the vet, with homeopathy, tinctures and a few tricks up my sleeve, the pups came through their rough spot with no more than loose stools.  It was such a critical time - they could have turned for the worse at any moment, so there were many sleepless nights and lots of emotional strain making sure that we stayed on top of it, getting them appropriate treatments.  I'm soooo relieved that we are on the other side of all of that now. I think the problem was worms that the wormer wasn't getting.  But one never knows with little ones - the best we can do is run tests and take our best guess.  Thank goodness natural medicine treats the body, not just the symtpoms, and gives them what they need to recover, covering a multitude of maladies.

And in all this, of course, I lost little Gable.  Followed by the intense time I had to take for the pups so I didn't lose anymore, and so close to the heels of Mohawk, I just didn't have it in me to try to communicate with him to find out why.  I wanted to, I just... couldn't.  So a dear friend and talented animal communicator was going through my facebook album and she tuned into him for me.  She discovered that his incarnation was an oops of sorts.  He really wanted to be incarnated as a big dog, so being the smallest in a pack of toy dogs just wasn't going to cut it, no matter how big they are in personality.  So back he went for an upgrade.  Personally, I thought he made a most awesome and excellent pug!    His handsomeness inside and out will be missed and I wish him well on his journey.  The sad times are definitely made easier knowing that their spirits live on. 

Raising the pups so excluded has had its benefits and disadvantages.  There was one day that they found they could go under the bed, under the end table, under the curio cabinet and poop where I couldn't reach it.  So down came the whelping pen and the room got a bit of re-arranging so I could get back there and clean.  Then, of course, with the secret hideout being exposed, it wasn't fun anymore, so they went back to the puppy pads.  Silly kids....

But the largest disadvantage is socialization.  In the living room, even in the ex-pen, the exposure to all the dogs and people coming and going really gave them a lot more socialization than I realized.  I took Reba and Asher to the office the other day with me and Asher did ok, but Reba was so scared!  So I've been starting to take them to the office more, and we have a couple of playdates lined up with neighbors to get them out into the world in a safe environment where they still are around Isabelle and me and can experience life with their bodyguards near them.  This will help them when they go to their new homes, to know that they can be in a new place and it doesn't have to be a scary thing.  All pups will go through a time of adjustment, but pugs are so great at settling in and taking ownership of their new people and new homes!

Now yesterday when the whole pack went to the office, they had a blast!  They played hard and napped hard!  They had special visitors and made good use of the extra laps.

And my favorite moment of the day - when Rocky FINALLY came to a stop.  He just collapsed and went from total energy to a puddle of black fur - he entertained us all!  Don't worry,  his new dad scooped him up and made him more comfortable - lol.

And in other news, the pups had their 8-week checkup on Friday and they all got two thumbs up!  Well, Mystery got one thumb up - she has a little bit of eye bugars going, but nothing that won't clear right up with a dab of silver.  But the vet checked them from head to toe, including their joints, and we picked up their first set of shots to bring home with us, and now it's time to find them homes! 

If you are looking to add a pug to your home, we are going to be placing 1-2 more puppies from this litter, and we also have a 4-month old awesome little black girl as well as two adult males for placement.  There might be one more litter on the way, but after that, the two remaining girls are getting spayed and I plan to retire from breeding pugs.  I love them, we have some great dogs/lines, but it is a lot of work for the body and the heart, and they've worn me out!  Now I just want to sit back and love on them without heat cycles and sleepless nights. 

I'll still have puppies in my life because my friend, Tony, will still be doing the shepherds, but I'm here to tell you - there is nothing like a pug puppy.  Shepherd puppies bite you, pug puppies LOVE you.  So I've been concentrating very much on living in the now, and enjoying each and every moment of these babies and I thank all of you for joining me on my journey!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pups Holding Strong

I don't consider the wee ones out of the woods yet, and no one has had a poo that makes me jump up and down with joy, but they are eating, eliminating, playing, and wreaking havoc like normal puppies.  In addition to the vet-recommended Albon, I think that the Wrm Clear by HomeoPets has played an important role.  I finally caught a stool sample this morning that wasn't ground into a puppy pad, so I'll drop that by and see what they find out. 

