Zzisa is a 3-year old Labrador retriever who has joined the Working Dog Center as part of a cooperative research agreement with the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA Breeding Program. She was bred with Ffisher, also of the TSA’s Breeding Program.

After joining us at the Center, Zzisa has started training as an explosive detection dog and has already been imprinted on black powder. She has kept herself busy in the weeks and days leading up to the birth (she’s due June 7th), but now she’s starting to prepare for the big day. Zzisa moved to a new home on Sunday, and will be living with Tracy and Eric Darling. They are known as her whelping fosters, and they’ll be taking care of Zzisa while she has her puppies. Over the next week, she is going to be acclimated to her new environment and introduced to the whelping box, where her puppies will be born. Zzisa and the puppies will be living in the whelping box for a few weeks after the birth, so it’s important that she is comfortable with this new environment.

Whelping is an involved process, as you can probably imagine. Over the next week, Tracy and Eric will monitor Zzisa’s temperature to determine when the babies will be born. Currently she has a slightly lower than normal temperature of 99.4°F and once it falls even further they’ll know that the puppies will be arriving shortly!

Throughout the week, we’ll provide more information about what the process involves.