Bean puppies – Week 8

The Bean puppies are 8 weeks old today!

Eight weeks represents such a vast transformation from 1 pound, sightless, suckling newborns into these giant toddlers with budding independence and emerging individuality. 

Bean puppies at 1 week (photo cred: Anne Savage)

The puppies are starting to venture a bit farther from the pack when we are outside.  When they realize they are solo, the pep in their step changes slightly and I can tell they are drawn both to explore and to retreat. 

Likewise, indoors they vary between trying new things (stairs!) and climbing into a well-known lap. 

We have been starting on some basic training with these puppies.  When they naturally sit, as they often do when gazing up at us, we tell them “sit” and reward them with a pet or a treat (if we have one on us).  They are extremely attention and food motivated and have caught on quickly.

Their desire to be with humans is a delight for Nora, who enjoys taking them on “walks” through the backyard and around the pond.

These hunks of puppy love are all between 14 and 17 pounds now.  This 8 week weight (by my handy dandy calculation of weight in pounds/weeks of age x 52 = predicted adult weight), puts these puppers at adult weights between 90 and 110 pounds.  I mean, that can’t be right, can it?!  I am hopeful that their adopters will give me some feedback in a year and let me know how accurate these calculations are. 

My puppy photography advice from a couple weeks ago (you know, wear the puppies out and then take them somewhere unfamiliar and snap 100 shots before they scamper off) no longer works. These pups are always on the move (or passed out asleep). My modified advice for photographing 8 weeks old puppies is simply to let them play while snapping tons of photos and hope there’s at least one non-blurry, somewhat cute picture of each pup at the end.

Transcript for below video:

me: what’s going on in the tunnel?

Nora: oooohh! aaaahh! Ow! (then coming out) That was a crazy commotion! (laughing hysterically!)

me: who was in there with you?

Nora: Everybody except…(pauses as she notices the pup behind the couch) Poop! Or Pee!

(end video to clean noted excrement – thankfully pee!)

These puppies bring joy (and chaos!) to each day.

Who told on me?

I don’t know who is responsible, but someone told the puppies that I divulged all their messy secrets and now they are on a mission to prove me wrong.  They were perfect angels over the weekend and, I think for the first time ever while fostering puppies, I awoke to zero poops this morning.

They are definitely showing an ability to “hold it” for longer and a preference for going outside to eliminate, but I am unable to comply at night or early morning when it’s dark (definitely don’t want to lose a puppy!).  But all six Bean puppies got some snuggles and breakfast this morning and then almost simultaneously went over to the puppy pads to poop.  Mind blown!  Easiest morning clean up ever! 

As they grow, they are pooping less often day by day, and also eating a higher proportion of dry food, which has firmed up their poops.  As far as puppies go, this crew has by far been the neatest.  I am hopeful that the tidiness of their infancy translates into simple housebreaking for their forever families. 

The past few days, as the puppies get older and stronger, I have been letting them out to play even in the chillier temperatures.  But as they explore the outdoors more, they get more adventurous and extra eyes and hands are helpful. 

Anne came over Friday to help with puppy wrangling.  My sweet neighbor (who has never once complained about our stream of puppies that eventually spill out into her yard) commented, “By the time they make it to the second tree, they are ready for adoption!”  Upon reflection, she is absolutely correct!  The second tree is about 50 feet out from our house, a distance puppies are confidently traversing by 8 weeks.

Saturday, the puppies met Teddy, who invited them all to play tag.  They were cautious at first (wisely so; Teddy is a giant), but soon indulged his desires to play. He was careful to not step (or pee!) on even one (hard work for a 1 year old). Our weather Saturday was gross, with intermittent cold rain, so we had to squeeze in outdoor time when available for all the canines in our house. 

We also brought the puppies upstairs to play some.

My sweet friend Dannille and her two daughters came over to play with the puppies yesterday.  We took them outside and they romped in the dusting of snow we had gotten overnight.  A few were a bit perturbed (who broke the outdoors?  Where’s the thermostat?), but they mostly enjoyed their 15 minute romp. 

Afterward, brave Dannille and fam sat in the puppy pen with this rascally bunch for over an hour until all 6 puppies were snoring. 

They slept hard for a few hours and then were ready to play again.

 These puppies are being showered with love, attention, and a range of experiences. I am already jealous of the lucky families who get to raise them to adulthood and I can’t wait for updates!

How will you let them go?

A few people have asked how we possibly let puppies go at the end of the foster period.  

Besides the obvious impracticality of raising 6 (or 7, 8, 9 or 10) puppies to adulthood and the impact that would have on our ability to foster future homeless mamas and puppies (and, you know, do anything else), fostering puppies is also a ton of work.  Saying goodbye to the wonderful parts is also saying hello to a reprieve.    

I know, I know.  Puppies are the best, the cutest, the most lovable.  I feel like a dose of honesty is required here…

Every morning for over a month (and much longer when the mamas aren’t housetrained like Beans), I have woken to poop.  Not just a little poop, but poop everywhere.  I groggily step into the puppy pen and clean up before my mind is fully awake enough to process the fact that my foot is wet with something (mental note: take off sock before going back upstairs).  The puppies, not receiving adequate attention while I try to scoop up the waste before they step in it, are biting at my legs, my pants, my hands.  They do step in it and then place their sweet, poopy paws on me (mental note: stick pajamas in the wash asap). Wearing paper towels as makeshift socks to transport my poopy feet to the shower is my morning standard.

The Bean puppies (and their mess!) at 6am.
Pooping on the fresh poop pad (or at least where it used to be)
Another morning at 6 am.
The puppy pen all cleaned up in the morning.

The struggle doesn’t end as the day wears on. 6 puppies times 8-10 poops a day each, endless pees, toy and puppy pad shredding teeth (but just to be clear, in the midst of this one pup rolls over for a tummy rub and my grimace immediately melts into a smile).

Every day, I use a roll of paper towels cleaning in the puppy pen and everywhere else that the puppies play. 

I break out the steam cleaner every few days.

I go through a bottle of natural, non toxic cleaner about once each week. I buy hand soap and hand sanitizer in bulk.

We fill a trash bag with empty puppy food cans, soiled puppy pads, and used paper towels each day.

I disinfect the puppies’ food and water dishes four times each day and also bring them to the sink for a good hot water and soap wash at least twice a day.

My hands, and the hands of my children, look like we were thrown into the middle of a briar patch and left to glovelessly work our ways out.  (Thankfully, the puppy biting is slowing down this week, a critical reason to keep puppies with their siblings to learn bite inhibition until at least 8 weeks of age) Though last night, Dane got a chomp on the ear amidst lots of face kisses. He’s sporting the “home attempt at ear piercing gone wrong” look today.

Dane: Ow, ow, ow.

Andrew: Oooohh, no biting my inner thigh. Mom, I need another puppy toy, quick!

Dane: We just want to cuddle you guys. Stop biting.

Me: That ship sailed a couple weeks ago. Now these guys just want to play. If we indulge them for about an hour, they will cuddle (maybe). Meanwhile I am effectively, and smugly, managing the two puppies in my lap with toys and belly scratches.

Me 2 minutes later (now with 3 puppies on me): Help! Help! Ow! Grab someone please!

I need to consider what I am wearing, what the children are wearing, each time we visit puppies, which is usually 6-8 times each day.  Athletic, windbreaker material cannot stand up to puppy teeth.  Neither can a down jacket.  If sweaters survive one puppy visit, they do not usually survive another.  Since I am laying down the honesty, I have many times taken off my pants (anything but jeans) before heading down to clean to save them from certain destruction and to keep them clean if I am about to head off somewhere. Probably TMI!

The other day, Andrew was wearing a new sweatshirt as he sat down to do the arduous work of puppy snuggling. 

“Your sweatshirt.  Do you want to change?” Ryan asked.

“Oh, yeah,” Andrew replied, a relieved look on his face at having caught this problem before there was a rip.  He returned with his soccer training jacket, the one he will have to wear in warm up for two years

“Isn’t that your soccer warm up jacket?” Ryan asked incredulously. 

“Yep, but I don’t love it as much as my new sweatshirt.”  (Ryan and I look at each other and shrug.)

The training jacket lives on, miraculously, but many other bits of apparel have perished at the teeth of these piranhas…I mean precious puppies.

The laundry.  Throughout the day, I pick up obviously soiled blankets and towels, and change everything out once each day.  A few days each week, I give my washer and dryer the workout of a lifetime all day long.  The laundry detergent… The many times my washer can’t spin properly due to the bulky items and I drag them out to drip dry over the basketball hoop and soccer goals and then back in to the dryer.  The smell that permeates my house on puppy laundry day (I often give an embarrassed disclaimer to guests on these days).  The need to clean the washer and dryer before sticking our clothes into them.  The frequent need to vacuum out the dryer vent.  The fact that there is no end: as the last load finishes, the day has produced a couple more.

“Do you think there’s a washer/dryer hookup in the basement?” Ryan asked last week.  “No reason, just wondering…” 

Then, the last thing I do before bed is clean poop.  And feed.  And collect soiled linens. 

I can’t be sure the puppies will sleep through the night.  There were many times Beans did not.  I am a light sleeper and often can’t fall back asleep until I check that all is well, everyone is settled.  That’s on me.  But if a puppy whimpers, I can’t rest until I know they are safe and happy.

I spend hours of the day with the puppies or doing things for them.  Sometimes this is in the awesome company of my children or friends.  Most often, I am alone in this work. 

Ryan: What do you have planned for today?

Me:  Grocery store, laundry, oil change, volunteering at the school (proceeds to spend 4 hours with puppies and a couple more doing things related to them).

Let’s not forget to discuss the mental, emotional load.  I am the responsible party for these 6 (and just a few days ago, 7) lives.  It is up to me to prevent or notice any illness, injury, or failure to thrive.  These puppies have blissfully been healthy, but often we have faced respiratory illnesses, slow milk production and therefore the need to bottle feed, and other conditions.  Regardless, I am constantly thinking about how to improve our set up and our procedures to best serve the fosters we have.  Each one is different and requires something different of me. 

The work of fostering is not negligible.

Author and animal advocate Cara Sue Achterberg (author of Another Good Dog among several other titles), summed up the work of puppy fostering in her extremely relatable blog postings It’s the Cuteness that Saves Them and A Day in the Life of a Puppy Foster. Cara is a fellow serial foster and is also doing the important work of publishing and advocating for marginalized homeless animals.

Knowing that we have to say goodbye, especially as the day draws nearer, is what gives us the stamina to accept these minor inconveniences and messes.  The puppy kisses and the absolute joy of watching them grow can counter most of the work, but knowing that it’s temporary, really so fleeting, pushes us the rest of the way there. 

Many feel sympathy for our family as we approach the day to say goodbye to these cuties.  It will be sad, trust me.  There will be a heartache and a touch of emptiness, for sure, but we know we have given them the very best start in life and are sending them all into loving homes.

The experience of fostering these puppies, and all the paws we welcome into our home, is beautiful and important enough to counter all the mess and all the sadness of the goodbyes.

If you are interested in fostering, please don’t let this post turn you away.  There is a foster need to suit every lifestyle at your local shelter or rescue.  Love puppies and don’t mind the mess?  Go for it!  But if you have an small abode or are gone most of the day, you could foster an adult cat who just hates shelter life.  There are housebroken adult dogs needing a quiet place to recover from illnesses or injuries.  There are young, exuberant dogs needing a place to learn basic manners.  There are kittens with their mamas or kittens who just need to grow for a week or two before being available for adoption. There are as many types of animals needing a loving foster home as there are types of people who love animals and want to help. 

Learn more about fostering for the Humane Society of Huron Valley if you’re local.

If you’re not local, but interested in fostering, contact your local animal shelter or rescue.

The opportunities and need are endless. You won’t regret it (well, except during the occasional early morning poop on the foot scenario!).

Snow Day with the Bean puppies

The puppies adored the wonders of the great outdoors and have been eager to revisit the massive paradise that we call the backyard ever since.

Sure, snow looks magical from the comforts of a climate controlled home. 


Our area has a warm up in the forecast, so we will likely get to venture out again soon.

I think their eagerness to get outside coupled with their relative tidiness in the puppy pen (please note the use of the word relative; tidy is an egregious word to describe a litter of 7 week old puppies), will make for relatively (there it is again) easy potty training.  These are some clever pups determined to keep their surroundings clean.

