The Puppy Chronicles

Luke, Tony, Tank, Cole, Essie, and Ashley

by Foster Mom, Chris

Day 1, Friday July 20, 2007

What an exciting day! We moved the pups from Mary's house to my house. We met Mary at her house, and Rock and Shelly were there too to help with the big move. We made a pit stop at Preston Park Animal Hospital for de-worming and their first vaccinations. They were very good patients. Ashley was the smallest at 8.1 pounds and Tank was the largest at 9.6 pounds. Not bad for 6 weeks old. (A testament to Trixie's ability as a mom.) Since Trixie was in the room with us, the pups nursed. Before long we found ourselves in a lake of pee.

We got everyone settled and fed and they went to sleep. Trixie quickly settled in and Ace (my greyhound) just couldn't figure out what had happened to his quiet house. I went out to pick up a few more puppy things. When I arrived home I found the de-worming to have been extremely effective – more effective than I could have imagined! Yuck! Disgusting but so important to be sure the pups are healthy. I kept repeating that like a mantra while I cleaned and mopped up every one of those nasty creatures.

It is such a treat to know that I can pick them up and snuggle with them anytime I want. Things are a little busy here but fine. I feel like the luckiest kid on the block to be able to take care of the puppies.

Day 2, Saturday, July 21

"I'm So Tired"? That is me!!! The good news is that I didn't have to do laundry today. No messes at all on their bedding!!! Woo-hooooooo! Everything they do is on the newspaper. (Is that a genetic thing?) I do try to get any poops cleaned up pronto. It's easier to do that than having everyone track through it and then want to love all over me with poopy paws. I was so proud of myself earlier. At their noon feeding I got everyone outside and 4/6 of them pooped in the grass. This evening I didn't do so well. Only 1/6.

We just got through the evening play time. I think Tank has a learning disability. Twice he has gotten his mouth so far into the wire of the x-pen that he's gotten stuck. Then he whines like someone's torturing him. Trixie comes running, and by then I've already extricated him. Next time, he's on his own. Well, maybe.

Trixie is such a good mom. I can't say enough good things about her. She will make an excellent pet for some lucky family if her mothering qualities are any indication.

We did really well on our outside playtime in the pen this afternoon. That is until Essie found an escape route. She kept getting out by the time I brought out another pup. Finally the rest of them caught on except that Tank got caught. His belly was just too big to fit through the opening. I fixed the escape route for this evening's playtime. Essie kept going to the same place expecting to be able to get out. (Pretty smart if you ask me!) Then she found a new opening and before I knew it all 6 pups were running wild in the yard. We were all bounding around the yard, but I was the one huffing, puffing, and sweating more than anyone. Finally, I'd had enough and everyone was allowed to go back inside.

I think we'll all sleep very well tonight. Oh, I've been playing the classical music station 24 hours. I'm trying to give them as much Mozart as possible. (It's supposed to be good for brain development.) Besides, it blocks out any outside noises that may wake them or disturb them.

I haven't had time to write anything individual for the pups. Maybe tomorrow. Right now, they're all just a blur. I'm going to play the scientist tomorrow and do a behavioral observation. Just noting who interacts with whom. Lots of play-fighting today. But no one really seems to be top dog. Ashley and Tank are in the lead, though.

I'm really interested in getting together with the dog trainer. This is such an important time in their development. I don't want to inadvertently screw it up. Can laughing at them all the time screw them up? They are certainly very socialized pups. When you go into the pen, you're surrounded like an anthill with a flock of anteaters. (I don't know what you call a group of anteaters.) They are like all over you, just begging for attention. No one hangs back. I try not to give the most persistent toe-biter the first hug.

Day 3, Sunday, July 22

Trixie's pups have once again grown overnight. When we looked in their pen at 6:15 a.m. we saw that their systems were working VERY WELL - especially their digestive and urinary tracts. They were so happy to see us and Trixie. She is such a great mom! She is eager to go into the pen and nurse her babies. It's so funny to see her standing while they sit up on their haunches to eat. No laying down for this mom! She must be one of these new-age moms. Weaning time is near.

After breakfast they played their little puppy heads off! They jump on each other and jump and miss and tumble and crash into the sides of the pen for about 45 minutes. This may be the first litter of greyhound puppies with docked tails because their siblings have chewed them off. They are so funny to watch play with each other and with their toys that you can hardly pull yourself away. It's incredible to see how they're learning about the world around them. After 45 minutes they suddenly collapse with puppy smiles and are dead to the world around them. Their little feet move like they're running in their dreams. Often they'll commando crawl to find a more comfortable spot usually next to one of their siblings. Our naps (theirs and mine) usually last about an hour or an hour and a half.

