Puppy Love 2012

Meet the Parents
Welcome to the Pack
Week 1 – Getting Started
Week 2 – Look Who’s Walking
Week 3 – Eyes Wide Open
Week 4 – Got Teeth?
Week 5 – The Great Outdoors
Week 6 – Ready to Rumble
Week 7 – Growing Up Otterhound
Week 8 – It’s the Beach!
Week 9 – Brave New World

Meet the Parents

Dam:  CH Blue Fairy’s Fifth Element, RN, CGC, VO

Sire:  GCH White River’s News Flash

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We started planning the next Blue Fairy Litter in Spring 2011. Our girls were approaching their 4th Birthday, healthy and in perfect physical condition. Mamba was a great Mom to her 2010 litter and it was Leeloo’s turn to show her maternal side. After all, she has been the best playmate to puppy Ozzy for quite some time.
Leeloo is a great breed ambassador, even-tempered with strong hunting instincts. A true hound.

Sire selection was easy this time. We met Flash (GCH Whiter River’s News Flash) at the Otterhound Specialty in Alaquippa, PA in 2010. He was a young, spunky male with lots of potential: great “look & feel” and championship pedigree. At 1 year old, he won Puppy Sweepstakes. We saw Flash again last year at 2011 Otterhound Specialty in Eugene, OR and we were not disappointed. He grew up to be an impressive male: excellent lines, head, ears and coat. Easy going happy attitude is a bonus. Exactly what we were looking for in a Sire for our next Blue Fairy litter.

Flash received his AKC Grand Championship title at 2011 Specialty. He was one of the top 5 Otterhound males in the country in 2011 All Breed and Best of Breed rankings. Impressive for a 2 ½ year old dog 🙂

Happy Holidays 🙂

December was pretty busy in our household. Not only because of the usual holiday fever, but also because Mamba and Leeloo were in heat. Ozzy’s male hormones kicked in and we were forced to use crates and rotate dogs. When Ozzy was out, the girls were in and the other way around. Our goal was to be fair and split crate time evenly. I’m not sure we succeeded, but everyone got lots of treats and chewies just in case. All that was left to do was worry about the Christmas tree, gifts and the turkey.. oh.. and progesterone testing with Leeloo! On New Year’s Day, our vet told us she was ready to be bred. It was challenging to make all the arrangements around the holiday weekend but we got it done. The Artificial Insemination procedure took place on Jan 3rd. Then, we had to wait another 30 days for the Ultrasound. It felt like time stood still. Finally, we got the word: Leeloo is pregnant with multiple puppies present. On the Ultrasound picture they looked like little bubbles! The next milestone: X-ray was taken on day 57 of the pregnancy, just one week before the estimated delivery date. It showed five puppies.. Maybe six if we get lucky. We’ll know soon enough 🙂

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Welcome to the Pack

With each passing day we were getting more excited about the puppies. Even Ozzy and Mamba knew something was about to happen.

Based on Leeloo’s temperature readings, we’ve been expecting our puppies to arrive ahead of our estimated March 6th schedule. She started to be restless on Friday night so we knew we were getting close. Saturday day was uneventful – Leeloo was resting most of the day, but refused her meals. It was the second sign she was getting ready. Saturday night was very active, lots of nesting, panting and pacing around the house and yard. On Sunday morning, there was a short moment of lounging in the yard with Mamba and Ozzy. Contractions started on Sunday afternoon and her water broke at 6 pm. Leeloo was working hard for several hours but the first puppy would not come. We contacted our vet. We knew she might be in trouble and made a decision to take her to emergency vet hospital. As we were getting ready to leave the house, Leeloo made a big push and the first puppy was born. Black & Tan boy. Unfortunately, he was still-born. We tried to revive him.. just could not bring him to life 🙁 Not a happy beginning.

