Adventures With Ruby: Puppy 101

So, about three weeks ago I noticed Ruby, our yellow lab, looked a little rounder than normal. She is a very lean dog so when she was suddenly round, it caused me to raise a brow. My husband took her to the vet who reported, he was sixty percent sure she was in fact pregnant but he could tell us for sure next month.

He also said a lot of dogs have false pregnancies with their first heat so I thought ok we will know one way or another next month. Non-the-less I kept poking her belly trying to feel pups and about a week after the vet visit I was successful. Knowing she was in fact expecting I planned to build a welling box and get her settled in. Based on what I had read I had maybe two weeks to be ready. Meanwhile in the back of my mind I keep thinking it will be any day.

I never trust my instincts. Anyway, last Saturday February 15th, I woke up at 215am for work as per usual and Ruby pranced around when i turned on the light as usual but something was different. She had not eaten her dinner. I had read that dogs will not eat within twenty-four hours of giving birth, you would think this would be a significant clue however, sometimes she just doesn’t eat so I didn’t think much of it. I fed her a milk bone and as I got into the car I thought, Mike is going to call me saying she in labor. Shrugged the thought off and headed out.

pup for blog 3

I had been at work for a little over an hour when Mike called me. “We have three puppies so far.” Is what he said. So I hopped back into my car and raced home. I am writing this for multiple reasons. One being its a cute story that ends happily with nine puppies, but I know how this could have gone and honestly I had been expecting the worst so I thought I would share some information that would have been helpful to me about a week ago.

pups for blog  First, it’s tough to tell when your dog is in heat but research is your friend. If you don’t get your female fixed pay attention. We had no idea for the first half of Ruby’s heat because she was so good at cleaning up after herself. Talk to your vet and remain vigilant. We were EXTREMELY lucky that things turned out well for us. and Ruby took to being a mother. She is still a puppy herself after all.

Second, lots of things can go wrong with young mothers. They can neglect their young, they can kill their babies, sometimes they just don’t know what to do and the babies die because the mothers don’t clean them off and get them breathing. Honestly I was expecting to lose puppies, but Ruby took to motherhood very well. I did have to warm the pups and set them up for their first drink which is very important. There were four at this point and as it turned out five to go. In situations like this you should have thread, scissors, and a suction bulb like you use for babies noses. If your dog does not clean the babies you need to break the amniotic sac clean out their mouths and cut the cord and then rub them off with towels till they cry out and then put them right on the teat. You also need to keep the puppies warm. Their number one reason for fussing is because they are cold. If they are on a teat and still crying they may need to eliminate urine or a bowel.

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I was lucky that Ruby reacted as a mother dog should and I was lucky to have had a grandmother who taught me a lot about dogs and let me help as a collie birthed a litter once (I was like ten). So, when Ruby had trouble with baby number eight I knew what to do. The amniotic sac had broken before he was born so when she pushed his head popped out and when she stopped his head slipped back in. Poor Ruby panicked momentarily when she couldn’t find him. When she pushed the second time I slipped my fingers behind his jaw and waited for the third push and gently guided him out, then it was a lot like that scene in 101 Dalmatians when the guys has the puppy in the blanket and he in rubbing it trying to get it breath. Of course, this pup did not squeal like the rest he just eventually gave a heavy sigh which was good enough for Ruby and I.

If you need a safe place to keep pups in a pinch a laundry basket with a blanket works great!

If you need a safe place to keep pups in a pinch a laundry basket with a blanket works great!

Once all nine were out and it was a reasonable hour, I gave my gram, Mimi, a call. She told me I needed to call the vet and see if we could get an x-ray, the biggest danger at this point was that there could be a pup stuck in her still. I had no idea this could even be an issue, I am so happy I thought to call her!

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Two x-rays later we were in the clear. I went home and over the next few hours noticed Ruby was not cleaning the pups properly. She was licking them to help them go to the bathroom (Puppies can’t eliminate without help) So I called Mimi once again and received instructions to show Ruby how to clean the pups with mineral or baby oil and cotton balls. After I showed her a few she began doing that too. I still have to help a little but honestly I don’t blame her for not wanting to lick puppy poop.

Next I visited Mimi with photos of the puppies she had helped me with and asked about milk. Ruby’s milk had not come in and I wasn’t sure how it worked with dogs. I had read online that dogs start to leak milk before the pups are even born so I was really worried two days later. Turns out they get their milk a lot like people, about three days after the birth. Her milk came in fine and all is well now. 🙂

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Potty Training Part 1 of How Ever Many Posts It Takes

The first and most important rule of potty training is… are you ready for this? Don’t force them. They will resist and it won’t get you there any faster. Now, here are the ways to encourage potty training without forcing it that I have heard/tried. We have a potty chart on the Fridge, every time Logan goes to the bathroom he gets a cars sticker to put on the chart. There is exactly one sticker on that chart. To think, I was worried about running out of stickers.

I also tried something my aunt, a day care employee for many years, suggested. Put him in underwear for a week. There will be a lot of accidents but by the end of the week he will have it. I ran into two problems with this. First I did not buy enough underwear for him. Second and this is my problem, when we went out I put a diaper on him because I didn’t want him to have an accident in the car or in a store. After two weeks of sort of trying this I thought that once he had a “dirty” accident in his underwear we would be home free cause he would not like it. Well he didn’t like it but he still will not use the potty.

