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Labor Day weekend took on a whole new meaning for me when a dog that had come into the shelter a few days prior decided that it was time to "get the buns out of the oven."

I have fostered quite a few expectant mothers and have been exceptionally lucky in having their litters successfully delivered. This saga turned out well in the long run, but by the time those pups were born, I felt like I had been through labor myself!

When "Molly" first arrived her milk was already coming in and she had quite a large belly for her little self. It was obvious that she would be delivering within a short time. I took her home immediately so that she could get comfortable before the big event and she had no problem settling into my household.

Having come in as a stray, I have no idea what her background is but she certainly knew all the normal routines of being a house pet. She is completely housebroken, gets along great with my other animals and is also very familiar with going for rides in the car. She has a very calm and sweet disposition; it's hard to imagine why whoever she had belonged to never came looking for her.

On Thursday, she started acting very anxious, pacing around, panting a bit and wanting to go outside constantly. We just figured that she was probably a first-time mom and wasn't quite sure what was happening to her. It was a long night with her pacing and me thinking that she was going into labor any minute, but another 24 hours passed with no further development. I decided to take her in to the vet for an ultra sound because I was now starting to worry that there was some complication, possibly that the pups were too large for her small frame.

On Saturday morning, the vet did the test and determined that she was dilated, had six puppies, that they seemed to be of viable size for her to handle and that she should be delivering within 24 hours. She was given medication for her diarrhea, which actually calmed her down almost immediately. It seemed that the upset in her intestinal tract was what had been making her so nervous.

The rest of the day passed and we were off to another sleepless night waiting for her to cry out and listening for the sound of her scruffing up her bedding into a nest ... but nothing.

Sunday comes and goes ... nothing. By Monday morning I was so exhausted I wasn't sure I would be able to stay awake for the birth! Around noon she started getting very agitated and I was hopeful that Labor Day would be true to its name!

She was nesting, panting and pacing. Around 1:00 I took her for a last bathroom break knowing it might be hours before she would get out again. She ran outside, squatted and then sat down and began some sort of heaving. I was in a panic! I thought she was going to start delivering her puppies in the middle of the yard! I ran over to her and just as I got there, she threw up. I looked down and thought I was going into labor because I nearly had a cow!

I'll spare you the gory details but suffice it to say that the pile in front of her looked like she had ingested something furry and vomited the whole thing back up. After a few seconds of complete panic on my part, I grabbed a stick, prodded the debris and discovered that it was two ears off a stuffed animal. Now I was distressed thinking that she had eaten a stuffed animal which might cause an obstruction needing surgery on top of being in labor. I ran around the yard frantically and finally found the little stuffed rabbit that she had divested of his ears and found him otherwise intact.

Relieved, but exhausted, panting and drained, both Molly and I made our way back into the house and proceeded to her 'birthing suite'. Over the next three hours she gave birth to her six beautiful babies without so much as a single groan. She even managed to pop out two at the same time which I have never, in all my years of dog experience, seen happen.

The puppies and Molly should be ready for adoption around the beginning of November, so keep it in mind if you're thinking of having a warm fuzzy friend to cuddle up with as our weather cools down.

Source: Labor Day weekend ends with labor of love

Posted in 2019, SJRAS Articles