The storm thrashed until it could do no more and, as is normal, the temperature plummeted. The end was sudden and for a while the silence had a settling effect. But it will not last because another storm is predicted this week (one of greater ferocity) and since the strain of my worry for Girly was too much to endure, I brought her from her whelping kennel and pen in to the house to whelp.
My veterinarian is over 1,200 kilometres away. I have been awake for the best part of two days to be there for Girly through the first 36 hours of life for her new litter. I would stay awake for as long again if I had to but I don't because all is well.
Vetbed. A puppy's body temperature is low when it is born and in the first 36 hours of the whelps' lives it was vital that they were fed by Girly so that they would benefit from her colostrum (first teat milk).
All the antibodies to diseases that Girly has encountered, and been vaccinated against, are contained within her colostrum. Although colostrum will be in her teats for several days her puppies can only derive the benefit for less than 36 hours, giving them protection until I administer their first vaccination at eight weeks old.
For now the puppies are sleepy, warm and give off a delightful murmuring sound as they wriggle and jostle for prime teat positions. There is an occasional shrill when one of them is shoved off a teat by another puppy. The fighting has started already.
|The first hours|
For more about Gary and his older dogs go to www.garyrolfe.com