Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Midnight Mayhem

(So far, so is still working despite its unintentinal cold water bath).

The late night/early morning feedings around here never seem funny at the time but I suppose to an outsider there would be some humor in seeing an arthritic bedraggled woman in pjs trying to deal with ten starving, pooping, peeing, screaming, climbing, barking, scrambling pups.

The first challenge is to get inside their pen. What makes this challenging is that one or more of them has ALWAYS pooped right inside the gate, and all ten of them are crowding the gate (and dancing in the poop, which is usually being liberally smeared all over their little feeties) clamouring for attention - or food - or freedom.

The pen has a one foot board across the bottom of the gate opening, so I can leave the gate open for Lucy (on those rare occasions when she feels like checking on her babies) and me to hop in and out easily, but so the puppies cannot spill out all over my kitchen floor and onward to the rest of the house. Unfortunately, night before last I discovered that a one foot high board isn't high enough. As I stumbled into the kitchen, I literally tripped over a bundle of fur.....four of the little monsters had escaped. At three in the morning, I am fumbling around with peg board and zap straps, making the barrier higher.

The second challenge is to clean up all the mess. Ten pups left unattended while one grabs a few hours sleep can pretty much demolish every piece of newspaper in the pen, first soaking it in pee, then coating it with poop, then having a midnight rumble to ensure that every square inch and every puppy becomes a soggy, stinky mess. The challenge is made more exciting by the fact that the pups have only one thing on their mind - FOOD. And as Lucy doesn't feed them (especially when they are all screaming and clamouring for food), I become the object of their attention.

I quickly clean an area large enough for their food trays (no easy job as the pups are standing on the very sheets I want to remove) and hop back out of the pen to get the puppy formula and kibble mixture which has been warming in the microwave. I slop it into their bowls, which are lined up neatly in wallpaper trays, and face challenge number three: getting back into the pen with the trays without stepping on a pup, a poop, or a piddle.

Mission accomplished, I place the trays down and watch as all ten pups rush for one bowl. I quickly grab their little bodies and line them up along the trays to ensure each pup gets his or her fill, and while they are eating I snatch the damp bedding from their box and replace it with dry quilts and towels. Though all of the pups seems to leave the box for their bathroom duties, somehow the bedding still gets soaked.

When the pups have had their fill, I gather up the trays and retreat to the kitchen to wash up their dishes and set them out on the counter ready for the next feed which will occur as soon as the dogs and I get up to begin our day. Meanwhile, the pups are having another round of poop-pee-play, so I pop back in to clean up the poops as soon as they hit the floor. Ten little backends make a lot of mess.

As the pups stumble their way back to bed, tummies swollen with their early morning repast, I stumble back to my bed too.....where Lucy is stretched sideways across my pillows, sound asleep.


Black Jack's Carol said...

This is well described - so well described that I feel tired for you, Jean! I imagine you repeat fairly often, "This too will pass."

Aw, Lucy! There's something wrong with the picture of you stretched out across your foster mama's pillow, while she copes with your children. Couldn't you at least give her a hand? Come on, girl!

hornblower said...

Sounds like Lucy has a super live-in Nanny! ;-)

Bree said...

I wonder what made Lucy decide to stop being mother-of-the-year.. lazy girl! You're amazing for what you're doing though, I commend you! Doesn't sound like fun, but you've gotten it down to a science almost..

Jen said...

Ohhhh Jean, you ARE a saint!! I'll keep my SophieLab, thank you very much, even if she is horrible at moments. She cuddled up very nicely on the bed last night and kept my feet warm, even if she does snore loudly. Makes up for a mulitude of other sins!!

Anyway hang in there, you MUST be almost done, right?? :) And, glad your computer is still working!!!

Jen and the black dog crew

Anonymous said...

I had a good laugh at the picture you painted. When do they start sleeping all night???????

Jennie said...

These young mothers! I'd be watching your car keys if I was you. I think Lucy wants to be you!

Irene said...

if Lucy wants nothing to do with mothering, could you parcel out a few of the puppies for someone else to look after? if 5 puppies stayed together, they'd still get the socialization aspect of the "pack" even tho' someone other than you gives them care and food, right?

Jean said...

Okay, I'm keeping an eye on the car keys, for sure! I can just see Lucy, Sadie and Charley drivin' off into the sunset while I'm distracted by poopies - er - puppies.

Irene, we did discuss the possibility of dividing up the litter, but there really isn't anyone available. What we've done instead is to set up a schedule of puppy sitters so I get away 2-3 times a week for an afternoon, evening or full day. Sometimes that covers appointments and prior commitments I had, but other times it is just free time for me to go do whatever I want to do. Those pup sitters (mostly SPCA volunteers) are my "Sanity Savers"!

While there is more mess to clean up as the pups get bigger, there is less prep to do as they move to "real" dog food, and also Lucy is fully back on kibble now so I'm not homecooking for her.

There's only a little over three weeks left, I think - I'm assuming the pups will go back to the shelter at 7 weeks so they can be viewed by potential adopters and also have their spays/neuters.

Lady Lucy is welcome to stay here until she is adopted - she wouldn't do well in a kennel and she'll need to be spayed also and will take a bit longer to recover than the pups I think.

Gail, I have no idea when they will start sleeping through the night, but I SURE hope it is soon!

Janice Gillett said...

What a hoot!!!!!!!! Lucy laying on your bed cracked me right up!!

Monica said...

Jean, you're amazing!!

Caroline said...

I have to learn to read your blog without attempting to drink coffee, as I keep laughing too much, lol.

I think Lucy believes you are doing a really fine job all on your own, clearly she is not needed and she can have a well deserved, undisturbed night's sleep every night!

Silly dog and fantastic foster momma!