Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My Life As a Sous Chef

The puppies are 12 days old now. People ask me how it's going and for the most part, every thing is good and everything is easy. I can say this because I'm not the mama who has nine rabid gerbils hanging off of me every 2-3 hours. Mama, by the way, is awesome. This is a welcome relief from the last two mothers of litters I have dealt with: one of which ignored her pups entirely and the other who physically kicked the pups off of her every time they tried to nurse like she had stepped in some particularly clingy mud.  THIS mama feeds and cleans and nuzzles. Truth is, I don't do very much right now. She takes care of EVERYTHING. And by everything, I mean, I give them clean bedding twice a day but for the most part, the bedding hardly gets dirty because she (gag) consumes it all.

That's maybe something most people don't realize that mama dogs do: the first 2-3 weeks, newborn puppies don't pee or poop on their own--she stimulates their bladders and bowels by licking them and then while she's at it she just, uh, swallows it (gag). I always sort of just want to give her a glass of wine and a breath mint and tell her it will all be over soon. And it will! In just a week or so, they'll be doing things on their own and my job as janitorial staff will ramp up. But for now, I'm just helping her with probably the biggest job: feeding the horde.

For the most part so far, everyone seems to be eating well and gaining weight, but they're just not gaining as much as they should be. Ideally, what you'd like to see is puppies doubling their size each week these first couple of weeks and these pups are just a tiny bit behind that. It's understandable though because there are NINE of them and Mama is still so painfully skinny. She came to me almost a month ago with her hip bones and spine showing, despite being super pregnant. I've been feeding her three times a day with supplements AND treats. I can't feed her too much, or she'll just get sick. So, it's a bit of a slow process. Now her bones don't stick out so much, but still, that food she's taking in has to feed TEN. And while she's doing a fantastic job, she's trying to come from behind AND make sure these puppies get enough to eat so they can grow. So, I've been helping her a bit.

I thought I might show you how all this goes down... First, there's this fantastic stuff called Leerburg Formula. You make it at home. (and yes, you can buy commercial milk replacer at the store, but this stuff is better). I won't post the recipe here because you can go to the website and get lots more information, but in a nutshell, you can make it with these ingredients here--all available at Walmart for less than $10.

And then you need your Fake Nipple (ok fine, you can call it a bottle, but Fake Nipple is much more titillating, isn't it? pun intended). This you do with a makeup sponge, a needle-less syringe and some scissors

You cut off the sides/end of the sponge like so and insert the syringe into the back (it helps if you make a little hole in the back with a pick)

VOILA--Fake Nipple

Then you heat up your Leerburg just a bit (not too hot, just warm-ish, like the temperature mama's milk would be coming out).  There are charts everywhere that will show you how much to feed--Basically, if you're feeding them solely Leerburg and they're not getting anything else, you feed about 1cc per oz of body weight.  Now, I'm not their only source of food, I'm just supplementing. So, I don't really follow the charts all that much, just as a basic guide.  I usually start with about 10 cc's and go from there. 

When Mama tries to feed nine puppies, it looks a bit like this: 

(and yes, I know I'm holding the camera wrong, sorry about that). 

Mama basically gets swarmed and someone always gets left out. So, I just nab a leftover puppy and get to feeding. Some of them do better than others. Hux, for example, he's my boy. 

look at him. LOOOOOOOK.

Do you not just want to gnaw on those toes?  NO? (man you have more willpower than I do). Wait, see if you can resist this:


When I'm doing this, I'm right next to where Mama is feeding everyone else. So, we sort of just work in tandem. Lufkin here below: 

And Trinity...

I will usually end up feeding four or five of them in a session. It's not always the same group of pups, I'll rotate which ones I'm feeding. While this isn't everybody, what it does is allow some of the others to get in and get some while the getting's good. And this way, everyone gets a bit of Mama's Milk and everyone gets a bit of Leerburg. Plus, I get to snuzzle puppies and get goats milk all over my lap (added bonus). 

In just a couple of weeks, we get to start introducing puppy gruel! Yaaayyy GRUEL!
But for now, this is my life as a Sous Chef. 

No comments: