March 23, 2017
Are you an animal lover? I am. So much so, I had wanted to be a veterinarian once upon a time. All mine have been rescues until slightly over two years ago a friend gave me a female Border Collie. You’ve known her as Mud Puppy when I’ve written about her great adventures. However, this could be her greatest adventure. Being that she’s registered, and since I have responsible pet owner friends who love the breed, I decided to allow her have a litter. Sounded simple when I first had the idea.
Muddled by fact that ‘doggy dating’ sites don’t exist I spent a considerable amount of time locating a suitable male to…um…do the honors. Undaunted at the scarcity of suitors, I quested on and met the most down-to-earth man, Mr. T., who provides stud service. Wait…not him, his dog, Big R. An extremely intelligent and highly trained male. Speaking of which, Border Collies are listed as the most intelligent breed making then easy to train for herding, obstacle courses, and ballroom dancing.
Anyway, after packing her food, bowl, pink nighty and ‘eau de musk’ perfume I made the two-hour trip to the mountains for the meet and greet. Mud Puppy had no idea why she was there. It wasn’t anything like the brochure I’d shown her. (Sort of made it sound like a tennis ball catching tournament.)
Sigh, that was a Wednesday and a very long drive home for me without her. Not wanting to be a pest I did everything to distract myself from calling every five minutes. Finally, Mr. T. called a few days later to let me know they hadn’t, well, you know. As I recall, the added ambiance of a full moon was that weekend so we decided to wait a few more days. Then miraculously, he called Sunday saying he couldn’t be sure…but when he’d returned home that day she was snapping at Big R stating, “That usually means he’s done what he needed to and she’s done with him.”
“Sounds about right.” I mused thinking of when…well, never mind what I was thinking. Mud Puppy was coming home.
Calling my best friend Margery, we made the two-hour trek back up the mountain. Thank goodness it was a warm day because my dog stunk…and it wasn’t ‘eau de musk!’ Phew! We drove all the way home with the windows down, however, before we left I picked Mr. T’s brain for intel on what to expect while expecting. He mentioned she’d start showing around day 30, then the pups would arrive about thirty days later.
Arriving home and soaking in the tub—Mud Puppy, not me—I then marked the calendar. After which, I Googled everything I could find on having puppies. Totally unfamiliar territory for me, I had two months to figure it out. Feeling mildly confident about being a canine mid-wife, all there was left to do was pray all would be well and wait…
My research said she’d be clingy when it was time. Dickens, they weren’t kidding. St. Patrick’s Day morning she whined if I’d leave the room. Finally, giving up getting more sleep, I grabbed my pillow, a few towels, note pad, pen, and a bowl of hot water (not sure if it applied, but what the heck) and camped out with her on the floor. She was all over me so I knew it was time.
The anticipation was tingling through me as I witnessed her push every few minutes...yet, never making a sound. Suddenly, I realized I didn’t know how long was too long so I started Googling puppy labor. As soon as I finished reading it could take up to 18 hours (yikes,) I looked down and she’d had the first one. It was white. She’s black. Big R is black. The puppy was white. I was in shock.
The sole purpose of planning to accurately record each pup was to tell them apart. You know, paper and pen, write down distinctive markings, take pictures…I was prepared for everything except a white puppy. I mean, I know WHITE is a distinctive marking! But dang! “Who’s your daddy?” I’ll admit, I didn’t see that one coming. Next one, black. Yes! Another black, yes, yes! Then red (brown). “What the what?” And finishing where she started the last was white. Both males, amazingly. Once the shock wore off, I remembered her daddy was a merle coat. The males will more than likely favor him. Very striking.
Sigh, after the fifth one Mud Puppy put her head down to take a nap. She’d gone through two hours of labor without a sound. I was amazed. Lovingly cleaning my Amazing Gracie’s (mud puppy) face with a warm wash cloth I marveled at her five little Lucky Charms.
Can you imagine…a bundle of puppy love?
Smile, it’s a great way to start each day.