The Gift of Love and Life

Some people call them “Puppies” and some call them a gift of Love, but that night I found it to be a gift of Love, Life, and a Miracle. We have been raising puppies for a number of years and usually, like most expecting fathers, I might be in the vicinity or maybe in the room, but this night I was the "go-to guy, the all-knowing answer man and the wet nurse all in one”.

Let me explain, one of the dogs…. OK, it was Molly, was near her delivery date. I knew the time was close because her body temperature was falling from the 102 degrees which is normal to 98.6, and she had not eaten for a day, so the time was near, within 24 hours or less. We had her in the house and on the bed to take her temperature. Little did we know how close it was and the time was 10:30 pm. Elaine and I went to the family room to discuss the plans. Elaine is out of vacation time at work and taking off any more time was impossible, so this was going to be my “first” time as a helper. I was just a little apprehensive because I was a city boy and didn’t know the first thing about giving birth or what to do.

“Yelp, Yelp” We heard a noise and looked at each other in bewilderment. “Yelp”, there it was again, and it wasn’t Molly. We looked at the door and at each other. As fast as we could get both of our bodies through the door, we ran to the bedroom. As you probably guessed, right in the middle of our bed was Molly enthusiastically licking a little bundle of joy. We sprang into action, me taking the bundle of Joy and Molly, and Elaine getting the sheets and blankets headed for the washer. “Whew”, what a mess.

Off we went to the nesting box where all the dogs give birth. Thank goodness I had it ready and waiting for her. She went right in but wanted her baby. As soon as I cleaned it up, Molly licked it again to stimulate it and to clean it even more. After a few minutes, she picked it up with her mouth and turned a few circles and sat it down again and repeated this many times. I was worried, but Molly was in charge and seemed to know what she was doing, and after all, what did I know. I had been reading up on this stuff and it said that you can expect the pups to be born about every 30 minutes or so. The first one was born at 10:50pm and it was nearly 1:45am and no more pups.  I was getting a little worried so I came into the house and Googled “dog giving birth”. The bad part about doing this, you see every problem every dog has ever had giving birth and you relate to that. It did say there can be a lull, but to make sure there is no blockage. “Blockage”? It went on to say, sometimes, two pups will try to exit the birth canal at the same time, so you need to check. “Check”? All I will say is you can’t check from the outside. Everything was fine and she gave birth 15 minutes later and I said a little prayer of thanks because we were getting ready to head for the Vet’s office at 2am.

I had the radio on and Hotel California by the Eagles was playing so I thought a fitting name for the second puppy would be “Cali”.  She sure was a welcome sight. Through the rest of the night until about 5:30 am, Molly gave birth to 4 girls and 3 boys. As I said, I had never been in the driver’s seat until now and it was a spiritual experience. As the pups are born, they are still attached to Molly.  She and I would race to get the little pup free and start the circle of life. Each one took it's first breath, in the palm of my hand with its first gasp. Molly would rub and lick for what seemed like an eternity, just making sure that everything was OK. After she was finished, I would check their mouth just to make sure none of them had a cleft pallet, something that is fatal. I would insert my little finger in the pup’s mouth to check the roof of its mouth and as soon as I did, they would start sucking on my finger wanting their first nourishment of life and as soon as they checked out, the pup was delivered to Molly to start nursing, and yes, everyone was fine.

After a long night and after she had finished providing the miracles, I bid her goodnight with a clean bed and a big old hug. Thanks girl, you did all the work and I probably was in the way, but you made me feel special and needed. Thank you for letting this city boy feel like he made a difference in your world, I’ll never know if I did, but in my heart, I hope so.

You can say what you want, but there are just some things that can’t be explained in life such as this. All the right things came together and everything is just perfect. Many people will say that this is “just” Mother Nature or evolution, but when you see it and live it, you know that there is a higher power that has put all the right things together just to make life and to make our world a little better. Thanks, Molly.   Give your dog a hug, I did tonight and to 7 more….Ken