• Puppies on Board!!

    The Pipkin is huffing a lot tonight---and looking at me strangely---staring up the chimney—trying to gain access to the zippered tent on the lawn holding ALL the downstairs furniture, (badly-timed asbestos ceiling removal in process), and generally wanting me close beside her at all times. “I reckon it might be a ‘code red’ night,” I telephone my parents who are equally excited about the iminent arrivals! "Oooo, yuk---her breath smells just like the French supermarkets,” my 14 rear-old daughter, Rinky pipes up, extra sensitive these days; foreign smells being top of her 'Disgusting List.' Why the dog's breath reminds her of a recent Fench trip is beyond me! Poor hound must wonder why on earth we felt it necessary to clear the house in preparation for the birth; "was it really necessary to remove the ceiling as well as the furniture?

    The Pipkin has been in labour all night---I stayed beside the cage disguised as a den for her whelping in my bedroom---can't have it downstairs because of the builders. She wants me with her at all times; either on my bed or me in hers! I woke up at one point to find that I was the one in the cage while she was dozing on my duvet! Oh dear---now I am really tired and grotty, and my hair is all tangled where it’s been brushing against the cage roof. This process is dragging out rather.

    It is now three p..m of the following day and The Pipkin is becoming quite distressed. I keep placing her in her cage—sitting alongside her to calm her down. Now she is moaning, poor love---obviously in pain. I massage her back and talk gently all the while. She definitely wants me nearby. Ah---now she’s sitting down and every now and then she looks to the den roof, beginning to strain. “I think this is it,” I tell Rinky who is on standby, wanting to be party to the great event but hanging back at the same time. “Either that or she’s about to howl to the moon.” “I don’t want to see the gory detail!” Rinky cries, burying her head into my pillows. “The vet says we should telephone if no puppy appears after half an hour of vigorous straining,” I tell her, watching my furry friend as the not-so-vigorous straining begins. After half an hour things pick up and she relaxes into full-on birthing, eventually standing up as the first pup is delivered! It’s relatively dark in the covered cage, but I can see well enough. The Pipkin nibbles open the sack, releasing the amniotic fluid and a brown and white patched male takes his first breath! How tiny and perfect he is. The Pipkin isn’t cutting the cord, so after ten minutes I phone the vet to ask what I should do. “Tie a piece of cotton on the cord close to the pup---to stop the blood flow. Then snip above with sterilized scissors.” I thank the helpful woman and realize that all my thread is stored in the back of the tent! This is where my quick-thinking mind comes in useful. “Dental floss,” I direct my surprised daughter to the bathroom cupboard where she finds the vital component and I eventually manage the task—not so easy on all fours in the semi-dark! After another ten minutes The Pipkin begins straining again and after a while a second puppy appears---long and brown this time! “It’s a female!” I relay the information to Rinky who peers over the edge of the bed in great excitement. “She looks just like an otter!” And so we progress into the evening---a new puppy arriving every so often; a small black male with a white splash on his chest and tan sideburns and socks, followed by two larger females---both black with white tums. Rinky dives into her brother’s room at every arrival, relying the good news. He keeps a low profile, poking his head around the door once to comment on the commonly-occurring smell of marijuana wafting in through our windows—again! “I told you Somerset was the dope capital of England. At least it’s keeping the dog calm!” that is certainly true! The Pipkin appears very dozy and content. Perhaps we should thank the mystery dope smokers, wherever or whoever they may be! Phone calls between each arrival to both Ma & Pa and my sister Mizzie keep us all very excited and busy. I am reminded of one of my Pa’s favourite jokes---an expectant father mistakingly telephoning the cricket commentary office instead of the maternity wing of the local hospital, waiting for news of his wife’s delivery. Each time he telephoned the numbers increased until the final call when he was told; “all out and the last one’s a duck!” The big black females look like expensive German sausages when they arrive—or large black puddings perhaps! I have to help burst the sacks and cut the fifth and final umbilical cord, rising to the challenge easily enough. Goodness me—we are all shattered and sore by the end of the evening and my upper arms are complaining after being caged on hands and knees for so many hours. As for my hair---matted is only half of it! The final pup arrives at nine-thirty and then----and then we ALL sleep, dreaming about twitching paws, tiny tails, dental floss and wafting dope smoke, my young nephew's hilarious lunchtime remark ringing in our ears; "we're hoping for a natural birth!". Real life has to be the funniest!

    1 Comment

    • 1. May 11 2014 6:26PM by judith barrow

      A lovely - and ,at times, hilariou, blog

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