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Coming Home to Westcliffe

A Peaceful Time: Puppies at Two Weeks

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“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

It is true that it is in the quiet that you discover yourself. I have marveled and been touched by gratitude as I watched Rose become a mother and her puppies grow & thrive. We weigh them once a day, sometimes twice depending on the gain. By ten days, they should have doubled their weight. Each met this milestone with ounces to spare. Even my worry over the smallest puppy was vanquished. She is small but mighty and extra solo time with mom twice a day caught her up. 

Puppies received plenty of cuddle time and gentle brush strokes with a soft baby’s brush. Several especially like to nuzzle Bill’s beard and try to nurse. I played soft classical music in our puppy nursery, not for the puppies as they cannot yet hear or see, but for Rose. I particularly like the CD, “Through a Dog’s Ear”. The psychoacoustically designed classical piano arrangements are based on research into how the canine nervous system responds to sound. I know when I play this, we both deeply relax. Happy mom, happy life.

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Rose is staying a healthy weight. I am giving less Mother’s Pudding, but will continue to give her goats milk and fresh scrambled duck eggs throughout nursing, along with her kibble, of course.

Our next milestone will be the puppies eyes opening any day now, followed in a week or so by the ears opening. This is known as the transitional period. The puppies are toddling about; weebles wobble & they do fall down. We will begin to introduce one new tactile item and/or one new experience a day. Some examples of tactile items I have in mind this week are a nearly empty baby wipe container (it crinkles), a pillow case filled with crumpled paper (a mini mountain to climb) and a massage tub mat (it tickles our toes). A new experience will be sniffing about a bit in another room of the house in puppy pairs, as well as a couple of dog savvy visitors. This all encourages the nervous & endocrine systems to develop during this critical socialization window through 12 weeks. The collies puppies will become enrichment seekers with the mottos “carpe diem” and “I’ve got this!”  More fun and games to come in the following weeks; all orchestrated to offer challenges and lessons that the individual puppy is ready to receive and achieve. It is actually quite similar to Montessori education for children.

They have a bumper crate bed for a nest area now and a potty pad adjacent to encourage their natural instinct of not wanting to soil their nest/sleep area. Once they are more mobile and their eyes are open, we will provide them with a litter box as we expand the whelping box to a weaning & indoor play area.

Foxhaven Wild Wind Puppies at Two Weeks:

The Girls – Fancy, Blue and Bowtie

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The Boys – Socks, Stormy and Arrow

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While our days are centered on the puppies, life goes on beyond the whelping box at Foxhaven. Many have asked how is our little big man Legend is doing. He is on the mend, bright eyed and back to being the social director, neighing at the horses in the pasture, and the occasional deer. We change his splint every 3-4 days and he is mobile, within his stall & small paddock we made for him. Samwise, our guardian donkey, is keeping him company and watching over him. Sneakers is stealing his hay! Legend will be on stall rest for several months and we are praying for a full recovery. I am planning some therapy horse visits at our local assisted living for Christmas this year. A good activity to pin my hopes on!

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We have two new barn cats, part feral, and I pray more savvy than our little kitten friends who have yet to return home. My heart breaks for Rita and Mari; it is the downside of being a barn cat and having the freedom (and mice) that entails. They were in at night with their yummy wet food. I used to tell the horses that they were their nightly entertainment! Here is a photo of one new kitty, Tootsie. She is peeking through an enclosure we put together for them to get acclimated to our barn. Both she and Mrs. Murphy are warming up to us. And the warm goat milk they get each morning, as well as, the ocean delight wet food at night. They purr for it and rub up against the sides of their enclosure when they see me (and smell their treats).

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It is a juggle, but I try to give the other dogs as much individual attention as I can. Each Wednesday is grooming and brushing out day. We swap out walk days now that we have puppies that require priority attention. Today was Ty’s turn for a walk-about with his new friend, Spirit. I am learning to treasure the moments, and attempt to live in the present moment. It is not easy with a full life; therein, lies both the challenge and the blessing. Animals have much to teach us.

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Bill rode to Lake of the Clouds this past weekend, and is doing ground work with Jaimie. Gold and I need to ride soon! They are all enjoying their bigger upper pasture and being turned out together each afternoon.

Life takes on a rhythm here. A rhythm of peace.

Posted 119 weeks ago