Test test test!
Test test test! is not only good pandemic policy, it's essential for a successful canine insemination. We want to time the sperm and egg meet-up as precisely as we can. We test the blood daily or every second day to observe a big hormonal spike upwards that indicates that she has ovulated. I have considerable confidence in Ruby's reproductive health, but she has never been bred before, so I'm mildly nervous. Test, wait, test, wait..tick tock tick tock...
On Monday her levels were gradually climbing but were still relatively low at 7.3. Tuesday morning she tested at 9.4 and I couldn't stand it anymore. We could have remained here on the island and continued to test, but I decided to pack up Ruby and catch the ferry to the mainland, where Dr. Sophia could take over. We'd be more settled into our accommodations and Sophia would have a chance to meet Ruby and I.
On Wednesday, Sophia drew the blood and I was the tech! That was quite a change from pandemic procedures at Sidney Animal Hospital, where I'd been handing her over to the staff at the front door and receiving her back after the blood draw! Sophia chose to draw from Ruby's foreleg and it was my responsibility to hold her steady.
The next day, now that I knew my role, I worked with Ruby, clicking and rewarding her for presenting her foreleg, permitting the tourniquet to be placed on, (I used a poop bag (unused) and tied it tightly around her foreleg) allowing the tension and building duration. It was not ideal to have to train a cooperative care procedure that quickly, but Ruby has a strong history of positive reinforcement training and she learned quickly.
For Friday's test, I still needed to use some physical restraint to hold her head away from nosing her foreleg but I was pleased at how well she tolerated most of the procedure. That afternoon, Sophia called with the good news that Ruby had indeed ovulated the day before, and we would inseminate on Sunday morning. It was a great relief to hear that!
Saturday, we wandered around Harrison in the rain