Asher (whose new name is Ziggy, chosen by his parents! :) has been our resident puffalump, very mild-mannered, and belly always full.  Well, this week he's been playing more and more, and I think the space to investigate and see what else is going on has him up and about more so he's actually getting a sleek body.  No longer can I look down and tell it's him immediately - lol.  Everyone develops in their own time, in their own way, although they all follow the general guidelines for development.

With keeping a close eye on the pups, when I hear a noise, of course I investigate immediately.  So one day Rocky whimpered a puppy sound and I came running to see what it was.  What?  I can make her magically appear?  So then later he came over to the side of the bed and looked up and whimpered.  Poof!  I popped my head over the edge and like an elevator, he was transported to the top of the bed for extra snuggles.  So now he knows that anytime he comes up and demands it, he gets some loving and playing (and some medicine, but I won't remind him of that part).  So far he hasn't abused his new-found puppy powers, but I'm sure that day will come soon :)

Baby Rocky

So now Bella has picked up on the advantages of the cute puppy whine and when she hears Rocky pulling out his moves, she high-tails it over to the side of the bed, throws down her own puppy beat, and also gets magically transported.  She thinks that is sooooo cool.  Last night when she got up on the bed, she got some medicine, then to my surprise, she snuggled down in beside the quilt I'm working on and took a long nap!  I could get used to that!  :) 

Baby Bella

Next will be Reba, I think.  So far, she comes running, too, and then watches the other two get picked up, then she's soon to follow, but she hasn't come on her own and whined yet.  Not far behind!

Baby Reba

Let's see... Asher's phots were posted yesterday, so we're just missing Mystery.  She's been sleeping quite a bit, and grumpy when I wake her, or she's trying to follow me out the door on my way to work, so I haven't been able to snap as many of her, but here she is planting herself on the top of my head for a nap.  Pug owners - look familiar??  She OWNED my pillow.  She's a natural!

Baby Mystery

Hopefully I'll have more good news for you soon!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Puppy Update - what week is this, anyway?

We've been through thew ringer the past two weeks.  I'm sorry I haven't been keeping up on the posts.  I tried writing this blog post earlier and people have seen it, but it was hard to write and a task I was not looking forward to, so it came off as cavalier, but my feelings are anything but.  I lost little Gable on Friday night when symptoms appeared suddenly - vomitting, diarrhea, fever, and despite my best efforts, he didn't make it through the night.  We were back at the vet's office Saturday (yesterday) and we couldn't come up with a stool sample so that they could figure out exactly what it might be, so they sent me home with Albon just in case it was coccidia since I had already covered the bases the days preceeding with panacure.  I have consulted, researched, prayed, read, brainstormed, even dowsed for answers for these little ones - my passion for them stops at nothing.  I have some miracle working products in my pockets from previous litters and we added another homeopathic remedy yesterday that seems to have really helped the others - they were starting to show diarrhea, but none of the others have had the fever/shaking that Gable did, and they seem (knock on wood) to be on the other side of it now.  I am keeping a very close eye on them and have not left them all weekend for longer than it takes to do a quick chore like laundry.  They are getting albon, homeopathy, parvaid and colloidal silver.  Albon is for potential coccidia, homeopathy to treat the whole body, parvaid for digestive distress, and colloidal silver to negate any potential bacterial/viral/protozoa issues. 
For those who don't know, Parvaid became well-known for an effective treatment of parvo.  However, given its unique formula, it is beneficial for parvo imitators, i.e. anything that has to do with vomitting and diarrhea.  So when the tummy is upset for any reason, Parvaid is one of the first things I grab. Won't have a litter or a puppy without keeping some on the shelf!

