Well, the Audrey and Digger puppies have arrived. What a crazy ride it’s been too!
First, Audrey decided to come into season right when I was supposed to travel to Chicago for a trade show. So I decided that I would have time to breed her the day before I left and had the semen shipped up from Hawk, the black boy I had chosen to sire the litter. I drove down to the airport to pick the semen up, then drove the hour to the vet clinic to have the semen implanted and – somehow the semen had disappeared! It was gone!
So now Audrey was ready to be bred TODAY and all I had was a test tube full of extender. So I called up Charlotte Ryan of Gaff Labradors and asked if I could use her boy Digger. Charlotte kindly agreed and I drive the two hours to her house to get Audrey bred. Now Digger is a chocolate boy and, although Audrey carries chocolate too, it meant that only 1/4 of the litter would be chocolate and the rest black, because Digger also carried yellow. I really wanted a black puppy out of the litter, so I thought this was cool – Digger is a nice boy with a wonderful temperament and I thought we would do well.
Fast forward nine weeks later. Audrey is now ready to have puppies. On Sunday evening, she started going into hard labour and had her first puppy – a chocolate girl! I have never seen a puppy this robust: this girl (we call her Jimmy for her Jimmy-legs), burst out of her sac and virtually walked over to Audrey to start eating. I’ve never seen anything like it, she is a force to be reckoned with!
So I waited for the next puppy to come when yet another hitch developed in our plans: the power went out in the house! That meant no lights and no heat. Since puppies can’t generate their own body heat, Jimmy needed to be moved someplace warm! So my husband and I picked up the huge (and heavy) whelping box and found our way in the dark to the family room, in front of the propane fireplace. That solved the heat problem, but now I was whelping puppies via flashlight!
Three hours later, another puppy was finally born – another chocolate girl! What the heck??? Where were the blacks? An hour later, another puppy came out – a black boy. Well, this was more like it! Then we waited for the next puppy. And waited. And waited. Audrey decided she would rather just nap than push out more puppies and after waiting for another three hours, it was time to make a decision and take her to the vet before we lost the puppies.
Normally when you bring your girl in for a section, you bring the puppies with you so they can nurse off the mother – they shouldn’t go very long without eating. In a perfect world, we would have microwaved water bottles to keep the puppies warm in the winter storm, but that’s wasn’t an option with the power outage. So, we heated the car to what felt like 100 degrees, put the puppies in a cooler with lots of nice towels and raced the hour away to the reproductive vet. I rode in the back of the SUV with Audrey and we brought the puppies out for the last 20 minutes of the ride so they could nurse before Audrey went in for her surgery.
We arrived at the clinic at 5am and immediately did an ultrasound on Audrey. We saw that the one puppy was struggling – her heartbeat was only 60 beats per minute, which was way to slow. We quickly got Audrey ready and started the C-section.
I watched from the hallway as the vet pulled out two more puppies and handed them to us to rub down – a chocolate boy and a cute little chocolate girl. Come on, more chocolates?? Both puppies arrived safely and I’m happy to report all five puppies and mom and doing terrific.
We packed them up and brought them home and thankfully our hydro was back up when we returned. The puppies are now out of my heavy old whelping box and in their new digs with comfy warm Profleece. All are growing well and gaining weight.
So our breakdown is:
Three chocolate girls
One black boy
One chocolate boy
Of course, everyone was waiting for black puppies. But I hope some of them stick around around and get to love the chocolates. The Labrador world needs more nice chocolates and Audrey is just the girl to make that contribution.
Here are a few pics of the puppies. I promise to post a couple of times a week and we’ll get some video up as well. Stop by often!