Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

At 14-1/2 years old, Chelsea, our wonderful chow mix has been diagnosed with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. The vet put her on medication which seems to be mildly working but not enough to justify the price tag of the medication each month. A few months ago, she began to panic when we brought her inside the house. Chelsea has always been an inside dog, but since moving to the great Northwest, she began to spend more time outside. Which also meant I could let her coat grow back out and not shave it to the skin to keep her cool. So the time of her panic attacks began about the same time when we started to heat the house up to keep us warm this fall, so I thought maybe she was uncomfortable in the warm house in a heavy coat. But over time, the panic attacks are becoming worse and now she is acting out physically, trying to bite (but so far not breaking skin or bruising) every time I try to bring her in the house.

I can't bring myself to leave her outside, especially at night in the rain. I don't care if that is where she wants to be. It's not where I want her. So we battle this every night; the growling, the biting, the chewing and clawing at the door to get out. If I put her in her crate, she panics even worse and barks all night long.

Chelsea has been a wonderful companion to my husband and I for many years. She has seen us through dating, marriage, kid, dogs, 4 or 5 moves, lots of traveling, camping, hiking. She was our first "child" as a couple. We've had her since she was 5-1/2 weeks old. She has never shown any signs of aggression, has been mild-mannered, sweet, a good dog to mother the other dogs in our house and teach them right from wrong. So this behavior is not her. It's very sad to watch the pet that you love grow old.

So while we have this litter of new puppies, I thought I'd mention that they too will be old someday. In some ways, taking care of a puppy is easier than dealing with a dog that is physically fine, but has lost it mentally. So this is my challenge right now.

Sun Break

So today we had a sun break. For my friends who live in the great southwest with your 300 plus days of sunshine and no rain in 104 days, let me explain. A sun break is when day after day after day of rain, there is a slight break in the clouds long enough that the sun peaks through for a few minutes only to cloud over again and rain some more. So the puppies, now 4 weeks old, and I took advantage of the short "sun break". Only a few minutes, but long enough for each of them to poop outside (shibas are such easy potty trainers), and then we had to come back in because it started misting again. So here's a few pictures of our adventure in the wilds of the backyard. And when I say wilds, I mean a puppy could get lost out there under the piles of leaves that should have been removed last fall.



This week I can really see a difference in the puppies. They are starting to play and wrestle and they are sleeping less. They will follow you around and are investigating more. And the biggest physical change is that their ears really grew this week and like Pinocchio, their noses are growing.

Boy 1- Wow, has he blossomed. I'm having a really difficult time telling him apart from his sister. They really look alike and he's coming out of his shell and starting to play and wrestle with the other puppies.

Girl 1– Still the piggy. She likes to give kisses, but I have a hunch she's really tasting me to see if I'm good enough to eat. She doesn't sit still long and on our trip outside she was the only one that took off running. The rest of them stayed pretty close to me and Tama.

Girl 2– I took her outside separate from the other puppies. She is getting stronger but is still only a pound and a half, while the other puppies are over 3 pounds. She is walking pretty well now. And she'll try to play, but the bigger puppies knock her over and really pick on her. She is still about a week or more behind in development. She is just now attempting to eat my fabulous puppy food mixture. While the others wolf it down like they've never had anything so wonderful. So I am seeing progress in her even though it is very slow.

Boy 2– Holy cow, this puppy is gorgeous. He has a nice head, and his color is beautiful. I've had so many people ask me what his adult color will be and I wish I knew for sure. I'm assuming either a sesame or a dark red. That pretty much leaves it wide open!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Three Weeks!

Here we are at 3 weeks. I have to admit this past week has gone faster than the previous two. Girl #2 (Squeekers) only requires feeding every 4 hours, so I have been able to get a little more sleep the past week. AND I've moved myself out of the whelping room and into my own comfy bed which is infinately better than sleeping with a bunch of whining puppies.

So here they are at 3 weeks:

Boy #1: On the scales at 2 lbs, 8 oz.

Girl #1: A whopping 2 lbs, 12 oz.

Girl #2: Squeekers opened her eyes for the first time a few days ago. And yesterday she began to stand on wobbly little legs. She is about one week behind the others as far as what she is accomplishing developmentally. But she's hanging in there and with every new step she takes, I'm very happy to see her progress. So far the other puppies have used poor Squeekers as a pillow and their doormat. Yesterday and today, for the first time, I saw her crawl on top of the other sleeping puppies and made one of the butterballs her pillow. So she's coming along. She is 1 lb., 3 oz.

Boy #2: Copying his brother at 2 lbs, 8 oz.

Monday, January 23, 2006

These puppies are way too adorable!

Every day they change. They are getting cuter and spunkier every day.

This is boy #1 with Jared:
Jared's favorite is still Squeekers (girl #2). She's still really small compared to the others, but she is also really sweet.
Boy #1 (bottom) and Girl #1 (top)- I call them the twins.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Is there anything cuter?

Not in this household!

Everyone always asks me... Did Jared get to see the puppies being born? Boy #1 was already born when I went in to check on Tama, and I called up to the rest of the family for them to come downstairs just in time for them to see Piggy being born. As soon as she was born, Jared was rushed out the door, onto the bus and to school to share all the excitement with the rest of his class. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during that discussion that day. So here he is with the puppy he will always remember...


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Two weeks old...

The puppies are growing up fast. Tama is ready for them to leave the nest and is already planning for their college tuition (out of state preferably). Talk about difficult subjects to photograph. Would someone teach these puppies how to pose appropriately for a photo!

