The holiday season is such an intense period. We put so much stress on ourselves with decorating, buying gifts, preparing food, and making sure our family members are happy with everything. I am very big on decorating and finding just the right gifts for everyone, so it was especially meaningful to me to have a litter of puppies in their whelping box right behind the Christmas tree.
We put them on a Christmas blanket and they fit right in with the decorations. One look at them is enough to make anyone feel warm and fuzzy! As I watch them grow, I know that by the middle of February, eight families will come to know the gift of unconditional love that only a pup can bring into your life.
Yesterday, they were 2 weeks old and little Juliet was the first one to open her eyes. It is amazing to watch them grow and change every single day. They have tripled in size, becoming quite chubby and round. Their fur is changing from the sleek, short coat they were born with to a longer, fuzzier length. When they were born, five of them had jet black coats with various white spots on their chest, chins and toes; now, on three of them, there is brown fur growing around their faces and legs. All of them have gone from looking like mice with bubble heads to now resembling little piglets. They have long, fat bodies with short, roly-poly legs. They are holding their heads up but are still doing the belly crawl to get around; it’s hard to believe that within a week or so, they’ll be on their feet and getting themselves into all sorts of trouble.
Mama is doing a fabulous job! I mentioned in last week’s column that, as small as she is, she’s eating as much as my 85-pound dog. She has now exceeded that and is up to about five cups of dry food and two to three cups of wet food every day. It’s all going to the puppies, though, because she’s staying slim in spite of her huge intake.
Watching her, I can’t help but worry over all the mother dogs that are out there feeding litters and being lucky to get even a bowlful of cheap dry food in a day. The South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter sometimes gets nursing moms in as strays, which is awful in that we are then frantic to find the babies and worried for the mother due to the threat of mastitis. It weighs heavily on our minds because you know the only reason they would have left their babies is to forage for food.
A stray, pregnant White Hair Terrier arrived at the Cumberland County SPCA this month. Executive Director Bev Greco took her home to give birth. Jason Alt
I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to care for my little mama and her brood. It’s a joy every morning to see how they’ve grown and changed, literally, in a matter of hours. They are safe and warm, they have full bellies and, in a couple short months, they will be starting their new lives with nice people like you.
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Happy New Year!