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12-12-2009, 15:30: last post on the blog

With all the pups at their new owners, photos and reports come in regularly. The picture of Amber and her Butterscotch in their home in Zeeland is the last picture in this blog. It will stay online for everyone who wants to do a little trip on memory lane. We hope everyone who had a look here occasionally or on a regular basis, enjoyed reading the blog just as much as we did making it. The pictures and reports we receive won't go amiss though. As from next week all the pups and their owners will become their own photo-page on our website. So please, keep the photos coming! A big thank you to all loyal followers of the blog.

12-12-2009, 15:00: relaxing on the train

Getting a pup socialized is serious work. It is taken very seriously by Virgenie and Reno who expose their Molly to all kinds of daily life 'hazards'. A couple of days ago Molly took her first ride on the train. Exciting at first, Molly probably thought, but after a while she settled down and took a nap.

09-12-2009, 14:00: one of the girls

Matilde belongs in the group, that is for sure. Ever since her brothers and sisters moved house she started to feel more confident among the big dogs. And gradually the big dogs are starting to accept her. She cuddles up against Galina and Delizia likes to groom her every now and again. She is even allowed in the big dogbed. Promessa keeps a watchful eye over here daughter. She still is a wonderful mother.

08-12-2009, 14:00: slap on the wrist from Mefisto

After our report from yesterday, we received a well deserved slap on the wrist from Heather. Mefisto wasnít training with dead birds but with live quails. Heather told us that he chased three quails and didnít give up until he had them. A very good start for this pointing dog in the making.

07-12-2009, 21:00: Mefisto, the bird-dog

Heather promised to keep us updated and she is keeping her word. Last weekend she let Mefisto have his first encounter with a dead bird. By the looks of it he has no problems with the retrieve. He certainly looks like a gundog in the making.

07-12-2009, 20:00: bye bye Mosca

And so there was just one puppy left in Kleine Huisjes. This morning Chris took Matilde's sister Mosca for a long flight to Iowa in the USA. There Mosca will grow up with the other dogs of Chris and a lot of horses. We are sure that she will have the time of her life in a place surrounded by wide open spaces. Chris, hopefully we'll meet soon. Maybe for a hunt in Iowa.

06-12-2009, 23:00: Chris and Mosca

A flash visit it was from Chris Smith, who flew all the way from Iowa in the USA to pick up her Mosca. In the very short time we had and despite the terrible weather, we did manage to do some sight-seeing like here at the freijlemaborg in Slochteren. Chris will board tomorrow morning for her flight back home. We wish her and her Mosca a safe flight back.

04-12-2009, 12:00: Marlotta and Vita

This morning a pleasant surprise awaited us in our e-mail postbox. Hans de Jong had sent us a couple of pictures of Marlotta. The pictures didn't only prove that Hans is a very good photographer (but we already knew that). It also showed us how well Marlotta and Vita are getting used to their new situation. At least one of them thinks that they are a formidable team, on their daily walks. We leave it to your imagination to determin who that is.

04-12-2009, 11:30: cats and dogs

A lot is said and written about cats and dogs not getting along. With our two cats Ollie B. and Tom Poes, this is absolutely not true. They like the dogs and with some of them they really have a special bond. Tom Poes loves to cuddle up against Quinta who lovingly grooms her. With the pups it is a different story all toghether. Matilde and Mosca love to have the cats as their playmates, but their rough approach makes that both Ollie and Tom keep well away from the troublemakers. But when the pups do take a little nap, especially Ollie likes to check them out from up close.

03-12-2009, 13:30: roughhousing in the garden

The garden holds no secrets for the pups. Even in the rain they love to spend time playing in the falling leaves and the mud. They have even had a close encounter with our ponds and they did found out that even though they have fair sized paws, walking on water is not one of their qualities.

02-12-2009, 09:00: a touch of frost

New experiences are the order of the day for the pups, even at nine weeks. This morning they were in for a treat as the lawn was covered in frost. And to top it up, our small ponds which act as drinking bowl, were frozen over. The pups were surpised to feel the cold at their feet, but after a short while they ran around like nothing had changed.

01-12-2009, 21:00: Mistero at the Jaspers

The next leg of the 'puppy delivery run', was to the Jasper family: Ulrike, Michael, the children and bracco Dorabella. The Jaspers live in Naarden and Mistero was well taken care for as soon as he entered his new home. We are sure that he will have a wonderful life with his new family.

01-12-2009, 21:00: goodbye Heather

Heather has stayed at our place for four days. Plenty of time for her to get acquainted with her Mefisto, the other pups and all the big braccos. We even had enough time for a hunting trip on the fields of Eexterveen. Heather, we enjoyed having you around. Hopefully we'll meet again in the near future, either over here or in the USA.

01-12-2009, 13:30: two puppies left

An emotional day today. This morning Marieke took Heather and Mefisto to the airport. At the moment of writing the two are at 30,000 feet, on their way to Ohio. After saying goodbye to Heather, whose company we enjoyed very much, and Mefisto, Marieke drove to Naarden to deliver Mistero at the Jaspers family. Now only Mosca (orange) and Matilde (pink) remain at home. After eight weeks of caring for and enjoying all the pups, it has been very difficult to let them go. Fortunately we can comfort ourself with the thought that all of them have gone great new homes. We wish them a long, healthy and playful life.

30-11-2009, 15:30: when Mina became Molly

Only four pups remain in Kleine Huisje. Today Marieke and Heather travelled to the south of the country, to bring Mina to Virgenie and Reno, who live in a wonderful house in Swalmen. Mina will be called Molly from now and she will have a very big garden to roam around in. Virgenie and Reno have already let us know that Molly is settling in well in her new environment.

30-11-2009, 15:30: Marlotta-update

Marlotta is settling in very well, say Brigitte and Hans in an e-mail. She is adapting well to life in Amstelveen, together with the cats and with Vita. The cats are very intriguing for her. She sneaks up on them and tries to play. Although the cats do find this miniature dog interesting, they donít allow him to come too near. Vita is starting to enjoy the company of Marlotta. Cautiously Vita entices the little girl for some play. But sometimes it goes too well and Marlotta heads straight for the teat of Vita to find that not all Bracco-girls carry milk. And when it is time to rest, what better place than a designer cat-bed?

29-11-2009, 15:30: Amber, Sophia and Magno

Five of the ten puppies live with their new owners. This morning it was Magnoís turn. He was picked up by Sophia and her daughter Amber, who are going to call Magno Butterscotch. At home Butterscotch will share the house and garden with four Labrador retrievers and a Jack Russel terrier. Amber who canít wait to take Butterscotch to puppy-training, wants to show him as soon as he is old enough. We will certainly by the side of the show-ring to cheer her on.

28-11-2009, 14:30: Matteo

Matteo was the fourth puppy to leave the nest. Isabella, Harald and their two children came over from Koblenz in Germany this morning, to pick up their little man. Matteo will not only have the company of the family members, he will also be living together with two basset hounds.

28-11-2009, 12:30: Marlotta

Yesterday Marieke and Heather made a rainy trip to our friends Brigitte and Hans. They received their new housemate Marlotta who instantly felt at home with Hans, Brigitte, Bracco Vita and the two cats. Marlotta slept all the way through her first night. She will soon hook up with Vita and try to snitch some field trial secrets from her. Brigitte will certainly enter Marlotta in future field trials.

