Pod and Superman Litter
Pod in her Pod Place...waiting....
Labor didn't start because of a "mummy" puppy (no it wasn't like on horror films, just a very small puppy that died in utero).
But there were 3 feisty, yelling and healthy pups...1 boy and 2 girls
And since mom is the i, Pod...we named them Nano, Shuffle and Touch
They like to cuddle, even on the ride home....once Pod wakes up, she likes to cuddle too
They're cute, but what ARE they and where did they come from?????
When you're small (Shuffle), sometimes you need a booster seat at the Cafe....
The Saga of Shuffle's first week...
The first week was crazy...we spent it taking shifts sleeping with Pod and watching over little Shuffle. She lived in my bra when she wasn't nursing and got used to sleeping there. I was the human neo-natal intensive care unit keeping her warm. Most puppies are at least 9-16 oz. at birth, but her small size made it hard to regulate her temperature and she would chill easily. A chilled puppy can't digest it's food and will starve - which wil make them even colder - a downward spiral. So it was important to keep her warm.
It was also safer than letting her be with mom because Pod's motherly hormones hadn't kicked in yet and she was intent on burying or stepping on puppies. A c-section will often do that and it's to be expected. While the bigger ones could take it, Shuffle was much more fragile. The second day we had a crisis when while nursing; she just got suddenly cold and limp...after vigorous rubbing, shaking and squirting milk into her mouth she came around. What a scare! When she still hadn't gained any weight by the 3rd day, and had actually lost an ounce (to 6 oz), we supplemented her sparingly after nursing with forumula so as not to impact her Mommy milk supply. 24 hours later she was gaining...and continues to gain. After a couple of days she no longer needed supplementation and began nursing more efficiently. Like a premature puppy, she didn't have a very efficient sucking reflex until she had grown sufficiently for it to kick in. She also had no extra layer of fat to fall back on, so she very much was like a premature puppy - even though she was conceived and born at the same time as the others. We suspect the mummy puppy that died in utero somehow impacted her growth...but she's catching up!
One of the more interesting things I noticed while keeping Shuffle in my bra is that she "clicked" all the time when awake. I had never heard this before and it makes me wonder if that is how newborns actually find the nipple - echo-location. They are blind and deaf at birth, and all they have is a sense of smell, but is that accurate enough to find a nipple? Makes you wonder if some primitive instinct from prehistoric times is what allows a creature so small and helpless find nourishment in the dark silent world they are born into....In time she did recognize smell - mine and Pods...I became the sleeping mom and Pod was the food mom...when she smelled me, she would almost instantly fall asleep in my hands or bra...but with Pod she would figit and look for food almost to the point of exhaustion. We found ourselves sitting with her, holding her, so she woudn't tire too much and fall off the nipple or propping her with towels (the booster seat photo).
One of the hardest things is with a c-section it takes much longer for Mom's mothering hormones to kick in. She often doesn't know what to do with these alien creatures that suddenly moved in with her. I still think Mula believes we went to the "puppy store" and bought them! (She was pretty upset upon seeing Pods pups - why didn't you buy some for ME????) It takes awhile for the mom to understand these are HER puppies and until they are nursing strong and efficiently, she often wants no part of this whole thing. Pod was a good mom in that she put up with us telling her to "stay" and let the pups nurse, but for the first few days she had no idea WHY she needed to do this. It was challenging to keep her from constantly jumping up whenever she heard another dog bark or make a noise - she was quite edgy and nervous.. Finally, when the prolactin hormone kicked in it became comfortable and relaxing to nurse, her anxiety decreased...so she settled happily into this new role called "Mommy".
Newborn puppies can't pee or poop on their own - they need mom's stimulation to do so. So on top of getting the little one to nurse, watching Pod to make sure she didn't sit on anyone or pick them up (she attempted to pick up Shuffle by the HEAD), we were also in charge of toilet duty. One of us sat with her pretty much 24/7 the first week. We did shifts at night...Dan took the first shift staying up till 2:30-3 and I took the morning shift. After a few days Pod settled down and began to like nursing them, but she still got agitated when they slept and would dig in the whelping box burying them with the covers or wanting to pick them up when they cried. She wasn't very gentle at first! And as for pottying them...she wanted no part of that. Yet if not watched, she would lick Shuffle soaking wet (chilling her). So it was a fine line watching and letting her learn and make mistakes, but not allowing her to endanger the puppies.
The first week after non-stop sitting with Pod we were pretty burnt out, so because Pod was doing fine with the bigger puppies, we put Shuffle (aka "Bali") in my bra and went out to eat...yes, to a real restaurant! We could watch Pod on the webcam to make sure things were fine at home too (it's not just for you all!). Shuffle was totally silent and slept the whole time. Two days later we tried Chinese...but she had gained a couple of ounces and was a bit more vocal by now (one or two peeps) and did lots of wiggling so I think her undercover restaurant critic days are over. It would be too hard to explain why my chest was moving all over the place!
By day 7 she has started to gain and went from 7 oz. at birth to 11 oz...a huge amount when you are that small. She is a fighter...she thinks nothing of shoving between her two huge siblings to get to a nipple. However, her brother and sister almost doubled their weights - 1 lb to 2 and 14oz. to 1 1/2 lbs...so she still looks quite small in comparison even though she is back on track and has gained enough to be the size of a smaller newborn puppy...it's just that her brother Nano and sister Touch are huge by comparison. But Shuffle is a fighter and with some time will no doubt catch up. In fact, sometimes the smallest one turns out to be the biggest when grown...just ask Koani!
Nano Shuffle Touch