The Thankfulness Litter- 1 Week Old

On Monday, Duchess’s litter turned one week old! The first two weeks with a new litter of puppies is either the easiest period or the hardest. If the puppies are healthy and growing, and momma is taking good care of them, then there is very little that I need to do. But if mom or babies are struggling, then I have round the clock care to give.

And this litter is certainly falling into the EASY category. All four of the puppies are strong, healthy, and growing very well. This is Duchess’s fourth litter, so she is a veteran mom. That leaves me with a low-key job. 🙂 Right now, the puppies only eat, sleep, and grow. My job consists mainly of monitoring the puppies’ growth and keeping their bedding clean.

Every day, when I weigh each puppy, I am also doing an Early Neurological Stimulation program with them. I briefly hold them in various positions (nose up, nose down, and on their back), touch between their toes, and place them on a cool surface. This gives them several different stimuli from position, pressure, and temperature. It’s all very brief and gentle, and it gets them used to be handled. During the first two weeks of life, a puppy’s brain is learning and growing at the fastest rate that it ever will. Receiving this early handling helps cultivate a calmer and more confident temperament, so that the puppies are less likely to be fearful, anxious, or reactive as they get older. (Of course, this program does not guarantee a good temperament, but it is one of many building blocks that goes into the foundation of a well-mannered dog.)

I am calling this my “thankfulness litter,” because of the names that I chose for them. These pups will be ready for their new homes the week of Thanksgiving, so I tried to pick names that reflected thankfulness. Each of the names comes from a biblical Greek or Hebrew word. (*Disclaimer* I did take a little bit of creative liberty in the spelling and pronunciation of some of the names.)

I have Jirah, Saba, Hiko, and Doxa.

Jirah comes from the phrase Jehovah Jireh, which means the Lord will provide. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the harvest and give thanks for many blessings we have, and I chose the name Jirah to acknowledge that it is the Lord who provides each and every blessing in our lives. And not only has He provided many good things, but He can be counted on to continue to provide for all of our needs.

Saba means abundance. Not only does the Lord provide for our needs, but He provides abundantly! Jesus said in the book of John, “I am come that you may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Hiko comes from a word meaning sufficient. In all honestly, sometimes life doesn’t feel “abundant.” But the Lord promises, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is make perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).” “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed (2 Corinthians 9:8).”

Doxa means praise. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to our Creator! It’s about praising Him not only for what He has done but for who He is- a loving Father who cares for us.

Here they are, my thankfulness litter, from left to right- Jirah (pink), Doxa (blue), Hiko (brown), and Saba (red). They are four beautiful blessings!

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Surprise Announcement!

We have a brand new litter of Irish Setters! I had not announced that this litter was on its way for a couple of reason. Number one- for the first time in several years, I do not have any reservations on my Irish Setter Waiting List. And second- I’ve been keeping a low profile on my Kristen’s Happy Tails social media accounts this summer. My sweet baby boy was born in April, and I am still learning the fine art of raising two kiddos, four dogs, and my precious puppies. With all those sweet beings looking for my care and love every day, I allowed my social media presence to take a back seat for a few months.

So, here we are! We are praising God for a healthy new litter! Timber and Duchess have blessed us with four new little ones- three girls and one boy. It was a fairly uneventful pregnancy and delivery (those are my favorite kind!). Mom and babies are doing well, and I am again in love with the freshness and “newness” of newborn puppies. They are so delicate and precious, and I just can’t get enough of them!

Like I said, there are no reservations for this litter, so if you have been thinking about getting an Irish Setter, now is your chance! These puppies will be ready for new homes at the end of November- just in time for the holidays! I’ll be posting individual pictures and more litter information later this week.

Puppy Update: 5 Weeks Old!

If I have learned anything in the past few weeks it has been that everyone needs a Golden Irish. Seriously, these puppies are ADORABLE! I see so many of the great attributes of both parent breeds all mixed together in a litter of floppy-eared puppy sweetness.

The puppies have the playful and confident Irish Setter nature, but it’s toned down just a bit by the affectionate and gentle Golden Retriever personality. All these puppies want to do is play and love on whoever is close by. When I bring food to the puppies in the morning, I am greeting with happy barks and wagging tails, and my feet are swarmed by a mob of fluffy, wiggly puppies. (Not a bad start to the day. I highly recommend it!)

