Today marks the 62nd day since we caught our dogs doing it. If that seems oddly specific, it’s because a dog pregnancy takes 63 days and I had marked the calendar based on visual confirmation.
We had purposely brought home a girl corgi, then a year after that, a boy, in hopes of having a litter. Just one litter, then everybody gets fixed because, PUPPIES ARE FUN (but we are responsible pet owners).
A few months ago, I kept hearing Jackson crying–whining like he was hurt. I’d race into the garage or out back, thoughts of cat scratches or toppled chairs or little twisted paws in gopher holes…only to have him greet me with his spastic, happy self.
Then one night when we heard him crying, I looked out the window. Across the yard, in the dark, I could make out the shapes of our two dogs. I clapped to call them in–and Jackson started squealing as Miskey dragged him behind.
Maybe you know, maybe you don’t, maybe you don’t want to know…but oftentimes when dogs mate, they get “tied“.
Here, I thought he was being a big baby, but really, he was a stud. And maybe a bit of a masochist.
So, I marked the calendar from the day we caught them.
We assumed she was pregnant. There’s no stick for a dog to pee on. No real pre-natal care required. Miskey got fatter, which confirmed our assumption. Days passed, the waddle grew, as did her obvious misery.
It was with great trepidation I left my house, and my dog, to get on with life’s obligations. People thought I was silly to make or change plans around my dog’s potential delivery. “In nature…”
In nature there are no comfy couches, magically filling water dishes, or chicken jerky. My dogs are pets, not wild beasts struggling in nature, Dave.
This past Friday, she was so uncomfortable; I believed her time was soon. Not wanting to cut my out-of-town plans short if I didn’t have to, I asked my son to stop by and check on her.
She’d delivered one pup. Stillborn. Zach called, I came home.
Hours passed with no sign of further labor.
I called the vet, “Can I bring her in?”
Thank goodness we did.
We hadn’t had x-rays taken to count babies. We figured maybe 5 or 6 pups.
First thing the vet did was an x-ray. He thought he counted nine.
Next up was listening for heartbeats. He thought he heard a weak ten.
Her breath was shallow, which meant the puppies were not getting enough oxygen. She was frail and tired, but not in labor. Seeing as it was half an hour before the clinic closed, we were offered two options: Emergency C-section here, or drive to the ER Vet in Aurora to try for a natural delivery (but most likely, an emergency C-section forty minutes from home).
This is NOT fun.
The staff at Bethany Animal Hospital rallied around my girl. They called in additional help. The clinic was closed for the evening as Zach and I waited in the Cat Room for updates. They sedated Miskey and proceeded to deliver eleven puppies. Sadly, not all of them made it. Twelve pups in all, but we only brought eight home.
I was so scared, so nervous. Miskey was sluggish, lethargic, and so very skinny.
Her vitality was drained and she was sore. I was concerned she wouldn’t make it. Petrified.
She’s my puppy!
She wasn’t producing enough milk at first, so we bottle fed every two to three hours for the first two days to supplement.
When she wasn’t with her babies, she was with me. Wherever I was, she was. We gained comfort from each other.
I’m happy (and very relieved) to say we’ve all made it to Day 3 and things are looking great. All the puppies are eating and wiggling and squeaking. Miskey is recuperating nicely from her physical trauma. She’s feeding on her own and very protective. No cat, no Jackson, no picking up the puppies.
Which is hard for me…
because puppies are fun.
Oh, just wait!