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Podcast 27 – Pregnancy Coaching for First Timers!

Hello and welcome to Bella and Duke, Podcast 27! In this episode, Holistic Vet, Wendy McGrandles and Canine Behavioural Specialist, Caroline Spencer, both prep Rowan for his beloved Kismet’s, first pregnancy!

0:20 Welcome! 2:02 How do I prep for the puppy due date? 4:38 What is a ‘Welping Box’? 9:08 Wendy’s Advice 12:45 Intervening During Your Dogs Pregnancy (If necessary) 17:35 Caulophyllum Remedy 18:54 What if you can’t tell the exact due date? 20:12 Rowans Recap 24:04 Make sure the sack is broken! 26:31 Homeopathic Arnica (The minute labour is over!) 28:55 What if another puppy doesn’t appear within 2 hours? 29:25 Putting traction on (gently!) 34:00 Roundup and goodbye!

 Rowan:          Right. Welcome to Podcast xxx. I think it’s number 27. Ladies, thank you for joining me. Today everyone I am joined by the magnificent Caroline Spencer, our behaviourist, and the equally magnificent Wendy McGrandles, who is our super holistic vet. Today we’re going to talk about preparing for puppies, which is kind of exciting. So, ladies, I am in this luxurious position of having both of your attention. Thank you. And also all of your knowledge and I’m just going to sit here and bask in your expertise. So Kismet is about to drop. She is technically speaking double cheggers. We believe she’s like two weeks away from puppies. We think there’s about seven, potentially two fathers. I’m hoping Caroline, that was your phone and not a bodily part?

Caroline:        No, nothing to do with me, I don’t have a phone here.


Wendy:          Wasn’t me.

Rowan:          We’ll just say it was a random parp. We’ll gloss over it.

Caroline:        I don’t think it was me.

Rowan:          Yeah, whatever. Caroline “Parp” Spencer, our behaviorist. So whoever wishes to go first, I am really luxuriating this, it’s a great opportunity for me to learn from you, because obviously I’m doing what I can from a nutritional perspective, but what should I be doing to prep for Kismet and for the actual puppy due dates? Over to you ladies.

Wendy:          Caroline, do you want to start with the kind of management and behavior side and I’ll do the signs of whelping etc., etc.

Caroline:        OK then.

Rowan:          Oh this is golden. I’m in note taking mode.

Caroline:        I’ll just do a little bit here. So yeah, the main thing is don’t over exercise her. She can do the exercise at her own pace. She’ll need lots of rest and lots of sleeping. She’ll probably want to start doing a little bit of nesting.

Rowan:          OK.

Caroline:        You’re laughing, is she snoozing now? Is she having a running around session?

Rowan:          No, this is so funny. It’s like she’s gone from being a dog that can run and do a 360 degree turn jump and carry on running to poddling around town and then just going — no, I’m not walking anymore. And just lying down on the cobbles in the middle of town and me having to pick her up and carry her like a baby. She’s substantially heavier, she’s like four kilos heavier. So I’m laughing because that’s so true and she’s currently sleeping.

Caroline:        Fabulous. So don’t worry about taking her for a walk Rowan, she’ll give her own exercise in the garden or you’ve got the beach down the road which is very nice. But yeah, short and sweet and just let her do her own thing because she knows what she can cope with and what she can’t. That’s quite important at the moment. Is she sort of starting to nest in her bed, digging the bed up and bringing things around the house?

Rowan:          No she hasn’t, she hasn’t. But unfortunately, I was meant to be going to Portugal last weekend to go and see my family and the Land Rover broke down, again. So I had to hire a van and today I couldn’t find her and it was because she’d actually hidden under the seats in the van. So maybe this is the beginning of it. But she can’t have the properties in hire van.

Caroline:        No and that’s another thing…

Rowan:          That’s not covered. That’s not covered in the insurance.

Caroline:        — [inaudible] otherwise she’ll disappear and go and find her own little spot.

Rowan:          Sorry, tell me that again because this is obviously important. I need to stop being glib.

