Dusty Road Labradors

Blu’s Puppy Blog

Welcome to Blu’s Puppy Blog!

For those of you unfamiliar with the blogs I write, I add entries ‘above’ not below.  To read the entire blog, one must scroll to the bottom.  Hope everyone reading this blog enjoys watching these puppies from before birth to 8 weeks of age.  Janell


The time has come to put the whelping supplies away. Everything has been cleaned and packed away for the next litter.  The play area has been taken down and put away.  All the baby puppy toys have been saved for the next litter.  The AKC paperwork has been completed.  I think everything is done!!

All of the puppies have gone to great homes with great people. Some went to homes with adults while some went to homes with children. Each and everyone of these new parents took home wonderful puppies to love.  

I hope that Blu, Mark, and I have done a great job preparing the puppies for their new homes.  I know they are all beautiful puppies with lots of personality and love to give.

Now it is YOUR turn. YOU must continue rearing these puppies supplying lots of love and TLC plus all the tools these puppies need to grow into healthy, happy adult dogs.

Most important, ENJOY YOUR PUPPIES!  


Wednesday, Apr 3

Now is the time to start wrapping up this beautiful litter.  It was Mark’s and my pleasure to meet and get to know each of you.  

To Diane and Stephen.  We have known Diane and Stephen ever since he saw puppy pictures of Blu.  They have been on Blu’s list for about 2 1/2 years.  We believe we are #1 on their Garmin!!! Thanks for hanging in there with us.  

To Rafe and Jenae, thank you for waiting for a puppy to add to your family.  God’s speed to Rafe to return to the US.  He is in the Army and presently deployed.  Thank you Kristen for transporting Dottie safely from Omaha to El Paso.

To Mindi, Larry , and Max, thank you for taking the picture of Shelby when you ran into Mark and Shelby at Bass Pro about 2 years ago.  You kept that picture and told Larry that you wanted a puppy like that!!  Thank you for your vigilance!!

To Kelly, Mike, Taylor, Tyler, Tessa, and Teagen.  Although we met you only recently, we felt the warmth of your family.  We are so impressed with your family.  Whatever you are doing, keep it up!!!   We know Bruce will be so loved by his family and ‘his village’.

To Shannon.  We could see the tears of joy as you held Tulip.  You were the last on the list but that didn’t matter to you.  Thank you for SELECTING us for your puppy!!

Demographics of the litter:  Shannon, Ames, IA; Diane and Stephen, Urbandale, IA; Mike and Kelly, Omaha, NE; Mindi and Larry, Lincoln; Rafe and Jenae, El Paso, TX (roots in Council Bluffs).  

If anyone wants to keep in touch with each other or share pictures, let me know and I’ll get you guys together.

Saturday, Mar 30

Last but not least, Tulip (I think), PINK, met her new Mom Shannon and Erin her friend.  After going over things, they hit the road to head home.  

TULIP and Shannon

Friday, Mar 29

Bruce, BROWN, went home about suppertime.  Bruce will be loved by this wonderful family.  

BRUCE with Mom, Dad, Taylor, Tyler, Tessa, and Teagen


Thursday, Mar 28

Happy 8 week birthday!  Two of the puppies are going home today.  

First to go home is Hank, GREEN.  

HANK with Mindi and Larry

Next was Quin, LAVENDER:

QUIN with Diane and Stephen

Dottie, YELLOW, flew with Grandma Kristen to her new home in El Paso, TX.  Her new family with be Dad Rafe, Mom Jenae, big dog brother Castle (a Dusty Road puppy), big brother Wade, and baby brother Hugh.  Grandma said Dottie slept a lot and got a lot of attention on the layover.


Saturday, Mar 23

First please accept my apologies for not adding more to the blog.  Now the rest of the story…this was our week to take granddaughter Cheyenne to school (Dad is recovering with broken hip) in Omaha.  We had to be to 66th and Underwood at 8:05 or she would be LATE.  Before we left, we had fed all the dogs and puppies.  We might have been a sweaty mess but she was not late!!!  

We also picked her up at 3:30 getting in line with all the other moms and dads.  We were the only one driving a Town and Country and to top it off the van was dirty.  Things aren’t quite like they were when Mark and I were raising our kids!!!

We had a great time meeting all of you and showing off the puppies.  This is the outcome of picking:

Steve and Diane, Lavender/Quin ; Rafe and Jenae, Yellow/Dottie;  Shannon, Pink; Mindi and family, Green/Hank; and Kelly and Mike and family, Brown.

We KNOW all the puppies are going to great loving homes!!

Blankets and Pads:  It is so easy to go on a shopping spree as you prepare for your puppy.  From my experience, save your money to buy special things such as pads and blankets when your puppy is older.  Some puppies never stop chewing but some just aren’t chewers.

I use old towels or small sections of blanket to keep our puppies in kennels warm and comfortable.  If they chew, the blanket or pad gets taken out.  One doesn’t want to have strips of the fabric caught in their intestines.  This can cause a major blockage requiring surgery to remove.  And it never happens during your vet’s regular hours!!

Thursday, Mar 13

We have decided having winter/spring litters can be more work than summer puppies once the puppies are moved to the nursery.  It’s been cold and windy and we have had lots of ice requiring us to wear cleats on our boots.  Today we had a thunderstorm which melted the a lot of ice and snow but now we have squishy mud.  The runoff has filled our ditches to the point of running over the gravel roads and highways.  Our highway was closed for about 4 miles.

The reason I’m telling you this is to ask you to wear old shoes if you come visit the puppies after their vaccinations.

Mark and I are getting things ready for the puppies trip to the vet tomorrow.  We will use to crates to haul them in.  This visit is more like a party than a vet visit.  Everyone holds the puppies and fusses over each of them.

Choosing a vet for your puppy. Many of you are first time puppy owners. You will need to find a good vet now. We encourage you to take your puppy to your vet for an exam and you will need to take your puppy to the vet at 10 weeks for their second vaccinations.
How do you find a vet? The best way is to ask your friends who they use and why they would recommend them. If they sound like someone you would like to build a relationship with, give them a call. Many vets will spend a few minutes with you if you call and explain that you would like to meet them and see their office before you get your puppy.
Visit with the staff. Ask them about wait time when you arrive. Ask them how quickly they can get you in when your puppy needs seen right away.
Is the office calm or a ‘hot mess’? I like an office that is calm and welcoming. Professionalism is important to me as well as organization. These things tell me this is a good vet clinic.
Look at the office. Is it clean? Does it smell good? Is the waiting room big enough that you aren’t right beside another dog or cat? Is it a modern facility or does it need upgrading of it’s x-ray machines?
Ask about their fees. We have found that most vets charge about the same for vaccinations. The office visit fee will vary greatly so make sure you know that. Hopefully, you will only need to see the vet for the second and third set of vaccinations, fecal exams, Rabies shot, and spaying or neutering. 

Wednesday, Mar 12

The puppies are changing every day.  Yesterday’s ‘boss’ is todays ‘timid’.  They play hard sometimes causing another to squeal in pain.  Teeth biting a tail or ear produce a squeal in pain.

The area has 3 sections and we were using only 2 sections.  The 3rd section is added when needed.  Yesterday I found such a mess in the 2 sections that we knew they were ready for a larger area.  The puppies are still very good about going potty on the papers.  We added 2′ and have found evidence that they tried to get to the papers but fell short just a bit away from the papers.  Oh well, they are babies!!

We are warming the big room so we can put up the play area.  The play area will be up for the weekend.  It is so much fun to watch the puppies run and play!

It’s hard to take good pictures in the nursery.  The lighting is terrible and those little creatures don’t stand still and pose.  I’m glad everyone is visiting this weekend to see these beautiful puppies in person.

