30 November 2010

{29nov2010: We Are Family...}

Get up everybody and sing!
A couple weekends ago we had a mini family reunion.  It was nothing like the first birthday family reunion, but a reunion nonetheless.
One of Darwin's sister's, Bella, owner contacted me and said they were planning to go to Marymoor the next Sunday and to see if we were going to be there and wanted to meet up.  I quickly emailed Kristie, Boo's mom, to see if she wanted to meet up too.
Darwin was anxious to get to the park that morning (she seems to know when it's Sunday, and that it's her day to go see her friends at the park) so we headed out early.  When we got there she quickly made a new friend with a cute Newfie.

After a few rounds of chase and bitey face we headed off to find people.  In no time we found Boo Radley and his fish (which held up well in a game of tug).

Of course Darwin couldn't stop till she had possession of the fish.

We met up with some of the other Danes while we waited for Bella to arrive.

And Boo had a great time playing with Sebastian the white Dane in the picture above.
Soon Bella showed up and we had a mini reunion!
{You look like Darwin, but you're not Darwin}
{No silly, I'm your other sister Bella!}

Bella and Darwin look almost identical, they both have Atlas' small ears, but Bella has Misty's eyes.  Bella also is now sporting a shorter tail as she got an infection in it and it was making her sick, so they had to amputate a little more than half of it.

It was nice to see some of the family back together and hopefully we can plan another full reunion down the line.

27 November 2010

{26nov2010: Flashback Friday}

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!  
More cute puppy pictures... a lot of firsts for Darwin at three months.
Nothing like the love between a brother and sister.

I got in trouble from our friend, Aileen, on this one.  I was eating ribs, and I thought, dog + bone = happy dog.  So I gave Darwin her first bone to gnaw on.  I now know that cooked rib bones are not safe as they can splinter.  Oops.  (She never gnawed a piece off, just to point that out!)

Darwin modelling her wonky ear phase at her first official play date at her brother Boo's house.
Her first road trip to the Oregon coast!
Our first visit to Marymoor and meeting the Great Dane group.

We hope you enjoyed another edition of Flashback Friday!

23 November 2010

{22nov2010: Q&A}

There were a few questions after our post on ourfostering story and instead of answering them individually I thought I'd answer them all here.
Two Pitties in the City asked two questions: 
"This might be a dumb question...since Great Danes are larger, does this give them more room to house larger litters?"
I'm no expert on this, but I don't think it matters on the size of the dog as to how many are in the litter.  Our friend who foster's kittens told us that with cats, the litter size and mix depends on how many times (and with whom) the mother mates.  A litter of kittens will sometimes have a mixed bag of colors if the mom cat mates with say, five different males there could be 8 kittens with five different dads.  Since Tom and his wife weren't familiar with dog breeding and they didn't know right away Misty was in heat, Atlas and Misty were allowed to "get it on" multiple times resulting in a larger litter.  If say they only let them mate once or twice, the litter would have been significantly smaller.  
If you Google it, there are large litters born to smaller dogs, like 24 puppies to a Mastiff.

When the puppies were born there were some puppies that were a fair amount larger than others.  I don't know if it's just that some pups got more food while growing in Misty or if larger puppies were from the first time Atlas and Misty mated, and the smaller puppies were from actions a few days later.  Maybe someone else more knowledgeable on breeding can answer that.
Did you know you wanted a Great Dane, or even a dog, before you started fostering the puppies?"
I find this question to be funny.  Only because before fostering I was really wanting to get a cat!  Before I moved to Seattle I was more of a cat person.  
Here's my favorite, Miss Piggy, who lives with my exboyfriend. (I'm hoping that once we get a bigger place (which may be a while) Miss Piggy can come live with us.)

Before the fostering came up, I was trying to convince Jason to let me get a kitten (to keep at his place).  I've had dogs growing up (a Golden Retriever, Hunter, and a Samson, a pit mix) so it wasn't that I was anti-dog, but cats are so easy to care for!  
When the possibility of fostering came up I was really quick to say yes.  I love puppies (who doesn't?)!  I thought I could play foster mom temporarily and get my animal fix, but of course, it's never that easy to let go.  
You can read more about our decision here.  Followed by this.  And then this.   And the last part here.

Jed and Abby in Merryland asked:
"So what's the rest of the story? Did Misty get healthy and have a good [spayed?] life? With Atlas? Did all the farmed-out puppies survive and find good homes?"
The rest of the story is, after recovering from giving birth and caring for all the puppies, Tom and his wife took Misty and got her spayed.  She is happy and healthy and actually a smidge overweight at the moment, but she deserves a little indulgence after what her body went through!  

As for Atlas, he was studded out (is that what it's called?) to mate with a Harlequin female and they had a litter of puppies (8 or 9 I think) a few months ago.  They considered leaving him unfixed to keep him as a stud dog, but after a while decided it would be better to have him fixed and leave the puppy making business (whew).