Caroline:        Yeah, that would help. Yeah an eye on her. Keep her in sort of areas where she can’t get out. When you’re going for a walk, just go for a short bimble because she might just decide, ooh under that house looks a nice place to have my puppy. Because you live out in Spain and there’s lot of random houses with bits underneath aren’t there? I don’t know. But anyway, keep her in nice close area. Give her a bed that she can rumble about in. Have you got a whelping box?

Rowan:          No.

Caroline:        It would be quite a good idea to sort that out now so she gets used to being in that bed.

Rowan:          Right.

Caroline:        And they’re built, so they’ve got bars on the inside. So when she’s laying close to the side, she doesn’t . . . [inaudible][04:55] puppy. So you’ve ot that little bit of space if a puppy gets squished to the side of the bed.

Rowan:          OK. And so where would I source a whelping box? Do I just get one of those on Amazon?

Caroline:        Do you know, I have no idea. Very good question. I’ve always made my own.

Rowan:          Oh. Maybe after the podcast you could post a picture of one that you’ve made?

Caroline:        Oh gosh, I think the last lot of puppies I had was 10 years ago. So it no longer exists.

Rowan:          OK, so can you talk me through a whelping box then?

Caroline:        I do know someone who’s a great friend of mine just had a litter of puppies recently and I’m sure she’ll be sending some fabulous photographs over of her whelping box and things like that.

Rowan:          So for people who are listening who have not been exposed to a whelping box before, the concept of it is?

Caroline:        You have a bar halfway down around the inside so the bitch can’t lay flat to the back of the bed. So if there’s a puppy in the way she doesn’t crush it.

Rowan:          OK, OK, cool.

Caroline:        She can get really, really tired and you don’t notice when a puppy’s sleeping when you’ve just had babies — been there, got the t-shirt. So that would be really good. I haven’t had puppies by the way. Mind you when I was pregnant I did dream I had a litter of Labrador puppies, but that’s another thing all entirely. So get that sorted in the next few days and get her bedding in there that she’s familiar with. Also what I would grab is loads of newspapers, because when she’s whelping you want to put a whole wad of newspapers underneath and you need to clear off the top layer each time a puppy comes, so just try and keep things clean.

Rowan:          When you say “whelping,” that’s birthing right?

Caroline:        Giving birth yes.

Rowan:          So whelping equals birthing. Fabulous. You see how green I am at this?

Caroline:        Yeah.

Rowan:          If anybody listening to this suddenly takes pity on me and decides to come out and give me a hand, free accommodation and bulletproof coffee every morning. Just saying. Next. So what else should I be thinking about Caroline?

Caroline:        Well, again, pregnancy isn’t a disability. But plenty of people will go — oh, there’s a problem here, I’ve got to be really careful with this that and the other. Just let her be. Let her be herself, let her just relax into it, relax into the space where she’s going to have her puppies, bimble round the garden. Don’t over fuss. It’s not a problem. Just let her get on with it. You know what to feed her, so just cool and chill.

Rowan:          Can I say she’s been absolutely joyous. She’s taken to licking my hand to wake me up because she needs to go for a wee a little bit earlier in the morning. Or if my foot’s out of the bed to licking a toe, which is a bit Sarah Ferguson. But she’s generally walking around…


Caroline:        Very slow… woof.

Wendy:          You were slow there.

Rowan:          — but she has taken. So she’s taken to really tracking me and walking around on my knee, like the Golden Compass. It’s like my demon or spirit animal. So she’s been clingy but in a very, very nice way.

Caroline:        That’s lovely and all you have to do… She’s probably feeling a bit, well she’s feeling very uncomfortable, bit vulnerable, doesn’t really know what’s going on probably. And when she comes around, just put your hand on her side as a calming influence and think about breathing, you’re good with your breathing and your meditation stuff like that. So just be with her and be calm and she will go, it’s OK.

Rowan:          Good tips, I’m loving all of this. I’m kind of trying to do all of that and I believe I am. I’m actually laughing a lot because she’s been so ridiculously cute. But awesome.

Wendy. What should I be thinking about from using your special holistic vet hat?

