Briar Hill

Naturally Reared English Shepherds

Month: July 2017

Laddie chases his ball

You’ve never seen a dog who loves to play ball like Laddie loves to play ball. Here he is, chasing down his “Frankenball”, as we call it.

Whelping Box Update

We previously documented how to MAKE your own DIY whelping box here. But here’s the post-whelping, neonate setup in action – a box full of pups!
Note: I wished I’d mentioned the box padding – it consists of non-skid plastic drop cloths, covered by blue tarps, cushioned mats for comfort and traction, and towels.

Proud Papa has a “cigar”

“Cheers! I’m the proud Papa of ten beautiful, healthy pups! Anyone care for a duck-neck stogie?”

The Puppies Have Arrived!

The pups have arrived!

3:30 a.m. Just a quick note. I am heading to bed, but wanted to let you know that 10 puppies were born last evening. Ula did great! Momma and puppies are resting comfortably. I will give details later on today.

1:30 p.m. I know the suspense is killing you. Sorry for the wait. Here are some of the details. At 4:10 p.m. yesterday I said I was going to take Ula out and feed her and I did just that. She turned down mutton and chicken, showed no interest in raw goat’s milk, so I tried an egg. She wasn’t over the moon about that idea either, but I was able to get her to eat it with a little persuasion. “Please, please Ula, just have the egg so you have the strength to whelp.”  She obliged. She continued to drink and take her herbs without a hitch. Still panting as hard and fast as she had been, but growing more restless. I decided to brush her because she likes it and I thought it would be relaxing. I gave her a few strokes with the brush when I noticed her tail change position and her back slightly arched. “Okay, it’s time. Let’s go to the whelping box, Ula’s bed, ” and off we went. She reached the bed just in time. Her water broke at 4:43 p.m. At 4:54 p.m. her first pup was born. Soooo, what do you think it was, a boy or girl? I will let you dangle a bit more in suspense.

Day 63: Is this the Big Day?

11:30 a.m. This morning started with the electrician waking us up. I had forgotten he was coming back to finish something up. Ula ate 3 sardines and has been taking her herbs. She is restless, then settles down for a while. We shall see if that leads to active labor as the day progresses. I will have to take another picture of her laying froggie-style. From a top down view she looks disfigured throughout her middle with all those little puppers in there. I know she’s uncomfortable. She gives me this look like she’s had enough, it’s time. I remember that feeling.

12:04 p.m. Electrician finished up and Ula is becoming more restless.

12:20 p.m. Today would be our golden retriever’s birthday. Samson, you blessed our lives, you are loved more than words and we treasure your memory. You are forever in our hearts. We miss you!

What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; All that we love deeply, becomes a part of us.
-Helen Keller

2:48 p.m. Ula was outside in the shade, sitting in the grass for a while. It’s a bit cooler today. A nice breeze is blowing and it’s less humid after the day or so of rain we had. She came in and is resting in the whelping box now. She has turned down any food that has been offered since she ate breakfast, but still drinking her water and taking her herbs. I sense that her time for whelping (delivery) is drawing close. Who knows. Things will progress when her body is ready. I am on call. Trying to rest when I can.

4:10 p.m. Still resting comfortably in her new digs. I will take her outside again shortly and offer some food.

Day 62: Still Trying to Patiently Wait

I was having technical difficulty and couldn’t post til now.

7:21 p.m. Ula did well through the night. She’s still hanging in there. l have to post a picture of her laying froggie-style. She also likes to wiggle around on her back inside or outside on the grass. She’s eaten 2 fresh, whole sardines, an organic egg and some raw, sprouted almonds (her favorite), along with taking her herbs in preparation for whelping and nutritional support. She snubbed her nose at the raw, clabbered goat’s milk and watermelon.  I am going to offer her whole, ground mutton shortly. I found out today, that her granddam, Titan, whelped on day 63. We shall see if she follows in her pawsteps. Tomorrow is also the birthday of our dearly beloved golden retriever and Ula’s pal, Samson, who we lost last year.

8:00 p.m. Over the course of an hour Ula ate not quite two sardines and 5 very large whole, ground mutton balls. I was thinking people are going to think I am not feeding her enough because I only mention some of the times when she eats. I offer food throughout the day. Sometimes she eats a bit and sometimes not, I let that up to her. She doesn’t have a whole lot of room with all the little ones in the oven right now. So, smaller and more frequent meals work best. She is in good spirits, goes out every hour or so, gets up and moves about in the house and babies are active. All good signs. When daddy came home, she went and picked up franken ball, as we call it, and waddled over to him with her butt wagging and helicopter tail going, making the “ruh, ruh, ruh” sound. What is franken ball? It’s a 3″ JW brand ball the dogs stripped the felt and furry stuff off of, it also has raised bumps on part of it. We were there and took the felt part away. It’s one of Laddie’s favorites. He loves, loves, loves playing ball.

11:20 p.m. She ate 5 more mutton balls before bedtime. Ula and my son will again be sleeping in the whelping box. I will get up and check on them throughout the night.

Day 61: Patiently Waiting

Day after Independence Day.

2:02 a.m. Checked on Ula and she’s resting comfortably.

9:30 a.m. Ula is still resting. Babies are active. I was up checking on her throughout the night and my son slept near her.

