It may be your last chance
I almost lost one of my dogs this week. She almost died because of choices I made for her. People console me, telling me it isn’t my fault and that I did all the right things. I know I did... but they were still my choices, and I AM responsible. Were I to ignore this fact I would never have the knowledge needed to make the right choices. When we elect to breed a bitch we MUST go through the thought processes that bring to mind all of the risks involved. We must understand that to permit her to carry a litter, may result in the end of her life. One person wrote to me this week that breeding is a “Leap of Faith”. I couldn’t have said it better.
Abbie is a very special dog. She is gentle, beautiful, and trusting. She had the job as a puppy of being a friend to my son. She belonged to Jason. They spent hours sitting together just touching. She has never had a naughty day in her life. She lives to sit next to us, to touch us, to adore us. She trusts us in whatever we do. I can not recall ever saying the word “No” to Abbie. She is also a lovely girl - A good representation of the breed. Abbie has some good qualities to offer the breed. So, naturally, when she cleared Hips/Elbows and eyes, we bred her.
She had a C-section with her first litter due to the malpresentation of two puppies. With her second litter she simply wore out, and we sectioned her for the remaining few puppies. Then came the day when I elected to breed her “just one more time”. I knew it was to be her last. I hoped (beyond hope) that she would deliver her litter normally. I kept her weight perfect, and permitted her good exercise. I just knew in my heart that THIS TIME, she would deliver normally. I also knew in my brain that she wouldn’t. That is were I have difficulty... making the choice between wisdom and desire.
I knew I was in trouble. I knew it all day. But , I kept hoping that as her labor progressed that she’d do fine. Then she began to become fatigued. She didn’t push when I knew she should. I retrieved a puppy myself by pulling him into the world. Panic set in and I made that frantic call. My Vet and her friend (also a Vet. ) met me at the office. Basically, surgery was done just in time to prevent my girl from dying. Her uterus may have well been a display for a Swiss cheese advertisement. This was a true medical emergency. Seven of nine puppies lived. So did their mother, due to the knowledge and skill of two people whom I admire more than I can say. I have worked shoulder to shoulder with some of the best Trauma Surgeons in the country. I would put these two into that league without pause. I am so fortunate to have had them available. Words can not relate my feelings. Abbie was very weak. It took all she had to lift her head, let alone make milk and care for her puppies. The puppies were not strong. The uterus had not done a good job at keeping them nourished (it’s a miracle that it did it at all). They were tiny (6-8 ounces) and weak. One of the six ounces was very tiny, and seemed to be premature. It took him four days to come to the point, where I gave up and knew that tube feeding and holding him were not going to help him anymore. We finally gave up, and had him put down. I came home from that event, to find that momma had pulled the dried umbilicus off of one of the pups, pulling a bit of the inside of the puppy out. Back we went... exhaustion, worry, and hard work were now taking their toll.
I called a friend to relay my woe’s. The night before, after a year of infertility testing, finally breeding the bitch, and having her successfully carrying the litter to term I was told that her bitch was sectioned the night before for nine dead puppies. Thank God the bitch was O.K., but the feeling of emptiness was unbelievable. Beyond tears, we expressed our gratitude for the life of our bitches. I could now include depression to my feelings of fear, fatigue, and frustration. I wrote a very discouraging letter to an e-mail list to remind the novice, that to elect to breed their bitch, was to take her very life in your hands, and hope for the best. I cautioned, that if they were thinking of breeding “for the fun of it”, to think of my Abbie first. I got a flood of well wishes ( very good for soothing the soul), and then I got these:
—“I read your post yesterday evening after coming home from the vet. We had puppies, but after a very difficult c-section, we lost our Lucy. She was only three yeas old. I know how you feel, and know the guilt that you're carrying.”
and this one :
—“...I am having a hard time writing this down ,(shaking hands) but to make a long story less dragged out, within 2 weeks there were 2 finished (Champion) bitches buried along with seventeen puppies.”
I was upset over what COULD have been, and the people above were living the reality. People, if you are considering breeding, please remember the risks. Please be sure that your Vet is the best you can locate. and Please... remember the two notes above.
You can not take breeding lightly.
copyright - Blue Knight 9/29/98