The pitter-patter of 40 tiny feet

By Chuck Kajer

Life has changed around the Kajer house this past week.

Our golden retriever Frosty gave birth to 10 healthy puppies Sunday. Needless to say, it is keeping everyone in the house busy - but mostly Jenny. On Saturday evening the dog started acting funny, and was restless, meaning Jenny didn't get a lot of sleep. Then, about 5:30 a.m., the first puppy arrived. With Jenny acting as midwife, they kept coming, one after another, until noon when there were eight. The last ones came out a little slower, but Frosty was finally done by late afternoon.

The maternal instinct is very strong in Frosty. She seldom leaves the room where the puppies are. When she does go outside, she gets anxious after only a few minutes and heads back to the door, making a beeline for her puppies.

The puppies are actually easy to live with at this age. They weigh only a little more than a pound, don't run off and Frosty pretty much spends all her time with them. The challenge comes after about a week, when their eyes are open and they begin to explore. Already, after only three days, we have an occasional straggler that strays a few feet too far and starts calling for mother.

Jenny is basically in charge of the dogs. She reads all the books, weighs each pup daily and keeps meticulous records. (I guess the maternal instinct is strong in her too!)

In a few weeks, when we move the dogs into the kennel outside, we'll have to make sure to feed them regularly and on time. If you're even a little bit late with the food, the little guys will make a lot of noise reminding you that it's supper time.

This is the second litter for Frosty - she had 11 pups two years ago. A few of the dogs were purchased by people in town and it's always interesting to see how they've grown and how much they are like their mother, or how much they aren't.

I don't know if we're going to do this again, but one thing's for certain: We're going to enjoy the puppies while we have them around the house.

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