Debbie, my dog's water therapist, breeds and raises whippets. Beautiful, elegant dogs. When they run, it's poetry in motion. I adore them. If I didn't live my life controlled by scruffy, rotten little terrier beasts, I would beg a whippet to be my dog. It'd probably turn me down, but in a really nice way.
It was Debbie's middle dog, Julia, who had puppies today. No, I don't have pictures. I was in the moment. Leave me alone. Hey, it's Roommate's job to take pictures. I...well, I suck at photography. But I promise to ask Deb for a few. Soon. Soon! Jeeze.
I didn't see the first four babies come into the world, but not long after I arrived, I saw the fifth. Contractions made Julia's body ripple and she pushed and pushed and when the baby came out, it was like lightning. Whammo! Baby dog, here.
Sadly, when the fifth puppy arrived, there was something very wrong. Part of the head/skull didn't close and brain matter was exposed. Debbie quickly wrapped the pup in towels and set it away from the mama dog, who wanted to clean off her puppy. It was obvious that this little dog was not able to survive. And then cries came from the towel.
Debbie and Beth, my dog's former obedience instructor and another whippet breeder, exchanged sad and resigned looks. There was a short discussion about asking Deb's husband to "go to the vet's" in the neighboring town, and Beth shook her head in sympathy for Deb's husband. And I said, "I'll go."
Beth studied me with her wise eyes. An old soul, Beth knows very well that I'm not exactly a toughie when it comes to dogs and certain necessities. "Do you know what you're going for?" she asked kindly.
"To euthanize the puppy," I answered, trying not to let my voice or lip quiver.
After a small flurry of activity, I took the tiny bundle, the address of the vet's office and Deb's credit card and went to my car. I managed to hold it together until I was driving down the road, but the little noises and the knowledge of what was happening was a bit more than I could stand.
Though the puppy had been wrapped before anyone checked, I just knew he was a little boy and I decided his name was Thomas. As we drove down the country highway, I stroked the tiny bundle and told Thomas that God had kissed his little head and that we would send him home to God very soon. Soon, it wouldn't hurt anymore and God would take good care of him.
I saw a throw pillow a while back with a saying on it that I absolutely believe:
"Heaven is the place where all the dogs you've ever loved come to greet you."
Thomas is in Heaven now, but he will always be my dog. And if by some miracle or loophole I actually make it in, Thomas will be with my dogs who have gone before me, waiting to welcome me home.
Sleep well, baby boy.