Belle Starr's Story

It has been a while since I have blogged which means that nothing extra exciting has been going on here at the kennel.  Well that is until August.  After I took Belle Starr and Cassiopeia to the International Dog Show, both girls came into season.  So I loaded the girls up and headed to the coast.  For Belle Starr it was a breeding with Hawk and Cassiopeia went along so Fred wouldn't have to deal with a bitch in heat while I was away.  It worked out for the girls kept each other company,  While I was on the coast, we lost our Drake who was a Chocolate Lab and Great Dane.  So that was hard being away for that.  At 4 weeks I took Belle Starr in for an ultrasound and the vet thought it would be a small litter about 4 pups.  Beings that Belle Starr went into pregnancy a little heavy I walked her twice a day.  I became a mother hen over her for I wanted her to not have any complications being that her last breeding didn't take and she went through a false pregnancy.  It was very hard on her.  But being back in good health and spirits she a had a good pregnancy.  Belle Starr was due this coming Saturday, but showed signs of getting ready to whelp early in the week. So I prepared the puppy room and got things done that needed to be done so I could focus on her and the pups. She got very large and we are thinking that there must be more than 4 pups or that she was extremely overweight.  I didn't think she was overweight for I hadn't increased her food that much and kept on walking her twice a day until the last week of pregnancy.  On Monday Belle Starr became restless and by Monday night was panting at times and digging at her kennel blankets.  I was up with her most of the night with a couple of hours sleep here and there.  On Tuesday  the 17th I was certain that she would be whelping that night.  I don't know why they whelp in the early morning hours, but that's the way Mother Nature works. That afternoon I grabbed a 2 hour nap since I didn't get much sleep the night before for I knew it was going to be a longer night. She went into Stage 2 Labor about 9:00 or so.  Fred and I took turns being with her.  She had her first pup at 11:40 she had her first pup and the 3 more from then until 1:40.  All 4 very healthy and weighed 15 oz. Up to this point she had no problems delivering. She kept on having contractions but not pups.  I had started giving her Breeders Edge Calcium to help and also kept pups nursing so they would bring on the contractions. She was very restless and we were sure there was more pups to come.  By 5:00 and no more pups we began to worry.  In the meantime, I took a 2 hour snooze on the couch and then Fred got about an hour. With no more pups by 7:00 I called the vet in Plains and talked to the vet.  It was the closest to where we live. He said to bring her right in.  So we loaded up pups and Belle Starr and hit the road.  Having made a great warming bed when I started breeding it was easy to take the pups and I just put a warm bottle of water wrapped in a towel in it to keep them warm.  At the vets I plugged in the warming bed to keep them nice and warm.  Since the 4 pups had eaten constantly since they were born, they were very content. The vet took an ex-ray and said that he saw at least 2 more pups and decided to do a c section and get the rest of the pups out.  After a long wait the vet came out to say that she was still carrying 5 pups and that one was still born, two had too much mucus in their lungs and couldn't save them and the last two they were fighting to save.  One was strong and the other one pretty weak. Needless to say being tired and up all night with no sleep before hand the tears ran .Ones that stay with me most of the day.Even Fred had teary eyes which I hardly ever see..  Later they brought out one of the pups, a little yellow girl who was tiny. Since I had brought an emergency whelping bag along I got the suction and used it to help get the stuff out of her lungs.  She was very noisy for she didn't get to nurse right after birth.   A while later they brought out the little guy who was weak but alive.  Know that I am sitting here crying and typing through the blurr.  So many emotions mixed together.  They then worked on Belle Starr for another long time. and finally we were able to take the two newborns back to see if we could get them to nurse even thought Belle Starr was still unconscious. Not having much luck I had Fred bring back one of the other pups to get them to nurse to bring on the milk.  The little girl got the hang of it and we worked and worked with the little guy whom I call White Hawk. We slowly made sure all the pups got some nourishment for it was already afternoon.  All this time Belle Starr was making horrible sounds.  She came to enough that we had her lick the pups for relief. The vet gave us an eye dropper and little container so we milked some milk to give to White Hawk.  We got some of that good momma milk down him.  Belle Starr was so out of it we put her on a stretcher to load her in the car.  Once home (now 3:00 pm) we got Belle Starr and the babies into the nursery. Neighbors are awesome.  One came over with soup and helped me milk Belle Starr and get some milk down White Hawk.  She knows a lot. Another neighbor came and sat with the pups while Fred and I got a couple hours of sleep and long need showers. Another neighbor called to see if we needed anything and offered puppy watching services.  Then warm cookies showed up. After a couple of hours sleep i worked with White Hawk and got him to sucking. Such a happy relief. The end results is that we have 2 caramel colored females, 2 black girls, and 2 caramel males.  We lost one little black boy and two little black girls. Such a big loss in our hearts. But we still have our Belle Starr who is the best mother ever.  Even drugged out she insisted having her babies with her and if we put them in the warming box to give her rest she would stumble around whining until she had all of them with her.  The surgery anesthesia was really hard on her and it took her until sometime late last night to completely come out of it.  She is eating and drinking along with going out to go potty.  But only long enough to do her job and then she runs back in to her pups.   So with this big scare and loss we will weigh the odds of if we want to breed her or not in the future.  Love our Belle Starr and the rest of the kennel. And they have been great through all of this.