4:10 p.m. Ula is still hanging in there, resting. Saving her energy for whelping. Puppies are active and kicking away. She’s eaten a couple of large, raw, whole ground chicken meatballs and 4-5 of the same size raw, whole ground rabbit and a little bit of banana. So, she’s eating, but still keeping it light. I just got done videotaping the whelping box we made. I will post that separately. I also have some pictures of the proud da in the whelping box as well.

8:20 p.m. We had spent a while outside, took a couple of pictures and then a walk before coming in. Ula and Lad took their herbs and everyone took a nap. We need to make sure we’re rested up since she can go into active labor at any time. It’s getting late and everyone needs some dinner.

8:55 p.m. Ula ate three whole, raw sardines. She normally loves fish, but she’s been more picky.

11:20 p.m. Offered Ula ground rabbit again and she ate 7 large meatballs. We introduced her to the whelping box and told her it was her bed. I was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to fit through the doggie door we made, but she measured the same as the opening, which worked out fine. While I was sitting and laying with her, she eventually settled down. Lying on her side, I could see the ‘lil wee ones being very active. It was a little freaky, her fur protruding out and moving around, like there was an alien inside her. She will be sleeping in the whelping box along with my son. I will be getting up throughout the night to check on them.

Day 60 is Independence Day

Happy 4th of July!

Thank you for joining us on the tail end, no pun intended, of our maiden voyage of both mine and Ula’s first litter of pups. Preparing for a litter and getting things in order, which will make it easier for subsequent litters, has been a huge undertaking. It’s been both a stressful and exciting time, but well worth it.  I’ve had wonderful guidance by Ula’s breeder and the Master Herbalist I work with, and for that I am blessed.

Ula has been very healthy prior to conception and the pregnancy has gone well. She’s gotten picky about what she wants to eat, especially when she moved into her third trimester, but other than that I think she’s done very well. The pickiness has led me to defrosting a variety of meats at a time, hoping that one of them would suit her mood and her tummy. What kind of meat has she eaten throughout her pregnancy? beaver, muskrat, rabbit, goat, lamb, alpaca, beef tripe, chicken, emu, sardines, salmon, herring, trout and whiting. She will eat duck, but the necks and feet only. As far as veggies and fruit go, she has eaten watermelon, canteloupe, red peppers, romaine lettuce, and apricots. Not much as she’s focused mainly on meat sources.

Day 1, May 6, 2017 at 9:30 a.m., Ula and Laddie conceived. Ula weighed 49lbs.

Day 10, May 15, 2017, Ula measured 19 inches before eating. Unfortunately, we did not take an initial measurement. We could see her body changing right away and knew she would be expecting in about 60 days.

Day 24, May 29, 2017, Ula measured 21¼ inches prior to eating.

Day 33, June 7, 2017, Ula measured 21¼ inches prior to eating.

Day 52, June 26, 2017,  was the first time we felt the pups move. Amazing!

Day 60, today, of Ula’s pregnancy, which should be her due date. So far, it’s 12:21 p.m. and all is calm. Both her dam and grandam whelped on Day 60, so we will see what Ula’s body does. We’re praying for a safe and timely delivery of all the little blessings.

At 1:30 p.m., I offered Ula whole, ground chicken. She ate about ½ lb. This is normal. With all the pups there isn’t much space for her organs in particular her stomach. So, she eats smaller meals throughout the day as she feels led.  Dam’s also cut back before whelping in preparation for the delivery. She’s been taking her herbs for nutritional support and in preparation for the Big Event.

Now, who is Ula. Ula is a black with minor white English Shepherd with a curly tail who will soon be the proud momma of up to 10 ‘lil lads and/or lasses. Laddie, or Lad, as we sometimes call him, is a tri color English Shepherd male, who is the proud poppa of the much anticipated litter.

So, what color pups are we expecting? The possibilities are black and white, black and tan, tri-color, and seal. I am hoping for a sable, also, as Lad’s dam is sable.  How many boys and girls and how many pups total? All unknown. This is the joy of surprises and not being able to peek before it’s time.

3:38 p.m. All is still quiet. Ula is panting due to the heat, not labor. Resting. She will be taking another walk shortly and offered more food. She has a full bowl of clean water to drink from at all times. Ula measured 28¾ inches around her waist and 33½ inches around her middle/ribcage.

6:40 p.m. Still quiet. Ula and Laddie are hanging out and panting from the heat.

10:30 p.m. Ula came in a little while ago after spending some time outside. It was cooler and it gave her time to Earth or Ground. About 10:30 p.m. she let out a short, quick groan. A few have followed over the last 20 minutes. So, we’ll see if this leads to her being in active labor.

11:30 p.m. Ula ate some crunchy ends of romaine lettuce. Then ate 12 good size raw, whole ground chicken meatballs that I hand fed to her. No, I don’t normally feed her by hand, but a little TLC every now and again isn’t so bad, right? It’s looking like the pups won’t be born on the 4th of July. Apparently, they needed more time inside their momma.

No puppies were born today.

Welcome to our site…

We plan to use this space to post updates about our English Shepherd dogs and their soon to be litter. Please return to see our progress! Thank you for your patience.

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