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The babies have arrived!

Well- we have babies. Lots and lots of babies. Details? You want them, I’m sure, but first, here’s the lead in:

We spent the New Year’s weekend (well, Thursday through Saturday) organizing and assembling (and yes, buying!) all of the supplies we would need to deliver Paisley’s litter. I had help from so many sources; my mom collected cotton flannel receiving blankets from the thrift store and vet wrap from the local feed store in Scappoose, my friend Kim VERY KINDLY delivered a whelping pool in the pouring rain on New Year’s Day so that Paisley had a nice little space in which to deliver, and my friend Lisa the Practical (yes, that’s her name- she’s got a lot of common sense and a good deal of useful knowledge stored in her pretty head) accompanied me all over town as we bought heating pads, nasal aspirators, etc. Good times. When our friends came to stay for New Year’s they really had no idea that they would be subject to all of the hubbub as we took Paisley’s temperature, marvelled at the size of her belly, and just generally wondered when the baby doods would arrive.

We adults looked at all of the preparations as things to be done, but for the 4 kids hanging out, this might have been the biggest excitement they’d experienced since…..since…. well, I would say since Christmas, but that was only a week ago, so I’ll let you insert your own exciting event here. They brushed Paisley, watched her to see if she was “having contractions”, and tried to figure out how many puppies were in that behemoth tummy of hers by listening through a stethescope. I’m sure I answered at least a thousand kid questions in three days- between my kids and our friends’- about how do I know when Paisley’s babies are due, what’s a placenta, how come we couldn’t just choose the date we wanted to breed Paisley to James Brown so that we could control the due date, etc. I finally laid down a moratorium on new questions yesterday- I needed to save up my energies for the big event!

When we took Paisley’s temperature yesterday, it was down a full degree from the previous week’s levels; this is a good indicator that delivery will follow in 24 hours or so. She didn’t eat at all, which was a huge change- we’ve been joking that lately she would eat anything that wasn’t bolted down, she was so hungry. At about 11:00, Paisley and I made three or four trips outside so that she could relieve herself. At 11:45, she started having contractions. At 12:15, I woke Dave (much to my amusement- he was in that deep, deep sleep and literally walked in circles for a minute or so before he figured out what I needed from him) and he woke Anna.

An aside: Poor Dave. In order to watch the new arrivals very closely, we have them in a whelping pool (kids’ wading pool) in our bedroom. We normally keep our room very cool at night for sound sleeping. For the health of the puppies, the room needs to be VERY warm at first. We had the space heater cranked up, plus a little incubator box with a heating pad set up, and finally a warming pad under the whelping pool. I thought it would be too warm for sleeping, but somehow, after waking Anna up so that she could help me, Dave managed to climb back in bed at about 2:30 and sleep just fine. The things we endure for our animals!

Dr. Anna- she’s just the girl to have around when puppies are arriving. At 10, Anna is fascinated with all things medical. She’s unflappable, and even though birthing puppies is an earthy, messy, smelly, organic kind of experience, she cowboyed up and did the work of a full-grown veterinarian. She clamped cords, rubbed puppies down to get them breathing well, weighed and charted, picked colors and put on neckbands, and made sure that the puppies in the warming box were in great shape. We had talked about things she might see during the delivery, and all along she told me that she would be just fine. She was more than just fine! She would like me to tell you that she’s available to help with all your puppy-whelping needs. I highly recommend her.

Thank you for indulging me. Now I suppose you want the vital statistics?

We have 10 PUPPIES!

7 girls, 3 boys. First born at 1:04 am, and the last born at 5:00. That’s a lot of puppies in short order!

There are 2 black, curly puppies,1 blondish one, 1 chocolate/cafe, and 6 in various shades of gold/apricot/caramel. They are very squirmy and twitchy, as is normal for a newborn puppy, and it’s truly amazing that they are born with such a strong instinct to nurse. As soon as we get the cord clamped and dry them briskly with a washcloth, they want to latch on to eat.

Paisley’s figure went from looking like a whale at bedtime last night, to a serene nursing mama with hints of her normal waistline this afternoon. And hungry? She’s back to inhaling food, after a brief intermission to get ready for the birthing yesterday. Lots of hungry little mouths to feed!

Because we were up all night (I got everything cleaned up and crawled into bed at 6:30 this morning) it’s been a quiet day today. Anna and I holed up in the puppy den (which used to be my bedroom!) where it was very warm and snuggly. We just looked at the puppies, made sure they were each getting their fair share of the grub, and hung out. Dave, bless his heart, kept the grungy birthing linens going through the wash and bleach cycle- much appreciated.

Paisley is a little, er, indisposed today, and is claiming camera shy until tomorrow. She’s had several showers and didn’t want to appear without fixing her hair. By tomorrow, though, she’s sure to be looking her glamorous best.

Until then, wish us a night where everybody is able to belly up to the milk bar!


  1. Oh My gosh! What an experience for everyone, but especially Anna. What a trooper.
    They are just perfect. Love the black ones! Well……..I love them all actually.

  2. OK Debi, I admit it, I actually responded to your email BEFORE I looked at your web page and blog. WOW. You girls amaze me. I am in awe of yours’, and Anna’s, puppy breeding capabilities and natural expertise. Anna has her career set in stone, unless she decides to go into something medical relating to people, which it sounds like she could do just as well. Kudos to both of you!

  3. Congratulations! they are too adorable. Teal looks so much like Paisley with the curlier coat and all. Teal is Max’s sister.