Logan’s potty issue is also a little bit worse because his well-meaning grand father, Boppy as Logan calls him, put Logan on the adult potty without a kid seat or anything and scared the crap out of him only not literally. So now he has a fear of the potty and I don’t even think he remembers why. So if you are looking at potty training your child I say give those two a shot and keep grandpa out of it.

I’m not sure what to try next. The one sticker on our fridge is because he got to have a reeses cup when he was done. I am hopeful for the near future because he started talking about the potty again.

Ok so after the “scary” incident, I bought him a cars themed toilet seat that goes on the regular toilet and a stool and I found the kid potty we had already. None of these really helped. He uses the stool to wash his hands which is nice unless he floods the bathroom. He also uses it to get things on the counter he is not supposed to have.

I think since we are in quarantine anyway I will give the “put underwear on him for a week” thing again. Here’s to hoping it works! Maybe by this time next week Logan will be on his way to being potty trained!


It’s Ranting Time: Speaking To High School Grads About The Future

There is absolutely no need to look a wide-eyed high school grad in the eye ask them about their dreams and stomp those dreams into the ground before they even finish telling you about them. None. Ever.

YES money is important to a degree. You need money for rent, food and the other necessities of life. What you don’t need is to waste your life chasing money. If you want to get married and have ten kids go ahead! If you love to draw, build up a portfolio and have an open house. Don’t quite your day job, but try. Figure out a way. If you are good and not squeamish, try tattooing or art restoration at a museum. If you like photography give it a shot learn what you can master the craft.

If you have an amazing story to tell, sit your butt down and tell it. If no one wants to represent your master piece publish it yourself! That’s an option now! Just do it. Figure out what makes you happy and just get out there and do it. If you have a dream DO NOT let anyone and I mean anyone stop you. Like I said, don’t quit your day job, you do need to survive to make your dreams come true but don’t let that define you or hold you back. I grew up with miserable parents working themselves to the bone trying to make ends meet. My mother used to write these amazing children’s stories about a frog and I loved them. What happened to those? Life. My father is one of the most creative and talented individuals I have ever met. You want it he can figure out how to make if he hasn’t already, but he doesn’t have much time for what he loves.

My mom is going to nursing school and I hope that makes her happy. She seems to always be chasing happiness.

A lot of people thought I could make it in the fields that I found interesting and as a result I began to think I couldn’t do anything if there wasn’t a huge pay out at the end. So I sat on my butt for a year until I got pregnant and then looking at this beautiful baby I thought, “I cannot let him think like that. He can do anything. It’s my job as a parent to show him its true.”

And to all you nay sayers out there, I ask you this: Do you think Brad Pitt’s parents thought he was going have the success he has had? How about your favorite author? What about those chef’s both on TV and in the big restaurants?

No not everyone will make it and certainly not on their first try but that is no reason to think they never will. I also know that a lot of people who love the aforementioned high school grad feel that they are some how protecting their loved one by saying these things. Because it is from love I will try to go easier on you. You might have just crushed their little blooming spirit. It takes a lot to revive a crushed spirit. Most of them are completely lost. Give encouragement and remind them about the importance of a day job.

I also understand people wanting their children to move out at some point in their adult lives. Again the day job comes to mind.

If my book is a complete flop, and I sincerely hope it is not, but if it is, I will try again and again. I will be a little bit disappointed but honestly I like to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Give them that advice. Day job and hope for the best prepare for the worst. The two best pieces of advice I have ever received.

So to all the high school grads out there. Remember that your parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles love you. Remember if you have a dream to include your plan for a day job in how you go about achieving it and don’t let anyone discourage you. Find a way and most importantly be happy.



I am sitting here watching my kids play and literally laughing my butt off. They are so cute! Their entire interaction is adorable. Lucian cannot quite crawl yet but he can creep and Logan is crawling in circles around him saying “See? Come on!” The baby fusses and he rubs his back and tells him he’s ok. Logan runs out of the room and runs back like why aren’t you following me?

Just had to share my proud mommy moment.


Gus The Cat

We have two cats, they are brothers named Gus and General and yes I seem to have a problem with names starting with the same letter. If you don’t know my family we are Michael and Marissa. Our sons are Logan and Lucian or Locian and Lugan as I tend to pronounce them haha. We only have one dog for now and she is Ruby.

ANYWAY, we live across the street from an antique shop and the owners stopped in yesterday. As the woman made her way up the walk, Ruby being the valiant guard dog that she is barked and snarled like a champ. Until the woman reached the stoop, then she ran away so fast I seriously considered dog races in her future. As long as the store owner didn’t mind tagging along to scare her at the starting line.

Once the dog was out of view, she apologized and began to ask me about a tabby cat. General appeared from behind my leg and she pointed to him. “One that looks and awful lot like that?” I told her we did they were brothers. She then informed that Gus had become a regular at the shop and she wanted to make sure he had a home and was neutered as she let him the shop almost everyday. I have to say I am a bit relieved since he is always gone to know that he is just up at the shop and not out in the road or the woods out back. There has been a fox terrorizing the neighbors chickens and I have been worried  about it finding my cats.