Dogs in the Hood and Other Goings On

As I sit down to write this post today, Sunday afternoon, a sense of calm finally pervades our home. Barb and I have just weathered the “perfect storm” in dog adventures. Riley, Emma, and Lucy are still in heat but their mating fevers have peaked. Rocky has recovered nicely from his neutering operation performed last Monday. Riley had two artificial inseminations in the middle of the week that went well. Mulder, the lion sized champion stud has been returned home to the Cape after spending five days with us. The amount of energy expended keeping everyone separate, fed, happy, and exercised was enormous. Both of us now realize that our house is not set up to handle this much dog. As my cousin Ron remarked to me, “we were seriously outnumbered”. Without formal kennels, your home takes a beating. Previously, all our girl’s heats came farther apart, and we never had a puppy, never mind a male in our home at the same time. Our mentor, Berna Welch, expressed some of the same sentiments having lived through three simultaneous litters last year resulting in 35 puppies. She is now puppied out emotionally. Our sense of calm however, arrived just today. As I look back on the week, we were more frazzled than anything else…

Sunday we went to the Cape and picked up Mulder. What a large happy go lucky golden. With all the estrogen floating in the air in our home, he never really sat still for me to get a good profile shot so these two photos were the best I could do.

Rocky did well with his neutering operation on Monday. Unfortunately he had to wear an e-collar for most of the week to keep him from licking his stitches. Never having worn a hood before, he was constantly banging into the other dogs as well as the furniture. The only easy time of it was when I took him out for a solo walk.

Riley had a “natural” artificial insemination on Tuesday and then a surgical insemination on Thursday. She then had to wear a hood for three days so that she would leave her incision alone.

Our walks this week were as complicated as the football plays at the Superbowl. The combinations were 1-1-5 to 1-1-3-2, to 1-5. This morning we saw a coyote about three hundred yards away from us at the High School Fields. It looked very well fed and about the size of one of our dogs. Thankfully it moved off before our girls got too much of a scent. Otherwise I could have been pulled into yet a new crisis.

From the untracked snow, I could see there had been no other dog walkers out to appreciate winter’s charms. Riley, by herself, still had her natural smile on..

With all the mess of the three heats, the dogs going in and out, and keeping the boys separated from the girls, we sometimes lost track of the puppy. Chewing the kitchen footstool was not too bad, but when Barb started putting ducktape on our rather new family room table, I knew we had lost the battle.

But here we are, Sunday afternoon, and all is peaceful. Rocky has his spot on Barb’s chair. The girls are gathered together on the kitchen floor, and I am writing this blog. Barb had a well deserved “girls weekend away” and so it is just the dogs and me.

Looking forward, we wait for about four weeks to see if Riley has conceived. Since there are no easy doggie pregnancy tests, I will do an ultrasound to look for puppy sacs. In the meantime, the heats have to finish, and Rocky has to recover fully before he can resume his play with the other girls. And Lucy still needs her hip Xrays next month to get her motherhood clearance. So lots of adventure to come, but hopefully in smaller, swallowable doses…