Did you know that “whelp” is a real word? I’m not talking about the exclamation. I’m talking about dog whelping, which is essentially dog birthing. Here’s the dictionary.com definition:
whelp (v.) – (of a female dog, lion, etc.) to give birth to (young)
Apparently this also applies to lions.
The reason we’re even having this conversation about whelping is because the Dog House residents assisted with a whelp a few weeks ago. At any given time Susquehanna Service Dogs (SSD) has a few litters of puppies that are waiting to be old enough to go off to their puppy raisers and start their training. Those puppies have to come from somewhere, so SSD also breeds and whelps dogs.
After receiving their invitation to take part in an SSD whelp, the DH residents waited for the phone call that would sound off the puppy alarm. The call came, the residents took off, and several hours later there were seven crawling puppies surrounding an exhausted mama dog. The litter has been dubbed the “Aunts and Uncles” litter in honor of their father, Uncle Ed, a handsome lab from Canine Partners for Life.
Flash forward to the present: those same puppies are now old enough to participate in what SSD calls “Puppy Hugging”. It’s exactly what it sounds like: volunteers go visit the puppies for 45 minutes at a time to socialize the dogs. Puppy Hugging helps ease the puppies into training before they leave their mother. This way the puppies become comfortable around all people, not just their puppy raisers.
Today a few members of the DH pack are going to visit the Aunts and Uncles litter to participate in the litter’s first Puppy Hugging. Luckily, they’ve promised to take plenty of pictures.
Below are pictures from the whelp, as well as pictures from another Puppy Hugging extravaganza that some pack members attended a few weeks ago.