As far as daily life with the pups goes (and trying to not talk about something so depressing), we've had an interesting evolution.  Usually I have a crate set up downstairs surrounded by an exercise pen and their little area is all contained and easily managed.  But there is a shepherd downstairs and so this litter, I'm raising in my room so she doesn't try to steal them.  Insane, I know, but curiously interesting.  Thank goodness I have hardwood floors :)  Like the fact that every time one of them would get loose from the puppy condo area I made for them here (couldn't fit the ex-pen there, so had to make do with some creative engineering which didn't work quite as well), they would run around the loveseat, around the bed, to the opposite corner of the room and get under my dresser and poop.  This did two things - it encouraged me to proceed with my long-awaited project of hanging my power strip up on the wall and cleaning up my cords so that they were no longer under the dresser.  And it made me curious what they would do if they had free reign of the room.  Much to my surprise, I have removed their barriers and they will sleep on the softest surface available (which happens to be in their crate) and I put a puppy pad under the dresser and they have used it consistenty.  I'm very surprised!!  The good news for me is that they have been extremely easy to clean up after by going potty in the same spot, but the bad news for you new owners is that they might try to find a similar hiding spot till they're house-trained!!  I never imagined that pug puppies could be so potty-responsible when given so much room!

Here is a puppy pile picture from today when they took over the comforter I had tossed on the floor to be taken to the laundry room. 

The pups got to play with some little girls today.  Their favorites were Rocky and Asher because they were the ones who took their loving for the longest time - lol.  I wish I had some pics but was without my camera for a few minutes.   

As far as their development goes, this is the time when they're supposed to be introduced to all sorts of surfaces and environments.  If you have a dog planned for service dog, now is when you'd take them on an elevator or other things that might cause fear as an adult.  The general rule of thumb is 7 surfaces by 7 weeks.  Normally gravel is one of those surfaces, but with the snow and frigid temps, that's out of the question and I'm trying to think of other odd surfaces in the house to put them on.  I've been challenging them with climbing on/over things, like the comforter on the floor.  Some say to make their food a light challenge.  Don't just plop a food bowl in front of them, but do something easy like they have to crawl over something to get to it, or put a paper plate over it that they have to knock off - just something easy that prevents immediate/instant gratification and both makes them think a little and gives them a second to get to it.  They say that this simple exercise prevents food aggression in adults.  I think free-feeding prevents food aggression, but I've never raised a food aggressive dog, so I'm not sure what makes them that way other than obviously if a dog is put in a survival situation or is a stray for a while.

We've been keeping up on the nail trims, but pug eyes are always susceptible to being scratched.  And when you have this many in a litter, we're bound to see a scratch before they go home.  I had what I thought was my first eye scratch last night.  Mystery squinted her right eye, so with my ninja-like reflexes, I grabbed her up, flushed out her eye with colloidal silver and put a dab of antibiotic eye ointment in.  I did it so fast, she didn't even have time to argue with me.  But she did blink at me like "what the heck just happened here?" and I realized I might have over-reacted.  I think she just had some dust or something in her eye.  But better safe than sorry!!

I'm bound and deterined to take new pics of the pups today, but to tide you over till I get them taken and downloaded, here is a photo series from Asher.  You can tell he was protesting when I put him on his back!

P.S.  I look it up and we're 6 weeks old today!!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Sad news about little Mohawk

It turns out that the open fontinel wasn't the real problem with Mohawk (so named because all the hair on his head was pushed to the center when he was born and it gave him a cute little mohawk).  The reason that the onset of symptoms was so sudden was due to hydroencephalitis.  The fluid on the brain pushed everything up and out, making the open fontinel more apparent and putting pressure on the brain. 

