Updated: 17 hours ago
This is Darla. Owner of Oak Knoll Doodles the momma, grandma, guardian and protector of Lexi's litter of F1 Bernedoodles. The babies are 9 days old. I've been thinking of writing a daily accounting of their progress and sharing it with my Puppy Families and others who love watching puppies grow and develop. Wish I'd started at Day 1, but today is better than tomorrow.
Lexi had 7 beautiful puppies. Bred to Levi, my Tri Merle Mini Poodle, they had 3 Tri color puppies and 4 Tri Merle puppies. A big shout out to Sharon, my neighbor and dog lover, for helping me whelp the litter. She is a love and adores the dogs as much as I do. Truth be told, I think my dogs love her more than me. ;) Can't have too many people loving your dogs!!! Happy to say, the wait list is full, so I've had the pleasure of sharing this journey with families who hope to connect with one special puppy and take them home. I have started the wait list for Lexi's litter this summer. There is still availability on that list.
Ok, let me get you caught up. Day 1 & 2 is all about watching the puppies, making sure they are all nursing well, momma is resting, eating, being careful to not lay on the babies, cleaning them (mommas stimulation to their puppy parts is what triggers their being able to go to the bathroom), weighing them daily, keeping them warm with a heating pad and mini heater which has been on 24/7, change out their bedding every day, and of course my part...sleeping in the room with them, jumping out of bed 12-15 times a night to adjust babies, and make sure Lexi isn't laying on them, or move her off of them. They are little tiny pip squeaks and need lots of overseeing!!! The dew claws were removed the afternoon of Day 2. Sad job, I dislike doing it, but makes such a difference for the rest of their lives. They all did well, and are healing nicely!
Day 3 - Today I started the ENS exposure. They are offered a scent, lemon, and I note their reaction. Plus I handle them in different positions, touch their feet, ears, mouth, etc., to help them get accustomed to this type of interaction. Helps when it is time for them to start going to the groomers. Trimmed their little tiny toe nails today.
Day 4 thru 8 - I'll catch you up briefly. They were exposed to these scents: Cloves, oranges, cinnamon, banana, celery. Their reactions are noted on their Neonatal Care Chart. Each puppy has a special form to chart their individual progress. Day 8 I had to leave Lexi unattended for 2.5 hours to take Remi to be bred in Temecula. Boy was I a nervous wreck. Hoping Lexi would not lay on a puppy while I was away. My friend next door, Sharon, will come over and check on the babies if I need to run an errand, but she is out of town, visiting family. I got about 7 hours of sleep, interrupted about 4 times, but that's an improvement.
Day 9 - Last night I slept well again, Yay! Puppies are thriving! The puppies were exposed to the smell of maple syrup. So if your little guy doesn't leave you alone while eating pancakes, waffles, or french toast, you can blame it on me. HAHA
Day 10 - Puppies had a good night. I was up twice checking on the little ones. Never sure if a puppy is just being vocal, or if they are behind Momma and cannot find their way to the dinner table. Thank goodness for the rails in the whelping pen. I always do a head count when I walk into the room, and twice, I've counted 6 puppies (there are 7!) Upon further inspection, I found the puppy, behind Lexi's back, tucked in under the protective railing. Let me tell you...those rails are worth their weight in gold!!! Although, a couple of the puppies ( Noel and Kringle) are so big, that they barely fit under the rails any more. Haha...Gaining like champs!!! The scent was vanilla today. All had a positive response to it. And the ENS is going well...most are relaxed through the whole process. Physically: their little nose and muzzle are turning black. Soooo stinking cute!! Eyes and ears should be opening soon! Yay!!!
Day 11 - Puppies & Momma Lexi are doing great. Our ENS training involved the scent of Beef Bouillon. For most, their reaction was fairly neutral. A couple moved in closer, and one licked his chops. :) As I was going through the stimulation process, I saw a sparkle in Tinsels right eye. Low and behold, her eyes are starting to open. Wonder if any of the Merle's will have blue eyes. The babies are starting to tootle around the bed area. Not quite up on all 4 feet, but more than simply scooting around. Stay tuned for an update tomorrow... Night everyone!
