my puppy story, part 3.

gracie made it through the night surprisingly easily. there was a very good chance that she would strain too much and hurt or kill herself, but she didn't. every now and then she would get up and walk around trying to push out the stuck puppy, and she didn't eat, but she nursed and cleaned the other puppies through the night.

i managed to cook, but neither of us was very hungry. we were worried sick that the next push would be her last. my boss came by to bring us an industrial strength carpet steamer from the church and we cleaned up a bit while we tried to stay awake with gracie. i encouraged the Sarge to sleep for a few hours to rest up for the drive ahead. i stayed awake with her until 4 am, when we loaded up the car and began the drive to san bernadino, over an hour away.

we got the loma linda pet hospital around 6 am, and they open at 6:30, so the Sarge waited in the car while i waited by the door. the doctor was in at 8, and saw gracie right away. he took an xray (which revealed that she had been shot with a pellet gun... what?!) and the worst was true -- she had not one, but TWO puppies stuck. one had its head turned around the wrong way and could not enter the birth canal and was blocking the other... she would not be able to get it out herself. he told us neither could have survived the night.

at this point, we had two options.

c-section. frame of reference for cost: anywhere from $500 to $2000. or to put our dog down.

we asked to see the cost of the surgery. he left the room and we joked nervously with each other about how much our "free" dog was costing us. when he came back, i about burst into tears when he said the cost of the surgery was $275, not including the IV, antibotics, pain killers, etc. by ALL estimates, the cheapest of the options -- it was going to cost us about $600. we pooled our money into one account (keep in mind, this is the END of a pay period AND i just put a SECOND new starter in our car) and agreed to let her have the surgery. she went in about 9 am, and we had to kill another 3 or 4 hours while she was operated on and woke up.

so, there i was with 6 puppies in a lunch box.

keep in mind, i don't really know much about puppies. we went to panera bread to get some breakfast and they puppies were NOT happy. i was trying to calm one down by petting her, and was reminded of one very important fact -- Puppies cannot relieve themselves unless they are stimulated. and i had stimulated her. so i picked up each one and gently rubbed them and they all calmed right down and went to sleep. so cute and disgusting at the same time.

when gracie came out of surgery about four and a half hours later, she was totally alert and went right to nursing. dogs are so resilient haha.. we got her meds and went home.

you'd think the story was over, but it's not. as if the most expensive free dog wasn't already eating us out of house and home, she and the puppies developed a kennel cough after we got back from san francisco. which was another round of antibiotics for her, and liquid antibiotics for the puppies. not only have i had puppies, i've had to use a syringe to inject something into their mouths -- it was cute, even though they hated me for it.

EVERYONE is happy and healthy now, except for a small irritation of fleas. gracie just got treated, and the pups will get treated with their first vaccination and deworming next week. (i get to give them shots too -- i should got to veterinary school!)

AND here are some picture of our development as a little family :)))


my puppy story, part 2

haha.. i didn't think that splitting this up would be so interesting. well.. i'm glad that it wasn't too long and boring. so here's part two. and for the record, i'm not exactly sure how many parts this story will have. probably a lot. :))

read part one.

the Sarge doesn't deal well with me being frantic, so he agreed to get a ride to come home right away (we share a car). i took a few deep breaths and decided i had to do something; i couldn't risk her having another puppy upstairs (where is was neither dark nor warm and certainly not without draft. a few days earlier, i crafted a little box with high sides into a drop place under the door of the doghouse, in case the puppies fell out. i went inside, put on my gloves and picked up the box, and headed upstairs to face the scene again.

i walked more carefully this time, observing that there was no stain on the landing of our steps and the poop must have been a result of pushing. the small mess in front of our bathroom door was also mostly on the surface. when i entered our room, i noticed a few things.

first, the mess wasn't actually that bad; the pillow had absorbed most of the liquid (disgusting, right?). second, the puppy had rolled nearer to gracie.

i mentally prepared myself to get rid of a stillborn puppy as i slowly and carefully picked it up.


i audibly breathed a sigh of relief at my first grandchild who had survived labor, and reveled in that relief for a while before i came back to reality. there was still a dog in labor on my floor, and a puppy with a partially chewed umbilical cord in my hand. it was an amazing feeling, finally holding a puppy that just that morning had been kicking at my hand through my dog's belly.

gracie was totally cooperative and calm as i picked her up and put her in my little box with her puppy. she watched me as i carefully marched her down the stairs. i felt mostly prepared for the rest of this process (especially considering that dogs mostly have it covered), so i was growing more confident with each step. at least i was there. at least i knew it was coming. at least she trusted me enough to let me help her. at least. at least. at least. it was my mental pep talk.

i put her in the doghouse and set the puppy down next to her. she continued to clean it and gnaw on the umbilical cord while i organized myself. i had a food scale (which previously aided in my weight loss... let me just say... no more!), a box of gloves, a nasal bulb syringe (snot sucker haha), puppy pads, and a stack of old towels and face towels. i went out to the garage to get a few folding chairs and sat and waited.

