With a Heavy Heart

This post was supposed to be a wrap up and farewell post for our Spring 2021 Golden Irish puppies. However, the farewell is much more bitter than sweet this time.

It is with a heavy heart that I am sharing about the very unexpected passing of Jade, our dear Golden Retriever and mother of the litter that just left for their new homes. She developed a uterine infection nine weeks after delivering puppies. By the time I realized what was wrong, the infection had already spread to her bloodstream, and we were not able to save her.

She passed last week on April 20, and I can still hardly believe she’s gone. Here’s a brief summary of her last days.

On February 17, Jade delivered a healthy litter of seven puppies. It was a very smooth and easy labor, and both she and her puppies thrived in the days after delivery. In the weeks that followed, she was a textbook perfection mother. Her puppies were all similar in size, and they gained weight quickly. She took excellent care of them, and I thought that she had recovered wonderfully.

In the first couple of weeks after having puppies, I keep a close eye on momma, because infection is always a possibility. In my experience, the risk of uterine infection is highest in the first week after delivery. By week two, it’s still a possibility, but my concern begins to ease. Then after two or three weeks, I always assumed the risk of uterine infection was over.

After the first two weeks are past, I mainly watch outward signs from momma to make sure her body is coping well and is not stressed from the work of raising puppies. Jade was eating and drinking well. She was acting normal. There was no throwing up or diarrhea. I also watch momma’s weight and coat. Being overworked by nursing puppies often manifests in weight loss and hair loss. Jade maintained her weight while producing plenty of milk, and her fur remained thick and beautiful. I took all of this to mean that her body was healthy.

The puppies were weaned after 7 weeks old, and her milk supply dried up nicely. At 8 weeks old, the puppies began leaving for their new homes. Jade was her usual, calm self, and she gently greeted each family and tried to soak up attention. There were absolutely no signs at this point that anything was amiss.

Then, on the morning of April 20th, Jade didn’t want to eat breakfast, and I could tell she wasn’t feeling well. By lunchtime, she was lethargic. I took her temperature, and she was running a fever. I called my vet, and scheduled an appointment for that afternoon as soon as my kids were up from their naps. At this point, I still had no idea how serious it was.

However, once at the vet’s office, they confirmed by ultrasound that her uterus was badly infected and that she was already septic. I was totally blindsided as I spoke to the doctor. I went from having a normal dog to discussing emergency surgery to remove her uterus or euthanasia in less than 24 hours. Jade was anemic and septic, and the odds of surviving emergency surgery were not in her favor. I struggled to take this all in. How could she be so sick? How was she already this far gone, and I hadn’t noticed anything up until that morning?

I asked my vet, “How could have I missed this?” His answer was the I probably didn’t miss it. These infections hit hard and fast.

We had two options at this point. One was an emergency spay. This would mean a transfer to another facility for overnight care. Because of her anemic and septic condition, she would need to undergo treatment to stabilize her before even attempting surgery- blood transfusion and antibiotics. If she could be stabilized well enough, they could do emergency surgery and remove the infected uterus. Then, she would have been hospitalized for several days to try to treat the blood infection. There was no guarantee that she could be stabilized for surgery. There was no guarantee she would survive surgery even with a prior blood transfusion. And there was no guarantee the sepsis could be treated afterwards. As much as I wanted to believe in any possibility of saving her, the odds were not promising for her survival.

Jade was always a very dependent dog. She hated being away from home and away from her “pack,” even for short periods of time. The thought of her being hospitalized for so long, away from her people and her pack and very possibly dying without anyone around her that she knew was very difficult to consider.

The other option was to euthanize her that evening at my vet’s office, a place she was familiar with and where I could be with her.

I was still in shock to be having to make this decision. To make matters worse, my husband had been away for a few days and was driving home and only due to arrive back around midnight. I called him and we discussed the options, and we both agreed that euthanasia was the wisest and kindest choice.

In the backyard of my vet’s office, Jade and I spent a few minutes sitting together in the grass. When she was given the drugs, she passed very quickly and peacefully, lying beside a friend and listening to a familiar voice.