Wendy:          Yeah, well the first thing you’ve got to know is when she’s going to whelp, when it’s all going to kick off. And what’s normal and what’s not normal I think is the important bit, in other words, when to panic, when not to panic and preferably not to panic being the operative words. Give you some tips. I mean I use quite a few homeopathic remedies around the time of birthing and just immediately afterwards, so I’ll give you some tips just towards the end on those ones.

Rowan:          Oh perfect.

Wendy:          [inaudible] — knowing when labor commences. Now this is where it all gets a bit interesting. Because even the most seasoned breeders don’t… They can sometimes, sometimes they get caught out. The biggest problem is you get different stages of labor. So you’ve got the first stage of labor. Now that’s fine if you’re a woman and you have an inkling things are starting to happen, but unfortunately first stage of labor you rarely know what is happening in an animal. Full stop. They’re secretive. If you go back to what happens in the wild, they don’t go to their pals — oh, I’m about to become my most vulnerable ever, so I could be any minute, therefore I’m not going to tell you what I’m going to do next.

So first stage of labor lasts sometimes 24 hours, you’ll not even know it’s happening. I guarantee you. She might be a wee bit more restless. She might even go off for food slightly, but it’s very variable between… You know, it’s the old story every dog is an individual just like every person is. So first stage that’s what will happen. Put it like that — it will happen.

The important bit [inaudible] the second stage labor because that’s when it all really happens. And please correct me Caroline if you agree or disagree with me. I’m just basing on the two litters that I bred, OK, which is like yourself several years ago now. [inaudible]

Caroline:        [inaudible] This is like, well, 10 years ago, so I’m a bit rusty on this one too. [inaudible]

Rowan:          Second stage labor is when it all actually happens. Now this is when your bitch starts having the puppies, i.e. lying down and pressing, OK — that’s your second stage.

Oh I forgot to say actually with first stage labor, towards the end of first stage labor, you tend to find their temperature drops a degree or so, and some people run around with thermometers and take temperatures on the hour every hour. Could I say that I don’t totally agree with them, because if somebody had come to my labor with a thermometer and done that every hour I would probably have slapped them. OK?

Rowan:          Yeah, you know I don’t see that being my approach.

Wendy:          [inaudible]

Rowan:          [inaudible] — the slapping or the thermometer, neither good.

Wendy:          So second stage labor, she will lie down wherever she decides to have these puppies and as Caroline says, if you can get her used to a whelping box, a nice little warm dry quiet lair. Do not invite the village to come and watch.

Rowan:          Yeah, OK.

Wendy:          OK, this is a private affair. So the long and short of it is she starts pressing, she starts pressing. Sometimes this thing resembling a little sac appears at the vulva lip. Do you know what I’m talking about there? Just at the outside of the female genitalia. If that goes on for [inaudible] — two hours is the golden rule. If she lies and presses with nothing happening, two hours is your maximum before you need intervention. OK?

Rowan:          OK. Now assuming this is at home, you say intervention, what kind of intervention would that be?

Wendy:          Well, this depends how experienced you are, it’s the old story. I mean an experienced breeder at that stage would have their KY jelly or lubricant and their gloves or not, as the case may be. And they would maybe gently insert a finger just between the lips to see if there was anything actually there or not. I hate to say as a first time breeder you might be thinking about veterinary intervention, I don’t know how near your practice is, whether they’ll come and do a house call which is obviously the best thing to do, rather than scoop her up and take her into strange place full of strangers.

Rowan:          Yeah absolutely. To be honest, I’ve got to say I’m really impressed with Europa Vets in Tarifa, they’ve been very helpful. So I’m going to go in on Thursday evening for an x-ray for the dog to see how many there are. As much as I’m not a fan of x-rays, I understand that they are “necessary” to understand exactly how many puppies there are. So I will speak to them then unless you’ve got another view on that. I would love to hear it. [inaudible]

Wendy:          We don’t x-ray bitches now for that obvious reason that I’m not keen on x-raying or irradiating fetuses. We rely on a very experienced ultrasound scanner who does our ones at between four and five weeks and she’s pretty accurate I must admit. [inaudible] — can be one pop out. But even counting skeletons if one’s lying on top of the other, well I can tell you, you may not have a 100% accuracy either. We stopped x-raying fetuses maybe 10 years ago now, to be honest with you. We don’t have huge numbers of breeders in the practice, but we have enough, so we do recommend ultrasound scanning fair enough. But after that I’m afraid I tend to let them get on with it.

