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Discussion Starter #1
Happy New Year to me! Last night this beautiful what I believe to be Great Pyrenees/Golden girl found herself in a shelter and in need of rescue, she is heavily pregnant and completely terrified, half feral. Her owners died and she was left to fend for herself with another dog who is the father of the pups, (also a Great Pyrenees) for roughly 4 months time, got pregnant earlier this year, then finds herself there once again now. While terrified she is not mean, just tries to hide. Please say a prayer if you would that she waits a few days before having the babies so I have some time to bond with her, that is my biggest worry currently is how she will react when they come since she is so fearful. Name and more photos to come! I got her last evening quite unexpectedly, I left within minutes of learning about her because of the holiday we had to rush to get her before the shelter closed, she is close enough they were afraid she might have them alone in the shelter.

She ate and drank some overnight as I figured she would once everyone had gone to bed and it was completely quiet. She still refuses to lay on the dog bed, always over in the corner on the floor, but she will learn in time, after being on her own so long, I am sure laying on a bed is completely alien to her. Last night I left her be for the most part, just quietly sitting in there every few hours for 5-10mins. This morning I have been working on getting her used to me touching her, and after only a couple times of this, she allowed me to pet her head without trying to turn her back to me or flinching as she often does right now, and she also allowed me to get a collar on her, that's an amazing amount of progress for the first day! Since she will let me touch her I go in there for a few minutes and pet or brush her, always waiting until she relaxes as much as possible before leaving again, I want her to connect that feeling of relaxation with my presence. Though I am being careful to not push her too hard, I am pushing more than I would normally because there just isn't much time, she needs to get used to me touching her and being around her for when the pups come. Her expression and body language have softened as you can see from the photo and she is more alert now. She allowed me to pet her belly earlier and those babies are kicking up a storm in there, I think she is going to have a big litter.
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Poor girl. So glad she doesnt have to have her pups in some shelter. I can understand you needing to push her a little as she will need to be trusting when the pups arrive. At least is this isnt her first litter she will have some idea of what to do when the pups come and that might make things a bit easier..

Do keep us up to date
and give yourself a pat on the back for doing this wonderful thing.
 

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Thank you so much for taking on this huge responsibility! I fostered a mom dog that was just like yours so I understand your challenge (she didn't wag her tail for 3 weeks). But, it sounds like you are off to a great start! Here are some recommendations:

Before Puppies Arrive
  1. Continue spending time with her as you described but only 'push' for more if she is not visibly afraid (ears pinned back, tail tucked, turning her head away/avoiding eye contact, crouching, moving away, shaking, etc.) You could just sit in there reading a book, pretending she isn't even there. That's what all fearful animals want - to be invisible.
  2. Hand feed all of her food. While she is eating from one hand, touch her body with the other (but stop if she won't eat while you are touching her)
  3. Play calming music and white noise. I have a playlist on my website worldreadypets(dot)com/calming-music
  4. To make yourself (and anyone else she comes into contact with) less threatening: avoid lots of eye contact, approach her with your body sideways or even walking backward, no fast movements, don't hover over her, sit or kneel whenever possible, pet under the chin/neck rather than over the top of her head, keep your voice calm and quiet and, as much as possible, encourage her to voluntarily approach you (hand feeding will help).
  5. If there are any other people living in your house and they are willing to help, ask them to do some of these things as well.
  6. If possible, you'll want to set up a whelping box. For a dog that size, you'll want something at least 4'x4' with a guard rail around the edge. Sometimes, young puppies will get crushed against the sides, especially by big moms, and suffocate.
After Puppies Arrive
  1. Since this isn't her first rodeo, you probably don't have to worry about being there when they are born. Less intervention is usually better than more, anyway.
  2. Hopefully, she won't aggressively protect her puppies but if she does, I highly recommend talking to the shelter or a trainer.
  3. If she allows it, you will want to start weighing and handling each puppy for a couple minutes each day.
Since she is fearful, you will want to put some effort into socializing the puppies to as many sights, sounds, textures and people as possible. The good news is that puppies are SO easy to train and socialize even with a fearful mom. My fearful mom's puppies were very confident and sociable when they left to be adopted. The biggest challenge will be to keep the puppies from observing their mother being afraid as much as possible. This means you'll have to try (extra hard) not to scare her when the puppies are around. When the puppies are older (3+ weeks) and you are exposing them to new, potentially frightening experiences (vacuum) you'll want to remove Mom from the room so they don't see her react fearfully.

