April 29 Day 50 Begin Week 7


Nickel At Play
Despite Nickel's growing size she's still playing and doing a little rough housing and jumping in and out of the car (and her grooming table whether she needs to or not)  Starting this week I'll be putting more limits on her jumping and playing.  As you can see in some of the pictures... due to her ever expanding size she'll probably be putting an end to  her vigorous activities on her own!

Nickel and Mica

and TinTin

Here's Nickel posing with her Purple Monkey (Monkey courtesy of Robyn Scola :)

can you see the Buddha belly?

Now you see it?!


April 28 Day 49

April 26 Day 47

Today's Topic:  Raw Diet

I spent about 6 hours on Sunday grinding 100 pounds of raw liver, kidneys, lungs and organic venison for the dogs.  I also ground 50 pounds of fresh sardines.  Needless to say Raw Feeding has been on my mind lately!  Here is a little bit about Raw Diet.  I will try to post more later....

Face it,  I got Corsa (my first dog) in the late 90's.  There was very little information about the effects of over vaccinating our dogs or canine diets.  I've learned a lot in the past decade and I've come a long way!  Corsa was given every vaccination recommended by my vet and she was on a 'hign end' kibble.  I thought that I was doing the very best for her.... and based on the current atmosphere... I was.  Corsa is 13 years old!  and has multiple autoimmune issues and epilepsy.  Hey,  I'm not really complaining because for her age she is in awesome shape.   I do,  however wonder about the origin of her Immune mediated illnesses and the incredible vaccine load I gave her.  I contribute (of course I have to take credit for this... remember my God Complex!)  her longevity and old age stamina  on the raw diet and subsequent cessation of all vaccinations (including Rabies... don't tell).  Of course I do routine Titers on all my dogs to make sure that they have full immunity! 

I've adopted a regime of Raw Diet and minimal vaccination for all of my dogs.  Please know that this doesn't mean that my dogs aren't protected against the major communicably transmitted canine diseases!   I am very careful to routinely do a 'titer' for the normally vaccinated diseases on a strict schedule.

My friend Karen Green of  Desert Reef Standard Poodles sent me this very interesting link about this very subject:  Dr. Jeff Bergin on Responsible Dog Breeding Practices

April 25 Day 46- Dedicated to Phil and Jackie

April 25 was a day of mixed emotions. 

The first experience of the day was to feel a puppy for the first time.  I was still in bed and had my hand resting on Nickel's belly.  I suddenly felt the hard poke of the puppy rub against my hand.  I had a sudden Flash in my mind of a tiny front foot.  It was a magical moment.  In the next week there will be more movement and soon I will be able to see the puppies moving.  They seem to be very high up and mostly back under her ribs.  I expect in the next week they will drop some.

I also woke up the the realization that it was the 16th anniversary of my husband Phil's death.  I don't normally make a public announcement about it, but it seem fitting here since this is a blog about LIFE... and Life is intricately interwoven with Death in a oddly beautiful juxtaposition.
Phil and his favorite shirt

     I will never forget TinTin's delivery.  The last puppy was born some time in the wee hours of the night and I found myself alone and exhausted.  I was sitting next to the whelping box with a goblet of wine,  my back against the wall and head resting on a makeshift pillow.   The only sound and motion was that of the puppies, contently whimpering and suckling.  I had an immense feeling that Phil was there with me.... how could he not?  Here before me was the beginning of new life...  tiny embodiments of the Key To The Cosmos- that gossamer thread that connects life and death.  I understood for the first time that there is no end... as the end is part of the beginning.  We are all infinite threads woven into one.   I relaxed into my thoughts, embraced my grief and joy, and watched in awe as the burbling puppies nursed.

April 25th took another dear heart.... The Grande Dame Jackie.  Her pedigree name was Ch Majessa Three Times A Lady and yes, she was  a Champion in many ways. Jackie, was a very special poodle that Cat has taken care of for the past 3 or 4 years.  In her uniquely special way, she had taken Jackie into her Heart and Home.  My thoughts are with Jackie's owners and with Cat.

