( Except Mercedes, sitting in her own little alcove with her own 1 week old puppies, looking murderous.)
I know at some point, many Motrin later,my husband came home and asked me if I wanted my tacos now,which he had kindly purchased on his way home, and since I was busy trying to insert a finger in Mokie’s wahzoo to help release the puppy hanging half way out, little rear legs dangling, I said, “No, not really, not now”. As it was, Mokie and I were both looking bug eyed at this half a puppy, and she was giving me the dog equivalent of “GET THAT THING OUT NOW!!” A frantic final push and pull and it finally slithers out, and now I’m moaning “Oh God, I broke its neck,”, because it’s head was really floppy and it was opening and closing it’s mouth like a dying fish. So Mokie’s licking the hell out of it and I’m rubbing it and finally I blow into its tiny nostrils and bubbles form in its mouth and nose, and I’m thinking, “Oh God, it drowned in the natal fluids…or something…” At this point I’m reminding myself that I’m supposed to be experienced at this, a conversation I have with myself every time a litter is born, so in desperation I swing the pup in an arc over my head and down between my legs to loosen by sheer gravitational force any mucus remaining in the airways. Mokie is looking on like I’m nuts…or a very sick puppy abuser…and then I hear a tiny pathetic gurgle and I carefully put it back down . Adrenalin having done its job, my back siezes up once again.
Now through all of this the man of the house is laying on the bed 10 feet away reading the Sunday paper. “I don’t think he’s going to make it” I announce sadly to the Metro Section. I don’t know if he said anything, because right then I saw this big, half pound puppy, all nicely dried off by now with Mokie’s towel of a tongue, lift his previously broken neck, wiggle his previously limp back legs and stretch out his front ones, yawn, and crawl to the beckoning milk bar ranged like a sumptuous and fascinating smorgasbord before him. If he’d stood up and barked I wouldn’t have been more astounded.
Two hours later and an even BIGGER puppy gets stuck halfway to the Promised Land. I pointedly ask Mokie if she ever presents her puppies head first in the normal way anymore, but she just looks at me with pathetic little sunken eyes. Knowing this time not to jerk on the tiny legs kicking in the air or the little tail swishing away, I squeeze both sides of Mokie’s butt to keep the head from slipping back over the cervix…why did I ever imagine this could be fun? … and pull with a paper towel on the back skin. I manage to get it out a little quicker. Even so, I think it must be dead, but 15 minutes later Mom’s Magic Tongue has done its job, and the 2 brothers are fighting over their dinner. I, certainly, have no appetite for mine. I then tell the Business Section I’m going downstairs to wash more linens for Mokie’s box. When I get back she’s produced one more puppy….with, naturally, no one helping or even watching. She eyes me with a little chipper smile.
We have 2 chocolate dapple boys and 1 solid chocolate boy, all longhair. We have Mercedes with her 5 puppies born a week earlier ( of course that was traumatic too, one was a belly button bleeder) esconsed on their side of the loft. Giving the lie to the oft reported myth that mothers will playfully steal and share each other’s puppies, these two mothers hate each other. For 4 weeks they have to be carried downstairs to pee, poop, and generally relieve their boredom. Zatchie, our Maine Coon cat, invents clever ways of getting upstairs to look at the puppies and watch Mokie bark hysterically and Mercedes’ eyes bug out. Mercedes has perfected the growl from Hell in defense of her puppies, which, while hideous and alarming, means nothing, as Zatchie is quite aware. My back is still out, and I am now immune to Motrin. My husband never tires of announcing the births in his own over-the-top way to whoever calls: “We have 15 dogs sleeping with us upstairs, and 6 more, downstairs. No, TEN upstairs, and 3 more and 3 cats….shit, this place SUCKS.”
He has no idea that 15 Bantum chicks are arriving tomorrow.