Rowan:          OK. I am really glad we spoke now. I will push this point. And this is one of the reasons we’ve scheduled it now. I mean, obviously from a selfish perspective, I want to do the best thing via Kismet, but also what we’re going to do is turn this into a bit of a series as discussed. So that people who are about to have puppies get the benefit of both of your ladies’ knowledge and get to share in the journey and enjoy the fun parts and learn from it.

So if that’s something that we should be avoiding, that’s really important. I knew at a gut instinct that frankly x-raying something so… X-raying anything that doesn’t need x-raying per se, especially when there are alternatives is far from optimal.

Wendy:          I do recommend an ultrasound scan. I do think at least it gives you.. Well, firstly it lets you know your bitch is definitely pregnant. And done at roundabout that four to five-week stage that is your most accurate time. Leave them to six weeks or seven weeks that’s when you start getting [inaudible] it’s a big litter, say 12 or something, they do lying on top of each other a little bit, from one horn to the other horn. So you can’t always be sure you haven’t just either counted one twice or missed one. But ultrasound scans aren’t meant to be 100% accurate, no matter how good anybody is.

Personally. and this is both my conventional and holistic view, I think x-raying the last week of pregnancy is a bit overkill nowadays I must admit. It was done when we didn’t have ultrasound scanners. I remember those days. We did an x-ray, so you did do something for your client. I never did it with my bitch, the twice that she had puppies. I don’t see the need. [What’s in there’s going to come out, regardless of how many’s in there. So what’s in there is going to come out one way or another.

Rowan:          OK, so this is a really interesting point. I am going to say this to the vets. Now people at home are going to be saying, well wait a minute, I’ve said this to my vet, and my vet said, no, it’s essential we know exactly how many there are so we can make sure they’ve all come out, which is essential for the dog’s health. What’s our reply to that?

Wendy:          There is no such thing as a 100%. You could still be counting one more or one less depending on how your x-ray’s, not so much are positioned, but how the puppies are positioned in there. And if you happen to be familiar with a homeopathic remedy called Caulophyllum prior to whelping.

Rowan:          I’m sorry, what’s that called?

Wendy:          C-A-U-L- now this is where I’ll probably get the spelling wrong. C-A-U-L-O-P-H-Y and either one or two Ls, I can’t remember, U- M. Caulophyllum, which is fabulous little remedy. Not only is it good for animals, all of my female staff who have had children of which there’s rather a lot nowadays, have all come up to me and gone — boss, when do I start my Caulophyllum? Touch wood, not one of them has had a C-Section.

Rowan:          Oh wow, this is absolutely gold. I have never heard of this. Where would I get this Wendy?

Wendy:          Any of the homeopathic pharmacies, online. Any homeopathic pharmacy will have caulophyllum. In women you start it 10 days prior to, I was going to say whelping, but you know what I mean? One dose a day, basically and that’s one or two tablets. In bitches I’d tend to start it about five to seven days before. What does is it relaxes the cervix, because what it was originally used for was you for a thing called ringwomb in sheep. Sheep get a thing called ringwomb where the cervix only dilates a tiny little bit, maybe one or two fingers and then stops. And that was originally where caulophyllum came to the fore. It’s brilliant for things like that. But I recommend it for any animal having babies.

Rowan:          Fabulous.

Caroline:        Can I ask you a question Wendy?

Wendy:          Yeah, yeah.

Caroline:        If you don’t know the date that your dog is due, and you’ve got to start giving this seven days before, does it matter if you give it sort of 10 days or two weeks before?

Wendy:          I probably wouldn’t want it as much as two weeks. Not because it’s… It’s not a drug so it doesn’t stimulate uterine contractions or anything like that, but it’s probably a bit of overkill giving it as much as two weeks before. So I would err more on the safe side and give it less. Less is more in homeopathy, it’s a wonderful expression — less is more. You may just get away with two or three days to be honest with you. I did have one employee who forgot to take it and took a couple of days before and she still had a fairly uneventful birth.

