I am a breeder.....
While my friends are on a cruise to the Bahamas and my family meets for Christmas, I am home delivering puppies. I haven't had a real vacation in 7 years, but maybe soon. All plans are made around heat dates, whelp dates, and vet dates.
Only another dog breeder could understand my life.
Who else can you call at 3 am for support? Who else has the experience I sometimes need, the meds I sometimes need, or just an uplifting word I sometimes need?
Who else would understand how it feels to have invested hours and hours in a weak puppy to lose it? Or the joy in investing hours in one that lives?
I have slept on the floor beside a litter until the crucial 2 weeks have passed. I have bottle fed puppies every two hours, yes even in the middle of the night. It takes an hour to feed them, so after an hour break; I start feeding again, for a total of four weeks. I have also bottle fed kittens, because they were orphaned by a stray. I am a breeder because I love animals, all animals. I will care for the sick and orphaned even when it costs me money to help them.
I have learned to be proficient at walking 12 dogs at a time, breeding, delivering puppies, resuscitating puppies, micro chipping, vaccinations, fluids, bottle feeding and tube feeding. My vet knows me by first name.
63 days takes on new meaning, still excited by every new life. Every birth feels like Christmas to me. It is I who delivers all my pups, towels and heat lamps on ready - happiness and sadness sometimes intermingled.
Even though it increases my work load, I look forward to the 10 day stage when eyes open, and puppies begin to emerge from the helplessness of newborns. Puppy breath, a first bark, the wagging tail when they hear my voice, gives me so much joy.
My greatest joy is a healthy puppy and a wonderful home. The cards of thanks and the pictures of my puppy with its new family is the fringe benefits of my efforts.
Did I also mention that I am a wife, a mother, a music teacher and a home school mom ........