Pupdate – First few weeks

Written by: Isobella Ash

Read Jane Martins’s latest update on her Border Collie puppies below:

The pups are growing well; life is moving at such a pace for them. In a few days they will be opening their eyes and getting up on their feet. Those first unsteady steps. It will not be long before they are running around, me following behind.

Even a week and a bit in, they are starting to get little personalities. We have a squeaker; she is vocal when life is not giving her what she wants. We have someone who slurps loudly and then make contented full sounds. We have someone who likes to sleep upside down. We also have the little girl who likes to sleep while the others feed and then come along later, when the frenzy of seven other puppies feeding is over. I am watching that she is getting enough, her weight is increasing, so I think she is rather smart. Time will tell.

Bunty continues to be a super mum; I watch her condition like a hawk. Is she well? Does she look ok? Is she eating and drinking enough? Without her we would be sunk. Hand rearing a litter is a tough job. She keeps her pups not only well-fed but extremely clean. We joke that she even washes behind their ears.

I am with them all day, I set the whelping box up in my home office, I am determined to make the most of the opportunity life has given me. My husband, the long-suffering Mr Martin, (I never know why people say that about him, he has a lovely wife) comes home and says they have grown so much every day. He is keeping a puppy, which will be his first dog. Historically they have always been “mine”. Registered to me, trained by me, cared for mainly by me. But when we talked about having a litter he said, “can I have one”, of course, said his lovely wife, knowing that meant she would be caring for two and not minding a bit.

It is important at this current stage in the pup’s development that we think of biosecurity, something that we are all getting much more familiar with these days. Pups get their immunity from Mum through her milk. This doesn’t mean some basic precautions should be missed. I have other dogs in the house, these first few weeks I have walked these on our paddocks. No-one else uses these so it just means we are keeping the risk of infection lower than going into public spaces (gee doesn’t that sound familiar). We have also started to ensure that any footwear we have on in the puppy room has had indoor-only usage. I don’t know if this helps or not, but the only harm it is doing is that I never know where my slippers are. Of course, there is regular hand washing, that is useful on so many levels. I might be going a bit far, but I am airing on the side of better safe than sorry.

Whilst I have owned dogs for longer than I am going to admit to, and dogs are my life and my passion, this is my first homegrown litter. That did fill me with some element of concern prior to the birth, especially in a lockdown situation. What if something went wrong, what if I needed to get to the vets etc. Happily, Bunty took it all in her stride.

puppy sleeping
Sleeping Beauty

Everything was textbook and I really didn’t have time to think as events unfolded, but I will forever be grateful to friends and experienced breeders, who lavished me with info, advice and suggestions, both pre and post the birth. I have asked questions, I have checked out things with them, they are always generous in their response. From all of this, I would strongly suggest that if you too are thinking of a littler, and have never done this before, then having this support network around you, as well as your vet, is one of the most important things to have in place, even if we are not in a lockdown situation. I will always to grateful to those individuals that have helped guide me, have offered their services, in the middle of the night if needed and who have told me I am doing alright. Thank you seems too little to say, but I do thank you very much.

Turning back to the present, well I haven’t seen much telly lately, I haven’t read a book and I haven’t slept a lot either, but I am very happy about that. Puppy watching should be a national pass time, it fills hours without you even knowing. Just watching and listening to that “puppy pile” is such a wonderful thing.

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