With a litter of puppies that has all been tube-fed, and where several are still getting supplemented, is that once they’re strong enough to move around, when you go in the box they all go NUTS.
They do not think you are an innocent bystander, the way most litters do. No, they go “THE OTHER MILK THING! I SMELL HER DELICIOUSNESS! RUN! RUN FOR THE MILK THING!” and before you know it you’ve got a baby in your pants leg and another baby behind you and two babies trying to make a sprint for your elbow.
It makes tubing and weighing quite an adventure.
We are at 72 hours post-birth and I can finally write something humorous, because they are growing! The bigs are up around half an ounce (but they didn’t lose as much to begin with) and the littles are up almost a full ounce over yesterday. So that means everyone is at least a touch over birth weight. Bellies are finally full, noses are being used for something besides endlessly searching for milk, and they’re sleeping in that wonderful round pile of satisfied babies instead of mewling and complaining and only dozing when they have no choice. We’re not completely out of the woods – talk to me when everybody has doubled their weight and I’ll sound a lot more relaxed – but it’s a huge, huge step in the right direction.
Daisy Poppy is eating MUCH better, and still completely refusing to drink. I ran the last 300 ml of sub-q fluids into her yesterday and then said “OK, baby, you want to do this the hard way, I can do this the hard way.” So when the babies got tubed, she got syringe-watered, two teaspoons at a time, into her cheek pouch to make her swallow. Minutes on end to get in six or eight ounces.
Over 24 hours I got better and better at syringing her and she got better at accepting it, and the two of us made it so much a part of the routine that I kept a towel on the edge of the box as a bib for her and could toss a few into her mouth between each weight check or belly rub. And her milk responded, getting more copious and more satisfying to the babies.
Tonight I realized that I had created a monster. I walked her in the yard, watched her pee and was satisfied that she was hydrated, and brought her in. Presented her with a lovely fresh bowl of watered-down homemade formula (which is so familiar and irresistible that every bitch who has ever whelped in this house smells it and comes running to whine at the baby gate) and said “Come on, baby girl, just drink for once!” She stared at me, hopped over the edge into the puppy box, and LOOKED AT THE SYRINGE. I blinked at her and picked up the syringe, and then she watched me fill it. She stared intently at me, reached her head forward, and, still staring at my eyes, licked the end of the syringe.
That nutball drank ten ounces off the end of the syringe, waiting for me to fill it each time and then carefully licking it off the end. Would not even CONSIDER drinking from the bowl.
Lord preserve me from smart, complicated dogs.