Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Parvovirus scare, dog parks & puppy visits

We had a scare in the last day or so that a new canine parvovirus was circulating around several locations around BC, after seeing a brief glimpse of a news headline shared on Facebook. It looks like an old article about a viral spread originating in Chilliwack from 2013 is making the rounds through a number of dog blogs we follow, without people clicking to read the actual details... phew!

Nevertheless, it made us remember how fragile our new puppies immune systems are. Parvovirus is extremely dangerous & infectious, and can kill within 3-4 days of contraction. It is spread via direct or indirect contact with infected feces, and can live for up to 3 months on the ground (!). Transport can occur not only from dogs who play in the infected area, but on owner's shoes and any materials that come into contact with it (play toys, leashes, backpack set on the ground etc). 

You can read more about canine parvovirus here.

Vaccination will keep parvo at bay, and will be included in Beans' pups first round of vaccinations during Week 8 before they go to their new homes. We are careful not to over vaccinate our dogs and make an effort to provide information to our pups new owners on the choices they have regarding which shots are necessary and which they can choose to forego. 

Although dog parks can be tons of fun & usually have heaps of room for your dog to run around & socialize with other dogs, they can be dangerous for dogs with low immune systems due to spread of parasites & disease, create hard-to-control situations when too many dogs are brought together & territorial issues surface, and individual play can also become overly zealous leading to muscle strains, overheating & exhaustion, and general injury. 

Precaution should be used when taking your dog to a dog park (however old it is), and you should ensure you know how to control your animal if a situation arises you need to handle. We recommend new puppies should not go to the dog park for at least the first nine months of their lives. 

Some ideas for alternatives to the dog park (modified list from this site):

  • Safe hikes & trail walks/runs that are at your dog’s fitness level
  • Walk in your neighborhood, but take a different route each day for variety
  • Go to a big, open field (that is dog friendly) and invite friends to join you
  • Interactive toys to keep your dog engaged and play at home
  • Go to a dog friendly beach or lake
  • Join a community dog walking group
This week, we'll start having our puppies potential new owner's come to visit & meet the gang! We'll ask them to avoid the dog park for the time being if they have other dogs at home, or wear separate shoes from those they wear to the park. Shoes will come off when they come inside & a thorough hand washing before they get to interact with the pups. 

Teeth are in! Grrrrr

They are sooo big right now & getting bigger every day!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Lunch is served

Just figured out how to post a video on here! All natural cafeteria :)


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Eyes open!

The pups eyes are all now open, what a different experience it is for us to have them looking right at you!! No names yet, it's hard when they all look the same! We're still just count them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 to make sure everyone's here lol... once they start showing their personalities in coming weeks, it'll be easier to come up with their temporary names... sometimes they even stick when they go to their new homes! :)


Beans spends a lot of time at the foot of the bed, 
watching over her little ones when she's not in there feeding!

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Why my opinion changed

I wanted to address something many people looking to bring a new pet into their household has had to question: getting a new dog from a shelter vs. a breeder.

I used to feel strongly that since there were so many dogs & cats in shelters, that anyone buying a pet from a breeder was ignorant and pretty much a terrible person for supporting bringing more animals into this jam-packed world, where so many unwanted animals need love & someone to care for them. My childhood was filled with pets from the SPCA, and animals that somehow found their way into our warm home. Our family loved animals! We always took one in if we had room for another pet, and never cared what breed they were, as long as they were friendly to us. With three kids and a full-time working single mom, the downside is no one in my family took ownership or responsibility for our animals, and didn't spend the time to train them beyond basic outdoor potty training. Our pets ate kibble & tinned food, and did whatever they wanted most of the time. They were unruly and a bit on the wild side but seemed happy & content, although they battled sicknesses & health issues throughout their lives. 

Once I understood why Atlin & Ashley's family felt so strongly about English Staffys, natural diet, and why they had decided that small scale breeding was something they wanted to do together, my opinion changed. This is a lot more then bringing six puppies into the world once a year, and the blanket statement that it's wrong to get a dog from a breeder is untrue in this case.

Through providing information & guidance to educate people on their responsibilities as owners, we also have the opportunity to ensure that the homes our puppies are going to will treat them with the same level of respect & care as we begin their lives with. We take pride in setting a good example in all areas of natural diet, nutrition, training, physical activity, and care for our animals. The blanket statement should be 'It's wrong to get a dog unless you're prepared to be a good owner'.