I’m still processing everything; and at times, I’m still struggling with guilt, even though there’s likely nothing I could have done that would have changed the outcome. I’ve looked back over everything, wondering if there was a sign that I missed in the days prior to her death. Did I miss something because I was living under the false assumption that after 9 weeks, the risk of uterine infection is long passed?

However, even in retrospect, I can’t see anything that indicated she was sick. She happily greeted me at the door whenever I came out. She greedily ate her food at mealtimes. She napped in her favorite places.

It’s likely that in the day or two before I noticed she was ill, she was running a fever. There were probably no other symptoms, and dogs mask illness and injury. It’s part of their natural will to survive. In the wild, if an animal appears weak, sick, or injured, it quickly becomes a target for other predators. I once read that if you would rate a dog’s pain level on a scale of 1 to 10, it would be 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Meaning, they don’t show minor pain and discomfort. Once a dog is showing obvious signs of illness or injury, their discomfort level is already a 6. Because uterine infections come on so quickly and ferociously, Jade masked the mildly ill feeling and then got rapidly worse and by the time she felt sick enough to stop eating and lie on her bed, it was simply too far gone.

It’s been hard, and I miss her. But I am grateful for the five years we had with her, and I’m grateful that Jade’s memory will be alive and well for many years through the lives of her beautiful puppies. If you are one of the lucky families with one of Jade’s puppies, please know that you hold something very special and dear to my heart.

If I’ve learned anything through this it’s that life can change quickly. We never know what the future holds. But God does. God knows. He cares, and He provides. The most any of us can do is be faithful wherever we are today and spend time loving on those God has placed in our lives. You’ll never regret the extra snuggles with you kids, the late night chat with your spouse, or the extra game of fetch with your dog.

Goodbye, Jade. Your sweet, gentle nature was such a blessing, and we all miss you.

Four Weeks Old

Happy Friday! We had a busy, but very good week, and I hope you all are looking forward to your weekend!

One month old unofficially marks the end of the “newborn puppy” stage and the beginning of the “little puppy” stage. The puppies are fully mobile, their eyes are open, and they are ready to begin learning new things and drift away from their dependence on their mom. Here are the things we have been working on this past week.

1- As the puppies gain their mobility, it’s time to begin potty training. In the puppies’ pen, I have a removable and washable liner. This get changed and washed daily to keep it smelling clean. This is done, obviously, for general cleanliness and sanitation. However, it serves another purpose. By keeping the nest area clean, it works in favor of a dog’s natural instinct not to soil the area where they sleep. As puppies begin to walk, they naturally seek a different area in which to do their business. When I see this happening, I add a “potty area” to their pen. I usually use newspaper in the potty area, and I add a clean layer on top several times a day. This keeps the potty area sanitary, with clean and dry paper on top, but it maintains a faint smell, teaching the puppies where they are supposed to do their business.

At this age, I do not expect full success. I would say, 70% of the time, the puppies make an effort to go to the right spot, even though only half of the time they actually get there. But, it gets better every week! And soon, the puppies will be big enough to begin pottying outside. Once this happens, they really start to catch on. Usually, by eight weeks old, the puppies are pottying outside successfully 99% of the time! (They certainly are not house trained at 8 weeks old, but they have a foundational knowledge that usually makes the house training process easier in their new homes.)

2- This week began the very exciting weaning process! This starts very slowly with only one small meal a day of Life’s Abundance Large Breed Puppy Food. I soak the food in water or goat’s milk for the first week or two. I do this until the puppies’ teeth are fully grown in. The soft food is easier to chew, and it also provides a source of liquid to prevent dehydration for the puppies that may be slower to learn to eat and drink from bowls. Over the next two to three weeks, I will gradually increase the amount of solid food they get and decrease how much time mom spends nursing them. I will also begin to limit mom’s calorie intake, so that her body is encouraged to slow its milk production. That helps keep her comfortable during the weaning process.

Excellent quality nutrition is the number one thing that keeps puppies healthy at this age. As they begin to wean from the protective antibodies in mom’s milk, puppies can become more vulnerable to illness, digestive upsets, infections, etc. Their young immune systems and digestive systems don’t fully mature until 18-24 months old. To keep puppies healthy and allow their growing bodies to develop properly, it is very important to provide them with excellent quality nutrition.

