I'm jogging (or pacing) back and forth between our house and our second garage today. A soft-as-silk, gentle-as-a-dove, sweet-as-apple-pie Golden Retriever mix has taken up temporary residence there. She has the eyes of a doe. When I sit down with her, she leans up against me and puts her pretty head in my lap, as if to say "thank you for giving me a safe, warm place to have my babies". Yes, this young, beautiful dog looks as if she is ready to explode at any moment. She was abandoned over by Newtonia a few days ago. She wandered up to Mrs. "B's" home and lay down at the side of her house to wait for those who left her to return. They never did. Mrs. "B" said she wouldn't mind letting her stay because she was so very sweet, but she was panic stricken because she had no place suitable to set up a place for her to have her (large) family and then had no idea how to find homes for several puppies. One thing led to another and she wound up at the Williams Birthing Center.
I have witnessed the birth of puppies in the past but I was never the one in charge, so I didn't pay attention to the details. I know that dogs have puppies all the time without the assistance of human beings but I also know that there can be problems or complications. I feel like screaming like the Scarlet's slave girl in Gone with the Wind. "I don't know nothin' bout birthin' no babies!" When I spoke with our veterinarian yesterday, he had several bouts of laughter as he fielded my questions about this blessed event and what I should do or be prepared for. I provided quite a bit of levity to his afternoon.
My dear husband went to work setting up a pen in the garage beside the doggie door that leads out to an outdoor pen so she can come and go as she pleases and still be safe. Dear friends came last night, bringing a kids wading pool/whelping box and bags of old towels. We hung brooding lamps for warmth. It is pretty cozy and Addie seemed quite happy with her accommodations. The only thing that makes her unhappy is being alone. Each time we leave the garage she lets out one mournful cry. I don't blame her. When I was about to give birth, I didn't want my husband or my mother to leave my sight. This is probably her first litter of puppies. I am sure she is frightened and wondering what will happen to her next. She has been abandoned by the people she loved, and then hauled all over the countryside yesterday, from Mrs. "B's" house to the vet clinic; back to Mrs. "B's". Then she and her giant belly were loaded back into my Jeep again, driven cross country, to be deposited at the Williams garage.
When our vet examined her yesterday, he commented "Oh, she is just a baby herself." Addie is just one of countless dogs who shouldn't be in this predicament in the first place, nor should Rich and I or Mrs. B. If Addie had been fortunate enough to have fallen into the hands of responsible, caring people who were educated enough to see spay surgery as one of the first priorities, she would not have to endure the birth or care of a large litter of puppies at an age when she should be enjoying being a puppy, herself. I pray that I see the day that Faithful Friends Animal Advocates can offer a low-cost spay and neuter program to Newton and McDonald counties. Many organizations like ours have made it become a reality in communities like ours across the nation. It is a very attainable goal and one we will continue to pursue.
Rich just came in to report that I need to type faster because he thinks there is something going on out in our birthing center. I guess this column will have to be a two part series. I am glad I have my more experienced puppy midwife friend on speed-dial!