The first vet we went to today was the cranial specialist and she really worked through the whole process to find if there was something either physically or energetically that could be done to help the little guy, but no matter how we approached it, the door to wellness remained closed.  I have to extend my sincerest heartfelt thanks to a vet who seems not only very adept at her main skill/profession, but also with kineseology which really aided us in our appointment today.  I came away with answers that I didn't have when I went in that really helped me make a decision in the puppy's best interest. 

So on the way home, I called one of my primary vets and asked them for an appt.  He's the one who explained the hydroencephalitis to me and why his condition was going to deteriorate from here forward in more technical terms and he fully concurred with the decision that the best thing was to not let him suffer.  Again, my heartfelt thanks for a solid voice of no doubt as to the best course of action to take which helped me in my moments of "am I really doing the right thing?"

And if you have dry eyes up to here and want to keep them, proceed with caution.  Some of you know I have become somewhat proficient with animal communication.  It's not as though I'm good enough that I hear constant chatter, but when there is something important or of substance to say, or if I'm in the right frame of mind and pose a question, I can most often receive a communication from the animals. 

Now there are a couple of things to mention first.  Up till now, I had no real eye contact with Mohawk.  After his eyes opened, when he was at the age to start really processing what he was seeing and start to make eye contact is the same time that the hydroencephalitis kicked in and affected his eyes/vision.  So he had a hard time really seeing/registering things around him.  The other thing that is important to the story is that last night, I brought up the macaw to see the pups.  He sat on my shoulder, and I leaned over, bracing myself on the edge of the whelping pen with my elbows and above the pups, sang them rock-a-bye baby (surprisingly on-key!).  As I softly sang to them, the macaw rocked back and forth on my shoulder to the beat and it was a sweet moment for all as the pups settled down for their next nap. 

Ok, so fast forward to our time sitting in the office, waiting for our appointment.  Although logic said it was the right thing to do, I wanted to try to make contact with Mohawk himself to see what he thought about all this.  He layed in my arms and I lifted him up to me and he gave me puppy kisses as he lightly pawed at my chin.  I asked him if he felt like he could have possibly accomplished what he wanted to in his short life here on earth.  To my surprise, he both made eye contact with me for the first time, and he gave me some images that I'll do my best to translate.  According to him, he has spent so much time on the other side, and there is so much love there, that he wanted just a short time incarnated to remember what love felt like when living in the physical world.  It's so pure over there, and he wanted to be sure that he could feel it here before committing to a longer lifespan.  In this short time, he felt very loved and very wanted.  He felt strong love from Isabelle, his mother.  He felt a warm and companionable love from his littermates and the rest of the pack.  He felt loved and wanted by the humans, and believe it or not, all you people out there who have looked at his picture online and have sent him loving thoughts, he has felt you, too!  He showed me that your thoughts of love, adoration, and support are like tendrils of positive energy that float from you to him, and he felt those and was bouyed by them, and so his existence, although all too fleeting, was a positive time with good results.  He even joked about going back to the other side and telling them that if they wanted some good feelings, to be incarnated as a pug. 

So I put aside my feelings of stress, of doubt, of concern, and mustered up the most pure feelings of love that I could, given the situation, and surrounded him with all the love that was possible, so that he could carry with him these feelings to the other side.  The vet administered a sedative, and left him with me to fall asleep.  As he snuggled back down into my arms, he asked me to sing rock-a-bye baby to him again.  With a not-so-on-key and crackling voice, I sang him his song as he gently fell to sleep. 

So thank you, my sweet little one, for sharing this time with me and for sharing your beautiful insights with me and with all of us.  I wish you all the love in the world on your journey.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Week 4.5 Update

So sorry that I've fallen behind in my postings!  These little tots are keeping me BUSY!!  Between upping the number of feedings, trying to keep up on making enough of the ground food, and them making everyday chores more interesting, I've been running to and fro!  Even changing their bedding is a challenge because it just doesn't seem like anywhere is a safe place to put them while I change it.  These guys are super fast!!

