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30 December 2006
It's something I shriek a lot these days. The puppies are growing like weeds and getting so cute, but they have two little problems: first, they are all getting teeth and their favorite thing to do is to grab hold of my finger and lock those jaws, especially at the end of a meal, when they are full. They hang on for dear life and jerk their heads to the side, taking my finger with them. I wonder what a mother dog with tender nipples does when that happens!
The second problem is more solvable — their claws are growing very long and very sharp and they hurt a lot. You'd be amazed at how much "paw action" there is in bottlefeeding a puppy. Even though there is nothing to "knead," they are constantly kneading at my hand, scratching the soft skin.
I remember back to the very first litter of puppies we had when I could practically be reduced to tears trying to feed a puppy. My hands were getting so scratched that I actually wore my fingerless bike gloves for awhile because it protected at least part of my hand. It pretty much ruined the gloves, but I probably won't have need for them again.
With subsequent litters of puppies, I discovered that I could cut their nails with a regular human nail clipper. But I don't do a good job because I have such rotten depth perception and I'm always afraid I'm going to cut them too short and hurt the puppies.
Mostly I've just put up with the scratches, but occasionally I get a group of puppies, like this one, which seems to have inordinately long, inordinately sharp nails.
I got Marta to trim the nails on one of the puppies over Christmas, but that still left two with ultra sharp nails.
I finally decided it was time to call in the heavy artillery: Ashley.
I sent off an e-mail asking if there were someone who could come to cut the puppies' nails and she said she would be happy to stop by after work. The puppies were wonderfully cooperative and all ate an hour before she arrived, so they weren't squirmy because of hunger and they were more mellow because she woke them up from a deep sleep.
She cut all three and I got some fun video and some really cute photos.
The boys were kind of wiggly, but Dancer was very patient and let Ashley handle her without much complaint, proving, I guess, that girls of all species like to be pampered!
With their move to the playpen, the puppies are now being awake more often (and having to learn that "awake" 2 hours after a meal doesn't mean eating again!). They are starting to walk (and occasionally run) around the playpen. I tried them on the Pergo but their feet can't get sufficient traction yet, so we'll try that again at a later time.
Their new "trick" is barking. They have just learned how to bark and they like to test it out from time to time. Whenever either Sheila or Lizzie bark, there are little yapping echoes from the playpen. They are also starting to differentiate parts of the playpen into "bathroom area" and "sleep area."
I was going to start them on solid food in about a week, but I realized that they are over 3 weeks old now and so, after Dasher ripped my finger at the end of his last feeding this evening, I've decided to start them on solid food tomorrow morning. We'll be looking at the waning days of their time here, though the SPCA has so many puppies in the mix now that I don't think there is going to be any great hurry to move these guys to another interim home before adoption.
I found out that the family which took the Rainbow puppies have decided to adopt one of them (I don't know which one), and their neighbor is adopting another one.
Ashley and I spoke last night about adoption. I am the perfect foster home for puppies. I love them to death. I thoroughly enjoy my time with them, and I have zero temptation to keep any of them, even though sometimes it's very painful turning them over to someone else.
As Walt left for work this morning he said, "Well, I'm off to the second-to-last day of my entire working life." His last day at work is next Wednesday but because there is the New Year holiday on Monday and Gerald Ford's funeral on Tuesday, after today he has only one day of work left.
It's a strange thing to contemplate. For both of us.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
A typical evening at home for us!
This is entry #2466