27-11-2009, 17:30: it is getting lonely out here

Only a couple of days ago the pups fought with each other for the nicest spots in the bench or on their dog bed. Those fights aren't really necessary anymore. With three pups permanently gone, there is plenty of room for the remaining seven to pick a perfect resting spot.

27-11-2009, 13:00: Heather

Yesterday Heather Hauser arrived in Kleine Huisjes to collect her puppy Mefisto, who is going to be called Gunnison. Heather lives in Columbus, Ohio, in the USA. She is a photographer and lives for her dogs and her hunting. This Saturday she will join us on a hunt. The rest of the time will be spent talking 'bracco' and bonding with the little man.

25-11-2009, 11:00: hunting instinct

Mirto is settling in with his new housemates Marijke and Dante. He is trying hard to make friends with Dante, but the eight year old bracco is not convinced yet. Yesterday Mirto tried a bold approach by stepping into Dante's bed. But Dante didn't approve, he growled Mirto out of his domain. Then Mirto's hunting instinct kicked in. He crept up on Dante from behind and silently let himself slide into the bench against the old fellow's back. Dante didn't react and together they slept for a while in Dante's dog bed.

24-11-2009, 17:00:play while you still can

Promessa has been protecting herself against the hungry mouths of the pups. She has been staying in her bench, which she doesn't seem to mind. But every once in a while she needs some excercise. Surprisingly enough the pups weren't as interested in milk as they have been, the past couple of months. They were more interested in a couple of rounds of friendly banter with mum. Promessa obliged, she took her time playing with her babies now they are still here.

24-11-2009, 13:00: getting used to a bench

Teaching the pups to get used to a bench is a wasted effort. In that field the pups are completely self-taught. They enjoy the snugness of the case and the warmth of their brothers and sisters when they are sleeping. And seemingly they are enjoying it while they can, as during this week it will be getting much less crowded in the bench.

24-11-2009, 10:00: Morfeo

After Mirto, who left with Marijke to Schiedam, Morfeo was the second pup to leave Kleine Huisjes. Morfeo was welcomed by the Tubben family and their bloodhound Lopke and basset Mauk. At first Morfeo needed some time to adjust. But when Lopke and Mauk didn't seem to mind the little intruder on their dog beds, the ice was broken. This morning we received an e-mail that Morfeo slept well last night. We are sure that he is going to have a great life with his new family in Barger Compascuum.

23-11-2009, 20:00: Hindrik Rijnberg

Hindrik Rijnberg, huntsman of the hunting group Eexterveen, and his wife Gerda, made the long drive to Kleine Huisjes to check out the remaining nine pups. Hindrik studied all of them well, and tried to guess which of the nine will be accompanying the group next year, through the sugar beet fields of Eexterveen.

23-11-2009, 12:00: mixed feelings

The week of mixed feelings has arrived. Most of the pups will be leaving us and while we are happy for the new owners to finally have their their puppy at home, we are sad for seeing them leave. We have been observing, feeding and playing with them for nearly eight weeks now. And they have become part of our household. It is a sobering thought however, that all the new owners will provide a warm nest for the pups.

22-11-2009, 17:00: and then there were nine

The first pup has left Kleine Huisjes. Marijke, who was a great help during her two stays, took her new housemate Mirto with her to Schiedam. It is a nice coincedence that the first born of the litter, is also the first to leave Kleine Huisjes. Marijke will keep us updated about the first days of Mirto in his new environment. Marijke, many thanks for all your help. We wish you many happy years with your new buddy.

22-11-2009, 16:00: busy days

It has been busy the past couple of days. Many old and new friends paid us a visit and we always had the house filled with people. The pups were never short of attention and they loved it. Today Marijke, Paolo, Brigitte and Hans and the Koska family joined us for lunch. Next week we will start with bringing the pups to their new owners. It will be hard to see them go.

20-11-2009, 23:00: three generations

Wim and Lammy came over to meet up with Paolo and to have a look at the pups. The return of Isotta, who lives with Wim and Lammy, meant that three generations were united. Isotta, Promessa and the pups didn't seem to be very much aware of this. But we had them pose for a picture anyway.

20-11-2009, 14:00: Paolo: 'tutti belli e uniformi'

Yesterday night Gianpaolo Poggio arrived in Kleine Huisje. He will stay with us for a couple of days, during which he will observe the pups to help us with our choice. His first impressions were very good. Paolo was excited about the quality of the pups. A beautiful litter, he said, with well built dogs, with very nice heads and everything in the right proportions. He was especially excited about the uniformity of the litter. This will make our choice more of a challenge. You could say that we have a luxury problem.

19-11-2009, 15:00: lovely weather

The pups and we are lucky with today's weather. After yesterday's storm, the weather has turned warm and sunny. Reason enough for the pups to go out and explore. Our garden doesn't hold many secrets for them anymore. They know their way, even over tiny hedgehog tracks and under the bushes.

With this nice weather we couldn't afford to pass on some very nice photo-opportunities.

19-11-2009, 11:00: the umbrella test

A very important part in socialisation of the pups is getting them acquainted with sudden movements and loud noises. When we change the bin liner we shake it in front of the pups we take the pups out to expose them to everyday sounds. The umbrella test is a good way to see how puppies react to the unexpected. Most of them were a bit apprehensive at the first opening and shaking of the umbrella, but after a couple of times they weren't impressed at all.

18-11-2009, 13:00: chipped

Part of breeding a litter are the formalities that come with applying for a pedigree and registration of the pups. This means that the pups get their own chip, which is injected underneath the skin. All ten pups underwent their 'treatment' without protest. They now have their personal number.

18-11-2009, 12:00: Ilonne

Some friends you don't see often enough. A litter is the perfect opportunity to meet up. Ilonne was very welcome when she visited us last night, to check out the pups and catch up on what's new. She isn't really inexperienced when it comes to braccos. Ilonne has two 'oldies': Verdell is eleven and Roma is ten. Besides that she takes care of 'our' Lisa at the moment.

17-11-2009, 21:00: autumn

At long last the weather cleared up a bit. We even had a fair bit of sunshine, to make it a very nice autumn day. To celebrate the nice weather, the pups took their time exploring the garden. It gave us the opportunity to shoot a couple of pictures of the pups in an autumn setting. Click here for more photos.

17-11-2009, 10:00: Barbara and Derek

Another busy day, yesterday. Not only Jolien, sister Marit and mother Joke paid us a visit. Our friends Barbara and brother Derek Hazenberg also made the long drive to Kleine Huisjes. Especially Barbara knows what to look for in a good bracco. While Jolien showed her stuff in handling the puppies professionally, Barbara, Marijke and Marieke discussed angles, lines, ears, eyes and noses.

16-11-2009, 18:00: Jolien

Jolien and her mum and sister came by to have a look at the pups and to 'show' them. This is all in a day's work for Jolien who spends many hours in the show ring as a handler for various breeds. The past couple of years she showed quite a few braccos, among which Delizia and Promessa. For us the showing of the pups was a good opportunity to have a critical look at the appearance of the pups.