We took a trip to the vet yesterday evening for check ups and vaccinations.  The pups were greeted with several enthusiastic puppy snugglers (aka staff members pleased to end their work days with puppy kisses).  Dr. Julie declared them massive and healthy (though we already knew that!). 

Now they will just mature a little and teach each other about bite inhibition and appropriate playing before they head off into their forever homes. Our role will be continuing to socialize them, allow them adequate exercise, make sure they receive excellent nutrition, and clean, clean, clean (more on that next time).

Bean puppies – Week 7

The Bean puppies are 7 weeks old today!  They are all friendly, playful, joyful and, it goes without saying, adorable pups.

They continue to pack on the pounds.  Pinto and Zulu have exceeded 16 pounds and the “smaller” ones are over 13 pounds.

We were gifted with a sunny, 45 degree January day here in Michigan yesterday.  With past litters, we have started letting them romp around outdoors a few times each day (and deposit some of their poops there!) at around 6 ½ weeks of age.  But due to the season, I didn’t think these Bean puppies would be so lucky.  Lo and behold…sun!

Some of the puppies were cautious about venturing into the great outdoors…for about 10 seconds.  Then, they were off and running like children just let out of school. 

The first time the puppies are presented with an open door

The puppies went outside twice yesterday, each time for about 15 minutes. They ran around like crazy, discovered sticks and leaves, and enjoyed extended games of chase the children. In summary, they enjoyed puppy paradise!

Unfortunately for them, we got some snow and ice overnight and the high today is about 20 degrees colder than yesterday.  Just when the puppies discovered the joys and freedoms of the great outdoors, they will have their playtime restricted to indoors again. 

The puppies have continued to have a slew of visitors.  We have a busy household and consort with many a dog lover (who would have thought?!).  The puppies adore human attention and our visitors oblige. 

This evening, the puppies have a veterinary appointment with Dr. Julie Spencer at HSHV.  Dr. Julie will give them each a checkup and their vaccinations. 

Big news yesterday: Amina/Beans was adopted!  She went home with a wonderful couple who fell in love with her and are looking forward to making her part of the family.  I am so excited for her, so glad she’s finally home.

I went to the shelter yesterday morning to visit with her and say our final goodbyes.  She bowled me over with leaps and kisses.  She had been spayed the day before and was in no position to chase balls or go for a long walk (though she didn’t seem to know it!), so we hung out in a play yard for some snuggles and relaxation in the sun. 

Beans gave me a complete sniff down.  I am sure that I constantly smell like puppy to any discerning dog nose (and probably to many humans…sorry).  I don’t know how much of the monologue she understood, but I reassured her that the pups are thriving and that she was moving on, that very day, to her forever home.

Another adoption, another happy ending.  Why then do I still feel the anguish – with which every foster is probably familiar – deep in my heart?  I try to remind myself that the pain is a product of the love, just another sign that my well is deep.  When we do this right, it simply hurts at times.  Goodbye, sweet girl.  Happy life.    

Bean puppies personality profiles

The Bean puppies are continuing to thrive.  They are happy, playful pups.  Favorite things include wrestling with each other, playing with toys, cuddles with people, food, and playing with the children. 

As they grow, their little personality differences are becoming more apparent. 

Zulu Love Bean:

Zulu Love Bean

Zulu (often referred to affectionately at Zu Zu or Lu Lu around here) is one of the more gregarious pups.  She boldly approaches new things (baby stroller that Nora is pushing around at top speed?  Sure, I should definitely get in on that fun!) and people (an extra person to cuddle and nibble?  Best day ever!).  Zulu is a big, happy girl. 

Fava Bean

Fava Bean:

Fava is excited about life and loves the opportunity to play with people and toys.  She is slightly more calm than some of her siblings, settling down for tummy rubs while they’re still running laps and gnawing on hands.  When put into new situations, Fava takes a good look around first, but is then ready to discover the fun.

