A journey with a dozen plus one…- Part 3

Bella’s Own Cricket Team …And an EXTRA.

Bella has her way with us… She has kept on toes ever since she came into our life. 

I don’t remember sitting down calmly for more than a week. There is always a sense of adventure with her around. Two trips to the vet in the first two weeks of having Bella and then the breaking news happens.

So when I found out at Vets office that Bella was close to her delivery date, it all started to make sense. Her docile behavior even though she is a pup, her lethargy, her out of control eating and her peeing so often that every single night she woke me up to take her outside.

I quickly called my husband and shared the news and then emailed Liz (Bella’s Rep at GGLRR) . It took only a few minutes for me to hear back from her , a news equally shocking to her as well. In all honesty.. I think we all had panicked.

It’s funny how situations change your perspective. I was moaning and getting upset about how I feel cruel to be spaying my dog, like i am taking away her body parts when she gets spayed and next I know I was feeling ..OMG, once this is over spaying is the way to go.

Amidst all that was happening I just knew one thing. Bella was going to have her puppies here at home cos nothing is worth risking her life and that she isn’t going anywhere. A lot of people asked me why we did what we did. Well you don’t turn away a family member just because they are sick and whatever happens, I was going to make sure Bella is safe with us.

I have to give a LOT of credit to GGLRR folks. When I spoke to Liz and after we all understood the impact of this news she offered to find a foster to take care of Bella and the pups for the next three months. She asked me to talk to my husband and decide what we wished to do. Talking to Vishy made our decision even simpler and easy. He is an awesome person esp when it comes to supporting me. He told me to go ahead and do what I thought was best for Bella and so we took the BIG decision to do whatever it takes to make sure Bella and her pups have a family behind them. 

That decision made it easy for us to proceed. Few things had to be taken care of first. Her diet had to change. We switched to puppy food. We went from diet control to her bowl being never empty. Exercise was limited to slow placed walks and honestly I was worried if I will need to call someone from the roadside if she starts delivering there…(yeah shows how little experience we had for the undertaking we were going for.)

While the rescue started putting things together at their end we were able to rekindle a friendship from school days. Vishy’s friend from school and his wife were big contributors to rescuing labs in Houston. So we were able to reach out to them and talk. Anu has had a ton of experience doing something she is amazing at – rescue dogs. She spent a good amount of time guiding us and sharing her experience that she has gathered rescuing dogs. She was such an immense positive assurance that helped us take this big step forward.

In a few days Liz and her husband Jim put together a whelping setup for Bella. Idea was to make Bella comfortable there so the puppies are born in the safety of the home and are contained in a smaller area. We cleaned out our dining area and setup the whelping stuff there. That way the pups stay warm inside the home and we can keep an eye on them. 

Bella meanwhile had other plans…she started nesting in all weird places in the backyard. She was digging and making herself comfy in a dark spot under the backyard steps where its cold and wet. We literally had to drag her out so we don’t have to worry about how to keep the pups safe from predators and cold and rain. 

She then started finding a comfy spot in my closet.. OMG..Imagine what would have happened to my clothes if the pups decided to play there..:).

Then the wait began. 

I was in constant touch with Stacy while all this was going on. I have a ton of respect for Bella’s foster mom and she has been my constant support thru this journey. I also know she enjoys hearing updates about Bella and she makes time to help me out in all ways possible..

Meanwhile Liz(The rockstar woman of GGLRR) introduced me to the “Doggy Doula” as Elizabeth likes to call herself :). The process of making Bella comfortable with Elizabeth began as we need to be prepared with everything to help Bella out and honestly I had no clue what I was doing except that my maternal instincts kicked in overtime.

Meanwhile everyone had started betting on when Bella would deliver. To say the least, I lost the bet big time. :)) 

The night of March 23rd was the hardest. Bella was ready , hiding in dark places, very uncomfortable, not eating and nothing we did…. helped.  

