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                  September 2006 Litter
              Mo           and          Hedy
                                              (pedigree)                                                                                            (pedigree
 

 
   Mo, out back playing with his lobster.           Hedy, one week before her puppies were born.

September 20, 2006
Hedy's doctor said she did very well, but would be a little groggy for a few hours or so.  He then handed us our "bucket of babies" and we all headed for home.  Things moved very fast when we arrived.  We had more mouths than nipples so we quickly divided the boys from the girls.  Following a "girls first" protocol, we put each one onto a nipple to nurse while we weighed and marked the boys, tying their new colored collars around their necks.  Then we did it all over again reversing the boys and the girls, which has pretty much been the routine for the last 10 days or so.
            
                        Here are the boys...                                  and the girls.
They are just 3 hours old in these photos.  I see a lot of heads that look just like their daddy's!!!
 
Here is a shot of all the girls eating together.    Little Pastel Pink Girl, third from the left, is 
the smallest of the litter, weighing in at
12 1/8 ounces.  All the pups weights range from hers to the "big" brother, Black Boy, who weighed in at 1 lb 5 3/4 ounces.  

Below Thumbolina, as we have affectionately nick-named our little Pastel Pink Girl, has already learned to depend on her big brothers to show her the ropes of how to get food and to stay warm!XXXXX                        
 

  All thirteen little angels sleeping
  contently after a good meal.  They  
  are all huddled together under their
  warming lamp. 


Isn't it mind boggling to think about these tiny "rodent-like" creatures growing to be so big when they are full-grown!

Grey Boy weighted 1 lb 6 3/4 oz on Sunday, September 24th.  He weighed the most that day, but every day the "heavy-weight" title seems to go to another pup.  
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Hedy and I have cut a similar deal as last year when we had her litter.  The deal is if she produces plenty of milk to feed all these pups, we will do everything else for her.  Fortunately, Aimee, Karin (Winston's mom), and Don have all scheduled time to help me!  As soon as one pup has finished nursing, we hand him off to be "pooped" with a baby wipe, and we attach another pup to momma for his/her meal.  Hedy expected us to do this last year for her.  Licking and cleaning her pups was simply a job she felt she didn't need to do.  I really don't know how Hedy or any dog (or human for that matter!) would be able to do all this by herself anyway.
   We could never feed all the pups at one time
because there were 13 and we only had 8 (sometimes 10) working nipples that produced milk.  At first, we divided the litter into two shifts.  After the first couple of weeks the pups got so big that only 4 or 5 could comfortably "fit" to line up to eat.  If we allowed more than five on at one time, they would scramble and knock each other off!
 
We then assigned three shifts (4, 4, and 5) for eating, making sure that if one pup was assigned to the third shift one time, that he got assigned to the first shift the next time.  Weighing these little guys on a daily basis also determined who got priority placement into the first shift.    

By the third week we could see that the pups in the first couple of shifts didn't take long to deplete  the entire supply of milk Hedy had for that feeding, so we helped by supplementing with bottles of formula.  Not all pups liked switching nipples.  Some pups, at three weeks, were ready to "lap" the formula straight out of a dish which was a tremendous time saver.  With 13 little mouths saying "I'm hungry, I'm hungry" all at the same time it was truly a blessing that most were self-sufficient by lapping up their own meal. 
   Hedy even jumped into help by licking and cleaning her own babies.  I think she could truly sense how tired we all were!  That, and she probably realized that if she helped out more, the whole feeding process would be over sooner so she could have at least a minute or so to herself!

All pups continue to remain strong.  All are eating vigorously around the clock, and are gaining at least an ounce or two each day.  I, on the other hand, am happy to announce that I have lost four pounds since the arrival of the pups.  Yesterday, for breakfast I ate a wilted green salad that I had prepared for my lunch the day before.  Atkins, Shmatkins!  I find this to be the easiest diet ever! 