We arrived at the emergency clinic around 11pm. Leeloo was taken for an exam and the vet decided to administer oxytocin to induce contractions. At midnight, the second puppy was born: brown boy with white markings on his head. He was big (1.48lb) and healthy. The doctor recommended continuing with natural delivery. We were given one of the offices to setup whelping area. Leeloo was brought-in from the back room. She was happy to see us and quickly settled on her new bed. We were told that she did not want to have anything to do with the new puppy after he was born, but when we showed him to her she immediately accepted him and let him nurse without hesitation. The puppy did not need much invitation: he was HUNRGY and very vocal about it.

At 1am we had another puppy – a beautiful black & tan female. She was a bit smaller (1.35lbs) but equally hungry. After just a few moments, she was nursing right next to her brother, making those puppy noises we enjoy so much 🙂 Leeloo was exhausted, decided to take a nap and contractions stopped again. Another oxytocin shot couple of hours later and one more puppy arrived at 2:30am: black and tan boy, a touch smaller than his sister (1.23lbs) but strong and healthy. We knew we had at least one more puppy on the way and were hoping he/she would join his/her siblings shortly. Leeloo took another well-deserved nap and all three puppies were enjoying all-you-can-eat buffet.

After ~2 more hours, the vet took an X-ray to verify how many puppies were left. We found out that there was indeed one more normal size puppy present. We had another decision to make: surgery or no surgery. Based on manual exam, the vet recommended continuing with natural delivery. She could feel the puppy in its sack in the birth canal. Now we needed help from Leeloo and Mother Nature. For the next 3 hours, they were working hard. We experienced the most amazing vet skills in action. The doctor was determined to make sure we go home with another healthy puppy born without surgery. At 7am she made it happen. Another black & tan female was born. At 1.18lbs, she was very vocal from the start: I guess she was not too happy about being taken out of the ‘oven’ but we were just ecstatic to meet her. After a long night and an early heart-break we were coming home with four, new healthy members of the Blue Fairy Pack. Leeloo was tired but happy and proud of her puppies. We could see love in her eyes 🙂 It was all worth it at the end.

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Week 1 – Getting Started

The first week was full of new experiences for all of us. After a long night at the emergency vet hospital, Leeloo needed time to rest and recover. She was also ready to take on her new duties as a Mother. Nursing came naturally, but I must admit that it took her another day to catch up with the cleanup. The bond with her puppies was growing stronger every day. In the first few days, she was reluctant to leave the box for any reason, including food. Guarding and caring for puppies was her priority. Great Mom from the very beginning 🙂

Puppies continue to grow. Their daily activities are pretty simple: eating, napping and eating some more. They have healthy appetites and have been consistently gaining weight throughout the week. They are also getting stronger: they have no problem moving around the box as long as it leads to their Mom’s milk. Their voices get amazingly loud when hungry. We also noticed that these puppies are very content hanging around their Mom. It will be fun to see if things change as they grow up. Mamba’s puppies were ready to explore the world on their very first night.

On Thursday, Leeloo & the puppies had another vet visit. We knew it was not going to be fun for the puppies. It was time to remove their dewclaws. In the past, the vet would simply take the puppies and perform the procedure in the back, however our new vet invited us to observe the process. It was educational but tough to watch! There was some bleeding and lots of puppy cries! I actually left after seeing a single dewclaw removed and joined Leeloo outside. Mike stayed for the whole thing. As traumatic as the experience seemed to be, the puppies recovered very quickly and the bleeding stopped before we got to the truck. All they wanted to feel better was a little milky snack from their Mommy.
Leeloo got a thorough exam and received a clean bill of health. Good news!

Friday was another big day. Leeloo decided to leave the box and join the pack for the afternoon run at the beach. Puppy sitting was more challenging than I expected. They were hungry and I had nothing to offer. Warm cuddles did the trick and settled the puppies until their Mom returned. Puppy breath was an appropriate reward for my hard work!

