Wednesday, when I went to bed at 10 pm, Mae was doing fine. No temperature drop, no funny behavior – just Mae, being Mae and looking happy to see me every time I came into the room to check on her, wiggling her Mae Mae butt and grinning her grin.
At 2 am, I woke up out of a dead sleep, convinced something in the house wasn’t right. I came down to check on Mae, and found her nesting in her bed, panting heavily and discharging signs of lochia in her pee. Despite being two days earlier than our earliest estimated due date, Mae was in labor, and there was no time to wait for our regular clinic to open at 8 am.
The emergency vet was wonderful – she worked fast, she anesthetized lightly, and she had the pups out within 10 minutes of getting Mae under and on the table. Unfortunately, two of them were dead before birth, with obvious signs of first stage decay. It kills me that there was nothing that could be done to try to save them.
The third pup, a little cream boy, is doing well, although he’s rather small. He eats well and vigorously, and Mae is being an attentive mom. The poor little solo puppy looks very small and very alone in that big whelping box, with no company. Mr. Monkey will be joining him for snuggling as soon as I give him a good clean, and we’ll give him lots of snuggling, but it really can’t be a substitute for the company of litter mates.
This has been a hard year for me with pups. I haven’t had a litter in almost seven years, and then two out of my first three have dead pups. I know it’s just all about bad luck and bad timing, but it’s hard not to take it personally. I’ve been lucky when it comes to breeding – until now, I’ve only ever lost three pups at birth, one litter due to veterinary negligence, and one week old pup. That’s pretty good, for almost 18 years of breeding. As I said to Sean, if I’d had this kind of bad luck in my first year of breeding, I doubt I’d still be in Frenchies. This kind of heartache is hard to justify on an ongoing basis.
For now, I’m just going to watch over this little tiny one, and give extra hugs and kisses to Dexter, Izzy, Harley and Delilah. I’m more thankful for them now than ever.
Here are a few pictures I shot yesterday. The rest can be found over on Flickr.