Vanilla Bean:

Vanilla Bean

Vanilla is at once the most timid and most scrappy puppy in this litter (that often happens with the smaller ones).  Vanilla is usually the instigator of puppy wrestle time with her siblings.  She loves climbing into the laps of people she knows and runs to get toys to suggest a play session.  When faced with new people, places (like a different part of the house!), or situations (new sounds!), however, she approaches cautiously.  She stretches out her nose to investigate, keeping her tail tucked, until she feels comfortable (at which point, the tail is out and the tongue is licking!).  Smart girl.

Pinto Bean:

Pinto Bean

Pinto loves a good play session.  He has been the first to figure out the fun and rewarding game of “follow the human”.  Mae has indulged him in this and runs back and forth through the house calling “Pinto, Pinto, Pinto” with him right on her heels wagging.  After they are both tired, he crawls into her lap for a waggy snuggle.  Pinto is more likely to lick than nibble, pushing him into crowd favorite territory!

String Bean:

String Bean

String is a super confident pup, always approaching life with enthusiasm.  He warms up to new people and things readily.  He is usually the first to hop up when I approach the puppy pen.  String places his paws up on the gate with a “pick me first, pick me first” wag that usually works.  He oscillates between being the most cuddly and the most bitey, but, either way, he is always vying for attention…and always getting it!  String was the first to master the climb out of the whelping box weeks ago, early evidence of his intelligence and determination.

Bean Sprout:

Bean Sprout

Sprout is the most mellow of all the Bean puppies.  He enjoys a good play session with toys and running around with siblings, but is almost always ready for a calm cuddle.  He looks at us with these penetrating gazes that are so endearing.  When we approach the puppy pen, Sprout is usually sitting by the gate, waiting patiently for the person to either enter the pen or to take him out for some play time.  Sprout rarely barks or growls. 

Someone recently asked how we get pictures of the puppies that aren’t blurry (as they tried to capture a picture of them on their phone which was, of course, blurry). 

To achieve the non-blurry picture of an active puppy: 

  1. Play with the puppies until they are almost, but not quite, asleep.
  2. Transfer them to a part of the house they are not really familiar with so they are slightly slower to romp off and explore.
  3. Have several children readily available to reposition and snuggle puppies.
  4. Take 100 pictures of each puppy.
  5. Delete 96 pictures of each puppy.

Easy, peasy.

A few of the extras and behind the scenes shots of puppy photography in action:

Vanilla finds a fun new chew toy (my toes!) mid photo shoot!

Meanwhile, Mama Bean is at the Humane Society of Huron Valley. She has passed her health check and behavioral assessments with flying colors and is ready for adoption. If you’re local and interested, please go meet her!

Goodbye is the hardest part

We said goodbye to Beans yesterday.  She had given us the signs that she was ready to wean the pups (entering the puppy pen only a few times each day for a couple minutes – refusing to go in even when there was food available in there – and giving the pups a corrective growl here and there when they tried to nurse). 

The morning of her departure, Beans refused to nurse them at all (despite their frantic, desperate requests).

Beans avoiding her puppies!

Beans is ready to move out of puppy raising purgatory and into a loving, forever home.

We drove her to the shelter mid morning after a last quick walk around our cul de sac.  For the past 50 days, Beans and I have started and ended our days together, with many shared hours in the middle.  We took over 100 walks around our neighborhood, spent quite a few sleepless middle of the night hours together, shared too many cuddles to count. 

Most poignantly, she trusted me to be at her side throughout her delivery.  She trusted me to help her clean and then weigh her babies, to move them in order to change the bedding, to handle them throughout their early weeks.  Through all these experiences, she started looking at me with love light (a phrase I learned in adolescence from the book Cages by Peg Kehret and never forgot and in have been lucky enough to recognize in the eyes of several beloved pups).

Beans has so much love to give.  And it was time for her to redirect that love onto the right person.

So we arrived at intake with the bittersweet knowledge that it was likely our final goodbye.  Beans was greeted with enthusiasm (and hotdog pieces!).  She weighed in at a whopping 75lbs, evidence of my weeks of indulging her voracious mama appetite (70 lbs is probably her ideal weight).  Beans was enjoying meeting a few new people and getting lots of attention, but there’s always that moment at the end of a foster period, the moment I have to look into her eyes one last time and walk away.

That moment hurts. 

