Sunday, September 22, 2013

Six Weeks as Puppy Parents {Ranger's Birth Story}

We’ve been puppy parents for 6 (almost 7) weeks now! It’s been quite the ride really. We've lost some sleep, given our free time to taking care of him, and researched (a lot) on how to raise him well.

First of all, let’s rewind back to get the whole story. Nick and I both grew up with dogs and we loved them. I’ve told Nick for a while that I wanted a dog when the time was right, knowing it’s harder to have them living in apartments. This spring, once we knew we’d be moving back to Texas, I told Nick we should get a dog when we get into our new place. I grinned and batted my eyes to help convince him. 

As you may know, I moved to Texas a few weeks before Nick and the week I got here, Indy went into heat. Since Indy isn’t spayed (my mom had just gotten her in April and hadn’t gotten to that quite yet) and Boo isn’t neutered, you can guess what happened next, ha! Indy is older though and had some unsuccessful deliveries in the past (stillborn and miscarriage) the previous owner told my mom, so we thought she really wouldn’t get pregnant or be able to carry a pup.

Boo and Indy wearing diapers during her heat.  
Within the first two weeks after her heat, Indy had a few “episodes” to not go into too much detail here, but seemed to us there were a few miscarriages. That confirmed our idea that she probably just couldn’t carry a pup at her age. Over the next month and a half, we had our suspicions. She was increasingly careful with her activities and if you touched the bottom of her belly, she would suck her belly up into her ribcage. Mid-July, I felt movement in her belly. Was this an upset tummy? It seemed more than that. Plus, it seemed that she was gaining weight. I compared photos (like the two below) to see if we could tell a difference. The last few weeks of her pregnancy, you could really tell there was puppy movement in there (I took videos posted here and here to Instagram to capture it), so we knew then that our suspicions were confirmed.

Now, the worrisome part was hoping and praying she could have a successful delivery. We watched delivery videos and learned what we would need to do in case she or the pups needed our help. Her belly grew bigger and she was increasingly uncomfortable. At this point, we all were making guesses of her due date, how many pups there would be, and how many boys and girls she'd have. 

Once Ranger came out, we were all in awe. What an amazing thing to witness, and to see Indy do all of the things mamas should do with their new pup, like cut the umbilical cord, “take care” of the placenta, and get him all cleaned up. Whew! We knew that pup seemed to be good! We had learned it could be a few minutes or a few hours until the next puppy comes, so we waited, and there wasn't any more action going on. Indy and Ranger went to the vet to be sure all of the puppies were out. 

Sure thing! Ranger was the only pup in her litter (aside from a few that we believe passed very early on). That week, as we watched this amazing little guy grow and develop, I told Nick I thought God gave us our puppy. I had hoped for so long we could have one when we moved to Texas, and how neat Indy got pregnant with Ranger the week I arrived here. And she only had one puppy. One puppy as a gift to Nick and I to have a dog of our own to develop and watch grow. And what a lesson in parenting we've had! 

Here's a look his first 6 weeks in pictures:

Just hours after he was born (August 6, 2013)

1 week old

 2 weeks old (Nick was the bottle master)

3 weeks old

Another at 3 weeks old

4 weeks old

 Another at 4 weeks old

5 weeks old

Another at 5 weeks old with his favorite toy

6 weeks old

Another at 6 weeks old. Seeing him sit like a big boy is so cute! 

These first six weeks have involved bottle feeding him many times a day since we realized Indy wasn’t producing enough milk for him, blending his puppy food as he started to eat more, graduating to puppy formula soaked puppy food, and now, he’s a much more independent little pup eating regular puppy food! He started at a teeny tiny 3.5 ounces and was 3.3 pounds (51 ounces) at his first (second actually, counting the day he was born) vet visit this week. We got his first shots, got him de-wormed, and started his heart worm medicine. We've got him on a good routine and he's doing well so far with potty training outside. The journey is just beginning, but God is already teaching us so much through this "puppy parenting" process. We love our little Ranger and are excited to be part of his life and watch him grow.

Today's Pinspiration:
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