Stella whelped 3 puppies, not as many as expected, but they were healthy little boogers. My son called in a dog midwife who was familiar with bulldog issues. I had never heard of such a thing. She came in the wee hours and stayed through the next afternoon. She massaged Stella and helped her through the process. It was not Stella’s first litter, but there is always concern.
Over the weeks of motherhood, Stella was the best dog mom ever. She did her job from the first moment above and beyond the call of duty. She fed them, spent every day and night with them, and, if they had to go to the vet, however briefly, she went nuts over the separation and worried for them until they came back home.
And bless her heart, she cleaned them – the yuckiest job ever. She never shirked the task. At least I had baby wipes and diapers to use for my offspring. All she had to use was…well, you know.
But when the puppies were weaned and her job was done, she knew it was done and, in her dog wisdom, she acted accordingly. She did not chase after them, though they still chased after her. She did not let them go back to nursing. That was over. Baby puppyhood had ended and to let it go on would not have been a kindness to her little dogs. They were her babies when they were babies. When they grew into young dogs, she did not mourn the change in seasons.
Human parents are different. Our seasons last far longer than those of dogs. But seasons change nonetheless and we must allow them to change – gracefully. I learned a few lessons from watching Stella raise her puppies.
- Wean your offspring firmly but kindly. Mother’s milk is great, but it won’t sustain a full grown adult.
- Don’t let them chase and tackle you. They need to focus on other things in order to be themselves.
- Don’t be afraid of the changing of the seasons. Each one has its own particular charms.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
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