What a joy it was to help Stella last week as her and Chief's puppies entered the world! Stella did a remarkable job birthing all 10 puppies! After a surprise birth outside, we quickly moved into our puppy room where Stella continued to birth each little bundle of joy.
Stella was a bit nervous the night before so we did suspect something was on the horizon. After a nearly sleepless night with copious amounts of turning, shifting, grunting, and bathroom breaks we thought for sure she was ready to go. She decided not to eat breakfast, which was further evidence that labor was eminent, however, there was a catch.....we had our homeschool co-op that day. Decisions!! In addition, one of our childcare workers called off so I really needed to take the kids to school that day. Our eldest daughter, Emily, was thankfully able to join her class via zoom call so our immediate problem was solved. Emily would stay home with Stella and monitor her while we travelled to school.
During the nearly thirty minute drive to school I couldn't help wonder if we made the right decision, but upon arriving at school, Emily assured me that Stella was fine, resting, and she had no signs of labor at the time. Of course I checked in with Emily throughout the day (technology is pretty convenient) and Stella remained relaxed and still showed no signs of delivering puppies.
On the way home, Emily sent a text asking when we would be home as Stella was starting to get a bit nervous and pant as she had been the night before. Thankfully, we were almost home and I didn't need to worry. About 15 minutes prior to this text, however, I had suggested that Stella be let outside so she could urinate (a frequent need for very pregnant dogs) and someone let her out **without** supervision.
After parking the van, while I was unloading it, one of our exuberant children ran up to me yelling "Stella is having her puppies!!!!" Of course I dropped everything and rushed into the house to find Stella along side her first little puppy not quite knowing what to do with him. She had him outside in our back yard and motherhood had not yet clicked in her head. We warmed him up and gave him back to her hoping he would latch and nurse. Thankfully after a few moments of nosing around he latched and the rest is history.
Everyday Stella becomes more attached to her little crew and wines when she is separated from them. Her milk has come in very nicely and the puppies are gaining weight like champs. Stella is hungry constantly as a result.