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io's Litter of Greek Gods and Goddesses Make Their Appearance on Puppy Day

Last week it was Sassy's piglets, this week it's Marlee's Australian Shepherd io's (said as initials "I" "O") puppies.

Some people call February 2nd Groundhog Day, but this year it was Puppy Day at our house!

io actually started acting as if it was time on Wednesday, the day before.

She couldn't seem to get comfortable for long, didn't want to spend time out in the snow as she normally would instead opting to sit by the door to go back in, acted irritated with the other dogs, and scratched to make nests in our various kennels and under the dining room table. Marlee decided to stick close to her as the rest of us attended to the regular business of the day. She set up the puppy pen next to the kitchen, and io seemed to recognize it was for her and jumped right in.

Mom "io" and Dad 'Dash" on a recent walk along Byrds Creek.

She was restless and even threw up. It got late, and nothing seemed to be changing. We realized she could have the pups during the night but might not until the next morning. Marlee said she didn't want to leave io but told Bill and I to go get some sleep. She'd let us know if anything changed.

Shortly after 2am, we got the call -- puppies were imminent. I was dressed and out of the bedroom before Bill had hung up the phone but still missed the first baby's arrival!

Marlee was ready having decided weeks ago that the pup names would have a Greek gods and goddesses theme.

So this first little guy, a red merle, was christened Zeus. ("Of course Mooom!")

He was an only child for almost a full hour before Hades, a red tri male, joined him.

Soon after that came black tri Hermes.

Then another break. io got a big drink of water, rested a bit, and the three brothers snuggled in. Then the first girl Artemis, a blue merle, came, quickly followed by a second and the last girl Hera another black tri.

That's when Marlee and I thought that might be it and started contemplated playing with and cleaning up after only five pups instead of with seven as we had when io had her last litter.

Good thing we didn't get too attached to that number though because after three quick contractions, a red tri male Marlee said had to be Dionysus changed the total to six.

And then a blue merle boy Poseidon capped the litter the total at a lucky seven! .

Hades, Dionysus, Posoidon, Artemis, Zeus, Hera, and Hermes at one day old.

It was now 5:30 am. We brought io more fresh water. She turned her nose away from it and concentrated instead on licking and nosing her babies. Her demeanor changed.

She appeared to relax and settle in leading us to believe the birth was complete.

We watched the newly minted mother and noticed how uniform all of the seven sweet puppies were in size. Not a runt to be found. All nice, solid, and seemingly healthy.

It was confirmation of what we'd been observing of io's great body condition in pregnancy, feeding her raw meat - chicken, duck, and beef - was good for her and her beautiful pups!

So, here we are approaching the precipice between winter, maple season, and the start of the growing season knowing that whatever the eight weeks brings, it'll come with a healthy dose of puppy fun.

I sure hope you don't mind being along for the ride because I'll certainly be sharing it with you all!

Click the video below to watch a time-lapse of the babies being born.

The five or so hours are condensed down to eight minutes.


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