First Time Puppy Feeding

Introducing puppies to solid food is possibly one of the most hilarious, messy and frustrating aspects of dog breeding.

Some of them, like PB, take one look at the food dish and say “Oh boy, this is the life for me“, and dive in face first.

French Bulldog puppy eating solid food

Other puppies, like Hugo, are curious about the concept, but unsure of the exact method involved.

Hugo eats solid food

Princess Vela took one look at the food dish, decided that eating out of it involved the potential for dirty paws, and insisted on being hand fed. We, being her lowly minions, of course complied.

Vela is not amused

In the midst of all the madness, Po, like his brother PB, calmly got down to the business of eating as much as possible. He was very methodical about it.

Po, Vela and PB try solid food

The only one unimpressed was Jacques, who reasonably decided that he had a perfectly good buffet on tap in the form of his mother, and that more of his siblings eating solid food equaled more milk time for him. He sniffed the food, but decided it wasn’t up to par. We’ll try again tonight.

Jacques prefers milk, thanks

More puppy feeding photos here, on Flickr.

ps: what do you think of the site re do? Too busy? Just busy enough? meh, who cares? Lemme know…

Photo Update Overload

Boy, have I ever got a LOT of new photos to share.

Bunny’s kids are here.

It’s fun spending time with them now – they’re starting to get personalities, as opposed to just being cute little Hamsters. They respond to us when they see us, they solicit attention, and they sometimes bark when they don’t get it!

Right now, Jacques and DP are the most reticent of the pups – a little bit shy, but very sweet. Po and Vela are bold and brave, attacking every new experience with enthusiasm. Hugo is mellllow – and boy, does that boy love to nap.

This afternoon, I’ll be moving them to the playpen in the family room, where they’ll start spending part of every day. This will expose them to new sights, sounds and experiences.

Delilah’s kids are here.

They’re still at the fat little chunky muffin phase, although the dark brindle girl has apparently inherited her grandmother’s reluctance to be awoken from naps. Like Sailor, the dark brindle girl wakes up frantic and more than a little bit pissed off – “How dare you wake me when I’m sleeping??”. I guess I know who inherited the princess gene.

Her silvery colored sister informed me yesterday when I picked her up that her name is Pickle. It’s funny how that works – one minute, they’re ‘anonymous puppy girl’, then the next you find yourself saying “Well, good morning, Pickle”, and wondering where the hell did that come from? Every so often, puppies just pick their own names. It happens.

This litter, by the way, is my Punk themed litter – how could the kids of Delilah and Dexter not be punks, I ask you? The little boy is veering between Johnny Thunders, Johnny Rotten (more for PiL, actually), Joe Strummer and Joey Ramone. No idea on the girls, other than one will be KatieJane (of Daisy Chainsaw fame).

Tula’s kids are here.

Right now, I’m watching them fill out – they were a good size when they were born, but they felt a little ribby. Already, at three days old, that feeling is gone, and they feel packed and solid, with some weight to them. Their only goals at the moment are eat/sleep/eliminate/repeat, and not necessarily in that order. We hardly even see the puppies – Tula keeps them tucked underneath her flank, hidden away. I have to put her water and food into the whelping box for her, as she can barely stand to leave them. I love the little girl’s head already, but I try not to get my hopes up this early.

Easier said than done, of course.

As for theme names, I’m still thinking this over. I contemplated tea – Darjeeling and Earl Grey? Chamomile and Red Zinger? No, maybe not. Then I contemplated movie titles. Movie stars?

I just don’t know. Any suggestions for a pair of little cream cuties?

Oodles of new French Bulldog puppy photos…

Not much time for writing, but I did take some new photos —

Delilah’s kids are here

and Bunny’s kids are here

Here’s my favorite photo – it’s Bunny with her kids. I swear, they’re all almost as large as she is. Mind you, Bunny is on the small size – and those are some mighty chunky puppies!

Bunny and her French Bulldog puppies

You can check out the slide shows below, or see the images full sized over on Flickr.

