Kes is due one week tomorrow. Where did the time go? It seemed like forever, and suddenly we’re in the final stretch. And of course I’m nowhere near ready.
As you can see, there is no doubt now about Kes’s condition. She is definitely pregnant, and getting fatter by the day. This photo was taken two days ago, and she’s visibly fatter today!
Kes actually started showing quite a while ago, so may be having a large litter. The number is anyone’s guess, but Hannah didn’t start showing until much later, and she had 5 puppies. So perhaps Kes will have 6+. That would be exciting! Although also a lot of work.
To prepare I’ve pulled out my whelping pen, which I will scrub down and set up this weekend. I’ve been struggling with indecision about where to set it up, but I think I have finally decided on my office. Hannah whelped her litter in the bedroom, but that’s also where she normally sleeps. Kes doesn’t join me there at night. Rather, she chooses to sleep in the armchair in my office.
Kes has always lived on the fringe of the pack, never quite fitting in. I think she’d be quite uncomfortable whelping where the other dogs want to sleep. Hannah, Ross, Holly, and sometimes now Desirée all choose to sleep in the bedroom with me. I’d have to displace the whole pack of them for several weeks if pups were born in there. And I would be constantly worrying about dogs trying to force the door to get to their favourite sleeping spots as a result.
My office is also a nice, big, bright, and cheerful room. I can put a mattress on the floor for me to sleep on for the first few days. And I can be by the pups while I work. Later I’ll move everyone downstairs, probably into the kitchen.
I’m also about to start taking Kes’s temperature 2-3 times a day. Right now it’s just to get a baseline around what is normal, but as we get closer to the date I’ll be watching for the drop in temperature that signals 24 hours until puppies. A very handy piece of knowledge that I don’t want to miss! I didn’t do this with Hannah and, as a result, didn’t sleep for two consecutive nights thinking she was going to pop at any second.
To record the temperature I have set up a chart, along with a general info sheet where I can make notes on Kes’s pregnancy and mothering. I have also designed a puppy info sheet so that I can track the progress of each puppy. This sheet will include notes on such things as biotinus time, weight at birth and daily for the first three weeks (if I am able!), markings, key developmental markers such as eyes opening, first bark, first time they climb out of the whelping pen and so on. Plus any training I do with them, and general notes on their personality and so on.
Really, other than gathering a few supplies – oral calcium, my homeopathic birthing kit, my basic first aid supplies, towels, lots of groceries so I won’t have to leave for a few days, and maybe a bottle or two of win – and setting up the whelping area, there’s not really much for me to do but hurry up and wait.
My feeling of being unprepared is mostly in my head. Or maybe it stems from the knowledge that once puppies are here, I wont be doing much else for the next three months! There’s still so much I’d like to get organized in terms of my life in general (taxes anyone?) to free up my time so that I can devote it to puppies. But I guess I’ll just make do with wherever things are at when the time comes. Eight days and counting!