When it comes to babies, puppies are the opposite of people.
One healthy baby is a blessing. More, are more blessings, but you need more than two hands to handle them.
With puppies, you want lots. The bigger the litter, the better. Puppies don’t open their eyes until they’re two weeks old, nor can they shiver. They cannot regulate their body temperature and must be kept very warm.
With three, four, five or more siblings to snuggle up to, keeping toasty is much easier.
The last thing you want is a singleton.
Dandie Dinmont Terriers have small litters. Two or Three. That’s why they’re on the endangered list.
At 3:58 a.m., on Monday, August 4, Lucy had her puppy.
A singleton male.
My breeder broke her vow of silence and emailed me this news.
She also nicknamed him The Phantom because she never saw him eating.
The first 48 hours are critical. He must thrive to survive. Neither she, up in Stouffville, nor I, down here in Thornhill, slept those first two days.
Then, The Phantom fooled her. He started suckling. Lucy, it turns out, was a very good mother and took extraordinary care of her little baby.
When my Breeder was convinced the puppy was safe and strong enough, she brought him home in a shoe box. Lucy seemed lovelier than before her baby was born. Motherhood suits her. They’re now living in my study, the warmest room in the house. No windows or doors are open. I'm working in The Tropics in here.
He’s growing as fat as a piglet. Mind you, Lucy is bored stiff. Not much to do with one puppy. To help her stay focused, we’ve installed an Ex-Pen around the whelping box. Jail, as far as she’s concerned.
Meanwhile, I must keep my male, Riley, far away. If Lucy senses him anywhere close to her baby, she’ll attack.
A baby gate at the bottom of the stairs prevents him from coming up to the second floor. I must climb over it every time I go downstairs. As a result, I have made one-tenth the number of visits to the fridge that I normally do and lost 10 pounds.
Yes, the Baby Gate Barricade Diet definitely works.
Yesterday, at 16 days old, the puppy opened his eyes, which are blue. They’ll change. This means, he’s able to shiver, so any fear of his freezing has evaporated.
We feel reasonably confident he’ll survive, as long as Lucy doesn’t jump on him as she is wont to do. We’ve named him, Auggie, short for Augustus, after my maternal grandmother, Augusta. His new owners will change it, but for the next nine weeks, while he’s with us, Auggie the Doggie, he is.
Why I have told you this little tale?
Simple. The last three months of living with and worrying about a pregnant bitch and now a nursing bitch and her initially fragile singleton puppy have taught me the miracle of nature. Childless, this is as close as I’ll ever get to motherhood.
At the same time, it puts things into perspective. Every morning, when I open the door to my study, there they are together. Mother suckling child. A perfect nurturing system. She’s his whole world. She feeds him and cleans him and cares for him.
I haven’t had time to worry about my own mental state. I’m too focused on a little dog and her baby. It’s been a refreshing change. Exhausting, but thrilling, too.
Better than a holiday.
Today, my husband and I celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary. Another miracle of nature, but that’s another story.
We’ll be spending the evening babysitting our little brood, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Have a great weekend!