Litter Born Feb 9, 2009
5 Females - 3 Males

CH Riverdel's Red Sky at Night, CGC
(CH* Chesabar's Piccdilly, RN, CGC x CH Quailridge-Chesabar Makin Traxx)




CH Chesabar's Windswept Otter Run
(CH Chesabar Ashby's Decoy of Calico x CH Chesabar's Rye Brook)

We have been planning this breeding between Sky & Otter for over a year.  It combines dogs from Riverdel & Anatypia Chesapeakes.   Puppies should be very versatile and well suited in all venues, whether family companion, show, hunt, obedience or agility.

Sky & Otter have met several times over they years.  But come December 2008, they are to "meet" in a new way!  On December 6 and 8, their partnership goes without complication and both seem very pleased with themselves.  Well, maybe Otter was having 2nd thoughts at one moment.  Now the waiting begins  . . . .

January 28, 2009 - only 10 days to go!  Otter is starting to look and feel preggie.  Her meals were increased last week to 3 meals / day.  And we have been busy converting my kitchen into a proper nursery. 

All supplies are on hand and comfy whelping box in place.  Of course, Piccadilly & Sky have to check everthing out and seem a bit puzzled that Otter is getting an extra meal -- something must be wrong with the universe! 

February 3, 2009 - It's time to go to the vet's for a pre-delivery check up and x-ray. Since it's been cold and snowy here, it's also a good time to get a nice warm pre-delivery bath.  We have increased meals to 4 times a day as puppies take up so much room in the abdominal cavity. Puppy count via x-ray is 9+ !   Won't be long now  . . .

Birth - Otter’s temperature drops to 98.3 degrees at 2:30am on Saturday,, Feb 6.  This temperature drop is an indicator of a drop in her progesterone level which brings about stage I labor.  Stage I labor is when the bitch has intermittent contractions and the cervix dilates.  This stage can last up to 24hrs and sometimes longer.  Otter starts stage 1 labor at 8:00pm on Saturday and progresses very slowly and it is a worrisome 30hrs before she moves to stage II labor.

In stage II labor, contractions are visible, and a puppy is in the birth canal.   After an hour of stage II labor, Otter’s first baby is born, it’s a little boy!  He is quickly followed by another little boy.  Whew, that’s 2 of our expected 9 babies.   But Otter has other plans and doesn’t progress further in stage II labor.  She is resting comfortably with her 2 boys who are lively, vocal and hungry!   We let her rest and wait and wait and wait for more stage II labor to come. 

By 9:00am on Monday, we take her to the vet where she is administered a shot of Oxytocin which helps stimulate hard contractions.  By 10:30am, we have a little girl born!   But, again, Otter, though happy and content with her brood of 3, is tired and the vet recommends a c-section to deliver the remaining 6 puppies.

Otter is home recovering with her 9 puppies Monday night.   Unfortunately, 1 of the little girls is weak and after 2 days of constant care, loses her battle to thrive.  We named her Petunia because she was a beautiful perfect flower that didn’t bloom.  We’ll never know why she didn’t thrive – perhaps a complication of the long labor & delivery and c-section anesthesia.

All other puppies are strong and doing well -- we have 5 females and 3 males!  Black ribbon boy “Tap”, yellow ribbon boy “Tango”, red ribbon boy “Twister”, white ribbon girl “Ellie Luna”, green ribbon girl “Cha-Cha”, purple ribbon girl “Jazz”, pink ribbon girl “Shag”, and red ribbon girl “Slider”.  Yes, there is a dance theme here!

Puppy Development – Weeks 1 and 2 - in their first 2 weeks, puppies spend 90% of their time sleeping and 10% eating.  They can not regulate their own body temperature and are susceptible to heat and cold.  They depend on the body heat of their mother and littermates to stay warm.  They have instinctive reflexes to crawl, seek warmth, nurse and can right themselves if placed on their backs.  They need constant care from their dam, even for stimulation to urinate/defecate.  Their central nervous system develops very rapidly these first few weeks.  

Day 3 Picture - Puppies make their first trip to the vet for a check up and dew-claw removal.  The vet gives them a thumbs up and removes their front dew claws (we didn’t have any on the rear),  This was a big event for them and they cuddle up and sleep when they get home.

