Wednesday, March 3, 2010

happy 5th birthday pontiac

Our darling bagle, Pontiac, was born five years ago today.  He was the oldest of 10 pups in Thumper's litter.  One did not survive, but nine did thanks to the mama dog persevering from 6:30 in the evening until 4:30 the next morning.  This was one of the most beautiful experiences I ever had.  A bagle is a mix of bassett hound and a beagle.  The year prior, Mike bought his girlfriend a beagle for Christmas (Freckles) and two days later she returned the favor and bought him a bassett, Thumper.  The next year we took care of Freckles while the family vacationed in Florida and what are the odds, Thumper was in heat?  They really went for it that week and when Wayne would catch them and knock on the window, they went behind our pool so as not to be seen.  Determination.  Animal instincts.  After confirmation of her pregnancy, I learned how to take her temperature and prepare her for the birth.  Our friends, the Blocks, bred laboradors for 20 years and came over to assist in the birthing.  Good thing, too, for the ninth pup was stillborn and Gina suggested we take her to the emergency room.  They delivered the pup and thought she would need a Cesarean to deliver the last pup, but all of a sudden, Gina jumps up and down announcing she saw two paws, so the delivery continued and my exhausted Thumper came home to begin her job as mama dog.
Thumper was only 18 months when she became a mom.  How she knew what to do was pure instinct and I was repeatedly amazed at how she knew how to clean them, feed them, school them and when to stop feeding them.  I would make sure she got a break and brought her upstairs so she could not hear them crying for her 24/7.  She was so tired, but when a pup whimpered, she offered her nipples faithfully.  We named each pup and fell in love with all of them.  They each had their own personality and our family grew fond of the female, Moo Moo (her markings looked like a cow) and I fell in love with Pontiac.  He was originally going to be named Oscar as the Academy Awards show was on that week, but Mike noticed the Pontiac sign on his forehead and being carboy, that was it.  Pontiac was named.  He was the firstborn and came out breech, so we assisted.  We really did not have to, for dogs know how to give birth, but we removed the bag and snipped the cords each time for her.  It was a remarkable miracle with each delivery.

Thumper was very protective of her pups but she trusted us so much and let us show off her babies to anyone who visited.  We had people in and out for weeks because there is something special about puppies, let alone nine of them.  Their smell, their sounds, their softness are just delightful and bring out so much love and affection.  We took a ton of pictures to remember them and it tugs at my heart when I see them again.  They were very messy so it was a lot of work keeping them clean and warm.  They loved when I placed a blanket over their little crate so they felt secure.  To this day, Pontiac loves when we put one on him and just lies there under his tent.  I remember clipping all their nails and some acted as if I was torturing them, others, just flinched a little. They woke up a lot at night but after a feeding, fell back to sleep.  I had plenty of practice with my three sons and knew it would only last a couple of months, so I did not mind.
I helped Thumper with the feedings by calming her down at times and making sure she rested herself.  She was so dutiful and I had to make sure she had enough rest and food to sustain her.  Gina helped make sure the pups had their shots and I prepared the cereal for them as they got older.  I think Thumper was grateful to be relieved from the feedings after a month of nurturing.  I remember crying so hard when we had to find homes for them.  I would hide Pontiac when people came to see my little darlings.  The boys wanted Moo Moo, but after watching them interact, I knew she was too dominant and two dominant females would not work out so well.  She ended up in Homer Glen with a wonderful family who treats her as a queen and we keep in touch with updates on how she's doing.  We were told she runs the house.  Just as I suspected. 
Pontiac was firstborn and is our big slug.  Then came Gifka (girl in Polish), Cassanova, Moo Moo, Hercules, Rocky, Apollo, Jenna and Angel.  Our neighbor and friend of our sons, Gerald, fell in love with Rocky, and we have him over when they travel to the Philipines.  It is so funny when he escapes from his house sometimes, he dashes right to our garage door.  He knows our house and who lives here; Thumper and Pontiac have so much fun together when he drops by.  I call him my Shadow dog for he stays right by me all day long and cuddles with me when we relax at night.  A fellow co-worker of Wayne's acquired Cassanova for his teenage daughter; she renamed him Oliver and every Christmas they send pictures.  I feel happy that all the pups have good homes and bring joy to so many others. 
Since the pups were born in pre-spring, we were able to let them play outside and get sunlight when they were a month old.  They would frolic and some would hide under the deck or between the stones and evergreens.  Thumper always found them and made sure they did not stray too far.  I got a kick out of her method for schooling them into submission.  She put their hind leg in her mouth and flipped them on their backs.  Pontiac was so compliant that when he saw her approaching him, he just fell back on his own. That sealed his becoming a part of our family once and for all. Moo Moo, on the other hand, barked all the time and bossed the others around.  She would not fall into submission with the Mama and it was comical to see her strong will play out. 
The joy we get is indescribable when we bond with our doggies.  We relax by the fireplace with them and they love to look out the front door and must have their daily walks and neena bones.  Pontiac demands I service him by scratching his trigger parts and makes sounds to remind me to do so.  Thumper is all about food.  She stares at the alter where the treats are kept and squeeks until we deliver them.  When we leave to go shopping or run errands, it is inevitable we will be greeted with excited tails wagging upon our return. There is no shortage of love between us.  It is a fact that dogs emit seratonin when petted, so it is no wonder people want to be around them.  Who needs happy pills when we have Thumper and Pontiac?  We spoil them, but I made it a point to train them a little more after watching It's Me or the Dog.  Everyone comments on them as I take them on their walks for they look so funny together. 
Happy Birthday, Ponti, pillow pup.  xo

Prayer:  Jesus, thank you for the good things you do for me, especially for guiding me toward God.  May I always praise and thank God as you did, in all I say and in all I do.  Open my eyes, please, to the many gifts and blessings God gives me and help me to be aware of the good works God does through me.  Amen.