“We’re running low on puppies,” said Ian after he’d poked his head in the puppy room on Sunday and noticed we were down to three puppies.
It’s Tuesday now and the quiet in our house is remarkable. The silence rings like it did when the baby finally stopped crying and fell asleep all those long nights a decade or two ago when we were young parents.
All the puppies have gone to their forever homes. It’s just Edith and Gracie left negotiating territory and guarding their food dishes. Before the pups left, we had one last adventure together that still has me smiling every time I think of it.
With the help of Nancy (Edith’s adopter and OPH photographer) I took all twelve puppies to the vet for their well-visit last Thursday. Remembering my last puppy vet run, I’d packed the car with bags of wet rags, extra towels, garbage bags, and no one (including me) had eaten anything in four hours. We left early so we’d have time to clean up the barf and poop coated puppies that would emerge from their kennels when we finally arrived at the vet.
Cape Horn Veterinary offers their excellent services at a significant discount for OPH, so it’s worth the 30 minute ride over hill and dale. (I used to drive the kids up and down the same road to soccer games and when we’d hit the ‘roller coaster’ section where the ups and downs feel like a carnival ride, one of my boys who was probably about four at the time, would always yell, “This makes my penis tickle!” referring to that stomach dropping sensation we all felt cresting each hill.)
Nancy and I loaded the puppies into three kennels we fitted jigsaw puzzle like into the back of my Honda Pilot. The puppies commenced singing, filling the car with yips and barks and whines. As we turned out of the driveway, I rolled down my window thinking it might help if I let some of the noise out.
Even now, writing about it I’m chuckling because it had to have been the funniest sight – my Pilot rolling through the countryside blasting a chorus of 12 puppies barking full-tilt. It’s a cartoon picture in my mind. What was even funnier was that Nancy and I sat up front and had the kind of conversation required in a noisy bar, like it wasn’t the least bit odd. We yelled back and forth, chatting about our kids and lives and the puppies behind us.
I had warned Nancy about the impending scent of barf that would soon fill the car, but fifteen minutes into our trek, the only scent was puppy, not barf-coated puppy, but puppy. Miraculously, no one barfed and only one puppy pooped. This is certainly some kind of record. I’ve said more than once in the past eight weeks that these puppies are the best behaved ever – utilizing their puppy pads for the purpose intended, sleeping quietly through the night, and now being excellent little travelers. I’ve always believed in the sentiment that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, and certainly he knew I couldn’t handle 12 puppies for eight weeks if they didn’t have a few manners.
When we arrived at Cape Horn, we wrestled each of the crates inside, filling the lobby with our noisy presence. When we moved to the exam room, it took a little finagling to make everyone fit and still leave room for the assistants and the doctor to work. The puppies were quiet, waiting, except for Harper who maintained a constant, “yip” pretty much throughout the entire appointment.
We pulled each puppy out, one by one, to be weighed, temperature taken, and inspected. The vet marveled at how healthy they were and how big. “When were they born again?” she asked.
As she handled Hemingway, she looked at me with concern and amusement. “They’re only 8 weeks old?”
Smoothing out the folds on Charlotte’s sides, she said, “I’m thinking there could be some Mastiff in here. Something big like that.”
“Labs aren’t this big,” she said as she examined Beatrix’s paws.
When she finished, she declared them all “perfect,” but did note that their baby teeth were discolored from malnutrition which made sense as their mom was starving when she grew them inside her.
We drove home to the same chorus of yips and happily arrived with yet again no messes. Best puppies. I tell ya.
The next day the pups began leaving one by one (and sometimes two in the case of Charlotte and Virginia). It was gratifying to see how happy and prepared the adopters were as they left with their pups. So many smiles and dreams come true made the good-byes a little easier.
Sitting with my last three pups last night, it was a relief to finally be able to give each pup plenty of attention. I rubbed their bellies and let them chew on my sneakers, while I worried that their siblings might be lonely. But today reports are already arriving of their new lives and a facebook page has been started to help the adopters stay in touch and compare notes about the litter. (If you’re an adopter, or even if you’re not, and you’d like an invitation, let me know or search for the group, “Edith’s Darling Dozen”)
We are running low on pups, in fact we’re all out of pups. But not for long, I’m sure. There are always more pups. And never enough homes. If you’ve ever considered fostering, now is a great time as the shelters are bursting and there are thousands of dogs in need. I’d love for you to join our team. Please reach out if there’s anything I can do to bring you on board.
Next week: long overdue update on Edith!
As always, if you’d like to see more updates on fosters past and present, be sure to join the Another Good Dog facebook page!
If you’d like to be a part of helping OPH save more heartworm positive dogs like Edith, consider donating to Edith’s Heart.