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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Puppies are HERE!!!

Since starting our farm in 2014 we have taken in several different breeds of adult LGD dogs who needed a home but we had a really hard time with socializing them with all our children, farm animals and visitors. We had them fixed and found them new homes and kept up our search for the perfect LGD. Even though we have always fostered and adopted dogs we finally bit the bullet bought a Great Pyrenees puppy. 

We trained him up and socialized him and, oh my goodness, our big polar bear dog is just amazing!!!

Dad - Sarge is our faithful Great Pyrenees male. He has an amazingly calm and low-key demeanor and is kind to all his human and animal friends but will give his life defending them. He stands prepared like a powerful lion when he senses danger. Everyone who meets him falls in love! Although we couldn't ask for a better LGD, Great Pyrenees' make great family dogs also!

Then came his mate, a Maremma female, and we just adore her!!!

We knew if we ever found the perfect pair we would want to continue their awesomeness for other farms to enjoy!

Mom - Suzy is our gentle Maremma female. She wants to be right in the midst of her flock and is a mother to all her human children and farm animal babies. She is most often seen cuddling the youngest or the smallest on the farm and always has a smile on her face! Due to her sweet bond to our special needs daughter she would make an amazing therapy dog!

Since we have many open farms and so many people fell in love with our dogs we were asked if we would have a litter and had four families ready and waiting. After praying, talking to our vet and counting the cost we agreed. Ten days we announced the breeding occurred we had a puppy waiting list of over 15 families!

We confirmed a breeding on 1/4/17 and they were tied for over 30min which we heard could produce a large litter. We visited our vet for on ultrasound on 2/15/17 (Click here to see healthy puppies moving and hearts beating!!!)

On 3/2/17 we went in for an x-ray and vet confirmed 9 puppies on x-ray! We began preparing for Suzy's due date on 3/8/17

Yesterday around 8am our sweet Maremma sheepdog, Suzy, began stage 1 of labor. She was giving all the text book signs: panting, restlessness, shivering, trying to hide away, etc.

After a call to our vet who confirmed all sounded normal and puppies were most likely on the way, getting impatient around 5pm, we called a mentor and friend who suggested we let mama go find her own birthing place to get things going. Suzy darted to the boy's room on Anthony's bed. We kept an eye on her and at 6:53pm we heard three loud yelps and out runs Suzy! As she ran across the dining room back towards her whelping pen a large plop and splash hit the ground. It was our first puppy! She shot out like a thrown water balloon leaving a large puddle of water, blood and fluid in her wake. 

Born at 6:53pm with a splash! Puppy one, a little girl weighing 1lb 1.6oz, collar pink

Born just 26min later at 7:19pm, puppy two, a 2nd little girl weighing the same 1lb 1.6oz, collar purple

41min passed and at 8:00pm, puppy three, our 3rd smaller little girl weighing 14.28oz was born, collar yellow

At this point we were able to get our laptop set up and catch the next 4 births on Facebook Live. Video links at the end of this post.

We waited what felt like forever, 56min but at 8:56pm, puppy four, our 1st boy was born, weighing 1lb 1oz, collar blue

About 30min later at 9:27pm, puppy five, our 2nd and smallest boy was born, weighing 15.26oz, collar dark green

Another long wait of 46min but at 10:13pm, puppy six arrived, our 4th and smallest girl, weighing 12.6oz, collar white

Our quickest puppy born just 5min later at 10:18pm, puppy seven pushed out, our 3rd and largest boy, weighing 1lb 2.27oz, collar brown

We lost our livefeed at this point as my laptop froze.

Our longest wait yet, but after I stimulated mama and fed her 2 cups of goat milk, after an hour and 12min, at 11:30pm, puppy eight was finally here, our 4th boy, weighing 1lb 1.15oz, collar light green

Mama is now visibly very tired and wants to be done pushing. But after 36min, at 12:06am, puppy nine arrived, our 5th girl and largest puppy so farm, weighing 1lb 3.53oz, collar grey.
No wonder mama was tired! Last big baby!!! PUSH!

Mama slept well with her sweet pups and I slept close by, popping awake at every little sound! What a day! Eleven hours of anxiously watching mama in stage 1 labor and 5 hours assisting in active labor!!! Two very tired mamas.

This morning Suzy is rested and quite pleased with her tiny treasures!!!

Click here to see Facebook Live video 1 - Puppies 4-7 being born

Click here to see Facebook Live video 2 - Puppy 9 being born

***Let me address the breeding/overpopulation before you think of us negatively:

No matter how kindly a breeder treats his or her animals, as long as dogs and cats are dying in animal shelters and pounds because of a lack of homes, no breeding can be considered “responsible.” - PETA

This statement is so easy to fully embrace. Breeders bad. Shelters good. I know because I used to live in this thought train. I was a foster for animals shelters for 10 years and worked in one for 4 years. I watched dogs of all shapes and sizes come in from well taken care of yet left behind to poorly neglected and abused. It was a hard and sad job. As I held the dying dogs and cats in my arms I cursed irresponsible breeders. I gave all dog "breeders" dirty looks and couldn't understand why they would continue in their "evil" ways.

Then our kids came. Part of me changed. I had those precious new lives to protect. Fostering dogs slowly waned, although I would previously jump on taking in the "problem" dogs now I couldn't trust most of our foster dogs behaviors around our kids. We continued to foster but much more cautiously and carefully than before.

Then our farm came and my previous love, fostering dogs, went completely extinct in our lives. My love for the unwanted animals in this world didn't diminish though. Now we were taking in unwanted farm animals, chickens, rabbits, pigs, goats. We learned about predators....the hard way. The sad way. We needed a livestock guardian dog to help us keep our rescued farm animals safe. We took in LGD breeds to foster and hopefully adopt, Great Pyrenees, Anatolian crosses, Maremma mixes who needed a home. But we quickly realized why they were passed around to begin with. After losing a flock or chickens, injuring our beloved pig, not being trustworthy with our children and being slave to their urge to roam each one of our LGD fosters were quickly fixed and rehomed to appropriate homes without animals or children.

We had a need that only a responsible breeder with well socialized puppies from working parents could meet.

We took the risk of being shamed by all our animal rescue friends and bought our first ever purebred puppy, a sweet Great Pyrenees male. We went to the farm where mama dog was sleeping in the chicken coop while pups ran and played amongst the large flock of chickens. Just beautiful. He grew up into the best dog we have ever had. I had fostered over 200 dogs and never had another dog like him in my home. He was well-breed, well-adjusted and well-socialized. He was raised up and trained the way we needed our dog to be. He didn't have baggage to unpack and strange quirks to work through like all our previous foster dogs had.

I was forever converted in that moment. There is a place for breeding, for if we don't we will lose high quality breeds developed for a purpose. If you want a house dog to cuddle or a walking buddy please go to your local shelter. But if you need a working border collie to herd your flock of 100 sheep, or a seeing eye dog, or a LGD to protect your farm find a responsible breeder who has that vision in mind and is breeding high quality working dogs for the tasks at hand!

There is overpopulation, absolutely. But there is also such a thing as responsible breeding. I have now personally walked both sides so you cannot shame me into thinking otherwise. I will never again look down on a sweet family just wanting a puppy from well-bred parents to raise with their kids or the college student who wants a shelter dog buddy. In our love for animals we lose sight of our love for humans, who are made in God's image. We choose to make them feel guilty for having desires and formed opinions that are different from our own. Let's just stop that on all fronts and choose to love God, people and animals. <3

Posted by Shannon, owner/operator

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