Rowan:          Fabulous. How would I dose it for dogs? How would I dose it. [aside] Do you want to come and say hello Kismet?

Wendy:          You can get it in tablets, tiny little pills, powders, liquid. Homeopathy’s very very flexible, you can it any way.

Rowan:          Oh and she’s just come over. So Caulophyllum for this young lady?

Wendy:          I think she should have some, even if it’s only two or three days before. Hello Kismet.

Rowan:          Kismet, are you going to say hello? We’re talking about you.

Wendy:          Hello darling.

Rowan:          Caulophyllum is where we’re going to go with this. Brilliant. Fabulous. So Wendy so far just to recap what we’ve got. We’ve got whelping box, lots of her bedding, newspapers, get her used to that. Zero panic on the Titanic. Two hours is the golden rule.

Wendy:          And now second stage labor. It can happen quickly. OK. If you’ve got a bit of pup, tail, nose . . . sac, whatever, out through the lips of the vulva and that pups not out within 20 minutes, you need to be doing something. So the timescale drastically reducing once things start to appear.

Rowan:          OK, so if anything is extruding…

Wendy:          Yeah, just if it’s starting to come out, you don’t want it sitting there for two hours. The two hour bit is if she’s just laying pressing and there’s nothing there. OK? Because that’s warming up, the cervix opening etc. I mean there’s a lot of things to happen as you well know before puppy enters this world.

Rowan:          Absolutely.

Wendy:          Until we get to the actual nose, bum, whatever, 20 minutes.

Rowan:          So just to recap. If anything starts to extrude and it gets stuck and 20 minutes is the stuck threshold, the watershed, I should be wearing gloves and intervening to help bring the puppy out.

Wendy:          I would make one more proviso. If it’s a tail that’s showing, you’ve got…

Rowan:          If it’s… Sorry, say that again because your audio’s not great, Wendy, if you could…

Wendy:          If it’s a tail, back end bum,  right. Then I wouldn’t probably wait 20 minutes, I kind of gently…

Rowan:          OK, in case it gets strangled by… OK. So if tail end, OK, that’s really good to understand.

Wendy:          I’d go slightly quicker with the tail end.

Rowan:          OK. Just a question on this. Is Kismet, should I expect her to be really defensive around this? Do I need to be super gentle about intervening?

Wendy:          Well as Caroline will probably tell you — birth is painful, guys, get used to it. Birth is painful. And a first time bitch is is going to not be overly keen on any of this.

Rowan:          No, agreed. OK.

Wendy:          Be slightly careful. Caroline, what’s your thoughts on that?

Caroline:        Well my thoughts are she knows you really well Rowan. You’re really gentle, really calm and she’ll probably welcome your presence there, big time. I do remember once when a bitch of mine first had her puppies, the first one that popped out, it terrified the living daylights out of her. Poo on legs, what the hell is this? And she raced around the kitchen. So I just brought her back. I took all the bag off the puppy and showed her the puppy and then she went — ooh, that’s what it is, that’s what that pain was about, that’s OK now.  For a first time mum, it’s a really alarming experience because you actually don’t know what’s going on.

Rowan:          Yeah, it’s not like she discussed this at home economics with other dogs.

Caroline:        No, probably not.

Rowan:          I know that because she was excluded from those classes for self grooming at inappropriate times and hanging out with farm dogs.                Okay, cool. So there’s some absolute nuggets come out of this, some real nuggets. Wendy, we slightly interrupted you. Was there anything else you were thinking?

Wendy:          Just a bit about making sure that the sac is broken over the nose. And again an experienced bitch just does that, nips the cord, breaks the sac, gets on with life. First time bitch, it’s all new as you say she didn’t read the manual, therefore just make sure that the sac has burst over the nose. Then, obviously, I tend to encourage them around to kind of eat the placenta or to at least deal with the puppy, lick the puppy etc. etc. I try not to handle, I think, my feeling is don’t handle it if you can avoid it, just push gently in the direction of the mum’s face and let her come to puppy. But certainly make sure that you don’t do that and leave the puppy in the sac and the mum’s going — oh gosh, which page of the book is this, I don’t know what I’m doing and by that time puppy’s dead. So Just make sure that puppy has got airways open.

