Wow, life has been crazy lately! Those who know me, know I don’t do things by halves, but seriously life has been flat-out, even for me. In the last couple of months I have moved house, been sorting out hot water service and electricity meter sagas ( still continuing) , mated our dogs, endured a doggie pregnancy and I am now a ‘Pug-ma’ of 6 of the cutest puglets you’ve ever seen.
What a life changing miracle of an experience this has been for myself and my family.
I have discovered that our canine besties can teach us so much about motherhood, life and families. Ava, Beau and their adorable brood have been a blessing to us in many ways.
Here’s what I have learnt from this experience, our first time with puppies:
- The mating ritual is humorous and can sometimes gross out kids and their cousins. Especially when it gets to the ‘tied together’ part and the male is dancing around on 3 legs with a look on his face that says ” what’s going on, this was fun 5 minutes ago?’
- Doggies can also get morning sickness. Mine definitely did and boy did I feel sorry for her. I distinctly remember THAT feeling of misery. Luckily hers only last a week or so. Mine lasted the entire pregnancy with all 3.
- A pregnant dog’s belly is deceiving, even to Vets. At first checkup we were told 3, maybe 4. At the last, he said there’s a few in there. We were all shocked ( including the Vets) when she had 6!
- Also, don’t trust the Vet at the last checkup when he says it will be a few days yet, and plan an outing the next day…that’s when it’s all going to happen for sure. Trust me…
- On said outing, do not sit right in the middle of the theatre with no quick exit for when your eldest son ( who is dog watching) texts and asks ‘what is a contraction? ‘.
- Make sure you have your partner teed up in case of doggie emergency. Thankfully I had done this, as 19-year-old son was panicking at the blood. Partner arrived just in time to become a puppy midwife to Ava’s first-born.
- Birth is an amazing experience. My kids were all there and watching with interest. What a miracle. After one puppy, 12-year-old son was a bit freaked out by the mess and I couldn’t help laughing at the expression on his face.
- It’s scary having teeny newborn creatures that look like rats, squawking in your family room. It’s also noisy. For things so small, they had good lungs on them.
- Do NOT assume that feeding will come naturally for the Mamma. We realised this just after midnight when Ava still didn’t want anything to do with her babies and we had to make a dash to Vets for puppy formula. Then got the most unwelcome news that we’d have to bottle feed EVERY 2 hours!!!! OMG that’s worse than having my own newborn. At least it was only one. Here were 6 of them!
- Invest in a heat lamp! After a night of crying puppies, switching on the heat lamp the next day to have almost instant quietness, was a relief.
- Immense patience ( and a sturdy back) may be required to teach your first time Mamma how to feed. It was almost like trying to convince one of your kids that they wouldn’t be swallowed down the plug hole when you let the bath out. Lots of patience, love, positive reinforcement and a tad of bribery in the way of treats.
- The sense of pride you’ll have when the Mamma learns to feed them on her own will bring tears to your eyes. But only if you’re a sook like me.
- Dogs are lucky, they can feed all their kids at once while taking a nap.
- Having puppies in the house means you’ll be getting up through the night to check they’re ok, still breathing, and not squashed in the pen somewhere. Say goodbye to sleep for at least the first week.
- A new litter is better than TV. We could watch them for hours, even when they’re sleeping.
- Who knew little puppies could make such a mess? I was on poo patrol constantly and was washing them twice a day as they’d slither through it and be covered in goop.
- Be prepared for lots of visitors and potential owners coming and going. I am a fussy pants when people come to visit, so the cleaning every time was a chore.
- Whoever tells you ‘not to get too attached’ has never had 6 adorable, roly poly pug puppies in their house. The kids and I regularly share the cuddles around so they get used to human handling. Those that didn’t already have a name given to them by their future families, we have temporarily named ourselves. I cannot keep calling them black boy, and fawn girl, it’s too cold and unloving. Yes I am pathetically in love with them.
- Once they open their eyes and start toddling around, you’ll be like crazy paparazzi trying to capture it all. And you’ll be beaming with pride at the way they have cleverly learnt their new skills.
- Nothing is going to prepare me for having to say goodbye to 5 of these little babies in 5 weeks time. ( even though I know where they are going to and am happy they’ll all be brought up in loving homes) There will be tears for sure. It will be like giving away one of my own children. I am also going to be crying for Ava who has become such a great Mamma, and clearly loves them too.
- Teenagers, who can be such little turds sometimes, go completely mushy over a puppy squawk and wiggle too. The 19-year-old regularly visits now, not to see me, but to see the puppy he has chosen to keep.
Probably the most important thing I have learnt from all of this so far is about that mothering instinct. It may not come naturally to us all, but with patience, and encouragement as we learn what our new role is, we can become wonderful mothers and watch our children grow proudly. Mother nature and this miracle we call birth, is an amazing blessing. And whether you’re a human mum , a canine one or any other animal, we’re all AWESOME. So go easy on yourself, we are doing the best we can.