Happy Final Days

The puppies are thriving as they spend their days in the side yard playing with toys, chasing and wrestling one another, napping in the sun. They’re getting bigger and rounder and eating more and more each day. I still feed them all out of the same metal bowl. After I fill the bowl with food, they rush over and push and climb over each other trying to get to the bottom of the bowl. Steve asked me the other day why I don’t give them two bowls so they’ll have plenty of room to eat.  That seems sensible but dealing with other puppies pushing them aside while they’re trying to eat is good for developing frustration tolerance an essential skill for dogs – and people.  It also helps me see if any of the puppies are easily frustrated.  Occasionally a litter will have a puppy who becomes enraged, attacking his siblings, snapping and snarling, during feedings. Easily frustrated puppies are a poor choice for families with young children; it’s best if they are placed in adult homes with people willing to commit to working with them to develop frustration tolerance.

Velvet is also thriving. Her postpartum depression-like symptoms seem to have lifted.  She has much more energy than before. No longer content in the dog area, she prefers to be upstairs with me or in the backyard. She wags her tail now for her puppies and plays with them in the backyard. She even willingly nurses them. Inside the house she hunts down dog toys to play with and bones to chew on. She responds to whistling; the other day a song came on the radio with a long whistling intro and her ears lifted up and she began to search for the source. She reacted similarly to a cat toy that makes bird cheeping noises. When the TV is on, she can’t take her eyes off it; she often pants while staring at it, perhaps it makes her a nervous.  She’s also a bit of an escape artist.  Left alone in the kitchen, she quickly jumps the dog gates and heads for my couch or one of our beds (it’s hard to blame her for preferring them).  And when I let her into the side yard and all the hungry puppies mob her at once, she quickly climbs and jumps the temporary fencing to get to the backyard.

It’s been such a pleasure watching Velvet blossom the last few weeks.  Especially since she’s leaving us so soon. The puppies are almost eight weeks old and will go home this weekend.  Next week I leave for my trip to the Netherlands. So Miranda is doing her best to find a new foster for Velvet by Friday or Saturday.

This litter has been so easy, a real pleasure; it will be hard seeing them go. Each is so even tempered and sweet, very little yipping or barking or biting. I haven’t been scratched or cut by teeth or claws or had a single item of clothing torn yet. We have plans with my family in Virginia for all of Sunday afternoon and evening – too long a stretch to leave puppies alone – so I’ve scheduled pick ups for Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning.

My last hope is that before the weekend, we find a home for Sweet Pea, our final puppy in need of an adopter.  I spent time with her today taking pictures and video for Petfinder.  I hope it helps:


I also videoed the rest of the puppies and Velvet too.  These are probably the last I’ll take before everyone leaves.  So wonderful to capture them so happy together.



Busy Days

It’s been hectic lately. Taking pictures of the puppies for Petfinder, creating Petfinder pages for each of them, emailing approved adopters about setting up visits and then having each over to meet the puppies. Thankfully Miranda goes through all the applications Homeward Trails receives, conducts the phone interviews and completes the rest of approval process. Since I started the blog last year, the puppies I foster get so many applications. Perhaps seeing pictures and video of the puppies as they grow and change, reading about them and their mothers, helps make them more real. I suspected that might happen and it’s one of the main reasons I decided to start the blog in the first place.

Saturday through Tuesday, nine families and individuals came to visit the puppies.   Occasionally visitors struggle over which puppy to adopt and sometimes families even argue or disagree, some wanting one puppy while the others want another. Even so visits are usually over in a half an hour, forty five minutes. With Velvet’s puppies, nearly everyone struggled to make up their minds. Most adopters needed an hour, an hour and a half or even longer. Two families were so conflicted we decided it would be best if they took a break, went home, and talked it over later.

I suspect the reason people couldn’t make up their minds is Velvet’s puppies – except for the longer haired one – are very similar in looks and in personality. No puppy dominates, none are shy and their energy levels are the same.  They’re all friendly, sweet and cuddly. Their coat colors vary but besides that they are so alike.  All are equally charming, all are adorable.

When people can’t decide, I always tell them that no one has ever adopted a puppy and then called me up later to say they wish they’d picked a different puppy.  Somehow saying this doesn’t seem to make their decision any easier.

Thankfully, minds were made up eventually and now all but one puppy has an adopter.  And I’m sure we’ll have someone for her before long:

Sweet Pea.JPG

With the warmer weather, the puppies have been spending most of their time outside.  Today, I let them in the backyard to romp around. They so enjoyed the trees and grass and bushes.  But it didn’t take them long to find my tulips. Though I kept trying to lure them away, the bright flowers and cool green leaves were too tempting for them.  After stopping the same puppy from chewing the same flower for the second time, I decided it was time to put them away.  But I did take some video first: