Expecting is so exciting!

My lagotto bitch Rita is definitely expecting. The gestation was confirmed by an ultra sound check-up 28 days after the mating. Now her belly is getting bigger every day.

Are the puppies reserved already?

Even before the ultra sound I started getting calls from people who wanted to know, whether all of Rita’s puppies were sold! Some callers wanted to reserve a female/male puppy by making a down payment. I felt absolutely strange having to repeat the same answer over and over: I am certainly NOT taking any reservations at a time when there is no real evidence of any puppies yet (not to mention how many and what gender). 

I told the callers, that if and when there will be puppies, I am not planning to sell them like loaves of bread or pounds of butter. Instead, I asked people to come for a personal interview with me in case they wanted to be on our “waiting list”. Some did not take that too well and told me they are not applying for a job. But in my opinion that is exactly what they are doing: seeking a position as a trusted and loving forever family for Rita’s precious babies. 

So, how many are there?

Rita was first mated on the day when her progesterone level had reached 5,2 and then again the following day. According to our vet the timing was perfect for a natural mating (as opposed to insemination) and could result in a good sized litter. Two years ago Rita had 8 puppies, all weighing over 300 grams. That was quite a challenge for her, so I decided that in addition to the ultra sound we should have her X-rayed before the due date to actually see how many babies she is carrying this time. 

The ultra sound confirmed Romeo had done his job well. There they were: tiny, little moving things each in its own “bubble” their minuscule hearts beating. However, at that point it was still early to tell how many puppies are actually there. They can hide behind each other and some can even be absorbed away, if there is a problem with the development. I counted five, which is good number as a first estimate. Only one or two might grow so big that the delivery becomes risky.

What now?

On day 40 Rita is already quite visibly pregnant. She has been dewormed a few days ago and will get a second treatment in two weeks. Her belly looks like a balloon and grows bigger every day. For a while at the end of week 3 she clearly had some spells of morning sickness and was not eating too well. Now she is hungry all the time. Although she is still very eager to go for walks, we make our walks shorter on sunny days, when she gets hot and slows down her pace. 

Rita’s daughter Lola seems to know something new is happening with mommy. She keeps cautiously sniffing her and very politely makes room for her in the front hall doggie bed where they often take afternoon naps together.

Recently my breeder friend was over for a glass of wine to toast the late arrival of the Finnish summer. She looked at Rita, felt her belly and said: - Do you realize she might not carry them to a full 63-day term being so big already? After that I got busy and arranged for the X-ray and the second herpes shot on August 13th. Time seems to be flying now! Soon we have to arrange the “nursery” and start taking Rita’s temperature twice a day. Next time you hear from us, the puppies will be born. Welcome, little ones!

 

On the ultra sound screen the puppies do not look like dogs yet.

Taking it easy in the garden is what Rita likes best now.