Day 12 - Today was a busy one! Took Levi to Temecula to be bred, and rushed home, not wanting be away from Lexi and puppies long. They are still small and as careful as Lexi tries to be, she occasionally steps on them, lays on them and sometimes they get caught behind her. My job is to help her readjust positioning when she is hindering a puppy. Tonight while doing the ENS/scent (peanut butter) training, and weighing the puppies, I noticed the 3 tri merle girls haven't gained much over the last 2 days. Worried mother hen went into action! I ran to the store, bought calf liver, to make liver water. Amongst Breeders, we know that this potion works like magic in helping puppies to thrive. I gave each girl 4 drops of liver water and will do so every 2 hours throughout the night. Hopefully this will keep their energy up and their vigorous nursing will continue. Also, Angel and Pumpkin have opened their eyes. Yay! The ears start opening at the same time the eyes open, so I will start playing movies for the background sound/noise. Tonight the feature movie was 'Leo', a newly released, animated cartoon on Netflix. In the meantime, I am going to go lay down, (literally about 8 feet from the puppies), say a little prayer for their well being, and trust that all is well. Good night to my Puppy Families. Know that your puppy is in good hands.
Day 13 - Hello Puppy Families! Today was just as busy, with a trip to Temecula for Levi's 2nd breeding. Once home, I put my Breeder hat on and continued giving the puppies liver water and Puppy Support, (a blend of ingredients that help puppies thrive). Keeping the Neonatal Charts on each puppy, once again, proves to be extremely important. By weighing them every day, I was able to see that they were not gaining, like they had been. That was my indication to spring into action and give them added support. Happily, the extra effort, has enhanced the puppies well being and they are vigorously nursing again. :) Their audio stimulation was the beginning of the Downton Abbey Series. Surely they love period pieces, don't you think??? By the way, the ENS Training was put on hold. When puppies need added support, the minimal stressors that the training provides, by encouraging their minds to think and process the new stimulus, can sometimes be too much for them. Remembering, they are little and delicate creatures, it was obvious that I needed to adjust the program to fit their needs. Hope you're enjoying this informal accounting of your puppies journey. It is my pleasure to share it as it makes me feel like it's a family affair. Look forward to chatting with you all tomorrow. Night...
Day 14 - Nov. 30 Puppies had a good day! It's amazing how the liver water, Puppy Support powder and Electrolytes perked them up. Plus, while breeding Levi yesterday, I asked the ladies at the Reproductive Clinic if they had any suggestions. They went through a mental list of the things they do with their puppies, and one of their questions for me, was how warm are you keeping the room they are in. I proudly answered, 74 degrees, because that is something I monitor as well. They both suggested keeping the room at 78-80 degrees until they are 3 weeks old. I'm still learning...and grateful for their input!!! So, I'm just pretending I'm in Hawaii when I go to sleep at night, and envision a tropical paradise. Because, believe me, 78-80 is much warmer than I'd prefer. The puppies listened to Family Switch on Netflix. I was also noticing Figgy and Angel will sometimes fall asleep on their backs, just like the Berner's do. Taking after their momma! Also, they've been tucking themselves under the guard rails to sleep. I think it's a cozy place and they feel snuggled in. Although I will be taking the guard railing system out at about 3 weeks of age, because they will start getting themselves stuck in there once they are too big. Talking about size, Kringle and Noel are the biggest in the litter. Most of the puppies eyes are open. The rest should be completely open by tomorrow. The merles could possibly have some blue in their eyes, but it is too hard to tell yet. FYI: I'll be taking some pictures of the babies this weekend. Watch for a new post on Instagram. Kindly send me a text if you'd like them sent to you individually, please. Good night...sleep well.