Diary of a Winter Litter

This story can also be called “The Terrible Ten”

It takes place in the dead of winter in Northern Minnesota.

1-23-2012 Monday

Winter in northern Minnesota and 10 eight week old puppies.

Wonderful bitch coming to live in my home for several months.

Scary trip to the vet for a C-section

-16 to +20 degree temps – they don’t set foot outside

18 – 20 cups of dog food per day (in terms of poop and pee, think of having my nine adult dogs never go outside)

3-4 loads of laundry (high capacity washer)

20 lb bag of kitty litter every two days ($8.50  per bag)

2-3 play sessions a day for an hour where they run around the kitchen, living room and hallways, creating chaos. Chewing on your legs and feet, the walls, couch covers, corners of the rug and coffee tables, chewing on the granite slab in front of the fireplace. Yes, really – granite. (completely preventing me from accomplishing anything)

One leather chair never to be the same again. (Sorry Mark!)

4:30 a.m. wake up call – they sound like the seagulls in Canal Park and very loud.

Constant parade of visitors (I have to tidy up the house again!!??)

End product: 10 beautiful and healthy puppies with lots of energy, charming, fearless and ready to make their way in the world.


1-31-2012 Tuesday

10 nine week old puppies:

The terrier heritage is shining through and battles of epic proportions occur by the minute in my living room. Nasty, snarling, growling, biting, horrible puppies attacking and playing with each other. I am on the set of Brave Heart during the battle scenes. Yet, despite the deafening noise, there is not a scratch amongst them.

I rescued the TV remote this morning. (I forgot they are getting taller and more agile.)

They all weigh 10 – 11 pounds and I exist in a sea of piranhas. We humans live in daily fear of a severed Achilles tendon.

We are now up to 100 pounds of kitty litter every 7 days…. Good thing we live in the woods for disposal.

The leather chair is now completely naked on the back and is listing to one side. (Again, sorry Mark about your favorite chair)

The washer broke and the repair service can’t come for six days.

The WASHER broke

The washer BROKE


The pile of nasty, poopy blankets in the garage is approaching the size and shape of Pike’s Peak.

They now eat MORE than the nine adult dogs combined. The poops are gargantuan – how can a ten pound puppy create such a large pile? Several times a day? Seriously?

Their first trip outside – this morning is mild (24 degrees) so I let them out on the deck and small yard for a brief time while I shovel out their pen. (Note to self; slippers are not the most effective foot gear to chase down the two puppies reluctant to return to the warmth of the house)

A small bright spot is that two leave this weekend. A VERY small bright spot – two leaving means eight left – the size of a REGULAR really BIG litter.

They took their first big adventure Saturday – a car ride to the local training club. They spilled into the matted area, running, cavorting and exploring the mirrored walls. Not an ounce of fear among the ten.

They are adorable.

I would do this again.

I am certifiably crazy.


2-7-2012 Eight 10 week old whippet puppies – YEAH! Two left with their new families.

Why do puppies wake up at 5:30? It’s not daylight yet.  Even chickens don’t wake up that early. The incredibly loud cries they make sound like they are being individually dismembered. Continued sleep for humans is unlikely.

The leather chair now has two bricks propped under the side that is listing. No need to remove it from the living room – it’s already beyond hope and it may distract from the not yet destroyed coffee table. On a positive note since it no longer rocks I don’t have to worry about a puppy getting squashed.

Doing toenails on 303 toes (10 puppies prior to them leaving and 9 adults. If you think I have math issues, Echo is missing a toenail….)

No more mood lighting in the living room – all lamps are unplugged and the cords wrapped around the lampshades.  We exist in the glare of the overhead light.

They have discovered the oak paneled walls –  HOW do you chew on a vertical surface? Seriously?

A new one for us – we have a floor heat vent. One of the puppies decided that was a great place to squat and pee into the vent. Lovely aroma – roasted puppy piddle.

The wooden cabinet that houses the TV is surrounded by plastic Rubbermaid bins to prevent electrical cord destruction and chewing on the wood. The bright colors add a nice, homey touch. Visitors don’t comment on the new décor – I wonder if they think it’s unusual?

The conversation while puppies are out consist of “How was your NO NO NO day?” Did you stop and Ow, ow, no bite! get milk? The washer repair Ackkkk!  service came today, thank goodness.”

Visitors to the puppies are issued band aids on a regular basis.

It’s 7 a.m. They have become bigger, faster, stronger and more determined. They dug through all the layers underneath them and I am now throwing out the tarp and gingerly scraping the hardened poop up off nice ash floor with a metal paint scraper prior to mopping. While I am scraping and mopping, they continue to reenact Brave Heart battle scenes in the living room.

There are now only eight puppies. Why is it that I cannot retrain my mind to count to eight a hundred times a day instead of 10? Must be an age thing.

If I can’t retrain my mind to count to eight, what hope do I have to train yet another puppy? What was I thinking?

Spring will come someday.

We are still alive. 

Darn it, they are still cute!



Six, yes, SIX three month old whippet puppies

They weigh from 14 ½ to 18 pounds – they’re huge and I can only carry one at a time. Now that they graduated to a new puppy pen in a different area, when I want to socialize in the living room they all are willing to run up the stairs. However, went asked, they are unwilling to return to their battened down, double locked, double x-penned containment area behind a latched door.

Good thing I need the exercise – six trips up and down the stairs is useful in my exercise program.

The leather chair has been consigned to the dumpster. The washer that broke had to be replaced and after the second replacement, is working beautifully.

Good thing breeding whippets is such a lucrative experience.

Now that they are in my workspace, they usually wait until I’m on the phone with a customer to begin the Brave Heart reenactment scenes, creating so much noise that my customers have to shout.

Good thing I usually wear a sweatshirt and it’s so mild (24 degrees and a blowing snowstorm) that I can step outside where it’s quiet to finish the call.

Three are going this weekend – wha-hoo! That is, of course, if I manage to get two of them and their mama on the plane. That didn’t work last week because of weather and a small mishap involving mama, which precluded flying. Oh, well, what’s another week? (eeeeeeeeek!, ANOTHER WEEEEEEEEK)

Good thing they are cuddly.

The visit to the vet for health certificates to fly consisted of two non leash broken puppies that are too heavy to carry two at a time and mama. Three dogs = a three ring moveable circus. They charmed the vet tech as a welcome break in the day from treating elderly, sick animals.

Good thing they are adorable.

The kitty litter has been replaced by access to a dog door. Phew on effort and pe-euwwwww on smell – no more carrying a huge container out into the woods of stinky stuff.

Good thing they are trainable.

The puppies in new homes are delighting their owners and adjusting beautifully.

Good thing to enjoy watching new families have fun with their puppies and applaud their successes.

The three (what!!! I thought you were only keeping TWO) that are staying will now be able to join the rest of the household and become semi-fully fledged pack members.

Good thing I have such a wonderful and tolerant husband.

The end is coming.

I will teach them to walk on leads.

I will do this again.

Good thing I have such a short memory.


3 Responses to Diary of a Winter Litter

  1. charlotte lee says:

    When I am feeling down and hating the rain and snow, I re-read your winter Litter story! I laugh and tears run down my cheeks….it is absolutely hilarious! Thank you again for writing it! Hugs, Charlotte

  2. Kay-
    I’ve only thought about this scenario, mentally rehearsing it many times. In our climate (Rochester NY) a winter litter is best! No disease to contend with until they are older and stronger! As long as one can have a couple pieces of furniture to sacrifice, and a washer repairman on call….lets do it AGAIN!

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