I had 2 groups of awesome helpers today. We figured out some new logistics for feeding time that really shorten the time between waking the pups and getting the bowls of food in place.
Mom also got 2 walks this weekend. We took her to the local school where she was unlikely to encounter other dogs. Since we don't know anything about her, we need to be careful in terms of leash behavior, aggression toward dogs, kid friendliness. She was fine. More than fine. She walk well on the leash until she spots a bird or squirrel in the tree. Then she pulls a bit. But she didn't respond in any way to other dogs or skateboarders or ball throwing. She really just wanted to circle the perimeter of the school with her nose to the ground or in the air. She had a blast. Then she crashed when she got home. I think she slept better than she had in a long time.
The pups have grown in just one week. They're bigger and sturdier and more vocal and hungrier. For the last few days, we've had to bribe the mom to get into the enclosure with them and nurse. Even when we split the litter in half, she was reluctant to be with them. Tonight, after a non-nursing feeding, I was sitting on the floor covered in pups. They were playing or sleeping or trying to nestle into my elbow. Mom pranced by the door. When Kevin opened it for her, she gladly jumped in. She stood in the middle of the pups while they nursed for about 10 minutes. They were in milky bliss. Mom leaned into my leg for support, half closing her eyes. I think it was some relief to her too. Maybe she just needed to feel more comfortable in our house. All 11 puppies fell asleep in my lap.