Not all dog foods are created equally. For example, while all dog foods contain protein, the kind and quality of proteins vary significantly. Foods like Purina Dog Chow, rely heavily on corn to add protein. But dogs don’t digest corn, and therefore, all the protein in there is useless. Life’s Abundance food uses chicken meal (a highly concentrated protein source) and eggs (a source of not only protein, but also essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats). All the ingredients in this food are of excellent quality and high nutritional value for dogs, and they work to keep puppies healthy and growing well from the inside out!

Large Breed Puppy Food

The puppies have been very excited by getting to eat solid food this week, and they have needed no encouragement! I place the plate of food in the pen, and it is usually devoured and licked clean in less than a minute.

3- Probably the most fun part of this stage is the socialization training! Basically, this means daily interacting with the puppies and gently exposing them to new sights and sounds. I personally think children provide some of the best socialization. The puppies become very accustomed to children’s loud and shrill voices, sudden and unpredictable movements, and over-bearing love in the form of rough hands and tight cuddles. I also bring the puppies into a small pen in my kitchen to help them get used to normal household sounds, like pots and pans, vacuum cleaners, ect. I also play music and other sounds for the puppies most of the day. This gets them used to a variety of sounds. Right now, I am mostly doing just music. Soon, I will start sounds like thunderstorms, traffic, fireworks, etc. This helps give them calm and positive experiences with these sometimes scary sounds, which sets them up for success later in life when they hear these noises for real.

This socialization will continue daily until the puppies leave for their new homes! Each week, they will get to experience a few new things, and I do my best to give them a good foundation for their new families to continue to build on.

And that is what four weeks old looks like at our house! It is full of soaking puppy food, washing bedding, and snuggling puppies. I am excited for the next weeks, since the weather is turning warmer. The puppies will be able to spend more time outside, which is always fun for them and for us!

Hello 2021!

Hello friends! The last blog post I shared was from the beginning of December, when we had two litters of puppies getting ready to head to their new homes. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and I hope the beginning of 2021 has been treating you well!

This year has been just rolling along quickly for me. I can hardly believe March (and then spring!) is just around the corner! Since winter is not my favorite time of the year, I am more than happy to see the end of February drawing near.

Having a litter of puppies in February certainly does brighten the time and help pass these winter days. I’d like you to meet Jade’s newest babies!

She blessed us with seven beautiful puppies- four females and three males. They were born last week, and this first week has gone exceptionally well. Jade is a very fussy, attentive mother. She can hardly be convinced to leave her babies, even for a few moments, but she takes excellent care of them.

During the first week, my main concern is taking care of Jade. I make sure she is eating and drinking plenty. She is also on the NuVet Plus supplement, since nursing and caring for puppies is a time when mommas have very high nutritional needs. It also supports mom’s immune system, which works extra hard during this time, as well.

For the puppies themselves, I have had to do very little so far. I keep the bedding clean in their pen, and I make sure the room is warm. Other than that, I simply observe them to make sure each of them is growing and gaining weight. When I walk into their pen, I like to see all the puppies either vigorously nursing or snuggled together on a pile. They pile on each other naturally for warmth. (A puppy that doesn’t seek out the warmth of its siblings is likely weak or sick.) When I pick them up, I like to feel full, round bellies. And these guys have all been doing very well. While there is a range of weights, they are all very close in size, none of them significantly larger or smaller than the others.

It’s looking like there will not be any available puppies from this litter. When we had our first litter of Golden Irish in 2018, I never imagined they would become as popular as they are! I am blown away by all of the support and interest we have had for these puppies. So thank you to all the families who have purchased one of our puppies in the past and recommended us to your friends and neighbors. I am very grateful for the connections and friends we have made, and I am very excited to get to know the new families that will be blessed with one of these sweet puppies!

Check back next week for some more pictures!

Six & Seven Weeks Old

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. No matter how your holiday was spent, I hope you experienced joy and thankfulness for God’s many blessings, large and small.