Ch Majessa Three Times A Lady AKA Jackie
10/13/1995- 4/25/2011
July 2010- at Poodle Palooza

April 24 Day 45... Continued

where's Eureka?

Last night, with a stethescope,  I could hear puppies moving.

April 24 Day 45...

 Psuedopregnancy....It's been quite funny to watch TinTin vying for belly rubs and bonbons.  Now she is trying to nest.  

There's a fold out guest bed in the room next to the whelping room.  This is where I have slept in the past so I can be close to mom and babies.  I always move down stairs about three weeks before babies are due so all the dogs can get used to the routine and Mom can start sleeping in the whelping box.  

When TinTin was pregnant she took to sleeping under the bed at night.  Here is a picture of her trying to squeeze under the bed just a few hours before delivering.  She was like a bloated tick and could only manage to get her head and shoulders in the space where just days earlier she fit her entire body.
TinTin ... bless her heart ;)

Last year Ico, too, decided that under the bed was a prime nesting spot.  In her attempts to make the under bed spot more comfortable she proceeded to dig a hug hole in the carpeting.  She even tried to get under there for the delivery.  Good thing she decided the whelping box made a second best option.

Well,  Nickel is following family tradition and last night took up residence.. where?... under the bed.  I was working in the room and the poodle pack was settled in all around me.  When I got up to leave I couldn't find Nickel.  Lo and behold there she was... sleeping under the bed.  She's never crawled under there before.  

Remember how I told you that TinTin thinks she's pregnant?  Guess where she is right now?  

TinTin re-escavating the hole in the carpet
Don't tell ME I'm not pregnant!!!!

Do you think in the next three weeks they'll be squeezing under there together?  

April 23 continued...

News.... TinTin is pregnant... well... she thinks she is.. ha ha ha.  TinTin has been certain that the puppies that are coming are going to be hers.  She's starting to glow.   Last night she crawled into my side and nestled in.  She's become very needy and sits and stares with a far off look.  It's pretty cute.  She tells me the only down side to having a false pregancy is that she's not getting all those extra meals.

In the mean time, Nickel is starting to do a little huffing and puffing when jumping into the car or onto the bed.  As a matter of fact she's taken to climbing up via Corsa's step.   Take a look a her pic and you'll understand why.

 Waist measured 24 1/2 inches in morning and 25 inches same evening....

April 23 Day 44

My New Logo!
Alchmy Poodle by my friend Lena

Lynne,  In response to your comment.... here's a typical sight in the neighborhood.  We walk leash free in the mornings.  I know some people will be unhappy with the thought but... it's just the way it is ;^)   When people are walking toward or coming up behind us the girls know to sit and wait for them to pass.  They know they're not allowed in yards, just the grassy strip next to the road, and they can't roam too far ahead.  One command is 'stay with' which means they have to walk behind me.  They also have to sit at the curb before crossing the street.  Here's what it looks like  (of course most of them have to carry something in their mouth during the 'parade.'
Mica,  Nickel,  Eureka, TinTin and Corsa

One day I was standing with them like this, waiting for the puppy to sit, and I looked over my shoulder to see a patrol car creeping up behind me.  I took a big gulp and prepared to get a hefty ticket for having 5 dogs off leash.  He rolled down his window and said, "I just had to stop because I couldn't believe my eyes."  and drove away.  Phew! 