And I’m certainly not the only one enjoying the puppies! At least a dozen times a day, my daughter asks to go play with them. This is definitely one of the biggest benefits of family-raised puppies. Every day the puppies are loved on (and carted around by) a toddler. Although my daughter does very well with the puppies, she’s still a toddler. Gentleness is a tough concept to grasp. The puppies become very accustomed to being picked up and squeezed by little arms. They aren’t frightened by her loud squeals and giggles. In fact, they learn to LOVE it!

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Besides playing and enjoying all the sweetness, there is a lot of work going on with the puppies, as well! At five weeks old, the puppies are well on their way to being weaned. I begin weaning at four weeks old, and I transition them slowly off of mama’s milk with the goal of having them fully weaned between six and seven weeks old.

Right now, the puppies are eating Life’s Abundance Large Breed Puppy Food mixed with raw goat milk. For the first while, the food needs to be softened. Once the puppies are used to chewing and using those needle-sharp teeth, I stop adding the goat milk. I like using goat milk over just water, because goat milk adds nutrients, protein, and healthy fat. This is beneficial for the puppies who are slower to wean.

Once the puppies are weaned off of their mother’s milk, their immunity is weakened. Because of this, each of the puppies will be started on NuVet Plus Immune System Supplements. These supplements help build and protect the young immune systems. Because of the antioxidants in the supplement, it’s also beneficial for the puppies to be receiving them during while getting their puppy shots. Some studies have shown that puppies who have received antioxidant supplements are able to give a better immune system response to their puppy vaccines.

In addition to the weaning process, the puppies are continuing their early training and socializing. They are getting to interact with our other dogs, and they are getting to experience new sights and sounds like lawn mowers, thunder, and vacuum cleaners. Next week, I will also begin crate training! I’m very pleased with how the puppies are doing with their potty training so far; and I’m sure that by eight weeks old, they will have a solid foundation to begin the house breaking process at their new homes.

This litter has been a lot of fun so far, and Jade has done a wonderful job as a first time momma! I am looking forward to the weeks ahead with these sweet little pups!

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Homemade Puppy Formula

As promised, here is the homemade puppy formula recipe that I use for my puppies. It has served me very well in the times that I have had to use it, and I highly recommend it to anyone finding themselves needing to bottle feed a puppy! The recipe is not original with me, but I want to pass it along as a help others!

Homemade Puppy Formula

10 oz fresh raw goat milk
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 raw egg yolk
1/4 tsp corn syrup

Whisk together and store in refrigerator up to a week. Feed 1 ml per ounce of body weight every three hours. (Helpful conversion: 5 ml = 1 tsp) Ex. A puppy weighing 10 oz should receive 10 ml (which is 2 tsp) every three hours. This recipe can also be fed to the mother, as it is good for her milk supply.

While you can certainly feed puppies straight raw goat milk, I love adding these ingredients. Interestingly, dog milk has approximately twice the fat and protein per ounce that cow or goat milk does. (Cow milk should not be given to puppies, as they cannot digest it well!) So to make sure puppies are getting the proper amount of fat and protein at each feeding, it’s important to add the yogurt and egg yolk. These ingredients help give the formula a similar fat and protein content in each serving as they would get from their mom.

I get my goat milk from Russell Homestead (https://www.russellhomestead.com/). Not only do I use goat milk in formula, but I also use it to help wean my puppies by softening their kibble in it. It’s a very enticing flavor to get the puppies started drinking and eating from a bowl. It’s also a way to make sure the puppies that are slower to pick up the chewing and eating are still getting good calories and staying hydrated.

That’s all for today! Check back next week for an update on the puppies, and have a wonderful weekend!

Way to Go, Jade!

In a few short weeks, this house will be bursting with little puppy energy. My sweet Jade is a mommy to ten beautiful Golden Irish puppies. She actually had thirteen (gasp!), but we sadly lost three during delivery. It’s a shockingly large litter from the dog I wasn’t sure would ever have a litter.

I was very eager to see what Timber and Jade’s puppies would look like. There is a variety of shades, but most of the puppies are a medium golden/red, with one or two that are noticeably more golden. We also have exactly five boys and five girls!