For me, and probably many of you, as well, the holidays are a time of family. Of anything in my life, I am most thankful for the gift of my family- for my immediate family and for the heritage and blessing of extended family.

It’s humbling to look at my family and see the amazing blessings God has given me, especially knowing I don’t deserve them. I haven’t done anything worthy of God’s grace and goodness, yet His grace and goodness are evident every day. And while I am certainly very thankful for the “good things,” God’s goodness is also evident in the bad days, too. His blessings aren’t limited to peaceful, prosperous times. His blessings abound in all times and circumstances. And knowing God is present at all times is truly the greatest blessing of all.

And I’m also thankful for these ten bouncing balls of fur! Can you count all ten?

You guys, these puppies are adorable. Every one of them. They are each so different and so much fun. And it’s great knowing that there are going to be so many homes enjoying a new puppy this Christmas. I’m so excited to share these sweet pups with you!

Here’s what we have been up to! I don’t feel like there is too much to report. We’ve been practicing a lot of the same things as last week, but the puppies certainly have been learning and maturing.

Potty training: Woohoo! Potty training is going so well! I haven’t cleaned up any poop accidents in an entire week! You don’t realize how exciting that is until you have raised a litter of puppies. But when all the poop ends up in the proper place, wow, it’s AMAZING.

Crate training: Mia’s puppies are doing well in the crate. Duchess’s puppies still cry quite a bit, but this is very normal at this age. None of the puppies have had accidents in the crate, but not all of them enjoy being crated… yet. Some puppies immediately love the crate. It’s safe, secure, and quiet. But not all puppies like it at first. However, I think all puppies can be crate trained. And crate training is hands-down the BEST way to begin house training. If you don’t have a crate for your puppy yet- get one. It is absolutely worth it.

Weaning: Both litters are now eating unsoftened kibble. Mia’s puppies, now fully weaned, are also enjoying the NuVet Immune System Supplement. I start this after the puppies wean from momma’s milk, because their young immune systems take a dip. Having good immune system support goes a long way in keeping a puppy and young dog healthy. NuVet is made with human grade ingredients in an FDA registered facility, and it’s specifically formulated to boost the immune system. I use it for my puppies, young dogs (under 2 years), and my pregnant and nursing mommas.

Play: One of the most important things I can do with the puppies during these last couple of weeks is play with them. They love to interact, and getting lots of attention, love, and play is so good for them. So the children and I are doing our best to soak up the last days with these two litters! Having such mild weather recently has been great, as the puppies just love to play outside. I have a large play yard set up with lots of toys inside so that they can all play together on the nice afternoons.

Vets, vaccines, & deworming: The puppies get a vet check and their first puppy shot at 7 weeks old, and they also get one last round of dewormer. Once that is done, they are all set to go to their new homes! Mia’s puppies went to the vet this week, and Duchess’s will go next week. The time is really winding down fast.

Have a great weekend!

Five & Six Weeks

Oops, I told you weekly updates. You may have noticed the lack of an update last week. What can I say? 🙂 But here we are today. Better late than never, right?

Duchess’s Irish Setter puppies are now five weeks old, and Mia’s Mini Goldendoodle puppies are six weeks old. They are both fully interactive and playful, and we are having so much fun! Now that they have reached this age, they are almost developmentally the same. Mia’s puppies are just a bit closer to being fully weaned.

On the warmer days, the kids and I spend time outside in the yard playing with the puppies. Puppies just love romping in the grass! They are really enjoying some of the new toys in the play pen, and they never get tired of being snuggled. They have gotten to hear and see some new things- like a fire siren, traffic, my husband’s old tractor, etc. I’ve been focusing on outdoor noises this past week. Next week, I’m going to give them more experience with indoor sounds like vacuuming, TV, music, and other household noises. The more they hear and see now from the safety of a familiar place, the better they will handle frightening things in the future!

The two big things that we have been working on are weaning and potty training.