16-11-2009, 10:00: deworming and weighing

The pups have had their third and last but one deworming during their period in Kleine Huisjes. We have also weighed them. But with the pups being very lively, it wasn't easy to keep them steady on the scale. It became especially difficult when some of them discovered a pheasant-wing on the table. Fortunately we have Marijke over to help out for a couple of days.

15-11-2009, 17:00: weary after a day of visits

Again it was a busy day for the pups and for us, with a lot of visitors. We all had a great time though, enjoying the company and the pups. All the attention has taken its toll though for the pups. By the time the last visitors were leaving they were sound asleep or stretching and yawning.

15-11-2009, 12:00: and bigger they get

The pups are getting bigger and bigger. But as they grow they also find ways to economize the available sleeping space, so that one dog bed still sleeps ten wel fed pups.

14-11-2009, 12:00: explorers

The pups don't stay inside because of a little rain. They like to explore and have already been spotted all the way back in our garden, a good hundred metres walk. Once there, they have discovered the joy of mud, fallen leaves and sticks to carry around.

13-11-2009, 23:30: first checkup, all pups are healthy

Egidius Wientjes from veterenary practice Hopmans, visited us to give the pups their first shots and a checkup. He was very pleased with the pups and gave them a clean bill of health. The pups bravely withstood their shots and weren't too impressed by being on the table with Egidius.

13-11-2009, 13:00: Duca

Not only Jeannot and Jeroen paid us a visit yesterday. Dick, Ineke, Promessa's brother Pascal and good old Duca, came by to see the pups. Duca (on the photo right) was fascinated by the pups, but he didn't really know what to think of it. On the photo it looks like one of the pups, Jeannot and Jeroen's Flint (m.) and Duca are having a little discussion together. It could be that Flint tries to pick Duca's brain for next field trial season. Duca could give him some tips, as he has been in 'field-trial school' in Italy for several years, where he was educated by the famous trainer Vinicio Tongolo.

12-11-2009, 21:00: an old acquaintance

At long last Jeannot and her Jeroen drove all the way from Zeeuws-Vlaanderen to pay the pups and us a visit. For 'mid-wife' Jeannot it was a reunion with the pups she helped to deliver. For Jeroen it was the first encounter with Promessa's babies.

12-11-2009, 12:00: breakfast of champions

We like to feed the pups one at a time. Not only does this give us a feeling of bonding, it also allows us to monitor how much the pups get. Three times a day they eat copious quantities of Carnibest, a fresh meat dog food. Especially in the morning they are fanatically munch away.

We have placed a new clip on the video page.

11-11-2009, 14:00: duck call

Yesterday's duck hunt went very well. So before we prepared the ducks for the table we let the pups sniff one out one of the shot mallards. They were very interested in this new bird. Smells different than a pheasant, but just as much fun to sniff at and walk around.

11-11-2009, 10:00: who's first?

It will be quite a challenge for the girls from the Tubben Family to see who will be the first one to have the new puppy on her lap. For now that isn't much of a problem. During a visit last night all of the pups were more than happy to oblige.

10-11-2009, 15:00: pointing practice

Despite the poor weather conditions, the pups like to sneak outside when the kitchen door is open. They love to run around in the garden until they are getting cold. The rain of today didn't even stop them from doing some pointing practice with the Hegendorff rod. Their attention span is becoming better and they even take the time to fixate the wing with something that starts to look like a point.

09-11-2009, 17:00: open kitchen

Twenty years after the Berlin wall, the fence of the enclosure has also fallen. From today the kitchen is open for the pups. We have cleaned up shoes and we have lifted electrical wires out of reach of curious puppy-mouths. The pups enjoy their newfound freedom. They play a lot, while the big dogs are trying to adjust to the new situation. One of the pups was very fortunate when he found this pheasant wing under one of the kitchen cupboards.

09-11-2009, 16:00: Goodbye Wil

Wil has left Kleine Huisjes. She returned to Texel after having worked very hard for the past couple of days. We are sure that she'll be back soon to have a look at her darlings. Wil, many thanks for helping out and for your great company. We really enjoyed having you around.

08-11-2009, 12:00: hierarchy

The pups have made a lot of progress in their development in the past couple of days. They are getting more and more aware of their place in the hierarchy. Sometimes they try their sisters and brothers out to see if they can move up a spot. Such noisy battles are fought on the kitchen floor. During their fights the bystanders aren't spared. Especially Hidalgo is a willing target. His sweet personality and gentle approach of the pups, make him the ideal playmate and sparring partner.

08-11-2009: Rijk

After a very busy afternoon and evening yesterday, a late message. Yesterday Rijk, parents Marianne and Johan and Pimpa, Promessa's sister, came over for a visit. Rijk disappeared instantly in the enclosure where he was covered by pups. The charm of the pups didn't only work on the young visitors. Marianne and Johan couldn't resist them either. They also found a spot between the pups in their enclosure.

07-11-2009, 11:00: we want out

The pups have a daily taste of the outside world. They find it more and more difficult to be put back in their enclosure. So when they wake up after their much needed nap, they go to the wall and shout their lungs out to be picked up out in the kitchen. As soon as they quiet down we let them have a play.

06-11-2009, 20:00: eat, play, sleep

Promessa still feels very responsible for her pups, but we have taken her off her duty of feeding the pups. They will have to start feeding solely on solid food, and Promessa will get the chance to stop her milk production. The daily ritual for the pups is now eating, playing and falling asleep. The falling asleep part is taken very literally, as they doze off in the middle of their play and somtimes in an awkward position.

05-11-2009, 14:30: buckle up

Today the pups went for their first drive with the car. An important fase in their learning curve. When they are ready to leave Kleine Huisjes in three to four weeks time. Most of them will be making a long trip by car. And for pups and any dogs the car should have an association with positive events, like walks, hunting and training.

05-11-2009, 13:30: learning to speak 'dog'

The pups are drawn to the dog beds like moths to a flame. Much to the dislike of our old lady Quinta. She draws her lip up when the pups close in. And when they dare to approach the bed. She gives a threathening bark. The pups are still learning to understand 'dog'. The signals are often subtle and sometimes, like in this instance, very clear. The pups respond to Quinta by quietly leaving the stage.

05-11-2009, 12:00: Wil

We are very happy when people want to help out with raising and cleaning after the pups. Wil was more than welcome when she offered to leave her home on Texel behind to join us for a couple of days. The fact that Wil is good company and that she brought a bag full with lamb from Texel, only made us happier. The pups seem to enjoy her company too.

04-11-2009, 20:00: advanced socialisation

Charlot, her son Willem and daughter Sanne came by to have a look at the pups. Especially Willem was excited about them. On his back on the floor he waited for the pups to be turned loose from their enclosure. The pups showed their social side. Like one big, playful horde they attacked Willem who enjoyed every second of it.

04-11-2009, 14:30: 'am I bothered?'

Alex, mum Jan and dad Scott paid us a visit last night. Jan and Scott live in Australia. They are making a tour around Europe. They are both dog-lovers and they were sure that their Alex will be too. At six months Alex wasn't too impressed however, with the puppy sniffing him out.

03-11-2009, 14:30: decisions, decisions

The weather improved considerably, so for their midday outing the pups could make their own choice: stay in or have a look outside. With the kitchen door open, four of the ten pups made a stroll outside. They played with each other and tried to keep up with the cat, but they found out that the cat is very fast and that it is still quite chilly outside.

