Puppies, like babies, wait for no one. They arrive when they are good and ready. Ziva went into labor at Abby Kennels shortly before midnight on Tuesday, January 22nd. Of course she did – it was one of the coldest nights of the year, crystal clear and brutally freezing.
Two weeks prior, when recent X-rays at the vet showed eight tiny spines and an upcoming due date, Ziva moved into the whelping room. The whelping room at Abby Kennels is tucked away in a quiet corner. The windows overlook the big, peaceful training field and the Concord River. Everything about the room is quiet and soothing, from the pastel walls to the soft lighting.
A big whelping box takes up most of the room and Ziva made herself comfortable there. It was important that Ziva relaxed and settled in because this enables her to focus entirely on giving birth. She gets plenty of extra love and attention while waiting to deliver – long, gentle walks, favorite treats, familiar people visiting.
On the Tuesday she gave birth, Ziva didn’t want to eat. That was the first sign that she might actually be ready to deliver her puppies. Some females will eat prior to giving birth, but this is Ziva’s third litter and in both previous cases, the day of labor began with her refusing food. The second sign that she was ready to give birth was her restlessness. Normally calm Ziva paced around the whelping room and tried to build a nest in the whelping box by vigorously digging.
Ziva’s first puppy, a male, arrived with little fanfare. Ziva immediately licked the puppy to clean and stimulate him. When she was content that he was alive and well, she settled back down on her side. This male’s fur was very dark, although his color will change as he grows. He lifted his wobbly head and began crawling toward her, searching for food and crying softly as he determinedly made his way to his mother. Born blind and deaf, puppies must rely on their sense of smell and touch to navigate their world for the first few weeks of life.
Ziva whelped seven more puppies over roughly ten hours and repeated the entire examination process. Although exhausted at the end, her work was only just beginning. She will support, nourish, protect and train her puppies for the next eight weeks.
Kevin Lanouette, the owner of Abby Kennels, follows the breeders’ practice of naming their puppies sequentially; groups of puppies are organized as litter “A”, litter “B”, and so on, to easily figure out who the parents are, who the siblings are, how old the dog is …. This is Kevin’s “Z” litter, his twenty sixth litter, but it might as well have been his first. Watching this instinctive motherly love never gets old. We at Abby Kennels are as excited to get to know these zesty, zealous “Z” puppies as we were to know our adventurous, adorable “A” ones!
Fall in love with Ziva’s puppies on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/AbbyKennels