She should start to warm up and settle in but if she is at all aggressive towards you or her puppies (I had one mom that snapped at her 3 week old puppies over food and toys) or if it is obvious that her puppies are learning fearful responses from her you may want to talk to the shelter about separating her from them a little earlier. In the case of the mom that was snapping at her puppies, we removed her when they were 4 weeks old but they were all eating mush on their own. It seems cruel and certainly isn't ideal but cost of them learning those types of behavior, in my opinion, outweighs the benefits of keeping Mom around. In my case, the puppies barely seemed to notice that she was gone.

I could write for hours but this should get you started. If you feel you need more help, please feel free to contact me. Good luck!
 

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This photo is from last evening, just look at this good girl! Not only did she want to come out of the whelping room, but also picked this spot to lay down! 😍
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I have decided on the name Rose for this sweet girl, litter theme to be released when they are born. I have to keep reminding myself we are only on day two because of how much progress this girl has made already. Yesterday she decided on her own that she wanted to start hanging out in the kitchen, she realized the dog bed is way more comfortable than the floor, and she is going outside to potty. This morning I was able to sit beside her on her bed and while I was petting her, she actually fell asleep, that is huge! She continues to lay nearby when I am sitting at the table, and she has gotten to a point where I am able to walk towards her and get within a few inches without her running, she even allowed me to step over her without moving. She seems to have an extreme fear of people moving around as that's what will still send her moving to another part of the room away from me, however she is already starting to learn people moving doesn't mean anything. She flinches less at my touch and allows me to touch her more than she used to without trying to get away. She clearly trusts me to some extent already, I honestly think she does more than she actually realizes. Like most dogs with extreme fear issues, it's all in their mind and some days are better than others, some moments even, she can be okay with something, then suddenly not. She has never offered to be mean despite everything she has been through, just freezes or tries to get away. It's a little like herding cattle in some moments just because she is terrified of the leash, and at this time with so little trust, I don't want to force her that way, so when I need her to move, say to go outside to potty, I just quietly put pressure on her by moving into her space to push her in the direction I need, though I try to limit this as much as possible too so I am not making her afraid of me being around her. She has staged a strike on eating currently, having not had anything since yesterday morning, but I know she will eat when she has a mind to since she has already done so. She continues to relax and settle more and loves her whelping room.
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Things happened fast yesterday, she started having her pups around noon. Here's everyone, finished out with 11. The blankets look like that because of the birthing fluid, I will hopefully be able to get her outside long enough to change everything. Unfortunately after the second pup she turned protective, showing teeth if I got too close, so for the last half of the litter I was unable to get a good look at them and don't know what all the genders ended up being. Sadly there just wasn't enough time between arriving and delivery for me to gain her trust. All seem to be doing well thankfully. I cannot say when or if I will be able to get more photos. Daily updates will not be happening for this group, I'm sorry to disappoint, for sure not how I wanted it.
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Poor Rose! Poor you! Both of you are having a really tough time, aren't you? This must be a very confusing and stressful time for Rose. Hopefully, she'll start to settle in and calm down a bit. Please be careful around her. You may want to invest in some protective gloves. Once the puppies have been weaned, I would hope that another foster takes her so that you can concentrate on the puppies.

While I imagine that your updates will be quite different from previous ones, I'd still love to hear how you, Rose, and the puppies are doing.
 

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Poor Rose! Poor you! Both of you are having a really tough time, aren't you? This must be a very confusing and stressful time for Rose. Hopefully, she'll start to settle in and calm down a bit. Please be careful around her. You may want to invest in some protective gloves. Once the puppies have been weaned, I would hope that another foster takes her so that you can concentrate on the puppies.

While I imagine that your updates will be quite different from previous ones, I'd still love to hear how you, Rose, and the puppies are doing.
Yep, survival, that's about where we are right now. I have found a way to get her to go outside on her own, so I am thankfully able to snuggle the babies and check in on them throughout the day. Yes, she will be leaving as soon as they are weaned to another foster who has a lot of experience with the breed and will adopt her if she is unable to be worked with, she will get to live her life out as a barn dog if she wants it that way.
 