For the first weeks, momma’s milk gives puppies all the nutrients they need. After that, they begin a slow transition off milk onto solid foods. As puppies come off of momma’s milk, they are no longer receiving her antibodies. They still have some of her immunity, but it fades quickly in the coming weeks, making it much easier for them to pick up parasites, bacteria, viruses, etc. That’s why a quality diet is so important. It makes all the difference in a puppy’s immediate health and ability to ward off illnesses, and it makes a long term difference, because good nutrition helps their bodies to grow and develop well. (Of course, good nutrition does not prevent every disease. But there are a lot of health problems, some major and some minor that really can be prevented by good nutrition and exercise. No different than humans, really!)

I’ll post links to the food and supplements I use at the end of the post!

I feed our dogs and puppies Life’s Abundance dog food. High quality ingredients, especially the proteins, and no questionable ingredients. Dog foods made with lower quality ingredients are very telling in a dog’s health- dull fur, more poop (since the lower quality ingredients aren’t as easily absorbed), more cases of vomiting, diarrhea, and food allergies. Excellent quality dog food may be more expensive, but it prevents so many other things, that’s it’s fully worth the cost!

I also give the puppies NuVet Plus, which is an immune system supplement. I like to begin this once the puppies have been weaned from mom’s milk, because of that loss of immunities. I use supplements as they are needed for my dogs. I use it when they are young ( I recommend from weaning until 2 years old), and during pregnancy and nursing. Those are the times when a dog has the highest nutritional, immune system support needs.

The puppies are LOVING their food, especially the Irish Setters. It’s funny watching them eat. The Mini Goldendoodles carefully chew their food and it takes them several minutes to finish a meal. Meanwhile, the Irish Setters devour their food in blink. I’m sure they barely chew!

Along with weaning, comes deworming, which is done at 3, 5, and 7 weeks old. Both litters have been dewormed twice, and they will receive one more round prior to going home. Keeping on top of parasite control in puppies is so important! Their young immune systems aren’t ready to ward off parasites, so they need regular dewormings for the first few months of their lives.

And for the not so fun part of raising puppies… potty training! I’ll be honest, puppies are messy sometimes! But that’s why I work so hard to get these guys started on potty training and crate training. The better I can get them trained, the less messy poo clean-up I have to do! The Mini Goldendoodles are doing very well. They certainly aren’t perfect, but they have been keeping their bed very clean, and the majority of their pottying has been going outside where it belongs. (Yay!) The Irish Setters are coming along nicely, but they need some more practice. (This is one area where I can see the age difference. In another week, the Irish Setters will have learned a lot more in the potty training arena.)

Next up for the puppies will be vet checks and vaccinations. I’ll do my best to keep my promise of a weekly update for next week. 🙂

Here are the links to the food and supplements that I give the puppies.

Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food: https://lifesabundance.com/Category/DogFood.aspx?realname=20552921&cat=0&hdr=&Ath=False&crt=0

NuVet Plus: https://www.nuvetlabs.com/order_new2/nuvet-plus-wafers.asp

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Three & Four Weeks

Good afternoon!

All of the puppies continue to grow, and they are all doing very well. Here’s what we are up to this week!

Mia’s puppies are now four weeks old. The one month mark means that we begin the weaning process! This is probably one of the periods of puppy raising that takes the most work. I begin by soaking small amounts of food and giving the puppies one meal a day. Then, I gradually increase to three meals, and then I begin feeding them larger amounts at each meal.

During that time, I also begin allowing momma to be away from her puppies for longer periods of time. Up to this point, momma has been allowed to eat as much as she wants, but I will soon begin to measure and limit her calorie intake. This will encourage her body to slow its milk production. Over-production of milk during weaning can lead to mastitis, so I take a proactive approach in helping mom’s milk supply to dry up in a slow and comfortable way.

The puppies, of course, will be eating Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food. The quality ingredients and excellent nutrition works to keep them healthy from the inside out! I have been feeding my dogs and puppies Life’s Abundance for about four years, and I love it! My puppies and adults have always done so well on it, and I was so impressed with the changes I saw in my dogs when we switched to feeding Life’s Abundance several years ago. Seriously, it’s one of the best dog foods you will find.

