Monday, April 30, 2007


Here are the cute pictures of the day. The colorful towels really make a difference in the photos. Tiga is no longer scrunching the towels up and making a nest so I am able to leave them in the box. In the beginning I was worried she would scrunch a puppy up right along with the towel. The puppies can get better traction with the towels on top of the rubber mat and they are starting to push up onto their feet. This is quite an accomplishment given the size of their bellies. I am trying to get a picture of it but I am just not fast enough.

I love how they sleep in little huddles. They look like a little puzzle the way they fit together.

This little guy found a nice spot for a nap right under Mom's ear.

Another nice napping spot, cuddled in between Mom's legs.

They are starting to wag their tails now. It is so cute to see several lined up nursing and all of the little tails wagging. I can't capture it in a picture so you will just have to take my word for it. The arrow points to the wagger.

This "exceptional" puppy has already mastered the Helping Paws cue "Roll Over".

Sunday, April 29, 2007


The puppies are one week old today. All of them are doing great - gaining weight and thriving. Tiga must have enough milk this time because they are becoming little butterballs. It is amazing how much they have changed. This is what they looked like just one week ago,

and this is what they look like today.

This is a picture of the smallest (a little girl) and the biggest (a bruiser of a boy).

Tori and Charlie are still supervising.

We clipped toenails this weekend (96 of them to be exact).

Charlie spent some time getting acquainted with his half brother.

Two of the puppies got to spend some time outside in the sun.

Okay, that last one was completely made up and the picture was created through computer magic. Just trying to freak Eileen out.
The other big accomplishment this week was that with Pam's and my mom's help I learned how to spell diarrhea. All in all a great week.


This is the sire of Tiga's litter. His name is Ch. Rumours Just Kat'n Around, better known as Tommy. For more information on this beautiful boy, visit his website, Rumours Goldens. I personally think Eileen did a fantastic job choosing a boyfriend for Tiga.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Whelping Box Watching

It is amazing how much they have changed in just 4 days. They are all plumped up and no longer look like rodents. Now they look like little piglets. All of them are now over 1 pound. The largest is a female and she weights 1lb 7 oz. The smallest is a little girl at just 1 lb.
Today I spent alot of time just watching them. It gets to be kind of addictive even though they don't do much at this point. The following photos are a sequence I shot over two minutes of the same 4 puppies. They did alot of repositioning before they found just the right huddle.

I wasn't the only one watching the puppies today. Tori (our Black Lab) camped out on the couch for the day and watched from there. Last year she would have been in the whelping box. This year she is giving Tiga some space.

There was one more spectator at the whelping box today. Charlie. Charlie will turn one on 5/18 and is Tiga's son from her first litter. He is being trained to be a service dog and we are his foster family. I think it has been hard on him not having all of Tiga's attention, and not having all of mine. I keep telling him next week will be better. In looking at this next picture I think it is amazing that those little pups will look like Charlie is just one year.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Trip To The Vet

It was a big day for the puppies. They were all bundled into a basket and taken to the vet. They are all in great shape, gaining weight and as of today, minus dew claws. Tiga rode with them to the vet and then per Eileen's instructions stayed in the car. Apparently the puppies cry when the dew claws are ripped from their poor little feet (imagine that) and this would have really upset Tiga, who is of course the Mom of the Year Candidate. She did spend most of the car ride trying to get her head into the basket to check on the pups.

The other big event today was that I remarked the litter. When they were born they were marked at the vet with the nail polish they had there. Unfortunately it was a dried blood red color and made all of the puppies look like they had wounds. I am more of a traditionalist, blue for boys and pink for girls. We mark different body parts so we can tell who is who. For example, now there is a Blue Tail, Pink Left Shoulder, Pink Right Hip, etc.

"The Blue Group"

"The Pink Group"


Tuesday, April 24, 2007


When my babies were first put into my arms after their birth I felt an immediate love for them. I wanted to care for them, protect them, help them to have a great life. I cannot tell you how happy I am that Tiga seems to feel this way about her new litter. She has been an awesome Mom. She has spent all of her time in the whelping box, cleaning and feeding them and just being there while they have slept. She comes out to eat and go to the bathroom and then runs right back to them as soon as she can. This may not seem like such a big deal - she's a dog, it comes naturally to them, it is instinct. Well let me tell you, not all dog's are great Moms. A prime example of this is Tiga.

She was definitely not in the running for Mom of the Year award with her last litter. As a matter of fact, if she were human, Social Services would have probably been at the door. In her defence she was young (had just turned 2) and she was very sick with diareah for the fist two weeks. She spent a lot of her time laying on the couch listening to her puppies cry. I continually had to monitor her to make sure she went into the whelping box to feed and care for them. I would hear the puppies crying at night and come down to check on them. There would be Tiga laying on the couch ignoring them. When someone would come to the door she would immediately take off to see who was there, sometimes dropping puppies off her nipples as she left the box. I realize this sounds horrible and makes you feel sorry for her puppies, but they had me and I was very attentive. I also had the help of Tori, our Black Lab. What Tiga lacked in maternal instincts Tori had in abundance. She was more than happy to care for the puppies and Tiga was more than happy to let her. Tiga did eventually become a good mom, but those first few weeks were a lot of work for us humans.

