On Thursday 8-16-12 at 6:30 pm, I did intake on Miranda, a 2 yr old pug who, as you can tell by the photo, was pregnant. X-rays confirmed she was carrying four puppies. The girls at the vet clinic gave me all sorts of advice – things to watch for, things to do. They said I would know ahead of time because she would start nesting in a far off space, away from everyone.

I took her home, and she was my little shadow, so I felt a bit relieved that I probably had a few days before the puppies would come, giving me a chance to find a willing foster home.

At about 8:30pm Friday, I walked into the kitchen and saw a watery, greenish fluid on the floor. I immediately knew it was Miranda, and the puppies were not far away. I got the playpen out and set it up in the living room. Robyn from Noes Ark called me to see if any puppies yet, and I said soon, and explained. She asked if I had her isolated from the others. I told her I had her in the playpen. She asked where. I said in the living room. She freaked out, and told me I had to put her in a room by herself or she could get too stressed out to deliver, or might be so stressed out she would eat the puppies. So, I took the playpen to Mom’s bedroom upstairs away from the other pugs. Lots of towels, blankets and pee pee pads. I put Miranda in the playpen, dimmed the lights and waited.

The first puppy came at 10 pm. It was so sudden. There was no laboring, no screaming (her or me), no need for me to encourage her with “push, Miranda! push…breathe!” Sadly, she wanted nothing to do with it. I gave her a moment and she walked away. I quickly ripped the membrane off and got the puppy out, but there was no movement. I cleaned it’s nose and mouth and blew air in. Nothing. It seemed likethe puppy wasn’t quite as developed as it should have been. Whatever the reason, puppy number one was a still birth.

I called over to the ER vet and asked them if there was anything I should do, should I bring her over there. The tech told me it could be hours before the next puppy. She said if there was going to be anything wrong with the puppy, it would be wrong there as well, so might as well let her have them where she was, unless she was straining to have it for more than 20 minutes.

Back to waiting. At 10:45 pm, puppy #2 came. A little better formed than puppy #1, puppy #2 was smaller, and Miranda started swinging it around as she tried to chew off the umbilical cord. I helped her get it out of the sack. It took a few very feeble breaths. I cleaned its face and nose, blew in its face, and sat it next to her. It never made a sound. Just like that, it was gone. Leora, one of the vet techs at Noes Ark, who has fostered for APARN before, called me and offered advice. I think we were on the phone most of the next hour.

Within 30 minutes, puppy #3 was born. I gave her a minute to try to get it out, and then helped her. It was much stronger looking, and after cleaning its face, I wiped it down as it wiggled and squeaked. I was excited! Finally, a puppy making noise and acting like it has some will to live! I put the puppy by her and it tried to find a way to nurse. It would get a nipple and then she would get up and move. I would move the puppy back over to her.

After another 30 minutes, puppy #4 was born. Pretty much a repeat of the last one, puppy #4 was considerably larger. When I finished cleaning up the puppy and sitting it by her, Miranda leaned over and kissed my hand. It was as if she was thanking me for helping her. It was so sweet.

We cleaned out the playpen, changed all the bedding for them, and helped the puppies find a nipple to get some milk. Miranda would get up and move every time the puppies got comfortable. I knew that they had to get enough nourishment or could have a seizure and die. I got the Karo syrup and a syringeand put a tiny bit in their mouths. I put some on her nipples to entice the puppies. We got them to nurse enough that I felt they’d be okay for a few hours. We got a rice bag and heated it in the microwave, wrapped it in a towel and put it in with them all for extra warmth.

It was about 2am when I finally crawled into bed. The alarm sounded at 6am, and I got up to check out the nursery! The puppies were still alive, but not real warm. We renewed the rice bag and pulled out the electric heating pad.

I put a towel between heating pad and wrapped rice bag, and put the puppies on top with a towel over them. Mom ran to Walmart to buy formula since Miranda was a reluctant mom. I went downstairs to take out the garbage, and when I came back in, Miranda was at the top of the stairs – she had climbed/jumped out of the playpen! (“I had the babies, so I am all done; I want to play!”) I put her back in the pen with the babies and we tried to get them a little formula. I finally read the box, and you had to cut an X in the top of the nipple first!

Once 9am rolled around, I called Central Mesa Veterinary Hospital, who knew I had taken in Miranda, and when I said she was reluctant to nurse, they offered for me to bring mom and pups to the clinic and they’d watch her and put her in a smaller cage so she couldn’t get away, and would finally nurse. “You’ve been in rescue for 12 years and you’ve never been a midwife before?” I told her I’ve always managed to avoid it. I left the puppies in capable hands, and they were going to check out all three, and snip the dewclaws as well.

In the meantime, I heard from Leora, and she was willing to take the puppies if they needed to be bottle fed, and willing to take puppies and mommy if they got them nursing. I met her there at 3:30pm Sat afternoon, took some photos and thanked everyone profusely.

The puppies stayed with Miranda and Leora until they were 8 week old and could be checked out by the vet and go to a new home on a foster-to-adopt contract. Miranda was spayed adopted quickly after the puppies were gone.

I am actually glad that I went through this experience, however, I don’t care to repeat it anytime in the near future!

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