Special Delivery: Puppies!

From a young age, I knew the stork didn’t deliver babies. Nor puppies. 

They were beagle puppies or maybe boxers. Definitely what is known as a tri-color breed (black, brown, and white) Their eyes. I remember their eyes. Not open yet. The light of the sun had not entered the windows to their soul. Their ears, crinkled like a cruller at the local bakery were not open yet either. Only vibrations could be detected from their limp grayish bodies.

While Dad removed the pups from and attended to the mother, he instructed us to wrap a single puppy in one of the towels and hold it with two hands. Gently we rubbed the nose and mouth in between reps of swinging the puppy through our legs and up in the air like a granny toss in basketball or bowling (only don’t let go!) This was to clear their mouth and nose of fluid so they could start breathing on their own. Mom was right with us kids as our guide.

Eventually a big yawny puppy cry would escape as their muzzle and ears turned bright pink from the blood started really pumping. All was well with the world as we welcomed these bundles of fur into the world with a warm tiny bottle of formula. 

This happened about once a month at the office and I remember it vividly. There would of course be the occasional pup that would never turn pink. That can be hard on someone, especially an 11 year old kid barely starting to understand realms of the world. However the reward of having helped bring a puppy to life was a truly fascinating experience. Knowing that it wasn’t just me. That it was a team working together and we all had our parts to make it all happen has stayed with me.

Recently my dad told me that this procedure has now been retired in veterinary medicine in favor of other procedures. When Dad and I talk again, I will ask him what the procedure is an get back with you.

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