I stayed up almost all night her rubbing her belly and comforting her. I took a short nap during which Bella decided to make a mess on my rugs but on the grand scheme of things, nothing matters when u see tiny puppies that came after that ordeal. 

On the fateful morning on March 24th, exactly one month after Bella came to our home, the fun began. At 11.15 AM with us and Elizabeth at her side, Bella  had her first pup.

We had the notes ready to keep track of puppies. To keep track of unique marking on the pups and to be able to distinguish who came when. Funny thing was all of Bella’s pups are Jet black. Not a single marking on any of them.

What I found out when the first puppy came was that mother dogs eat the sac the pups are in and lick the pups clean including nibbling the umbilical cord away.  That also stimulates the breathing process and helps mom and pup bond.

One after the other the pups started coming out. Sometimes the wait was longer and sometimes shorter.

We were told there would be 7/8 pups and when the 9th one showed… we though Bella was done. From looking like a BIG HOTDOG she was all skinny and boney. 

So we decided to take her to the backyard so she can go do her business now that all pups were here.

Just as we got to the backyard, Bella started going around in circles and I saw another sac showing up. Right before the puppy came out I was there to save the fall and hold the puppy in my bare hands while Elizabeth came running with a towel from inside. That’s the story of the Bella’s 10th pup:). Something I will enjoy telling the generations to come :).

My sister joked if Bella was getting ready to prepare her own cricket team.. And who knew by 5.30 that evening we went from 1 dog to 13 at home. All 12 of Bella’s puppies were alive, healthy and cuddling with their mom. Bella was doing a fabulous job nursing them, and taking care of them.

For me..the work had just started. 🙂

The adventures of these little pups and Bella’s behavior change … in my next blog.

 

For more images from this adventure check here: 

http://www.poojaphotography.com/portfolio/furry-friends/

 

San Ramon Photographer, Portraits, Family Photos, Pet Photos with Family

Bella’s Holds a Secret- Part 2

Bella’s Secret

The day we went to Stacy’s home to meet Bella is so fresh in my mind that it feels like yesterday. I was so anxious and worried about what more examination questions lie ahead for us. After all it was the day Bella meets multiple people to decide where her new home is. I am a firm believer of “You don’t choose your dog but the dog chooses you”.

But there are some people who have that unique quality of making you feel so much at ease. Stacy is just that person. Her warm smile and such a calm demeanor put us at ease so quickly.

Meeting Bella at Stacy’s home only just confirmed how much we wanted Bella to be part of our family. The kids swarmed around her like flies and she was everything we wanted in our dog. Stacy chatted with the kids and us and even though I knew her questions were to evaluate if we were the right fit for Bella, never for even a second it felt like an interview. She shared so much more about Bella that day with us and answered all our questions. She mentioned how Bella had a litter before she was rescued and how she hates anyone touching her rear cos of what she as a pup had gone through. The dogs aren’t ready to be mated until they are two years old and here we had a year old dog which had already had a litter of her own. 

Knowing a little bit more about Stacy was such a humbling experience. I learnt how she fosters and volunteers her time and energy towards these dogs who are waiting to find their forever families. She also runs a doggy day care business and knows her stuff so well. She is an amazing soul who is advocate for the animals who can’t speak for themselves and is such a giving person. I have a whole new level of respect for her and the folks who volunteer so much to help out at the rescues.

After that meeting with Bella is what I call was the worst part.. the WAIT.

Every passing day we were ready to find closure. If Bella was coming to our family or should we continue looking for our next fur baby. Every single time I picked up the kids from school, it was the first question they asked…Did Liz call? Do we know if we are getting Bella? I knew if it wasn’t Bella, it will be hard for me to get them ready to open their heart to another dog. I kept them busy meanwhile and asked them to prepare a list of things we will need for our dog.

A few days later, which did feel, like a long time came the call we were waiting for. Another round of questions , a home check if we were ready to take the responsibility of a big dog and then a final call to confirm that Bella is ours.

