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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

At 2 weeks...

Leader Dog "mom" Amber is being an excellent mommy. She keeps the puppies clean and fed. Their eyes are still closed.

And mostly, when they aren't eating, they sleep.


LD mom Amber takes a rest in the whelping box after most of her puppies had dinner. They eat, they fall asleep, they roll off mom.

They also like to sleep in a row.

Phyllis picks up a puppy so she can clip her nails. Eyes and ears are almost open and their snouts are getting longer!

Clip, clip, clip! This puppy is learning early not to fear the nail clippers.

The puppies doubled their weight in a week.

Aren't they precious?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A moment when anything is possible.

The 9th Assistant Dog Blog Carnival (ADBC) is on!

Martha, at her blog Believe in Who You Are, is hosting this quarter.

Her topic:  MOMENTS.

Being puppy-less at the moment, I've been getting my puppy-fix at a friend's house. Read my submission to the ABDC below to find out how...


There are three tiny black Lab puppies piled warm on a heating pad in a blue bin when I arrive at the home of my friends, Dick and Phyllis. They host Leader Dog "mom" Amber in their cozy country house located just north of town.

Amber paces around the dining room and pants; her sides bulge and heave. According to a recent x-ray, there should be five more puppies to come. This is Amber's third litter born here.

"They're coming much faster this time," Phyllis says.

The mid-afternoon sun shining in the bay window augments the heat-lamp that is attached above the whelping box. A scale sits on the kitchen counter, ready for weigh in. This will be my first litter-assist and I don't know how much help I'll be, but I'm anxious to witness the wonder.

Amber steps into the warm whelping box, easing onto her side. Contractions rack her belly. She struggles up, curls her head around and before we know it, a slick black sack plops onto the towel. Amber teethes away the membrane and bites at the umbilical cord. Phyllis leans in to help extract the puppy from the sack. She gives Amber some time to lick the pup clean. Another female.

Dick is disappointed. So far there is only one male. He notes the time of birth on a record sheet.

Phyllis cradles the puppy with a clean towel and brings her to the table where Dick is waiting with string to bind off the cord. He snips the excess and drips a bit of medicine on it to prevent infection. Phyllis ties a bit of orange ribbon around the puppy's neck. The puppy will wear orange until her return to Leader Dogs for the Blind six weeks hence. A quick check to make sure the puppy's palate is not cleft and she is weighed in. Then, it's back to momma, who is now at rest in the whelping box.

Phyllis places Miss Orange near Amber's tit. The puppy's pink tongue forms a perfect suction seal and she sets to suckling.

When the next puppy comes, I tie the cord with my smaller fingers. Maybe I will be of use after all. By the end of the evening there are seven healthy puppies. Dick is pleased that there are two males.

There is a moment in time when anything is possible. Prince Fielder waves off his teammates and catches the pop fly that sends the Detroit Tigers to the World Series.

Leader Dog "mom" Amber births seven black Labs with a destiny.

Leader Dog "mom" Amber gazes up with her melted chocolate eyes.

Phyllis lends a hand in removing the sack from another one of Amber's puppies. It is amazing to see the tiny nails on each paw trying to poke through.

Miss Orange latches on and gets to suckling next to her sister.

Mr. Blue matches the soft blue blanket where he snoozes between feedings.

Amber cleans off Miss Yellow while she and four of her siblings have dinner.

Phyllis cuddles a newborn.

Chain reaction. Amber sits up. Five puppies lose suction. Two hang on.

Seven Future Leader Dog puppies keep warm in a pile.

Stay tuned...more to come on Amber's puppies!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Announcing...the 9th ADBC!

How time flies! Martha, over at Believe in Who You Are, has called for submissions for the 9th Assistance Dog Blog Carnival.

Martha's theme is MOMENTS. What a wonderful theme. As she suggests, participants can write a blog post about a single moment in time...

  • The moment when your puppy or dog learned a task
  • The moment you and your dog felt like a team for the first time
  • Last moments working with or being with your dog
  • Favorite moments, funny moments, embarrassing moments, ETC

Anyone who is involved with raising, training, using, or otherwise involved with an assistance dog can participate.

The deadline is October 31.

To enter the 9th ABDC visit Martha's blog post here, and comment with:

  1. Name of your blog: E.G. Believe in Who You Are
  2. The title of your post: E.G. My Favorite Moments
  3. The link to your post: E.G.

I am excited, not only to read all the submissions, but...I already have an idea!

Stay tuned...