We are breed advocates, that not only want people to know how wonderful English Staffys are, but also change people's attitudes towards all bully breed dogs, and educate them on the extensive benefits of proper training and raw diet. All of these things brings our family together, and we truly enjoy the process of placing these pups in good homes. The network we've created is one of new friends who've bonded over their love for their Staffys, and who understand & practice the same principles of care for their pets. Being able to see the wonderful lives our pups have gone on to lead makes us extremely happy and proud of what we do.

Making the decision to own a new dog is at least a 15-year commitment, so anyone considering it should look to their life currently, as well as where they plan to be in coming years. Owning a Staffy is definitely not for everyone, and only someone who educates themselves on the breed will have success with raising one. High energy, strong & muscular, with immense loyalty & companionship, Staffy's yearn for positive reward and knowing they are doing a good job keeping their owner happy & safe from outside trouble. Without proper training and consistency, they develop insecurities and act out in negative ways that can be unmanageable if left unchecked. Many would-be dog owners just don't have the commitment to dedicate to a Staffy, and it is our job to make sure new owners know what they're getting themselves into.

Once the decision to get a new dog has been made, we do recommend would-be owners look to animal shelters first with an open mind, as it gives the them a chance to see how many dogs need homes and maybe open their hearts to an animal they wouldn't have previously chosen. Many times Staffys and other bully breeds are also found in shelters, when previous owners may have realized they are more work then they anticipated. If you're able to provide a caring home to a shelter dog, please do!

By raising puppies on a once-a-year scale in our family home, we're simply practicing what we advocate, and giving them a great start to life with a small group of people who have decided that English Staffordshires are the pet for them. This is not 'backyard breeding' and shouldn't be roped in with the general perception that all dog breeders are bad. My attitude changed, and I hope this helps shed some light to people who may think otherwise.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Cute puppies alert!

As we head into Week 2, we're looking forward to the puppies eyes opening up around 8-10 days, and ears opening between 13-17 days old. Deworming also starts this week. Beans will be getting about 3x her normal daily food, to make sure she is getting enough to feed the pups and keep her own nutrients & energy up! Beans is spending less time in the whelping box as days go by, giving her body a break between feeding and allowing the puppies to slowly gain independence as they grow. She lies on our bed and watches them from above, too cute. We're trying to give her some extra attention for being such a good mama :)

The pups are like little squirmy burritos right now, starting to make crawling motions & squealing noises...

BIG yawn & stretch

Tired mama

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Sunday morning surprise!

So we had a wonderful surprise on Sunday morning - Beans gave birth to six healthy happy little puppies, three days early!! Four females (all four dark brindle with some white chest markings) & two males, one also dark brindle and the other a stand-out fawn colouring.

Saturday night just before midnight, we noticed Beans starting to actively pant & nesting more then usual, but we went to bed wondering if it was really starting since she was supposed to be due Wednesday! (we were one day off with our original count, the gestation period was to go to Jan 21) Woke up Sunday morning around 7:30am with Beans nesting aggressively and ripping apart a large terry towel in the whelping box at the foot of our bed, rubbing her nose raw, poor thing. Ashley was certain it was just 'pregnancy' stuff and that she would calm down, since Clover had been pretty much spot on her due dates. 

We kept an eye on her over the course of the morning, lying at the foot of the bed, reading, having a coffee and petting Beans from time to time. One minute it was just Beans and the next there was a little wet puppy beside her!! 

Everything went smoothly with no real distress or problems occurring for any pup, our only concern was not knowing how many puppies to expect, since our ultrasound appt was only scheduled for Monday afternoon! We decided that as things seemed to have gone perfectly normal & natural, as well as we'd seen the placenta from each pup come out, just to keep an eye on her for any signs that something was still in her and needed medical attention. All puppies started feeding normally and didn't require any additional care or attention from us. We are happy Beans & all puppies got a clean bill of health from the vet yesterday! YAY!

They are big pups, ranging from 8.4oz to 10.8oz at birth, and all gaining nicely so far. We love them!!

Here are a few photos to tide you over for the time being, we won't be able to have visitors for a few weeks, until after their first shots & Beans shows us signs that she is OK with other people starting to handle her babes (she is used to our household members, so we are able to handle them gently & be respectful with minimal stress to Beans). They are too cute & so exciting for us to have around, we will definitely be posting lots of pics! :)

Ashley building the whelping box, using all found materials! 
The sides are old folding closet doors & the base an elevated shipping pallet

First puppy moments after birth

This lil guy is gonna be a heartbreaker

Grandma is already in love 

Happy mama Beans

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Whelping prep for next week

Just read a step-by-step on the birthing process (whelping) as a reminder of what to do when the time comes... Good information to know, and you can get an idea of what will be happening on the big day. We're all getting excited for next week!!

Lots of stretching going on!

Frisco giving a kiss, best friends