I remember my daughter standing next to me and waiting to see my reaction on the phone. Her face, her expression and her joy … that was pure happiness. Bella was ours and so the preparation began to finally get that list out and go shopping. We decided to pick Bella that weekend and it will be a long wait until we get her home.

Liz meanwhile sent us lot of information. I started drinking those books and instructions on how to set the pack order when a new dog comes home.

That Friday we all went and shopped. Kids picked up a new collar and tag for Bella. We pickup the food and the supplies needed and then we all tossed on our bed that night anticipating the arrival of our furbaby.

Next day soon after a pre-planned scout hike we went to pick up our Bella. We had early on decided if we get Bella, we would stick to that name. The name was a perfect fit for our dog. She is black, beautiful and a total love bug.

Before we left with Bella I needed to photograph with her foster family. Stacy and her family were such a big part of her journey and I needed to honor that. I will ever be grateful for the love thay gave Bella.

So on Feb 24th 2018, Bella came home. Her home and she fit right in.

Did I say she is a love bug? That week we had close friends come over and meet her. She would let kids cuddle with her, give her belly rubs .. a dog who trusted and loved us unconditionally so fast.

She was just the most mellow custom made dog or us. We are still eternally grateful.

Little did we know Bella had a secret of her own she wasn’t sharing with anyone.

She was a dog with a luxurious coat.. and she was a little overweight. So we started giving her a lot of exercise, watching her diet and yet she always seemed t have an upset tummy. No matter what we did to help, she was always tired and always hungry. I was told labs are always hungry anyways.. so we dismissed it and continued watching her diet.

Rainy season + furry friend= Stinky dog. A week later Bella got her first bath.

Even the most perfect of beings have issues.. Bella’s is that she hates baths. She would squeeze into a corner and to give her that first shower was definitely a scene from a comic book.

Few days later I saw some red rashes on Bella’s tummy and I was concerned. I was told to take her to the Vet and see if it was the shampoo rash or soap that didn’t get washed away. The Vet said it was probably a heat rash(hmm..heat rash during winters… but okie..i am not the expert here).

We started treating her with meds. Something still wasn’t right. One thing being a mom has taught me is to trust your instincts.

We had Bella’s spaying date scheduled and it was coming up.  Something about her seemed off. She seemed to be getting bigger each day even with us feeding her little and talking her for long walks. I had to get her in before her spaying appointment just to be sure.

A couple of days before her spaying appointment I took her to the Vet office. The doctor confirmed she looked bloated and had gained more weight. He suggested we do an x-ray to find out what’s going on. Bella was so bonded with us by then that it was heart breaking for both Bella and me to leave her alone and step away for the doctor to check her.

Few minutes felt like hours and when the doctor came to update me, my heart was throbbing so hard that I thought everyone could hear it.

He disclosed Bella was pregnant and what appeared to be around 7/8 puppies. She was around 45 days pregnant as they were able to see the skeletons of the pups inside her. That meant she would be ready to deliver around day 60.

My feet never felt this wobbly that I had to sit down to get the impact of this news!!

I had no idea what I was going to do!!

Pet Love-Finding Bella- Part 1

Pet Love is Unique…

It’s selfless, it’s un-demanding and it’s very unique.

I have always been a dog lover…actually I take it back. I have always been a Pet lover. Be it a cat, a dog, a turtle, a hamster or even a chicken. I have always loved pets but dogs hold that extra special place in my heart. I had two dogs at some point of my life while I was growing up but it was a long break before we got Bella in our life.

This blog is about her story and how our journey with her has been since she came into our lives. It’s been only three months but it feels like we have known her for years already…thats the bond we share with her. This is how it all started.

I wanted to have a pet dog since a very long time but sometimes the journey of being ready emotionally to being responsible for a new being takes time.

We have an amazing family in our neighborhood – parents to a beautiful golden retriever. They and their dog Ginger are the reason we all had practice rounds on poop picking, playing and knowing when we were ready to take that next step to dog ownership. 