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I'm glad that Rose is getting up and going outside periodically. How many boys and girls did you end up with? I'm guessing 6 boys and 5 girls. Have you named them yet?

I'm so glad that someone is ready to foster and/or adopt Rose. She may never become an indoor family pet, and that's o.k. Being out in a barn might just be where she'll be the happiest. She doesn't know it yet, but she's won the dog lottery. And so have her puppies!
 

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I'm glad that Rose is getting up and going outside periodically. How many boys and girls did you end up with? I'm guessing 6 boys and 5 girls. Have you named them yet?

I'm so glad that someone is ready to foster and/or adopt Rose. She may never become an indoor family pet, and that's o.k. Being out in a barn might just be where she'll be the happiest. She doesn't know it yet, but she's won the dog lottery. And so have her puppies!
6 girls, 5 boys. Very close guess!
 

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Nothing like a lap of 11 puppies! 😍 I forgot to mention this in the other post, but there are 5 boys, and 6 girls. There is a mixture of white, light cream, and darker cream colors, along with different sizes, there is a distinct small one in the litter. All have names and their little whelping collars so I can tell them apart. I plan to do weekly photos, so will post names and litter theme then. They are all so fluffy already with thick coats, true to their breeding, and most have double dewclaws on their rear legs, with one little boy having double on both front and back! Everyone got their nails trimmed today, and I keep blankets changed each time she goes out if it's needed. Mom goes out twice a day to potty, so this gives me time to pet and handle the babies, it's very important they learn right away that people smell means warmth and comfort. They already love being held, relaxing right into my hands whenever I hold them.
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Struggle, that is for sure one word I would use to describe the last few days. Though Rose may have had several litters before, she is not a good mother. She feeds and stimulates them to potty, but that is the extent of her caring. Like she did when they were born, she has no concern for them if they are in distress, if they get too far away from her, or like before would accidentally crawl off the blanket and cry because they were alone, she just lays there without regard for them. I put the whelping surround up today because there's just too much risk of them chilling with her having taken to laying on the edge of the bedding, leaving them often on the bare floor. Now there is no way for them to get off the bedding, insuring they stay warm enough. Her interest in them is already growing noticeably less, which is worrying after only four days. There are three tiny ones in the litter, as you can see from this photo a comparison between two of them, they are naturally pushed off more by their bigger siblings, and due to her I cannot just go in and move them to the best teats, so I may have to start supplementing. Rose doesn't have the greatest milk supply, so I am having to watch close that everyone is getting enough, so far they are. For Rose herself, there is no change in her behavior towards me, she is still terrified of people, she will eat treats I have tossed once I step away now, but that's about as far as it has gotten at this point. Since the pups were born her behavior has remained consistent fear, I feel she may not improve much until no longer with the pups. Constant watching and some worry is part of my daily at this moment in time. So far everything is fairly stable and she is in a routine at least, in that there is some hope she may adjust in time.
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It's discouraging to hear that Rose is so emotionally damaged that she does not even care for her own puppies and that she won't let you get too close to them to help. Would a muzzle or protective gloves help? You've had challenging litters before, but this seems like one of the most difficult to care for. I wouldn't be too surprised if you and your rescue group decide to separate Rose from the litter earlier than usual. And, if that happens, don't be hard of yourself. Few fosters invest as much effort as you do.
 

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It's discouraging to hear that Rose is so emotionally damaged that she does not even care for her own puppies and that she won't let you get too close to them to help. Would a muzzle or protective gloves help? You've had challenging litters before, but this seems like one of the most difficult to care for. I wouldn't be too surprised if you and your rescue group decide to separate Rose from the litter earlier than usual. And, if that happens, don't be hard of yourself. Few fosters invest as much effort as you do.
The plan is for sure early weaning, she is a bad influence on them and they need so much more handling and attention when older than would be possible with her there.
 

