It's Sunday, July 13 and we are making Zoey comfortable in her whelping box in the whelping room. As part of the preparation, I get a baseline temperature, which I took yesterday and which was 38.6 degrees Celsius or 101.48 degrees Fahrenheit, normal for Zoey, if a bit at the low-end of the parameter. She is calm, pants lightly and evenly when she was resting and laying down, but is overall calm and quiet now. I started grooming her for whelping, including rubbing her coat vigorously with a rubber hand rake, which picks up the shedding very effectively, and then smoothing with a metal rake. I rub her belly lightly with a rubber glove to stimulate her skin and the puppies underneath. I talk to them, tell them things. They can't see, or hear in the womb, but they can sense and feel your presence in other ways. They know when I'm rubbing and humming, or play my great-uncle's harmonica from World War II. It smells old and wonderful, and it plays like a charm. Considering my singing is pretty awful at times, I can do taps, reveille, and the Hymn for the Marines, some old tunes, classical, blues, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. They love the harmonica (and I'm getting somewhat better at it). Exposure to a variety of experiences, utilizing all the senses available to the puppy is the way to maximize the aptitude of a dog from the womb to the tomb, just like people. Keeping the Dam nourished and nutured during the pregnancy (estrus of 59-63 days) and both Sire and Dam on solid nutrition and environmental wellness are key to a healthy pregnancy and whelping. It's a microcosm of life, and the first few weeks before and after are crucial to the solid development of a puppy, inside and outside the womb. Hoping and waiting for healthy and happy puppies from our pre-screened, healthy and happy Sire and Dam. Wish us luck!