Bunny Pups Birthday, and Delilah is Slightly Better

Possibly Po (His mom & Dad aren't 100% on his name yet)

The Bunny pups turn two weeks old today, and I have to say that they are one of the most stress free litters I’ve ever had (thanks mostly to Bunny’s exceptional mothering skills). They rarely cry, and they’re all unbelievably chubby little babies. Bunny keeps them immaculately clean, and rarely is out of the whelping box. Every litter should be this easy.

Basket Full of Puppies

Delilah, on the other, is a graduate of the same slacker mom school of parenthood that her sister Penelope attended. She is getting better – she has some milk, finally, although not very much, and she’s occasionally cleaning the puppies, but over all her attitude is one of “this is all a bad dream”. Hauling the puppies to Bunny for feedings was starting to stress Bun out – she became agitated every time I took them back away from again, barking and jumping up and down in a way that clearly said “Where do you think you’re going with those babies?”. We were faced with a choice – either leave the puppies with Bunny for good, or start supplementing with a bottle. The size difference between the Bunny pups and Delilah’s wee babies would have made it risky to leave them with Bunny, so we chose bottle feeding. Thankfully, the bottle is just there to ‘top them up’ after they’ve nursed, so it’s a little less onerous than a full regimen of bottle feeding four puppies would usually be.

We’re still getting up every two hours for feedings, but now the routine is –

  • Get up, put Delilah on bed, get puppies, put on bed with Delilah
  • Put Delilah on her side (she’s still not thrilled with this, but it no longer requires wrestling moves to get her into position)
  • Put puppies on nipples, making sure the smaller ones (the two brindle girls) get the premium real estate
  • When pups drop off, top pups up with a bottle feeding. Each puppy drinks about 10 ml of formula, which doesn’t sound like much, but is making all the difference in their weight gain, and yet is still little enough to not impact Delilah’s milk production
  • Clean puppy bottoms, trying first to get Delilah to lick them, and then, if that fails, using cotton balls dipped in warm water
  • Put pups back in whelping box, feed Delilah, let her outside to pee, stagger back to bed

.. repeat in two hours. With any luck, Delilah’s motherhood skills will increase over the next week, so that I can start getting some real sleep, instead of just running on coffee and adrenaline. In the meantime, kissing Vela’s fat little tummy is a remarkable pick me up.

The rest of the photos are over here on Flickr.

French Bulldogs Are Like A Box of Chocolates…

Well, so much for my plans this weekend to grind up and freeze a great big bucket of green lamb tripe. Lamb tripe, by the way, is a really fancy way of saying “Stinky, unprocessed lamb stomach”, and “green” is code for “complete with partially digested stomach contents”. And yes, it smells just about the way it sounds – possibly worse.

Sean, who I fondly refer to as ‘garbage guts’ for his cast iron stomach and willingness to eat almost anything, gagged and retched when I cheerfully told him that the big, reeking bucket of guts was more or less just what he’d eaten when he taste tested Sailor’s canned green tripe. The real retching happened when I asked him if he’d be tasting this batch, too. I think that can be taken as a ‘no’.

At any rate, we never did get the lamb stomachs ground up, because Bunny decided to surprise us by going into labor three days early.

In spite of my panic attacks about her early labor, she managed to deliver five adorable babies, and after an initial twelve hours of telling me “those things aren’t mine – you look after them’, she’s back in the swing of being a supermom. She’s such a good girl – keeps her babies tucked underneath her, almost entirely hidden away, and cleans them at the first sign of squeaking.

I had assumed Bunny and Luther might produce brindles, possibly a brindle pied. What I wasn’t expecting was this little beauty –

French Bulldog colors – who the heck knows. You can’t even begin to guess, at least not most of the time. You just have to sit back and wait for them to get here.

Here’s the rest of the photos, down below. All of the images will be in one great big collection, which you’ll find here.

Oh, and this litter’s names? Neil Gaiman book titles.

A) because I love Neil Gaiman
B) because I love the name ‘Coraline’
C) because I just got my copy of “The Graveyard Book“, and it’s so good I’m already checking his site for news of sequels.