14 days and counting!

April 8th is Sugar’s due date, and that means just two more weeks until we get to discover how many puppies are waiting to join the ranks of life-changing “puppies in training”! She is 46 days along currently and the pups will start growing rapidly during this last stage of development!

Their organs have developed, claws have formed, hair has grown, and on Friday I was able to feel them kick for the very first time!  No one else could feel it, so I thought maybe I was mistaken, but Saturday I felt it again and today there was no doubt that what I was feeling was some tiny puppies making their presence known!!!! This may not sound surprising, but when you realize they are only about 5 inches long at this age of their development it might change your mind!

Sugar showing one of her former whelping moms who stopped by for a visit what she’s growing….

So, the journey begins over the next two weeks!  I will be picking up the whelping box, whelping kit, and some supplies to start preparing for a home with puppies; the room they will call “home” will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to make sure they have a great area to start life on the right track, and our schedule starts slowing down to make a calmer environment for Sugar to just rest and relax!

At this time, we have no idea how many puppies to expect other than the fact that during her ultrasound they were making an educated guess of somewhere between 2 and 6 puppies!  So, when delivery day comes-I will be just as surprised as to the number of puppies as everyone else!

And now the waiting begins….this is the two weeks that can feel like an eternity:)

Some interesting things about the puppies growing during the pregnancy;

The Rate of Growth of the Fetus:

  • At 10 days the ova is approximately 1/12 to 1/20 inch long.
  • At 3-4 weeks old they are approximately 1 inch in length.
  • At 6 weeks old they are approximately 3 1/2 inches long.
  • At 7-8 weeks old they are approximately 5 inches long.
  • At the 9th week, they are 6-8 inches long.

The stages of development are interesting as well:

  • At 10 days the fertilized ova have reached the uterus.
  • At 10-21 days traces of the fetus appear, and traces of head, body, and limbs can be discerned.
  • At 3-4 weeks the first indications of claws can be seen.
  • At the 5th week, the stomach is well defined. At 6 weeks large hairs appear on lips, eyelids, etc.
  • At 7-8 weeks the eyelashes have appeared, and hair is beginning to appear at the tip of the tail, head, and extremities.
  • By the 9th week, the puppy is getting fully covered with hair and ready for its birth.

The killer puppy dog eyes waiting to be fed….

 

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Learning Every Day-A bunch of ZZZZZZ’s

Today was the first time I went back to Stanley Correctional Institution since Lyric and Liam left. They were going to get an opportunity to see some of the footage that was shown at the Fetching Ball Gala for Can Do Canines and I was excited to be able to say hi again to the handlers in the program. We also had the added bonus of bringing 4 puppies from the “F” litter (who are Sugar’s grand puppies-their Mom Clover is from Sugar’s first litter ) to them to begin their journey in the program!

Although it was the 4th time I had seen the footage, it still grabbed my heartstrings and brought me to tears. There is something about watching the process of others loving and letting go that gets me every time. And it’s not because of the sadness of saying goodbye, but rather the magnitude of people giving of themselves in order to get a dog to its final destiny. I’ve experienced the part where you say goodbye myself, and I’m not one to say it’s easy, but I’m so thankful that people are able to see themselves through that momentary sadness for the joy that their dedication brings to others-it’s a magical experience to see dogs with their clients and know that volunteers make that happen!

So I was thrilled when I returned today and was equally as excited to see the program handlers, watch their dogs and the progress that’s being made, and I got the opportunity to ask them how they are teaching these puppies such amazing things! I watched the puppies attention to their handler, the obvious bond they have formed even at this young age, and I wished my training skills were remotely as good as theirs! These dogs were on waits/stays all around the room and when their handler called them, they came and found them-and almost all of the other dogs still held their position. I felt honored to be able to watch them train, and I realized that if you stay honest you will realize that you can constantly learn from others throughout your day!

One of my favorite comments I heard while they were training was when I heard a handler talking to his dog and saying “Wait-think about what you’re doing. It’s all about choices.” and when the dog did what was expected, the handler responded “good choice”. I marveled at how that simple interaction could sum up many of life’s moments in a nutshell!

As I looked around the room, I was so happy to have the opportunity to see Sugar’s previous litter, the Z litter-as well as our other Breeding Foster in our home Krackle’s puppies-the X litter! I wanted to hear about how they were all doing, and I loved being able to answer the questions from the inmate handlers about Sugar and Krackle’s personalities, whether the puppies looked more like the moms or the dads, and I loved hearing how happy they were with their pups in training!

This journey continues to amaze me at every turn, and today I appreciated the opportunity to try to comprehend a few of my takeaways from the day: the difficulties of letting go through the eyes of another, the gift of acceptance of ourselves and others, the responsibility to yourself to grow as a human and strive for something greater, gratitude for others to recognize the sacrifices that are made…..and to make sure I always try to keep an open mind and not take another’s journey for granted.

It was obvious; the puppies have grown-but all of us who are involved in this journey have grown equally as much along the way, and for that, I will always be thankful!

Sugar with Blue puppy

Zip as a baby with Sugar

Blue

Zip

green

Zoom

orange

Zag

red

Zing

4th litter without people

The day they came back from Duluth Correctional to go into great start homes

Zing 020718

Zing showing how to “be handsome”!