03-11-2009, 10:00: where's mummy?

The morning outing wasn't going to be outside. It is too cold for the pups, so they got some quality time in the kitchen. They are already getting to know their way around and all the local 'rides' are quickly found: the cat's tail, the bench with a bit rug you can bite in and of course, the dog bed. Promessa and the other dogs try to keep well away from the little menaces, but this is becoming very difficult now the pups are succeeding in climbing into the bed. They do get a 'lip' from the big dogs, but they soon find out it is better just to leave the bed and find another, quieter spot.

02-11-2009, 20:00: keep on drinking

The pups are growing very fast. The main reason for this is probably the three big meals they eat daily. Despite the more than sufficient food supply, Promessa's milk still plays a very important role in their daily routine. Promessa isn't having it easy with this. The pups are starting to grow formidable dentures and the battle for the teat isn't going softly. Praise to Promessa that despite the agony, she still takes the time to feed her babies.

02-11-2009, 14:30: outdoor encounters

Eating outdoors has become a favourite moment for the pups. They enjoy their food and, just as much, enjoy their stroll and play afterwards. Sometimes though it can get a bit awkward, especially now our chickens have found out that puppy-food goes down well. While the pups have buried their heads in the bowl, the chickens await their moment to steal some of the food. The rooster is standing guard to scare away pups that become a bit too friendly.This morning we made a little film clip of the pups having breakfast.

02-11-2009, 10:30: a smell of pheasant

Every now and again we try to get the pups acquainted with game. The actions aren't spectacular pointing and retrieving excercises. It all happens in 'Teletubbies'-mode. The bird (a pheasant) is sniffed at and a couple of feathers are plucked. Occasionally a pup steps back and growls at the peculiar looking heap of feathers. We are however convinced that these small incentives work well to make the pups comfortable with game. Promessa enjoyed retrieving the pheasant from the enclosure. It surely reminded her of the recent past when she was very active in the field.

01-11-2009, 19:30: litter, ok!

Three board-members of the Bracco Italiano Club visited us to give the litter their approval. Although it was more a social visit, Hans de Jong (photo right) and Marianne and Henk Eelvelt (left) did fill out an official form with their findings. The pups did the rest to win over the Bracco Italiano Club to give their stamp of approval to Promessa's litter.

01-11-2009, 10:30: dining al fresco

More and more places are discovered by the pups. When we clean their inclosure, they enjoy wandering around the kitchen and even outside for a stroll and a play in the garden. We stimulate this by feeding them in different places. Yesterday the pups enjoyed the autumn sun during their al fresco supper, on the garden terrace. This morning breakfast was served in the kitchen.

31-10-2009, 12:00: checking the boundaries

The pups are really growing. It shows by the way they are busy checking the fences of their enclosure. They have already experienced outside life and they obviously want more of it. Unfortunately for them they will have to wait a while. But it wonít be very long before we allow them to start exploring the kitchen by themselves.

30-10-2009, 23:00: See you soon Marijke!

Marijke has gone home again, after nearly a week of Ďhard labourí in and around the puppy-enclosure. We are very happy with the assistance Marijke has given us and we are grateful for all the time, energy and love she has put into the care for the pups the past couple of days. But we also know that she enjoyed doing it. Marijke, you know that you are always welcome here and we know for sure that we will see you again soon. Thanks for everything!

30-10-2009, 15:00: not much time left

The pups are in their fifth week now. Less than four weeks to go for them, before they have to leave their mum and meet their new owners. For us it means that we only have little time left to give the pups as much positive experiences as we can possibly give them. After that they will have to be ready for a life in the outside world. On her last day in Kleine Huisjes Marijke took a little stroll through the enclosure with her camera. Click on video to see the footage.

29-10-2009, 16:30: pointing

Better have an early start, we thought when we introduced the pups to some feathers today. At four weeks the pups are developing all their senses, so we tried out a little training with the 'Hegendorf rod', a device that dangles a wing in front of the pups, teasing them into a point. The experiment was moderately successful. Some of the pups were certainly intrigued by the pheasant wing and they did try to sneak up on it. But they could only focus on it for a very short period at a time, as their attention span is not really developed yet.

28-10-2009, 22:30: exploring the kitchen

The second deworming treatment gave us the opportunity to introduce the pups to a 'world' they had skipped during their trip from the enclosure to the garden. They roamed around in the kitchen for a while getting acquainted with the lurking dangers, like chair legs that can trap your paws and cats with no respect for barking midgets. But they also experienced some weird and wonderful stuff. In the shining side-plate of the stove they found a dog that was as fearless as themselves. Only when they backed down, their opponent did the same.

28-10-2009, 09:30: clip well received

The film clip we placed on the site has been well received. So well, that we have decided to make it a regular part of our website. Later this week we will be posting more clips in which we will try to capture the different stages of the puppies' development. On the photo Marijke tries to capture the pups climbing out of their bed to pee on the towel. The first step towards becoming house-broken.

27-10-2009, 16:00: press 'play'

Even when there's nothing special happening in the puppy-enclosure, it can be quite addictive to observe the pups fooling around and testing each other. This inspired Marijke to get her camera and make short film-clip of the pups being busy with nothing. Click on this link to watch Marijke's directing debute.

27-10-2009, 10:00: outside

This morning the pups had their first taste of the world outside. With a couple of brothers and sisters at a time, they explored the front terrace of our backyard. At first a bit apprehensive, because that cold and wet stuff under their feet was certainly a new experience. But after a while they started exploring, playing and having a good time. So good in fact, that they forgot all about the dreary rain that started to fall.

26-10-2009, 22:00: a labour of love

Not only the puppies look forward to feeding time. For us it is a moment of true social interaction with the pups. And the social bond gets stronger by the day. The puppies crawl all over us to get a decent feed. And when the bowls are empty, they stick around and curl up against us to take a well deserved nap. These are the moments we cherish, because Promessa allows us to take over the mother-role. It is a true labour of love.

26-10-2009, 14:30: all noses in the same direction

The pups and Promessa all have a common cause. A Dutch saying for this is: 'all noses in the same direction'. The pups should be going through their first weeks as troublefree as possible. This means that Promessa needs to take good care of herself. It may seem not very social of her that she bullies the pups away from their food to eat it herself. But it is a normal natural response. If the mother isn't healthy, how can she feed and protect her puppies? To make sure that the puppies get plenty of food, we keep Promessa at a distance while they eat. When they are finished Promessa eats the leftovers, while the pups find a teat for some more nurishment.

25-10-2009, 16:00: reinforcements have arrived

Marijke arrived with her son, her daughter in law and grandchildren Gijske (l.), Gosse (m.) and Brechje. Within minutes it got even more busy than usual in the puppy-enclosure. The three kids and Marijke padded and played with the pups, while Promessa kept a watchful eye from a distance. Interaction with different people and especially children at such a young age, is in our opinion very good for the spirit of the pups. It will help them to grow up with a very social disposition. Marijke will be staying at our place until Friday.

