When Tara got into heat this year, we were out of the country, and returned bang in the middle of her fertile period. I was determined that Tara’s ‘sexual rights’ had to be considered, and as there was insufficient time for DD to comb the country for a suitable stud, I suddenly hit upon the idea of ‘soliciting the services’ of the handsome Alsatian next door. Her honeymoon was brief, just two encounters of ten minutes each, and the rest was left to luck. From then on DD, son-in-law, hubby and self were anxiously waiting for visible signs of a pregnancy. As Tara was already fat, it was difficult to notice an increase in girth of her abdomen. DD suggested sending her urine for a pregnancy test, and was trying to work out the logistics of how such a sample could be collected. This mad idea was shot down by me. The interest in Tara’s possible pregnancy spread to my other neighbours, my sister-in-law, nephews, aunts and cousins living round our house. Someone suggested ‘squeezing her tits’ for evidence of milk, and poor Tara was at times given a squeeze several times a day by DD, SIL, Caesi and hubby, each of whom was not aware that she had been squeezed and checked out by the others! DD’s little bitch Daisy had gone through a pseudo pregnancy with accompanying lactation etc, and both DD and SIL kept raising doubts about such a possibility. Our doubts were finally laid to rest when hubby took Tara to the Vet, who confirmed a pregnancy. Hubby had checked with the Vet about my theories pertaining to the sex life of dogs, and was informed that my theories were baseless. Dogs are fertile for only about ten days each year, and are quite content living ‘asexual’ lives. So much for my campaigning for Tara’s sexual rights!
The expected date of delivery was drawing near, and hubby left everything in my hands, believing that my medical knowledge would see Tara safely through her delivery. Little did he know that I was approaching panic stations, as I had last performed a delivery forty years ago. The fact that my sister-in-law next door kept phoning hubby daily and saying “you should get the Vet to stand by…..after all Sriani is not a proper doctor” did not help the situation. Even though I thought that Tara would be ‘doing the what comes naturally”, I thought that I should be prepared for any eventuality. I turned to the Internet for help regarding canine reproduction, and downloaded pages of information and instructions pertaining to the “whelping” (delivery) process. I was both puzzled and amazed as to what I read, for I was supposed to have gloves, sterile forceps and scissors, dental floss for tying the cord, and a host of other items to assist in the delivery. I had always thought that dogs knew what had to be done, and did not need the services of a midwife. As I read that pregnant bitches needed special diets, I rang the Vet, who prescribed “Stress Tablets” among other things. I was under such stress that it would have been better if I had been given the Stress Tablets instead of Tara. Just when I had convinced myself that Mother Nature would take care of Tara during the whelping, DD sent my blood pressure soaring by relating the sordid details of what happened to her GM’s dog during its delivery. GM has had a nerve-wracking experience, where the pups got stuck during delivery. The poor bitch had been screaming in pain, and GM had to perform a manual extraction accompanied by extensive tissue damage and profuse bleeding. This upset hubby, who then imagined that our Tara was destined to a similar fate. From that day onwards I was treated to remarks such as “you and your sexual and reproductive rights of dogs. If anything happens to our Tara, it will be entirely your fault”.
I was tense and nervous. Would I (or Tara) be able to cope? How could I have the Vet standing by when Tara has no way of informing me that she was going into labour? What if she went into labour when I was alone at home? I begged of DD to take leave for one day if Tara displayed any of the signs mentioned in the Internet document, that whelping was imminent. DD was adamant that her GM would never authorize leave for a trivial reason like a dog having pups. To me it was not trivial, it was an impending catastrophe, and I swore to myself that I would take it up with GM if the need arose. Nephew Caesar who lives next door came to my rescue. He offered his services any time of the day or night, and even offered to stay up with the dog on the expected date of delivery. Tara was relaxed and happy taking her Stress Tablets, and I was a bundle of nerves, studying the Internet instructions, dosing myself with Valium, waiting for D-Day.
The expected date of delivery finally dawned. At 5.30 am I rushed out to check on any visible signs of whelping. Tara vomited, and then began digging a large pit behind some bushes. She sat in that and would not budge. This was a sure sign, and I flew into DD’s house, woke DD and SIL, and announced that Tara was delivering in a pit in the garden. In a flash they came across, and found Tara playing with a ball! SIL kept telling me that this was probably a phantom pregnancy, and that their Daisy also went through a similar experience. I was advised to calm down and relax, and forget about Tara having pups. 24 hours passed during which Tara was her usual self. I was getting about my household chores when I heard some unusual sounds from under the writing desk. I casually looked in that direction, and there was Tara licking a little newborn pup. A second one followed soon after and my Tara had gone through the reproductive process according to nature, without human assistance.
That evening the scene at home was similar to that following the birth of a baby. All our relatives living close by turned up to see the new arrivals, and celebrate with us.