Mamba and Ozzy are fascinated with the new editions to our Pack. Mamba wishes the puppies were hers. She desperately wants to get close to them and seems not to understand why Leeloo is not letting her do it. She’s whining for them at times, especially when she sees us pick one of the pups up from the box. I think she is ready for her own puppies again. She has a strategic spot on the couch to watch the box from a distance and make sure that her sister Leeloo does her job well 😉

Ozzy is a great uncle. He respects Leeloo’s warning growls and the boundaries she set around the whelping box. He checks on Leeloo and the puppies several times a day wagging his tail with excitement. Just can’t hide his curiosity. I caught him one day right next to the box, looking the other way and pretending he was not there. Leeloo let him know his technique didn’t work with a soft growl, but she did not seem to be too concerned. Since that day, she allows him to get really close to her and the puppies – within a reason of course 🙂

Week 1 Puppy Videos

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Week 2 – Look Who’s Walking

Week 2 was about growing up, growing stronger and getting ready for fun things waiting just around the corner. We started the week with more of the same: lots of eating, napping and more eating. These puppies love their food! The volume of noises they make while eating and sleeping went up a notch with the addition of growling and barking. Leeloo continued to be a great Mom, patiently spending most of her time in the whelping box, keeping puppies warm, fed, clean and happy.

In mid-week, we noticed that the puppies started stretching their little legs. Just trying to see how they work and maybe to get a ‘leg up’ on their siblings when rushing for a meal. The black and tan boy is the most vocal when hungry and determined to get to the best spot while nursing. The youngest black & tan girl seems to share his persistence. She’s just not as vocal. The brown boy and the second black & tan girl are more laid back and easy going with their approach to the milky bar. Mellow little bears 😉
By the end of the week, all puppies were walking around. Their shaky legs became stronger and moving forward was almost easy. Turns were another story. Rolling over comes to mind. We also saw the first signs of puppy play – or maybe it was just accidental bumping into each other..? Hard to tell. They would also fall asleep mid-step, sometimes on top of each other. Very funny 🙂 Towards end of the week, Leeloo has been spending more time outside the box, vising often for meal-time and responding to every squeak making sure everyone was OK. After almost 2 weeks of total dedication to her puppies, she now enjoys her well-deserved “ME time”.

On Day 12, we noticed that puppies started opening their eyes. The black & tan boy was the first to show little black slivers shining thru his eye lids, just one day ahead of his brother and sisters. He also led the pack out of the box on day 14. It’s a good thing he got caught 😉 It will be interesting to see how he will fit within pack as puppies grow. He is slightly smaller than his brother, but definitely makes up the difference in confidence. Pack leader in the makings..? Only time will tell.

Ozzy’s fascination with his cousins continues. He loves sticking his head into the box and smelling the puppies whenever he gets a chance, especially when Leeloo is away and we – the humans – play with the puppies. He even started bringing his toys and chewies next to the box, just to get close and see who will take his invitation. I guess he is ready for new playmates. We didn’t tell him that he’ll get his chance soon enough!

Mamba loves the puppies but now she understands that they belong to Leeloo. She has a strategic spot on the couch or across the room to safely watch all action from a distance. She would gladly take Leeloo’s place if given a chance! Sometimes she even growls at Ozzy when he gets too close to the box. She is a great assistant when we setup the daytime and nighttime bedding for the puppies. As some of you know, we have two boxes: one on our bedroom and another in our living room. Puppies are the integral part of our family. Their time with us is short and we don’t want to miss a moment!

Week 2 Puppy Videos

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Week 3 – Eyes Wide Open

Week 3 was full of changes. It is amazing how much the puppies developed in just one week! Eyes that were barely open just last Sunday are fully functional and beautiful too! No question these little guys can see us well. Their ears are also open now and with these new senses, moving around is lots of fun. What was once wobbling turned into confident walking. We also noticed the first attempts of running. Their butts are a bit heavy, so rapid movements often result in rolling over. Every day, the puppies spend more time awake and playing, getting more confident with their bodies, movement and the world around them. At the end of the day though, eating and napping is still their favorite pastime.

