This long-awaited litter yielded a singleton pup and disappointed a huge waiting list - but oh what a girl this one pup turned out to be. 'Numero Uno' as the singleton pup was nicknamed throughout the pregnancy, became 'Una' when she was born. Una's page is in the right-hand menu; here's her first eight weeks.

28th march 2006 :  Birthday!

Baby Una (Kilnhurst Rufus Relay) was born at 7:10pm on Tuesday 28th March 2006, weighing in at a hefty 16.5oz. Skye was scanned two days before to make sure this singleton pup wasn't too big for a normal delivery and I had spent the previous night on a camp bed in the kitchen alongside Skye's box in case she needed me.
I had guessed today was the day, as Skye's temperature had dropped overnight. Skye was in labour all day, digging holes in awkward places such as the ground behind the garden shed, or underneath my desk, with increasing urgency. The birth was very swift and Una was delivered into my hands. I cleaned her face, toweled her dry and plugged her onto mum. Phew, the long-awaited puppy had arrived safely! What a surprise to have a red baby from a blue merle mum and a black tricolour dad.

week one

Sleeping and feeding take up all the time. Una grows at an incredible rate and is very active around the box. She has a number of soft toys so she has other 'puppies' to cuddle into, and a puppy-shaped comforter which warms up in the microwave, to give her something warm to snuggle up to when Skye is out of the box. When she's awake, Una can paddle around the box with remarkable speed. Her nose is changing colour already!

week two

Growing so quickly, day 15 and her eyes are open! Now Una can wander round the box and get out of it, too. As soon as she could see, she worked out how to stand up and started taking her first wobbly steps. She can find her toys to play with them. She is very fond of her white duck toy, which she cuddles and throws herself on.

week three

Up and about and annoying the other dogs, especially poor 'Uncle' Yoda, whose patience is sometimes stretched to the limits! Una is steady on her feet and starting to explore her world. She can run! This week she stole a little bit of Skye's dinner and is constantly pestering Skye to feed, so I guess it's time to start the weaning process. Una has sharp little teeth now so I don't blame Skye for getting grumpy at food time. 'Naughty spots' are appearing on Una's nose and toes - a sign of times to come?!

week four

A trip out into the garden in the spring sunshine. Daffodils are flowering and Kressler's cherry tree is in full bloom. I watched as full of fun, Una innocently chased the falling cherry blossom, and I wondered if Kress was watching us. Una found ants and beetles to be sniffed, grass and plants to eat and pebbles to steal and run off with. Una is enjoying her food and feeding from Skye less and less.

week fIVE

Definitely a young lady in the making now! The steps in and out of the back door have been mastered so the garden is conquered territory. All the dog toys in the house belong to Una now, whether they originally did or not. She is completely weaned, enjoying her food and very good at using the garden to be clean if we remember to take her out on the hour every hour. Nobody wanted to pose for a family photo, but when Great Uncle Yoda had an op on his eyelid, Una decided to stop pestering him and sleep under his bed instead, keeping him company while he recovered.

week six

Nowhere in the house or garden is safe from being chewed. Barriers and baby gates have gone up everywhere, we are like Fort Knox. Una is fully mobile and can not only get out of the back door but also up and down the deep steps to the lower garden as well. She has even tried her luck at mountaineering up the first few steps of the stairs indoors. The only peace is when she falls asleep in her crate for five minutes. I am exhausted! I had forgotten what it was like to have an adventurous toddler around the place.

weeks seven - eight

The garden is The Place to be. Digging is huge fun, especially ripping out the contents of the planters and tubs. Sometimes Una fibs about needing to be let out, just so she can rage round the top lawn and then the game is to grab mouthfuls of whatever she can in passing, then dodge and duck to evade capture. A total bundle of energy and impishness, those Naughty Spots are certainly living up to their reputation. After a few days of trying to scratch it off, Una is now resigned to wearing her collar most of the time. Indoors the stairs have been climbed and a new mysterious playmate found in the mirror in the upstairs corridor.

Welcome to the Kilnhurst Clan, baby girl.