Day 3 through 16 – Start Early Neurological Stimulation - During the first 2 weeks, the puppy’s nervous systems are rapidly developing.  Early stimulation during this time has been shown to give the puppies more tolerancde to stress, improve the heart, immune system and adrenaline flow.  This will affect the puppy for life.  I start this early stimulation on day 3 through day 16:

  • Rub a Q-Tip on the pad of the feet (tickling effect)
  • Hold puppy with head upright and tail down
  • Reverse direction of puppy with head down and tail up
  • Hold puppy up off the floor in a level position
  • Put the puppies’ feet down on a really cold damp towel

Day 6 – The puppies are growing by leaps and bounds, everyone is steadily gaining weight.  Also growing fast are their little sharp nails that don’t feel too good on mama when they are nursing so everyone got their nails clipped for the first time today.

Week 3 (days 15 - 21) – Lots of things will be happening this week!  First, the puppy's eyes should open followed in a couple days by their ears.  Teeth begin to emerge and pups get up on all four legs and take a few steps and begin to urinate and defecate on their own.  Their eyesight is dim, but they discover the other pups are more than just warm lumps to be crawled over and slept on.  They are beginning to stagger around on four legs, first lifting themselves up on the front, then on the rear. Activity periods are brief followed by sleep to gather up strength for the next adventure! By the end of the third week, the pups should be able to walk on four legs, lap up milk replacer or soft food and will be just starting pack behavior -- pawing at each others faces, chewing on littermates' ears, etc.

Day 14 – Wow, what a change a couple days brings.  All pups' eyes have opened in the last 2 days and all are starting to walk.  Dare I say, a couple are actually trucking across the whelping box!  Otter is a good mom, very relaxed and content to sleep outside the whelping box when she is not feeding or cleaning her babies.  I'm already seeing little personalities emerge.  The boys are typical boys, very easy going unless they are hungry.  The girls are all robust and seem to get their way, watch out boyz!  This is a pic of Ellie Luna (on left) and Cha-Cha (on right).   Ellie says get that flash outta my face and Cha-Cha says neener, neener, neener.

Day 20 – Time flies when you're having fun!  The kids are really learning to use their voices.  I heard a rukus today, went flying into the kitchen to find a litter of very angry pups "dancing" around the whelping box.  This is Tango letting his displeasure be known :>)

Here was Otter laying right by the their door, just outside their reach.  You could tell they were using  their noses and could smell her and some were peering over and could see her.

I grabbed the camera and watched and sure enough we have a box-break!   The winner is  . . .Cha-Cha, the first to tumble out of the box!

Week 4 (days 22 - 28) – The pups are experiencing a shower of sensory stimulation this week. Sudden awareness of the world around them can get overwhelming and keeping Otter with them a lot is important to add stability to their lives.  They will begin to bark, wag tails, and bite/paw at the other pups.  This is also the beginning of the socialization period.  Ensuring each pup receives individual attention and handling is a priority every day.

Day 23 – The last couple days have been a blast.  All pups are right on schedule in their development.  Their little teeth have erupted and they are getting around quite well. I introduced their first meal today and they took to it without hesitation.  I mix a combination of thoroughly soaked Verus kibble with hot water and goat's milk to the consistency of watery oatmeal.

This pic is immediately after their first meal.  I put them back in the whelping box and Otter came in to clean them up while they enjoyed after dinner drinks.  There is Cha-Cha again peering out the door!  Later tonight, will be cuddle/puppy massage time.  Giving them individual attention is not hard, trying NOT to hold them is the challenge!

Week 5 (days 29 - 35) -  The pup's central nervous system has developed substantially, and the puppies now have sight, hearing, smell and depth perception. Pups start exhibiting group activities this week. Sexual play will begin and dominance order starts. There is rapid physical growth, mental development and the pups seem to blossom. Puppies continue to need individual attention and it's a good idea to have other people come and visit/play with the pups.

Day 34 - I'm a little late giving an update this week as the pups are keeping me very busy.  Though almost fully weaned, they still want to nurse and Otter lets them, god bless her.  She doesn't even have to lay down in the box, they stand up and nurse, sharp teeth and all. 

