Day 43

All is well here at Plumpie Central in western Montana as we head into the long holiday weekend. We revised Thanksgiving due to sheer exhaustion and the need to slow things down for a few days, and so appreciate the graciousness at which my guests accepted my last minute un-invitation.

One purpose of this Blog right now is to convey the realities associated with raising a litter well. The puppies need to be socialized so we need -- and want -- visitors, but visitors -- no matter how loved -- add a layer of stress to a time of not enough sleep, no routine, no normal anything. And with Dear Husband gone all week to the big reunion??! Well, sometimes you just have to call, "uncle" and wave the white flag of surrender -- none of us are Superperson (darn it).

So Galen (aka Dear Son) will be coming over later since his classes at the university are done for the week, and he will provide much needed support/assistance, and everything will be just fine again -- or at least that tenuous balance we have been managing to maintain will be restored. And in a couple of days we will again throw open the doors of Plumpie Central and welcome any/all who want to make the trip to Stevensville, Montana to visit.

The plumpies are simply awesome. They entertain themselves nicely, love to visit and interact, and are just easy-going as could be -- I love them all. But I will have to pick one and bid farewell to the rest, and already that weighs on me -- grief and guilt are more realities of raising a litter of puppies (well).

I know already that I will not keep a boy -- I like my girls, and do not want to deal with all that an intact male entails. I did it with sweet Mac for almost a  year, and we did just fine -- four intact girls with an intact male (and no kennel involved) and not even a close call -- it can be done, and I no longer can believe excuses about so-called "accidents" (well, unless your vet tells you that the boy is too young to breed and turns out he isn't -- sigh...).

So while I know that I am responsible and smart enough not to have issues with an intact boy and intact girls, it just isn't something I want to deal with at this point -- that means a girl will be staying here. Usually by now I have ruled some out based on structural things I have seen -- that isn't happening with this litter because they are consistently nice puppies.

So while I have confirmed homes for all the plumpies, I have not yet decided exactly who is going where. And another hard reality of breeding? Disappointing people who are deserving of a plumpie because there are just not enough plumpies to go around -- ouch -- that is super hard on my heart because I know how I would feel (insert very, very sad and apologetic face). But all I can do is apologize and feel badly -- but move forward -- and that is what we are doing.

I cannot express in words how fun and cute and interesting puppies are -- seriously. Play time is both entertaining and educational, as I watch puppies do things that make me just think and make me laugh. Once again, the outlet proves fascinating...

As a brain develops, it becomes increasingly able to notice and assimilate new information and experiences. This is why you will see a puppy startle at something that has been part of her environment for a while -- in her gradually opening world, it *is* new. Our job is to help a puppy experience new things in ways that develop confidence, and this means in baby steps -- not flooding a puppy into a state of anxiety with all kinds of startling new things at once. For a puppy, every day is like the first day of high school -- exciting and new but also sometimes a little intimidating.

Zoey and a little gathering of plumpies -- just like high school -- they just can't listen to the lesson and have to bite at each other...

Smack down!

Poor, poor Bob -- here he is posing (!) with his siblings, Barcelona and Z...

Empty water bottles -- our new favorite toy and the first one that plumpies do not want to share with each other...

A wild pile of plumpies...

Who knew bungee cords were such fun chew toys?! This is Z and Pippi...

A fence fight -- London on one side and Squeaker and Heidi on the other...

The very handsome Z...

Pippi the Pipster...

Taking puppies away from siblings at this age is really dumb -- this is when they start to really learn the social skills they need -- like bite inhibition (or in this case, lack thereof)...

Squeaker -- that is his mom's expression for sure!

And there are the morning pictures!! On today's agenda -- when Galen gets here -- is a walk! With video! Have a great day -- and if traveling, please be safe!

10:45 a.m.

Sydney and I took the plumpies into the yard for a romp -- and some pictures...

A self-stacking plumpie...


Austin fell in the hole that Sydney had dug in preparation for whelping -- enlarge to see what he is doing...

Sydney gave the plumpies a lesson in pruning...

Just Sydney...

Heidi has a beautiful head and expression -- and cute beauty mark :)

More later!

3:30 p.m.

Okay -- this video is SERIOUSLY cute so brace yourself -- and then let me know what you think!


by Lisa K on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 09:39

Glad you pulled back a bit M-A! It is not good for one to spontaneously combust! This posting pulled at my heartstrings a bit, so I can only imagine what you are going through! Please take some time for you this Thanksgiving!! I love how 'paw-y' they are! The pix of Bob w/the smack down was pretty funny! Although probably not for Bob! ;-)

by cindy Heintzberger on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 09:55

I fully agree with Lisa - it is time for M/A to take a rest - just wish we were there to cook Thanksgiving dinner for her!!!
This post also weighed heavily on me - I cannot imagine trying to decide where to place all of these adorable plumpies, they all get cuter EVERY day and I see new things in them - I am actually relieved that the decision is not mine...
Is anyone else going to help in the critiquing??
Rest and be cozy and don't worry - you have a great track record and things have always worked out in the past:)

by Sharon G on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 10:17

Wishing you & family a wonderful holiday & some much needed rest. I don't know how you do it, but you are my hero! I'm amazed at how the plumpie's faces have matured; that differences are very apparent even at this young age. We blog readers are so fortunate to be able to learn from you & benefit from your wisdom. Just a reminder: I know the plumpies will not be homeless, but Jemie & I would welcome a little boy plumpie should one of your prospective homes fall through!

