This was a tough weekend. I have raised Yorkshire Terriers for almost 10 years, and although I have heard about this type of situation, I have never experienced it until now. It was hard and horrible. Sometimes nature is very, very cruel. Let me explain (and I will leave out the graphic details):
My daughter Andrea has always loved animals and always assisted me in the breeding and birthing of our puppies. In fact, on a couple of occasions when I had to be away from home due to emergencies, she handled the whelpings single handedly and did a great job. So when she married Jayson, they carefully chose their pets with breeding in mind. They got two Chihuahua's, a male and a female and the time came to breed. The pregnancy in her little female chihuahua, Junie, progressed very normally. Last weekend she went in to labor and I was there to observe (I thought). However, right away I noticed that Junie was not acting like a typical mother. She seemed disinterested and more or less perturbed that this was all happening to her. The first puppy came breech and got stuck in the birth canal. I finally decided to pull it because I was afraid it was going to drown. The puppy was born not breathing and I truly thought she was dead. I spent several minutes working on it and finally it started "guppy breathing" - short, shallow breaths. I gave her to Junie to see if she would clean her and Junie bared her teeth at her. I was very startled. We took her back and I gently cleaned her up and she started breathing normally. I was so relieved. Puppy #2 was coming and he was born normally. Junie took a little more interest in this one and did a half-hearted job at cleaning him up. Puppy #3 presented breech and again I had to pull him. It was too late and we couldn't revive him. He was a beautiful little puppy and it was very hard for Andrea but she was thankful for the two sweet puppies who were breathing and looking for milk. Junie struggled with them. She just couldn't seem to grasp the idea of motherhood. Andrea would hold her head and I would put the puppies up to nurse and Junie would growl. You have to understand that Junie is just the sweetest natured dog I have ever known. I was totally shocked by her attitude to her puppies. I knew if we could get her to nurse, hormones would be released that would help her become more motherly. After a couple of days Junie seemed more relaxed and began doing her duties as a mama dog. We all breathed huge sighs of relief and got back into our regular routines, instead of taking two-hour feeding shifts with Junie. Then the unthinkable happened. Andrea had been gone for a couple of hours. Before she left she watched Junie nuzzling the puppies and felt satisfied with how things looked. When she got home Junie met her at the door acting very skittish and nervous. Andrea thought maybe she just wanted outside. When she got outside Andrea noticed blood on her legs and immediately ran to the puppies. Junie had killed the female. It was so sad. Andrea, of course, was hysterical and called me. We went right over. It was just so, so sad. I bathed Junie and Jayson cleaned up the pen. Andrea was so upset and struggled to be loving to Junie. My biggest worry is that she will not be able to overcome what Junie did and not be able to love her little dog anymore. I tell her that Junie is just confused and something just hasn't clicked in her mind to tell her how to be a mama. Andrea has already made an appointment to have her spayed.
So now we have one little boy pup that needs to eat. I have a Yorkie due any day now and we are going to try to get her to be the surrogate mom. I think she will take the puppy. But until then, Andrea and Jayson have to get up every two hours and let the little guy eat and do the same all day long. They have put in some very long days!
Well, that is the horrible story of my week. We learned a lot and I know that all will be okay. Just pray with me that Andrea will be okay with Junie and that my Yorkie will be okay with mothering a chihuahua! I will be sure to post a picture of that interesting combination!