January 2nd, 2013
Woke up at 3 am with a cold (who knew mucus would be so ever present in my day), which wasn’t unusual. I have been waking up at 3 am to feed my now 6 – 2.5 week old fosters, however, today was different. I put on clothes, fed the babies, and then went out into the freezing night on a mission. I was cold and tired, but lives were possibly on the line here. The day after Christmas, Lady Di was picked up by an officer and had spent the last week behind bars. Even though she was very pregnant, the laws are in place and so she waited for me to spring her. So I loaded the babies up, and dropped them off at a sitter (bottle feeding puppies every 3 hours in a car is nearly impossible) and I drove out into the night. It was so dark, and the freeway was unfamilar. GPS told me it was 4.5 hours, which seems so much longer when you are tired. It was cold and so I would crank up the heat but then found myself falling asleep and so would have to roll down the windows. This was a game, back and forth, heat and cold. Sometimes I would blink a little too long and wish I could just go back to sleep. At one point, I thought I should just pull over and sleep, it was dark and this was a terrible game, and then I realized I was in Stockton, CA (ranked #10 most dangerous city in America by the FBI with their 71 murders last year) and pulling over and sleeping in my car here was probably just as dangerous as playing Russian Roulette and so I kept driving and pulled off only for coffee.
The sun began to rise about 2.5 hours later and it got much easier. I generally view Central CA as an ugly drive. But sunrises added to the fog on flat pastures are actually quite picturesque. I still wish I could have avoided the trip all together, but at least I was getting close. I was happy for both my and Di’s sake that I was getting close.
GPS was a bit confusing as I pulled off the Highway and onto a small 2 lane road with nothing but orchards. Then a heavy fog set in, the kind of fog just kept driving in the fog, civilization nowhere to be seen. I wondered what I was approaching and what to expect. Finally I hit a city, the fog disappeared and GPS told me I was at my destination- Wasco City Hall. Wait, that isn’t what I am looking for (is it?). I drove around a bit and googled where I was going and it gave me a different address- back to the orchards and fog I went. When I got where it told me to go, I was at an abandoned building, in the middle of the orchards. Windows boarded up (but obviously a squatter had peeled away a part of the boards to climb in) and dilapidated, I thought this couldn’t be right. So I gave up and I called and luckily the Officer was nice and gave me directions.
Finally I reached my destination. I unloaded the 5 bags and 20 cans of food from my car, hobbled on the gravel in my heels while attempting to carry way too much. I knock on the door with the business hours on it and no answer. It is locked. It is freezing cold, dead end road, dogs are barking and a cat is staring at me like he might just take a swipe if I think about looking at him in his yellow eyes. So I put down the food and walk around a bit, feeling like I shouldn’t be there and finally Officer Christina comes out and I am relieved. We carry the food to the shed (which looks pretty bare) and she leads me to an out building that has a few cages in the cold little shed which lacked heat. There she is- a very pregnant dog. Many people wanted her, but I was to be her savior. She was labeled as a French Bulldog, and most people might want her but they are man-made breed and very difficult. Most people don’t know that Frenchies are inseminated because they are generally unable to mate (big front half and tiny back half mean the males are not strong enough to hold themselves up for a romp). And those same slim hips and big heads mean that 80% need C-sections (which also oftentimes mean the surgery impairs their ability to care for their babies requiring them to be fed by inserting a tube into the babies’ stomachs). Of course I kept going back and forth. Frenchie? Boston Terrier? Luckily she looked healthy and she was very sweet
So she was in the car, kissing me like crazy and we were on the road back through the fog. Soon the only fog was on the windows from the terrible smell of this little dog. She jumped in my lap, and loved to look out the windows. Soon the window was rolling down and I was sure this was going to be a terrible end. Luckily I managed to get her off my lap and locked the windows. Laid down, get back up, laid down, front seat, back seat. I was tired from watching her (and not because the 3 hours of sleep I got) and thought I bet her time was soon.
