There is so much that goes into raising a litter of puppies. Some day I'm going to write a book. For real. When I say that I learn something new with each litter, I mean it. Sometimes those new things are fun and interesting facts, but mostly those things are things I wish I never needed to know. It's an interesting job, to say the least. And poopy. The job involves a whole lot of poop.
But I get puppies to play with, and who doesn't love puppies? Besides my daughter. She doesn't love puppies.
I learned a few things with the current litter of puppies that I have. I learned that a Ziploc bag and a flexible hose make a great oxygen tent to revive newborn puppies. I learned that if mama has too much milk it can cause problems for the babies (in addition to the risk of mastitis in the mama, which we managed to avoid), and I learned all about club feet in puppies.
We had a wee baby born with her feet put on backwards, but from what I'm able to understand it's mostly caused by being positioned weirdly while in mama's tummy. The muscles on the back of her legs grew stronger than the muscles on the front of her legs, making her back feet turn at weird angles. From what I read (I do a lot of research - never quit learning, kids!) this condition corrects itself. It did, by the age of 3 weeks. It was rather fascinating to watch. But her muscles were weak and she didn't stand on her back legs but rather drug herself on her front legs. I wanted to be sure there were no other issues that I didn't know about, so we trotted ourselves to the vet's office today. If in doubt, contact a professional. I do that often.
He called her a swimmer. I've heard the term before, but somehow failed to make the connection in my mind that I was looking at one. I was too focused on the club feet. Which pretty much were the cause of the wee girl being a swimmer. Its all related. And all very superficial and self-correcting. A swimmer is a puppy that looks like it's swimming with it's front feet instead of walking around on 4 legs. If allowed to go on, this can cause problems in the long term. The girl needs to strengthen her back legs and get up off the ground. She's working on it all on her own because she's a determined little bully, but I have been instructed to help her.
The puppy needs physical therapy, guys. Isn't that cute? I get to drop what I'm doing and flex wee puppy legs as often as I can through the day. Did you get that? It's mandatory that I play with puppies! My job is so enviable sometimes. But honestly, the job is sooooo much harder than it sounds. I try, mind you, and I end up getting the job done, but not without difficulty. Making a puppy stand on her own legs while ignoring her pleading eyes to just use those hands to pet her is a daunting task. I get easily distracted by those eyes.
Excuse me while I go play with a puppy. Again.