Meet the parents... On March 31, 2009 Pearlie whelped 4 healthy, vigorous puppies. Sired by Maximus, our handsome black boy, she had 3 girls and 1 boy. This is a repeat breeding from last year's Songbird litter that produced Lark, our youngest Elf. There is one black girl with white markings, one black/tan girl with white markings, one black boy with white markings and one black/tan parti girl. The theme for this litter is 'precious gems'...registered names will include some gem name...examples could be Elfin Jasper, or Elfin Opal. I had intended for their call names to be gem names but, the day before they were born I lost my significant other of 19 years. Richi was involved in every aspect of raising our puppies...a gourmet doggie chef, and great dad to our dog. In his honor, we've given the boy pup the call name of Little Richi. Free association brought us to Little Richard song titles so the girls are named Good, Golly and Miss Molly. These are temporary call names which are subject to change by their new parents.
NAKC Intl and HSDAA Jr CH Elfin Just In Time "Maximus"
AKC BISS & HSDAA CH Feliz Perla De Las Antillas
Week One...digging for diamonds! Pearlie's due date was Monday, March 30th...the 'diamond mine' (ie whelping box) had been set up and we were all ready for her to start finding gems. Monday afternoon, I had to take Richi to the hospital unexpectedly, leaving Pearlie home. She's such an amazing dog...she held off til Tues morning, even allowing me to get a few hours sleep before she went to work. Once she settled down, she dug deep and hit paydirt. The pups were born between 8:40 and 11AM
This is "Good", the first born girl
This is Golly, the 2nd born girl
Golly, take 2!
Little Richi, Rock on!
Miss Molly...the camera LOVES her.
Miss Molly...nose is blackening already!
Week Two...panning for pearls. The precious gems are doing great...growing fat and furry. Pearlie must be producing cream instead of milk these babies are so chubby. They are starting to grow a coat already...soft and silky with little neck ruffles in evidence. And, ta da...all eyes are open and peering at their world with the sweet innocence of the very young. Week two is an easy one as Pearlie does all the work and the puppies are still so well behaved...eat, sleep, that's pretty much it. The little gems have had their nails cut twice now and, while it's a bit more challenging to do without help, they have been very cooperative babies.
Pearlie is now splitting her night time between the whelping box and her usual place in the bedroom. After the other doggies are put to bed, the doors are left open so she can come and go as she pleases. Pearlie is such a wonderful mother...she has time to take care of her babies AND me.
Good...mellow and mild
Golly - saucy!
Little Richi - Mr. Laidback
Miss Molly - gonna be spoiled rotten
Week Three - Enjoying Emeralds... Week three is a fun time in the gemfield. The puppies' personalities are blossoming, eyes are open and focusing, curiosity is developing. They are playing and starting to toddle (or waddle, considering what fat little puppers they are) and have been introduced to toys! The superdog exercises are over and now we are beginning to socialize. Pearlie still does all the work this week...next week will be a different story. We're going to have to make some pup rearing adjustments without Big Richi here to care for the babies. I'm going to experiment with taking them to work with me next week. This may just be the most traveled, socialized litter we've ever had!
The whelping box is now a PLAYground.
Beautiful precious Gems!
Week 4...Bouncing Baby Beryls This week brings lots of changes! First, the little gems have been brought out of the 'mine' and into the sorting room. Yes, they have moved into the puppy pen in the kitchen where they will grow and learn about being dogs and companions. They are quite the attraction, especially when they have food! Yes, they have been started on canned food and are really enjoying it in a variety of ways...walking in it, wearing it, even swallowing it once in a while. They make little meaty footprints on the piddle pads that line the pen.
And, they got to go all the way to the 'surface' and see sunshine. They enjoyed the feel of grass under their feet and got to meet Elliott, one of the puppy-friendly cats, up close and personal.
Out of the nursery, on to kindergarten! Miss Molly is blending into the floor under her Mom, Pearlie.
The Great Outdoors!