         The Boys...         
                                                Grey Boy               Brown Boy               Green Boy              Orange Boy               Black Boy              Blue Boy

And the Girls...             
                                           Hot Pink Girl            Red Girl              Pastel Pink Girl          Purple Girl            White Girl           Pastel Blue Girl        Yellow Girl

Just for fun, I have uploaded a couple of pictures of daddy, Mighty Mo, when he was just a small tyke.  Everyday we award the title of "Minnie Mighty Mo" to the pup who looks most like Dad. 
   
        Mighty Mo, at two weeks old...                    and a few weeks later, at six weeks old.

So many little toenails!
It is necessary to keep the pups nails clipped nice and short.  Just two days growth allows a little "hook" to form and you can imagine how uncomfortable that must be on momma when the pups nurse.  Until now, I had not officially calculated the number of toenails needing to be clipped or filed, I just scrambled to get everyone done.  Aimee's here today to help out so I decided to calculate on the calculator to be sure my math was accurate.  Thirteen puppies X 18 toes = 234 toenails!!!  That number actually rivals the amount of loads of laundry I am doing for all of them!

                               After a nice meal, it is Brown Boy's turn for his manicure!

Back to more feedings...

   
Hedy and I both became weary with the amount of time the feedings were taking.  The pups clearly needed more than they did a week earlier and her supply and demand was beginning to falter.  I decided to test a few pups on their ability to "lap" their meal from a bowl, instead of sucking.

   
They all seemed to get it, so we put some pups on Hedy and some on formula.  Bottle feeding one pup took approximately 20 minutes, including burping.  Again, you guys can do the math!

   
  Orange Boy appears to be a neat freak.
  He seems to be more concerned about 
  cleaning the gruel off his brother than 
  eating it straight out of the bowl himself!
The girls took to the "lapping" method right away too! 
                                                                  
 
   
Feedings went something like this...either Hedy or I would "instruct" the pups to find a nipple or eat straight from the bowl, but there was no option to just run amuck.  However, the puppies didn't seem to get that memo and running amuck was a favorite pastime!! 

And now for Puppy Playland...my favorite part of raising mastiff puppies!!
 
I just love setting up Puppy Playland with all the fresh new stuffed animals.  After a while the toys take on smells of their own.  There is one "stinky" toy for each pup so that when he goes home he will have the familiar scent of his siblings and "such."  Each pup is carefully set down into Puppy Playland and one by one they begin to explore at their own pace.
 
Shakespeare and Mo seem to be just facinated by these little guys.  They sit and watch for what seems like hours on end.  Shaky wants a better view, so he is "cleaning" the slider for me! 
 
                                                                         Green Boy really likes the penguin "Auntie" Tracy brought for the pups.  He has dragged him over to the "sleeping" area of Puppy Playland and they all seem to have cuddled up with him.  It  looks as though they have accepted him as "one of their own."
 
            All 13 taking a short puppy nap.                          Momma looks on as the pups play.
   
         Okay, playtime is over, time for baths.                 Where is little Brown Boy?
Brown Boy really hates having a bath.  He has decided to wear his stuffed-toy mastiff-puppy "camo" suit so he will blend in with all the other stuffed toys! 

 
                             Didn't I say he just hates having a bath?!!!

Where's Waldo???

This shot was taken just after morning baths.   

Can you count all 13 pups?


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Back to feeding them...which seems to be pretty much all Hedy and I do!
   
Purple Girl is pointing out that she would like more food and firm ground to stand on while she eats it!

Doggy Door and Potty Training...
   
They got the doggy door...unfortunately, they just don't know whether they are coming or going!
 
                                 Here they all are outside checking out their new potty. 
 
     "Uncle" Shakespeare is still just fascinated by the pups.  Hot Pink Girl adores him!

          
                             Back inside the house, Blue Boy gives his dad a big kiss!

(Time to go clean up poop!!!  I'll be back as soon as I can!)