I do wish he wouldn’t do that!

Copy_of_cool_pics_of_amazing_things He’s done it again!  Crept up on me and gently placed his head on my knee as I sat at the kitchen table engaging in a little Alzheimer delaying therapy in the form of a crossword.  My husband started it.  I suggested he might combine this activity with a multivitamin supplement as a little extra protection.  Not impressed.

We’re quite effective as a crossword team because we think so differently.  I can always see what should be in his ‘gaps’ and (sometimes!) vice versa.  Fascinating how words are dredged from the furthest recesses of the mind, surprising me because I had forgotten I ever knew them!

That head laid so gently on my knee touches the very centre of my being, and he knows it!  I look down to see two beautifully clear brownish-amber eyes looking lovingly up at me.  They’re almost bovine in their beauty.  My Mother always said "The eyes are the window of the soul" and I know exactly what she meant.  Alfie knows I can’t resist him and, when he’s strayed from the straight and narrow, he knows I am rendered incapable of disciplining him when he gazes up at me so fondly.  There’s something in his gentleness that releases such a rush of love for him.

Alcropped Alf is two.  He’s a working cocker spaniel.  Not heard of those?  It’s a breed developed (if that’s the right word) from the mixing of the show cocker with the springer spaniel.  He’s a beautiful auburn colour which is remarkable considering both his parents and two siblings are jet black.  He’s Alfie when he was just eight weeks old!

He’s always been a bit special.  The puppies were born on my birthday in 2005.  I’d started a new job that week but spent each night sleeping on the floor next to the whelping box, in case Sue needed me in the night.  Susie, their mother who is devoted to me, struggled in labour.  She waited for me to come home from work at lunchtime but was in so much pain as the day wore on I rang the vet.  He said to take her to the surgery.  My husband put a blanket in the car and then came to pick her up.  As he headed towards the front door, I saw the smallest two little pink paws emerging.  I stared in panic and wonderment then rang the vet again.  What to do?  Take her in the car or let her try to give birth at home?  Vet suggested taking her in.  By the time I reached the surgery about half a mile away and picked her up from the back seat, the pup was born as far as the haunches.  I was thrilled to see it looked golden, I’d really hoped for a golden pup, never expecting to see one!  Oh poor Sue, with a huge pup trying to reverse into the world, no wonder you were struggling my love.

We were rushed into the theatre (nearest I’ll get to ER!) and two vets began their wonderful work.  One delivered the limp little body while the other drew up an injection.  Sue looked up at me searching for comfort and reassurance.  My eyes made contact with her very soul, I feel sure.  She laid her head down again.  The first vet swung the tiny body backwards and forwards with such force, I felt sure the tiny head would become detached.  As he laid him down on the bench, I noticed he had a tiny white blaze on his head.  The injection was administered.  The syringe looked like something used on shire horses, not this tiny lifeless body.  I was in sole charge of the oxygen tube (and was much in need of gas and air myself by this point).  The mask had been removed and still the end of the small tube dwarfed the little head.  I begged the vet to make him live.  How stupid was that?  No pressure!  The poor man was doing the very best he could!  Then, in what must rank as the most special moment of my life (apart from the safe delivery of each of my children!), the tiny mouth opened an an almost inaudible squeak was heard.  He was alive!  I grabbed hold of the vet . . . is that why he always gives me a wide berth now? 

The little pup was offered to his mother, who welcomed him by putting him near her chest and licking him.  Was that gratitude I saw in her gaze as she looked from one to the other of us?  The staff suggested I leave her there and collect her later.  Excuse me?  Sue needed me and there I was going to stay.  I think the message was received loud and clear.  Sue and her pup were carried into a kennel in the treatment room.  I followed.  A small three legged stool was brought for me.  I’ve heard of a birthing stool, but this was ridiculous!  I perched on the edge so I could reach over and stroke the new and yet already devoted mother. 

By the end of evening surgery, no further action had taken place.  Don’t know what was in the injection but Alf was firing on all four cylinders now!  From dead to scampering in 10 minutes.  Now that’s motoring!  Sue continued to pant and I felt her pain.  The senior vet suggested Sue had decided to wait until she was home before producing any more.  Sue was carried out to the back seat of the car and I followed with the tiny (and by now decidedly boisterous) pup held in my hand.  We walked through the waiting room (all routine action had ceased while the resuscitation was taking place so there was a backlog) and to a chorus of ‘Oohs’ and ‘Aahs’.  I smiled and made brief eye contact with the people in the waiting room but didn’t slow my pace.  I didn’t want strangers touching the pup.  Well, having once been a nurse I was mindful of cross infection, but didn’t want anybody to put their scent on the precious gift I was carrying.  He was snuggled in next to his mother on the back seat.  Gingerly I pulled out of the car park.  I’d gone about a hundred yards when Alf decided to explore his horizon which ended at the edge of the rear seat.  Plop.  Oh my god, after all he’s been through, please don’t let him be hurt I mentally begged.  Pulled over.  Scooped up the inquisitive little thing and reunited him with Sue.  Started off again.  Just about made it into third gear.  Plop.  Good game this!  Was so glad it was a short journey home.

My husband gently carried Sue into the house and placed her in the whelping box.  I carried in a very special golden pup with a white blaze and a tiny white tip to the end of his tail.  I knew Alfie and I would never be parted.  Only problem was how to share this news with my husband, who always said he prefers cats?

So, left to right it’s the puppies, Dad, Mum and Alf.  Princess (not so called for no reason!) on the right of the pups went to Cork in Ireland and Archie lives about two miles away.  Only Sue and Alf live with us.Puppies0001_2  They’re known as The Mutleys. Archiedad Dsc00134   Dsc00136 Dsc00129   

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