It's The Final Countdown.....Pups Ahoy

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

It's The Final Countdown.....Pups Ahoy

Yes, I confess I'm a little apprehensive. For a few days now Leela's behaviour has been changing. Her insatiable appetite seems to have doubled and seemingly so has the size of her belly. A few days ago I even raided our first aid kit to check her temperature (let's just say we'll be getting ourselves a new thermometer) and the reading confirmed what we had already suspected, that by the weekend we will likely have puppies on our hands.

Two weeks ago I knew absolutely zero about puppies, whelping boxes, pregnant dog temperature variation and canine calorie requirements. Well, thank goodness for Google, YouTube and the internet in general, because it has provided a lot of reassurance and information as we have prepared for our unexpected puppy litter. On the downside, for every genuinely useful and reassuring blog post/article/forum series you find there seems to be another overly opinionated or unnecessarily critical one directing personal attacks in response to sincere questions asked by strangers under who knows what circumstances. The internet it seems is a double edged sword in that respect.

Also, you can't live your life on the web completely and although reading around has provided a lot of information to take the edge off our naivety, what has been truly overwhelming is the level of personal and local support for our choice to look after Leela and her unexpected puppies. It's as though we have suddenly been taken in by a vast and not so secret society of dog owners, former and current, always willing to proffer up advice, share a phone number in case of emergency and generally provide a little encouragement for the unknown ahead. One day we returned home to find a bag of old towels, puppy pads and dog food on our doorstep and the team that won the local pub quiz even set aside their prize money pot to help cover the veterinary costs for the puppies in the weeks and months ahead.  Another neighbour even took the time to bake homemade dog treat for our expectant mum and also lent us the much needed "Happy Puppy Handbook".  A week ago I didn't think that this would be my bedtime reading!

We've also been incredibly grateful to Nina at at for finding us such wonderful accommodation options where we can remain throughout the birthing and weaning. It's hard to find accommodation that will take dogs at all, never mind newborn puppies.

I can't say how much we have been touched by the kindness of the community we are living with here in San Jose.

Then, in addition to all of this kindness there is the simple joy of being with Leela as the birth approaches. Based on the ultrasound we know there are at least 5, probably 6 (and maybe more) pups inside her and watching and feeling them move, wriggle and fidget just millimetres beneath her fur has been a wonderful privilege. To sit in the evenings (or the mornings and afternoons come to that) fussing Leela, who loves to roll on her back and show us her tummy so we can gently rest our hands on it, and feel the never-ending rolling and rippling going on inside....well it's a priceless moment for us. One that a week ago had never entered our thoughts, that we might experience something as beautiful as this.

Yet they are moments soon to change. As much as we enjoy feeling the puppies still inside Leela and watching them grow, they are coming out sooner than we first thought. It will certainly be messier than it is now, and noisier and inevitably smellier too. And like I said at the start of this post, I have to admit I'm a little apprehensive. Not just for what comes after but also for Leela during the birth because we love her dearly. We honestly can't imagine her not being around now and she's only been with us for 2 weeks tomorrow! So I'm both nervous and excited in equal measure you could say.

Leela, on the other hand, is still her chilled out self. She walks, she eats, she sleeps and she snores (although she claims it's only because of the bellyfull of puppies pressing on her lungs). And she gets fussed. A lot!

Exciting times lie ahead.



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