Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints

It's been 9 weeks since the tragic loss of Rifka. Her puppies are now ready to head to new homes and it's been quite a journey watching these guys grow up. Raising an orphan litter is no easy task, especially when there's so many mouths to feed, but Taryn managed it with a little help from Lola - the puppy's aunt - and several selfless friends who gave whatever they could to ensure the survival of these little babies.

Taryn has wisely decided not to send some puppies home until after Christmas because it can be a difficult to integrate a new puppy into a home during the mayhem of the holidays. I am very impressed with the puppies in this litter and Rifka and Manny certainly did not let Taryn down with their 'kids'. They show incredible promise and I am delighted at least one, Ellie, will be heading out here to the East Coast to live with her cousin Peggy from Leeloo and Raimi's second litter.

Taryn has made her choices about what puppy she is keeping to attempt to fill the shoes of her beloved Rifka; little Sequana is staying and has already made her mark on Taryn's heart. Taryn let Sequana choose her, instead of the other way around, because it was important to her that the puppy she kept connected to her the way The Boy or Cora connect to me (see the Atonement post).  In only looking for show quality you can sometimes choose a dog that isn't meant to spend its life with you - you also have to choose the personality that best fits your lifestyle.

Not many people will be able to understand what Taryn went through during the whelping of this litter or the depth of the loss that she experienced. There are no cut and dry guidelines when it comes to whelping or when you should get to the vet when your dog is in labour. If there was a Magic 8 Ball of Whelping I'd sure love to get one and so would thousands of breeders across the globe. We are all simply guessing, trying to figure out what's in there, what's going on, who's on their way out and when they might arrive. It is not easy to tell what the bitch is feeling, you are constantly second guessing the process and you never ever know when something is going to go wrong.

(Photo credit Amelia Payne Birch)

An experienced and honest breeder would never say there are cut and dry guidelines for when you should get to the vet - or really anything to do with breeding. Reproduction can throw you for a loop and you'll never know when; sometimes with perfection, sometimes with stillbirth, sometimes with puppies missing parts (ears, tail, leg), sometimes with extra parts, sometimes with parts on the outside that should be on the inside (intestines, brains). And sometimes the bitch dies and its no one's fault.

(Photo credit Amelia Payne Birch)
Rifka didn't die because Taryn didn't get her to the vet on time, or because she didn't know what she was doing, or she didn't have the money to pay for that magical and extra special veterinary care that guarantees no loss of life, or because she was irresponsible, or she didn't care about Rifka's life, or that she didn't read the "Cut and Dry Guidelines" book on whelping. Rifka died because sometimes that's just what happens and these are the chances we take when we breed dogs.

It is still unaccountably, inexplicably and vastly unfair that Rifka died, but Taryn tells me that she can feel Rifka visiting her some days, just as sometimes I accidentally call Esme by the name of my little heart Puli Petal who has been gone now almost 5 years. I think it's a way for the dogs we've loved and lost to remind us they are still here touching our lives while they patiently wait for that fateful reunion. Until then Taryn is going to enjoy watching Rifka's legacy grow up and I'm sure will see different shades of her in every puppy. They may have been raised without their dam but with the conscientious care of Taryn, Door, and Frejya (and sometimes Willow) they have developed into shining representatives of their mother and their breed. So many people are heavily invested in this litter and we are all proud to know and be a part of the Elyia family.

Rest In Peace - Rifka 2007-2012

1 comment:

Amelia Payne said...

Beautiful description. Can't wait to bring my little Ilala home with me! Can't wait to be part of a ridgeback family!