What a shock I got as I arrived home on Monday night…….
Sienna has had three puppies, very very unexpectedly!
Her previous litter was August 9 and so far as I could tell she started cycling again last week of November.
I confined her to the dog run and a mad five week period of musical dogs began. She was booked in for surgery and we missed out twice in December *sigh*
Dogs it seems can have mixed litters, or add to them through multiple couplings just like cats and pigs……
My theory is that either she started cycling sooner than I realised and I caught her just in the nick of time after a very brief encounter.
Or her endocrine system was still depressed from long term poor nutrition and she only released a small number of eggs.
Either way. This is her last hurrah!
Now before anyone has a Tut Tut, or worse, please note. I am a responsible owner and care for my maremma in as proactive a way as I can.
This is the backstory.
Sienna arrived mid September, with two of her pups. She had whelped 9 August.
Very underweight (27.7 kilos) Sienna’s vet assessment determined she had had multiple litters and was just two years old.
I undertook a high protein high calorific nutrition regime to restore her weight and address mineral deficiency. Of particular concern was calcium depletion and skeletal health.
Fresh chicken plus bones ( drumsticks, wings carcasses) salmon (heads plus frames) kangaroo and pork formed the main part of her diet plus mince with cheese and rice, gradually adding vegetables and increasing grain content. Eggs whisked with milk quickly became her favourite breakfast. Some days she would refuse to eat at all and just eggy milk was all I could see her taking.
She would not eat dried biscuits and showed no interest whatever in canned or cooked meats.
As her trust started to improve (and I think keeping her with her family group ie jet and the two pups helped enormously here) it wasn’t long before she was out working regularly at night and padding about following me a I worked on the property by day.
Her alert and activity levels were very high- but as her confidence grew, she moved away from the poultry exploring further afield. I could often hear her, but could not see where she disappeared on these excursions, and between boundary training 5 kms twice a day on lead – I was too buggered to track her continuously. Plus they need to learn the ropes and understand their new context right? But I did note she barked incessantly and found she was overwhelmed by new sights sounds and smells as calving commenced, and her introduction to cattle regressed just as I thought it was going well. Sienna’s non stop chasing and barking had incited the pups to join in, so by mid November I decided to keep her more confined in the dog run during the day in an effort to try and improve weight gain and rest.
It’s about this time (late November) that Jet (new maremma) and Simba (existing male maremma) fell out- and I realised that Sienna must be cycling. So I contacted the vet immediately ( who said it was highly unlikely given the pups age) but agreed to book her in for early December spaying. So began musical dogs, with Sienna confined full time – the dog run is 30m x6m with shelter and plenty of cover, plus a great view. She wasn’t happy, and jet patrolled outside up and down non stop, refusing to eat also and never leaving her side.
Simba was very reluctantly rehomed to a friends poultry farm for his own safety while we sorted out the dynamics. I thought the 10th I’d December would never arrive!
We arrived for surgery at 7am (an hours drive away) only to be turned way as Sienna was still bleeding and the vet felt the risk of bleeding out under anaesthetic was too great. Her weight was logged at 32 kilos.
Rebooked surgery for the 18th Dec.
An emergency and staff absence that day meant we had to again rebook for first surgery day in January.
That was Monday just gone.
On Saturday, as I was grooming, I realised that Sienna seemed a little ‘full’. Now one of the consequences of her multiple quick succession large litter birthings, is that she has very distended teats and her gait is also a little wonky- I think her large femur bones are misshapen most likely from calcium deficiency and little growing time. She did not look pregnant, but has been a little snarly through the week. Not a lot, just occasionally telling her pups to bugger off and play somewhere else. She has been awesomely close to me.
I am not an experienced breeder, I just love and care for my dogs as best I know how learning as I go but it was GENUINELY the first time it occurred to me that with all the precautions and messing about she may be in pup.
After our grooming day I needed to see the vet to check Jet’s ears, so decided to bundle all the dogs (while they were so clean) into the car and get next round vaccinations and worm flea treatments sorted in one go. It’s a drama taking maremma off farm anywhere, so the more services you can bundle the less traumatic for them. My local vet has normal clinic on Saturday evenings -so very flexible. Love her 💚
I thought an evening walk on lead around the lake would be good for them too, while there are not many people about.
Normal people go out and do normal human interaction stuff on a Saturday night, right?
Sienna off the lead, promptly morphs into ghost mode and was nowhere to be found and with time evaporating, I simply took Jet, Nala and Rocco to visit the vet. Jan does not do surgery. All theatre work is referred out to other specialist vets. I trust jam, and perhaps if Sienna had been with me for examination, the scenario may have been different…
I discussed my fear that Sienna may be in pup- and the vet advised me to go ahead anyway- “they’ll be too small to be worried about” I was told. But this advice didn’t sit well, and I baulked.
I contacted the surgeon vet (not the same one- a specialist de sexing clinic) and was told the same thing, still not comfortable, so I asked we not proceed with surgery Monday morning asking to wait another week while I thought about it.
Monday night I got home to three babies, and a smiling mamma.
You do the math…….