Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Excitement! Anxiety!

Morgan is quite pregnant. She is carrying “at least five” puppies, says my reproductive veterinarian, who did not feel inclined to search around looking for further puppies after confirming five.

She is due on the 28th, which is a highly convenient time, as this is after finals week for the spring semester and a good week or more before the summer session begins.

I am not super, super stressed yet. But I will be in about another two weeks. I’m going to probably let her try to have these puppies the natural way, which is always significantly more terrifying than a c-section, believe me. You get one puppy that malpresents and you can lose them all. Not great for the mother, either. But with five or more, the size of each individual puppy is much more likely to be manageable, plus the puppies will for sure signal when it’s time to go. Just one or two puppies may not send a strong enough TIME IS UP signal to induce labor, which is bad enough; and of course they often get too big, which is worse.

But things can always go wrong, no matter how beautifully everything has gone up until the day. Plus Morgan’s great-grandmother is the one who kept losing puppies two days before the due date.

I’ll be doing progesterone tests at least weekly to help make sure Morgan is not heading into a miscarriage as she gets close to term.

Wow, this is so terrifying.

I won’t post about this again until I have living puppies. Please send good thoughts this way. Five healthy puppies would be so fantastic, I can’t even tell you! That many puppies would also help compensate for the large and unrelieved breeding expenses of the last few years, which would be a very nice thing indeed.

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9 Comments Excitement! Anxiety!

  1. Craig N.

    I feel like there should be some sort of breeder superstition about what to say and what not to say at this stage…

    Morgan is black and tan, of course: is this a litter where the puppies could theoretically be any color?

  2. Rachel

    Thanks!

    Yes; each of the four colors is equally likely.

    If you’re interested, there’s only a 1 in 1024 chance that all the puppies will be the same color (if there are five puppies). So if all goes well, I’m definitely expecting what we call a colorful litter — more than one and probably more than two colors represented, even if not all four colors.

    Breeding a black-and-tan to a Blenheim sometimes produces mismarks — but first, I’ve never had that happen; and second, you can absolutely get mismarks no matter what you do; and third, I don’t care. Healthy is what I want first, then good structure, then cosmetic features waaaaay after that.

  3. Craig N.

    I had previously suggested that getting a large litter of puppies none of whom were show quality would be a new and different problem that you wouldn’t actually mind all that much.

    But if there are exactly five of them, maybe you can get healthy puppies of five different colors, and the only one with show-quality structure is an albino mutant. Hey, it’s mathematically possible!

  4. Rachel

    Well, not REALLY. Albino is very, very rare in dogs. Now, leucism is a bit more plausible — that’s a blue-eyed white or pale dog — and I know of one chocolate-and-tan Cavalier that popped up in a well-bred litter, so the bb dilute is in theory possible.

    My preference is that ONE puppy will have (a) correct markings of some color; (b) the best structure in the litter; (c) a good bite from three weeks right on through life with no moments when the bite goes off; (d) if male, two descended testicles by age six weeks, again with no quibbles; (e) glamor.

    As a rule, those characteristics get spread across the puppies in a litter, so that one stomps around snarling about lack of perfection.

    But yes, we care about all that AFTER the puppies are ALIVE AND HEALTHY. And preferably PLURAL.

  5. Hanneke

    Ooh, sending good wishes to Morgan and to you!
    Are you near the vet clinic, so you could get her there quickly if Morgan goes for the natural birth but turns out to need help later?
    Maybe you could arrange with your vet that you call the clinic when Morgan starts labour, or if it seems to be taking longer than expected, so you can take her in without delays if it becomes necessary.

    I’m thinking of the TinyKittens rescue channel, where some of the rescued or feral moms have had to be taken quickly to the vet when problems arose during labour, saving the moms and most of the kittens.
    Often things go fine the natural way, but when they don’t it’s good to know there is help on standby.

  6. Rachel

    It’s been so long since I let one of my girls try a natural birth that both vets I might have worked with have retired. The repro vet is always on call, but an hour away. So … I will be having a chat with my newer local vet about just these types of issues. Then we’ll see. You are very very right that when you have an emergency during whelping, it’s an EMERGENCY.

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