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27 January 2005

There's been a lot of puppy fellatio going on around here lately.  I can only assume that I have a batch of gay puppies.

Ashley, of the SPCA, had said specifically not to let them suck on each other because it was bad for their health.   I spoke with her on Sunday about how irresistible they found each other and she said that she when she was puppy-sitting, while we were at the funeral, she would watch them and see whether she felt they should be separated or not.

In the meantime she would also check on the Internet to see what she could find out about this problem.  As it turned out, what she discovered was that while this was a potential health hazard for them, as it can introduce bacteria, the experts seem to feel that it is less healthy for puppies to be deprived of the contact with each other, so the final decision was to leave them alone and hope they'll eventually stop sucking on each other.

I have to admit that Leo made me feel very good.  Ashley asked if I'd had problems getting him to eat.  Truth to tell, he's my problem child.  He's so frantic to eat that it's a constant battle to get enough formula in him, but I haven't ever had such a problem that he didn't eat at all.  She wasn't able to get any formula in him, so he went all day Sunday with no food, while the others each had two feedings.

When she brought the puppies back, she said that he was one unhappy puppy.  I immediately mixed up a batch of formula, settled in the recliner, stuck my finger in his mouth and he latched on as if his life depended on it (first time he's done that, actually).  He quickly finished off the entire batch of formula and then fell asleep sucking on my finger.  I dispatched Walt to make more formula, because I was sure he would be wanting more.

When he woke up and started rooting, I gave him some more, but apparently eventually he "topped off" because he spit up the last little bit.  But he went right to sleep on top of his brothers, and nobody was sucking on anybody.

A couple of hours later, Jed woke up and we repeated the feeding--he attacked my finger like a barracuda, sucking very hard and finishing off more than the usual amount of formula, and then sucking on my finger until he fell asleep in my arms.

I figured Toby would wake up soon and, since I didn't know what time the puppies had been fed while we were away, decided to just wait until he woke up.  I fell asleep waiting for him.  At 2 a.m., I awoke to Leo's yelping and I realized Toby was still sleeping.  I got him up first, since he hadn't been fed in a long time.  Toby, who usually is the most voracious, most wiggily, and most difficult to feed was limp.  He just would not wake up and had almost no suck reflex.

I panicked--I should have awakened him earlier, I thought (though Leo had gone a whole day with no food, since he refused to eat, and that didn't seem to affect him).  I managed to get a normal amount of food into him, by letting it trickle down his throat and noting that he had just the barest hint of a swallow reflex as well.

I considered calling Ashley, who said I could call her any time, day or night, but decided I'd wait and see how the next feeding worked, hoping that I wasn't making a big mistake.  I gave him lots of tactile stimulation as he slept and finally put him back in the cage knowing that at least he had 40 cc of formula in him.

I fed the other two and then went back to sleep, setting the alarm for 6, to make sure that Toby didn't go too long between feedings.

At 6 a.m., I was very encouraged to see Toby sitting at the door to the cage and figured that he was better, but I picked him up and he was limp again, very sleepy, not wanting to eat, no suck reflex, etc.  Again, I managed to get formula into him, but with difficulty.  When he had finished eating and was soundly asleep and limp, I called Ashley.

She came over at 7:30 with a hydrating kit and injected lots of water into his skin and says that sometimes they need that extra bit of fluid to perk them up.  The other two ate hungrily and then all of them curled up in a corner  and went to sleep, while I sat around waiting to see what, if any, effect the hydration would have on Toby.

Three hours later, when I got him up to feed him, he was his old self, greedily gulping formula and then falling asleep, snuggled up under my chin.

I really like these puppies (and no, I'm not even slightly tempted to keep any of them--between this stage and the "Sheila-stage" comes the housebreaking stage, the teething stage, and all the puppy stages that I really don't want to deal with!)

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