Friday, December 24, 2010

chelsea the first-time mom

mother nature is teasing me. just as when i have had recently posted one about fatherhood here i am being given a chance to play father again. and this time i'm  feeling i'd need to be smarter.

she is a first time mom. here name is chelsea, our dog. she just recently delivered 4 beautiful fragile puppies. well, whoopie, our other dog, is the father, but he's more concerned about food than about the puppies. actually, i saw him visiting the place where chelsea gave birth presumably to look at their offspring but chelsea threw him an angry look and a menacing bark and off he goes scampering for safety.

big problem is chelsea. she has the mother instincts but she's mostly doing things more wrongly than rightly.  first she delivered her puppies just between the 2 washing machines we're using to do our laundry. the place is cramped and wet and cold and not very convenient for the newborns. chelsea snarls at every one who tries to get near the puppies. i don't know if she's just being protective of them or she's jealous of anyone getting a peek on the little ones. and when she nurses them she just doesn't care how her body is positioned. her body actually covers her puppies like a blanket. there is a very fat chance of her suffocating them.

my problem is it's nearing christmas and my brother and his family including my daughter will be spending the holidays with his in-laws in the province. i'll be home alone. but, unlike that famous kevin of the "home alone" movies, i will not be battling with bumbling robbers. i'll be testing my wits against first-time mom chelsea. i have to protect the little fragile ones against their mom's unwise moves.

and so it happened. what we feared to happen. before they were about to leave, my brother found one of the day-old puppies dead. probably suffocated or probably died due to the coldness or the dampness. he tried to get the dead pup but chelsea did not permit it. as my brother narrated, chelsea bit off the head of the dead pup and ate it! he was aghast. much as he tried to get the rest of the body he was not able to. chelsea is attempting to bite him.

"you'll have to find a way to get that dead body," he told me when i got home, "we're leaving now. be careful, chelsea is not letting anyone near her pups."

i looked at the headless body. there are 3 more live puppies. i snuck a peek. the little ones are busily sucking milk. chelsea and the pups are in a very cramped place. i fear for the rest of the puppies. not even two days old.

i am alone now. my brother and his family and my daughter had left for the province. i could not get some sleep. i can hear the puppies' whimpering and crying. they are not comfortable. i have to find a way to move them to a better place. i have to outsmart chelsea like what kevin did to the robbers. and that dead headless body is starting to emit that foul stench. i spent my waking hours trying to figure out a way.  i went out and filled chelsea's food bowl with dog food and placed it very far from where the puppies were. chelsea ignored my food offering. i spent the night hearing the puppies' crying and smelling that foul odor of decomposing body in my shallow sleep. chelsea is winning.

morning. it's good that it is my day off. i am feeling confident. i snuck another quick peek at the newborns. counted 3 small bodies tucked under chelsea whose eyes are so wide awake looking attentively at me. i lingered for a while braving her disapproving stare. the bellies of the 3 pups were moving. thank you, o Infinite! not another one died. but the headless body is smelling terribly. that foul odor is ruining the aroma of my freshly brewed coffee. an idea struck my mind.

bravely, i approached the washing machine farthest from the dogs and slowly lifted it. good it was not too heavy. i moved it farther. i know when the sun comes up sunlight will flood the area where they are and will heat up that place.  then,  i cleaned our small storehouse nearby making sure there's sufficient space for this dog family. i was hoping that chelsea will have the mind to transfer the pups to this cozier place. as bait, i placed her food bowl and her water in a location where she can spot the open storehouse. at the corner of my eyes, i can see her following my every move suspiciously. i tried to ignore her acting like i was just doing my usual cleaning chores.

i went back inside the house and ate my breakfast. after this, i cleaned up the house. i did not try to bother chelsea. i have to be patient. my ally, the sun is slowly rising up. once she heats up chelsea's territory i'm sure she'll be moving her puppies. true enough, as soon as my friend the sun started beaming her rays to where the dogs were, i immediaely heard chelsea becoming very busy. i dared not bother to look. i knew she's moving.

soon, i could no longer hear the whining and the whimpering of the puppies. i went out of the house and checked. the dogs aren't there anymore. i congratulated myself. you're bright, sito kevin, you did it! i picked up the headless puppy and buried it. then i went to the storehouse to spy on chelsea and the others. to my surprise, they were not there! i paused for a while and listened attentively. i traced where the puppies' voices are coming from. i slowly stepped back and there they were by the side of the house. chelsea had dug a hole in the ground and deposited them there. they were better off where they were before. at least they were lying on cemented flooring. this time, they were on soft earth, still damp, still cold. and if it rains they surely will be drenched. i thought i saw chelsea smiling as if to say, gotcha! well, i will not be outsmarted by a dog. my ego is hurtin'. sito kevin must win. home alone strategy is needed.

i moved chelsea's food bowl and water far from the entrance of the fence separating the main house from the storehouse. this is my only chance. but i have to be patient. i picked a stickbroom and started sweeping the fallen leaves that littered the ground. there were lots of them. they were very dry now so i decided to burn them. this will help me while the time away. i will be able to clean up the yard and i will be near where the puppies are located. chelsea will not be suspicious since she will just see me gathering up the dried leaves and burning them. i managed to get to about a foot of the puppies as i swept the ground. chelsea is there nursing her two-day olds. i secretly counted. 3 bodies there underneath her. bellies moving. still alive.

after about two hours of leisurely sweeping leaves and burning them, my patience paid off. she stood up. brushed off the dirt from her white coat and confidently went out of the fenced yard. walked towards her food bowl. finally, she felt hunger and thirst. i pretended not to notice her. she buried her head in the food bowl and started munching at her food. i grabbed my chance. immediately but carefully so i won't catch her attention, i barred the entrance with the corrugated roofing sheet i set aside for this moment. then secured it so she won't be able to push against it if she attempts to do so. i ran to the puppies and picked up all three of them. their eyes are still unopened. i was holding more like the 3 blind mice.  i ran back to the storehouse, arranged the bedding which i prepared for them and laid them down. now they are safe and cozy. i went back to the fence and removed the cover to the entrance. chelsea had finished her food and is now drinking. she never saw what i did. when she entered the yard i acted like i was poking the unburned leaves. i saw her moving frantically when she found out the puppies are not where she left them. i saw her touching her nose on the hole she dug. my heart raced for a bit when she looked at my direction and moved towards me.

she went past me. entered the storehouse. soon i heard the whimpering of the puppies again. i did it! gotcha! i took a quick peek.  they were not on the bedding i made for them. chelsea was able to find another spot  for them. well, i told myself, for as long as they are now inside the storehouse, they will be better off. they are cozier now. no dampness, not too cold. even if it rains they won't be drenched. my friend the sun also illuminates the storehouse just enough. and chelsea, their mother is learning.


i delivered food and water to chelsea at the storehouse. i mustered enough courage to inch closer and to point my flashlight at the spot where they were lying. chelsea was there. 3 bellies were undeneath her. still moving.

tomorrow they will be 3 days older.

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