Week Five- Gathering Garnets... One of the cool things about working with living creatures is that life just never gets boring. Even after 35 years of practicing veterinary medicine, something new pops up now and again. and keeps the profession interesting. After 17 years of breeding Havanese/Silks, these little gems have come up with something new. I cannot recall ever before having a puppy at 5 weeks who insists on going OUT to poo. The little gems raise a ruckus in the morning until I put them all in the little transport tote and take them outside...cold/hot, wet/dry...they don't care. They all fan out and poo happens. This morning it was raining and miserable and I tried to talk them into indoor facilities and got cooperation for the most part but Golly was going OUT by Golly! I gave in, took her out, she immediately went on a poop run, performed then came running back for a lift back in. What a puppy!
They are doing great at peeing on the piddle pads and in the litter pan. This week we added kibble to their menu. ProPlan Small Breed, soaked until it is soft through (they are just now starting to show K9 teeth, so are gumming their food.) Pearlie is backing off on the milk bar so they are eating more solids.
Today they had their first road trip. They sang ALL the way in...sigh. I have someone coming in to feed and play with them several days/week and the others, I'll take them to the hospital. I wanted the first few trips to be positive experiences so nothing 'bad' happened today...just nail trims, clipping bottoms of feet and butts and scissored away the hair from the inner corners below the eyes. They also had their pictures taken (see below!) No one got car sick, not even a drooler! They are a great little group of gems...they play so cutely, are very responsive to people, and wag their little tails SO fast they blur!
We're having visitors just about every weekend so they'll get lots of socialization...stay tuned!
Golly plays with her older sister, Lark!
Precious Gems at Five Weeks!
Week Six - Racing Rubies... If you liken raising puppies to tumbling gems, these little rough stones are really turning into polished jewels. They've been introduced to the 'big' dogs and get to do a little supervised play with the older dogs. Lark is particularly enchanted with her little sisters and brother. She only needs to be reminded to be 'gentle' about 20 times/minute. This week the babies have been introduced to the front yard. This is a great place for puppies to encounter new and different surfaces, textures and obstacles. The front porch was designed with puppies in mind. Like the back deck, it has closed steps with a 6" rise, easier for puppies to navigate and they are close to running up and down the steps. The landing is puppy safe, no place they can fall through so they are free to lounge in the shade up there. Under the steps is gravel and a coolaroo bed along with a puppy teeter totter to play on.
Although they continue to prefer to potty outside, they are regularly using the piddle pad for peeing, the litter pan is used for poos if they can't convince me to get them outside and they have not yet started pad shredding (hoping they skip that step in puppy development) but, they finally proved they ARE puppies and not space monkeys...there have been a few little piddle spots on the floor...I was beginning to wonder about them...whew!
Saturday they will get their first bath...puppies have usually been bathed by now at least once but these precious gems are a clean bunch! Friends are coming over to visit but they will be pressed into service...grin. Carol Ann's been coming over during the day to play with them and take them outside and feed them. Can't believe how fast the time is going! Enjoy the Gems...
Golly and Lark at play!
Week Seven - Outdoorsy Opals... To make up for the previous 6 a 'day late' updates, this week we bring you week 7 two days early! Until today the babies have had lots of outdoor playtime as the weather has been good. This morning it was raining but the puppies were doing their usual "It's 6AM, time to go out!" song and dance so, indulgent granny that I am, I took them outside. They got wet. It was a warm wet so no harm done and a rainbath is good for your hair, ya know! Yesterday Good and Golly had a new and interesting experience called 'bathtime'! They did very well, only mild protesting during the drying part. This morning Miss Molly got her first bath and she also was a little angel. The pictures of the girls that follow show how fluffy and soft a freshly bathed Silk pup looks. Little Richi said, "I'm a guy...don't need no stinkin' baffer!" I'm giving him a few hours to feel manly with this decision then he'll get his first bath.
We've had lots of visitors...Auntie Carol Ann comes three days/week for lunch and playtime. Tuesday they get to go to work with granny...funtime! Golly's folks live in Richmond so they come every week! Cathy and Les came yesterday (they have Pippin and Pala's pup, Lolly) and Cathy helped me dry pups while Les gave the big dogs lots of love.
