In keeping with our theme, "A Pictorial Journal" of our involvement with Labrador Retrievers,
we present the miracle of birth. As you will see from the following 12 hours of whelping
Carissa's litter, the entire Herzon family participates in each puppy's emergence into the world.

So as the announcer says in the show Law & Order;
"The following takes place between 10AM and 11PM, August 4th, 2004
in the game room at the Herzon house"



And so the story begins.
Click on photo to make larger

Here she is at 47 days, 07/24/04!

11 AM 08/03/04 Okay, here we are as Carisssa started with contractions at 10 AM.

11:45 The adventure begins with the first puppy.

11:45 First baby girl (black) born at 14 oz

BF1 is active and strong.

12:20 First baby boy born weighing at 14 oz

BM1 is a little sluggish.

BF1 and BM1 in the "Incubator". drying out and warming up.

Jessie tends to Carissa in between pups.

1:05 Third puppy born and not breathing, need to clean out airways.

Vigorous back rubbing gets BM2 to cry out. Any body for a game of pool?

Have to use the "Sling tecnique" to remove fluids from the lungs. Make sure that the head is cradled between the fingers and thumb for support.

The full Sling at the bottom stroke, the mucus, slings out on the floor.

BM2 is now breathing! The entire Herzon family at work.

1:25 4th puppy, a yellow at last!!!!!

Okay, let's do the "Sling" on our new YM1.

YM1 was sluggish and a "bleeder". Need to tie off the cord and into the incubator for extra warming up to get circulation going.

Whew! Got him breathing and stopped the bleeding, now it's time to weighin. 14oz. A drop of dextrose 50% solution will work wonders in reviving a pup.

All four pups in the incubator. Carissa and the Herzons take a break while waiting for the next set of contractions.

While the YM1 dries out and warms up, the other 3 will nurse which sets off the next series of contractions.

2:50 PM puppy #5 is a yellow female born after taking Carissa out for a walk outside.

YF1 weigh in at 14oz

4:00 PM Carissa and 5 pups doing well.

5:15 PM yellow male arrives and weighs in at 14 1/2 oz, the heaviest so far.

6 puppies in the incubator.

6:15 PM Jessie delivers #7, another yellow male, the smallest so far at 12oz.

The little yellow male drying out, while the rest suckle on Carissa.

All 7 in the incubator. it is now 7:45 and Carissa is starting with the next contractions. Come back soon!

7:55 PM after pushing for 10 minutes, Carissa does her thing (or "thang" as they say in Georgia), #8 is a black girl.

8:40 PM Carissa and the Herzon's are beginning to show wear and tear. #9 is not breathing and it takes more than 10 minutes to get her to gasp.

10:45 PM #10 a YM, is not breathing either and Johanna asks, "It's not going to make it, is it?"

"Never say die!" After 15 minutes of rubbing, sling, dextrose drops and persistance, finally a gasp!!!!!

Carissa finally meets a yelling and kicking #10, a Yellow male! She's through, but we will stay up with her for another 4 hours.

Here we are at 3 weeks of age bottle feeding every 6 hours.

One at a time, that's 10 puppies drinking half a bottle a sitting.

Goat's milk, soy milk and plain yogurt. They consume 1 quart of mix every 6 hours.

Carissa's milk supply is small, so we rotate them around.

Some wait in the holding pen, some suckle on Carissa, while 1 gets bottle fed.

"Hey, I'm next" once mom's milk dries up, then they want Daddy.

Well, there you have it, Carissa settles down with 10 puppies after 12 hours of delivery. With all 10 puppies suckling, she falls asleep at 11:55 PM. It wouldn't be until 2:35 AM that Ma and Pa Herzon finally dose off for about 4 hours of sleep and then the new day starts again with new doggie adventures.

Our photographer, my 10-year old son Ryan, helped out and eventually dropped out of the delivery process after 8 hours, for those of you that know Ryan, that was an extremely long attention span!!!

Our webmaster, my wife, Johanna was busy at work with one of her outside projects, but jumped in when needed and served as backup when I needed a break.

Jessie, my 14-year daughter was part of the whole process, serving as nurse maid, dog walker, photographer and dog companion.

STORY UPDATE: 4 1/2 weeks later

With 10 puppies and Carissa's milk drying up to a trickle, for the next 4 1/2 weeks, the pups are hand-fed at first every 2 hours for the first 10 days, then 6 times per day until they were 3 weeks old, then 4 times a day until they could eat on their own. They ended up consuming well over 40 gallons of goat's milk and soy milk and 4 quarts of plain yogurt.



Follow Up To Special Delivery By Carissa


     There has been many emails from those that followed the litter delivery process of our most recent litter, from Carissa. You can view the entire 12-hour photo journal of each puppy's emergence into the world above. Thank you to all the well-wishers, we will keep our fingers crossed and hope that each puppy prospers and eventually contributes to the betterment of the breed. 

     For those that have been asking about my experiences at birthing and about some of the techniques used to revive several of the pups, here is a little recap of my history . Having assisted a farm vet for over 16 years, an old-timer vet, who actually made house/farm calls, I have probably participated in over 400 birthing/deliveries. Keep in mind that this was a farm vet and not a fancy-shmanzy, city slicker with a big to-do office. He had an old station wagon and would think nothing of driving by my farm and waking me up at 3 AM to help out with a cow in distress or a goat out in the middle of a pasture or a pig in a pen or heavens knows what I have forgotten in all these years.  So, pigs (pot-bellied and the regular kind), sheep, mares, llamas, cats and dogs were among the standard fare for deliveries at all sorts of the day and night.

     I have delivered 50 to 60 dog litters of my own in the last 34 years, with probably another 40 to 50 for my partners, friends and neighbors, including my Dad who raised Rat Terriers.

     Cow birthing became quite frequent once farmers in the area found out I was game to help out, so add another 100+ cow deliveries. So that leaves cats (lost count), pigs (?), llamas (5), horses (?), goats (?), sheep (?), oh yeah I also delivered an Ostrich (from the egg) to account for the other 200!!!!!! Would that last one be considered a whelping, birthing, delivery or a hatching??????? ( By the way, in all these deliveries, birthings, whelpings and hatchings, I was attacked by the mother-to be only once, the Ostrich!!!

     Oh, I also attended Jessie's and Ryan's birthing, although I wasn't allowed to touch! Johanna, also wanted to attack me when I said "Come on honey, you can do it, push."

     Now-a-days, because of a hypertensive condition, I only will birth my own litters or those of my partners. I always have my vet on call in case of an emergency. Each and every litter presents totally unique circumstances, I don't recommend for everyone to go through this process, as it is not for the feint of heart.


Back to Reference Library

  Back to Home Page