Choices have consequences
Consequences can be beautiful
Brindley came into my life about a month after I had lost Tisbury. At the time, I didn’t feel as if I could think straight through the grief. A new puppy was an attempt to find a way to think about something, anything other than the sudden loss of my best friend. To stop the pain.
In the last four years, Brindley has done a fantastic job of keeping me diverted… from pretty much anything other than herself! She really is a princess diva! She screams (literally, you need to hear this to believe it!) when I leave home without her – she gets insanely jealous of anyone who takes up even more than 5 minutes of my time… and she is the most affectionate, loyal, terrible terrier I know.
I have often wondered what it is that causes Brindley to be so dramatic! She is extremely well socialised with other dogs, and has a fantastic life, with a different day every day – on water and on land. Maybe I have somehow over compensated with affection and love for Brindley in my grief for Tisbury? Or she picked up on my pain when she was very young and it made her sensitive. I don’t know!
The question of whether or not Brindley should be spayed has been something which I have grappled with. She is SO precious, and SUCH a diva that any form of pain for her is totally out of the question. For her, and for me…
So, dear reader, it will come as no surprise to you – and if I’m totally honest to me either – that THIS time when Brindley came into season, she decided to do something about it.
I have to say that she chose extremely well! It was love at first sight (or smell!) – speed dating doesn’t come close to describing events!
There was never any question of an unpleasant operation (see above). As it is the first time for both of us, the experience of her pregnancy and then whelping has been an extraordinary and special time.
As she became more heavily pregnant, she was less and less able to get out and about. And life on the boat started to get complicated – she needed lifting on and off and up and down constantly. Picking her up was a precision art – to do so without touching her increasing belly involved a grip with a hand between front legs and hind legs under her tail.
I over estimated how far she could walk on a couple of occasions and had to make a sling out of my scarf so I could carry her the rest of the way home!
The bed on Daisy is up high – built around 16 Ikea boxes for storage. Once on the bed at night, I had to be constantly alert to the needs of her bladder. I think she understood it was best to let me put her on the floor gently rather than land like a lead balloon so towards the end she waited patiently for me to wake up and move her.
We decided to abandon Daisy in favour of bricks and mortar for the whelping – the luxury of running water, electricity and a bit more space too hard to resist. It became a race against time to get Daisy to a place where I could leave her for a couple of months and to get Brindley to her land nest. Thank you Rich, Mary and Barry!
By now the puppies were visibly moving around inside her and her tummy looked like something out of Aliens!
We pretty much did it with a day to spare. I set up the nest and Brindley gave it her seal of approval by staying in it for the whole day… and refusing to come out, not even for food. (I should have put two and two together at that point… !)
That night, at about midnight, it all kicked off! Brindley went into labour and neither she, nor I had any idea about what to do! Her instinct drove her to lie in bed with me, her back pressed up against my stomach. I stroked her tummy and that seemed to help… until I realised she was now pushing! We had to have a bit of a negotiation about exactly where she planned to push. I ended up having to pile the duvet and bedding up on the bed and make it as un-nest like as possible which did the trick – thankfully she agreed and moved to her nest.
The vet had told me not to pay too much attention to her while she was in labour and to let her get on with things (not scrutinise her every move, give her some privacy, etc). So at 3am I went downstairs and put a wash in the machine. The washing noises were soothing and brought some sense of normal to an otherwise very odd situation. I started to work on a small leather project before deciding to check in on Brindley upstairs. To my amazement she was frantically licking her first puppy! Such a strange sensation – the puppy’s presence immediately changed everything – this small creature had become the entirety of Brindley’s world.
The rest of the night passed in a blur. I tried to give Brindley water and do what I could to help, although she was clearly very much on top of the situation despite her initial disorientation. I set up camp next to her nest… by about 5am she had two beautiful boys and two gorgeous girls. And we were all exhausted. For the first time in her life, I am not the centre of her world and this is a huge relief for me!
My job now is to keep Brindley clean, fed and watered, happy and calm. Brindley is doing the same for her babies. We work as a team with one goal in mind. Healthy happy puppies. God willing, these precious tiny bundles will go to loving forever homes when they are old enough.
For today we love and exist in the here and now.
We are here.