A few of the things I love the most about this particular kind of food (and I have tried several brands in my years as a breeder) are:

*It contains only high quality proteins. Protein is essential for all bodily functions (brain, heart, muscles, skin, coat, bones, etc), and not all protein is created equally. Life’s Abundance has quality controlled protein sources of chicken meal (which is more nutrient dense than whole chicken) and eggs.

*It is enriched with DHA and contains guarantee probiotics, prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, and a complete array of essential vitamins and minerals.

*It hasn’t been sitting on a store shelf for months! Life’s Abundance makes their food in small, weekly batches. This means when I order food, I know it is as fresh as possible, and fresh food is more nutrient rich.

*It has all of the good stuff and none of the bad! No artificial flavors or colors. No corn or wheat or corn/wheat glutens. None. Ever. Corn and wheat are very difficult for dogs to digest, meaning they can irritate the digestive system and provide very little nutritional benefit.

This isn’t just “puppy food.” This is a top-of-the-line, nutritious diet. I have seen the positive effects of good nutrition, and I simply cannot overstate the importance. A healthy momma and healthy puppies begin with a good nutrition. Their bodies’ simply cannot grow and function well if they are not given the high quality nutrients they need.

Here is a picture of Mia’s puppies enjoying one of their first Life’s Abundance meals. Getting them to eat took no encouragement! It was warm and sunny this afternoon, so the puppies got to spend time out in the yard.

Ollie after his snack

And now for Duchess’s puppies! They are three weeks old, and they are quite the lively bunch. I had to move Duchess’s food bowl up on a stool, because her puppies were eating it! They don’t have teeth yet, but they were getting into her bowl and gumming her hard kibble.

The puppies are now getting fairly steady on their feet, and I am beginning to see some tail wagging and hear some little yips and barks. They still sleep a lot, but they are definitely interested in the big world around them!

Today, Duchess and her puppies moved to our outdoor pen. It was time for them to have some more space. The small temporary pen off my kitchen wasn’t cutting it anymore.

Most times, my puppies spend their first 3-5 weeks inside where I can keep a close eye on them. Then, I often move them outside where they have much more space. Our outdoor pen gives them inside and outside access at all times, which greatly helps with potty training! It’s warmly heated in the winter, and cool and ventilated in the summer. (And just for my peace of mine, we have a camera on them all the time, so I can peek in on them during the night or when we are away from home.)

The puppies will still be spending a good bit of time in our house, though, to continue their training. I bring them inside to practice crate training, and to continue their exposure to sounds like vacuum cleaners, children, TV, etc.

Next week, Duchess’s puppies will begin weaning, and Mia’s puppies will be old enough for the waiting families to begin choosing their puppies. Check back then for another update!

Two & Three Weeks

Hello, all! Today Mia’s puppies turn three weeks old, and Duchess’s puppies turn two weeks old. The past weeks have been full of newborn puppy squeaks, puppy naps, snuggles, and lots of growing.

Since this is the first time I have had to balance caring for two litters at the same time, I decided I need to have a schedule for posting pictures and updates. Here’s what I have decided to do:

I will do a weekly blog post with updates about the puppies on Tuesday or Wednesday. When the update is posted, you can also look for updated pictures! However, since taking individual puppy pictures is surprisingly time consuming, I decided to alternate which litter gets updated pictures each week. This will help balance my workload a little better. 🙂 This week, Mia’s puppies get new pictures; and next week, Duchess’s puppies will, and so on. So you can look for a blog post and new pictures on Tuesday or Wednesday each week until the puppies head off to their new homes!

You can see the puppy pictures on the Available Puppies page.

So here we go!

Mia’s puppies have had their eyes open for almost a week now, and they are beginning to test out their unsteady little legs. Their lives have so far been very uneventful- mostly sleeping and eating- but they are spending more time awake and are slowly becoming aware of the sights and sounds around them. I have started playing music near their pen for a couple hours each day. This background noise helps get them acquainted with a variety of different sounds. For now, it’s gentle, quiet music. When they are older, we will practice with some more intense sounds like thunder and fireworks. By exposing the puppies to these potentially frightening sounds at a low volume when the puppies are very young, it gets them more comfortable with the sounds. This will help give them more confidence and less fear when they encounter the sounds in real life.