As for all 16 puppies, they were quick to find homes for all of them.  The biggest boy and the biggest girl were favorites of Tom and his wife respectively and there was talk of them maybe keeping one of them.  They realized that three would be too many for them to handle so they all found good homes.  It was pretty fun (and sad) as many of the puppies were picked up by their new families from our office, but we got the whole experience.  As new owners would come in to pick up their new family member they were often met with many aunties and uncles who wanted to see who was taking a "member of our pack".
I do have contact info for most of the owners and so far only one family (that we are aware of) rehomed their pup.  But he's in a really good home now and may even have a little Blue sister (more on that later).

20 November 2010

{19nov2010: Flashback Friday}

More Darwin puppy cuteness!
Here are some shots of her at two months old.
Getting treats at her first vet visit:

Funny lip:
Spring day at the park:
The love for apples begins:
Mouse ears:
Visit in the office from her brother Boo Radley:

Visit to Juneau's house:

The start of teething = crazy ears.

19 November 2010

{18nov2010: Sally the Camel}

Jason was in Dubai and Oman for a work trip and to make up for the week and a half he was gone, he brought back a gift for Darwin.  His suitcase out in the living room when he got home and Darwin kept shoving her nose in it trying to find what was in there for her.  After nosing around, Jason pulled out a camel!  (When I think of camels, the first thing that comes to mind is Barney's song, Sally the Camel, why? I don't know.)

I'm usually not a fan of buying new stuffed things for Dar as she's gotten in the habit of destuffing them (usually in 24 hours).
Once she got her gift, she quickly started gnawing on her ear and tail.

Amazingly it's been over a week and Sally the Camel is still stuffed!

16 November 2010

{15nov2010: backstory}

Some of you were asking about our last post and why we were fostering Darwin and her siblings, and I've given a brief recap when I first started the blog last year, but here's the whole story.
Our friend (and coworker), Tom, had a blue Great Dane, Atlas whom he kept unfixed as he and his wife thought they wanted to breed him.  They had been looking for a female, but hadn't found one they liked.  Their breeder contacted them and let them know of a blue female, Misty, she was trying to rehome for another family.  She was not in the best of shape when they got her, underweight, not house trained, and surprisingly in heat.  Tom and his wife knew down the line they wanted to breed Atlas, and weren't prepared at the time for a female, but intact female in heat + intact male = puppies!
They took Misty in for an xray in January and the vet said he counted maybe 12 puppies.  We in the office were very excited at the thought of puppies, but no one was ready for what came.
February 7, 2009 came along and 17 puppies were born.

Sadly, one was stillborn, but they still had 16 puppies and an underweight momma.

On day three, a puppy stopped breathing.  Tom tried to resuscitate it, but it didn't make it.  Tom's wife took Misty and the pups to the vet the next day to get them all checked out.  It turned out since Misty wasn't at a good weight when she got pregnant, she only had two nipples that produced milk.  The vet told her that if they didn't start bottle feeding the puppies that more would die.  
Tom shared the news with us in the office and I quickly volunteered to take in and bottle feed puppies.  Keep in mind I lived in an pet-free apartment and didn't really consult with Jason when volunteering.  :)  
When the puppies were five days old, Tom brought in a tub of puppies!

The timing of this happening was actually pretty good.  Work in the office was slowing down (we work at an architecture firm) meaning we weren't that busy and morale was slowly going down.  What better way to boost morale than puppies?!  
I decided to take 4 of the puppies (Tom's neighbors took another 4).   Night one we thought we could take them back to my place, because they are just tiny little puppies that can't even move, but omg.  I didn't know what taking care of four 5 day old puppies entailed!  They may not move, but BOY are they loud when they are hungry.  I was in the living room all night (barely) sleeping on my LOVESEAT getting up every two hours making bottles and trying to feed four (loud) hungry mouthes at once.  
When went back to work the next day we had by then figured out, if you woke up a puppy from sleeping, it made a lot of noise... so we put up a sign.

As you can see we made great use out of things around the office to care for the pups.  Recycling bins as pens, task lamps as heat lamps, and we even used fabric samples from our interior library as rags.  

We even borrowed some equipment to have a warm setup at home.

Valentine's day was oh so romantic for Jason and I.  By then we realized we needed to stay at his condo because we were worried about the puppies making noise at my place.  And we also figured out a trick to pacify hungry pups while the other person made the bottles.

Fingers (toes too) work well as pacifiers.  I tried buying a baby pacifier to see if they would suck on it, but that didn't really work.

Let me tell you, Darwin was a picky princess even from a young age.  At first she wouldn't drink from the bottle.  I would have to let her suck my finger and dribble milk down my finger and into her mouth.  She finally started drinking from the bottle, but the milk had to be the PERFECT temperature... not too hot, not too cold, but just right!  Our own little Goldilocks.
We would spend the days at work with puppies laid out on the floor.

Or working with us at our desks.

We even tried weighing them with the office scale.

After the first weekend with the puppies we decided it would be good to have the weekends off and for them to be able to get Misty and sibling time.  After a few weeks as the puppies started getting bigger and more active we decided to go from four puppies to two puppies, and eventually down to one puppy.  Our Darwin!