Where to begin? The cuteness? The adorable sounds? The AMAZING mama dog who has completely stolen my heart? So much to tell you!
We’ll start with the obvious. If you’ve joined the Another Good Dog Facebook page, you already know the 12 pups in my kitchen are addictively cute. I can spend WAY too much time just watching them ‘swim’ around the box.
Their eyes and ears haven’t opened yet and they can’t support their weight, so they swim around, much like seals on land or fat snakes with appendages.
I don’t know if they aren’t aware that their siblings are also puppies or if they simply don’t care, but they drag themselves right over top of each other, stepping on heads or bellies and using whatever pup is handy for a pillow. If they wake up all alone, they’ll begin mewling and blindly swimming around the box in their own version of newborn pup Marco-Polo until they find another soft body or the grand-prize – Mama!
Their little ears haven’t opened yet, so they can’t hear me tell them how adorable they are or explain that no, that isn’t Mama’s teat, that’s your sister’s elbow. Speaking of ears, the ears! They are the oddest things and I certainly hope they’re going to grow and relax a little when they finally open up. Right now, many of them have Spock ears (or devil’s horns depending on your angle) and others have little piggy-flaps.
Okay, enough about their cuteness, if you need more, check out the Facebook page. I’m trying to post near daily pictures, but sometimes life gets in the way. I missed one day because my only niece (I have seven nephews!) and her adorable husband were here visiting from California. We spent LOTS of time playing with the puppies and took lots of pictures, but instead of posting a nursery report, I took them to Bonkey’s for ice cream and showed off the exciting town of New Freedom.
Since you can’t all come visit my kitchen, I’ll try to describe the noises coming from the puppy box. The sounds range from an eerily accurate R2D2 imitation to a rap DJ scratching a record to the creak of sticky door to rubber sneakers on a gym floor. There is much grunting and snuffling and honestly, they remind me of the sounds my own kids made while nursing. Sweetness. I’m savoring it because I can only imagine the noises we’re in for as this dozen finally find their voices in the next seven weeks while they are in residence.
Puppies, puppies, puppies….there are no bad days when 12 newborn puppies live in your kitchen.
And then there is Edith.
Edith breaks my heart.
She is simply beautiful which bodes well for these funny looking, noodle-limbed guinea pigs that adore her. They are ‘cute’ now in the way that all odd-looking, helpless babies are, but if they grow up to be half as pretty as Edith, we’re in good shape.
Edith has gained a small amount of weight, enough that it doesn’t feel cruel to pet her, but not enough to make her look like she has any right to be nursing 12 puppies. Watching her care for them, nursing them and giving them everything she should be keeping for her own survival, is painful. So, I try to do everything I can to make it easier for her. I keep a thick layer of towels covering the thin carpeting that lines the box to make it softer on her bony body. I feed her five meals a day—concocting rich dishes of fat and protein to entice her to eat even more. I carry the water bowl to her whenever she’s lying in an upright position so she doesn’t have to climb out of the box for a drink. We walk very, very slowly around the yard for potty breaks.
There are signs that she is feeling better. Yesterday she began leaving the box for reasons other than necessities. At first I worried. “What do you need doll?” I asked, offering food, water, and opening the door. She sighed and lay down near me. She just wanted my company and maybe, to be away from those demanding little demons in the box.
She thumps her tail when any of us come near the box, whacking whichever puppies are in the vicinity in the process.
She loves her ‘satan balls’ (see previous post for explaination) so much that whenever I open the fridge, she lifts her head and gives me her full attention, hoping I’m going to pull out the container of magic that holds them.
So, she is doing better, but my heart still breaks for her because she has such a very long, long road ahead. You see, Edith Wharton is heartworm positive. Unprotected dogs (those not on a heartworm preventative) can be infected with heartworms via a mosquito bite. These worms can grow to be a foot long and lodge themselves in the heart and lungs. Without the difficult, painful, and costly treatment, the situation progresses and the dog will die. Edith’s heartworm numbers are high. She is exhibiting clinical signs. She has a little soft cough. She pants heavily when she is hot or with any exertion (nursing, walking around the yard). And she is incredibly thin.
Once this precious dozen cherubs have been weaned (which I can assure you will be as soon as possible if I have anything to do with it. Once those parasites- I mean puppies– start eating real food, we’ll begin.), she will have a month to rest and gain her strength and weight so that she can be spayed. And then after that she will have a month of heartworm treatment—a brutal, painful experience that I’m not looking forward to and at the same time I am because when it is over it will mean that we have truly saved her. Because if OPH hadn’t stepped in and rescued her, nursing all those pups with little nutrition or the euthanasia list or the heartworms would have certainly killed her. Edith is a true rescue.
I rub her sweet head and I tell her, “By Christmas you’ll have a whole new world and this will just be a bad memory. No more puppies, no more heartworms, no more nobody caring about you. I promise.”
NOTE: OPH is a rare rescue that saves heartworm positive dogs. Treatment costs much more than any adoption fee can cover, so fundraising does the rest. There’s a great opportunity to be part of their fundraising efforts NEXT WEEKEND! Bark, Wag, and Wine is OPH’s biggest fundraiser – I hope many of you will join me at Desert Rose Winery in Virginia for wine tasting, silent auction, music, food, and DOGS!