When you are responsible for the well being of a litter, you take roll call every time you're with them - which is many times a day and night.  Your heart stops temporarily when 1 is unaccounted for.  Normally you'll find it in a corner, or under a blanket and all is good.    And as often as you check, something can still happen.  Yesterday I walked into their room at noon and Jayda got up to greet me - I did a quick count and saw that a puppy was motionless with mouth wide open (sorry for the graphic picture)  I picked it up and knew that she had died within the hour....tried to revive her but she was gone too long.  Jayda has been pretty careful about where she lies down and where she walks in the whelping box....the puppy was the smallest girl...my best guess is that Jayda sat or lay down on her...because of her size she wasn't able to free herself.  It is a very sad thing to see and accept...all the "what ifs" of course flood your mind....you get angry that you let it happen...eventually the voice of reason speaks loudest and says that it could have happened during the night when I allow myself 4 hours of interrupted sleep.  I can't control everything.

So, now I count to 8.  The puppies are doing very well....very happy with the weight gains so far.  When I pick them up they feel chunky and solid.  Their pink noses and pink paw pads are slowing changing to black.  They are quite mobile considering their eyes are shut.  They are travelling across the whelping box....the temperature is kept around 27 degrees,,,when puppies are cold they sleep in a big pile....when they're warm they are scattered around the box.  For the first two weeks puppies do not have a shiver mechanism so they can't regulate their own temperatures.  After two weeks I will slowing lower the temperature until about 20 degrees.  They can also not pee or poop on their own so mom needs to stimulate bodily functions.

I am at home this week, taking a week of holidays to keep a close eye on things....things that are going well can change in the blink of an eye.