All of us have had a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience that changed our lives. My amazing lesson happened in 1947. I was age 11, in sixth grade, and I saved a life. This life-saving event involved my precious pet, Buttons, a small black terrier who was very pregnant for the first time.
One day, during a game of fetch-the-ball, our eyes met and I felt overwhelmed with fear. She would soon deliver a litter of pups. I’d never seen a dog give birth, and two urgent questions needed answers: How does this miracle of birth play out, and what is my role?
I had no clue. It definitely was a time for learning.
In a panic, I jumped on my old Schwinn bike and peddled fast to our nearby library. I was convinced this awesome place had useful books on pregnant dogs and what to expect when they give birth. I found three books, checked them out and raced home for some much-needed knowledge.
From my speed reading, I learned one incredible fact about how dogs give birth. If this is your dog’s first batch of pups, be careful! A first-time mother dog will be in so much pain from delivery that she will run away and leave the first pup alone in the embryo sack to smother and die. Thus, a pet parent like me must be there to save the new, first pup.
Suddenly, as I was reading this life-saving information, Buttons began to race around the house and spin in circles. This was a sure sign that she would soon give birth. And it happened! She dropped the first pup, and just as the books predicted, she ran away howling in pain.
In front of me was the birth sack, puffing in and out. But armed with knowledge, I was ready. I reached down and unzipped the sack, and there in my hands was a beautiful brown-and white pup — alive! Buttons soon returned and begged for her pup. She began to bathe and nurse it, and then she delivered two more pups.
But this time she was a perfect mother: With her sharp teeth she tore the sacks open to save her pups. It was now a litter of three. This happy ending was the result of some timely research and fast action. I petted the new family and felt proud of our team success. Knowledge was power.
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