Because I know Beans will have a rough couple of days.  She needs a health and behavior check.  She will be in a kennel with other dogs adjacent to her barking and people coming and going.  It is likely that although she was offering the puppies very limited nursing, she will become somewhat swollen in the first couple days. 

Most of all, she has to be confused about the changes in her circumstances.  Where are her puppies?  Where am I?

I try to console the ache by remembering how awesome the shelter staff and volunteers are.  They will love on her, offer her yummy treats, walk her, and try to move her into her perfect home as quickly as possible.  Once she is cleared for sterilization, they will be reviewing the (hopefully many!) applications for her adoption and will carefully select the best fit.  I am guessing that Beans will be moving up and out within the week, sweet girl that she is.

Still, that moment.

Meanwhile, the puppies are thriving.  The children all had friends over and played with the puppies for 4 straight hours in the afternoon.  The impossible happened:  the puppies ceased their mouthing and playing and all fell asleep in laps.  Apparently, that is only achieved after hours of attention and play. 

A couple neighbors and the friends’ parents popped in to visit the pups and I am sure they looked so sweet and idyllic.  Puppies and children are peanut butter and jelly: you can have one without the other, but they’re just not as good.

The puppies have been exposed to several new situations this week (fireworks, the vacuum cleaner, Teddy and Livie poking their heads in the basement, the buzzers – from cutting Andrew’s hair, and several new people).  They have taken it all in stride as very young pups will do. These puppies are as friendly and confident as they come.

Their little personalities are starting to shine through.  Check back for a puppy personality profile post soon!

Bean puppies – Week 6

2020! Happy New Year!  The bean puppies are 6 weeks old today!

Only Pinto and String made it to midnight to party in the arrival of the New Year. 

Amazing to look back over the growth chart and see how much has changed in a mere 6 weeks. 

Zulu Love Bean has grown from 1.02 lbs at birth to 12.6 lbs today.

Pinto Bean has grown from 1.10 lbs at birth to 12.5 lbs today.

Bean Sprout has grown from 1.08 lbs at birth to 10.68 lbs today.

Fava Bean has grown from 10.64 lbs at birth to 10.64 lbs today.

String Bean has grown from 0.98 lbs at birth to 10.54 lbs today.

Vanilla Bean has grown from 0.94 lbs at birth to 10.38 lbs today.

Within the week, the puppies will be completely weaned from their mother.  Amina/Beans will check in at the shelter for a complete health check, a behavior assessment, decompression time, and finally sterilization and adoption. 

Now is the time to socialize the puppies.  They will spend the next couple weeks being snuggled by various people.  The more they are exposed to in their puppyhood, the less likely they will be to develop fears of those things.  While they still cannot venture out into the world because a) brrr…. and b) they are not fully vaccinated, we can bring a little of the world to them. 

They had a good start with some New Year’s fireworks last night:  the puppies snoozed right through the blasts (except String Bean and Pinto Bean, who were partying of course!).

We hope you all have a wonderful start to 2020!

Speaking too soon…

Just when I report that the puppies are starting to use the puppy pads and that mama is still so helpful with clean up…Beans decides that she is done with eating poop (I mean, who could blame her?!) and the puppies decide that the puppy pads make for excellent toys.  I should know better by now…

Beans is now conducting check ins only.  She goes into the puppy pen where she is swarmed by eager babies, allows a minute or two of frantic nursing, scouts around the pen, licks a few pups, cleans up any leftover food, and then exits.  She is content to be closed in the pen a couple times each day for about an hour, where she often escapes to the security of the chair, but occasionally surprises me (and the puppies) by laying down among the pups. 

When Beans wants out of the pen, however (and again, who could blame her?!), she makes this known by rattling the entire pen and howling the saddest sound.  She knows I am sympathetic to her plight and will come release her as soon as possible. 

By now, we have fostered enough mama dogs to know the pattern.  Somewhere between 4 and 5 weeks, when the puppies develop teeth and the ability to climb out of the whelping box and eat solid food, the mother starts to wean them and wants to be with them less and less.