Did I mention the puppies got their names this week..? It all started with #4 female and vet Belinda that delivered her at the hospital. Over time, we shortened name “Belinda” to Bella, the main character in the Twilight Saga. We had no choice but go with the theme. Girl #2 became Alice, black and tan boy – Jacob and our brown boy is Edward – although Mike likes to call him Bobbie Brown or Eddie Brown just for fun 🙂

Puppy personalities started coming up to the surface. Alice is the most confident and she is very much interested in exploring the world. She is eagerly waiting at the edge of the box for us to let her roam in our living room. Her sister Bella usually follows. She is such a sweet girl who knows exactly how to charm the humans. Reminds me of her Aunt Mamba who as a puppy used to “talk to us” with her big black eyes. Bella keeps the eye contact and loves to climb up my lap to watch her siblings play. Smart girl already! Jacob is still a talker. He even started making barking-like noises that freak every-one out. Even he is surprised by the noises he makes 😉 Jacob started getting beautiful brown highlights on his head which makes him easy to pick out of the black & tan gang. He’ll be a blondie! Edward is a happy boy – very mellow and even tempered: little curious, little clunky and playful at all times. He gets vocal sometimes, especially when everyone is asleep and he wants to play. He wanders around the box calling his siblings until he gets tired and falls asleep. Very funny! All puppies are good friends with their cousin Oz, who loves to just lay down outside the box and wait for the puppies to come out and play. He is also eager and ready to help Leeloo with the cleanup.. as long as she allowes 😉

This week, we had visitors from Colorado, South Carolina and Washington State and the puppies had their first opportunity to be breed ambassadors. They had excellent teachers. Mamba and Ozzy were happy to show them the ropes, while Mom Leeloo made sure they were safe. We were all very glad to share the Otterhound experience with new breed enthusiasts. Spreading the word one family at a time 🙂

Week 3 Puppy Videos

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Week 4 – Got Teeth?

This week was fun! Fun for puppies, fun for humans and most of all for Mamba & Ozzy 🙂 Puppies grew up a bunch this week. The biggest change: the teeth! Seems like it happened overnight. Last Sunday, we could feel their gums getting harder, and then there were teeth. Tiny, but razor sharp! As sharp as the toe nails that we’ve been trimming for over 3 weeks now. Leeloo let us know that nursing was becoming a challenge. She would get in the box more often, but for shorter periods of time. I can only imagine what these teeth and nails must feel like on her tummy! Yet, she continues to feed her babies. Great Mom!

It was a signal for us to start the weaning process. Tough decision because we know that once puppies start earing real food the responsibility of caring for them – especially the cleanup will shift from Leeloo to us. But, it’s a natural way of life and part of growing up. We were ready for it!

The first breakfast: a mixture of rice cereal for babies, water and yogurt, was served on Saturday morning. Puppies dove in like pros! Jacob – feet first. The others were more cautious with approaching the bowl, but it took only a second to figure out that there was a yummy treat inside. The bowl was empty in just a few minutes. Leeloo offered milk for desert. Perfect meal!

Puppies have been getting more and more active. They are now fully functional, playful little dogs. Noise level increased. Jacob no longer has monopoly on whining, growling and even barking. Everyone has somethoing to say now! We reconfigured puppies whelping box to include a dog house and secure play area. Dog house is a hit! Puppies immediately figured out that it’s a safe place to nap and hide when cousin Oz or Mom Leeloo start barking at strangers outside, or humans turn on a vacuum cleaner 😉

Otterhound curiosity is showing already. Alice is the explorer – she loves to wander into the unknowns of our living room. Bella was the first to examine the toys we added as a ‘house-warming’ gift. Jacob is very handsome and loves the camera! He looks good on every picture I take and I take a lot of pictures! Edward is a combination of a bully and a giant bear. Very much like his cousin Ozzy at that age. We also enjoy little things: their wagging tails, big blue-black eyes and happy hopping around. They are very expressive little creatures. Amazing evolution in a short period of time!

Leeloo has been getting more comfortable with letting Ozzy interact directly with the puppies. Ozzy is just obsessed with keeping them clean. His tongue is like a giant sponge that never stops. He also doesn’t mind puppies pulling on his ears, chin hair and the tail. He enjoys every minute with his new playmates.