I should probably mention that the Gems are growing up liberal Democrats...NPR all the way. Today they listened to a Prairie Home Companion and now Thistle and Shamrock is on. I wish I had my video camera on...you just have not seen cute til you see a Silk Pup doing the Irish jig!
Gems indeed...cuter every week!
Week Eight - Adorable Amber... 5/26/2009 Big doings this week in the jewelry shop! Yesterday the little Gems had their PAT (Puppy Aptitude Test.) Scores were as expected...typical little Silks with moderate temperaments, scoring mostly 3 and 4. The PAT is an aid in determining personality proclivities which help us decide what home will be best suited to each puppy's temperament. After 17 years of evaluating puppies I usually have a good idea about how they will do beforehand and, with these pups, no surprises. We did note that Little Richi and Miss Molly (Tanni) are 'thinkers'...they reacted to the exercises as I expected but only after a few moments of 'consideration' as they assessed the situation before acting. Over the weekend, Good discovered that she could fit right through the fence and we're having to consider a name change from "Good" to "Oh my Goodness, she's Houdini!" Having her slip through from the front yard to the backyard is not a big deal but we cannot take the chance that she could slip out of the front yard to the great unfenced world outside the yard soooooooooo...today, despite the thousands of dollars of quality fencing around the house, I jerry-rigged a secure yard using 4 ex-pens to line a containable area to keep the puppies safe. Good was NOT amused...she made a beeline for the fence only to be thwarted by the expen liner...she raced back and forth to no avail...opposable thumbs win again!
Today was a road trip to Cardinal Animal Hospital for BAER testing and soaped evaluations! Today was Silk Dog central at Cardinal as 2 other litters of Silks came for testing and 4 others came for health certificates and exams. Love it when there are wall to wall Silk Dogs at the office! All puppies passed their BAER (hearing) tests and all the Gems survived the indignities of being bathed and posing for nude photos! Unlike the last two road trips, the Gems traveled quietly without fussing! Good little puppies...no car sickness, either! Next week it's vaccination and microchipping...oh joy!
Good, looking for an opening!
Precious Gems Inside and Out
Week Nine... Shining Star Sapphires We are rapidly closing in on graduation day as the little gemstones have been polished and developing beautiful facets. Time has just flown by and soon the babies will be going to their new homes having been given the best start that the elves and I and all our friends and visitors can provide. Monday the babies had their first vaccinations and got their microchips implanted with a minimum of hollering and quick forgiveness.
Remember when these perfect puppies did not shred piddle pads? History! Ok, they still don't shred them but they do remove them from the holder so they JUST lost piddle pad privileges and now only have the Purina Second Nature Litter pan which they have been using very well. They are very clean little jewels! This weekend, Tanni (was Miss Molly) and Golly will be leaving. Tanni's going to NJ and Golly is staying in Richmond so I'll get to watch her grow up! Little Richi is going to CT next weekend. Good is hanging out here for a couple of weeks so she can meet new friends who are coming to Richmond for the Blue Ridge Silk Lovers' Classic Dog Show. This will be a LOT of fun! Information can be found at www.havanasilkdog.org if anyone is interested in coming to meet bunches of gorgeous Silk Dogs and their friendly families.
Do you know them by now? From top left, clockwise, Golly, Good, Tanni, Little Richi!
Good "Karma" - Elfin Black Pearl
Elfin Black Pearl... Well, the little gems are now adorning the homes of their new owners and are getting rave reviews. Good, now Good Karma (it was getting weird saying Good Good so much cause she is really good!) is staying in Elfinland. The day her brother left, she came out of the puppy pen and has been running with the 'big' dogs ever since. She is incredible at using the potty parks and her litter pan AND has learned the dog door so she also goes out to potty in the grass. She's moved into the bedroom at night and sleeps through without a peep. She goes to the office with me daily and is Lark's new BFF.
These babies got me through a difficult time and convinced me that I can, indeed, continue to raise an occasional litter of little Silks. Pala (Pearlie's sister) is expecting pups in mid-July so look for a new puppy page then! I hope you have enjoyed watching the Gems get polished!