Suddenly, we have a logistical issue.  The puppies must be contained somehow (because…poop) and the mama wants occasional access to them but not to be trapped in with them.  We have solved this before by having the mama move into our main living space and putting her with the puppies when a) she asks to go there, b) at night, and c) when we leave the house. 

With 3 mama dogs, however (Beans being the third), we have not made the transition to upstairs living.  One was due to a contagious respiratory infection, one to a mama not being dog friendly, and Beans due to her limp that one time that made us wary about her going up and down stairs and playing with the dogs.  She hasn’t limped since, and would probably have been a good candidate for time upstairs, but by now, her time with us and the puppies is drawing to a close. 

Our intermediate solution for her has been lots of time with us in the basement.  We play card games beside her, write this blog beside her, and play with the puppies alongside her.  I even set up a makeshift barber shop and cut Andrew’s hair downstairs last night to spend that extra 20 minutes with her. 

When she isn’t snuggling on the couch or out for a walk, she was roaming free in the basement some.  She has proven herself to be completely housebroken and has only chewed something she wasn’t supposed to once (a green crayon).  But for those that foster, you know things couldn’t be that easy for long…

Beans is motivated to be with family and has figured out how to open the doors in the house.  We figured this out this weekend when she appeared on the main level of the house by surprise.  I was stepping out of the shower and Ryan was helping the kids build a Christmas dollhouse in the living room. 

“Devon!  Mom!” the kids and Ryan called.  I hastily wrapped up in a towel.

“Beans is up here.” 

Livie was sitting on the landing of the stairs and Teddy was excitedly greeting his walking buddy.  Ryan and the kids had set up a couple flimsy barriers (a chair and a laundry basket) to the living room to prevent Teddy from walking all over the many screws and pieces of the dollhouse they were constructing.  Ryan, knowing that Beans was timid of him and not sure how she would react if he approached her, stayed behind the barrier.  I quickly called Livie upstairs and put her in our bedroom. 

Teddy, elated by the open basement door, rushed down to check out the puppies.  Oh, no!  What would Beans do?  Well, thankfully, that sweet girl just came right to me when called.  I secured her in the bathroom for a moment while Dane got Teddy and took him outside.  Then, I took Beans back down to the basement (still in my towel!) and breathed a huge sigh of relief.  Things could have gone differently. 

And now, when it is time for us to leave Beans, I am offering her the puppy pen or a crate.  She is choosing the crate more and more often.  She goes in willingly but I always give her a peanut butter filled Kong or some other tasty treat (mom guilt). 

After being crated, she likes to go in to check on the puppies and offers them a quick nursing session.  But she doesn’t want to stay long.  She wants to cuddle and walk and get all the pets.  I will be sad to see her go, but I am excited for her to move on into a home where she can relax and really join the family. Her work here is almost complete. 

Meanwhile the puppies are growing and developing beautifully.  Those brave enough to enter the puppy pen should expect kisses and wags…and teeth!  The kids often take one or two puppies up on the chair or out of the pen.  This strategy, having at least as many hands available as there are puppies with you (plus a toy handy), makes for a better user experience. 😉

Mae hanging out with Beans. Nora hiding from puppy teeth.

Breaking News – Puppies use puppy pads!

Now that the puppies are roaming around the puppy pen sans confinement in their whelping box, I was expecting the beginning of poopapalooza.  (For those who have never cared for a litter of very young puppies, poopapalooza = the condition in which puppies play and party so hard that poop covers every square inch of an area and inevitably yourself upon entering.)

On the contrary, Mama Bean, bless her, has continued to help clean up after the puppies by eating about half their poops.  She has definitely slowed down on this endeavor and will often sniff one and leave it, but I still appreciate how tidy the pen is in the mornings.

And the puppies have either inherited or learned the tidy habit from mom.  When Beans is hanging out outside of the puppy pen for a few hours, the puppies have been eliminating on the puppy pads some.  Sure, there’s the occasional poop in the food pan or a pee on a blanket, but the puppy pads have been soaked and the poops are generally on or near a pad.  Clever pups!

The puppies are continuing to grow and develop beautifully.  Mama Bean is nursing them less and less, and they are eating more and more solid food.  They added drinking water from a bowl to their skillset over the past couple days. 

These puppies love people and they love to play.  So fun to watch them thrive!