You know, I would not have taken you all on this fairly immersive puppy-rearing journey if I’d expected it to be such a downer. I just wouldn’t have mentioned anything about it until or unless I could post pictures of bright-eyed eight-week-old puppies.
Well, I’m sorry. Because on February 13th, Girl was perfectly normal. But she suddenly stopped nursing yesterday before dawn. A few hours later, she started having seizures. By early afternoon, she was having a seizure every fifteen minutes and the interval was getting shorter.
Of course I had her euthanized.
I can’t tell you what this was like.
It wasn’t just the loss of this one puppy. It was the loss of everything. Even if Boy 1 doesn’t suddenly die, too, I don’t dare breed him now, even if he is the most beautiful Cavalier ever whelped. I don’t expect him to be affected, though at this point nothing bad could surprise me. On the other hand, what is he carrying? I don’t know. I can’t know. So how can I breed him?
My plans for working toward a family of Cavaliers free of heart defects? Those plans are dead, too. Because I can’t take this. This is worse than just having my plans set back by two years, which before yesterday was the worst I thought could happen.
I said to someone yesterday that this was my fifth disastrous litter in a row. But actually, once I counted them up, it’s more like my seventh. I thought Whelpwise would solve my problems. And maybe it would, for my next litter, if I planned to breed another litter. Because this neonatal death thing, this is something else. There’s no reason to expect this to happen again.
But it doesn’t matter. Because I’m done. I have been physically sick since Giedre started having premature labor. I feel better when things start going well, but actively nauseated when bad things happen. And bad things keep happening, worse each time. And I can’t take it. This is it.
If I hadn’t already bred Folly, I wouldn’t. As it is, I think I will take her puppies — presuming she has any — via a C-section / spay. I don’t care if she is carrying a nice normal litter of four. I don’t care. I am going to place her out as a pet, though it will take some attention to find the right pet home for her because she is so sensitive and very active, with a lot of prey drive. But good homes do turn up. I will keep an eye out.
I am thinking of placing all of her puppies out as pets, too, and keeping nothing. I wanted a little black-and-tan girl to show. But now I’m thinking of quitting showing, because what’s the point? For me, showing is all about breeding, and I’m done. I may not even bother finishing championships on Kenya and Honey. Though it seems a shame to stop short for those two, when they’re all but there. But showing means yet more expenses and time, and I don’t know.
I can tell you for sure, I will place Giedre out as a pet rather than breeding her again. At least, unlike Folly, she would be perfect for many, many pet homes.
Next year I was going to breed Kenya and use Whelpwise to ensure that I got living puppies. But I think now, no. In three or four years, maybe I will breed Honey because she is just too superb to spay. Or maybe not. Because I am tired of watching every damn backyard breeder who doesn’t even bother with heart checks for her structurally unsound dogs get five-puppy litters, when all of mine die. Of every show breeder who cuts corners with health checks, who gets a six-puppy litter.
I am sick of people asking me what I feed my girls, or if I filter my water, or about my vaccination schedule, as though somehow this is my fault. I’m tired of people telling me I should stick with it, or that I should buy a bitch with a better reproductive history, when they are not the ones having to cover three or five or eight thousand dollars of losses every single year.
I’m tired of it. Of the time, and the expenses that I keep having to eat all but whole, and most of all of the unbelievable stress, worse with every litter that turns into a nightmare. Even if Folly’s litter is perfectly fine, I’m done.
I won’t post about puppies again until Boy 1 is six or eight weeks old. I won’t post about Folly’s litter at all, until and unless her puppies get to that age.
I should probably hit “save draft” instead of “post.” But the hell with that, too. This is not going to be a day for sounding upbeat and cheerful. Check back in Monday and I will be upbeat then.