by Lisa K on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 10:44

Holy cow! Took my breath away they are so beautiful! Sigh....

by Toby on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 11:35

You are doing such a tremendous job with the plumpies! What an amazing undertaking it all is, and I think it does take a superperson to do what you are doing, and we will all benefit from it, but not at the risk of burn-out or you getting sick!
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

by Aunt Heidi on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 11:40

Just like I taught you!!!!

by Alex's Dad on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 12:07 of the utmost importance to us. So here's what's going to happen.

We are setting a place for you at the Thanksgiving table, M-A. We'll have plenty non-dead animal treats for you and a nice supply of your favorite java. We're not that far, the weather looks to be tolerable and you need a break. Just in case you need to be reminded...everyone knows that plumpies should never be left alone so you'll have to bring them and the Sydmeister with you.

There. M-A's sanity (and the scones) easily saved. Problem solved. :)

by Mary-Ann Bowman on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 12:17

Yes, because traveling eight hours with seven plumpies would be SO easy and stress-free!!!!

by Alex's Dad on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 12:28

...wouldn't be stressful for us one bit, and we get to play with plumpies (again)!

by Aunt Heidi on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 13:05

As long as she is back on Friday so that I can come give her a break to go for a hike. (by that I mean I kick her out of the house and then play with the plumpies all by myself!!!)

by Toby on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 13:47

....I should be able to be there by Sunday, if that's any help :)

by Elizabethanne on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 16:31

I only got as far as Idaho Falls before I stopped for gas and decided to check the blog. I'm back home in SLC now and have unpacked the car. The tofurkey, the lasagna, the pies,and cheesecake, the salad makings, and breakfast pastries. Wish I'd heard about the un-invitation a little sooner. Dear husband and poodles are delighted by my early return.

Oh, well! At least it wasn't snowing!

by Mary-Ann Bowman on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 16:38

Such clever friends I have...
P.S. Send the food!

by Elizabethaner on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 16:43

I thought in your current sleep-deprived state that maybe, for just a second, you would fall for it. What gave me away? The unrealistic idea of me actually cooking? Or knowing that I'd never leave Alex while she is not 100%? Or maybe both!

by Lisa K on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 16:54

Around minute one Squeaker is hilarious! And you are right, the way they regard stuff, just looking at it and trying to figure it out is so cute. I do that often with my co-workers but am 100% sure I do NOT look nearly as cute! And the crunching sound? Love it! Luv their, um, attention span! Did Pippi run into that metal thingy at minute four? I love Z's quiet beauty, he certainly has an air about him, doesn't he? I also note that the 'loud' playing begins very young! It sounds so ridiculous when berners play, like there is a big ol fight happening, but that is just them being them. Squeaker was hilarious around minute 2:15 when he couldn't reach the twig. I slight whine and then, oh look, a sibling to pounce on! I could watch them all day! Thanks M-A! Now go get some rest!!

by Erin on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 16:55

Ok, those are the cutest fuzzy butts!! And their little white-tipped tails wagging almost brought me to my knees!! They are all such beautiful puppies...I'm really curious about who will end up staying with you...and who will live with Alex...and who will live an hour away from us w/Cindy :)). Mary-Anne, I hope you have a restorative and cozy weekend - take care.

by cindy Heintzberger on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 17:13

The videos just get cuter every time!!! These puppies have tons of coat!!! Have I forgotten how fluffy puppies are or do these plumpies just have beautiful, thick, wavey coats?? They all have so much personality and appear very brave and adventurous!

Erin - you are welcome here anytime to visit and we moved to a different house so you don't even have to worry about the fountain!!! If you hear which plumpie is coming here please let me know ;) ;)

by Terri Zimmerman on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 19:20

Z looks so much like Zed....ouch my heart. I hate to see you teaching them to garden so young and it makes me wonder why Zed likes to garden.........hmmmm.

by Mary-Ann Bowman on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 19:36

I do not charge extra for plumpies who can garden -- it is a rare talent but free with every plumpie ;)

by Terri Zimmerman on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 19:30

I have watched this 10 plus times today....Heidi was so funny...she had a look on her face that says bring it on to her sisters. Squeaker is very bright, he really seems to observe things closely. Austin is just so cute and fun. Pippi is smart too. Barcelona is just a stunner as is Z. He seems mellow...she seems not as mellow. And London seems sweet but more than capable of taking care of herself. They are so cute....

by Toby on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 20:32

He is so stinking cute! And the way he studies things, too cute when the branch bounced up and he sat and looked up at it! Love him! Looks like their first solid food is sticks :)

by Jennifer Z on Thu, 11/24/2011 - 13:18

While I admit I love my boys, and am always partial to them, these girls are just darling. I am admitting publicly that Barcelona is my favorite. Although I could make a case for each of them...Z looks very much like my beloved Ti, who we lost a year ago. I agree-gorgeous coats!

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