Fall is definitely starting to make its way down to us, bringing temperatures in the 80's instead of the upper 90's, which means that the puppies are getting more outside play time. The little ones are still a litte unsure of the big yard and don't venture too far from us. Miss B and Mr. C are very familiar with the yard and make use of just about all of it. They are extremely fast and it always amazes us how they can chase each other around the yard, between flower pots and around trees at top speed without hitting anything. They are very agile puppies and change direction without losing much of their speed. I can see why pitbulls do so well in dog athletic competitions. They are naturals at obstacle courses. The littles can't quite keep up with them yet, but they are getting faster. The four of them often play together, pulling sticks and chasing each other to get the sticks back, but eventually, the two older dogs play together to get some real exercise in while the two smaller ones do the same.
The four puppies have really gotten comfortable with each other. There is a little bit of jealousy and the fear that one might be getting more than the others, but Mr. C and Miss B were already that way with each other before the littles came along. So that is just business as usual. What it means for us is that if we are going to give out a treat, we have to have four of them ready to go before we start. We also try to give the big puppies slightly bigger treats just because the littles don't need as much food as they do (even though Miss S would beg to differ on that point).
The hardest part about playing in the yard with the puppies and trying to get good pictures at the same time is that they move all the time. When you are busy trying to get the cameral focused on all of them, they sometimes end up in positions you weren't really trying to capture. The picture below for example, started out as a nice group shot with everyone looking at the camera. Then they all turned, and we got a picture of three behinds, and one pooping puppy instead.
Exhibit B: This was supposed to be a cute shot showing how little Miss S and Mr. M are compared to Dad's chair- mostly so we can see how much they've grown a few months from now. The littles turned and started moving away just as I took the shot, and we noticed later that in the background out of focus is a large pooping Mr. C. There seems to be a theme here...
This weekend, Miss B and Mr. C got their attitude adjustments. While they were busy at the vet, we visited Grandma and Grandpa's house. Miss S and Mr. M enjoyed the visit and got to meet all kinds of people. Miss S discovered that she could fit under the coffee table.
After the vet visit, Miss B and Mr. C needed time to recuperate, so we finally had an excuse not to go anywhere for the weekend and just chilled out at home. This is mostly a picture post.
There is much wisdom to be learned from the ways of the puppy. Miss S and Mr. M demonstrate some of these lessons, while appropriately sporting a Buddha belly. Here are a few examples.
I'm not really sure what Buddha sounded like- I'm very sure that it wasn't in English- so for now, the puppy wisdom will sound more like Yoda.
You're guess is as good as ours as to what Miss B is doing here. Pawsana Yoga? Maybe she's letting Miss S practice her Jiu-Jitsu throwing techniques? My guess is that the four of them are secretly planning to release a low budget film and they are rehearsing for it. I saw the beginnings of a script laying in the bottom of the little's crate. It was titled "PuppyNado," and had a scribbled note to call Tara Ried.
I'm convinced that puppies have a 7th sense- the ability to detect toys. We came back from the store yesterday evening with several new water dishes and toys for all of the puppies. I rested the bags down on the floor and sat down with some scissors to take the tags off. Before I had even opened the bag with this colorful monkey in it, Mr. M ran straight to the bag and pulled the monkey out and across the floor so he could play with it. They are getting good at running, and Mr. M added a little bounce to the run so that every second or third step was a little hop.
They also have the ability to make toys out of just about anything. Here are the two littles playing with an empty toilet paper roll. There were originally two rolls, but just like with Mr. C and Miss B, no matter how many toys there are, the coolest one is the one your brother or sister has. I think it is part of the puppy code.
It's amazing how fast puppies' health can deteriorate if there is a problem and how fast they bounce back when you catch it in time. They are so fragile when they are small that you have to really make quick decisions on whether or not what you are seeing is worthy of a vet visit. On Saturday, Miss S started having diarrhea- the extremely liquid, fire hose shooting style. Many things can cause this in a puppy including change of diet and moving them to a new home. Usually though, these clear up fairly quickly. If you start seeing blood in it, you need to consider getting to a vet as soon as you can. She had the watery poop for 6 or 7 bowel movements during the night. We were very worried that she would get dehydrated and tried giving her water, which she was not interested in at all. In the middle of the night, she woke up and needed to use the restroom, but her back legs were too weak for her to stand up well. We had a can of goat's milk in the back of our cabinet, and decided to try mixing it with water to see if we could get some liquid in her. They both went nuts over the goat's milk and drank quite a bit. Within a few minutes, she was walking like a champ looking for more goat milk.
The next morning, we decided to go ahead and take them to the Petsmart vet to have them checked out and were glad that we did. They had a really bad case of several worms- very similar to Popcorn. In fact, they were prescribed some of the same things. In addition to the medicines, the vet prescribed a special gentle food for them to eat for a week until their tummies were calmed back down. By the afternoon, they were bouncing around all over the place, growling at and playing with Miss B and Mr. C and pouncing on each other.
By Monday, you wouldn't even know they were ever sick.
So, what have we learned from dealing with 4 week old puppies, you ask? The difference between full out running, jumping playtime and a solid nap is about 2 seconds flat.