Boy 1: He's a pretty calm puppy. He likes to be held and petted. He weighs in at 1 lb. 14 oz. He was the first puppy to open his eyes.

Girl 1: Still very appropriately named Miss Piggy. Sorry, I know it's not polite to give a girls weight, but I'm not going to fudge it... she is a whopping two pounds. She gets the glory of being the first one out of the whelping box - in search of food of course. And she was the first one to put all her weight on four very shaky paws. She's rambunctious, starts all the commotion in the box, AND has the loudest mouth letting the whole world know when it's time to eat.

Girl 2: On the opposite end of the spectrum is Squeekers. The lightweight of the family at only a touch over 12 ounces. She is really moving around alot more. And she will nurse now if she's alone with Tama without the competition of her heavyweight brothers and sister. I am still tube feeding her at night only, but allowing her to nurse as much as I can during the day. Her eyes are not open. She is the only one in the litter with her eyes still closed.

Boy 2: This handsome boy is still the most difficult to photograph. He will not sit still long enough for me to get a good photo of him. He is also very much a calm, sweet puppy. Just like his brother he weighs 1 lb. 14 oz.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Eleven Days

Boy #1:
The first one to open his eyes. One eye is open, the other one is partially open. He finally has a nickname - Popeye.

Girl #1:
Piggy is the first one to attempt to walk instead of crawling. She's been trying so hard to support her weight on her legs, especially if she has another puppy or her mommy to lean against.

Girl #2: Squeekers is as tiny as ever. Up to 12 oz. She's still the smallest of the bunch.

Boy #2: He's quite the pretty boy. But I still can't get a perfect picture of him.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Can it really be a week already since the puppies were born? It seems like MUCH longer. I'm sure you thought I was going to say that it went fast. Not at all. This has been the longest 7 days of my life. I've had about as much sleep in the past 7 days as... well, I can't even say since J was an infant since I got more sleep during that time than I have this week. So I don't ever think I've had this little sleep. Every two hours, up with the little one, struggling to get back to sleep in an unfamiliar bed in a room that even I have to admit is just a little too hot to be sleeping in (did I just say something was too hot? That's pretty uncharacteristic of me!) So just when I'm about to fall asleep after getting up with the puppy, it never fails that one of the big dogs whine to go out because they know I'm in the room next to them AND they know I was just moving around the house. So, I'm tired. Very, very tired.

The good news is that Squeekers, as J calls her, has gained a few ounces in the past two days. She's up to about 11 ounces total. She's looking alot stronger and is trying to move around more. But she is so far behind in development that I'm still very worried about her. The bigger puppies just bowl her over, push her out of the way, and use her as a pillow. It's good to see her gaining weight and even trying to nurse when the others aren't there. And I can't wait until she's eating on her own so I don't have to worry so much about her and can return to my nice comfy bed in the quiet end of the house.

So here she is at 11 ounces with her big sister, Piggy, weighing in at a whopping 1 lb, 6 ounces.


And here are the boys. The darker one is 1 lb., 3 ounces. The lighter boy is 1 lb, 4 ounces.


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Piggy weighs a pound

OK, I couldn't resist, I know Piggy is not an appropriate name for a girly-girl... But Girl #1, the largest at birth, has gained the most weight of all the puppies. She is now exactly one pound. Which puts her exactly double her 8oz sister.


Girl #2, Squeekers, as J now calls her because when she's hungry she squeeks at me, is growing very slowly but at least she's growing. And I see small differences every day in her level of strength. I'm tube feeding her for now to keep her weight, her strength and level of hydration good. The vet said she believes she was stressed in the birth canal. There was a long pause between Girl 1 and Girl 2 in delivery and it's very possible that she was stressed. The pause was long enough that I was worried and called the vet during this time. Girl #2 wouldn't nurse right away, so it's been a struggle to keep her from losing weight and dehydrating. She is nursing a little between feedings, and hopefully that instinct will take over and we can wean her off the tube.

The boys are boys - strong, healthy, pushy (but not as much as Piggy). We're still working on nicknames for them. They are both at 12 oz.


Friday, January 06, 2006

Puppies - Day 3

Boy 1- He's so handsome.

Girl 1- She's a chunk at 12 oz already. Outweighing both the boys

Girl 2- She's having a little problem gaining weight so we're tube feeding her for now. She's only gained .3 oz in 3 days. That mean sister is stealing all mommy's milk.

Boy 2- He's the illusive one. I can't get a good photo of him for the life of me. He's also the one that Tama reacts to the most if I remove him from the box which is probably why I can't get a good photo of him. The others, well she doesn't like it, but if Boy 2 goes, she cries.

2 days old...


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

They're here...

Starting at 7:05 this morning and finishing at 9:45, Tama has had not one, not two, not 3... but 4 beautiful puppies. Right now they look like little rats, but in a couple weeks, they will be the most adorable puppies that you have ever laid your eyes on. Shiba Puppies are just too darn cute for their own good. So here they are in their birth order...

Boy #1 - Weight 8 oz

Girl #1 (It's hard to tell by the picture, but boy #1 and girl #1 look almost identical) Weight 9 oz

Girl #2 Weight 7 oz

Boy #2 Weight 8 oz

They are all big puppies for such a small girl. No wonder Tama was huge.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Soon to be a mama...

...Any day now! Tama is absolutely huge. And that's not weight from overeating during the holidays. Tama's tail wags constantly. She brings me all her toys as if to say, "I'm going to be a good mama dog." So this will probably be one of the last photos of her pregnant. Hopefully the next one I post will include the babies...