The plan was to go pick up the babies from the sitter, go home and pack their luggage, and then head up to PetSmart in Folsom where I would drop off the bottle babies and get her seen by a vet and discuss a C-section. But then I saw her being really strange, tail up squatting, licking up the mess she was making. I thought it was going to happen soon, should drive faster. She was nesting in the blanket I had, so I pulled over to get more blankets for the short faced big eared girl. This is when I saw what the smell was. A pile of green slime was sitting in the back seat- indescribably gross smell and look. Looks somewhat like what I would expect alien poop to look like. I then grab some disposable pads, and more blankets. Put them on the front and back seat since she cannot decide and try to avoid any more drips on the upholstery.
Back on the freeway, in the middle of nowhere and I glance back and see she has delivered some sack covered slime thing. I am thinking great, but she was not having any luck breaking the sack and I wondered how long that should take. I call someone and ask and they say pretty quickly, so there I am (near Coolinga) pulled over on the side of Highway 80, jumping over the seat to break the sack. She eats the sack and the placenta and I call to find out what I should do. Continue going to the vet or pull over. I am told it is likely it will be 2 hours until she has another so I am driving again and faster. I call Carol and tell her what is happening then I look back and I thought she was eating the puppy. I could just see it swinging in the air and so I pull over super fast yet again. She was eating the umbilical cord and not killing the baby (thank god!). Wait… what is that? Another one? Are you kidding me! What do vets know? He said 2 hours and it has been not even 10 minutes. I help pull off the sack again.
Back on the road and made it to Stockton when I saw her squatting again. I pull off the freeway into a questionable neighborhood and parked in front of houses where questionable people stared at me. The third was a girl and she was breach and I had to help pull her out and her sack was way thicker. I think I should just sit here and wait, they are coming so fast. So she cleans them and looks pretty comfortable, but the people staring at me make me very uncomfortable so I get back on the freeway and don’t even get out of Stockton when the next boy comes. Then we had a break. I thought we were done. 4 babies is a lot, she looks thinner and everything seems great. She looks happy and content as can be.
I get back to Sacramento and pick up the other puppies. Talk to the puppy sitters for a few minutes and head out. I get back on the freeway and she walked away from her babies to the other side of the back seat behind me. I thought that strange and then I see her squat. So again, pulled over on the super busy freeway (47th st is not a place you want to be on the side of the road) and another girl was born. Making bets, I say she should have another boy so we are even. Get to PetSmart to take her to Banfield. She was x-rayed and there was one more in there! Everyone was surrounding her and it was overwhelming so we went to the break room to wait it out. It was time for the other puppies to be fed and honestly she seemed more concerned with the 2.5 week old pups I had been fostering than pushing out that last baby! 4 of the puppies were bottle fed when I could see the puppy crowning. Wait it is gone. There it is again… wait it is gone. Come on Lady, push that baby out!
She seemed perfectly content to do nothing and keep the baby inside of her forever. Finally, the last puppy was born! So no C-section was needed and I guess I should spend that money now cleaning the mucus plug and blood out of my car instead. We made it home, I set her up in the spare bedroom, she and her babies are sleeping in a plastic kiddie pool. A short while after I ate dinner, I went up there and laid in the pool with them and actually fell asleep in there for 2 hour.
Rescue is often a thankless job. Full of people throwing away and abusing their animals, other people being mean and rude when you don’t respond fast enough or deny their applications. The human element can be extremely difficult (plus the lack of sleep, lack of money, and no free time) but if it weren’t for it, I could not put Freeway Mid-Wife on my lists of achievements
I originally posted this blog under my personal blog. This took place 1/2/13. read below for an update.
This picture shows mom (now named Sady) with her Boston Terrier sister and Frenchie brother. We lucked out on that family, we happened to run into them at a huge pet event. And then one of her boys Abe, who is spoiled rotten as well. We actually found out the dad was a chihuahua about 2 weeks after they were born when the original owner saw her picture posted on the shelter Facebook page and thought she could reclaim her. They didn’t bother looking for her for 2 weeks (so she could have delivered those babies anywhere). They said they were outdoor dogs, fence was broken, 2 females and one male dog (all intact and the other female had babies right after as well) but it was not their fault she was missing and I should give them back… oh the laugh that was had. She threatened to (and actually did) go to the mayor of the small town (like he can change the state law on hold times).
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