Mamba was finally allowed to spend time with the puppies. She is very gentle and caring, just as if they were her own puppies. She even corrects Ozzy when he gets too intense in his cleaning activities. No question Leeloo is on alert when that happens, but the entire pack is getting more relaxed about the new ‘puppy lifestyle”. Puppies love all the attention and Leeloo appreciates the help. Nothing left for us to do but smile 🙂

Week 4 Puppy Videos

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Week 5 – The Great Outdoors

This week was all about the great outdoors. We introduced puppies to our back yard last Sunday and it was a family event. Leeloo, Mamba and Ozzy were there to ensure comfort and security. After a moment of uncertainly, curiosity took over and everyone started exploring. New smells and new things to chew were too tempting. Alice immediately went for the bushes. The rest stayed close to the big dogs, just in case there was danger lurking around. Ozzy was proudly patrolling the yard, Leeloo offered a quick snack and Mamba was there for cuttles. She is VERY happy to be finally allowed to take care of the puppies!

We are very lucky in Southern California. Good weather is a great ally when raising puppies, especially when real food is introduced and potty training is about to start. Our daily schedule is now focused around puppies’ feeding time and nap time with lots of time outdoors for play and exploring the world.

Alice is still the first one to ‘go where no puppy had gone before’. She likes to wander into the bushes and discover new areas of the yard. Jacob is more of a social creature – he’s into hanging with the crowd. Bella & Edward enjoy lounging in the grass. Let’s not forget about the play time though – it’s getting rougher and louder every day. These puppies have some killer instincts. Literally! We already observed the stalking move and a choke hold. Good news is that they are playing and let go the poor sibling on the bottom of the pile as soon as he/she starts squealing. But it does look and sound pretty vicious! I guess Mother Nature wanted them to be prepared for anything 😉

This week, we also did lots of socializing with humans and other dogs and relatives. On Thursday, we welcomed Ozzy’s brother Woody for a short stay with our pack. I must admit I was nervous but Woody proved to be as gentle and playful with the puppies as Ozzy. It was amazing to watch the entire pack caring for puppies while in the yard: watching for hawks, crows and other potential dangers. After the guarding was done, the big dogs would all lay down for a little play time with the next generation of Blue Fairy hounds.

On Saturday, we had another special visitor: Skye – Mamba & Leeloo’s sister. It was a rare treat to see nine (yes, that’s 9 !) Otterhounds in our yard: three adults, two teenagers and four little puppies. To make things even more interesting, they were joined by a Doberman and a Rottie mix. Eleven dogs total, all getting along. Fun! These puppies are becoming social creatures 🙂

By the end of the week, we also noticed how much each puppy evolved. Edward continues to be a giant bear. He is gentle, but confident and pretty stubborn, very much like our Ozzy. We can tell that he’ll be a handful! Alice is curious and very instinctive. Excellent scent hound, just like her Mother Leeloo. She just started getting light brown and silver highlights on her head and muzzle. Very pretty! Jacob is a mellow hound although he is very vocal and likes to express himself. He loves to play with his cousins Ozzy and Woody… just being one of the boys. He’s a very handsome boy. Brown highlights on his head and body make him very expressive and camera just loves him! Bella is a sweet girl. She reminds me of her Aunt Mamba with her deep dark eyes and a dinosaur-like hair on the back of her neck. She also responds to ‘come’ command. Watch out! Another obedient Otterhound in the makings 😉

Week 5 Puppy Videos

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Week 6 – Ready to Rubmle

Week 6 can be summarized in three words: Ready To Rumble! Puppies now are fully functional little dogs: they explore, wrestle hard and chew – toys, plants and bones we keep around for the large dogs. They run so fast that it’s getting more and more challenging to keep up with them, especially when they decide to all go in different directions. And that is what they like to do these days.. The world is just not big enough for this bunch. Too many things to do! After the mayhem is done, they collapse for a well-deserved nap looking like Angels 😉

These guys are cute and lovable and can get away with anything – at least for now. All it takes is one look at these eyes and ears and your heart will melt in a second! All is forgotten: the teeth and claws, the mess and the cleanup and getting up too early in the morning. Puppy Master Plan for humans!