Since bringing Bonnie and Clyde into our lives, we have been doing a lot of research on Google- what kind of food is best for pitbull puppies, training methods that work best with pitbulls, breed specific health issues, etc. We also did quite a bit of looking at Google Images to see whether or not they looked like typical pitbull puppies and how big we might expect them to be. While on Google, we discovered not only that "pitbull" is not actually a single breed but rather a term used to describe several breeds, but also that there is such a thing as an American Bulldog that is even larger than the American Pitbull Terrier, which I think is what Bonnie and Clyde are. I (Mom) was perfectly happy with Bonnie and Clyde and was quite content to just ooh and ahh at the pictures of the American Bulldog puppies. Dad however, became a little fixated on the idea of having 130lb dogs in addition to Bonnie and Clyde and decided that we needed two more puppies.
When we were at the Vet with Bonnie and Clyde, he told us not to take them around any puppies because they are not finished with their puppy shots yet and are vulnerable to parvo. After much discussion on the subject and objections from Mom about getting any new puppies before B & C were done with their shots, Dad decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and bring home two new American Bulldog puppies. He also decided that they needed their ears cropped. So we waited for their ears to heal a little and agreed to pick them up the Thursday following July 4th. On Wednesday, we found out that one of the puppies had died suddenly with no previous symptoms. The breeder thought that it was a possibility that one of his kids had dropped it without telling him. Mom was instantly concerned and tried to convice Dad to wait a couple of days to make sure that the second one didn't get sick too and expose B & C. Dad was convinced that the puppy would be safer at our house. Mom agreed on that part and we decided to take the risk and bring her home. When we went to pick her up, her personality had completely changed from when we had looked at her. Before, she was very lively and energetic, trying immediately to play with Mom's hand. This time, she wasn't moving around at all and just wanted to be held. (Sign #1 that something wasn't quite right). The breeder said that she hadn't eaten all day but that they had finally gotten her to eat a little bit. (Sign #2).
When we got her home, we couldn't get her to eat or drink at all. She even resisited when we tried to force her mouth open to drizzle a little water into her mouth. She was very tired (Sign #3) and only wanted to be snuggled. Even though she hadn't eaten all day, her belly was really puffy- almost distended, and Mom was a little concerned about it (Sign #4).
We let B & C smell her a little. They were totally excited. Clyde started licking her head gently and trying to nudge her to get her up. She was a little scared of him and just looked up at Mom (who was holding her at the time) with big eyes. They were both very gentle around her and really wanted to be able to lick and play with her.
We were a little worried about her and didn't want to leave her in the other room while we slept or in a kennel where we couldn't see what was going on. We made a little pile of newspaper and folded towels for her to rest on the bed with us so that we could keep a closer eye on her. Somewhere around 11 the trouble really started. She got up and peed on the towel, which we quickly changed out. That part was to be expected- little puppies can't hold it for very long. Not long after that though, she started throwing up. A lot. (Sign #5). Throughout the night, she alternated peeing and throwing up. By morning, she had apparently thrown up everything that had been in her stomach and was just skin and bones. She did #2 in the yard, and walked around a little. She was very wobbly, but we think that was just because of dehydration and not having anything in her stomach. We tried putting peanut butter and yogurt on her muzzle. She would lick it off a little but not much. She wouldn't drink anything.
We were going to take her to the vet with B & C on Saturday, but we decided that she wouldn't make it to Saturday at this rate and that we needed to take her in right away. We took her to the local vet, and he told us that her condition was very poor and that she only had a 50-50 shot at survival. I think he knew that she probably wouldn't make it but didn't want to freak us out. He checked her for Parvo and worms. The Parvo test came back negative- which apparently is not definitive and could mean that she still had it but it wasn't showing up yet. The vet told us that she had worms really bad and that they were causing the weakness, anemia, loss of apetite, vommiting, etc. He gave us two worm medicines to give her and some nutritional vitamin paste. We took her home and gave them to her immediately. I think though, that it was a little too late, and she passed away in our arms around 5pm (less than 24 hours after we brought her home). We were absolutely heart broken.
Our attention immediately turned to Bonnie and Clyde. We started them on a course of broad spectrum dewormer right away just in case they had caught any worms from her and washed everything she had come into contact with, with bleach. All of the counter surfaces and the clothes that we had worn were also washed with bleach just in case she had Parvo after all. We even poured bleach on the spot in the yard where she had had a bout of diarhea in the afternoon before she died. B & C got their second round of puppy shots two days later on Saturday. The puppy shots, dewormer and flea medicine combined made their stools a little runny for part of a day and we instantly worried they might have gotten sick from the puppy. We fed them pumpkin, which helped and within a day or so, they were back to normal.
Here is a picture of our little Popcorn sleeping on Dad's lap when we first brought her home. Notice the peanut butter on her upper lip and the distended belly. You can also see in this picture that despite the belly, she was fairly boney. I think that all of the food she was eating was going to the worms instead of her. Such an adorable little puppy! We had already named her Popcorn before picking her up- even though the name didn't quite fit any more.
The lesson to be learned from all of this, is that you should always listen to your vet. If he says not to expose your puppies to any other dogs, then you should keep them away from other dogs until their shots are finished. Having a sick puppy around is a huge risk. We have been keeping B & C isolated from other dogs and have been giving them really high quality food and lots of affection. I feel like all of this has made their immune systems stronger, but it is not worth the risk. We have agreed not to bring any more animals home until they are finished with their vaccinations. Losing Popcorn was hard even though we had only had her a day. We have had Bonnie and Clyde much longer and have grown much more attached to them.
The second lesson we learned from this is that Google is dangerous- especially the Images tab. It can show you all kinds of things that you didn't know existed and make you think that you need them. Beware when looking at Google Images!!
First time pitbull owners who found two pitbull puppies abandoned on the side of the road and decided to adopt them...And then loved them so much, they decided to get two wonderful mastiffs.