Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

July 1st, 2009:


Bella's puppies on 6/30/2009Carol and I took four days away in our RV and it was just the thing–more on Field Day later–but we came home to word that one of our friends in the local bichon club had been taken to the hospital very late Monday night. It’s nothing life-threatening, but she’ll be there probably until the weekend. So it was that Carol and I volunteered to host a past champion bichon bitch and her litter of three six-week-old puppies until next Sunday.

We’ve seen and held younger bichon puppies in the past, but we’ve never cared for puppies this young for any length of time. We got Mr. Byte and Chewy at 8 weeks, and both QBit and Aero older than that. As I write this it’s been 24 hours and we’re both a little pooped. We set up an exercise pen in our laundry room over a layer of old towels, with a kennel for Bella and the puppies. They were in the process of being weaned when they came to us, and we’re feeding them Fromm’s small-format kibble with a protein supplement called Puppy Gold. (They still nurse a little when Bella lets them.) We also put a puppy litter box in the exercise pen, and (remarkably) the puppies are trying their best to use it, though one in particular is still a little unclear on the concept. (He puts his front feet in the pan and then pees over the edge.)

Six-week puppies are something to watch. Their lives consist of sleep punctuated by (short) periods of furious kinetic activity. Carol and I take them out of the pen several times a day and let them run around the laundry room until they tire themselves out–after which they’ll sleep together in a pile for another three hours. They’re not especially coordinated, and don’t really walk well. They run by something I’d almost call hopping, and generally end up falling over on the linoleum, looking sheepishly around them for a moment before launching off in a different direction. We’re trying to get them socialized and used to close contact with people so that they can be placed when they’re old enough. All of them are probably show quality (it’s still a little hard to tell on things like pigment) and although one of them is bouncier than the other two (he’s the one on the left in the photo) all three are happy, friendly, and extremely playful.

It’s fun having puppies around again, but there’s lots to do here and I think we’ll gladly hand them back when their little vacation is up this weekend. I still have three biggish chapters worth of copyedits to read by the Fourth, and other work has piled up in the meantime. Besides, there’s a sort of Point of No Return with puppies: Keep them too long, and yup, you just don’t want to return them.