My sister adopted a dog from a rescue and I think I was very inspired by her open heart that for me getting a dog from a breeder was never really an option. It had to be done right , which meant saving a life of a dog in need. There is nothing wrong in getting a dog from a breeder but personally for me, I knew I had to adopt one, no matter what “baggage” they come with.

Kids and me had visited our local shelter multiple times and almost adopted a dog but something told me they weren’t the right one. Sometimes you trust your gut.. just because you know.

So we started watching a few rescue organizations and one that I realized was amazingly active was the GGLRR. I saw how they were rescuing their dogs. They came from different locations, different scenarios and the GGLRR folks took their time to foster their rescues and find them great homes. They shared a great amount of details about their dogs, which made picking the right one for your family situation easier.

Then one day it happened.. I thought I found a great dog and asked one of the reps if I could meet the dog. As fate had it, that dog was already being adopted by another family but knowing my criteria, GGLRR rep Sarah told me there is another one matching my needs coming up.

What my needs were you wonder?! Well I knew I wanted a year or two-year-old female dog which doesn’t need to be potty trained but has the age on her side share years of love with our family. We wished for a dog who would be a constant companion for kids as they grow knowing how much joy and love a pet can bring into your life.

Soon after on the GGLRR website (www.labrescue.org) we saw the post that made us fall in love with our Bella. Thanks to Daisy and Evelyn Photography I have photos of Bella from the start of our journey together. 

GGLRR folks had rescued Bella when her previous owner was selling her for free on Facebook. There were lots of people interested in taking her so she would be used as a puppy mill. The rescue had intervened and there was Bella on the posting sharing her life story through her eyes. I know for me it was an instant connection.

I knew we had to meet her.

So soon after seeing Bella’s post and sharing that with my family, we reached out to Liz, Bella’s rep asking her if we can meet Bella. Liz shared that Bella would be at a fair at San Jose and that meeting her in person would be the way to go. So that weekend with a lot of excitement we drove over an hour to meet her. Kids were excited beyond words and I had to keep reminding them and myself that we need to keep our hearts open to any dog if we don’t get Bella in our family.

 

Once we got to the fair, we met a few other dogs and let me tell u, they all were adorable and had such unique personalities. There was this one Labrador that went howling just like the volunteer who was playing with him. It was just adorable.

Anyways we met Bella, walked her and spent some time, which felt so little and flew by fast. I would see a lot of folks showing interest in adopting her. People were filling up forms to take it to the next step. She was Ms. Popular there. After all a young female dog that is unusually calm isn’t someone u see so frequently.

 

Once we got home we sat down as a family and chatted about Bella. We all agreed that we loved her and that we were ready to move to the next level. It was finally happening. So I emailed Liz soon after and confirmed that we want to move ahead with her application.

 

The next two days were a painful wait and honestly seemed like a long wait. Liz called us once she had all the interested people’s applications and asked us a ton of questions. It felt like an intense interview which I thought was so weird for a dog adoption form a rescue.

It took me a while to understand why the rescue is so intense in their screening process. This is their way to reduce return rates of dogs and ensures folks understand the commitment needed when you adopt a dog.

 

For someone like Liz who has been volunteering for this job I know it can’t be easy. To ask the right questions, to read between the lines and to know what people actually mean when they say things. It was a start of a journey from “whoa- too much interviewing process” to “wow that’s the right way to do it”.

 

A couple of days later we were told to go visit Bella again but this time visit her in her foster home. I took it as a positive sign and that we will get a chance to find answers to questions we have been thinking about. We were so ready.

Meanwhile we had been learning so much from Cesar Milan who opens up your mind to get into what is needed when you own a dog and what changes it would bring to your life. God bless that man because I learned so much from his show.

 

Meanwhile I got in touch with Stacy Bella’s foster mom and we worked out a time to go meet her. What I didn’t know that time was this was a beginning of a new friendship and how I will find an amazing friend on my journey that lies ahead….

 

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