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Rated: E · Short Story · Children's · #1974514
How a newborn puppy almost dies after birth. What the owner does to save little Maximus.

Word count: 1940                  Saving Maximus


                                                        Darlene Wilson

This is a true story.

It is sixty-two days into Belle's pregnancy.  She's been progressing well and her weight gain is right on target.  I can't help, but to laugh when I watch her waddle around the house and seeing her cute inflated looking, round belly when she rolls over, requesting a much-loved tummy rub.

Belle is a Tri-colored ~ Shih-Tzu, she sports a flowing, brown, black and white silk-like coat of hair, her ears are tipped with black accents. She is a beautiful little dog.

"Come here mama Belle, come let me brush your pretty hair."  I begin brushing the hair in front of her face then I grabbed up a bunch of  hair at the top of her head and pulled it up tightly, then with the hair band tied around it,  I created a fountain;  'dogie hairdo.'

"There, all finished!  You're my pretty little  girl."  I give her hugs and kisses.  Belle looks into the mirror I am holding.  "You look much prettier now  little mama."  With a somewhat discussed look on her face, she just walks away with her head down.  It appears that she does not like the way she looks. 

"I look fat, that's it, I am a fat little dog!"  Belle thinks.

"The kids will be home in a couple hours.  Let me straighten up your daybed." 

I said.  So I carefully picked Belle up and set her on her furry white bed, and I picked out a blanket with cartoon dogs on it and tucked her in.

I reach over the coffee table and grab the TV remote control and put on Animal Planet, then went to my computer to write.  As Belle lay there her eyes and ears always aware of everything going on around her.  She drifts in and out of sleep, tossing and turning round and round, but it is an endless battle because her belly is full of crowded baby puppies.

They are due any time now, her belly is swollen making it hard to get comfortable.  There are bumps here then there, the puppies are positioning themselves for birth.

The anticipation grows more as she tries to rest.

Her eyes finally closing and she begins to snore in a sound sleep.

Belle knows when the kids get off the bus because of all the noise the bus makes when it stops right outside the door.  The hours pass by quickly and Belle can hear the bus coming down the street.  She stretches and rolls around and flops herself out of her bed. 

Her belly swaying back and forth as she waddles to the door and sits, wagging her tail uncontrollably.  Never making a sound until the door opens, she hears the kids, Nathan and Aubrey, home at last!  Then the barking begins, her long-awaited happy humans are home.  The children greet her with hugs and kisses and lots of pats on her head, as they try to get in through the door.  It has become an everyday ritual with the children, but when it is bedtime, Belle only wants to sleep with Nathan.

She loves cuddling up with him most, we think it is because he has the softest ten layers of blankets on his bed.

Sometimes I have a hard time finding him underneath all those blankets.  Belle likes to plop herself right in the center of his bed and slowly disappear, sinking down into the thickness of the many blanket layers.

Every morning when the sun peeks through the curtains, it warms Belles' face.  She puts her front paws over her eyes to cover the brightness, and getting up was not an option, at least not yet.  So round and round in circles, she goes until the blankets were fluffed up enough for her to lay back down.

Just when she started to fall back to sleep I knocked and the door opened. 

I pop in to say.  "Breakfast is almost ready, time to get up Nathan."

Belle hears Aubrey in the bathroom so she knows she has a few more minutes to lay around before getting up.  She cuddles up close to Nathan.  He pets her head and gives her morning kiss, kiss sounds.  With one eye closed and the other eye squinting from the sun now fully on her face, Belle knows she has to get up soon.

"How are you feeling this morning little mama?  Are you going to have them puppies soon?"  Nathan says to Belle while rubbing her belly.  She makes this whining talk back to him every time he talks to her.  As though they have their own language.  Nathan uncovers himself from his mountain of blankets, then gently picks Belle up and sets her down, he walks her to the back door to let her out to potty.  After a few minutes, Belle peers into the kitchen through the glass back door, waiting patiently for someone to open it.  She gives a bark out loud to let us know she is finished and wants back in.  By now the house smells like bacon and eggs and Belles' tummy is growling from hunger.  "I hope you're all  hungry?"  I ask as I set Belles' food and water in her bowls on the floor.  She rests her belly on the coolness of the floor while she eats.


The day drags on, Belle has been pacing the house, but there is no place to get comfortable.  It is Saturday, and the kids along with their friends have been in and out all day playing.  I have been cleaning and making a birthing bed for her when the time comes.  I gathered some old towels and blankets and cut a U shape in the front of a big box then lined it with the towels.  Now, Belle can get in and out easier when she needs to. 