25-10-2009, 11:30: waiting for Marijke

While feeding her pups, it looks like Promessa is keeping her eye at the kitchen door, waiting for Marijke to come in. Marijke, who will soon be the owner of one of Promessa's pups, has kindly offered to lend a hand with feeding and cleaning after the pups. The pups are becoming quite agile and will soon be venturing out their enclosure for the first time. We are eagerly awaiting this phase, as it tells us more again about the different characters of the pups. Marijke will have her hands full with the little rascals, but we are very sure that it will be a labour of love.

24-10-2009, 22:30: game

On her way home, Marieke got a couple of pheasants from her hunting partners in Eexterveen. Prior to preparing the birds for the table, the pups got their first encounter with 'warm' game. We are convinced that you can't start early enough with this. It is interesting to see how differently the pups react. Some couldn't be bothered with the big pack of feathers and one was a bit frightened. But the rest was intrigued by the dead bird. They didn't hesitate at all and attacked the tasty looking wings and legs of the pheasant.

24-10-2009, 19:30: on your toes

The pups have had a quiet day. They sleep a lot, like they should. Promessa jumps in and out the enclosure. She feeds her little ones regularly and she even stays there to take a nap. But when there is someone at the door we see to it hat Promessa is out of the enclosure. She gets very excited at those moments and in her excitement she sometimes forgets all the tiny pups that are all around her.

24-10-2009, 14:30: feeding frenzy

The first signs of the battle for a place in the hierarchy of the litter, are becoming apparent. Especially during feeding time, the pups donít defend their place near the food fanatically. They bark and give the occasional bite to their opponents. And it isnít always the biggest pup that wins. Most of the time however, the mood in the puppy-enclosure is very friendly. The pups enjoy playing with each other. Sometimes very wild, but always good natured. When it is time for a rest, they also like to be close to each other. Because what sleeps better than the head of your sister as a pillow?

23-10-2009, 13:30: one last feeding session

This morning Marieke left home for two days. This also means leaving the pup. Not an easy thing to do. They will be in good hands and to be absolutely sure, Marieke gave them a prolonged feeding session, much to the delight of the seniors who kept an eye on the pups and the bowl.

22-10-2009, 17:00: pups get used to kitchen

Last night the pups have slept in their trusted whelping box. It was a busy night for them, as they mistook the whelping box for a climbing wall. This morning the whole circus moved to the kitchen. That goes down well with the pups. They use the room they have for exploring and crawling around. Every now and then one of them looses track. Theyíll let us know by screaming their lungs out.

21-10-2009, 22:00: try-out in the kitchen

It is not permanently, but we moved the pups to the kitchen. We have made an improvised den for them and Promessa,with a soft and low bed, and some inclosed space to move around. The pups love it in the kitchen and Promessa is happy with her new place. She seems to enjoy it that she is reunited with the old gang. The sharpness and defensiveness have even softened with the move to the kitchen. Quinta is also a big fan of the move. She is obsessed by the pups and is glued to the boards that keep the pups inside.

21-10-2009, 16:30: attack on Promessa

The change to solid food doesn't mean for now, that the pups have lost their appetite for milk. After each session with the bowl of food, Promessa comes in to clean up after the pups. The pups on their turn, take the chance to jump on Promessa who sometimes nearly tumbles over from the weight of ten growing pups, trying to reach the best teat. With the teeth of the pups coming through as well, Promessa is loosing the motivation to feed by the hour.

20-10-2009, 23:30: weight

When you are near the pups nearly all day long, you get to them all quite well. Weighing them every evening is a good way to keep an objective view on the pups. On the scale that skinny pup that doesn't seem to gain any weight, suddenly grew by a big margin. While the chubby guy who was hanging around the teat or bowl with meat, hardly gained any weight at all. It is good to see that everything is going normal.

20-10-2009, 12:30: breaking out, or just hanging around?

Climbing to the edge of the whelping box seems to be the big thing with the pups at the moment. They take the slope and try to reach the edge with their chin or their paws. Once on the edge the motivation to push on seems to disappear. One or two unfortunate pups tumbled over, but we aren't sure it is was planned or by accident. They seem to like it more just to hang around and even fall asleep with a view on the outside world.

19-10-2009, 23:00: good night kiss

While Promessa gets a breath of fresh air, Quinta takes the opportunity to have a peek at the pups. Our senior with twelve years, loves small puppies. She had a ball leaning into the whelping box and sniffing and licking te pups. Quinta can relish the moment for now, because when the pups are a few weeks older and 'invade' her territory, she won't be so pleased to see them.

19-10-2009, 16:30: hanging out at the whelping box

The whelping box is the place to be in Kleine Huisjes, at the moment. Our visitors from Limburg thought so too, as they were hanging over the edge of the box, observing the pups being not really busy. It their first encounter with their future companion. In a few weeks time when they will visit us again, it won't be so peaceful. By that time the pups will probably be rolling all over each other, over the kitchen floor.

19-10-2009, 11:00: hungry lions

A lot is going to change this week. The pups have become so agyle and assertive, that the edge of the whelping box is no longer a real obstacle. The only things that keep them in the box, are the prospect of Promessa's milk and the need for sleep. It is more than likely that we will provide the pups with a new living space, later this week. Promessa is really sweating it out in the whelping box. It takes her increasingly more effort to feed the pups for longer times on stretch. Not surprising, if you see how the pups attack her like hungry lions.

18-10-2009, 23:30: numbers

Raising a litter is not only a matter of a lot of 'tlc', but also of cold figures. One of the daily routines is checking out the weight progress of the pups. This is always a matter of discussion and concern. You want the best for the pups and sometimes you just want them to grow faster than they do. A quick browse through the previous litter's report set us straight though. The numbers aren't so much different than the ones from Isotta's pups.

18-10-2009, 12:30: first solid food

This morning the Tubben family witnessed how the pups tasted their first solid food. At first they were a bit hesitant about the strangt 'muck' under their noses. But as soon as they got a taste of it they were all over Marieke and her bowl with goodness. The adjustment to solid food will at first give them some tummy ache. As their intestines are now really digesting. But judging by the way they attacked the bowl, the sensation of real food is worth the hardship.

18-10-2009, 10:00: preparations for early pointing training

Last night Paul, Jeannette and their three head strong 'blonde terror-unit' visited us for a meal. In the first place to watch the puppies and to celebrate the first hunting day of the season. But Paul and Marieke also took the opportunity to discuss an early start on getting the pups acquainted with game and pointing. The training will commence when the pups are four weeks old. Paul has had some very good reports from the early training so we are giving it a serious shot. In the meantime Jeannette and Paul's girls Carmen, Daphne and Gimène (photo) took care of the pups. They on their turn were closely watched by a still very protective Promessa.

17-10-2009, 11:30: pump up the volume!

It is official, the pups can hear. When a bowl dropped this morning. The pups suddenly turned their heads towards the noise. This means that we can start with another aspect of their 'puppy-education'. We have placed the ipod near the whelping box and play a series of every day noises, like thunder, fireworks, traffic and people in a shopping mall. This will get them used to the sounds they will encounter when we take them out in a few weeks time.

16-10-2009, 23:45: tough week

It has been a pretty tough week for the pups. They have opened their eyes, learned to stand on all fours and they have been dewormed. Especially in the last couple of days this has taken a lot out of them. It is no surprise that they are enjoying a well deserved, long sleep.