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From left to right: Azure (female), Axel (male), Ajax (male), Autumn (female), Ariel (female), Almond (female), Achilles (male), Ava (female), Apollo (male), Archie (male)

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The first days have been mostly good, but I did make the decision to begin supplementing the puppies with homemade formula. Jade is being an excellent mother, but ten puppies is a lot to handle for an inexperienced first time mother. As can sometimes happen with first time mommas, I don’t think her milk is coming in fully yet. Her puppies are nursing well, but their weight gain has been lagging. They are remaining hydrated, which tells me they are getting something, but the milk supply hasn’t caught up to the demand yet. So to keep them from losing too much weight and becoming too weak, I am supplementing the ones who are struggling to gain. Currently, I am weighing each puppy morning and evening. After each weigh-in, I give a bottle to the puppies who have not gained much or any weight.

(For those who may have need of it, I will post the homemade puppy formula recipe next week. I highly recommend it, as my puppies have always done very well on it.)

We worked very hard to get this litter of puppies, and I am grateful to have ten gorgeous puppies! It’s going to be an exciting two months as we watch these Golden Irish boys and girls grow and see their dispositions develop.

As with our other puppies, these guys will have a two-year genetic guarantee, contingent on the puppies receiving our recommended diet. Jade and Timber are both registered with AKC; but because the puppies are a designer breed, they will be registered with ICA. Deposits are available, so if you are looking for an active, affectionate, and healthy companion, one of these sweeties may be just the one for you!

The Golden Irish

I am SO EXCITED! Finally, on our third try, our beautiful Jade is expecting puppies! It is not the Mini Goldendoodle puppies we had originally planned, but it is Golden Irish puppies from our very own Timber! We are so excited to be pursuing this new avenue, but let me explain how we got here.

Our original plan for Jade was to breed her with a Miniature Poodle. Then we would have F1 Mini Goldendoodles from her and F1b Mini Goldendoodles from Mia. However, we tried twice for Mini Goldendoodle puppies, but Jade did not get pregnant either time. We were very disappointed! Sometimes it can be difficult to get a successful litter from the pairing of a large female and a very small male.

After two failed attempts, we decided that we need to try something else. For the best chance, we decided to do a natural breeding (instead of the artificial that is often needed for Mini Goldendoodles) with a male dog close to Jade’s size. We also noticed that Jade tends to get stressed when she is boarded away from home, and stress can also negatively effect breeding. So we knew we didn’t want to have to board her at another breeder.

We had heard of the Golden Irish cross before, but we hadn’t really considered doing it because we really like Mini Goldendoodles. However, considering Jade’s history, we gave the idea a second look. By using our own male dog we had the most flexibility with the timing of the breeding, which is very important! It also eliminated the stress on Jade of going to another breeder. And the more we looked into the Golden Irish cross, the more we liked what we saw!

Before breeding, we did some testing to make sure there weren’t any other issues interfering with fertility. All of the tests came back clear, and our vet also helped us determine Jade’s peak breeding days by tracking her progesterone levels. And after that we had to wait four long weeks before doing an ultrasound to see if we were successful.

And I am so happy to report that Jade and Timber have some babies on the way! While Golden Irish puppies weren’t in our original plans, we are excited about this litter. The Golden Irish is a beautiful dog, combining the traits of the gentle Golden Retriever and the exuberantly friendly Irish Setter. They have long silky fur with can be varying shades of golden and red. Their temperaments are very friendly, intelligent, and easy to train. We are expecting the size to be around 55 pounds, although it really could be anywhere from 45-65.

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We are expecting the puppies to be born during the last week of May, and we are accepting deposits for the upcoming puppies! So keep watch in the next months for pictures of Jade’s first puppies. 🙂

Big News!

It’s been a busy season at our home the past few weeks. 🙂 So here is a brief update on all that’s been happening!

The most exciting is the birth of our son Reagan on April 11! He has been doing very well, and we are enjoying snuggling our newest family member. His big sister enjoys holding him, and Mia has assumed the roll of baby’s guard dog.

And Penny and Phoenix are now six weeks old and growing like weeds! They are both so playful and affectionate! They are almost fully weaned onto unsoftened kibble. I’m still soaking their food for a few minutes to make it easier to chew, but I will stop that within the next week. This week the puppies are also starting on NuVet Plus, which is an immune system supplement. As puppies wean off of their mom’s milk, their young immune systems become more susceptible to illnesses. A good supplement can help protect them from viruses and bacteria, and it can also help them give a better immune system response to their puppy vaccines.