April 22 Day 43 Begin Week 6

Begin Last Trimester

A lot is going on in the next 3 weeks!  Just last night there was a dramatic difference in Nickel's behavior.  She was uncomfortable all night trying to adjust her positioning to accomodate the puppies,  I'm sure that they're now pushing on her lungs.  If she moved into a certain position she'd gag and cough.  She also spent the night practically on top of me.   She got me out of bed at 2am to go potty, not something she normally does.  Thinking about how big the puppies are now it's no surprise especially when considering the number.  Through this last trimester the puppies are going to grow even more rapidly and we will see Nickel's belly grow ... and grow.. and grow... I hope the next three weeks aren't too rough on our girl.
Here's a picture I took this morning of her Buddha Belly:
She found being on her back was the most comfortable position.

I finally clipped Nickel down last night and took off about 4 inches of hair on her jacket and bracelets.  I'll be leaving the hair on her back and head so that I can continue growing her hair into a full continental.   Having the hair off her sides and belly will help keep things neat and tidy during delivery and afterward.  I'll give her a complete shave of face, feet and around the jacket today so that she can be free of grooming through the next  month. She'll get a quick bath after delivery but that will be it for a while.  I also want to be sure that there's enough time for some regrowth of hair on her belly... those puppy claws are very sharp!   

I've been taking Nickel's Belly picture during our morning walk.  In the last few days the other poos have figured out that Nickel 's been getting a lot of extra attention on that particular street corner.  I think I mentioned earlier that Eureka seems to have appeared in the most recent pictures..... welll....  the whole gang decided that it's time to get involved!   They wouldn't leave us alone.. ha ha ha.....

Dear blind Corsa Bella couldn't figure out how to maneuver around Nickel

April 21 Day 42

Busy work week... Seems like Nickel is growing faster than I can keep up with her ;)  She's slowed down a little bit and is having to put a little effort into jumping in the car.  She's still active and playing but taking lots of breaks.

Found a picture of TinTin when she was 40 days pregnant.... Nickel's in that belly some where!
That patch of hair on her back was a Heart... looked good from above but from the side looks a bit strange.. ha ha ha

April 20 Day 41

Have you noticed that Eureka is always in these pictures..  Ha ha ha

April 19 Day 40

Quiet/Quite a day today.

Had an agility lesson for TinTin... first one in a YEAR!  OMG.  It was fabulous.  I just adore my instructor Andrea Dexter .  She's the one, btw, who did the herding and jumping films.  She is a Zen Master in all that she does.  I left the lesson inspired to get back into training.  TinTin will be in the Poodle Agility Trial next weekend and that's the main reason I scheduled the lesson.  I figured (duh) that we should at least re-familiarize ourselves with a course :0G   TinTin will be competing in the Excellent Level.  She's been incredible as she's Qualified in almost every trial we've participated in... despite the lack of practice.  She makes me look good :o)    Anyway,  It was a gorgeous day and after the lesson I took all the kids to a local dog park for a romp.

At the park I met an interesting women from the Czech Republic.  She was there without her dog;  a 17 year old Giant Schnauzer.  Wow.  As we chatted we found out that we'd both lost our husbands in 1995 and that it had been our beloved dogs that had kept us a live.  It was quite a tearful and inspirational conversation.  She asked me about puppies but admitted that she was too much in the midst of chaos to get one.  It was therapeutic to meet someone else who was still so emotionally effected by a loss so long ago.. and to have had her dog 'save her life'... just as I had with Corsa.  Our dogs are amazing beings.

Anyway... Here's Big Mama playing with Little Big Man:

April 18 Day 39.. cont...

I spent the day cleaning out the Whelping room.. Wow had it gotten filled with clutter in the past year!  Nickel spent most of the time laying directly in my way.  She seems to know that this room is for her.  Not too much of a surprise since she was born in this room! and her sister delivered her litter in it last year... same whelping box.  Of course last year Nickel spent a great deal of time watching her sister, Ico's litter growing in the very same spot.  I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't some residule smell on the box.  
Nickel practically battled for her position while I rebuilt the whelping box.  LOL... she really wanted center stage this time round ;)  I repainted the lavendar walls; this time we have pink and blue (it's left over paint from the Pink Poodle Parlor and exterior house paint).  At least we know that these pups will be frugal :)  

Here's Nickel hanging out in the Whelping box last year...  She certainly was ready to be a mom.  As you can see.... she spent a lot of time outside the box as well...
Nickel in Ico's Whelping box (last year) ... ah....just trying it out :)

Nickel outside whelping box.. watching Ico's puppies

Ico (the REAL mom) on the left and Nickel (the WANNA be Mom) on the right

Nickel (top) and TinTin (bottom) out side Ico's Whelping box... It Takes  A Village...

