When the pups were born a week past on Sunday, there was only 3 that Sheba allowed to suckle on a regular basis (Zeus, Apollo and Pan) and she nudged the others away. If they wiggled back toward her, she became aggressive and would push them away, often by putting her mouth over their heads and moving them that way.
We had managed to get her to lie down and allow all the pups to suckle for a few minutes to get some of those antibodies (see previous note), but we had to monitor them real close! Sheba (the mom) babied the three pups and pretty well ignored the other 4.
We think that Sheba was accidentaly laying on the pups and smothered them as there was no blood or broken skin on the wee ones, and these two were favourites of hers.
When Zeus and Pan were gone, Sheba put all of her energy into Apollo, completely ignoring the others and pushing them away if they came close to her. She would growl at them and put their head into her mouth and make them cry. Mark and I quickly removed the 4 pups and made a bed for them in the dresser drawer.
They are quite happy in there with their hot water bottle and snuggling up to each other.
On Saturday, Mark decided to see what Sheba would do if he let her see one of the pups. She sniffed, and then started licking the pup and he voided and pooped. So, after that, each time we feed a babe, Sheba comes over and does her puppy grooming.
Sunday night, I was sitting on the bed feeding Damia with Sheba lying beside me. After Sheba cleaned her off, Damia wiggled toward her, and Sheba opened her legs to let Damia suckle. It only lasted about 10 second, but it's a start. We only allow her to be with the 4 pups under strict supervision and so far, she has only allowed two of her 4 "orphaned" pups to suckle for a few seconds.
Her favourite, Apollo, is a different story all together. She has him sleeping with her in her cave (the closet). She allows him to eat whenever he wants (methinks he is overfed) and is super protective over him. Apollo is twice the size of the other 4, and can barely move! The other pups are starting to try and lift their bellies off the ground and walk on 4 legs (it's funny to watch them lift their rear ends up, take a step and topple forward, then get up and try again). Apollo is too big and is still wiggling himself around. Hopefully, once the pups are started on their puppy mush, Apollo will do better weight-wise. ;)
The one drawback to all of this personal attention that the 4 pups are getting, is that I am falling in love with them. How can one not when you hold them in your arms and cuddle them while feeding? I am especially drawn to Damia for some reason. She loves cuddles and snuggles into me with contented sighs after being fed and burped. I know I can't keep any of the pups and it will be so hard to let them go when it is time. :(
Ahh well, such is life. Hopefully the pups will remember their "human mom" when they are older and will stop for a cuddle if we pass on the street. :)
Meanwhile, photos of the puppies' first week have been added to the puppy album. Puppies are a week old! If you don't already have a Facebook account, you may need to sign up to view the photos.