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I was there to hear your borning bark

Nima had her first litter on August 4, 2008.  I was also pregnant at the same time, not that I was trying to experience this with our dog; it just happened to coincide.  Since I was the largest pregnant woman ever and was already into the final months, my role was limited to cutting the dental floss to tie off the cords and hand them to JoAnn, the owner of Nima’s kennel.  Holy man.  What an experience.  I had no idea what to expect, nor did Nima.  Puppies come out each in their own sack and it can be several hours between puppies.  We had an x-ray done and knew that there were 7 puppies total.   The gestation period is around 50 days, and JoAnn kept a close watch on her.  When she started to see Nima panting and straining, she called me and I raced over to her home.  When I got there, JoAnn was reading a book, “Dog Labor and Delivery”.   I immediately lost confidence and thought what a horrible owner I was and what did I get Nima into.  Soon after I arrived, puppy #1 tried to come out, but was stuck.  JoAnn jumped into action – working like a miracle worker to get the puppy out.  The puppy wasn’t breathing.  Then I REALLY saw the miracle worker in action as she did mouth to snout breathing and massaging the little girl’s chest.  After 20 minutes, the little dog started to breathe on her own.  Then came #2.  Then came #3.  Then came a big break.  We put each puppy up to Nima’s nose and she had absolutely no interest in them.  I thought, oh Lord – we’ll be bottle feeding this litter.  All of a sudden, #4 just shot out – no warning, no pushing, just shot out.  Nima looked at it and immediately, the mothering instinct kicked in.  She started cleaning that little baby and tried to nose the other babies to her belly.  Within the next hour, the remaining 3 came out – all breathing, healthy and tiny.  Nima’s big belly immediately went back to its original shape (I had hope for mine, which did not become a reality) and she laid on her side, with all 7 babies snuggled in.   She looked at me, growled in a low, guttural sound that can only be the sound of a mother protecting her young and I knew it was time to leave her be.  

Nima stayed with JoAnn for about 8 weeks and I went to visit each weekend.  I always received the same treatment – she was terribly excited to see me and I would take her outside.  She could be outside for about 3 minutes then desperately try to get back in to her babies.  I would take her in, put her in the kennel and she would proceed to growl ferociously at me.   When we brought her home after the last puppy was sold, I also had our baby.  An amazing thing happened in that Nima assumed a role with our little one – with each of her cries or movements, Nima was right there.  Just like a gentle soul to protect this new little being.   I took it as encouragement and comfort, until the night out little one was screaming, waking us all out of our dead sleep (which we had been in for approximately 1 hour).  Nima looked at me as if to say, “I had 7.  Clearly you can take care of 1.”

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