In the following pictures I'm in the process of painting the Whelping Room from Lavendar to Pink and Blue...  Nickel didn't seem to think that having the room painted should stop her from settling into Mother-Hood!  As I constructed the Whelping Box Today,  Nickel tried to take central control ;)   Before I even had the sides up she circled around the 'Whelping Nest' and settled into position.  The 'Whelping Nest' is the black circle.  It's a heated  pad that will maintain a steady temperature of 95 degrees for the puppies.  For the first ten days the puppies wont be able to maintain their body temperature and this heating 'dish' will keep them safe.  If they get too hot they can crawl off the dish.  

April 18 Day 39

Didn't get her hair brushed out after her swim... oops

April 17 Day 38

Belly measures 23 1/2 today

We're all going swimming today since it's Corsa's water therapy day.  I figured that Nickel will enjoy the warm water.  She didn't swim in the cold lake with her mother and nephew yesterday.. the little wimp...LOL.  I know that both Ico and TinTin enjoyed swimming when they were pregnant.  I think it feels good to get the exercise and take the weight off their feet at the same time.  I'll try to take some pictures today.

I learned about Dog Water Therapy years ago when I started bringing Corsa to Cindy Horsfall.  Sadly for us she moved to Sequim but in  6 Degrees Of Separation she is now friends with Stoli and Belle's owners Joanne and Jack.  It's a small world.  If you want more information about Cindy's work and her spa Click Here.

April 16 Day 37

Well  some of the poos when swimming today and although it has nothing to do with pregnancy... I had to share just because I couldn't believe they'd go in on a day like today! AND it was Mica's first time in the water.  He went right in after his Gramma TinTin.  Of course in the areas where TinTin was full-out swimming, Mica was simply wading.. ha ha ha.

April 15 Day 36 Begin Week 5

Mean and range of the gestational age at the first
ultrasonographic detection of the fetal structures

Embryo                 22.80±1.03     21-24
Heartbeat              23.00±0.94     22-24
Limb bud               29.70±0.82     28-31
Fetal movement    30.40±1.64     28-31
Stomach                33.40±1.07     32-35
Gall bladder          32.90±1.73     31-35
Urinary bladder     34.90±1.19     33-37
Skeleton                35.10±0.73     34-36
Lung                      36.10±0.51     35-37
Liver                     35.40 ±0.70     35-37

Nickel's waist measured 22 1/2 inches this morning

April 14 Day 35

Nickel has actually been back to *near* normal level of playing, retrieving and some rough housing.  She definitely seems to be feeling better.  In between her activities she sleeps Very deeply.    Here she is on our walk this morning:

Since I had no case at work, I'm still recovering from the flu and Mica is visiting Auntie Cat, I decided to crawl back into bed after our walk.  Hummmmm.... none of the girls argued with me :)  I got my lap top and started working and Nickel and TinTin snuggled in beside me.  I get a kick out of the way TinTin 'mama handles' Nickel.  Reminds me of a little old lady babying her 250 pound 50 year old son around..  

Later today I hope to load an assortment of Nickel pics... from puppihood til today.  Stay tuned!

April 13 Day 34

Here are some pictures of the Ultrasounds taken on Monday.  Because the puppies are distributed through two uterine horns and some may be up under the rib case, the vet has to search for the pups.  

Looking Back

Here are some of Nickel's ancestors on her Mother's side: