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  • Writer's pictureHoekema Family

'Reindeer pups' 1 wk. old

To say this week has been phenomenal is a mass understatement. So much progress, growth, and achievement happened each and every day this week, I feel incredibly behind in updating you all. I have given all the Reindeer families updates each day as an inside luxury so at least they are caught up on their babies. I am blessed beyond blessed, I say for the umptieth time to have amazingly grateful families on board. Truly exceptional people that I feel confident passing these babies along to. My heart is extremely attached to each of these darling little souls, but my heart is also settled knowing where they are going in the end.. to the start of their beginning.

Meiko, without a doubt, has surpassed her motherly role expectations in all ways possible. She has shown exceptional maternal instincts with other young pups here from a very early age. She is shining and glowing with pride from ear to ear with her all-time famous smile that she shares with you all in oh so many photos. It took her a good 4-5 days to relax with her new arrivals so she felt confident that they were safe, she was safe and that no one was going to take these new babies that were finally hers, all hers away from her. You can see the thought process in her eyes.. 'mine? These are really truely all mine?!' My heart soars for her watching this transpire across her mind. She continues to 'count' them diligently with her nose and has perfected her low scootch to a tee so she doesn't sit on any of them. She goes through her pile multiple times, making sure every babe is taken care of before she lays her head down to nap while they nurse. By the 5th day, I had gained her trust enough to sit in her box with her and go through her babies as much as I wanted.

The blankets that were over the nursery gates to block the view from the other dogs were slowly pushed back, and by the 7th day, Sola, Isla, and Leia finally got to 'meet' the new arrivals. Pure excitement shot through the tips of their ears and flashed into their eyes. And Meiko was at ease while I reassured her that, at least for now, they were to stay on that side of the house. With every ounce of their self-control, you could see them holding back but wanting with every inch of their being wanting to bust out, play, and romp with these new babes. Soon doggies soon. Meiko is also mingling outside with the other dogs contently by the 6th day, and by the 7th day, she was engaging a bit in the pack frolicking again.

The pups plumped up quickly, gaining weight at an exceptional rate. There are no 'littles' or pups 'on watch', which washes me with a sense of incredible relief. We have our smaller crowd, and our bigger crowd in the mix, but all healthy, beautiful, and perfectly captivating. I spend hours each day sitting with these new arrivals just memorized at how perfectly perfect each one is. They are definitely my comeback kids and have renewed my faith in the future, but also, I am always just memorized with each litter and taken with each little toe, each smooshed up ear and every little squinty eye.

By the 3rd day all their collars had to be loosened and then on the 7th day they all got new brighter bigger collars to keep up with their growth. They will probably have to jump up again by the end of next week I'm sure. Nails got trimmed a couple of times in this week to make sure Meiko's undercarriage is not getting beat up too badly. 18 little paddie feet pushing on her underside is a LOT!

Early Neurologist Stimulation (ENS) started on day 3 and is run through day 16. It involves applying gentle stressors to a very young pup for short periods of time (3 - 5 secs), it is known to improve their stress responses later in life. All the pups also got their dew claws removed on the 3rd day as well, which went flawlessly in a very minor procedure done here by myself and my team in the comfort of their own space.

My daughter who works at a vet clinic comes home telling me terrible stories of torn and ripped dew claws on dogs that come in crying and desperate for repair. Oh the stories I hear that come back from her I could write a whole other section on really. 'The inside tales of my vet tech daughter' The kitten that her colleague rescued from the side of the road that had a mangled leg that they amputated and recovered in a basket sitting on the front counter of the clinic. Or the family that brought their dog in to be euthanized thinking that was the last option but the Dr. Offering a new experimental drug that gave them a few extra mths. With their fur friend. The 4 - 3 wk. Old Malinois pups that got left overnight at the front door of the clinic crying for help. And the whole team whipping into double.. triple time to get everything and anything these abandoned pups needed. And then the head Dr. Taking them home at the end of the day to foster them so my daughter didn't sneak one under her shirt on the way home! So many amazing stories. Okok I got side tracked from the Reindeer babies!

Day 6 they were trying to pull a new record of walking at the earliest age. I posted a video of this on FB for anyone who wants to check it out. I actually posted a few updates there this week so I wasn't completely leaving everyone in the dark as this week progressed. By day 7 they got to go outside to pick up some sunshine and make their whiter than white coats shine in the chill of the day. They posed perfectly for their 1 wk. Old photos all looking so grown so contently happy. Slight differences are starting to appear maybe not to you but I see them and note them.

I came across some research a ways back that stated that you can almost eliminate motion sickness in dogs in their future if you start their exposure really early. My own dogs get terribly sick so my drawer is always stocked with Dramamine. My rig is full of towels and wipes. Not fun! SO I am adding this onto my task list with this litter to try to prove this theory. Day 8 out we went to have a drive around the neighborhood to capture more of the Christmas spirit of taking in some of the magnificent displays of lights that were out and about. The babies sung a chorus or 2 of I'm sure it was 'Rudolph the red nose Reindeer' and then quickly transitioned into only humming a note or 2 of 'away in a manager' and soon after cooed to 'Silent night'. Meiko was happy to be out with us, curious but not anxious which was good. We'll continue this practice as much as we can as these pups grow and implement it into our future litters as well.

SORRY for the bad lighting in these shots! It was a late night drive making the lighting not so great and everyone looks so dirty and gross! (which they weren't)

I know these next handful of weeks will fly by especially with the holidays bustling around us. I know by next week these babes will have a completely new look and have milestones crushed like they weren't there to start. Tiny toes will grip and start to wander, eyes will turn from squinting to taking in the glow of the outside world overnight. Wrinkled skin will continue to captivate and quivering tails will always steal my heart. We all are enjoying the pups quiet demeanor and small plump potato bodies. As Christmas music fills the air around them I know soon enough their little ears will start to grasp hearing what's going on around them. It's the last of their senses to develop, with their sense of smell being #1, then sight and finally last, sound. It doesn't stop me from playing Christmas music in their house though as I know without a doubt the other dogs enjoy every minute of it as much as I do. The music will slowly transition from Christmas carols onward to noise clips of fireworks, traffic, crowd commotion and other random puppy desensitizing sound clips. Not as lovely to listen to but just as important as every Christmas Carol that is played now.

So as my team and I here continue to condition these pups for their future we want to thank you for trusting in us to do so. My heart is full and my soul is contented each moment I work with your babies. I thank you for the time I have with each of them. It is my hope that they will go to you a well rounded, balanced, perfectly perfect pup in every way. As Christmas is right around the corner I'll try my best to stay on top of sharing every moment with the Reindeer families and perhaps blog a day early next week before Christmas day. From there 1st puppy visits are right after the new year where they can't come quick enough!

As much as I love a white Christmas, it's going to be chilly to be out playing with pups but nothing that an extra layer can't fix. This time of year takes some improvising with raising a new pup but with some creativity, a touch of will, a dash of determination and a full heart, it's completely doable.

As the snow comes in this week I wish safety to you all and of course continued good health, happiness and a touch extra patience as we wait for these Reindeer babies to go home to a few very lucky families.


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