I am often asked where my great love for dogs actually comes from. After all, my private and professional life revolves around man's best four-legged friend. Whether nutrition, health or education - I have become a real dog expert. This is probably also due to the fact that I share my home with the craziest, but also greatest Continental Bulldog male El Carlos. Despite my experience and knowledge, he always presents me with puzzles and challenges that I have to face. A life without a dog? I can not imagine! Since I saw the light of day, I grew up with dogs, played and lived with them. However, when I was a small child I did not even begin to appreciate these faithful creatures as I do today. I remember that one defining moment that turned a little normal girl into an irrevocable and unconditional doglover. It was the day when our family dog Cara had a litter.
It all began on a cool spring morning. Song thrushes and starlings had returned from their wintering grounds and intensified the early morning bird concert. The sun shone brightly and friendly through the windows. Actually a beautiful and peaceful day. I was five years old and super proud that I was recently allowed to call myself a real preschooler. Awakened by the courtship song and the glaring light, I went downstairs to the living room and welcomed our three year old Golden Retriever bitch Cara. She was an enchanting, calm and level-headed dog lady - but she could mutate into an adventurous tomboy without announcement. Classic fences were a laughing stock for the nimble four-legged friend. Whether burrowed underneath or jumped over elegantly like a deer - Cara was determined to explore the world on her own from time to time. For us, her excursions, in which we searched the whole area full of fear and anxiety, were less fun. Luckily, she usually came back to us wagging her tail or looking proudly from the back seat of the police car in which she was chauffeured home. The fences around our property were reinforced and Cara remained free of adventures for a long time - we thought the rebellious phase was finally over. Also that morning Cara, who looked like a little snowflake with her light blonde fur, had put on her innocent doggy look and enjoyed my caresses. I wonder if she had already worked out her plan?
A mother feels such a thing...
When my mother picked me up from preschool in the afternoon, I saw it right in her eyes: Something had happened. She just said: "We have to leave quickly, the others are already on their bikes, Cara is gone. But this time it wasn't a sense of adventure that made Cara run away - she was in the hot phase of her run. Luckily, it didn't take half an hour when my father came with Cara in tow, cycling along the forest path to the house. We could breathe deeply. The next days and weeks went quite normal and the thought that our bitch might have enjoyed herself with a male dog during her outing moved further and further into the background. Until a friend of my mother steadfastly claimed that Cara had put on noticeable weight. She advised us - just as a precaution - to go to the vet. Arrived at the veterinarian, she was immediately lifted onto the table for listening and my mother said only completely relaxed: "Cara is not pregnant, I am mother and a mother feels such a thing. The veterinarian laughed and replied with a wink: "Well, you are a great mother - I can hear at least 6 hearts beating. Shocked, excited, inspired, confused, and with 20 more feelings in our stomach we left the practice.
Hope for a good taste in men
During the next weeks our little snowflake turned into a gigantic snow globe and we prepared the house for the offspring. My father - king of all do-it-yourselfers, built a huge litter box with all the trimmings and the study became a puppy paradise. The news of our pregnant bitch had spread all over the neighborhood and everyone had agreed on the mission to find the father of the puppies. After all, dog ladies are usually not very picky in the hot phase - so we could only hope for a beautiful and healthy mating. It didn't take long before our neighbor Ulli had actually unmasked the person responsible. Thank God! Cara had mated with the most beautiful male in the neighborhood: The big, handsome Rhodesian Ridgeback male Django. His owner told us that on the supposed day of her walk through the forest, a Golden Retriever bitch suddenly came running out of the bushes and made beautiful eyes at her male. Django did not hesitate and took this unique opportunity. His mistress had tried to separate the two, but no chance. Django's owner wanted to take one of the puppies with her after the birth.
The birth of the puppies
Cara soon looked like she was going to burst. And so she literally did one morning. Restlessly our three year old dog ran back and forth in the birth box. And then, all of a sudden, the first little puppy saw the light of day. Each newborn puppy is surrounded by its own amniotic sac, or amniotic sac, which the bitch usually bites open. But Cara was still completely inexperienced and insecure - her instincts failed and the puppy threatened to suffocate in its thin amniote. I got scared, took the little bubble with the puppy in my hand and panicked and shouted: "Get him out, get him out! My mother cut a hole in it with scissors. We were met by a tiny, somewhat slippery and unmistakably male body. It resembled a mole much more than a dog. His eyes were firmly closed, he was well and breathing freely. And that was that one very special moment that made my heart overflow. We had brought this little creature into the world and saved it.
The birth went without further complications and with every new puppy my happiness grew. My mother had warned me before that mostly not all puppies would survive the birth or the first time afterwards and I was prepared for the worst. All the more we fought for every single dog life and did everything in our power to support our brave dog mom. She was heroic and full of confidence. We could not have been prouder. After 10 long hours the birth, which was very exhausting for all of us, was over. Together we had managed to bring all puppies into the world alive. Now 8 little moles crawled through the whelping box looking for the fullest teat.
The dog puppies had the classic Rhodesian Ridgeback Iro on their back. Most were black or dark brown. Two puppies stood out especially - their fur was brown-black tabby. We called them Tigger and Tigger Two. The firstborn and biggest, with shiny black fur, we called Mio, because at that time I was reading the book "Mio my Mio" by Astrid Lindgren. We had a very special bond with him, because we had cut him out of his little bladder ourselves. From then on he was part of our family. His three sisters got the names: Lili, Rose, and Happy. His brothers: Otto and Paul.
And suddenly it was time to say goodbye
During the next weeks I spent every free minute with the puppies. In the evening I sang lullabies to the little ones, sometimes I fell asleep in the middle of the litter box. After a while I smelled more like a puppy than a child. I loved my little moles and yet I knew that the day would come when I had to say goodbye. Every day I tried to persuade my parents to keep all the puppies - unfortunately and understandably without success. At the age of eight weeks the puppies moved to their new home, to their new families. And seven times I had to say goodbye tearfully. But the good news was: We were able to place all puppies in the circle of friends. And - Mio my Mio stayed with us all his life. We gave birth to him and 11 years later to Rainbow Bridge.
Who would have thought that Cara's little outing would mean such a big 8-headed happiness. Our little runaway gave us not only a wonderful dog, but also an incomparable and unforgettable experience. Every single day of this animal adventure was an absolute #wwmoment in itself. Moments that to this day bring a smile to my face and a lot of love to my heart. Moments that I was not only allowed to share with my family, but also with my beloved four-legged friends.
By Louisa Knoll