gracie was a total champ. i could physically see her having her contractions, but she never even offered up a whine. the second puppy came shortly after i took her downstairs and i realized quickly that we would have very colorful litter! the first was white, but the second was dark brown! the actual delivery is pretty amazing. they come out in a little sack, which the mom chews through. she also eats the placenta and chews off and eats the umbilical cord.

the Sarge got home before number three, and witnessed the birth of a light tan-ish colored pup. at this point, i think i ought to start recording their weights and sexes. i ask my husband (still not totally calm at the point, by the way, so i guess i actually asked in a mix between ordering him around and begging him) to call kelly so she could come over and help me. i have the Sarge grab a notepad and take some notes. i pick up the first, the white one, and look between the lower legs and declare it a boy. the second, dark brown, had the same business going on down there, as did the third, the tan baby. i begin to get into the swing of things but am essentially a nervous wreck.

mind you, we have no idea how many puppies there will be! who knows how long this will last!

so now, i realize this will not be the calm, video taped and photo documented life altering youtube experience that i envisioned. i'm watching this alternate reality unfold in front of me, in which i go from being mother of one dog to two, two to three, and on and on, with no end in sight.

kelly arrives and suggests that we label them, which is why in some of the pictures you see those tags around their necks. we thought perhaps there would be one or two that looked similar and wanted to be able to tell them apart. she inspects those already born, to which one has been added, a second white puppy that i labeled a boy along with the others. well, apparently i'm an idiot because they are all girls. their little areas looked like two tiny little balls... i didn't know what i was looking for! i felt ridiculous, but the good news is that my inability to determine sex really lightened the mood.

we took gracie out before she delivered two more pups, a brown boy with a white mark on his head and a beautiful vibrant reddish-brown girl. the last presented a little problem -- gracie had some trouble pushing her out, and we had to really rub her to get her breathing on two separate occasions. it was so hard to watch. i asked what kelly did if a puppy was born dead .. she essentially just throws them away.  :((

well, gracie was still pushing and i had six puppies already attached to her bosoms. it has been all of about an hour and a half, which is extremely fast it seems, so we figured we had to run into at least one bump in the road. we took her outside a few times to try to encourage the labor, but without any success. everyone stayed around until about 3 pm (two hours since the last push). kelly had to go and the sarge had to return to work. all i could do was wait.

kelly advises me that if she continues to push, a vet visit would be in order. and i agree. i asked her when she would make that move and she gives me the heart breaking answer that she would have already gone, but that i shouldn't worry because she is extremely cautious (as the puppies are a source of income). she encourages me to wait and pray, and if by 6 there was no puppy and gracie continued to push, i should find a vet.

so, i start calling around. i ask the vet offices around here what the worst case scenario would be and how much that would cost. kelly warned me that it would be more expensive here, so she gave me information for a vet about an hour and a half away from us in LA county. i called the closer vets first and sure enough, the c-section procedure started at $1500 -- JUST for the procedure. no office visit, no meds, no nothing. that was simply not an option. even her vet in riverside started at $800.

in panic again, i spent several hours emailing her and calling her about the likelihood of gracie's survival, how many more puppies could be in there, and how i could afford what seemed to be inevitable. her final suggestion came around 7pm - a place in san bernadino where the vet was reasonably priced, even for a surgical procedure. she estimated $350 or so. let's just say even that was pushing it in our financial situation.

and they didn't open til 6:30 in the morning. almost 11 hours away.

all we could do was wait.

part three coming soon...
as well as an update on my real life. maybe lol.

love, me


my puppy story, part 1

i've been thinking about this post for a long time. as most of you know, i am the grandmother of six precious puppies. the story is kind of long... which is why i've been slacking on writing this post. so i'm splitting it into a few sections. that will be much easier to write (and for you to read).


the first part.

gracie's last pregnant days were interesting. i'd been watching her carefully and corresponding heavily with a member of our church family who breeds dogs. we'll call her kelly. i was emailing back and forth with kelly constantly, trying to see warning signs that labor was on the way. i kept thinking, 'gracie's acting weird, today is the day..' and it never was.

first of all, we had been keeping gracie in the kitchen with her doghouse in case she went into labor during the wee hours and we didn't wake up in time (we didn't want it to be on our couch, for example). we bought a sturdier fence that she couldn't knock down and made is as comfortable as possible with towels and one of my shirts. she seemed to take really well to it. previously, she had been sleeping on a small stack of pillows next to my bed, which she loved and obediently laid until invited on to the bed. in the mornings, i let her outside and then bring her upstairs to hang with the pack and visit her little bed. it was getting to be a nice little routine.

until tuesday, july 26.