16-10-2009, 14:00: escape artists

The deworming solution is taking its toll on the poor pups. Their tummies aren't good, which subsequently means that we have to clean the whelping box regularly. Up till now we gathered the pups and gave them a temporary home in the washing basket. But with the pups growing bigger, stronger and smarter, this isn't as easily said as done. As soon as they are put in the basket they look for some leverage to lift themselves outside the basket. It won't be long before they try out the same trick in the whelping box.

15-10-2009, 15:30: under watchful eyes

Three generations are present in and around the whelping box. Of course mother Promessa and her pups, but also great-granny Pandora, who died much too early, on a painting by Monique van Wijk, on the wall opposite the whelping box. We think it is a nice thought that Pandora is with the pups in spirit and keeps a watchful eye over them.

15-10-2009, 9:00: dewormed

A fixed ritual in the second weeks of a puppy's life, is the deworming. At least, it should be. During this process of deworming, which is completely painless, the pups test the volume of their voices. Not for long though, as the whole treatment only takes a couple of seconds. Unfortunately the deworming solution has quite an effect on the bowels of the pups, which means overtime for the cleaning team.

14-10-2009, 21:30: a quick retrieve

Earlier this evening we had a little treat for Promessa. As she has had difficulties with keeping her attention on the pups, we thought it would be a good idea to get her out for a couple of minutes for some hunting related activity. Promessa did a couple of very nice retrieves with a freshly shot wild goose. It was very clear that she really enjoyed some other kind of work than caring for her babies. The goose didn't go to waste. After Promessa smooth retrieves the bird was plucked and frozen to be served for dinner later this year.

14-10-2009, 16:00: heat

A lot is said and written about caring for the pups in their first weeks. Sometimes theories contradict each other and it can be very confusing to find out what is best. An example is the temperature of the place where the whelping box is situated. There are hundreds of opinions about this. We have decided to follow our experience and the advice of a friend who had bred dozens of litters. We think that the pups thrive very well in a temperature that is around or little over room temperature. If mother isnít around for a while the pups regulate their heat by lying close against each other, or by finding a spot by themselves. A heat lamp is very popular with some breeders (and in the past with us). Agreed, the pups stay very warm underneath the lamp, but so does the mother. For her it feels like she is lying in an oven. Especially in times that the mother isnít too motivated to feed her offspring, the heat can be the decisive factor for her to abandon the whelping box. With a normal temperature and no draft, Promessa feels comfortable for hours with her pups.

14-10-2009, 11:00: hang in there!

It is not always easy for Promessa to try and put in the hours in the whelping box. The growing and increasingly mobile pups don't make it easy for her. They quarrel over Promessa's milk supply and they use her as a matress, a climbing wall, spring board and slide. It isn't surprising that Promessa uses every little disturbance in the kitchen, where the other dogs are, to try and sneak out. We let her, but we do want her to go right back to her pups afterwards. She needs to hang in there for at least another week. After that the pups will be less dependent of Promessa as food supplier, as they will get their first solid food.

13-10-2009, 16:00: 'are you looking at me?'

Can you already tell anything about the personalities of the different pups? We were asked that question several times, the past week. While observing we do see differences in character of the pups. Some are very clumsy with drinking and likes to stay on the background, while other pups defend their place at the teat with vigor. These pups aren't afraid to pick a fight over a good positioning and they certainly don't like to be picked up by just anyone. Even though we do see these differences, we are careful with drawing premature conclusions. Experience has taught us that the bold and fearless pup in the whelping box, can become very timid in the big outside world and vice versa.

13-10-2009, 10:00: finding company

The newly developed senses are being tested to the full. It seems that for the first time the pups are really realising that they have brothers and sisters and not just competitors for milk. They look each other up, suck on noses and bite in tails. And when the excitement gets too much, they just fall asleep all over each other.

12-10-2009, 15:30: going for a walk

It is a life filled with milestones, these first days of the pups. Nearly everything they do, they do for the first time. Slowly but surely they are finding out what these four long things on every corner of their body, are for. They puff and moan and suddenly the stand on all fours. the first steps are a bit clumsy, but they are really walking now.

12-10-2009, 12:00: crinkly faces

What grows faster, a bracco's body or its skin. A strange question perhaps, but every morning when we see those crinkly faces drinking or sleeping, we do wonder about it. The pups are doing well, all are fanatic drinkers and all now crawl around with their bellies off the floor and their eyes almost open. It will be a matter of days now before they start using their eyes and finding out ways to escape to the world outside the whelping box.

11-10-2009, 12:30: clipping nails

The pups grow well and their nails do too. Because they live on a soft surface the nails don't wear and have grown quite long already. Long enough to clip them for the first time. A regular nail clipper for dogs doesn't work on such small paws. Fortunately Jeroen's fly-tying kit held the solution. One of his pairs of razorsharp micro-scissors do the trick perfectly.

11-10-2009, 10:00: just looking

Sooner than the weblog-writer expected, one of the pups had a peek through a narrow opening between the eye-lids. It seems that the dog with the green collar has one the race for the first pup that is curious about where all these smells come from. It won't be long now before all the pups will be opening their eyes and start exploring.

10-10-2009, 11:30: visiting hours

From today onwards, it will be busy in Kleine Huisjes. As all the pups are spoken for, the owners-to be are more than anxious to see their little treasure in real life. Today Marije and Gabin were the first to cuddle the pups. They were followed by Marijke (photo), her daughter and a friend. Marijke will be helping out with the pups, later in the eight-week period. Promessa was very good about having visitors around the whelping box. She seems to have settling down more with 'strangers' around.

10-10-2009, 11:30: the smell of home

Up till now the whelping box and occasionally a 'furnished' washing basket, are the only places our pups live. It is their home. Because the eyes and ears don't yet function, they get their bearings by using their nose. Familiar smells are very importants for young dogs to feel safe. That is why all the new owners get a toy that has been in the whelping box since the first weeks. These toys provide the pups with a lasting memory of their warm and safe environment.

09-10-2009, 21:30: a present for Promessa

Late in the afternoon the postman delivered a surprise for Promessa. It was from Sandra Gerlitschka, bracco-owner and weblog follower from Germany. Sandra thought that a fine mother like Promessa deserves a present, so she sent her a beautiful handmade leather collar in bracco-colours. The collar is made by hand by a German leather craftsman. This collar and many other types are sold by Sandra's webshop www.hunde-momente.de Sandra hadn't forgotten the other dogs. Her parcel contained toys, chew-sticks and other goodies for all our braccos. Sandra, many thanks from us and all the Vicini-braccos!

09-10-2009, 16:00: much sleep

The pups and Promessa lead a wearying life. Promessa is continuously busy with giving milk and producing milk. Sleeping is an important part of that. The pups also sleep a lot. Sometimes they doze off during feeding with the teat still in their mouth. But more often they find a nice and warm spot to take a nap. The favourite place is Promessa's body. But that also holds risks for the sleepers. Promessa sometimes just rises, which results in pups rolling through the whelping box. They aren't very impressed by this, however. As soon as they have stopped rolling they just carry on sleeping.

