BIRTHING PUPPIES - WHERE ANGELS WAIT
Sherry L. Shivley, Top Journalist Award 2014
Your bitch has been in labor forever- she keeps digging in her bedding, stops to strain, looking at you for help, then resumes digging frantically.
Mother giving birth while nursing puppies
that have already whelped
A glance at the clock tells you that it will be hours before your Vet opens, and an Emergency wakeup call will be expensive. Helpless worry begins to set in. Is it normal for her to still be unproductive after 12 hours of labor? Should she be this frantic? Will she die before giving birth? Who can I ask at the hour of the morning?
You grab your phone and start scrolling for anything to do with whelping - Wait!! What was that! It’s the Canine Fertility, Reproductive and Neonatal Issues Facebook Page!! You start typing, hoping someone is awake…
Then, like a light shining through the darkness, people start to answer. WHO are these people?? Vampires who wander at night? More importantly, WHAT are they? These people make up hundreds of years of knowledge and experience in breeding and whelping. They are willing and able to reach out to those in need 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Why is this so important? Considering that I lost 3 breeder friends in the last 5 years who had a depth of knowledge so huge it would take a super computer to store it, and not one of them had any of it written down, to have a place where the information is there for the asking is AMAZING. No Fees. No Membership. Just one breeder helping another.
As you type in
"Is anyone there? I think my Bitch is in trouble…." there are immediate answers!
What's going on?
Is she pushing?
Do you see anything?
Mother and puppies
And so on. You tell these unknown new BFF’s everything you can about your bitch. They respond with suggestions like "Have you done the wheelbarrow?" and "felt inside and feathered her…?"
You tell them you can see or feel nothing and don’t know how to do those other things- Look in the files they tell you- there are pictures and lots of information on labor, delivery, and feeding.
You try some of the things suggested in the file, even taking her out with a towel and leash. Then a Miracle happens. She delivers her first puppy in the grass! You pick it up, dry it off, but it’s not breathing!! Remembering what you read in the file you hold the puppy upside down to drain fluid, and rub vigorously. It squeaks as you hurry Mom back inside to finish her job.
On the site you will find not only find science based treatments for diseases such as coccidia but also the best whelping boxes to buy or build, puppy formulas, when and how much calcium to give the bitch, what to do for stuck puppies, whelping porridge and mothers pudding and so much more!
Not only are these Angels on Line breeders, the Group also has members who are veterinarians, reproductive specialists, as well as first and old timers in the dog fancy. The Facebook Group is the brainchild of Susan Patterson and Myra Savant Harris, who saw the need for sharing and supporting other breeders, and whose goal was to create a supportive community. With 70 years of breeding between them, including Myra’s background as a canine neonatal author and guru, and Susan’s technical and science research support, the group grew exponentially. As the Angels Online Breeder's group expanded they soon added Karen Emery, Stephanie Hart and Karen Cooper to the Admin group that runs this Facebook page. This gave an addition 80+ years of multiple breed, and neonatal experience to the running of this page.
Because you wisely had an X-ray done you knew how many pups to expect. As the last pup slides into the world, you let everyone know of your successful night. There are smiley faces, responses telling you they want puppy pictures and many happy people worldwide knowing another litter and bitch was saved.
came out OK
As more information is shared from each of the approx 7,500 members worldwide, another file is added. More knowledge is investigated, peer reviewed data is shared and old wives tales put to the side as the art of breeding is saved for the future. Styles may change but many of the techniques and recipes used have been handed down for years and this page teaches you what the science is behind each of them. Without the work of the site Admins, much of what is there would be lost. The page was created to be a safe place to come with your breeding and neonatal questions. It is a vibrant online group that puts the welfare and wellbeing of the bitch and her puppies first. The sense of community is incredible!
What is not known is the many hours spent on the phone speaking with the owner, texting or PMing. The sacrifice everyone makes is humbling.
The next time you are whelping and need a helping hand, or you are providing one, take time to Thank the Admins and all those who have provided knowledge for this page.
I would like to give Special Thanks to Admin Susan Patterson for filling in my blanks for this article, and the other admins Myra Savant Harris, Karen Emery, Stephanie Hart and Karen Cooper who provide hope to those in need. Dog Bless!
See ya around the ring ~ Sherry
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