In the next week, we will begin potty training and weaning, so the busy work will be starting soon! Thus far, I have been changing the bedding, weighing the puppies, and taking care of momma. And, momma, of course, has been fantastic. Mia really is the best mom to her babies!

My children were very excited when the puppies’ eyes finally opened, because that meant they could finally hold them! My daughter does very well with holding them gently, but my little guy needs quite a bit of guidance! But his enthusiasm is bursting at the seams!

Duchess’s puppies have been doing excellent! All six Irish Setter puppies are growing well, and they look beautiful! Their eyes have just peeked open in the last couple of days. It’s interesting to compare the two litters. Although Mia’s puppies are older and have had their eyes open longer, Duchess’s puppies are more active. Even though they are a week younger, they are already walking/crawling/moving as much as the Mini Goldendoodle puppies. This is very normal, since larger breed puppies tend to grow and mature faster, but it’s so interesting to observe side by side.

Since Mia’s puppies are in the specially built whelping box in the basement, Duchess and her puppies are living in a temporary set up right outside my kitchen. It’s been working well, and they are already used to hearing the normal clanging and banging that happens in home with two young children!

And that’s a wrap for this week’s update. Check back next week for new pictures of the Irish Setters and an explanation of the weaning and potty training processes!

Fun Times Ahead!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

As some of you probably saw on social media yesterday, we welcomed a brand new litter of Irish Setters on Tuesday, October 13th, exactly one week after Mia’s puppies were born! We are feeling quite blessed!

You can see updated pictures of Mia’s puppies, and a group shot of Duchess’s puppies on the Available Puppies page.

Duchess safely and very quickly delivered six puppies yesterday afternoon- three boys and three girls. (She even decided to deliver them during my children’s nap time! I couldn’t have planned it more perfectly than that!) So far, momma and babies are all doing well. All of the puppies are nursing well, but not all of them gained weight in the first 24 hours. This is not unusual for the first day, but it does require me to keep a very close eye on the ones who did not gain. Most times, they all start gaining after the second day; but occasionally, there are one or two who need some supplementing to help them get started. Based on the puppies’ behavior, though, I doubt I’ll need to supplement. They are all vigorous and nursing well, so I fully expect to see weight gain by tomorrow.

As for Mia’s puppies, they are fat and happy little guys! Their eyes are still closed, and they spend all their time sleeping or eating. They are growing quickly, and I hope to see some peeking eyes in the next few days. My children are excited, since open eyes means that they can finally hold the puppies!

Have a wonderful rest of your week!

The Promised Announcement!

I hope you are all having a happy Saturday! Last week I promised a blog post with a surprise announcement, and here I am!

Twenty-twenty has been quite the year- to say the very least, but I hope this post finds you all doing well. It was a whirlwind of a summer around here, equal parts fun, frustrating, and exhausting. I’m sure many of you have felt much of the same. Since we didn’t have any litters this summer, I decided it would be a good opportunity to take a break from blogging and just soak up the summer with my family.

I felt like we practically lived out of our camper, as we did a lot of camping trips with family and friends. We have several campgrounds in the state that we like to visit that are dog friendly, and we usually take one or two of the dogs with us. Mia does so well traveling, so she almost always came along, and we occasionally had a new face tagging along, too.

And that brings me to the secret we’ve been keeping!

I’d like you all to meet Nova- the newest member of our crew!

Nova is an Irish Setter from Iron Fire Setters in Colorado. We put a deposit down for a puppy from Iron Fire at the very beginning of the year, before Covid swept through. When the litter was born in February, we were so excited! Then March and April came, and we weren’t sure how we were going to get a puppy all the way from Colorado with everything shut down. However, the details worked out; and in mid-April, this sweet little face showed up in our home!

So we have been working on training this little pistol all summer and getting her adjusted to life in the Martin household. She’s a little firecracker! She keeps the other girls on their toes, and they sometimes get tired of her wild antics. But she has found a dear friend in Timber, my wild old man, who is just tickled pink to have an eager buddy who will race him around the yard all day long.

