pupdate: four-and-a-half-weeks

Penny’s puppies are five weeks old, though I took these pictures when they were four-and-a-half-weeks.  We arbitarily-ish decided that they were four weeks on Monday 1/4, and since Penny is giving us bigger, sadder eyes whenever the puppies latch on to her, we started feeding them “solid” food.  By which I mean pulverized puppy food mixed with some puppy formula and water.  Most of the puppies took to eating solid food immediately — especially the big boys — though a few of them did need us to stuff a little bit of the gruel in their mouths and direct their noses to the dish before they figured out that we were offering them something they did, in fact, want to eat.

IMG_5616Sleepy mama

We also finally let the foster-kittens meet the puppies this week, and they were hysterical together.  Only one kitten was really interested in the puppies, but he was so gentle when he played with them, never using his teeth or claws, and kindly tolerating the puppies chewing him or attempting to put his entire head in their mouth.  Ya know.

IMG_5588Buttercup especially loved her kitten friend! IMG_5604

We are really starting to see differences in the puppies’ faces now.  I think the big blue boy below (Andre) has strong bully-features.  His head is really round and broad, he has serious wrinkled, and his top incisors are close together and have a little bully snaggle.


Whereas Max (below), though just as big as Andre, has a longer, smoother face.


It’s all speculation at this point, of course.  But it’s fun speculation!

IMG_5641Westley already sleeps like a derp

IMG_5651Inigo Montoya is one of the best, because he plays and plays and then crawls into your lap to go to sleep.

The puppies are so much more mobile now, and while their playing and romping still has an element of un-coordinated-ness to it, they are basically “full grown” puppies now.  In addition to nail trimming the puppies now get to experience the vacuum cleaner — and not just from inside their playpen — and bathtime!  They are incredibly people-oriented, so we’ve been trying to follow some good-puppy-raising guidelines and encourage them to be calm (well, as calm as a puppy can be) before feedings and before getting picked up and played with.  Soon we will have to start working on bite inhibition and teaching them the appropriate ways to play with people — i.e. less with their mouths.

IMG_5654Humperdinck IS America’s Next Top Puppy Model!  Also, my friend tells me that the little crease you can see in his ears indicates that they will “rose”, or turn up-out the way pibble ears do (as opposed to laying flat like a Dachshund or perking up like a fox terrier).

pupdate: three weeks old!

IMG_20151230_115447Penny’s puppies are now three weeks old, and growing like weeds.  Or fat little milk ticks.  Or healthy, nursing puppies of a very productive, happy, mama.  Whatever analogy you prefer.

Penny and I are fantastic at taking pictures together. Don’t judge.

At three weeks, puppies have their eyes open and are walking around for increasing periods of time.  They are still totally dependent on mama for food.  Penny’s babies are between 3 and 4.1 pounds, depending on which fat, tick of a baby you put on the scale, and all gaining weight at a steady rate.  They are also starting to play with one another, though they fall asleep pretty quickly after short periods of play time.

IMG_20151230_123913Andre poking Inigo Montoya

IMG_20151230_124916Max playing with his first toy

IMG_20151230_113424Humperdinck after his nail trim

We are also getting the puppies used to routine handling and care — being held, patted, tickled, turned on their backs, and getting their nails trimmed.  It is all very obvious when you think about it, but it’s super important to give puppies good, easy, mellow early experiences with handling so that they get used to it early on.  And it’s fun so… ya know.

wp-1451515641015.jpgThese two are always close

IMG_20151230_125415As they fall asleep after playing they kinda wander towards one another and pile up.  Puppy pillows are the most comfortable pillows, you know!

IMG_20151230_124608Those wrinkles!!

At three weeks there’s still no guessing what Dad was (obviously we know what Penny looks like).  Some of the kids are starting to get big, mastiff-y heads, but it’s really too early to tell.  In a few weeks we will have a better idea, but even then, babies of all breeds look far more similar than the adults of those breeds.  So maybe we will know… in a year?

As a random aside, this obviously also holds for species; there’s this saying “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”.  It means that if you look at the developmental stages of an organism (think fetal development), you can tell their phylogenetic relationships.  Mammalian embryos have gills and a tail to start with, and all of them have hair, whether or not they end up with it!

the most important part

I’ve been barn-sitting this week, which is way bigger of a job than I always assume it is, and without internet on my computer I was like “haha, yeah, I’m not writing anything on the blog I’m just going to sit here after filling waters in the sideways rain* and watch four hours of Criminal Intent”  I just… I’m not of the mobile generation.

* As an aside, sideways rain is the worst.  It doesn’t fill water troughs but it does make epic fucking puddles.

So because this is a horse blog and I’ve a “long” absence to explain, I thought I’d start with the most important part.



A few weeks ago I saw a dog on a facebook share chain that made my heart melt.  She was pregnant and miserable in a shitty, high-kill shelter and I pulled some strings, made some super compelling arguments to some people, and my barn manager agreed to foster the sad pregnant girl dog.  We arranged for transport from the shitty shelter up north, I ran around getting a whelping box and puppy supplies, and less than 24 hours before the blue mama was supposed to arrive we got notice from the shelter staff that a few days earlier they had sent her to a different rescue that could pick her up sooner.  Uh… thanks for letting me know, I guess?  I was glad she made it out of the shelter, but disappointed that I had wasted my time and wasn’t going to have any EPIC cuteness in my life any time soon.

Last week we saw an urgent call for foster for another pittie mama needed help at another shitty high-kill shelter.  This one had already delivered seven puppies, and was surrendered with them.  We still had all the stuff, and I had a pittie-sized hole in my heart (made worse by Ellie living with my boyfriend for the last few weeks), and were more than willing.  Everything came together over a few hours, and on Sunday Penny and her seven babies came to the barn!


wp-1450763312911.jpgPenny is sweet and petite (only 35-ish lbs) and with six behemoth boys and one girl in the litter, we named them after Princess Bride characters.  The pups are already about two weeks old (unclear – not listed on the surrender paperwork) and are fat, fat, fat!  Their eyes are open (though not all the way) and the babies are starting to wobble around the pen.

We gave the litter puppy-names after characters in The Princess Bride.  So may I please present to you: the Princess Bridal Party (working title).

wp-1450758876350.jpgPenny and Buttercup (because Buttercup is the smallest I take advantage of the fat boys sleeping to give her a chance to dine alone at the milk bar)

IMG_5423My name is Inigo Montoya.

IMG_5460Westley and Humperdinck (who appears to have slightly long/rex/wire hair?)

IMG_5531Inigo spooning his little sister Buttercup, with Vizzini and Andre to the right

IMG_5543I lined them up by color and then proceeded to take a shitty picture. Inigo Montoya, Buttercup, Vizzini, Andre/Fezzik, Humperdinck, Westley, and Miracle Max.

Many more pictures to come. Duh.