Puppies in Retrospect
So....it occurs to me...sixteen weeks later...that I haven't written anything about the puppies yet. Probably because we were SO busy with Ginger's litter of nine...but still.....no excuse.
For twelve hours on September 15, from noon until midnight, Ginger safely delivered her second litter. We had decided that the litter name theme would be the characters in the musical "Hamilton" and George made his appearance first at around noon. (First son....it was natural to name him after George W. ...first Prez.)
He had a full three and a half hours alone with his mother, and made the most of it, nursing well and snuggling. I worried somewhat that there was such a long span without more pups, as I knew we had at least 8 or 9 in there but finally, the next boy, Xander (for Alexander Hamilton) made his appearance.
After that, we had a puppy every hour or two....Schuyler, Eliza, Burr, Peggy, until 11 pm when the last three....Angelica, Rue and Theodosia....were born about 20 minutes apart. Needless to say, Ginger was exhausted. So was I, for that matter, as neither of us had gotten much sleep the night before.
All pups....six females and three males.... were healthy, vigorous and nursed well. All were sable and white, which surprised me, as I had anticipated at least one or two tri-colors, like their sire, Boone. (I later learned that tris need two copies of the tan point gene and that will never happen, as Ginger is n/n for tan point.)
The puppies stayed in the kitchen for the first two weeks, then were moved to the sun porch, where they had more room to move and play. Ginger was a very attentive mother....I was only really needed to make sure she had enough food and water....she took care of the rest. That changed drastically later on!!
We took them outside on a regular basis during this time and provided as many different experiences as we could. After one month, I created a "puppy pen" in the garage with lots of room to play. With crates and, later, a dog house, this became their night time pen and, during the day, they were outside in their puppy yard, which included a large fenced area with lots of toys and obstacles, the covered dog pen, two decks and a big igloo dog house. They LOVED the igloo and would all crowd inside for naps. It was cute!! Lots of play and "walk abouts" in the big outside yard but always back to the safety of their play yard. And inside at night.
We were very lucky with the fall weather. It really only got COLD during the last week, and by then, all of them had enough fat and hair to keep warm during their days outside. The igloo helped.
Lots of visitors, experiences, time spent inside and out, noises, play, rides in the car occupied the next 4 weeks. Don't let anyone tell you that raising puppies isn't a lot of work....it IS! I can't begin to say how much poop I cleaned up. BUT....there is nothing like a wiggly, snuffly bundle of fur and puppy breath....or nine of them...to raise the spirits.
As I have stated before, probably the most stressful part of raising puppies is placement. I was lucky this time.....just like with the last litter....to have some outstanding folks apply for one of our puppies. The Hamilton pups are now happily living in VT, NH, NY, PA, WA and Canada. Several are on farms and several are in families with other English Shepherds or ES experience.
Sending the puppies off with their new families was easy in a way.....we went from 11 dogs back to 2 in a matter of days....and it was so gratifying to see how happy everyone was with their new addition. And there's no question that those pups were ready for their own families....I figure that the "turning point" is around 7 1/2 weeks.
But....it was also hard. I miss these faces!
Schuyler....now Pardy....living in New York....near her dad.
George.....now Nash.....living in Pennsylvania.
Burr...now Burton....living in Vermont.
Rue....still Rue.....living in New Hampshire.
Angelica.....still Angelica.....living in Vermont.
Xander....now Kelby....living in Washington.
Eliza....now Rose Eliza.....living in Canada, near Montreal.
Peggy......now Tock....living in Vermont.
Theodosia.....now Maia....living in New Hampshire.