As I mentioned in my apology for being gone blog, sleep deprivation for the breeder caretaker is a side effect of puppy whelping. I am very lucky that Dave is a 50/50 partner in the whole puppy raising / breeder caretaker adventure. For this litter he is on week one duty.
Week one is not for the faint of heart.
Our “job title” is breeder caretaker. That means that our job is 90% taking care of the mama, and 10% of the puppies for the first few weeks. Just like humans some dogs take to being a mama more naturally/faster than others. Fortunately for us Sabina is large and in charge and there isn’t much we have to do for the pups at first.
Despite the fact that we use a whelping box with a rail that keeps her from rolling squashing a pup, we still like to be at home with the pups until everyone is in the one pound club. During the day whoever is on week one usually just hangs out in the puppy room reading, messing around on the computer, or watching the pups.
Watching the pups is pretty much like watching a beautiful aquarium. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone in for just a peek and then end up sitting there for an hour. Despite the fact that they can’t see or hear, they have the natural ability and drive to seek out food and then sleep. Within the first day they start motoring around seeking out mama for food and warmth – and certainly in that order. IT is amazing to watch them scoot around. Sometimes they loose their way, get lost in mom’s arm pit, or evening wiggle themselves under the whelp box padding – that when is our 10% kicks in. That and changing the bedding.
The hardest part of week one is the overnights. It is a combination of the sleeping on an air mattress, complaining puppies and sometimes a complaining mama, and the unbearable heat. Dave and I like our bedroom to be as close to meat locker temperatures as possible – him because he is always hot, and me because I like lots of covers. The bottom line is that the only sleep that is afforded during the first week is restless sleep. The only thing worse than one night of bad sleep is a whole week of it.
The person not on week one home duty is responsible for meals, errands, and general house work stuff. Which is okay to because you have been missing them all day. While the “off” duty partner is making dinner the “on” duty person usually makes a break for the shower and then gratefully grabs what ever the off duty person brought home for dinner. The first few days the on duty person is stoic and will sit up and watch TV with you, but by day three they shower, eat, and then nap until you come to bed and then they move to the puppy room.
In the days the pups are approaching the one pound mark the on duty person starts daydreaming about moving back into the “big bed” – code word for our bedroom. Then the magical day comes that everyone is over a pound and you move back into the “big” bed and employ the baby monitor. At that point the sleep is not all that much better in the restful category, but it is certainly more comfortable.
Yes, I know we could have gotten a roll-away or something. It had been my plan to get something.
Sometimes crazy things happen – best laid plans and all. Sometimes great things happen – like this picture: