Last updated: Mon, 6 Mar 2006 13:24:58
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[h3092h] Grandmother Winnie gets in with the puppies
Day Fifteen: 24 February 2006
Photo by HighGarth
Grandma Dog Babysits for Mother Dog
We had a guest today who is planning to help with some household repairs. Lily was dying to greet a visitor and left the puppies to cuddle the workman who has and loves Labs. As we were all standing around the whelping box of now fussing puppies, Winnie (Lily's mother) quietly stepped into the whelping box and began cleaning the puppies. At one moment she almost seemed to be wondering if she could nurse the puppies.
We quickly grabbed the camera to catch Winnie acting as baby-sitter.
Winnie is the only dog who Lily seems to welcome in the whelping room, but until today she had only licked Lily's head while she nursed puppies. She has never previously touched the puppies or entered the whelping box.
I was astonished at Winnie's behavior even though I know she actively seeks to spend time with anyone's puppy. In fact, I've been pondering her grandmotherly behavior all day.
Extended members of wild canid families often help raise young. But dogs aren't supposed to do this. I started to wonder if more dogs would help raise puppies if they had opportunities. I also wonder if there is a time frame in which the canine mother is more likely to let this contact with puppies happen. It certainly seems that the puppies are moving toward a more active and independent stage and that Lily is backing off a bit in her hovering over them.
I'm still pondering this and wondering if any of you have had grandmotherly canine help in raising puppies.
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