We suggest you attend a puppy obedience class after at least two sets of vaccinations have been received. Don’t forget about bordetella since you will be around other dogs. This is usually about 10 weeks of age. But, in the meantime, there is lots you can do in your own living room.

Now is the time to introduce your puppy to their name.  If you name your puppy Margaret but plan to call her Maggie, that’s ok.  Be consistent with the name or the puppy will be confused.  Other things you can work on when they are young are leash training, the command ‘come’, the command ‘sit’, and the word NO.

During your training sessions, you will identify what makes your dog tick. It may be treats, it may be verbal praise, or it may be touch praise.

The more time you spend with your puppy in the first few weeks will pay off when the puppy is going thru it’s ‘terrible two’s’ or ‘teenage years’. The bond you build now will last forever.

Training sessions should be no more than 5 minutes in length as puppies cannot concentrate longer than 5 minutes. You can train your puppy several times a day if you wish. Remember — your puppy will thrive with love, patience, and praise!

taking a nap while I’m cleaning their area

larger area

Saturday, Mar 9

The puppies are scheduled for their 6-week vaccinations and exams on Thursday, March 14.  Once the vaccinations are received, we allow visitors.  Please let me know when you would like to visit.  We allow about 45 minutes per visitor as the puppies get tired.  Everyone must be well to come into the dog barn.  Strep throat is one of the illnesses that can be passed to the puppies so we ask that each of you be 100% well.  Thank you!

Friday, Mar 8

Hooorah!!!  All of the puppies have been reserved!  Thank you to all who are trusting us to provide a well-bred, happy puppy.

Let’s talk about toys and treats:  I’m going you to encourage you to buy only USA made treats and toys.  My favorite website to purchase toys and treats is dogsupplies.com.  They have free shipping with a $49 order and lots of specials.  We buy lots of Nylabone and Kong toys.  They have several ‘puppy’ toys which are great for chewing and boredom.  We also rotate toys.  

Another thing we buy from this website is treats.  We buy Natural Balance L.I.T. Treats.  They come in several different flavors and our dogs like all of them.  We give lots of treats and these are just the right size.  

Thursday, Mar 7


I can’t believe these guys are already 5 weeks old!  Today we made the switch from the whelping box to the nursery at the barn.  Mark has been busy setting things up and taking what is needed from the house to the nursery…scale, toys, dishes, etc.

I have taken lots of pictures of the new area.  There is a 3’x8′ play/eating area and a 3’x8′ potty area.  They are separated by a PVC pipe.  There is a wall of PVC pipe blocking off the remaining 3’x8′.  If the area is too big, they won’t potty in the right area.

The potty area is lined with newspapers which 3 of the puppies found and pottyied immediately.  I don’t know if I’ve told you how SMART this litter is!!!  When we came back 3 hours later, there was evidence of more pottying.

The puppies are now eating soft puppy food soaked in water.  They also have a bowl of water and 2 water bottles available as they drink a lot.  Blu has pretty much weaned the puppies.  She will be taken to the puppies morning and night to help her dry up.  Her diet has returned to large breed dog food instead of puppy food.

I will start adding things about preparing for the puppy, choosing a vet, choosing dog food, puppy proofing your house, to name a few.  I will post them in red so you won’t miss them.

Please keep our son-in-law Chris in your thoughts and prayers.  Chris, 40, slipped on the ice last Saturday night and broke his hip.  He had surgery on Sunday to repair the break.  He has been learning how to get around on a walker and will go home tomorrow.  Thanks, Mark and Janell

Snuggling up in the whelping box after eating lunch

this is the same basket used in earlier pictures. Now only 2 fit!!

The nursery



everyone asleep

Thursday, Feb 28


Today was another worming and nail trim.  The weights are LAVENDER and PINK 5 pounds 8 ounces; YELLOW 5 pounds 9 ounces; GREEN 6 pounds 8 ounces; and BROWN 5 pounds 11 ounces.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been offering puppy formula but no one was too keen on the idea.  Blu has been very available but now things are changing — the puppies have teeth!!!  Blu nurses for about 5 minutes which is long enough to empty her and then she jumps out. This morning all 5 puppies lapped formula.  This is about the time that many moms start weaning their puppies.

We took pictures of each puppy this morning.  Enjoy!

A mother’s nightmare!

Pretty in PINK

YELLOW – I’m so tired…




Monday, Feb 25

We all survived the rain, freezing rain, snow, blizzard conditions, and strong winds which started on Friday evening.  We have a wood burner in the living room which we kept going all weekend just in case we lost power.  We would bring the puppies into the living room to keep them warm.  We luckily didn’t lose power.

The puppies seem to have changed from baby puppy to toddler puppy.  I find them sitting just like the adult dogs.  They are playing more and sometimes I hear little cry wanting Blu to come to their rescue.


No clothes basket while cleaning today



Brown is just too tired to sit up

Thursday, Feb 21


The puppies are 3 weeks old today.  With all the puppies near 4 pounds, the nursing area is really crowded.  I notice many times that they seem to be taking turns nursing.

The puppies are starting to play.  They nudge each other and bite at each other.  They now have puppy barks.



Tuesday, Feb 19

Sorry it has been longer than I like to update the blog.  I have been preparing for our tax date which is Thursday.

The puppies are on all fours — at least most of the time.  They have reverse mastered better than going forward!!  They now have their eyes and ears open.  They can’t focus clearly but are responding to my voice so their ears are working well.

This past weekend was very busy for the puppies.  First, they received a 3-day worming.  Second, their nails were trimmed.  Third, we introduced them to puppy formula to help Blu with nursing.  Blu is back to her ‘pre-pregnancy’ weight but we don’t want her to get too thin and worn down.

I’ve taken pictures of the CDs I play.  The pictures containing two CDs each are sounds.  The single is a sing along toddler CD.  I love it and sing to them often.

I hope you enjoy the pictures!







Look how big they have gotten!!




CD’s I play


more CDs


My favorite!

Wednesday, Feb 13

Blu and puppies are doing great!  We are anxiously waiting for their eyes to open as well as their ears to begin hearing.  This is the time that lots of stimulation starts.

We will start playing all different kinds of music.  We will begin playing ‘Sounds for Hounds’ a made for dogs CD.  It contains sounds like the dishwasher, a phone ringing, rain, thunder, meows, and many more sounds.  We also will play good old fashioned nursery rhymes.  If anyone would like a complete list of the CDs we play, let us know.

Hope you enjoy these pictures!

Look at how BIG the puppies are!





Saturday, Feb 9

I took Blu out this morning and I must say it is very cold…this morning she wanted to investigate the yard.  I think she is still looking for a nesting place outside.  I don’t know if she realizes she would not be able to carry the puppies and I’m not helping her.

We are having a quiet moment as the puppies are all asleep.  We have a camera on the whelping box so I can watch them from any place in the house.  They are starting to stir and soon the crying will start.

Pink and Lavender

Yellow, Green, Brown’s rump

Basket of puppies

Blu in whelping box waiting for puppies

Wednesday, Feb 6

Happy Birthday to my granddaughter Nicole!!!  She turns 12 today.  Love you!

Blu continues to be a wonderful mom.  After eating and going outside to potty, it’s time to nurse the puppies.  She jumps in the whelping box and just sits waiting for the puppies to come.  The puppies are asleep so it will be a few minutes before the trek to mom starts.

We’ve found a couple of books that we recommend reading.  “PUPPY KINDERGARTEN” is written by Miriam Fields-Babineau.  ‘The happy puppy handbook” is written by Pippa Mattinson.  Pippa has written several books and Mark agrees with her  common sense ways.

Breakfast is ready!

Sleeping puppies

Sleeping puppies

Tuesday, Feb 5

Today was a busy day here.  I had a doctor’s appointment at 9:15 so Blu was fed a bit earlier than usual.  When I let her out, she now waits for me to follow her and cheer her on…potty Blu, potty Blu, good girl Blu…etc. etc.  Spoiled — no way!!

All of the puppies are gaining weight and growing like weeds.  I have loosened their ribbons every couple of days as they are growing.

Enjoy the pictures!

Lavender, birth weight 14.5 ounces – today 26.5 ounces

Pink, birth weight 12 ounces – today 20.5 ounces

Green, birth weight 17.5 ounces – today 27 ounces

Brown, birth weight 14 ounces – today 26 ounces

Yellow, birth weight 13.5 ounces – today 25 ounces

Monday, Feb 4

Today the puppies went to see Dr. Kaliff of Animal Clinic Suburban in Omaha.  All of the staff came to the room to see Blu’s puppies.  It’s always fun taking puppies to the vet!

Their appointment consisted of removing their dewclaws and a puppy exam.  All of the puppies are in perfect health, no cleft palettes, and no umbilical hernias.  Dr. Kaliff thought their weights were great and complemented Blu for doing such a great job being a mom.  Blu was given a once over and all was well.

It was such a cold day that we ‘packed’ the puppies in a tote and all was well.  Their car ride was uneventful except for a few quick stops at red lights.  The next time they will go out is at 6 weeks of age to get their shots.

puppies packed up to go see Dr. Kaliff


Sunday, Feb 3

When I took Blu out this morning, it feels like spring!  The snow has melted leaving green grass.  The downside is the mud.  Our temp today is to be 49 degrees.  The weatherman is forecasting snow on Tuesday and Thursday so our spring weather will change back to snow and frozen mud.

All is well in the whelping box.  The puppies are content so there is less crying.  The first day is filled with crying puppies getting used to their life outside of mom’s warm womb.  They cry when they are hungry, cold, can’t find a nipple, someone stole their nipple…this is to be expected.

As the puppies learn to find a nipple and hang on and the temp is just right, the crying is minimal.  However, there is a choir of singing when Blu cleans and potties each puppy.  At this time, Blu is taking care of their bathroom needs.

Tomorrow the puppies and Blu go to visit Dr. Kaliff. The puppies will have their dewclaws removed.  We remove dewclaws so there will never be a torn dewclaw.  Dr. Kaliff will give each puppy a mini physical exam.  She also will check out Blu.

In case you didn’t notice, yellow puppies are born without black pigment in their nose and paw pads.  The pigment is already coming in.  Note the sharp little nails.  I will wait just a bit to trim the nails.  Right now they are using them to get traction on the whelping pad.  I will trim them when they start scratching mom.

paw getting pigment

Saturday, Feb 1

Blu is being a great mom.  Not once has she tried to move her puppies.  Other moms have put the puppies in their mouth and flip them around until they are in their mouth just right…scary to watch…kinda like watching a juggler wondering if they will drop something!!

Blu is already shaping up returning to her ‘prepregnancy’ figure.  We are feeding Blu four times a day.  She is satisfied right now but won’t be for long.  We try not to overfeed so she doesn’t get an over abundance of milk.  She could develop mastitis and the puppies could get overweight.

Hard to believe the puppies are only 2 1/2 days old. All of the puppies are doing great.  I have seen a puppy way across the whelping box (4′) crawl over the Blu.  Sometimes all 5 puppies are nursing and sometimes just 1 or 2 puppies are nursing.

Two of the puppies have gained 2 1/2 ounces and three have gained 2 ounces.  Blu is doing a fantastic job nursing her puppies.  I am weighing the puppies twice a day to monitor their weight.  This avoids any surprise losses.

The puppies all have colored ribbons on them for identification.  The females are PINK, YELLOW, and LAVENDAR.  The males are BROWN and GREEN.

Today the entire whelping box was cleaned and disinfected.  We put the puppies in a lined clothes basket.  I put a cell phone by the puppies to give a perspective to how small but big they are.  The whelping box needed a good cleaning and a clean whelping pad.  The dark grey/black cover on the floor of the whelping box is a washable whelping pad.  These are changed daily and washed for another day.

