I am writing this blog post today not from a position of a great depth of knowledge but reporting from two singular experiences. I am hoping anyone reading this that has gone through a similar situation will offer their perspective.
I suppose for many of you this post will hold little of interest so I will try to spice it up with racy photos to keep you all interested.
Here is racy photo number one:
This is my now past amazing Jack Russell girl “Twister” with her singleton puppy “Wink.” The reason for her singleton puppy was that she had parvo as a puppy and it left her reproductive organs pretty scarred and non functioning. As it turns out it was a miracle she ever got pregnant.
Okay so maybe that picture wasn’t racy enough. Here is one a little more racier; Twister doing what she loved best racing.
Weighing only 8 1/2 pounds and 11” tall Twister easily bounced the 10′ distances in flyball to help set dozens of world records. She was pretty darn spectacular in her day.
Twister’s pregnancy and delivery was not at all the norm for a singleton. Apparently, more than 50% of all singleton puppies die (source: the internet so take it for what it is worth:)).
Many of these puppies die because they grow too big in uteral and the bitch has difficulty with whelping (many taken by C-section).
Not so with Twister. Where my other two JRT litters had an average birth weight of 6 oz, Wink was 3.5 oz. Twister’s whelping was no more than 12 minutes long; she hoped into my laundry basket, cocked her hip to one side and popped out a puppy as if to say — here, this is yours, take it will you?
My experience with Wink was not a true singleton experience because I was fortunate enough to have a friend whelp a litter of Border Collies the same day and she gave me one of her puppies for Twister to foster so Wink had a littermate.
Twister was an awesome mom to both “Tsuna” and Wink. Tsuna lived to be 15 years old and I saw Wink just last fall, looking great as usual.
That brings me up to my current singleton who quickly is earning several names; “Sid the Kid” or “Swagger” or “Swag-Man” and as of today he is “Pork -Pie Boy.”
Why “Pork-Pie” you ask?
I have spoken to two friends that have had puppies in their litters of similar birth size; one from a litter of Border Collies one a litter of Standard Poodles.
So at birth, all three puppies weighed around 9.6 oz.
At one week old the Standard Poodle weighed 14.6 oz and the Border Collie weighed 18.5 oz
Here it is only Day 5 and my Pork Pie weighs 24 oz. Yesterday I started to limit how long he could belly up to the milk bar in hopes of not having his belly explode. He still gets fed every time he cries, I am just not allowing him to drain all of the resources each time.
And in case you were thinking, “but Susan, possibly your boy is just a big puppy, how big was his sire?” Let me tell you his sire was 5 lbs lighter and 2 inches shorter than Feature . . . so that theory is gone:).
What I am looking for here is input. Here are the special needs and some of the solutions for the singleton puppy that I can think of but I don’t want to overlook anything;
1) Monitoring his intake so he doesn’t become a Pork Pie — although I have been given advise both for and against trying to regulate intake.
2)Tactile stimulation; without littermates, there is no one crawling on or under him — so I do that with stuffed animals twice a day . . . often times when he is nursing other times just for no reason. In addition, he has a big pile of stuffed animals and a towel with a knot in it (his favourite) to curl up with.
3) Building a frustration tolerance. It has been suggested that some singleton puppies “give up” in work easily because they never learned to work through frustration as a young puppy. Most puppies get knocked off of a nipple and have to fight to get back on a new one. With a singleton, this never happens. To help with this I take a stuffed animal and push Sid off of a nipple perhaps once a feeding (but not during the night feedings as I am too dopey). Sometimes I do not allow him access to a new nipple for a 5 seconds other times I just let him discover a new one.
4) Socializing. Puppies learn bite inhibition and doggy body language through their littermates. Without littermates, you could easily raise a social deviant puppy. Encore will be great for this but I also I know of a litter of Cocker Spaniels nearby that was born the same day as Sid so my plan is to approach this breeder for play dates with this litter once Sid is 3-4 weeks old.
Okay, I am now appealing to all of you true Breeders out there or anyone who has had experience raising a Singleton those of you that are just great a surfing the internet:). Any input you have for me would be greatly appreciated!
Sorry only one racy picture, I hope that was enough to keep you all reading to the end!
Today I am grateful for one healthy puppy. He has been through a lot making his way this far, I would like to do my best to help make the rest of his journey be less rocky.