Edward is the giant bear. Just like a bear, he is soft and gentle one minute and a tough fighter just one moment later. He likes to get things his way. Jacob is a social butterfly: he’s all about good company and finding playmates. Alice is the explorer: independent and curious at all times. She wants to know what is on the ‘otter’ side. Bella is a happy, easy going girl: she knows how to play rough her brother Edward, share a toy with Jacob and explore the world with her sister Alice. I must proudly admit that all puppies come when called even when food is not involved. Only time will show how long it will last 😉

Rain was another great experience. Mid-week we had a spring storm with rain and strong winds. Bella proved to be a SoCal girl: it took a while to convince her to take a step outside and she could not get back indoors fast enough! The other trio did not love the wet weather, but they understood that they had to do ‘their business’ outside. We were all relieved when the sun came back. We got used to our daily routine and potty training. Our puppies definitely tell us when it’s time to go and we want to enforce it whenever possible. Developing good habits early!

This week puppies also graduated from ground, semi-solid food to puppy kibble. Big step in the right direction! Less work for us humans and more work for the puppies. This chewing thing is fun but time consuming they told us. Crunching takes time and a sip of water is a necesity throughout the process. We already observerd the Otterhound chin and ear factor in action: they get really wet and drippy regardless of their small size 😉 Feeding time is a family affair: Leeloo, Mamba, Ozzy and Woody like watching puppies eat, hoping for left-overs. Leeloo is also available a milky desert. What a great Mom she’s become!

It’s fascinating to watch the entire pack raise these puppies, from providing security in the yard, cleanup throughout the day and patience during puppy play time. After all, puppy teeth and nails are very sharp and I suspect it’s not much fun to have ears and tails pulled by a bunch of little monsters. But all big dogs show tremendous patience when puppies are around. Amazing pack dynamics!

On Sunday, we had to say ‘good bye’ to Woody. He was a great help with the puppies and an awesome playmate to Ozzy, but it was time for him to return home to take care of his own Pack. If anyone ever had doubts about Otterhounds, puppies, kids and babies they should talk to Woody. He’ll tell them all about it 😉

Week 6 Puppy Videos

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Week 7 – Growing Up Otterhound

Week 7 went by fast! Keeping up with these puppies is exhausting! It’s even more difficult to take a picture of all of them in one place! It seems like they have lots of things to do at any point of time in the opposite parts of the yard or their new play room. Oh yes! We made a few changes to accommodate the needs of these growing little monsters. We converted our dining room into puppy play room. They now have lots of room to play, run around and lounge with and without the big dogs. Ozzy, Mamba and Leeloo like to visit and hang around. Ozzy likes to ‘borrow’ a toy or two 😉 The dining room has a door to the outside so our back yard became the natural extension of the play room. It’s easy to take entire crowd out when they wake up or after each meal. Enforcing good habits! Thankfully, the weather is still cooperating and puppies spend almost all of thier time outside. At night, it’s getting more challenging to find them in the bushes and we have to count on the big dogs to show us thier hiding places. The good news is that after puppies are done with the outdoors mayhem, they easily find their way back to the dog house indoors and crash. Smart little dogs!

Leeloo has been dealing with a huge dilemma these days: on one hand, she would like to spent more time with her puppies but she knows that all they want to do is nurse and those teeth and claws are pretty painful. She still lets them do it for short periods of time and then quickly runs off to the safety of a couch or indoors, if the pups corner her in the yard. She returns few minutes later only to go thru the same process again and again. She monitors puppies from the distance – naps next to their play room during the day and their upstairs bedroom kennel at night. Being the best Mom she can.

Puppies are getting more active every day. They love running, chewing, more running and more chewing. Growing up too fast! Amazing changes in just one week. Edward is the biggest of the pack, weighing in at almost 17 lbs. No surprise here – he is always looking for food and he’s not shy about getting right into his brother’s or sisters’ bowls. He is still an easy going happy hound – playful and happy, but when it comes to his appetite and eating manners he’s just more aggresive. Jacob (soon to be named Billy G) is smaller by a pound. He likes his food, but prefers to chew it before swallowing and likes a drink of water in-between the bites. He is still the most handsome of the bunch: brown markings on his head, great ears make him very photogenic. I don’t think I have a bad picture of Jacob in my collection! The girls – Bella & Alice are even sized at 14.5 lbs. They are confident, curious and independent. We found that they are both pretty happy exploring and playing by themselves, while the boys prefer company of other dogs. The girls are also great warriors: despite of the size/weight difference, the boys don’t stand a chance 😉

