|Mama Bette and her 5 hungry pups|
I picked up the limp, wet body and tenderly cradled it in my hands. With no time to spare, all eyes in the room focused on what I would do next. Bette stared up at me pleading wordlessly for me to accomplish what she could not. I rubbed the newborn puppy with a rough towel hoping it would take its first breath. No luck. As the seconds ticked by I kept working on the pup trying to stimulate that first sign of life. I did not hear the other four pups squealing noisily while I struggled to save their sibling.
|Bettenon Gala's Rosebud at 2 weeks|
Rosie, always a bit of a drama queen, made quite an entrance that night. Suddenly she inhaled the life-giving oxygen her body craved the second she separated from her mother, Bette. Now I sighed with relief and began to take stock of the pup’s overall health. A girl, good, that makes three girls and two boys. She was small, probably the runt of the litter, but now trying to wiggle out of my hands. As soon as I made certain the pup breathed freely, I handed her back down beside her mama and let nature take over. Soon she took her first drink of milk.
Born 1 hour after the rest of the pups, she must have been stuck a while in the birth canal. Gary and our family friend, Phil, had gone out to an overnight grocery for vanilla ice cream to start Bette’s milk flowing. She gobbled it up and we took this as a sign that she had finished birthing puppies. Wrong! As the clock hit 3 a.m. Bette went back into labor and quickly produced this last pup. We all marveled as the runt began pushing the bigger pups out of her way to the milk.
|Bette and Rosebud (ages 7 & 5)|
The process started at around midnight and four pups came along in 15 minute intervals. We just about called it a night when suddenly Bette began straining again. We watched for another hour to see if more pups arrived. Rosie turned out to be the last of the litter. Finally sure that Bette and the pups were settled and resting, Phil headed home and Gary and I collapsed into bed. That’s when we noticed just how noisy and squeaky the puppies were. Exhaustion helped us fall asleep as the sun rose overhead. When we woke a few hours later, the first order of the day turned out to be moving the puppy playpen from our bedroom to the kitchen. Now we all could sleep more easily.
The first day of Rosie’s life we nearly lost her, however as time passed she spent 14 years sharing our home with us. There’s something very special about having a pet be born under your roof and live their entire life with you. “Rosie Toes” earned her nickname because of the wonderful habit she had of dancing around us and greeting us with a basenji baarroooo when we returned home. There are many more stories about these two characters and I hope you’ll stop by my blog again soon to enjoy them.