A Dog and Her Litter of Six

Relaxing in Kennel
Relaxing in Kennel

There's a female dog and her name is Pebbles. She is such a funny and strange character and sometimes I feel that she is more intelligent than a dog. She tries so hard to mimic human behavior but unfortunately she is trapped in a dog’s body have observed Pebbles since she was a puppy till now. She has her own second set of offspring and her actions have been amazing if not outright bizarre. I felt compelled to write about my observations in order to share and discuss with other dog lovers out there about this species that has remained man’s best friend for years.

The Dog's History

Pebbles gave birth to her second litter recently, so at the time of writing, she is nursing. She was supposed to have eight puppies but unfortunately two died soon after birth. Just like the first time a year ago when she had two puppies and one died, pebbles behaves so strangely when she is giving birth. Despite assistance in her preparations by making available a nicely furnished kennel, she chooses to dig a pit in the yard with her bare hands and delivers in the pit. The first puppy to come out never really makes it into the world for more than 5 minutes as Pebbles does not realize she is suffocating it by lying on top of it while she tries to manage her labor pains. This is how it happened the first time and has repeated this time, prompting me to conclude there is something strange about this behavior.

This dog was named after her mother who passed away two weeks after delivering a litter of nine. The mother was a Labrador cross-breed and the father a mixture of German shepherd and Rottweiler, thus Pebbles is also a Labrador cross- breed. Pebbles’ mother also lost three puppies and by the time she died there were six left. What I did not realize at the time, was the reason for the mother’s sudden death but am only beginning to see the trend now. So after her mother’s death she was named after her and this is the only one that stayed with the owner while the rest were given away . Even though Pebbles is just a dog, sometimes one gets the feeling she wants to talk to but the words remain stuck on her palette. However, there are three things that stand out.

Pebbles' Kennel
Pebbles' Kennel

How Pebbles Got Six Puppies

Firstly, this dog does not like to give birth in a fancy prepared delivery room but prefers the pit in the yard as described above. The second observation is that she does not keep all her puppies as some perish in the confusion of labor. It seems her maternal instincts only kick in later after all the puppies are out. This is the time she gathers and tries to protect them. However, she does not realize that some are dead and treats them just like the other six that are living .When she is in the process of delivering she will not accept any help and is rather cheeky. It is almost impossible to rescue any puppies but leave them to their fate until after she has calmed down. This is exactly what happened this time around. Even though it was apparent that she was suffocating the first two that had come out first, there was nothing one could do. It was best to keep a distance until after the ordeal was over, and then one could move in to remove the two deceased and place them in a container. Then offer her a comfortable mat to lie on, which she gladly accepted. It's funny how she immediately accepted help to move the six remaining puppies onto the mat. Afterwards, all the deceased puppies were disposed of. However, here’s where I realized this dog’s maternal instincts had kicked in, she tried to look for the two missing puppies but could not find them. How amazing that she could remember she had had more than six puppies, but I wondered if she realized she had neglected the two to death.

Anyway, after wards it was time to move the mother and her litter to the kennel. The idea was to start by moving the puppies knowing that this would force her to move as well. Once in the kennel she realized the place was more comfortable than the pit outside and she could not say thank you enough. Only words remained stuck in her mouth. It started raining outside and she also started feeding her puppies.

Nursing Her Litter
Nursing Her Litter

The Dog Will Not Eat His Usual Food

The third observation is that this dog’s appetite changes as soon as she starts nursing. Suddenly she will not eat most of the things that she normally feeds on, not even the hard bone. It is a total nightmare finding what is right for her as she will simply sniff and leave the plate untouched. The first time she had puppies over a year ago, she almost starved to death in her kennel and yet there was food everywhere. I realized that this had been the cause of her mother’s death as well, only we did not know at the time and thought it was due to some strange illness. So when it happened again with this Pebbles, one had to literally feed her from hand to mouth testing to see what she liked. This time around it was perplexing to see how she would react to food and shocking to discover that she will not eat any bone that is not soft. Trying dog mince did not help and she would not touch that either. She sniffs around anything starchy and this baffles the mind. The litter needs milk and the mother will not eat. She gobbles chicken bones with zeal but will not touch beef. This becomes a nightmare since it is a bit unrealistic to buy chicken for her every day. Yet Pebbles would rather starve than compromise on her diet.

Talking to and reasoning with this dog about the importance of eating well for the sake of her litter of six does not help. The puppies need milk and Pebbles needs to maintain good health. She listens but unfortunately she cannot voice her opinion on that. So now I just wait and see how all this turns out.

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