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Things have taken a dark turn this evening. Earlier today I took the smaller ones out to supplement and give SQ fluids as they were dehydrated and getting weak. Just a few minutes ago I tried to put them back on her while the others were sleeping, and she tried to attack them 😣 What I believe to be the reason behind this is they no longer smelled enough like her, and so she felt they were a threat to her others. This dog, having lived so long on her own is more wild animal than domesticated pet, and she is not happy about being kept inside and on my terms for the safety of her babies. It's like putting a wild animal in a cage, so this is only adding to the problem. Please say a prayer for them, me, the whole situation. Things get harder by the day, and my worry for the rest grows by the hour. It's darned if I do, darned if I don't, they would have died if I hadn't given them fluids and supplemented, but now she won't take them. They are taking to the bottle well, so I feel they will be okay thankfully.
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You did what you had to do. It was obvious from your earlier post that you were going to have to wean at least some of the puppies early. You've done bottle feeding before, and at least for the smallest three, that's probably your best option.

Trying to domesticate the mother, while she's in a highly stressed situation, is probably not going to work. With the remaining puppies, do you think that using gloves to handle them would minimize the likelihood of her rejecting them as well?

It will be o.k. if you need to send Rose away. You know what to do in terms of taking care of the puppies. They are your priority.
 

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Sorry for no posts, been so tired and busy focusing on getting the bottle babies healthy again. Happy to say they are doing well.

Happy 1 Week Old, and officially introducing the Football Litter! This is not a theme I would normally pick, however there is a special reason for it as they are named in honor of a local football player and his family who donated all the food for this litter!

It's been a week of struggle, more than I ever thought possible when they were born, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, and things have eased up for the moment. The three bottle babies (marked on their photos) are eating well, extremely active and healthy, and are no longer constipated or dehydrated. The others are also doing well on mom, and so far she is continuing to care for them. While this situation is not perfect, I feel thankful that everyone is healthy and happy. One day at a time, that is all one can do.

Blitz, boy: 1.2lbs
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Bucky, boy: 13oz. One of the bottle babies.
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Cadence, girl: 1.5lbs
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Draft, boy: 1.7lbs
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Fiesta, girl: 1.6lbs
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Hitch, boy: 13oz. One of the bottle babies.
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Leah, girl: 1.2lbs
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Liberty, girl: 1.11lbs. Biggest pup.
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Price, boy: 1.5lbs
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Tori, girl: 1.3lbs
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Wynn, girl: 14oz. One of the bottle babies.
 

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They are adorable, but they all look the same! The three bottle babies are so much smaller, aren't they? You made the right decision to separate them and feed them separately. I like their names. Yes, they are related to football, but not in a cliche way.

I love what you're doing, and you're giving 11 new puppies a wonderful start in life. I hope, though, that you might take some time to recuperate between litters if that's possible. Does your rescue group have anyone else who can the next litter that comes up? Be careful about not getting burned out. It can happen to everyone.

Sending you continued love and support!
 

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They are adorable, but they all look the same! The three bottle babies are so much smaller, aren't they? You made the right decision to separate them and feed them separately. I like their names. Yes, they are related to football, but not in a cliche way.

I love what you're doing, and you're giving 11 new puppies a wonderful start in life. I hope, though, that you might take some time to recuperate between litters if that's possible. Does your rescue group have anyone else who can the next litter that comes up? Be careful about not getting burned out. It can happen to everyone.

Sending you continued love and support!
In person there is for sure difference, some are bigger, others are fluffier, etc. Liberty looks like a polar bear in person! Yes they are, the difference in size and weight is crazy, they are so feisty though, especially Wynn, she walks around and is almost able to climb out of her box, lol. All are drinking really well now, though Bucky can be a little picky sometimes, they have accepted the bottle and are so fat and sassy now, I too am glad I pulled them off to bottle feed.

Thank you on the names, I never go with cliche, I like to be imaginative and do ones that have meaning, but are also unique. The names I give are not just tags like so many people do, I call them by their names and their names are always picked out carefully, often times some in a litter learn their names too.

I know it seems odd, but I was so ready for another litter after getting two weeks between this one and the last, that is enough time for me to feel rested and ready. I listen to myself so to speak closely and watch for signs of burnout as I know it is a very real thing and can for sure happen to anyone. I am the only one within the rescue who takes litters, so it's all on me for that part of things.
 
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