It was the happiest night in this dog's life. The moon was full, the breezes were warm and heavily scented with spring night flowers. Sassie has always been a cute dog, but lately she's gotten truly beautiful, and I've fallen head over tail in love.
This night, not all the smells were coming from the flowers, some wonderfully alluring smells were coming from Sassie too.
The combination of all this really started affecting me. My head was spinning, strange things were happening, my body felt weird, I was quivering all over, and I couldn't stop licking my nose.
Sassie gave me "that' look and went out the back door. I immediately jumped up and ran after her.
She waded across a shallow place in the river and started running along the side of the mountain. It felt wonderful running alongside her. She ran through the part of the forest where the biggest trees grow. This part of the forest is usually scary, but tonight, with the full moon, the trees looked like they were glazed with ice crystals.
As we broke into the meadow, a giant white owl flushed and scolded us with loud whoo-whoos. This night was magical.
Sassie ran through the tall grasses and finally stopped in a place where a deer had bedded down. She sniffed me and rubbed against me and I sniffed and rubbed in return. It was the first time for me, and I know it was the first time for her. It was wonderful, and afterwards I loved her even more.
Some weeks later Chris was giving Sassie a brushing and she said, "Sassie, what's wrong with you? Oh my gosh, it does appear you're pregnant! Sassie, you're going to have puppies. P.C., you are going to be a papa.
A papa! Me? ... puppies? I can't have puppies--still think of myself as a puppy. This is wonderful. Do you think they'll like me?
I can't wait for the puppies. I have so many questions. How do they eat? When will they be able to see, to walk, to run around? Will they follow me?
Oh boy, I can see myself with puppies. Showing them how to explore. Teaching them how to swim. How to follow a trail with your nose to the ground. How to greet another dog properly. How to sucker goodies from the people. There's a lot of things a dog has to learn and who better to teach it than their daddy.
Sassie started getting bigger and bigger and began to droop on the underside. People said she looked like Elsie the cow, but she still looked beautiful to me.
We dogs usually have a gestation period of 63 days, but I guess nobody told Sassie. Exactly 58 days after our night on the mountain, we came home and found Sassie on the floor of Chandra's bedroom surrounded by five squirming puppies. Gosh I didn't know they'd be so small!
Puppy number six popped right out but number seven got stuck. A strap of placenta was wrapped over the baby's shoulder and she remained half in and half out and couldn't move. It's a darn good thing that Chris had come home when she did because she knew just what to do. Soon number seven was on the ground and Sassie was nipping off her cord. (How'd Sassie know how to do that?)
Most mother dogs don't like other dogs around when they're giving birth but Sassie seemed glad to have me there.
Chandra was going out of her mind. She had never seen puppies being born and she was beyond herself with delight--she couldn't stop talking and asking questions.
But Sassie wasn't through, soon there were four more. Numbers eight, nine, ten and eleven slipped out like gum balls rolling out of a gumball machine.
They were all beautiful puppies making yipping cries and squirming like crazy. But, wait a minute--number eleven isn't moving! Chris grabbed eleven and started slapping and rubbing on him. Sassie tried to lick on him, but he still didn't move. Oh my gosh, call the paramedics! Call a vet! Somebody do something! After working vigorously on number eleven for about a half hour, Chris said sadly, "He's not going to make it". Chandra started crying. Sassie and I felt like crying too until Chris told us, "Number eleven wasn't fully formed when he was born. Sometimes you can get puppies like that to live, but usually they're sick and unhappy all their lives. Mother nature knows best. And look--we've got ten happy healthy puppies, two boys and eight girls! Chandra, these puppies need names."
Chandra stopped crying and started making names. Their eventual owners would give them their permanent names, of course, but we needed some working names, certainly better than numbers.
All the puppies had irregular white marks on their chests and these became the basis of most of their names. One puppy had a pointy "T" on her chest and she became "T-Bone." The one with the Chinese symbol for happiness on her was instantly dubbed "Happy." There was one huge female puppy with an extra-large rear end. Chandra named her, "Rotunda Butt."
And I'm a proud daddy. I've got ten beautiful little, brown hound dogs with perfect little ridges up their backs, and guess what? Every single one of them looks just like me!