The pups are a hoot a minute. Their play is hysterical to watch. They are pawing at each other, biting, growling, barking, tumbling, humping, you name it.  Here they are doing a konga line!

More Day 34 Pics - Did I mention what smart and clean little puppies we have?  We have cut the fleece in the whelping box to half the box and line the other half with newspapers.   Pups routinely go potty on the paper side.  So we've taken papers and put them at the back door and when they are trucking around the kitchen playing, they often go to the back door on the paper.   Here is a pic of very sweet and gorgeous head Tango.

Here is a pic of Twister.  Twister's cuteness factor is off the charts.  He may be on the smaller side, but has all the right moves.  I took pics on Saturday and when I downloaded them half of them were of Twiseter.  How did that happen, the camera is just drawn to him!

Week 6 (days 36 - 42) -  Rapid growth and development continue; the puppies gain full use of their eyes and ears, their legs become stronger and more coordinated, and their brain reaches a final stage of development. The kinds of experiences that a puppy has over the next 2 weeks have a very strong effect and shape how he/she will react to people and events throughout his/her life.  They have little fear at this age and soak up everything around them and investigate everything in site.
Day 37 -  Oh what a bunch of hooligans!! They are really outgoing and adventurous, not missing a beat around them.  They get turned loose in the kitchen 6 times a day and it's like a playground.  They skid across the floor and leap in the air, roll and tumble -- sometimes it sounds like a stampede!

The whelping box came down a last week and the pups transitioned into an x-pen. This week, we set up crates and left them open for them to explore.  All pups seem fine in the crates, so we took down the x-pen and they are spending their nites in crates.  They get their last romp and potty break around 11:00pm and can last all the way until 5:30am.   This is a pic of Ellie & Slider getting ready for bed.

Another Day 37 pic -  Ellie Luna sits nice and watches.  All the pups ssek out attention and want to be held and cuddled.  Sometimes I have a swarm at my feet, esp if they are tired.  This next week will be very busy. On our list of things to go are the "Rules of Seven" -- a list of things that a pupppy should have happen by the time they are 7 weeks old.  They should be on 7 different surfaces, play with at least 7 different toys/objects, been in 7 different locations, met and played with at least 7 new people, be exposed to 7 challenges, eaten from 7 different containers in 7 different locations!  We got outside this week and the pups had a blast exploring and taking in a whole new world - sights and sounds abound!
Week 7 (days 43 - 49) -  Pups have total vision and hearing acuity and will investigate anything.  When not sleeping, they interact with each other in play.  They will go to the vet this week for their first vaccination and health exam.
Day 49 pic -  This past week has been filled with the pups meeting many new people and getting new experiences.  We have been very busy fulfilling the "Rules of Seven".  They explore each new situation with a moment of caution, then full out tilt.  They love meeting so many new people and have a tendency to swarm their feet and legs looking for pets, or maybe it's the shoelaces! Another milestone today - their 2nd trip to the vet for their health exam and 1st puppy shot.  We were so proud of the kids that stood on the table wagging their tails while doc went over them and never even flinched at their shot. 
Week 8 (days 50 - 56) -  Strong dominant and subordinate behavior develops among littermates. Motor skills improve and although they have short attention spans, they begin to learn commands/behaviors.  They are also starting to focus attention on people rather than other puppies and compete for attention.  Littermates should be separated this week and housetraining can begin.  

The biggest event for us all this week is that the pups start leaving for their carefully chosen new homes.   I have decided to keep Slider.  Below are pics of all the pups as they go home with their new families.
Twister (now known as Tiki) - is the first to leave and goes home with Jimmy & Jennifer

Shag -
heads to CT with her new family: John, Deb & Ian
Tap (now known as Kobi) - starts his new adventures in life with Jeff, Nancy, Meg & John

Tango (now known as Sailor) - 
dances his way into the hearts of Nic & Kelsey
Ellie-Luna (now known as Georgia-Belle) - calls VA home now with Mike & Jennifer
Jazz - doesn't go to far to find her new family with Ed & Kelly.  Sorry, but we forgot a pic!
Cha-Cha (now known as Stella) - catches a ride home to Sheri in Canada with her parents.

And Slider -  
stays here at Riverdel, pictured here with my niece, Carly.
Click here to see mores pics of all the pups as they grow up in their new homes.

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