Hello, Hello, Hello!
It’s feels wonderful to be sitting here in my almost-completely organized office, playing the keyboard of my iMac like a piano and relaxing with you for the first time in a month.
And what a month… what a couple of months, we’ve had. Feels so good.
I’m sorry I disappeared so suddenly but I think you’ll understand when hear my little tale…
Most of all… “I’m Still Here”*
I hope you are, too. And I hope you will forgive my dropping out of sight for so long. (Although, I tried to keep up with your kind and empathetic comments. Thank you for your support. It helped me immeasurably.)
The picture of my little Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Lucy, is one part of the my story.
On September 23, whilst I was remaking her bed, I heard her high-pitched scream. I remember that sound. I’d heard it only once before, on the day she lost her virginity three years ago to a gorgeous stud named McKenzie. It was a very well planned deflowering.
To make a long story short, this time my championship male, Riley, was “into her” ~ and quite frankly, there was nothing I could do but put a blanket under her head and help her through what turned out to be a rather onerous 20-minute session. I could tell. She kept turning over and over all through it. I was devastated.
What was running through my head was… what would I say to my breeder?
You see, Riley and Lucy are first cousins on his father’s side and her mother’s side. She did not want them bred together. So, for five and a half years, I’ve been keeping Riley away from her during her biannual seasons. This last one, though, was different. It was long, very long. Longer than her normal 21-24 days. It lasted close to 35 days.
That Thursday evening, I thought she was finally finished. I was so happy. Believe me, it’s no fun having two intact dogs in one house. They have to kept separate and walked separately from Day 12 of her cycle until she stops bleeding. Lucy just kept on going.
Have you ever heard of a split-season?
Was she finished? I thought so. I bathed her and her bedclothes.
Then, I heard her scream.
Have you ever heard of a split-season. Not me, but my breeder had and she told me to take me to her vet’s the next day for a vaginal swab. I waited anxiously for three days, but when he finally received the results, he simply confirmed that she was having a split-season ~ she was ovulating ~ but he didn’t know exactly where in her cycle she was. We would have to wait.
So, for five more weeks, I wondered and worried…
What if there was some genetic abnormality? (Riley is a sensational stud.) What would I do in this open-concept and very chilly little townhouse, with puppies who have to be kept very warm for the first two weeks of their lives because they don’t sweat and can easily suffer from hypothermia? (I went out and bought a space heater.)
After five weeks, Lucy, Riley and I drove up to my breeder’s. I thought she would know for sure and end our waiting game. It was emotionally taxing. I feared the worst. Lucy was developing big “titties.” I knew the rabbit had died.
But my breeder didn’t. She wasn’t convinced.
“It could be a false pregnancy,” she said ~ looking for definite signs. It was a long shot that she had conceived. Usually Dandies are bred three times. Riley only had his way with her once. Her waist wasn’t appreciable bigger ~ the first and least expensive way to tell if a bitch is pregnant.
I’ve imposed my obsession with my weight on my little dogs…
You see, Lucy is very tiny. And thin. Both my dogs are thin. They get tons of exercise. Three long walks a day, minimum. I love walking and so do they. At our new house, we have no enclosed backyard. Furthermore, it seems I’ve imposed my obsession with my weight onto my poor little Dandies. Oh, what had I done, I thought, overcome with guilt.
“We’ll feed her as if she’s pregnant and have her X-rayed just before she would whelp. Worse case scenario, you’ll have to put her on a diet. But, I don’t think she’s pregnant. I’d be very surprised if she is,” my breeder said.
So, we started feeding Lucy 50% more of a very fattening new kibble called Salmon and Rice. She was already getting a milligram of folic acid daily. Riley’s diet was changed to this rich Purina blend, too. Plus they were getting cottage cheese and the odd half of a hard boiled egg. They were thrilled.
Needless to day, I was not…
To be continued…
* The title of this post is also the title of one of Stephen Sondheim’s most sensational songs. Recently, one of my favourite Broadway stars Elaine Stritch resurrected it with an utterly stupendous rendition. She sang this show stopper from Sondheim’s 1971 Broadway hit, Follies, a few weeks ago, admittedly a little nervously, at President Obama’s invitation-only concert ~ “Broadway at The White House.” Earlier this week, however, to celebrate “Steve’s” 80th birthday, she brought down Avery Fischer Hall at Lincoln Center in New York, more comfortable turf for her. So, as far as I’m concerned, right now for me, “I’m Still Here…” says it all.