Rowan:          Fabulous. You know what. And I am feeling… Whilst I am smalls nervous about all of this, I do confess. Let me just be open about this. Part of my joking is pressure dissertation. I’m feeling a huge wave of relief of having you ladies on my side. So there’s a big, big dollop of gratitude to you both. There’s a huge difference between reading things on the Internet and being able to interact with people you know, love and respect and get their opinion. Because now I feel at least not quite as novice going into this. Obviously I want to do a really good job because I want the very best outcome, but I want to do in the most efficient, grownup and sensitive way. So ooh my goodness.

Caroline:        You’ll be fine.

Wendy:          You’ll be fine. And remember you’ve got me at the end of the phone, somewhere usually.

Rowan:          Oh Wendy, you may be getting a WhatsApp SOS.

Wendy:          That’s fine. I’ll talk you through it. That’s all that needs to be done is talk you through it. I have birthed most animals on this planet from the large to the small and it’s like everything else you can just talk people through it nice and calmly. But the other thing you have to have in your little chest of drawers is I need you to get some homeopathic arnica for her afterward. She will be a bit sore and she may be a bit bruised. Start her arnica the minute she’s finished her labor.

Rowan:          OK, so homeopathics I’m going to get some hang on, Caulophyllum and some Arnica. A whelping box, every newspaper I can find, or just a hell of a lot of towels. I might actually start trawling up and down the beach in Tarifa now, stealing them. It’s that time of year, there’s a billion people on the beach, so I’m sure I could have at least six foot of towels. I think it’d be like the princess and the pea.

Caroline:        Yeah. And also Wendy with the puppies you’ll get one puppy, I had a bitch that had a gap of an hour between each puppy and she had ten puppies, so it was ten hours. Again, would you be worried if you hadn’t seen a puppy within two hours or less when she started having them.

Wendy:          Not really to be honest, it can easily be two hours. My second litter from my bitch because she’d ten pups and she was enormous, I thought she was going to burst, God love her. She was really slow, I have to say. She was slow to get going and she was a bit slow between the pups as well. But two hours, it’s this two hour window, two hours is a good figure to remember. So although they tend to pop… Look some of them will spit them out like peas out of a pod.

Caroline:        I love your terminology. [laughter]

Rowan:          I don’t know if I’m ever going to consider that Kismet’s going to shell a few peas at the cinema, like my Dad used to take them in a brown paper bag and shell peas at the matinee.

Caroline:        I think we should both fly out Wendy.

Wendy:          Absolutely.

Caroline:        Have the bat call up there.

Rowan:          Oh brilliant. Brilliant. It’d be just a puppy in the sky.

Caroline:        Yeah. [laughter]

Wendy:          To be serious as you say for a moment. An hour’s no uncommon between pups. Two hours at max, I mean if there was one puppy and not any more puppies for two hours I would be starting to say, we need to have a wee look why, what’s going on here etc.

Rowan:          OK, so let’s just assume for a moment or let’s just hypothesize, we hit that two hour buffer. So we’ve got two hour buffer. It’s 20 minutes once something’s extruded, it’s less if it’s the tail end because we want to avoid any puppies being accidentally strangled, so we’d intervene sooner. The way we’d intervene is probably a latex glove and just a gentle pull?

Wendy:          Mhmm. Yeah. Just a little bit of gentle downwards traction. They don’t come out up the way they come out down the way, about 45 degree angle. And I tend to suggest keeping traction on even when the bitch is not pressing, but gently does it is my advice to you. Don’t start pulling. It’s a bit like, pant three times and then start pressing again. But I think if you can keep that traction on very gently she’ll be more inclined to press again quite quickly.

Rowan:          OK. Fabulous. But in the instance… 45 degrees downwards, I’m scrawling down notes, by the way. I’m going to revise these. You’re going to be able to test me on this.

Wendy, you’ve accidentally left the meeting, I believe. Hello?

