Saturday, September 24, 2016

Pee Pads are for Puppies

...at least this seems to be Bennie's impression. At seven months old, Bennie is the senior pup in the house and much wiser than those tiny bits of fluff and claws (and now teeth) we brought home two months ago. He knows if one is going to pee in the house, one chooses an out of the way corner of the good carpet or the blanket that was just washed and dried two hours ago.

He's actually doing fairly well with the house breaking. This morning, he even went out in the rain to do his business rather than lower himself to using the pee pad. It was the first time he's ever ventured outside while it was raining. 

When we raised Bennie and his brothers, it was like having quadruplets; the sibs all played together and developed at the same rate. This time, it's more like having a three-year-old and twin babies... twin babies who happen to be very different sizes. 

Bennie has been our helper from the beginning.



 He was the official face cleaner after every meal.



And very patiently cuddled with tiny Mei Mei when she was sleepy.




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Raising Puppies - Round 2 ... and 3



A funny thought went through my head a few weeks ago. Now that I know how to take care of newborn pups, wouldn't it be cool to do it again while Bennie is still young? Sounds weird, I know. Bennie is a loving little dog and, well, it would be kind of like having siblings close together. Maybe this is just one of those maternal/menopausal feelings of ooh, babies again!

Obviously, I couldn't plan on having another orphan puppy, but oddly enough, just days after this thought went through my brain, I received a message from Life is Better Rescue asking if I would be willing to foster two week old chihuahua puppies. Cool! I went to the municipal shelter and picked up one little pup. The other one hadn't survived the night. We brought this one home and tucked her into a warm bed.

Bennie was interested. He was right by us all day, trying to see, sniff, and lick the puppy. LIBR named her Maple, a name I am growing to like more and more. We have called her Mei Mei, which is Mandarin for Little Sister. It fits as a decent nickname for Maple, too.

Mei Mei settled in nicely, ate well, pooped every day (until you have orphaned pups that don't, you cannot truly appreciate this) and slept soundly. When she woke up, she wouldn't make a sound, but find her paw and start sucking on it. I had to wake her every two hours and make sure she ate. She is tiny, really, really tiny. This time, I do believe we have a pure long haired chihuahua. At 3 weeks old, she now weighs just under 8 ounces. To compare with our last litter, the smallest, Franklin, was over 12 ounces at the same age. That's a huge difference when they are so tiny.
And just as we were settling in, another call came. There was another pup needing to be bottle fed.
Since I had planned on two, would I be willing to take this one? That afternoon, I brought home a little pup whom Emma immediately named Florence. Why did I assume it would be another chihuahua? Florence is a pit bull mix and, at 2 weeks, weighs over 2 pounds, four times the weight of her foster sister.

I have to admit, it is nice to have one pup that is more substantial and doesn't look like some tiny wild creature you might find in a fairy forest. It wouldn't have surprised us if Mei Mei suddenly sprouted wings and flown around the room, or disappeared into a mouse hole.

Bennie wasn't sure what to make of everything. He definitely wants to get in on the action. He insists on washing their faces after they eat... or sometimes while they eat. Tonight he gently nudged Mei Mei back onto the pee pad whenever she wandered off. It was a challenging task as Mei Mei was headed toward Emma's lap for her after dinner nap, but Bennie stuck to it, returning her over and over again.

We chose to "sponge" feed the puppies this time because it gives them an experience closer to nursing. It also helps prevent them from aspirating formula into their lungs or sinuses, and prevents overeating and bloating, which was Bennie's big challenge. Mei Mei is a delicate eater and very patient. Florence is hungry and never seems to get enough. Bennie is right there to help out.

The two puppies sleep together and help keep each other warm. It's good.


My family and friends think I'm nuts and roll their eyes at me. Why would anyone in their right mind do something like this? True, I haven't slept well in the last two weeks and my last clean pair of jeans got peed on this morning... and one of the pups pooped in the bed last night and they both had to have baths this morning because they were covered in smelly ick. 

During one early morning feeding, I watched as Mei Mei sleepily sucked on the sponge till her eyes closed and she feel asleep in my hand. I sat and stared at her for the longest time, in awe of something so tiny and so perfect. As we all know, babies grow up quickly and puppies grow up amazingly fast. What a privilege it is to have this short time with them and witness this miracle.