Bird (Dogs) and Bees

Every other day we were logging highway miles running bloodwork on Eggi, in anticipation of doing another breeding, and how could I not linger on the thought that if I opened the back door and just let her out with Fellow in the yard, they’d do the deed, probably on the right day or close enough anyway, without any intervention or involvement from us. Like they did it in the old days, when it was uphill to school both ways, it snowed from October to May, and you had to walk yourself to school starting in kindergarten. Really, anyway, on dog walks close to the right day, Eggi and I could hear dogs barking in yards where we had not known dogs lived before. They knew. As did she.

Fellow and I met a loose dog who slipped out from under the fence that was meant to contain him. He wasn’t unfriendly, but I couldn’t catch him. I had to tie Fellow to a bush and take a picture of the dog to read his name and owner’s number off his tag. I left a message and within a few minutes a yard guy came out and let him back onto the property. I’ve not seen him since. He knew.

Meanwhile, we bred Eggi, texting back and forth with the stud dog owner, exchanging contracts via email, paying via banking apps, shipping refrigerated dog semen with FedEx, and then doing the insemination trans-cervically, with an endoscope. Three and four weeks later the pregnancy was confirmed via ultrasound. It’s the 21st century, after all.

Dog pregnancies are surprisingly short, lasting nine weeks, and despite all that medical intervention, you don’t even know for sure for the first third of it. Ok, but Eggi? She knew.

Under ultrasound, they found four distinct heartbeats. Maybe even six. I had a couple of names of people who’d expressed interest in a puppy in the past, and called my breeder mentor to see if she had any more people looking for a vizsla puppy. Six meant a good chance of a girl or two, and it meant finding five perfect homes.

A few days before her due date, we received our package from the WhelpWise service, and started checking Eggi for contractions with a uterine monitor and finding heartbeats with the doppler unit. We could always find 4 puppy heartbeats. Sometimes we found 5. Now and then we found 6. The repro vet and WhelpWise calculated different due dates, so when the vet’s day came and went, we guessed the second date was right.

On March 14, Eggi started digging up her whelping box. We had it set up in the same spot as last time, along with several stacks of various sizes of freshly laundered towels, and a cart full of whelping supplies. We felt ready. WhelpWise registered some contractions. When I wasn’t watching, Eggi snuck into my bedroom and made a big nest in the pillows on my freshly made bed.

The WhelpWise people told me to let her choose where to have the puppies. “She can shut her labor down if she’s stressed or unhappy,” they said.

I gently steered her to the whelping box I’d set up in my bedroom so we could have the puppies near us at night, and this was an acceptable compromise.

I began imagining a litter of puppies born on March 14, otherwise known as Pi(e) Day, and the extremely nerdy names I could give them. Yes, a dog registered under the name Thales of Miletus! Eggi labored through the night, shrieking with the emergence of the first puppy at about half past one on March 15, and it was a boy. We cleaned him up and gave him a blue collar.

1 thought on “Bird (Dogs) and Bees”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s