I don't believe I've yet mentioned that I am a country girl. I grew up on a farm - around cattle mostly and hay. I spent my summers fishing, riding 4-wheelers, and getting ready for the fair. I ventured off to the city to attend college, and afterward married a country boy. Shortly after we were hitched, God blessed us with an amazing opportunity, and I returned to my roots of farm life. The difference, however, is that the effects of my time away from the farm were clear - I call it cityfied. Although the farming way is in my blood, my actual contributions to our farm are sparse.
Each day, when I pull into the driveway from work, our dog comes to meet us. She either comes out of her doghouse or from around the front side of the house. If she does not, she's in trouble - because that means she's temporarily ran away from home. (Since we put in an in-ground fence, she's been much better about not getting into trouble.)
I'm not incredibly observant and am really down right ignorant sometimes. Over the weekend, my father-in-law stopped by and just happened to mention that he thought our dog was going to have puppies. This is news to us. We, of course, are thinking "oh no," while I'm seriously hoping he's mistaken. We've been meaning to get her to the vet! Regardless, we're under the impression that we've got some time to prepare for a litter of puppies in below freezing temperatures.
Today, as I pulled in the drive, she did not come bouncing out of the doghouse or from around the house. I thought, she's visiting the neighbors OR is it possible that she's had her puppies already. Sure enough, as I inch my way in and the doghouse comes into view, she's sitting right there. And sure enough, she's got a litter full of puppies with her. It's important to mention here that her doghouse isn't really big enough for her AND her puppies.
At this point, it's time to call for back up. The hubby was at work and I couldn't focus on taking care of her with a toddler in tow in the freezing cold. So, to my rescue, came my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.
We decided that we needed to get her and her puppies in the garage - more space and less freezing. We need to put fresh hay down with some old towels or sheets. So, I've got my furry boots on, my skinny jeans, my fleece pullover and I grab a jacket and a pair of gloves. Oh, and the spotlight because at this point it's completely dark.
First things first, we need the hay. The hay is in the barn, in the hayloft. And the barn isn't exactly close. Our truck is a standard of which I only drive in emergency situations. (I've driven it before, but that's an entirely humorous story of it's own). The truck is the only option to get the hay and this is an emergency. We hop in and I need to turn on the lights because I need to see where first gear is. It's a little rocky on our way to the barn, but we get their safely. I probably won't mention to my hubby that it was a close call when I just about backed the truck into the barn. I took the spotlight with me and climbed the semi-spooky stairs to the loft. I hauled four bales out of the loft onto the ground, went back down the stairs and loaded them into the truck.
We cleared out an area in the garage against one of the walls, laid down a piece of large plywood, an unused mat, and positioned a bale of hay against the wall and along the two sides making a U shape. We needed to break open the other bale and didn't have anything to cut the string on hand. I was looking around for something to cut it with when I saw my mother-in-law jab the bale with a post hole digger. The strings snapped loose and I'm pretty sure I just stared in awe. She had clearly done this before. We spread out a few flakes and then covered it with a rug and some old towels and a sheet. The new, bigger, warmer abode was complete - now to add it's new inhabitants.
We managed to draw this new doggie mama out of her doghouse so that we could reach the pups. My mother-in-law held onto her while I grabbed the pups one by one and put them into a box. I first started to transport them one at a time but realized that that would take forever and new doggie mama wouldn't hold out that long. So, I grabbed a diaper box. We put them on their new bedding and doggie mama went back into her doghouse. I had left two pups in the doghouse because they were already gone. We had to draw her back out and drag her to where her pups were. But once there, she was good - she laid right down and immediately went to covering them up. She was being such a good doggie mama. And she seemed happy with the extra space and the warmer bedding. I even put a nightlight in the garage.
We ended up with, I believe, nine total pups of which six are currently alive.
I call this the night that the farm girl was resurrected because I had no choice but to be a farm girl. It was dark, freezing cold, and with the hubby at work, I had to step up. Of course, had it not been for my amazing family, I couldn't have done anything. And in actuality, my mother-in-law is the real farm girl in this story as I could totally learn a lesson or two or five from her.
Our set up did meet the husband approval, and now, I am very much hoping these little pups fare well.
Thanks for reading.
January 23, 2013