Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tiny Steps

Did you know that when puppies are born they cannot hear or see? They come into this world completely defenseless and totally dependent on their mommy to take care of them. The only thing they know is to move towards the warmth of their mommy and they have to use their nose to find out which way to crawl and to find some nice warm milk. The puppies are so tiny they can fit right inside the palms of our hands. They cannot even go to the bathroom unless their mommy licks them to stimulate the process. It is amazing to watch the little babies come into this world so small and helpless and then grow and change into cute adorable happy puppies. Right around two weeks of age the puppies begin to open their eyes. At first it is just a little peep – barely a sliver of opening but gradually the eyes open more and more. They look a lot more like puppies once their eyes open but at this point they still can’t hear. That takes about one more week. It is quite obvious one the puppies can hear because as soon as you walk into the room, you can hear them bark as if to say “HI! We heard you come in!!!!! WOW!!! We can hear!” They really start to look like puppies now and at this point they start to get up on their feet and toddle around a bit. Mommy still takes care of them for most all of their needs and during this week the puppies really drink a lot of milk. We double the food for the mommy as she has to be in top shape to feed all those hungry puppies. Once the puppies enter the fourth week, we start offering solid food. The mommy dogs are very glad for the break. At first the puppies all look at us like “WHAT IS THIS?!!...WHERE IS MOMMY??? What is in the bowl?? How do we do this?” They look quite pitiful in the beginning but they do quickly learn that we are most excellent chefs and the stuff in the big bowl is YUMMY! Within 1-2 days they happily lick their bowls clean and look forward to the next feeding time! By the time the puppies are 5 weeks old, they are up and playing and having fun with each other and it is then they begin to explore the big brave outdoors. It is amazing to watch the transformation that occurs over those few short weeks. We start out caring for little tiny defenseless babies and then get to watch them grow and change and mature and learn to explore and to play and become ready to spend their lives with their forever families. We feel pretty lucky to be a big part of all those tiny first steps in life.

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