Friday, July 9, 2010

Meet the Gemstones Puppies!

We have another litter of puppies! SSD Pearl delivered the Gemstones - five girls and two boys - on the Fourth of July in one of the calmest whelpings our whelping team has ever seen. She amazed everyone by resting or sleeping through most of it! After each puppy was born, though, Pearl woke up to care for it.

The story of Pearl and the Gemstones puppies began the week of Mother's Day. Pearl was bred to our own SSD Fire, a handsome dark yellow lab. It must have been a good luck charm to have the breeding around Mother's Day because when Pearl went for her ultrasound on June 7, we learned she was pregnant! The vet thought there would be six to seven puppies.

Pearl has a reputation of being a very calm, extremely relaxed dog, and she kept her reputation intact throughout her delivery. In fact, she didn't seem to show any early signs of labor, even when she was actually in labor! On the evening of July 3, Crystal (Pearl's puppy raiser and breeder caretaker) took Pearl's temperature and saw that it had dropped, which is one of the signs that Pearl would go into labor in the next 12-24 hours. However, she showed no other signs of going into labor. Often, the female will start panting and pacing, only sleeping for short periods. Pearl slept almost the entire night! The only difference was that her snoring came out in short snorts rather than long, drawn-out snores.

Crystal's daughter, Alisha, slept on the couch with Pearl, and Crystal woke up several times during the night to check on Pearl. After going out for her normal walk, Pearl settled right back on the couch, only to surprise everyone about an hour later with the arrival of SSD Coral, a yellow female, at 8:34 a.m. on July 4!

Crystal called Cindi, our training and breeding coordinator, and she walked her through caring for the newborn. The whelping team arrived soon afterward, in plenty of time for the delivery of a second yellow girl, SSD Opal, at 10:57 a.m.

The next three puppies followed in quick succession - SSD Aquamarine (Aqua), a yellow female, at 11:45 a.m., SSD Topaz, a yellow male, at 11:57 a.m., and SSD Tanzanite (Taz), a yellow male, at 12:27 p.m. All that time, Pearl lay quietly in the whelping box, seemingly asleep. She was so calm in between puppies that the whelping team joked that they knew another puppy was coming when Pearl fell asleep!

Pearl rested while the puppies nursed. One hour after Taz entered the world, a dark yellow female joined her brothers and sisters. SSD Amber was born at 1:28 p.m. After Amber's birth, Pearl got a spoonful of NutriStat to keep her energy up. She also received a dose of calcium to help with contractions. Calcium helps build strong bones, but even more than that, it helps the muscles contract. Pearl perked up after getting the NutriStat, raising her head to give the whelping team a big doggie grin. The whelping team took her outside for a short break, following her closely with a towel, just in case a puppy decided to make an appearance. Then she settled right back into the whelping box.

One hour after Amber, the last puppy was born, another yellow girl named Diamond. Pearl gave birth to seven puppies in all.

Each delivery went smoothly, although one puppy needed some oxygen to make sure that it got off to a good start. We had our new oxygen masks on hand (we used to use a duct-taped paper cup), and after a few minutes, the puppy was ready to nurse alongside its brothers and sisters. Thank you to SSD Midge's puppy raisers for donating the oxygen!

We waited another two hours to see if there were any more puppies waiting to enter the world. Pearl enjoyed some cheese while we waited and the seven Gemstones nursed. Around 4:30 p.m., we suspected Pearl was finished giving birth.

The action wasn't quite over yet, though. In its first few hours, one of the puppies had cut the pad on its hind foot. Not wanting to risk anything, we called the vet and then bundled the pup into the portable warming box for a trip to the vet. Four sutures later, the puppy is doing just fine! Crystal is soaking the puppy's foot in Epsom salt water twice a day to prevent infection and help it heal.

This is Pearl's first litter, and even though both Pearl and Fire belong to our program, one of the Gemstones puppies will be going to Pacific Assistance Dog Society in Canada. Pearl originally came from PADS. To expand our breeding lines, we have an agreement with PADS to exchange several female dogs of breeding quality. As part of the agreement, one puppy from each litter from these exchanged dogs goes back to the original organization. Every time Pearl has a litter, one of the puppies will go to PADS.

Pearl and all seven puppies are doing great! The Gemstones are located in Carlisle, PA, and puppy huggers are invited to visit the puppies on a limited basis after the pups are two weeks old. Once the puppies are four to five weeks old, more puppy huggers will be able to visit. (To let mom and puppies get off to a good start, puppy huggers will not be permitted prior to two weeks of age and will be limited until four to five weeks.) We will send more details when Pearl and the puppies are ready for visitors. Please note that regardless of the puppies' age, if you have a dog that is or has been recently ill, or have been around any ill dogs, please help us keep the puppies healthy by postponing your visit.

We're planning on having the puppy cam again. Watch for details in the next two weeks!

Congratulations to Pearl and Fire, and happy birthday to Coral, Opal, Aqua, Topaz, Taz, Amber and Diamond!

If you're interested in raising one of these puppies, call us at 717-599-5920 or visit our website to learn more!

The Gemstones litter

Coral, yellow female, pink collar
Opal, yellow female, lavender collar
Aquamarine (Aqua), yellow female, blue collar
Topaz, yellow male, yellow collar
Tanzanite (Taz), yellow male, orange dots collar
Amber, yellow female, red collar
Diamond, yellow female, mint greet collar

Give the puppies a birthday gift!

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