i take gracie out 3-4 times a day to pee/poop. once in the morning, once for a long walk in the afternoon, and once or twice in the evening. she had only peed in the house once, in a corner of the living room (right in front of me) and was promptly corrected. on the morning of the 26th, i took gracie out before work. she promptly peed and pooped -- something she hardly ever does without persuasion. she came upstairs, but then jumped off the bed and went to the top step. when i looked back out of our room, she's gone downstairs.

gracie never goes down to her exile that quickly after release.

i followed her down, and sure enough, she was trying to pee in the corner!

i took her back outside, where she peed twice and then i saw the funky little plug hanging down. i had seen some stuff before so, while my red flag went up, i just noted it and filed it away as a sign to mention to kelly. we finished getting ready and went to work.

at work, my boss, who knew the whole story (he's the one who found gracie) suggested i go home after hearing the story. he was as excited about the puppies as i was! i'd only been at work for a few hours, but i decided i should get home early. i headed home about 11 am.

i walked in the door expecting to see gracie in the doghouse with a puppy (which i expected to see every day for the past week).

but i didn't see gracie.

it was quiet and the gate was up... but no gracie. i began to panic. i stood at the door and called her, afraid to turn the corner and see a bloody mess on my couch. i peeked around the corner and breathed a sigh of relief when i saw a clean couch. but panic quickly returned when i realized gracie wasn't there either. i let the fence down and creeped around the corner calling gracie's name. i got more panicked and darted toward the stairs and stopped dead in my tracks on the landing -- two tiny poops were laying on the floor, which threw me into full panic mode. at the top of the stairs, there was a small blood spot and a turned and saw what had been my greatest fear.


on her bed of pillows -- the pillows for our bed -- with a wet stain and a white puppy on its back next to her.

the puppy didn't seem to be moving, so i inched over and shook the edge of the pillow. when it didn't respond, i ran downstairs to get my cell phone and called the Sarge in a frantic, blubbering, semi-psychotic state and told him that gracie had clearly jumped the fence, had a puppy in our room, and i wasn't sure it was alive.

read part two!  :)))
(i didn't mean to make it a cliff hanger but this is getting LONG!)

love, me

day two: american idol

day two: song i'd most like to hear an idol contestant sing

so, i don't really watch american idol and therefore know very little about the criteria for a song. i'll just pick a song that i love. and i would love to hear a version of his eye is on the sparrow. especially if it's this impressive.

love, me


day one: all-time favorite

Day 1: All time favorite Christian song or hymn.

i would just like to say that i LOVE hymns. i absolutely love, love, LOVE hymns! they are just so full of meaning, when i feel like a lot of the christian music out there is.. surface-y.

anyways. my favorite hymn of all time is in christ alone... not the brian littrell version, though i love brian as well. :)) these lyrics are extremely powerful to me, especially the last verse. i always get so  into it when they sing this song at church. what's your favorite song or hymn?


love, me

thirty day music challenge

of course, the only way i can be a good blogger is if i find a challenge! so i stumbled on one at beliefnet, of all places. this one has a music theme which i love.. so i hope i'll have answers for all of them. there is no link up so there won't be a surge in followers, but i think it will be fun, no less.

so. it started today ... i'll be back with TWO new posts, one for this challenge and one for gracie.

30 Day “Gospel Soundcheck” Christian Music Challenge
Day 1: All time favorite Christian song or hymn
Day 2: Christian song you’d like to see an “American Idol” contestant sing next season
Day 3: Favorite all time Christian/gospel album
Day 4: Favorite worship song
Day 5: Song that makes you embarrassed to say you listen to Christian music
Day 6: Christian song you love that your friends have probably never heard
Day 7: INTERACTIVE CHALLENGE Sing a song you learned in Sunday School
Day 8: Song featuring your favorite male vocalist
Day 9: Song featuring your favorite female vocalist
Day 10: Favorite hymn
Day 11: Most overrated Christian band
Day 12: Most underrated Christian band
Day 13: Favorite Christian song on mainstream radio
Day 14: INTERACTIVE CHALLENGE Sing a song you think you sing better than the original artist sang it
Day 15: Song that makes you feel closer to God
Day 16: Your favorite summer camp song
Day 17: Song that inspires you
Day 18: Last song you sang in church
Day 19: Christian song you’d like to never hear again
Day 20: Song that best describes your spiritual journey
Day 21: INTERACTIVE CHALLENGE Sing a church/youth group song that has hand movements (and make sure you do them!)
Day 22: Hymn or spiritual song you sing but have no idea what it’s actually about
Day 23: Song you pretended was Christian so you could listen to it around your parents
Day 24: Most overplayed Christian song
Day 25: Worship song that no one should ever be allowed to record ever again
Day 26: Christian song you’re embarrassed to say you love
Day 27: Band that disappointed you most when you saw them live
Day 28: INTERACTIVE CHALLENGE Sing your favorite VeggieTales song
Day 29: Traditional hymn you’d like to see redone with a more modern sound
Day 30: Mainstream song you’d like to sing in church

love, me