So . . . . the puppies are here. Or at least the chopolatas are! (For my international audience - a chipolata is a small cocktail sausage that we get in Zimbabwe).
But that is only half of the story, because the delivery ward swung into full action when I was Home Alone.
Warning!!!! Today's Blog includes photos of puppies being born - if you are a little squeamish - stop, and wait for the next Blog!
It's not as though I wasn't expecting the puppies to arrive. Indeed Honey - who features on the Header Pic of this blog, and has done so for over a year now, had grown positively enormous in the days leading up to Birthing Day: This is a dog who is normally extremely stream-lined:
Of course I am not new to the whole birthing thing - and in fact I firmly believe that there are very few better entertainment options in Harare than the Anevues Clinic Delivery Ward if you have nothing to do of an evening.
I have spent three very happy evenings there; you can walk around and visit everyone - (asking how dilated they are and so on), and you get the most amazing results from the smallest tweaks to the taps on gas cylinders, spotlights and stuff.
And it is evident, in Shona culture at least, that the more brouhaha that accompanies the delivery of a baby the better - or at least that is the way it seems. Plus, if you ever want to see an effective enema, go visit a Delivery Ward! Impressive.
With this vast experience behind me, I thought I was not only ready, but fully equipped, to deal with all eventualities.
I was wrong.
I had quite forgotten that though I had been at the delivery of my 3 children, (and had thoroughly enjoyed the labor part of proceedings - popping out for a cigarette as the need arose), when the time came for the children to actually arrive, I had not done much more than shout enthusiastic encouragement and advice from up around the head of the bed!
So when the head of the first pup appeared after about two hours of contractions, and then the delivery stopped as it got stuck at the shoulders, I was a little at a loss as to how to proceed. The puppy was in obvious distress, and its tongue started protruding quite prominently. I didn't want to start tugging and pulling as I was not entirely sure that was the correct way to go about things, so I just resorted to what I knew best, and called out Honey's name with exhortations to "push" - seeing as that had worked so well for me in the past.. Fortunately - after a minute or so of my best efforts, Honey got up and started walking about. . . and out plopped the first puppy!
I was so caught up in my role as mid-husband that I quite forgot to get photos - even though the camera was primed, (and here my highly proficient and competent American nursing friends like Julie Warren, Diane Travers and Jeanne Wyatt are rolling their eyes at my ineptitude!), so all I managed to capture was the tail being born . . .
But talk about stress! Seeing that pup on the floor was a very good moment in my life as I am not sure what I would have done had it stayed stuck
The amniotic sack had broken during the delivery,and so took a while to sort out . . .
The first pup to be born was by far the largest (twice as large as the others) - a black & tan male. The others were all small, and simply popped out when Honey next sneezed - it was that easy. I guess the road had been cleared?
Of course there had been much excitement in the family, and bets had been placed on the number of puppies that would be born. I settled for 2, (hoping, incorrectly, that this would be easier for Honey to cope with. As the vet pointed out - the more puppies, the smaller they will be, and the easier for a first birthing), two of my daughters settled on 3, and my wife on 4.
So who won the bet?
There are definitely 4 puppies at the Milk Bar. Photos don't lie . . . .
OK - that evidence is somewhat inconclusive, so I waited for them all to move around so that a clearer picture could be taken.
Well, I can see 4 sausage dog puppies, you can see 4 sausage dog puppies, and so, as far as we all are concerned, the bet was won by my wife!
We officially have two males, one female and one indeterminate.
Have a great day!