Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Part 2 First and Last Boat Ride
By Johna Ferguson
(Part 1 Loss of Maidenhood is here)
They were soft and warm, six lovely puppies that burst forth, almost unannounced, one afternoon. I’d just returned from work, the boys weren’t home from school yet and there was Perky, lying in a corner of the patio in labor.
I ran inside and called my neighbor, a dog owner for years to come help. The boys had prepared a box with a soft blanket for Perky, but it was too late for that now. The last one to be born was not breathing and try as hard as we could, she died in my friend’s hands. Perky was taking care of cleaning up the other five so she never missed that one.
Carefully, we transferred them all into the box and put it in the laundry room as planned. That room had high windows that opened, but no dog could jump in anymore.
When school was out in a week, we moved to the beach. Perky and the pups went into the back of the station wagon in their familiar box.
Once at the beach we found the perfect solution for them. We had an old, all-sides-screened, four-year crib. We turned it upside down on the grass and they couldn’t wander away. Also it was cool, and when they messed on the grass, we just moved it. At night we inverted it as it had a screened lid and a heavy duty screened bottom where the mattress should lay.
During the day, we let them all out to wander, but we knew we had to get rid of them soon. The boys posted an ad at the local grocery store and one family came and took the biggest one, a solid black male probably the offspring of a part-German shepard, we guessed.
A neighbor said he wanted one, but not until they were 10 weeks old, and he picked a small female that looked just like Perky. No one came to get the other three, so what to do. Of course, the boys wanted to keep them all, but I had said no to that idea.
We decided they would just have to go the way all unwanted kittens and puppies went, to be put in a weighted-down gunny sack and dumped overboard out in the center of the bay. The boys had seen this happen before so even though they didn’t like it, they thought it was better than shooting them like one of neighbors always did.
When my husband came down for the weekend, he was voted to be the one to carry out the task since he hadn’t been around daily to watch the playful antics of the pups. He found a bag, loaded it with big rocks and got the small row boat down on the beach. He pushed it into the water, and then got in.
Quinn held Perky, and the other two boys were to help their dad. One held the boat at the shore and the other climbed on board with the sack and handed it to his father. But when that son got out, he accidentally tilted the boat and his father fell in head first, bag in hand. Luckily, he didn’t drop it when he surfaced.
Soaking wet, he asked the boys to dump the water out of the boat and he climbed in again and put the wet bag on the back seat and rowed out.
Perky was going frantic so Quinn took her inside to be with her one other puppy. The other boys didn’t want to watch either, so they went into the house. I stayed on the beach, hoping my husband wouldn’t tip the boat over so far out, but I saw him successfully drop the bag overboard, and then row back to shore.
Of course he was wearing his non-waterproof watch, had his wallet, now soaked in his pocket, but luckily hadn’t dropped his car keys in the water.
Perky eventually calmed down, but we knew when the last puppy was taken in three weeks she’d again be one upset mother. After that final puppy left, Perky was moody and didn’t eat for a couple of days, but within the week she seemed to be back to her normal self. I suppose she dreamed of the next litter she would have. Little did she know that the vet would take care of that problem once we returned to town.
All in all, it was a sad learning situation for us all and one we hoped never to let happen again with any animal.
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