09-10-2009, 10:30: belly-licking

A regular part of Promessa's daily routine is the cleaning of the pups by licking their bellies. With or without our help she licks the bellies to stimulate the bowel movement of the pups, she then licks away the defecation. This routine is a remainder from the time that the wild ancestors of domestic dogs had to keep their nest clean whenever they had a litter, to prevent predators from finding the nest. With wolves it is still common practice. We are quite happy that Promessa still has a bit of wolf in her. It keeps us from cleaning up after the pups.

08-10-2009, 14:30: rest from giving milk

The pups drink whenever they feel like it. Promessa is a good mother, so she obliges her pups nearly all day. But some moments it just becomes too much for her. Especially when we are not around she sneaks out of the whelping box and onto the bed next to it, well out of reach of her sucking offspring.

08-10-2009, 10:00: photos and more photos

We take photography of Promessa and her litter seriously. And for good reason, we do like to give an actual report of what is going on with the pups and mum in their first weeks. And as the saying goes, a picture says more than a thousand words. But most importantly, we want to record the first eight weeks in the life of the pups. The new owners get their pup when they are at least eight weeks old. And as they miss out on the first weeks of the dog that will be with them for the rest of its life, we think they should have a good record of their housemate's first weeks. You could say that we provide the baby pictures for them.

07-10-2009, 14:30: milk factory

Promessa could well be compared -with all respect of course- with a milk factory. Her main business is lying on her side to give the pups access to her teats. To fuel her milkproduction she needs raw materials. Several times a day we feed her raw meat and she drinks generous quantities of buttermilk. The pups don't complain, they leave the perfect life of a puppy: sleeping, staying warm and feeding whenever they want.

07-10-2009, 10:00: escape from 'the box'

With the puppies feeding and growing well, their strength also increases. We monitor the drinking time as good as we can to give the lighter pups an advantage over the 'heavy drinkers' of the bunch. We also see the first escape plans being unfolded. Every now and again one of the pups finds some leverage, most of the time on mum, and tries to reach the edge to make the plunge to the outside world. As for now we have been able to stop the escapees but they are getting smarter and stronger.

06-10-2009, 17:00: paperwork done

The litter is official! Well, according to the kennel club that is. Today we finalised the first batch of paperwork to registrate the ten pups. For us nothing changes actually. We are still very busy and very happy with the new arrivals. And the pups? They just drink and then crawl around the whelping box to find a good place to sleep.

06-10-2009, 10:00: weight watchers

The new collars are a real solution. The pups don't seem to mind them and for us keeping them apart has become very easy. That is especially useful when checking on the feeding behaviour of the pups. We keep notes of which pups are steadily increasing in weight and which need some extra attention. In that way we can help the pups who need some a 'milk boost' to get obtain some quality time on the best teat.

05-10-2009, 23:30: who is who, colorful collars

Keeping track of which is which, isn't always easy with newborn pups. We write down specifics in colour and marking of the skin. But while they grow, the pups' appearances changes as well. Jeannette from De hondenwebshop had a solution for this dilemma. She gave us a great gift: ten tiny dog collars in different colours. From now finding the right pup will be very easy.

05-10-2009, 12:30: two pints of buttermilk

The pups are still going strong. They grow steadily and in only a couple of days, the large white nest in the whelping box is looking very full. Promessa's milk production has a lot to do with this, she is obviously producing enough high quality milk for all ten puppies to gain weight rapidly. To increase and stimulate milk production we feed Promessa two pints of buttermilk every day. It probably helps and Promessa likes it.

04-10-2009, 23:00: thanks Jeannot!

The past couple of days we were lucky to have our friend Jeannot around. She helped with the delivery, with the dogs and in the house. And she always had a smile for us and for Promessa who instantly trusted her with her puppies. On the photo Jeannot is busy with the daily weigh-in of the pups. We'll miss having you around, but something tells us that you won't be away for long.

04-10-2009, 16:00: celebrating the litter

Beter late than never, we thought when a couple of good friends joined us to raise a glas. For this special occasion Brigitte had found a very special wine. Promessa was in a good mood too. She actually allowed our guests near the whelping box to admire her babies.

03-10-2009, 11:00: busy evening, quiet morning

It has been busy yesterday evening. A couple of friends came over to have a look at the puppies. Promessa even allowed them to have a peek at her precious babies. But not too close, mind you. The pups are doing wonderful, they feed well and are growing steadily.

02-10-2009, 16:30: maternity visit

The other dogs sense and smell that there are things going on in the other room. Some of them have become extremely interested in the room next door. That was why we took two of the senior dogs over for a maternity visit. Promessa was on guard for her pups all the time, but she tolerated the presence of Delizia and Quinta. Especially Delizia was fascinated by the tiny 'moles' crawling all around Promessa.

02-10-2009, 14:00: Elia

We are very happy with our puppies. As a breeder you should of course always be happy with healthy puppies, and we are. But this time we are very happy as the pups are not only healthy, they are also very pretty. Next to the fine genes of Promessa, a big part of it is thanks to the dad: Elia di Cacciola.

02-10-2009, 10:30: healthy and well-fed

The pups are healthy and well-fed. Their communication skills however, takes some getting used to again. As soon as they stray from the warm belly of mummy, they make themselves heard. And they don't limit their straying activities to the daytime. Promessa continues to be a brilliant mother. She keeps an eye on her pups and even on her short strolls in the garden she takes the first opportunity to get back to the whelping box and her boys and girls.

01-10-2009, 18:00: good first day

It was a day of hanging around, but also a day of all kinds of chores: food, the other dogs, caring for Promessa and other things. The pups are doing very well. They squeel and crawl all over each other and over Promessa, and they find their way tot a teat if they get hungry. Promessa knows her duty. She cleans her offspring and takes care that they aren't in a place where they aren't supposed to be.

01-10-2009, 12:30: 'wish you were here'

Promessa is very busy with her pups. She realises that she is a 24/7 milkbar combined with service station. The pups are having a whale of a time. They are drinking resting and getting their tummies licked by mum. Klaas who is always greeted affectionately by Promessa, wasn't allowed near the nest by the protective mother. Only Jeannot, Marieke and Jeroen are welcome around the whelping box.

01-10-2009, 10:30: the 'morning after'

The night has been relatively quiet and Promessa called it quits after ten puppies. The final score is ten beautiful pups, six males and four females. Promessa has settled down and seems to be happy in her new role of mother. It also helps that she is the constant centre of attention. We will keep you updated several times daily, so keep checking the blog. But do check our starting and home page also, as we will change those more often than usual.

01-10-2009, 01:45: signing off for now

It has been a long day. The delivery has taken nearly fourteen hours and it may not be over yet. However, everyone, including Promessa, is very tired. We have decided to sign off for now. But we stay in standby-mode, so we can spring into action if it is necessary. Everybody many thanks for following the reports and for your moral support.

01-10-2009, 00:15: the tenth

It is past midnight and Promessa is looking very tired. But she has to soldier on, as fifteen minutes past twelve the tentht pup is born. Again it is a male.

30-09-2009, 23:45: number nine, a male

Fifteen minutes before midnight Promessa gives another good push and gives birth to pup number nine. With this sturdy male, the boys have the numerical advantage again.

30-09-2009, 22:31: now we are equal

Number eight was just half an hour away from number seven. And again it was a girl, so for now it is a draw. But by the looks of it, there could be something more happening tonight.

