Sheerah and Cooper had 4 puppies on May 23, 2020! With the birth of these puppies, one of my children announced, "Now all our animals have babies!" It's true - almost. Our goats and cats had babies in April. Our chickens did not actually have chicks, but we bought some peeps in May. Lots of new life around here!
We feel very blessed that the labor and delivery went well, and Sheerah and the puppies are all doing fabulous. Below are their pictures in birth order and names. For those who've been around my blog, you know we take delight in picking names for our puppies (and goats and kittens, too!) Our children also like to claim a puppy as "theirs" for the 8 weeks they are here with us. With 5 children and 4 puppies, some sharing had to take place this round.
Note: All the puppies have individual pages as well with more pictures and details. Click on their pictures below to go to their individual pages.
Bella was the firstborn of the litter. Her name means "beautiful" in Spanish. AJ, age 9, chose it because we've been working on learning Spanish as a family. Her name also reflects another tradition we have of choosing one name from the Bible to honor God as the creator and sustainer of life. Now, you may ask where Bella is in the Bible. It's not. But, as we were choosing her name, the verse came to my mind about God making all things beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). I thought that verse applies well to our current situation of a global pandemic. I looked up the verse and was delighted to find how it ended, "Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end." (NLT). Though we cannot see the whole scope of God's work, He has the whole world in His hands - pandemic or not. (Side note - Sheerah's name IS in the Bible - see 1 Chronicles 7:24.)
Hiro (pronounced "hero") entered the world next. He was named by JJ, age 7, and EJ, age 3, in honor of one of their favorite trains from Thomas the Train. As the story goes, Hiro is an old engine from Japan. My two boys chose the name because Hiro is strong!
Luna was named by MJ, age 5 (the only girl among our children). She chose the name because luna means "moon" in Spanish, and Luna's white markings remind her of the moon. Luna's markings, as well as her brother Midnight's, remind me of Elsa from Sheerah and Cooper's 2019 litter. Though all these puppies are black & silver, Luna and Midnight have more defined markings.
Last to join the crew, was Midnight. As CJ, age 8, debated over a name, he had to decide between "Knight" and "Midnight." He chose Midnight because of his white markings on his mouth reminding him of the moon at night. Then CJ added that his eyebrows are the stars!
Thanks for stopping by and meeting our newest litter of puppies! Weekly updates will be published on Saturdays.
We said goodbye to Sheerah's first litter throughout the month of December as they joined their new families. They will all be having an extra special Christmas with a new four-footed pal. We enjoyed meeting each family and being a small part of their lives. We wish them all a very Merry Christmas and New Year full of new puppy delights!
Thanks, as always, for stopping by! Our house feels a bit strange without puppies. A few times, my children have asked, "May I hold my puppy?" only to realize there are no puppies to hold - just big dogs to love.
7 weeks old! Did I mention the word energy yet? Or perhaps spunk? These puppies are at a fun age where they want to play and explore...for about half an hour and then they take a nap! It's a fun time that the children are soaking up. We gave them lots of new experiences this past week - especially as the temperatures turned mild enough to let them enjoy the outdoors. But, before I give the weekly update, a few pictures of the puppies telling me they are DONE with photos! Their 7 week photos are always a challenge because they are no longer fascinated by me and my quirky noises. I may or may not have had the children behind me making noises, whistling, banging buckets, dinging bicycle bells, etc. to capture their photos this week. So, here are the puppies telling me no more photos shoots!
The puppies are now eating dry food three times a day. They have free access to water at all times. They are no longer nursing from Sheerah. In addition to their food, I give them 1/6 of Life's Abundance Wellness Food Supplement. My adults eat this vitamin like it's the best treat EVER. The puppies are learning to like it, too. I use this supplement when my puppies or dogs are going to experience some type of change or stress in their lives - going home, vaccinations, boarding, pregnancy, lactating, injury, new family member, etc.
The puppies weights are as follows: Shadow - 4lbs, 10oz; Thomas - 4lbs, 8oz; Rex - 4lbs, 5oz; Annie - 3lbs, 13 oz; Elsa - 3lbs, 10oz; and Clarabelle - 3lbs, 5oz.
