Whelping Room: The Kings Valley Lifestyle

The whelping room is 10×12 feet, with an L-shaped desk/ counter and a sliding-door base cabinet. Above are full- length shelves of various widths.

A two-drawer, 18-inch-deep file cabinet and a three-drawer dresser support the desk counter; leg space leaves access to the through-the-wall, homemade dog door.

A panel closes off dead space behind the dresser and creates space for storage of newspapers for the whelping box. The box itself is raised 12 inches and the front panel remains off until puppies try to climb out. (At that point, usually during the third week, we move the puppies directly to their pen in the middle room.)

The box is made in two sections, and when there are no puppy occupants, the front half of the box is removed to free room space and widen access to the door to the large walk-in closet.

Stairs lead to the loft, with sleeping for guests, spinning, etc. The two large speaker cabinets stand 20 feet apart. The railing is made of 2×4 cedar. The ceiling is made of T&G pine painted white for hygienic reasons and permanence of the wood.

Those first litters of Halle’s and Tender’s – with puppies Hosannah and Piper, and Maggie respectively – were born in the “Main House.” The puppies played in the large farm kitchen, under our noses and underfoot (or upstairs in beds with us).

At about 10 days, when puppies begin to feel crowded, we remove the front panel of the whelping box to expand their space. We hook several 2-foot high ex-pen panels to the ends of the box, and at the other end, to the dog door frame: more space, plus automatic toilet training.

The puppies we whelp in the kitchen have access to two linked patios with big old shade trees and 4×4’ insulated shelters. In those early days, we used to march all twenty puppies out to the field – the very one where five years later we built the Kings Valley “kennel.”

We still like to use this setting to quarantine our dog show luminaries and bitches in season. The house, after all, is just a cat’s jump from the kennel’s front yard!

See more: Introduction | History | Philosophy | Front Room | The Farm