30-09-2009, 22:02: and another girl

An hour after number six, number seven arrives. And again it is a girl. The score for now is 4-3 in favour of the boys. But the match is not over yet.

30-09-2009, 21:05: the sixth is a girl

Another girl again. Almost right after pup number five, number six arrived. A girl who just like her sister, fiercly wiggled her way to the teat. We are sure that it isn't over yet.

30-09-2009, 20:55: number five, again a male

Just fifteen minutes after our message of delay, Promessa thought it was time to do some pushing. And with effect, a nice baby boy was born. As soon as the protective membrane broke, he was gasping for air.

30-09-2009, 20:40: quiet, but good

Everything is quiet in and around the whelping box. It has been more than four hours since Promessa gave birth to the fourth pup. But she is very laid back and she doesn't show any pain of discomfort. A quick consultation with the vet, put us even more at ease. As long as Promessa isn't pushing for long periods without producing anything, everything is ok. For us it is just a matter of patience. That is something we can easily cope with.

30-09-2009, 16:02: it's a girl

Pup number four is a girl. After a good rest, Promessa thought that it was time to deliver her fourth puppy. A beautiful girl that eagerly found her way to the milk supply.

30-09-2009, 15:30: resting

After the third pup Promessa thought it is good to have a good long rest. She is stil feeling the tension, but she tries to relax a bit. We are however, on guard for number four.

30-09-2009, 14:25: again a male

The third pup was just 25 minutes away from the second. Again a male. This time the biggest yet. Promessa is really getting the hang of it now.

30-09-2009, 14:01: second puppy

Just when we were about to have some lunch Promessa had recovered enough to give birth to her second pup, again a male.

30-09-2009, 12:35: the first

It has begun. Minutes ago Promessa gave birth to her firstborn, a beautiful male who eagerly started searching for a teat. Promessa is still trying to get used to everything that is happening, but she acts like a great mother.

30-09-2009: quiet night

After a hectic evening yesterday, Promessa decided that she wasnít ready yet. The night went without any incidents, although Promessa took the opportunity to change her whelping box for a place on the sofa. Thus far the no special developments in the morning. Promessa has taken her place in a clean whelping box. She did have some excretion in the past hour, so the signs are there that it canít be very long now.

29-09-2009, 22:00: with a plate on our lap

Because Promessa lets us know that it is becoming harder and harder on her, we decided to move our daily life to the front room. We eat with the plate on our lap, watch some television or read a book. Promessa enjoys all this constant attention we give her. Despite her moaning and sighing she does not miss a chance to draw our attention to her, when we arenít busy with her. It can be any moment now, but it can also be the start of a very long haul. We take it as it comes and make life as pleasant as possible for now.

29-09-2009 18:45: everything is ready

It could be happening any moment now. After a lengthy stroll in the backyard, Promessa went back to the whelping box for a rest. She seems quite relaxed but she stretches a lot to relieve some of the tension from her belly. In her belly a lot is happening. We can see waves of activity. But we are ready, the front room is turned into a maternity ward and our equipment is ready to be used. We have even set up a mini-studio, so we can introduce the pups online right after they are born.

29-09-2009: settled in

Promessa is feeling very comfortable in her new home for the next couple of weeks. She tried out the new whelping box and was so satisfied with the comfort that she now only leaves it when she has to go out for a while. Promessa is probably eagerly awaiting the moment that she is rid of her immense tummy. The fact that it feels like it is rush hour in there, doesn't help a lot.

28-09-2009, 13:00: tested and approved

Promessa has just tried out her new home for the next couple of weeks. She was a little hesistant with stepping in, but as soon as she did get settled she didn't want to leave. Promessa has already made a hole that fits her and the pups perfectly. Everything is now ready for the big moment!

28-09-2009, 12:15: straw is the secret

The whelping box is installed. Klaas Hindriks came by to help with the final installation. He swears by using a straw filled bed cover as base. The straw acts like a natural nest for the dog, who immediately feels very comfortable. The straw-based whelping box doesn't have protective side bars. Klaas doesn't believe in the protective bar theory. The mother will always take care of a good position of herself and the puppies. The nest like structure of the box, makes that the puppies are always in the right place to be fed or to rest. We are firm believers in Klaas' theories. He has bred dozens of litters and never lost a puppy because of a careless mother.

28-09-2009: maternity help

Slowly but surely Promessa realises that things are about to happen. She finally understands that it isnít wise to jump fences in her condition and she lets us know when it is time to rest. We are constantly keeping an eye on her. To give us hands-on and moral support, Jeannot Lohman has offered to stick around this week as maternity help. Jeannot, on the picture with Delizia (l.), her bracco Flint and her epagneul Breton Javelot, helps us with dog related and domestic chores. Just like us she is standby as soon as Promessa is about to give birth. It is going to be a hectic but hopefully, memorable week.

27-09-2009: 'skillful' whelping box

You should be so lucky to have a professional carpenter offering to make a whelping box. That was an offer Vicini couldn't refuse. Jeroen Lohman of Lohman's Antiek, his wife Jeannot and the dogs Flint and Javelot, came over for the weekend to participate in the field trial of nearby Westernieland. With this new whelping box Vicini goes back to basics. More on this in a next report.

23-09-2009: keep puppies in a cool place

The beautiful weather of the past couple of weeks, has taken its toll on Promessa. The warmth combined with an ever increasing belly, forces her to take it easy. Every now and again she does try to launch herself with four legs off the ground, but despite her attempts she stays firmly on the ground with all fours. It takes a lot of effort for Promessa to keep cool in the nice late-summer weather. A cold and hard surface seems to be her favorite hangout at the moment. When we enter the kitchen we have to watch out for Promessa who likes to stretch out on the cold kitchen tiles. Another great place to keep her belly cool is a shady spot in the garden. The terrace in the back fits that description exactly.

16-09-2009: meet daddy

Elia di Cacciola is the father to be of Promessaís puppies. I am very happy with him, as he is the son of Reno del Monte Alago who is a brother of Rivana del Monte Alago. I never made it a secret that I am a big fan of Rivana, who is considered to be a celebrity in the Bracco Italiano world. Reno leads an anonymous life; no shows for Reno, just outdoor life and hunting. In the past I have tried to use Reno as a stud for a Vicini-litter. Unfortunately this didnít result in a pregnancy. Today Reno is too old to mate. That is why I am very happy with Elia as stud. That way I still have some of Reno in Promessaís litter.

14-09-2009: three weeks to go

With three more weeks to go, Promessa is starting to become heavier and heavier. Last week she really started to gain weight and she is growing steadily. She is still very fit and active, however. For a moment we were thinking about entering her in the field trial in nearby Zoutkamp, last week. But because she had grown so much in the past couple of days, we didn't think it would be a good idea. Promessa had to sit this one out. Our friend Brigitte and her Vita won the trial. A great effort and her first qualification in the open class. Many congratulations from the Vicini clan!

05-09-2009: Promessa's last trick

Already pregnant, but in great shape. Promessa proved this during the championship field trial in Eexterveen on September 5. Promessa showed some very nice work and was rewarded with a first place (VG). Her win was extra special, because this trial was the first field trial organised by the Dutch Bracco Italiano Society.