Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Nature Can be Cruel

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!

7 comments:

Kathleen aka Coffee Mom said...

Oh Robin, how sad! I've heard of this happening before, both in the animal world and to people. Some just don't know how to mother, which sees strange doesn't it?

Nancy said...

That is so sad. I'll bet the yorkie will be a great mom and consider this little guy hers. Our female springer was not interested in mothering either. She insisted on sleeping on our bed instead of with the pups. It was a long few weeks, but fortunately, nothing tragic happenned. So sorry for you guys.

Corrie said...

Oh Robin,
How terrible. I am so sorry. I bet that your Yorkie will take that little guy and he'll be a happy camper. It is so strange that Junie did that. Our dog had a false pregnancy once where she actually thought she had a litter of pups. She used her toys as the puppies and would lay on them, trying to nurse them etc. The vet said that is rare, but happens...he said she might even start lactating! She didn't do that, but it was so strange, nonetheless! I'm so sorry and hope it goes better!!!

Toni said...

Poor Andrea! This has to be heart breaking! When I was a teen, we got our dog when he was 2 weeks old because the mother was killing the puppies. My mom made my sister and I trade shifts for WEEKS to bottle feed him! Taught us we didn't want kids! oh- wait I have 2. Anyway- I hope it works out, Junie doesn't sound (normally) mean, it must be confusing to her to.

I hope your yorkie is able to momma an extra!
(I can't believe you are having more! Get my map out for puppy napping 101!)

Becky said...

Oh, Robin, what a tragic story. I have not heard of that before and I am so sad for it. I feel for Andrea so much. I hope her own "mothering" instincts toward Junie will take over. Very sad. My heart hurts for you all.

Anna S said...

Robin... that was so sad. I'm so sorry.

Was that her first birth? I've heard many cases about how females struggle with motherhood at first...

I hope 'adoption' works for you. When I got my cat, her mother was a surrogate mom to a kitten that was much smaller than her own. She actually didn't let the other kittens to push him away as he nursed! It worked wonderfully. It also looked very weird because the mother and all of her litter where white, while the adopted kitten was red.

Elizabeth said...

Some folks just shouldn't be moms...