The Pack continues to raise the puppies. They offer security when puppies are out in the yard and great company during play time. Ozzy is the main entertainer. He waits for puppies in the yard and even offers his toys to start the play. Mamba and Leeloo do most of the cleaning and Ozzy readily jumps in whenever he gets a chance. It’s been an amazing experience for us to watch all dogs work together caring for puppies.
Power of the Pack 🙂

Week 7 Videos

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Week 8 – It’s the Beach

Week 8 was all about business.. well.. almost 😉 We started the week with a visit to the vet. In preparation for the big trip, the puppies got their first collars. I must admit it: they did not like it. Bella was the most vocal about her new red/blue accessory. Jacob and Edward were scratching pretty hard trying to take theirs off and Alice decided to use them as leverage while wrestling with her siblings. Smart girl!

The first ride in the truck was an adventure and puppies handled it pretty well. They did a little whining but settled for a nap after only a few minutes. Once we arrived at the vet’s office, the whole crew got lots of attention from the staff and a thorough checkup by the vet. They received their first round of vaccines and got microchipped. We also had their blood drawn and shipped for Otterhound epilepsy study @ University of Missouri. Deworming that followed the visit was less fun, but we got it done. Getting ready to meet the world!

Weather last week was capricious. We had lots of sunshine and we also had some rain. Puppies are still not sure what to do about this wet stuff. Going outside is certainly not a good option, when the ground below is wet and more water is pouring from above. But once the sunshine was back, the yard became the favorite place to be for playing and napping in the sun. Yet another testament that these kids are ‘California-grown’ 😉 Alice and Bella perfected their wrestling skills. Jacob continued enjoying the flowers – literally. Edward was pretty content chewing a bone. This is a very happy bunch!
The whole pack discovered that the toy box is actually a treasure chest hiding really cool stuff and dragging it all outside is a lot of fun. Ozzy agreed: he enjoyed rediscovering his old toys and sharing them with the puppies. He even try to play tug-of-war. Reminded us that he is still a puppy! Mamba and Leeloo stayed in the background when Ozzy and puppies decided to run around the yard, but we had a few ‘everybody’s playing’ moments. It’s a spectacular sight when Otterhounds of all ages are playing together at sunset.

We had big plans for the weekend: trip to the beach. With time ticking and some puppies leaving for their permanent homes far away from the ocean, we made sure they had their chance for a beach adventure. First step: getting used to the collars. We practiced all week, so when Sunday came around, we were ready to face the challenge. The tricky part was to fit all dogs – young and old in our truck and then safely unload them. The rest was a piece of cake – or so we thought 😉 Fortunately we had lots of helpers. We were joined by new puppy owners to make sure every puppy had a skillful handler.

Alice let the puppy pack to the beach. It was her first time on leash and in the unknown territory and she had no problems with either. All she wanted to do it explore. Jacob was right behind her, looking forward to the new adventure. Bella and Edward – not so much. They were a bit overwhelmed with the experience, although both got involved in digging lessons from the pros Ozzy, Mamba and Leeloo. Everyone had a chance to get their toes wet with more or less enthusiasm. It was their first time after all! We know for a fact that it’s only a matter of time when they all fall in love with water adventures..

We had another opportunity to watch pack in action. The ‘elders’ were handling puppy security screening all dogs and humans approaching the puppies. Most of them passed the test, but there was a moment when Leeloo laid down in front of a rocky cave hiding the puppies and Mamba was guarding it on the back side, just to make sure the kids were safe. Both girls did not like one of the dogs and made sure he got the message and stayed away. Very impressive!

After morning at the beach, it was time for the spa treatment: good bath, ear cleaning and pedicure. It made us smile to see puppies almost fit in our kitchen sink – that will not last long 😉 We were impressed with the size of their ears. They are huge – inside and out! Paws and toe nails getting bigger too. Growing up Otterhounds!