Speaking of super fast, I crack up when I watch Gable.  He's like the little kid on the playground with all that zip and zing, running circles around all the other kids and yelling, "Catch me if you can!"  I still think he's the heartthrob of the bunch, but Tony came by the other day and checked them all out and informed me that Rocky was the best example of breed standard and that he was the best looking of all the pups.  Well, since I love them all, I guess I can't argue. 
I just can't help but reminisce about Daisy's first litter whenever I see this group - they are just so similar.  And Daisy's pups are the best pups, ever, having very solid and pleasant personalities, and I'm expecting the same thing out of this litter.  Like the cool kids vs. the annoying kids - these are the cool kids. 

They now have little teeth and are full of play - you know, play hard for 5 min, then collapse for an hour's nap.  And they are at that super cute stage where they now see beyond their face and when they hear a person enter the room, heads bob, tails wag, and they are soooooo happy to see you.  I tell you what, there is NOTHING that will make you feel as adored and loved as a litter of pug puppies when you're bringing them some food.  I don't care that I'm being used as a personal chef, the waves of total love and happiness are more than enough payment :)

Once the ears open, the pups get introduced to more and more new sounds.  This is a time of conditioning, so that they aren't fearful of normal noises later.  I still haven't found a crying baby to introduce them to, yet. In fact, now that I have access to macaws, I should have trained them to make all these noises on command - crying, sirens, blenders, blow dryers, so that I don't have to run around finding the real things - lol. 

And, as I promised you all with the outset of this journey, it's time to share the good with the bad.  Right after the last update, I noticed that Mohawk has open fontinel.  It's a condition where the plates in the skull are not fully joined and there can be a soft spot of brain exposed.  Human children often have the same condition when born.  This is very common in dome-headed breeds and we have seen it before in litters, but the time or two that we've had it, it has been a very mild case and closed up easily and naturally as the pup grew and the skull continued to develop.  But Mohawk, I have to be honest, I'm worried about the little guy.  In addition to moma's milk, the raw puppy food with appropriate supplements, he has also been getting a homeopathic remedy to help the bones close naturally.  And when I noticed it, with the help of a friend, we found a veterinary chiropractic professional who also does cranial work.  I left a message and she's willing to look at him for me, so cross your fingers - tomorrow is the appointment. I'm hoping that she has some magic fingers!!

Mohawk is such an endearing little guy.  I had him out earlier and he just gently nudged my finger with his snout and then snuggled up to my hand in typical puggy fashion.  We just layed there and communed for a while.  He is still hanging strong with the rest of the group, but they are starting to get active enough now that I'm afraid that someone might unintentionally bop him in the head, so tonight the pups got split up.  The four most active pups got put into the new puppy condominium on the floor, complete with a crated area for sleeping, a potty area and an eating area.  Then Mohawk and two that seem to be more gentle with him are still in the whelping pen.  I figure this will help Isabelle feed them MUCH more easily, too!  So we'll try it for a day and see if any adjustments need to be made to the arrangement. 

And you'll never believe who was the first to peek out of the whelping pen?  Little Baby Bella!  The one who started out so timid in life is now the first to jump to see what's going on when she hears a noise and the first to realize that whimpering might get you picked up and cuddled.  Now the others are all catching on and she's not liking the competition!  Rocky sure knows how to work the system, too!  :) 

Little Reba started out in the spotlight, but she's taking the mellow road now.  Chillaxin is her motto. 

Asher is setting aside the whole "feed me" thing and trying on "ain't I cute" for size.  He certainly isn't shy about reaching out for his share of the attention, either!  Of course, none of them are :) 

And last, but not least, little Mystery.  She's been studying at the school of Rocky and is right behind him on all of his exploits.  Like a little sister following a very interesting big brother.  Whatever he's into, she wants to try it, too! 

They are all so addictive.  I just love coming home, letting everyone out, then running upstairs to check on the babes.  And breathe in all that wonderful puppy breath!!  There is never enough puppy breath! 

That's all for now!