The Boring Word About Those Rare Occasions

June 5, 1985

A new pet is always an exciting experience. Shortly before Christmas last year we took a thirteen month old Benji look-a-like into our home.

It was no time at all before she had won a place in our hearts and taken a place on the couch. We weren’t her only admirers, after only one week in her new home Sasha was “with puppies.”

While the prospect of puppies on the way did not cause me to squeal with delight like my children, I did reread my ‘Handbook of Dog Care’ in preparation for the big event.

I even acquired the services of a midwife – my niece Beth, a college freshman majoring in nursing, was home for a break and picked just the right night to sleep over at our house. Ten minutes after the girls left for school in the morning I noticed Sasha had not eaten and would not come out from under my bed. No amount of coaxing would persuade her to leave what she had decided was the right place for her brood.

It wasn’t long before we could see from our stretched out positions on the floor on either side of the bed the first puppy.

On page 45 of the book, which by this time I was reading out loud to Beth, it said “on rare occasions the mother dog may not begin maternal care.”

Well it turned out to be one of those occasions. By the time Beth had helped me stand the box springs and mattress on end in order to reach the puppy, it was too late, we could not get him to breathe.

Sasha looked at us with indifference as we nervously awaited the arrival of the next pup. After calling the first of many medical bulletins into the office I went into the garage in search of a box that might meet with her approval and returned with the remains of a music box backdrop we had made for our Halloween ballerinas. A shell of a box decorated with pink net, aluminum foil and Christmas tree skirt; a more feminine labor suite I’m sure no dog has ever had.

Sasha continued to remain an uninterested mother and by the time the sixth and last pup was born Beth was an expert with scissors and thread.

Fortunately Sash finally did take notice of her new family and when the girls returned from school she was fulfilling the role of proud new mother.

Nature certainly is amazing; birds know when to fly south, caterpillars spin cocoons, squirrels store nuts, but once in a while there are “those rare occasions.”