Dinner came and went, but Belle did not eat anything since this morning.  We all sat on the couches for Saturday night movies until finally, we fell asleep.  It was about two o'clock in the morning when I noticed  Belle was panting heavily and was pacing the floor, I placed her in the birthing bed.  Then I gathered up extra towels and rags and set a bowl of fresh warm water on the side.  I can tell she's going into labor.  There is nothing you can give a mama dog in labor except care and comfort.  I kept wiping Belles head to keep her cool between contractions.  The painful pains in the bottom of her stomach that come and go every few minutes until the puppies are born.  I quietly wake Nathan and Aubrey up to tell them the good news.

"The puppies are on their way!" 

We were happy and nervous at the same time.  Aubrey is too young to understand the birds and bees and now was not a good time to explain it to her.

Nathan asks me if he could help do something.  I replied, "Keep the rags damp and clean with warm water and please get my mini scissors from my desk." 

Nathan looked puzzled, then asked.  "What do you need scissors for?" 

I answered back and said.  "In case I have to cut the umbilical cord off a puppy." 

"Yuk!"  Said Nathan.  "That's gross, sorry I asked!"

"Well, that is what a Veterinarian Doctor would do?"  I replied.  "I must take precautions in case something goes terribly wrong and we have to take her to the animal hospital.  And, in my lifetime, I've helped out several times.  When I was younger we had cats and dogs give birth to their puppies and kittens." 

I put in another movie because having puppies can take about five hours or more.  Belle got up and repeatedly made circles inside the bed and finally sat down, then she let out several whimpering yelps, and with a few pushes, we saw the first puppy born.  And it's a little girl!

I told the kids to never bother animals when they are having babies unless you know there is a need to help out.  Most mama dogs do all the work themselves.  We were happy to see that Belle took charge to clean and nurture her first pup.  By five o'clock in the morning, she had four puppies, two girls, and two boys.  All healthy and perfectly adorable.  I felt her belly to check for any more puppies.  It felt to me that there were no more babies inside so now, we could get some needed rest.  My tired little Aubrey rubbed her eyes and stumbled off to bed, but Nathan sat up with me to keep watch over Belle for a while longer. 

Unfortunately sometime while we were keeping watch we fell asleep and Belle gave birth to a fifth puppy.  When I awoke I saw the fifth puppy, but it was in serious distress and still in its birth sac, it looked like the puppy had been vacuum sealed in a plastic bag.

I woke Nathan up quickly and asked him for more warm rags and a clean dry towel.  I carefully cut open the birth sac and a little fluid flowed out, but the puppy was not breathing or moving.  He was completely limp.  My first thought was that he was already dead, but I still had hope. 

First I cut the umbilical cord then cleaned the puppy's face and opened his mouth, then with a soft blue rubber mucus extractor that is used on human babies, I sucked out some of the fluid from his mouth and started doing tiny CPR pressures on the puppy's chest.  I put my mouth over his face and blew softly into his lungs making his chest rise and fall.  Changing to tiny heart pumps and back pats to CPR breathing again on him and massaging his tiny body ever so gently.  I nestled him close to my chest for warmth. He was as small as a little mouse. 

I could barely feel a heartbeat, it took me over two hours before the puppy began to breathe on his own.  It was sad to see him motionless for so long, but I never gave up on him.  Immediately I placed him in the box at Belles' belly, coaching him to try to drink some of Belles milk.  Soon I noticed he was not strong enough to fight for milk.  Thank goodness I had an animal baby bottle to feed him with.  I mixed up a puppy formula I researched online, and he liked it.  From that day I had to bottle feed him until he was eating soft dog food.  When I saved him, I knew he would be our new baby.  And because he was so much smaller and weaker the other puppies knew it, but that is nature, and they would get rough with him sometimes when I put him in the box to be with the other puppies.

He never grew as big as his brothers and sisters did.  While they got bigger he stayed small.  By the time he was six months old, he grew to a plump one and a half pounds, four ounces, which is about the size of a soda can.  He never grew to a normal size Shih~Tzu, so we took him everywhere.  I would put him in my purse when we had to go out.  He was never left alone.  By the time he was eights months, he was to a healthy three pounds and to this day he is still the cutest little puppy in the world.

"He truly is Maximus!"

The End

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