The PVC pipe around the inside of the whelping box is a ‘pig rail’.  It is also used for pigs.  It is set up about 4″ so a puppy or baby pig can get away from mom should she have puppies behind her when she lays down.

We have a dim light so we can peak inside without disturbing Blu by turning on the overhead light.  There also is an infrared heater that the puppies or Blu can lay under.  We have a large blanket over the sides and top to keep the warmth in and the cold out.

A basket full of puppies

2-day old puppies

One happy family

Thursday, Jan 24

Blu is growing bigger every day.  She is a little slower getting up, not jumping on the couch quite so fast, and is letting us bring her treats to her instead of her coming to get them.  Yes, she is a bit spoiled!!!

We went to Dr. Kaliff’s office for an x-ray.  The x-ray shows the puppies’ skulls and spine.  See how many you can find.

On our way home from Dr. Kaliff’s office, we stopped for a bite for lunch.  We parked in the sun and Blu was on a warm blanket.  At the last minute, I put my coat on her.  I never dreamed the coat would still be on her when we returned but it was.  She was sound asleep and never knew we were gone!

We are setting up the whelping box and unpacking the puppy scale, warming box, rags, whelping pads, and utensils needed at the time of whelping.

Blu watching TV

Blu made a big ball of blanket I gave her

Blu and my jacket

setting up for puppies

Day 57

Last but not least — count the spines and skulls

Sunday, Jan 20

Today is DAY 53.  We are getting close!!!  Blu was brought into the house about 10 days ago.  We weren’t sure how much she would remember from being in the house as a puppy.  We have been pleasantly surprised!

Blu was the first puppy that Mark let on the furniture.  I looked in and noticed her ‘peaking over the couch at me’.  Too late to punish Mark or Blu!!  Blu found the exact spot where she laid as a puppy and has made herself right at home watching TV with us.

Blu is eating 4 times a day and napping at least 4 times a day.  She is a little slower getting up and down due to her tummy getting larger.  The puppies are really growing now.  Most of our puppies are 13-16 ounces so she is gaining lots of puppy weight until delivery.

Day 49

Day 51

Day 53

Unique way to keep Blu off new carpet

Blu and Mark watching TV

Tuesday, Jan 29 thru Thursday, Jan 31

We have been sitting on pins and needles since last Tuesday.  Blu’s temperature dropped and she was nesting.  She spent 24 hours a day in the whelping box only to go outside…no eating.  These are the signs of puppies coming in 12-24 hours.  Well, Blu didn’t read the same manual I was reading.  She was uninformed of what whelping protocol was!!!

We had all our bases covered.  Dr. Kaliff was on vacation so we had a Plan B if we needed a c-section during business hours.  We had a Plan A if we needed help on the weekend.  We are very thankful we didn’t need any help other than ‘moral support’ phone calls with Dr. Anderson and Dr. Nelson, the other vets in Dr. Kaliff’s office.

Finally, yesterday labor was set into motion about noon.  After waiting for hours for labor to start, it was finally going to happen.  About 10:00 pm the first puppy arrived, a yellow female; then a yellow male; then another yellow male; followed by two yellow females.

The puppies all nursed well after they were born.  Before they are dry, we place the puppies on a nipple to get colostrum right away.  The puppies already have the sucking instinct so all they need is a nipple.  As each additional puppy is born, we place the newest puppy with the older puppies and all of them are nursing.

It is such a miracle to have see the pregnancy thru from the breeding to the delivery of the puppies.  The puppies are all strong, have good nursing instincts, and crawl all over looking for mom for warmth and food.

I hope you can see the physical changes in the puppies from the picture at birth to the pictures today.

I hope you enjoy the pictures!

A mother’s love

New puppies at 4:00 am

Time Mark and I went to bed this morning

Puppies at about 20 hours old