We will soon be starting crate training, and the puppies are slowly being introduced to more and more new sights and sounds. The more variety of things they get to experience here at my home, the more easily they will adjust to their new homes.

And here are some pictures! These sweet pups have been enjoying the beautiful spring weather. It’s so much fun to watch them run and explore their big new world!

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Phoenix

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Penny

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Sibling rough housing

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They love chasing after Reese!

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Penny

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Have a wonderful rest of your week!

 

Two Weeks Old

Duchess’s puppies are now two weeks old, and, wow! These pudgy pups are the cutest things! They are the strongest and chunkiest puppies I have ever had. Both puppies are weighing right around four pounds already, which is definitely a record breaking size at this house! They have also been the lowest maintenance litter I think I’ve ever had. Because of their solid birth weights, they have been strong nursers and are thriving and gaining weight exceptionally well during these first two weeks. 

Currently, things are still pretty quiet. They both have open eyes, but they aren’t very mobile yet. They are beginning to test out their unsteady little legs, especially Penny, but they really haven’t begun to play or explore yet. However, that will change very, very soon! Meanwhile, Duchess is a fantastic mother, and she is already back to her active, agile self.

So all in all, this no-stress litter is such a blessing. It is just what I needed during this time, and I am very much looking forward to watching them grow and develop in the coming weeks! They are such a welcome distraction from my own baby countdown (13 days, give or take).

And here they are! The first picture is Phoenix, and the second one is Penny. Have a wonderful rest of your week; and, local folks, soak up this beautiful sunshine!

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More Babies!

Yesterday two new little fur babies joined our family!

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Duchess welcomed two fat and healthy puppies- one boy and one girl. It was probably the most difficult labor I have assisted with, but momma and babies are all doing well! Due to the small litter size, these puppies grew extra large in utero- 1.25 pounds! This made the delivery take a bit more effort. But with a lot of patience, a little bit of worry, and a smear of vaseline, all was well!

While I am surprised by such a small litter (her last litters were 10 and 7), I really do believe God knows what He’s doing. While I would have loved to have enough puppies for all the families on my waiting list, there is something I am very grateful for. I am now just four short weeks away from my due date. I have plenty of help arranged for when the baby decides to come, but I knew there would still be a lot of extra work with having a litter of puppies at the same time.

But two puppies? Two puppies looks like a MUCH more manageable work load than seven or more. I can wrangle this litter in just one armload! The next two months look a lot less overwhelming, and I think God knew just how much I’d be able to handle.

I am grateful and blessed.

I’ll be posting individual pictures of the puppies who I have named Phoenix and Penny later this week!

 

 

Heading Home!

And just like that, we are done with Mia’s 2019 puppies! The last two months have just flown by. I remember thinking when Mia’s puppies were born that by the time they left for new homes, I would be nearing the end of my pregnancy. And now here we are! While I always enjoy puppies, I also have some relief that these cute little guys are in their new homes. With my growing belly, I was finding it harder and harder to muster up the energy to keep up with the puppies. 🙂 I know they will be so happy in new homes where they can get the individual attention they need.

I had so much fun meeting and getting to know the puppies’ new families! I am definitely fortunate to work with these folks who I know are going to give my special pups wonderful homes. It’s such a blessing to see my puppies bringing joy to new families and also know that all the effort and time I put into raising them is worth it!

Thank you to all of you for investing in this process and giving these sweet pups their forever homes! I hope you all experience many happy and healthy years with your new friend!

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This last picture makes me smile! One of the puppies’ families gave Reese this shirt as a gift. It says “Official Puppy Tester.” And she LOVES it. Every day, she has been asking me if she can wear her puppy shirt.

On a different note, if anyone has looked at my list of upcoming litters, you would have noted that there is a litter of Irish Setters listed for March. Yes, that is right! We are officially on “puppy watch” with Duchess! She is due any day, and I am very grateful that she decided to wait at least until all of Mia’s puppies were gone. We get to start this whole fun process over right away again; and sometime in the midst of it all, our own sweet little boy will make his arrival. While the work does look a bit overwhelming, I am blessed to have a wonderful network of family and friends who have lovingly offered to help with baby and puppies! It really does take a village!

I hope you have a great rest of your weekend!