Before I begin the story, you need to know that Boo’s fluffy little lapdog – named Buffalo – had puppies last week. Boo is away at camp, so during the daytime there isn’t anyone up in Boo’s bedroom. Kirstin is sleeping in Boo’s room at night, but during the day she spends her time down with the rest of the family in the bodega. Because Buffalo doesn’t like to be alone all day, and seems willing to forget about her puppies in order to spend time with the family in the bodega, we bring her little cardboard welping box down to the main house every morning. The three puppies stay in the box in my bedroom, and when they make noise Buffalo goes and nurses them, then she returns to hang out with the family. At night, Kirstin takes Buffalo and the pups back to Boo’s room, so their noises won’t disturb Allen’s sleep (he’s a light sleeper).
This afternoon, Kirstin, Buffalo and I were chatting in the kitchen when we heard a puppy making a much louder-than-usual noise. It definitely sounded like distress, so we went running toward my bedroom.
In the middle of the living room was our pregnant female Rottweiler, Pepper, and she was mouthing a small dark puppy. Because the pup was the same size and approximate color as one of Buffalo’s puppies, we assumed that Pepper had taken one of the week-old pups out of the welping box and perhaps was harming it.
Kirstin and I yelled at Pepper to drop the puppy, we told her she was a bad dog . . . and then we realized that it was Pepper’s puppy – she had just given birth to it in the middle of the living room floor. Just so you know, we normally know when a dog is about to give birth – there are warning signs. We knew Pepper was due to give birth in the next week or so, but we had no warning at all that a pup would be arriving right then. From the birthing location smack dab in the middle of the living room, I’m guessing Pepper was taken a bit by surprise, as well.
We already had a spot set up where we wanted Pepper to give birth, so we moved her and the puppy to that spot, but Pepper was confused, and she turned and ran out of the house, leaving her brand new puppy behind!
Kirstin saw her heading into the woods, and chased after her. I went to take care of the abandoned pup. The baby was still wet, and cooling quickly. It needed to be cleaned and fed and cuddled. Not knowing how long it might be until we found Pepper, after a few minutes I decided to see if Buffalo would take care of the mommy-less pup.
At first, Buffalo wanted nothing to do with the little one. We had put Buffalo and her puppies into the bathroom when all the excitement had started, so I took the pup in there and tried to introduce them. Buffalo growled and snapped at the baby, and when I continued to press the issue she hid behind the toilet and refused to come out. I put the puppy in the box with Buffalo’s pups, hoping to get the new one to smell like the others. Then I took the Rottweiler puppy out of the box, and put Buffalo in. When all of her own puppies were nursing, I held the new pup in front of Buffalo, and she gave it a tentative lick.
That’s all it took, and Buffalo was moving to get that cold wet puppy under her fluffy belly. Within moments the pup was nursing, snuggled in amidst Buffalo’s warm, dry puppies, and things were looking good . . . except of course that Kirstin and Pepper were out in the woods somewhere, with Pepper in labor.
At about this time, Allen got home. He had gone to a meeting at the bridge project, and Ben had gone with him. I sent Ben into the woods to help Kirstin find Pepper. Soon Ben returned with the news that Pepper had settled into what appeared to be an old abandoned den of some other animal, and was having another puppy. Kirstin decided to wait until the second puppy was born, and then try to move Pepper back to the house between puppies. The birthing spot was less than ideal, and the sky was threatening rain, so the mid-labor move seemed unavoidable.
Pepper had other ideas, and eventually Ben reappeared with another puppy wrapped in a towel. Pepper was not cooperating with being brought up the hill to the house, and Kirstin was afraid the puppy was getting too cold, while Pepper was distracted by Kirstin trying to get her up and moving.
I apprehensively approached Buffalo with another Rottweiler puppy. She was actively caring for her three pups and the one abandoned pup, and she very briefly growled at the new one – apparently more in annoyance than real dislike – before taking on the parenting duties of one more cold, hungry foster baby.
Meanwhile, back in the forest, Pepper had dumped a third puppy. This time Kirstin was adamant that the dog would move up the hill. Ben brought me the puppy, while Kirstin half-pulled, half-carried the dead weight of a largish pregnant Rottweiler up a steep hill. Pepper isn’t a difficult dog. She didn’t fight or give any indication that she was upset with Kirstin – she just didn’t help get her own body up the hill at all, and whenever Kirstin stopped to rest, Pepper would turn around and try to head back down the hill.
Whew! This has gotten really long, and I’m not nearly done. I’ll stop now, and finish this tale tomorrow. I’m beat and I need a shower. Good night!