We ended the day with a visit to Dr Belinda who delivered our puppies only 8 weeks ago to the day. It’s hard to believe how fast the time went by and how much these puppies changed, from tiny, fragile 1lb creatures to almost 20lb running, barking monsters. It was a great conclusion to a busy week. We are almost ready for the next chapter: placing puppies in their new homes.

Week 8 Videos

Week 8 Beach Videos in HD

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Week 9 – Brave New World

Week 9 was tough and very emotional for the entire Pack, humans and canines young and old. We knew that saying good bye to the puppies was inevitable. We just did not expect time to go by so fast!

Edward and Jacob had to get ready for the plane ride to their new homes. It was important to us to send the boys on-board with their owners. The first step was to get the right carry-on bag. We chose large Sherpa bag and hope the puppies would fit inside. Last week we were joking that puppies will have to go on a diet so they don’t grow too fast! On Sunday, both boys were slightly over 20lbs. Borderline upper limit allowed by the airlines. When we put them in their bags, they were too big to stand up in it, but looked comfortable laying down. Now, we just had to cross our fingers that we won’t run into any issues at the airport.

Edward – new name Waylon – was leaving first. On Monday morning, we all got up early to catch a flight to Atlanta, GA. I was really nervous and excited at the same time. We knew that Waylon was going to a great new home but almost 5-hour flight was a concern. We’ve never traveled with a puppy on-board. We were pleased to learn that the trip went well. Waylon was a star at the airport and on the plane. Making friends and representing the breed well. He did not have any mishaps and behaved like a frequent flier passenger. Made us proud!

… And Then, There Were Three…

Jacob’s trip two days later was a short one. He was traveling to Denver, Colorado. This time, we took Leeloo & all puppies for a ride. Jacob – new name Billy G – did great as well. He immediately laid down in his bag. He had little motivation: he’s got his favorite chewie to keep him busy. I watched him made a lot of new friends going thru security and I heard he made even more on the plane. Not a surprise – he was the most handsome of the bunch and we would expect him to charm his way into anyone’s heart 😉 What a special boy!

… Only Two Left…

We didn’t think Leeloo would be concerned with her puppies leaving. In the last couple of weeks she handed over most of puppy care to Ozzy and Mamba, only checking on them from time to time. On Monday, she seemed not to notice that Edward was gone. However on Wednesday night, she started looking for her puppies. First, she did the inventory in the dog house and puppy crate. Then she went to the garage, checked the truck and started whining. She knew her boys were gone! We did not tell her that one of her girls was about to leave in just two days..

Friday came way too soon! Alice – new name Addie – was leaving to her new home in the afternoon. The good news was that her home was local in San Diego area so we knew we would have the opportunity to see her grow. Plus, Alice was the most independent of the puppy pack and we had no doubt she would quickly adjust to the new environment. She’d conquer the world!

This time the entire pack went to ‘check out’ her new house. We barely fit in the truck: 3 adult Otterhounds, 2 puppies in the crate and 2 humans. Full load! Fortunately, it was a short drive. We all loved Alice’s new home. All dogs spent a long time investigating the yard and left lots of familiar smells for the puppy. Then, Leeloo made herself comfortable on the couch. Alice did not need much invitation and jumped right up to say hello to her new pack. We were pleased to watch how well she blended with her new family. Another happy puppy home!

Drive back home was quiet. Dogs were tired after emotional evening and humans were looking forward to a full night sleep. It’s been a long 9 weeks! Yet it seems like only yesterday we came home with a basket full of puppies 🙂

… And Then There Was Just One…

Bella has been very special to all of us from the very moment she was born. She was the last one to arrive and she made us work hard! As the weeks went by, she slowly started finding her way into our world. Who knows, maybe she’s been getting lessons from her Aunt Mamba on how to charm the humans ? We liked both her looks and temperament. It was getting harder to let her go, especially when we were watching her playing with Ozzy. We knew he would love a playmate that could keep up with his energy. So, we decided to let her stay. Unexpected and happy ending to our 2012 Puppy Love adventure!

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