Nova recently graduated AKC Star Puppy classes, but she certainly has a lot more training to do. She’s such a beautiful girl, though, and I am very excited to add her bloodlines into our puppies. She’s exceptionally good-natured and affectionate and always on the hunt for butterflies to chase. We love our new little setter, and we are enjoying experiencing the puppy stage again- most days anyway. 🙂

Some days when she is overly boisterous, I have to remind myself that it will get easier! The puppy stage is full of ups and downs and new challenges, but it’s always worth it once you have a mature, well-adjusted adult. I look at Duchess, who at five years old, is a well-mannered girl, and I remember how she was a wild and cantankerous young thing, too. When we take her to the cabin with us, she usually roams off leash all weekend and lounges by the campfire with us. She wasn’t nearly that trustworthy when she was only a year old. Then I look at Nova, who can barely keep all four feet on the ground at the same time, and I remind myself that puppies will be puppies!

And in other news, for the first time ever, we are expecting two litters at the same time! We are hoping for a litter from both Mia and Duchess in October, due about a week apart. Neither pregnancy is confirmed yet, but we hope to know within the next few weeks.

I hope you all enjoyed your summer, although I’m sure there were some things that were different. And I hope to have some adorable puppy pictures in another month or two to brighten up your fall!

Mia’s Puppies- 4 Weeks Old

One month! It’s great milestone for puppies, and I view it as leaving the newborn puppy stage and entering the puppyhood stage. (See updated puppy pictures here!)

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This past week has seen more potty training, puppy teeth beginning to pop out, yips and barks from the puppies’ pen, sound training, and, the most exciting part, weaning!

Weaning

The puppies will begin eating a little bit of softened Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food. They start with one small meal a day, and I gradually work them up to three meals a day. I like to wean slowly, over the course of 2.5 weeks, so that it’s gentler on the sensitive puppy tummies. Because of this and the fact that they are on such a great food, I very rarely see any puppy diarrhea or vomiting. The quality ingredients and excellent nutrition works to keep them healthy from the inside out!

A few of the things I love the most about this particular kind of food (and I have tried several brands in my years as a breeder) are:

*It contains only high quality proteins. Protein is essential for all bodily functions (brain, heart, muscles, skin, coat, bones, etc), and not all protein is created equally. Life’s Abundance has quality controlled protein sources of chicken meal (which is more nutrient dense than whole chicken) and eggs.

*It is enriched with DHA and contains guarantee probiotics, prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, and a complete array of essential vitamins and minerals.

*It hasn’t been sitting on a store shelf for months! Life’s Abundance makes their food in small, weekly batches. This means when I order food, I know it is as fresh as possible, and fresh food is more nutrient rich.

*It has all of the good stuff and none of the bad! No artificial flavors or colors. No corn or wheat or corn/wheat glutens. None. Ever. Corn and wheat are very difficult for dogs to digest, meaning they can irritate the digestive system and provide very little nutritional benefit.

This isn’t just “puppy food.” This is a top-of-the-line, nutritious diet. I have seen the positive effects of good nutrition, and I simply cannot overstate the importance.

Socializing & Sound Training

In the next weeks, the puppies will get to hear, see, smell, and experience a wide variety of different things both inside our home and outside. This wide base of experiences provides them with a solid base of socializing. Obviously, new families will have to continue this socializing process, but the earlier it’s started, the better! It helps puppies to develop temperaments that are less reactive or fearful and more calm and confident.

So far, they have heard normal household noises while they hang out in my kitchen, and they have also heard a video soundtrack played very quietly of animals, traffic, and household noises. Playing these sounds quietly for them off my phone or computer gives them non-frightening exposure to some noises that may be loud and startling in real life.

And, of course, they puppies get the wonderful experience of being handled by a child. My daughter is old enough to play very well with the puppies. It is so good for puppies to get used to the unpredictable and sometimes rough movements of children, as well as their shrill voices. My son is also very interested in the puppies, but he only gets to touch them briefly with his mama’s help. He is still in the “grasp and pinch” stage of babyhood. So his puppy interactions are closely monitored!

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I hope you are all doing very well and staying healthy!