The hours passed on nice summer day. All day the mother dog has panted and stared. Her maiden litter was on its way, and I was there to watch them come.
A sweet little golden retriever, she was too sensitive to push unless she knew her people where there to stroke her ears and tell her what a good girl she is.
As the night drew near, she climbed on the bed between us and then began her long night of pushing and pushing. A wave of contractions would rise from within her, and she would rise in discomfort and turn around. Then she would go prone again against the bed, but the next wave would have her rise, pushing and turning in her primal mammalian dance of parturition.
At one point, her vulva was just inches from my face, and in her pushing, I could see the coming amniotic sack, and then I saw the head of a golden retriever puppy emerge from her body cavity. It was perfection just wrapped in a sheet of biological plastic wrap.
Another push or two, and the bitch screamed as the puppy passed from the prenatal state into the breathing and screaming existence that we call life.
Then the membrane that held him so securely then split away from his face, and as the oxygen filled his little lungs, he inched over to the milk-filled mammaries and helped himself to a good helping of colostrum.
But he was still connected to his placenta and for what seemed an eternity to me, he was both nursing off his mother and tapping into her blood supply. He was trapped between both states, but one was about to let him go and sink into the other.
He suckled ravenously, and the mother dog expelled the placenta. And thus the first of a litter of seven little puppies entered the world. Through the dark hours of the night, two little girl puppies and four more little boys lurched forward into the great bursting of existence.
And the mother dog shared it with me. She, a beast perfected over the eons to serve mankind, needed us to hold her as she began to force her progeny into the world.
I have never before been privy to such a spectacle. I have no interest in producing a child of my own, and all of my experiences with dogs whelping have been fleeting memories from childhood, where the bitch whelped black crossbreeds in the back of the garage and I hoped that the daddy was a Labrador and not the fierce boxer from up the road. And obvious flattened muzzles exhausted those hopes very quickly.
But to know a dog like this one, one that trusts me enough to share this intimate aspect of her life, is a moving experience. I am better for having been privy to the entire spectacle.
And I am happy. I am content. And I am free.
I never have trouble getting my Penny to eat, but I have no doubt this would work if she ever did turn up her nose! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!
Retired Sergeant Jeremy Milwood, in Birmingham, Alabama is one of those soldiers who made it home but is still dealing with the aftereffects of his time in Iraq. Thankfully, his former-shelter-now-service dog, Daisy, helps Jeremy shoulder his burdens during the day and saves his life every night.
According to WBRC.com, Jeremy has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from his time as an Army combat medic. His PTSD lead to terrible nightmares that would keep him awake for hours, as well as fear and anxiety that made it near impossible for him to be around large crowds, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.
Then a veterinarian told him about Service Dogs Alabama (SDA). SDA first pulls dogs from the Humane Society of Elmore County. Afterward, inmates at the Gadsden Correctional Institution in Florida train the dogs and receive rehabilitation themselves at the same time. Once trained, the dogs are given to veterans suffering from PTSD, as well as others who need service dogs. Thanks to you, Halo, GreaterGood.org, and Freekibble annually donate over 1.5 million bowls of Halo food to help shelter pets similar to the ones SDA chooses to help inmates and veterans.
Jeremy revealed to AL.com that he initially had some doubts, but Daisy completely demolished those. He shared that “when I got Daisy from SDA, it was like she just got me. In no time, I trusted her to watch my back. She always knew just what to do.” He added, driving home his point, “Daisy saved my life.” More than 20 veterans every day die from suicide and Jeremy believes that without Daisy, he would have been one of those 20. He told reporters, “When I came back, I had no one I felt I could trust. I was isolated. Before I got Daisy, I dreaded life.”
What gave him hope was his very first night with Daisy. That night, “she woke me up from a bad nightmare,” Jeremy said, “and I slept better that first night with her than I had the entire time I was back from Iraq.” Because of her training, Daisy will lick Jeremy’s hand or face if she sees him twitching in bed. This wakes Jeremy up before his nightmare can take him to a deep place of trauma. Being peacefully woken up by Daisy allows Jeremy to go back to sleep in peace. Daisy is Jeremy’s constant companion.
Now Jeremy is even able to go to fairs and stores that his PTSD had made off limits before. “When you get back, you don’t have that unconditional camaraderie but a dog, it’s always there; unconditional[ly] she’s always there for me,” Jeremy clarified/ “Daisy and I now go everywhere. Nothing is off limits,” he said.
Talking about his time before Daisy, Jeremy told reporters, “I just didn’t know where to go. I didn’t know what else to try. I tried all the medicines they’d throw at me,” adding that Daisy “saved my life…She saves my life every single night.
Our pets may not save our lives on a regular basis like Daisy does for Jeremy, but they still do so much for us. Halo believes in doing everything we can for them, starting with food. Hopefully Daisy eats delicious nutritious bowls of high quality dog food with the occasional healthy treat to thank her for the many ways she saves Jeremy’s life.
I am currently about 10-14 days out from the first golden retriever litter I have ever bred. The dam is Fontana (Windridge Love is All You Need!) and the sire is Rush (Joyful’s Fast-Trak Thrill of a Lifetime).
Fontana is a nice, calm dog. She has fairly strong retrieving desire and is quite biddable. She is a hair soft, but she is stable and nice. She can play fetch or she can sleep on the bed without much concern. She is good with children. She is smaller, weighing 43 pounds in working weight.
Rush is from top obedience and agility lines He is darker than Fontana, and he has full-blown ball drive. Like her, he is smaller and lighter boned, weighing about 50-55 pounds.
Most of the puppies in this litter will be on the smaller side for the breed, though we cannot guarantee that all of them will be that small. We should get a mixture higher drive pups that are like the sire, and we should also get some that are calm like the mother. We should also get a wide range of golden shades in this litter, for the dam’s parent’s have also produced a few dogs that approach the cream color. The sire comes from lines that produce very dark colored dogs.
This litter will have a very low COI by pedigree. Over 10 generations, it has been calculated at 0.01 percent, which is well below the breed average.
Sire has all the GRCA required health clearances, and his hips are OFA “Good” and elbows “Normal.” Dam has OFA prelims of Good hips and Normal Elbows as well.
Dam has been DNA tested by Embark and was found to be clear of all eye diseases that the company tests for, including various forms of PRA. She is also clear for the peculiar golden retriever form of Ichthyosis.
I used to write a lot about golden retrievers on this blog, and the pups that will be produced from this breeding will match a lot of what I think golden retrievers should be. These pups should be great for working homes and as wonderful family companions.
We still have some slots available for this litter, so if you’re interested please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form at the Retrieverlady blog/Windridge website. I can also field inquiries through this site.
Pups will be sold with full registration at $ 1,500. Deals can be made for a breeding guardian home, but those inquiries should fielded through the aforementioned contact links.
I am really excited to be around golden retriever puppies again. It’s been so long since I had a chance to see some grow up, and I certainly will be keeping everyone posted on this site about their progress.