Monday, May 3, 2010

Meet Midge's Midwoof!

SSD Midge has an important job. She had to take care of her puppies both before and after they are born. But she isn't the only one with an important job.

The breeder caretaker plays an important role in the mother and puppies' lives.

During her pregnancy, Midge is staying with a breeder caretaker, who will care for her during her pregnancy and help take care of the puppies and Midge for seven weeks after the birth.

Midge joined her breeder caretaker, Diane and her family, in April after she was bred. She fit right into Diane's household, easily adjusting to living with Diane and her husband, two young adults, one teenager, and several animals. Her puppy raisers did a wonderful job socializing her and getting her used to all sorts of different environments and experiences. She adjusts so well!

Diane and her family have been involved with SSD for about five years. They joined our family when her daughter because a puppy raiser for SSD November as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project. November is now a demo/interview/therapy dog and still lives with Diane and her family. They are also puppy sitters for us, and they volunteer at PawsAbilities and our other events.

But how did they go from puppy raisers to breeder caretakers, or "midwoofs"?

SSD November became a mom.

When our dogs become breeding dogs, many times they stay with their puppy raisers, who then become breeder caretakers. (Although sometimes, like with Midge, the mother-to-be will go to live with a separate breeder caretaker family.) After November had a litter, we asked Diane to attend a weekend conference to learn more about being a midwoof, and since then, she has become a skilled breeder caretaker. Midge's litter will be Diane's tenth delivery! She's always learning because each delivery is a little different.

We like to give our volunteers as many resources to draw on as possible, and we have a breeder caretaker manual for Diane to follow. The manual lets her and her family know what to expect as Midge nears her due date, and includes guidelines for what to do after the puppies are born. When Midge is ready to give birth, Diane will call us, and the whelping team - our head trainer, another volunteer, and of course, Diane - will be at Diane's house. They will work closely with the vet to make sure that Midge has the most natural and safest delivery possible.

Right now, Midge is approximately 42 days into her pregnancy, and she is just beginning to show. (For dogs, the gestation period usually lasts about 63 days.) Diane and her family don't have a whole lot to do at this point in Midge's pregnancy. They have increased her food by 25% - which Midge loves! They are also continuing to make sure Midge gets enough exercise. These past few weeks, Diane has taken her for 30-35 minutes walks in the morning. However, now that Midge is starting to show and the humidity is increasing, Diane has decreased those walks to two shorter 20 minutes walks in the early morning and late evening. She and her family have also opened their pool early so Midge can swim. She loves that! And since the weather has been so hot and humid lately, they have turned on the air conditioning to keep Midge cool.

As the writer Corey Ford said, "Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend," and Midge has trained Diane and her family well! They are doing everything they can to take good care of her.

No comments:

Post a Comment