This year Tiga is a year older and so far (knock on wood) has not had a problem with diareah. She seems to be very content just hanging out in the whelping box. On the few occasions where she has left the box to check out the rest of us, she has returned to her puppies the minute one of them makes a peep. She is a little obsessive about cleaning the puppies. I was beginning to worry they would all be hairless. She allows Tori to check things out but she watches her every move. Tori must sense the change because she looks in the whelping box but does not enter. When I take the puppies to weigh them or hold them Tiga follows me and never takes her eyes off of them. I am finding I have a lot more free time on my hands. What a difference a year makes.

Monday, April 23, 2007

We Have Puppies!

The puppies are here! Tiga delivered the first puppy yesterday at 1:50 pm. She than preceded to pop out the next four in just over 1 hour. Then she quit. Yep, she just quit. I think she was so busy with the first five that she just forgot she had to have another three. Her contractions stopped and she just laid there happily nursing and cleaning her puppies. After 3 hours of no action we took her to the vet where it was decided she would have a C-section to deliver the rest. The C-section was quite interesting. I have to admit I didn't watch the whole thing but what I did see was pretty fascinating. The Drs. and staff at Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital were wonderful - professional, efficient and really nice and informative. Tiga came out of there as though it were nothing - hard to imagine considering her uterus was hanging by her side at one point. And all three of the remaining puppies were born alive and healthy. All in all, a great days work by Tiga and all of those that helped. I have to give special thanks to Eileen and Melanie. Eileen, Director of Programs at Helping Paws, came to be with us and supervise the whelping. Melanie, a foster home for Helping Paws, arrived after the fifth puppy was born, just in time to witness the C-section. Melanie is a nurse and it was great having her on hand to help with the feathering. I won't go into detail about that, but let me assure you I was glad Melanie was there to do it.

And now here they are! (The red marks on the puppies are nail polish. This is used so we can tell who is who. Didn't want anyone to think they weren't clean or worse yet were wounded!)

Tiga and pups right after returning home from the vet. She is dead tired after the long day's ordeal.

Amazing what a little sleep can do for you. This is Tiga today after a good night's sleep - chipper and alert once again.
Here are the eight little cuties.
Taking a rest on Mom's leg. It is amazing that this face will shortly turn into a beautiful Golden Retriever head.
Now this is a face.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

It is 4:00 am and Tiga has been restless and breathing heavy all night. I took her temp. at 10:30 last night and it was 98.8. I just took it again and it has dropped to 98.1. When there is a drop in temp it means that she will probably deliver in the next 24 hours. Isn't it nice that dogs give you this heads up so you can be ready? I am guessing she will never make it to Wed. She was a few days early with her last litter also.

Here she is now, laying on the couch. This is not where she will be having her puppies!

This is where she will have the puppies - in the whelping box. It is hard to take a picture showing just how big she is but this one gives you an idea.

The great thing about having puppies for Helping Paws is that they provide you with all of the equipment such as this whelping box. They also provide you with support and expertise. Eileen is only a speed dial away and trust me, I use it frequently.
Hopefully my next blog will have puppy pictures.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Welcome to Tiga's Blog!

For those of you who do not know us, Tiga is a three year old Golden Retriever. She is a breeding dog for Helping Paws, a non-profit organization in Minnesota that trains and places services dogs with individuals with physical disabilities. Tiga lives with me, Judy, my husband Steve, and our three kids, Mike, Jack and Katie. We are Tiga's caretaker home. We have volunteered to have Tiga live with us and raise up to three litters of puppies for Helping Paws. Believe me, this is no hardship. Tiga is an absolute joy and what could be more fun than a houseful of puppies? Last spring Tiga had her first litter of puppies. It was also the first litter of puppies for us and we all learned together. I will save the details of last year's litter for another blog but here is a picture of the pups.

Now Tiga is once again pregnant and we are anxiously awaiting the whelping. Tiga's boyfriend was not local so rather than travel to him he was shipped to her. As the box says "Don't ship the bitch, ship the semen."

Poor Tiga never even got to meet him. The semen was surgically implanted so she just went to sleep and woke up pregnant. I wonder if this is somewhat confusing to her. Her boyfriend, Tommy, is beautiful - quite the stud. I will have more information on him in the days to come. The empty box traveled in the back of my car for several days after her surgery. Every time I picked my daughter up at school she would open the trunk to throw her backpack in and there would be this box for everyone to see with Canine Semen printed in big letters. Let's just say it amused me a lot more than it did a 13 year old girl.

Yesterday, Tiga had an x-ray to find out how many puppies she is carrying.
There are 8 and I am really happy - a nice manageable number. She is due to deliver on Wed. April 25th.