For the next three weeks, I was growing increasingly stressed, big time stress, until Lucy’s X-ray on November 17th.
That was just three days before she could potentially whelp.
Lucy was growing, too…
My stress levels swung into high gear, the fatter she grew.
I was anxious, nervous, flying off the handle, screaming at the turn of a dime. Seeing Dr. Bob weekly. Losing my appetite. Not eating. “Why have you changed?” my husband kept asking. “You weren’t like this before.”
My breeder had promised she would take Lucy well before that happy (?) event. She promised to keep Lucy and her puppy ~ she was convinced there would be no more than one, a singleton ~ until she could come home. Probably in eight weeks or so.
A Dandie’s gestation period is nine weeks. That’s all. So for nine weeks, besides organizing my disastrously disorganized office, housing a gentleman there for two weeks, disrupting my household even more… but how could I turn a lovely friend, or rather a friend of a friend away in November because he had nowhere to live?
I was also teaching and feeling guilty about not blogging here and tending to my potentially pregnant “bitch” all at the same time.
That, in itself, is no fun, believe me.
I was slowly becoming apoplectic with stress…
What was going to happen? No one knew. How would we cope? No one knew.
Not knowing is worse than knowing the worst.
By the way, Lucy whelped a singleton male a couple of years ago in August at our old house which had an enclosed back yard and was much roomier. It was quite the experience. I wasn’t anticipating it as temperatures were heading south in my current little townhousette.
Furthermore, you will recall, on top of all this, I’ve been ill with my mysterious sporadic swelling, too.
So, let us cut to the chase…
On November 17th, a very fat little Lucy with huge bazooms ~ seven of them ~ had her X-ray. Three little puppies were there in plain view and well-positioned.
“I would take her up to her breeder’s on Friday,” my vet said. “Better safe than sorry.”
“THREE!” my breeder said. Well, she didn’t want Lucy there on Friday. “She’d be bored.” So, we had to wait some more. We were both become apoplectic.
Being on pregnancy watch…
That what we were doing all last weekend. Listening for strange sounds. Taking her temperature and recording it dutifully three or four times a day. It was uncannily low. Trying to keep her warm and waiting for her to start panting ~ a sign she’s getting ready ~ which she did, at 10:50 p.m. on Saturday night while we were watching the lovely film Love Actually. We thought it might get Lucy in the mood.
“If you wait for me to come there, she’ll have them there,” my breeder said, when I woke her up at 11 p.m. with a frantic phone call.
“Okay, I’ll drive her up there right now,” said I.
So, while my husband stayed home with Riley, I bundled Lucy up and drove her 50 minutes northeast to my breeder’s house in the country. I was on Cruise Control all the way to ensure a smooth ride.
“She won’t have them tonight,” my breeder said…
So, we settled her in with all her paraphernalia and I tiptoed out. I didn’t want to awaken her own two Dandies, one of whom is Riley’s father. They were sleeping in a bedroom. Downstairs, she had a litter of two puppies waiting to go home and her third seven-month-old puppy was confined in the basement.
Driving home, however, I felt a huge load leaving me. Lucy was in experienced hands. “Big Mama’s” hands. A woman who has been breeding Dandies most of her life, as did her mother before her. She is also an international show dog judge. Her Dandies are spectacular.
We call Lucy “Miss Chiff” because of her penchant for getting into trouble and she lived up to her name up north. After going missing on Sunday, she was found cozy and warm in her donut bed, under her very own blue blanket, the one I had brought for her.
And, finally, she had an easy birth in the wee small hours of Monday, November 22 because her three puppies ~ one girl and two boys ~ were minuscule.
It was touch-and-go at first…
For the first 48 hours these puppies are very fragile. That’s one reason why Dandie Dinmonts are are so rare. They’re endangered, in fact, because they have such small litters and are rather obscure despite their long and colourful history.
So for two more days, I was living on the edge. Stress-central. I desperately wanted them all to be okay.
And, I’m happy to say that so far, they are. Lucy is eating and gaining oodles of weight. So are her pups. They’re still very small for their age, but catching up. Developing a little fat on their tummies and tiny wrinkles on their legs. Today, they’re already almost five days old. In nine more days, they’ll be in the clear for sure. Still, superstitions aside, all signs seem to point at a good healthy little litter.
I’m sending lots of positive energy up there with gallons of frozen lemonade.
I’ll not see them, even though, technically, I get pick of the litter. No way. They will go to wonderful, hand-picked homes.
Marty would divorce me if I brought a third dog into the house. I know we can’t.
Most of all, I miss my little Lucy. Riley does, too. She is the sweetest, gentlest little thing and “a wonderful mummy,” according to my breeder.
And best of all?
I’m still here…
* 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.