We gave the puppies as much time outdoors as possible because they've been kept mostly indoors with the cold November temperatures. While outside, they heard traffic going by, a train clacking by (complete with a few loud horn blasts), and bicycle bells (hmmm...did I mention that before?). They were fascinated by the grass, leaves, and shrubbery. They spent more time with the cat, and one or two puppies got a supervised ride on a tricycle. I opened and closed an umbrella several times to show them it was nothing frightening. I also had CJ and MJ play with them while wearing a hard hat. As you can see in the photos at the end of the post, the hard hat did not faze them all.
I know that during their short time here, I cannot expose them to everything they will experience in life. My goal is to show them that new sights, sounds, and smells are not scary. If they believe that, they will be confident and adaptable dogs as they grow. Of course, a large responsibility rests upon the new families taking these puppies home to continue their socialization. Remember - brief, positive, and gentle! Keep treats up your sleeve to show them new experiences are fun. Give treats to new people when they meet your dog to show them meeting new people is rewarding.
On a different note with Thanksgiving and pumpkins upon us, I'll mention one tip I received from my obedience school instructor in regards to pureed pumpkin. If your puppy or dog has an upset tummy - vomiting or diarrhea - one thing to try is feeding them pureed pumpkin. It has settled many a tummy for us over the years, and dogs love it. Of course, make sure to contact your vet if their is excessive tummy upset, but keep pureed pumpkin on hand for those times when your dog randomly vomits or has loose stool.
I'm going to wrap up my post this week with some more common questions and snapshots at the end of the post (don't miss those!)
Will my puppy be house trained when he/she comes home at 8 weeks? No. Your puppy will be ready for crate training when he/she comes home. We do the Misty Method of house training for our puppies. They have a basic understanding of a place to sleep, play, and potty at 8 weeks old. They are ready to begin crate training at 8 weeks, but they are not house trained! This litter has been doing well with the Misty Method. They very faithfully keep their bedding area free of potty accidents. Most of their potty needs go into the potty box. We keep fresh newspaper in the potty box after they use it (preserving the scent but keeping it clean) and clean the play area several times daily.
Is it hard for your children when the puppies go home? Yes and no, and harder for some than for others. My children understand the responsibility and the training an 8 week old puppy requires because we’ve had the privilege of raising all our adults from puppies. They do love playing with the puppies and are, of course, sad to see them go. At the same time, they get to see the joy a puppy brings to someone else. We try to encourage them as the puppies grow that we are helping get them ready for their new family. When our children ask, “Why can’t we keep a puppy?” we gently name off our adults and say, “We did 'keep' a puppy.” Another thing that softens the blow of seeing their puppies leave is that new life is part of a homestead - we hope for goat kids and more puppies in 2020. So, our children may or may not seem sad when you pick up your puppy, but they say their goodbyes before your arrival to limit any teary last-minute goodbyes.
What are the puppies' personalities? Due to the way we raise our puppies in our home around people and household noises, there are certain things I think all my puppies have in regards to personality. They all are drawn to people and human voices. They are all unfazed by normal household sounds. They are all used to living in a clean environment and ready for crate training. They are all playful, energetic, and fun-loving. That said, in a litter, there is usually one puppy who stands out as the one who does things first and has the most adventurous spirit; Thomas has earned that badge for this litter. There's also usually a puppy who is more laid back (though I hesitate to even throw out the term "laid back" when discussing young puppies because nearly all puppies have energy). In this litter, Elsa is the most laid back. All in all, they are all very sweet puppies who will continue to develop their personalities as they bond with their new families. All have been given a great foundation of experiences to build upon.
What should I bring when picking up my puppy? Your puppy will go home with his/her collar, a blanket that smells like his/her littermates, and a bag of treats. You should bring a leash and a crate for traveling. Your puppy likely will not go potty on the way home. Puppies do not like to go in unfamiliar environments. However, it would be wise to stop every 2 hours to make sure the puppy does not need to eliminate.
What is your one parting piece of advice for taking home a new puppy? Take time to invest in training, training, training! You won't regret the hours you invest in training your puppy - it will pay off over their lifetime. I highly recommend taking your puppy to puppy kindergarten and obedience school. And, of course, give them lots of love and patience!
This is my final post for this litter as we will be busy sending them to new homes next week. Thanks for journeying with us.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing a piece of our lives. We feel blessed and thankful. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Vanessa from Russell Homestead. Follower of the Lord Jesus, wife of my knight in shining armor, mother of 5 wonderful children, and joint-keeper of the Russell homestead. Thanks for stopping by!
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