She started in the car on the way to Norwich – panting then nest building on the back seat. The first time I’d been to Norwich wanting to leave and not giving a dam what was around us. We were there for Michael’s PCR rest a prerequisite for his flight tomorrow. Out was swift – I’d put Bobbi in the boot on her own away from kali – ignorant of the goings on in this deaf darkness .
Home safe. Bobbi in her cage blankets ruffled up. Of course I didn’t monitor the time passing. I remember that look she gave me. I called paul who said it’s too long, between the water sack coming and nothing happening an to call a Vet. I texted Lucy . She came and saved the day. The pup was dead inside the birth canal. While I held her head, Lucy extracted the dead pup from bobji, a handsome dog.
Would the rest be dead? Not certain. Bobbi was not moving, no contractions. I called the vet. It’s 2grand for an op – I’d leave it another half hour they advised. Before she finished the sentence, the contractions began, and the first slipped out. Lucy cleared the sac from around her head, and stimulated the little being to move. All 3 more slithered out, the last a girl. Blind, beautiful, feet and hands soft pink transparent, little squeaks. A smell so sweat. Bobji ate all the after birth every one of them knoring away at the umbilical chord. Proficient by the 4th.
Turns out she’s a fabulous mum.
I’m sleeping bedside. Kali in Michael’s bed. Exhausted, oh I forgot about m returning worried about food and guessing we won’t be going out to eat. So he bought two lamb shanks ! Sandwiched between all this I cooked the lamb, filled in the endless forms online necessary for his flight, checked his packing, found his hearing aids and charged them. Finally turned off the ten o clock news so he didn’t fall asleep in front.
The night was full of this fragile new life, as radio 4 argued on about party gate and had Borris lied, non of it mattered, as the 4 little lives suckled at bobji s milk, and she surrendered to there needs. Once or twice she came out and snuggled next to me until their squeaks called her back.
…..michael, dressed south of France style, departed by taxi. I breathed out. A glorious day, cleaning, endless washing, and pottering.
Day 1 Tuesday
MJ arrived back late yesterday, too late for the drama of the birthing. A week on her own, to an island of Crete, isolated, no water or taverna, she walked, camped, explored, swam. Missing jal, but free to take what was given. We gardened together, I glad for her company – I’d missed her.
It was a glorious day, of meandering on the patch of land, checking in on the pups and mum. Throughout the day I knew where my secateurs were, which was so unusual and some kind if litmus paper on the day. Bed with Kali on the base. Bobji close next door with the occasional bird song of the pups blindly looking for a teat to succour.
Day 2 Wednesday
Life is uncertain and birthing so fragile and tenuous. The day started so well, I even took bobji in the car to walk the park, she her old self stick relaying with Kali.
Fired up the computer to address the 100 or so emails that had accumulated. A Yelp. It was that look in bobji s eyes that looked at me. I noticed she began to contract (now I knew what that was). Texted Lucy, who was busy with sheep. Called the vet, come straight in, they said. Bring the pups, they added. Laid them in a blanket in a co op shopping basket, bob in front seat.
The vet could feel a pup in the birth canal. A scan confirmed dead. They tried for 30 mins with forceps, to no avail. A Caesarian was necessary and will they do neutering at the same time? She asked. She’s such a beautiful mother… I said, emotion raising, and agreed. Outside I walked the old one up a suffolk lane considering all. The vet called – good news, the anaesthetic had relaxed her, and she birthed the dead pup. The bill of 500 less than the 2 grand but above all less invasion for bobji. What a beautiful calm dog she is, they said, a fine mother too. As she came round she looked confused then they showed her her pups and she settled into licking them.
We are home. She is with them.
In the vets while waiting I had space and time to observe them. Such flat bat like ears. Their noses pink and pug like. Their feet pink and almost webbed.
I saw the dead pup. No doubt dead for 3 days now, green brown slime around unlike the blood red mucus of the live pups afterbirth. It was large like the first one. They are right – she will not birth again – but at least she has this once. Unlike me. I hear them now. I hope she has milk for them and wonder if this trauma has curtailed her natural production. Nothing is given. tomorrow I will know more. Or in this night.
Bobji out of sorts, resigned rather than active. But as the day moved, she did too. Always returning to her pups now more diligent, her paw moving them round, cleaning their little backsides. I
I took l leaf fro Mj, rested well in the afternoon, listening to the hidden life of trees and marvelling at his way of seeing trees as part of our and other natures. Barron bigod mission, then a treat, a visit to a garden centre!
Lucy and Julian came round for pup inspection – she is undeterred and still wants jet, the bitch. I wish I could remember her phrases. They are a pleasure to be with, hear talk of sheep, and dogs of course.
When she said this would be the last year of working her older bitch – back legs will go soon – I asked her will she put her down? ‘I’ve thought about that. I’ll take her out in the …. And get the vet to come to and put her out surrounded by sheep. Then I’ll cremate her as I did all the others and with their ashes burry them with me when I go.’ So Lucy was doing her advanced care plan!