Refrigerator Stories and Other Doings

Between the food and drink supplies, and the medicinal equipment, it feels like we are running a field hospital for golden retrievers. If you were staying in our home overnight, you would have to be very careful about getting up in the middle of the night for milk and cookies. Without the light on, you might have a very unique experience when you tried to make that quiet trip to the refrigerator looking for a light snack.

Of course you wouldn’t be alone, the pack would be out of our bedroom and accompanying you wherever you were headed. But it would not be much of an exaggeration to say that the dog supplies almost outnumber our food supplies in the fridges. In the left photo above, we have Barb’s special recipe of rice and ground chicken for Riley’s uneven appetite. Then we have the Lactaid, which we are giving to Riley in her food as a source of extra calcium. That is done to prevent the onset of postpartum toxemia. Next to that we have Trader Joe’s supply of goat milk. Easier to digest than cow’s milk, it is needed to replace Riley’s breast milk. In the right hand photo, we have more goat’s milk sitting below my two little kegs of homemade Abby’s Golden Ale. I can promise you I for one will not make a mistake choosing the right container if I need a sip of something cold after a late feeding.

We have switched places in our sleeping arrangements. Barb now sleeps downstairs with the pups and does the late night (early morning feeding) and I stay in our bedroom with the big dogs. Riley does better sleeping next to me, and gets the rest she needs to get well.

This bottle feeding schedule every three to four hours is grueling. We have put aside our very full lives for these next few weeks, and do mostly dog duty chores. Barb’s sister and her husband stopped by for a visit from their home in Massachusetts this afternoon. They enjoyed trying their hand at feeding, and we finished the puppies late afternoon feeding a little quicker than usual.

We tried to have the pups sup from a bowl last night. It didn’t go well, and the pups ended up with more on them and the rug than in their mouths. So we are back to bottle feeding for a while longer.

It is very comical to see their bellies all swollen after a few ounces of milk…

The pups are very content though, and are starting to hear better and wobble along on their developing leg muscles.

We would expect in another week or two, they will start to resemble the “classic golden retriever puppy” that everyone is familiar with.

We sorely wish we could say that our mom Riley was improving. She still has spiking temps and her breast now looks like something out of a flesh eating zombie movie. She is on two antibiotics, soaks, and topical medication. She is back to the vet tomorrow.   She does not appear to be in pain, and for that we are thankful.

Solo above has made herself Riley’s nurse, and tries to clean her sister’s wound. Not a good idea and another task to keep them apart. Riley has to wear a hood now most of the day so she won’t lick herself either.

That takes care of the two most pressing issues that consume our thoughts. Even with both of our extensive medical backgrounds, this latest setback with Riley is anxiety provoking. I am blessed to have Barbara be such a good mother hen to all our animals. But we got much more than we bargained for with this whole litter experience. There is no question but that Riley will be spayed after she recovers. We will not risk her health again.

Now on to the last two groups of dogs that we must give time and energy to. They still need to be run, and played with, and kept happy if possible. Of course we are talking about Rocky and his never ending energy. Lucy seems to have become his new sidekick and they play together constantly.

You can see by the size of their teeth that I am very careful walking them in a pack. They can do serious damage if they get riled up enough. Rocky is now as big as everyone else except for Riley. He still had way too much energy after our run, so I got out the little pool, and they played while I tried to get some yard chores accomplished.

The rest of our pack needs their personal attention too. Fortunately, it can be spent in more quieter pursuits like watching me garden or sitting with me on the front porch for a rest.

We do have to count the blessings of this beautiful day that added so much to our outdoor experiences. Until Riley’s issues have improved we will not be having visitors other than immediate family. The pups will be three weeks old tomorrow and we still have five weeks to share their cuddly nature with friends and clients. We have scratched another family off the waiting list from a year prior. We have not had much time to contact anyone else, but it will happen when this litter raising business returns to a more normal course.


One Comment on “Refrigerator Stories and Other Doings”

  1. Mare Says:

    Hi Dr. Bourque,

    While I was heartbroken to hear your news of not breeding Goldens any longer (I thought maybe someday I would have one of your puppies), I would give ANYTHING to bottle feed those little ones!!!

    Mare

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