Today they got their new collars – real puppy collars! Here's the line-up:

  • Ashley – blue fawn coat – pink collar
  • Essie – fawn with black muzzle – pink collar
  • Luke – fawn with black muzzle – black collar
  • Tony – fawn with black muzzle – red collar
  • Cole – fawn – blue collar
  • Tank – fawn with black muzzle, and a black tail with white spot on the tip – blue collar

Now you'll know who's who in photos. Here's today's highlights: The girls have discovered that their water bowl is great to put their feet in while they drink. Guess they're wanting pedicures. The boys never do this. Ashley and Tank are usually the last ones down. They will play and play, even trying to wake up the sleeping pups for more action. Ashley finally goes down but Tank hangs in there, waiting for more fun. He should be the skinniest puppy for all of his energy. Guess he uses that extra food to keep him going longer.

It rained buckets today. Afterwards, we decided to go outside for a romp. There were three humans so we decided to each take a dog and let them run free in the backyard. The dogs had a blast!!! They ran in the puddles and the mud and behind the hedges and the cannas. By the time we did this twice so all the dogs had their day in the yard, we were soaked and muddy and they went out like a light when we got them in the pen. Obviously, a good time was had by all (a little less great for the muddy humans).

I cannot say enough good things about Trixie. She is not only a fabulous mom but she is such a sweet girl. She's quiet yet attentive and loves to get head and ear massages. She smiles when she sees people and is always wagging her tail. Even when she's sleeping, if you say "Trixie's a good girl" her tail wags. She never jumps up on the counter but I have seen her put a leg up on the club chairs. If you gently tell her "no" she puts her leg down but you know that in her heart, heaven would be a place she could lay on a soft chair. If that weren't enough, she even seems to be cat tolerant. We introduced her to our cat this evening, and she showed next to no interest. The jury's still out, but it's a good beginning. When she's finished being a mom, her next job will be to make a family very happy by being an incredible companion.

Day 4, Monday, July 23

Where did the day go? Puppies, Puppies, Puppies everywhere! We are all too pooped to write!

Day 9, Saturday, July 28

It's been a sad and yet happy day at the Robin household. Our canine population has been cut in half. Essie has gone to her forever home, Luke and Tank have gone to a new foster home, and Mother Trixie has gone to a foster home where she will be pampered and treated with the finest medications GALT can provide to get her back to good health. It's much quieter here but finally we can almost tell exactly whose poop is whose (we're up to 50/50 reliability).

Ashley went on a leash for the first time and acted like a pro until she started to chew on the leash. Essie loves her new home especially the special running track Elisa and Luke have provided her. She runs around and around the sofa and recliner and comes out looking very proud of herself. She's so fast! But she's happy knowing she'll not be having to do that to earn her keep.

Luke and Tank were picked up by Pam K. They were quite cuddly (for 3 minutes) and then started to squirm because they had things to do - tails to chew, ears to nibble and noses to bite. They happily went in the van to go on to meet some new doggie friends and human companions.

In the evening it was time to have Mother Trixie meet her new foster mom. I felt like I was doing something illicit meeting Buffy in the Container Store parking lot to hand off Trix. Buffy was so happy to get Trixie and taught her how to jump into the back of her SUV. (I didn't know that trick either!) The ride back home was quite sad. Ashley cried along with us. She was crying because she didn't want to be cooped up in the crate. We're glad that Trixie will be in a place where she can concentrate on getting stronger and healthier.

Besides being sadder, nighttime was quieter, cleaner, and less chaotic. After dinner and playtime, everyone settled down to a night of uninterrupted sleep.

Final Chapter - Saturday August 11

At 9 1/2 weeks old, the puppies are growing by leaps and bounds. Literally, they grow as they leap and bound. In fact that's all they seem to want to do. Luke, Tank, and Tony are all in foster homes and I still have Ashley and Cole. Cole was just adopted today by our good friend, Kathy H. from Houston (she also adopted Whist - now Whisper- from GALT). He is such a fabulous puppy and she is such a wonderful new mom. Right now they are sleeping in each other's arms after a full day of running and swimming (on Cole's part) and photo taking (on Kathy's part). They head back to Houston tomorrow.

Ashley is to be visited by some friends from California tomorrow. She too is no slouch in the running and playing department. The two of them ran and played so hard today she went by herself into her pen to sleep for the night (a first!). She is the much better swimmer of the two and it doesn't bother her to put her head under water and blow bubbles. A real water baby that one!

Another one of the boys also looks to be California bound. GALT will certainly have good representation in the Golden State! Each of these puppies from Trixie's litter has a fabulous personality. They have been highly socialized and have had the opportunity to play and be puppies to the max. This is due to all of the committed members of GALT who did "Puppy Patrol" when the pups were little, going to visit them to hold and snuggle with them, as well as to the many others who contributed to their fabulous growth and development in so many other ways.

It has been an honor to have fostered them for the last few weeks. I hope they continue to thrive in their new homes. Each one of them will always have a very special place in not only my heart but in the hearts of all involved with GALT.