|Posted by Pat on January 22, 2011 at 11:10 AM||comments (0)|
Well there we were with 6 girls and 4 boys ranging in birth weight from 5.5 oz up to 14 oz. From what I had read 12 oz seemed to be a normal birthweight for labs. So half the litter was normal or over, and half the litter was underweight, especially our 5.5 oz girl. And then we had Koko who looked at all these puppies and seemed to say "What NOW?". And then her maternal instincts clicked in and she did not move from the whelping box, except for short walks, for the next week. She fed and cleaned and was a great Mom. And as for the 5.5 oz girl, she turned out to be a great little puppy, and by eight weeks had almost as big as the rest of the litter (except for those last two boys whose birth weights of 14 oz. seemed to always mean they were BIG.)
Lesson 3: Maternal instinct is an amazing process. Koko knew exactly how to care for her puppies. She took amazing care of them. What would we have done if she hadn't been able to take care of them? There still was a lot of work involved in supplimentary feeding of the little guys and in making sure the pen was clean and warm. But it was nothing compared to the amount of work there would have been if we had had to feed all ten!
AND THEN the our work really began.....
|Posted by Pat on January 21, 2011 at 8:14 PM||comments (0)|
We now prepared for arrival of puppies that were expected to arrive somewhere from June 9 to 13. We got a kiddies pool and took it into the basement with towels and blankets for the big day. Then we decided to go on a roadtrip, the weekend before the due date. This decision may have been okay, except as we were packing the motorhome for departure, Koko ran out onto the road. I screamed and the driver slammed on her breaks. Luckily it was our neighbour and she knew why I was yelling KOKO. Koko hit the side of her car but did not injure it too much. We rushed Koko to the vet's office, but everthing seemed to be okay. She was just shaken up. And only time would tell what effect it would have on the puppies she was carrying.
Off we went for our weekend with a very pregnant Koko. When we got home, I thought perhaps it was time to start measuring her body temperature. On June 7, it was 99 F. This was a bit outside the normal range of 100 to 102 F but as it was my first time measuring a dog's temperature, I wasn't sure if it was the pre-whelping drop or not. On June 8 her temperature was down to 98 F. This time I was pretty certain that it was the pre-whelping drop so Dave was told to keep a close eye on her, and get her to the whelping pool if it looked like she was in labour.
When we got home after work, Koko seemed very restless so we took her downstairs to her whelping pool. By 5:30 she was in intense labour and the first puppy arrived in the world at 5:40. It was a big, vigorous female. At about half hour intervals, the first three puppies were born. But then there was an almost hour lull. Koko looked distressed but nothing was coming out. Was this a time to call someone with experience?
But no, there was something coming out. It was wee. A wee girl of only 5.5 oz. She was very weak and I wasn't sure she was even going to breath. Koko wanted a break after her, so out I took her. And then the puppy every half hour routine began again, with five, six, seven, and eight. Was that it? Six girls and two boys.
We waited and almost an hour passed, and then it started again. Puppy number nine and then ten. Two more boys. And we waited. But that was it. Enough!
But wait what about all those placentas? Sure the first few had come out with the puppies and Koko carefully removed them (ate them actually). But I seemed to have missed noticing a couple at the beginning, and then I knew a couple at the end had not come out.......where were they? Well at 3 am another mass was passed, one placenta....but what about the others?
Off to the vet we went in the morning....Koko was fine. They must have come out sometime during the night and she either ate them or it was outside.
|Posted by Pat on January 21, 2011 at 3:37 PM||comments (0)|
So as Brady seemed like a really nice lad and Koko did not seem to mind him, we made arrangements with the O'Tooles to bring Koko down during her next heat cycle. She started her cycle just before Easter, so we took her to live with the O'Tooles for the Easter weekend. The fateful matings took place at days 11 and 13 of her cycle (just like they say to do in the books). We picked her up and waited....and waited....and nothing really happened unitl about four weeks later she started to vomit, and was ravenous (even more than normally), and started to expand..... I think this picture of her on May 20, 2004 sort of says it all. Can't you see her saying to us "What have you done to me, I can hardly move!"
|Posted by Pat on January 21, 2011 at 11:41 AM||comments (0)|
When we brought Koko home, she grew to be the most intelligent, beautiful dog in the world. We thought to ourselves, let's have puppies so we can have one more of her and share her with the world. Of course we may have been a bit biased about her looks and intelligence as Koko was the first dog Dave and I had ever had. Sure we had lived with other dogs, but they were always someone else's dog.
So as Koko aged, we began to read about breeding dogs. We read books about dog genetics, and whelping puppies. We looked up and read everything then available on the internet about whelping. And we learned that we needed to check out a few things before we actually bred Koko. So off we took her to a canine opthamologist suggested by a friend who breeds miniature Schnauzers. Koko's eyes were fine, but it was a Canadian canine opthamologist so did not go into the OFA/CERF data bases. Lesson one, check into all the different categories of testing. So then we got her hips checked we knew they needed to be sent to the OFA, and that's where the X-rays went. They came back as Fair. This did not mean she had or would develop hip dysplasia, it just meant her hips were not as good as they should have been. Lesson two, be sure to feed a good quality food to your large-breed puppy to regulate early growth and weight gain, and don't have them jumping and putting a lot of strain on those growing bones.
So despite the less than perfect testing and with the knowledge that whelping could endanger her life, on we went with our plans for a breeding. We began our search for a male chocolate lab with a friend who had a lovely chocolate lab that he had got from Maureen Elgert of Irishcreek Kennels. Maureen was a perfect contact as she was more than willing to help out. Her chocolate male Panchanga's Big Country Max had died so was not available for stud, but Maureen suggested two males that had come out of her breeding program. We were able to track down the owners of IrishCreek's Brady. Brady had excellent hips, was a tall, lanky male and seemed like a good compliment to our somewhat overweight, short Koko. We introduced Koko to Brady on Valentine's Day 2004. It seemed like fate.