Caroline:        I think she had a call coming in.

Rowan:          Ah, OK, OK. So what happens in the two hour window was what we were going to ask. Sorry?

Caroline:        You have a cup of tea. Let her relax. I would like to hear from Wendy. But really the bitch will be sleeping and resting.

Rowan:          Sorry Caroline, what happens? I expressed that really badly. What happens when we… And I should re-state this. What happens in that two hour window, as in if we elapse it and she’s not had the next puppy. What do we do then in terms of intervention? Is this something that we need to speak to Wendy about? Or have you got these show notes on this?

Caroline:        Well, if nothing has happened in two hours, then you need to get some medical advice.

Rowan:          I’m going to have the vet on call.

Caroline:        Yeah. Absolutely. Unless there’s some wicked patient Wendy’s got. But I think, you know, you’re out there on your own, call her up.

Rowan:          Right. OK. Well I’m going to get that sorted out. So Thursday, I’m going to speak to them about caulophyllum, I’m going to encourage them to do an ultrasound. I will get some arnica, I will get a whelping box, I will get her used to a particular area, and I’m just going to chill it and let all good things happen.

Caroline:        Yeah. Do. Just relax. And take a deep breath. Everything will be fine. And here, you’ve got Wendy. She knows better than I do. Though I got a little bit of knowledge.

And… Oh, she’s back. She’s back.

Rowan:          Oh, Wendy’s back.

Wendy:          Oh, hello. It went flat, and I didn’t notice it was going flat. Sorry.

Rowan:          Well, Wendy, brilliant. This is great. We were just talking about in the unlikely scenario that… This is a bit like the Blair Witch Project. It seems like you’re walking around with us. I like the way you faffed your hair there, as well. So glamorous.

Wendy:          I wasn’t sure what was happening, I’m just…

Rowan:          Oh, stop it. You look gorgeous. Leave it. So if, for instance, the two hour window elapses, obviously I’m going to be on the blower to the vet. Is there anything else that I should be thinking about? For instance, if I can’t get hold of the vet or your great self, or… What should I be thinking about?

Wendy:          [laughs] Oh, I was going to say, have a drink.

Rowan:          Yeah. Wrong guy. [laughs]

Wendy:          I think the good thing is, 99.9 percent of bitches get on with life and drop their their puppies, and there is no hassle. The high risk breeds are your what’s called brachycephalic, your bull dogs, your french bulldogs, anything with a big skull. So providing daddy wasn’t a bull dog then you should be home and host, especially if it was daxie will be nice and small and skinny. So the long and short of it is that — as I say, honestly, 99 percent of the time, life just goes on and she’ll drop them and there’ll be no problems. Your problem will be knowing when she’s finished. OK. And that is something that you might need to have her checked by the vet for, if you’re not 100 percent certain how many puppies you’ve got in there. But like everything else — she’ll strain if she’s got puppies. She probably wouldn’t strain or she hasn’t got puppies. There is another section to this, I have to say. But overall, she’ll spit them out [inaudible]

Rowan:          Awesome. Good.  I feel like we’ve covered this. I’ve got some homework to be getting on with in the interim. I have an innate sense of wellbeing that everything’s going to go well.

Wendy:          Me too.

Caroline:        Absolutely.

Rowan:          And I hope. I’m putting some hope out into the universe for this little dog that I love. Fabulous. OK. Well thank you very much for your time. I think when we have some more information, I’ll catch up with you and we’ll decide when to do a next one of these because it might be nice to do one immediately after their born, and then we can go through exactly what we should be doing from both a socializing perspective whilst respecting all the boundaries, and what we should be looking out for medically, just so that we can give them the very best start in life.

Wendy:          Yep.

Caroline:        Sounds like a plan.

Wendy:          Good, good.

Rowan:          OK. Well thank you. It’s been really, really great. I mean, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this. And I mean, literally. [laughs]

Wendy:          You’re welcome. And you know, if you have any problems, just get in touch with me. OK?

Rowan:          Wendy. Thank you, you hero. lots of love to you both. Thank you so much.

Wendy:          OK. Bye.

Caroline:        Bye. Speak to you soon.

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