Saturday, January 06, 2007

Uk Advice

Just to update you on the puppies, they are all doing well (as is their mother) and are growing exponentially!

In a response to a comment posted recently, I am not sure yet where I will be living in London. And so I am asking any UK readers out there to give me some suggested locations.

I want to live in either Zone 1 or Zone 2. And since we have dogs, I am looking to rent a house with a yard and preferably some park space. I doubt that I will have a car, so I will also need to live in a neighbourhood that has decent grocery store and other amenities at least sort of nearby. I also want a fairly safe neighbourhood.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Years Miracle

Our little girl rung in the new year with puppies early on the morning of New Year's Day.

This was Minge’s first litter. Jack Russell’s normally only have 4 puppies per litter and the first litter only has 2 or 3 typically. Minge was quite big at this time, so Bud thought she would have 3.

At noon on New Year’s Eve, we took Minge’s temperature. When a dog is going to give birth within the following 12 hours, her temperature will drop by 2 degrees. Well, the first thought that came into Bud and my heads was, “What a bitch!” We hadn’t done anything in the longest time, but on New Year’s Eve we had planned to go to a friend’s house for dinner.

We decided to go in shifts – me for cocktails and entrée, and Bud for the main course.

But of course, Minge was not keeping to schedule. After spending the entire days lying down, by 10 pm that night you could see the muscles along her back and legs contract and then she would pant. The poor girl cried as her body was doing things to her that she didn’t quite understand.

And so Bud and I sat up with her as for hours she was not having the best new year possible. Around 3 in the morning, Bud noticed that she was getting red splotches on her face and back. As we picked her up we saw them all over her body and her nipples had turned glassy and hard.

Panicked we called the emergency vet (only one open on New Year’s Eve in the entire city) and they told us to get her there immediately as she was either having an allergic reaction or something was wrong with the pregnancy.

We rushed there and by the time we got there all of them were gone. Since there really wasn’t anything new that could have caused this reaction, it was most likely a stressed out case of hives. She had been basically in labour for 15 hours (which in dog years is about 4 and a half days!).

We got her home and she stopped all muscle contracting and panting and went to sleep.

Perhaps she was just exhausted, but as we were waiting in vain to see any sign of her giving birth, Bud suddenly noticed that a puppy was coming out. We helped Minge stand up and saw the head crown. With a terrible yelp, out can the puppy and the placenta.

Puppies, unlike humans, are born in a sac that must be broken open. Minge had no idea (not unsurprisingly) what to do, so for the first two that came out Bud and I cut the cords and tied off the ends with dental floss. We then put the puppies back near her.

Well, she was having none of that. She didn’t like them at all! I had to hold her down while Bud opened the puppies’ mouth and attached them to her nipples. They started the sucking and Minge calmed down as her hormones began.

Then out came the third one and she figured out what to do. She bit off the umbilical cord and swallowed down the placenta.

About 45 minutes later the last one came. The last one usually comes quite a bit later than the one right before it. They were all very cute and adorably. Bud and I stared at them for about half and hour as they nursed away. Minge was completely exhausted and couldn’t barely move.

I went off to buy us some much needed coffee. When I go back I looked in the whelping box located right beside Bud and saw that Minge had given birth to two more (holy shit – SIX OF THEM) while I was gone. She was so tired that she couldn’t deal with them, so they were both in their sacs still on the blanket.

Bud and I in total terror (of bring completely deadbeat negligent daddies) rushed to open the sacs. The last one was fine because when we saw it the placenta wasn’t yet out of Minge, so he had just been born, but the fifth was not so lucky. She had been stuck in her sac for a few minutes at least.

Frantically we opened her up.

Not breathing.

Not moving.

And worse, her face was blue.

Blue started giving the puppy mouth to mouth (I shit you not) and gently rubbing her chest. He was utterly devastated that we had allowed this to happen. He would blow into her mouth and the puppy would let out a little gasp. Then it started to gasp for breath every few seconds and it stopped being blue. And Bud could feel the heartbeat.

But it was not moving at all.

It looked as if we had caught it in time to start breathing automatically, but there was no function at all.

Five minutes go by and Bud is still trying to revive her and I can see the pain welling up in his soul. And I can see what the future will bring for this little girl. I go to the bathroom and fill up the sink.

Bud is sitting on a chair still trying to get her to move. I suggest that perhaps she is brain dead and that we were too late. But he will hear none of it, “I have to give it more time.” And then little Angus, the baby’s father comes over. He has been an angel in his behaviour all day – leaving Minge to her business and the puppies alone.

But he sees his daughter in distress. And I wonder if he knows that she is his. He stands on his back legs and rests his front paws on Bud, leans in towards his baby girl in trouble and begins to lick her. Licks her over and over; goes into her mouth and licks out any fluid there.

And then suddenly, after fifteen minutes since we found her trapped in the sac that kept her alive for two months, her legs begin to move. She starts bouncing around in Bud’s hands. Joyful Day. My angel and our puppy angel kept her with us.

Bud brought her to her mother’s nipples and the sheer ecstasy that enveloped my body as she began to suckle with enthusiasm is like nothing I have ever felt before.

This was the first time that I witnessed something being born. It was also a moment where I got to truly appreciate Bud’s character and the glory that his optimism can reap in this world.

And so, we spent the day watching these new additions to our life enjoy the attention of a loving mother. She is now obsessed with being a great mom to these kids. We have to fore her to leave the box to go to the bathroom or eat and then she bolts full speed back to take care of her children.

So we have four new girls in the house and two boys.

This was a marvelous way to begin the new year and I couldn’t be happier.

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