Still Thursday, November 14th, 2019 – I read over Amina’s file carefully. I like to be prepared and learn everything I can about a foster pup’s history. According to her previous owners, Amina was good with the large dogs that she lived with but not great with little dogs and had never been around children. At home, her nickname had been Beans.
When the children arrived home from school, they were eager to meet the new foster. I decided to introduce them one at a time so Amina wouldn’t be overwhelmed as she was a little shy around new people. When Andrew went downstairs with me, Amina got really low to the ground and backed away from the door. Her body language informed me that she was nervous so instead of letting her out, Andrew offered her treats from outside the pen. Amina accepted them and was back to her relaxed and wagging self in no time. Imagine a repeat scene with each kid!
When Ryan returned from work and went to meet her, Amina emitted a low growl and backed away. Did she not trust men as much? Was this just one too many people to meet in a day? Ryan retreated with the plan to get her used to him another time.
That night, around 3am, I awoke to the sound of a whimper. Was Amina in labor? I ran downstairs. She was waiting and wagging by the door. I let her out and she quickly peed. Those pregnancy hormones and pressure! The girl had to go!
Friday, November 15th, 2019 – The name Amina was a little tricky for the children to remember. In the first 24 hours that she was with us, I answered “What is her name again?” quite a few times. She had gotten more comfortable with the kids, so they visited her with me that evening and we decided to test out her name recognition to both “Amina” and “Beans”. She responded equally well to both (along with any other word we said with great enthusiasm!), so we decided to stick with Beans while she was with us. I continued to test this over the next couple days.
“Good girl, Beans. Good girl, Amina.”
“Amina!” Pause. “Beans!”
I never noticed a difference in reaction between the two names, though Anne, when visiting to take some more pictures of our sweet girl, felt like she responded better to Amina, so I continue to use it occasionally in my chatter for familiarity’s sake.
Friday afternoon, Anne posted the first part of Amina’s/Beans’ foster story on the Facebook page for the Humane Society of Huron Valley. I could tell from the likes and shares that the animal lovers of our community were super excited to learn more about Amina!
Again, Beans woke up overnight needing to pee. I was happy she was housebroken, but was sleeping so lightly awaiting her labor that I was starting to feel tired.
Saturday, November 16th, 2019 – I eagerly checked on Beans in the morning. No puppies yet. She ate breakfast heartily. Most mamas will stop eating about 12 hours before delivery (though not all!), so I guessed it wouldn’t be today.
The kids were excited to spend some more time with Beans today. I was still very cautious about their interactions with her. I watched her body language carefully. She no longer looked nervous around them, but since she hadn’t spent any time with children, I showed the kids how to look unthreatening and also told them not to make any sudden movements that might startle her.
Andrew used some treats to test if Beans knew any basic commands. She definitely knew “come” when treats were involved! She could also be persuaded to “sit” despite her advanced pregnancy!
Also, we were careful to keep some distance from Beans’ food dish. Some dogs resource guard, and until we know the ins and outs of a dog’s personality, we err on the side of caution. I wanted to set Beans up to be comfortable and successful in every way. Beyond the important education on how to interact with unfamiliar dogs that the children receive, it is also imperative to keep them safe.
My new toy arrived! I was so excited to set up the pet cam! Once it was set up, I checked on Beans A LOT! When we weren’t visiting with her, she spent much of her time snoozing in the whelping box.
More nighttime awakenings. Still no puppies.
Sunday, November 17th, 2019 – We used to have a couch for foster dogs. A neighbor had been discarding it because it had a small rip. We repurposed it into a place where mama dogs could escape puppy teeth and claws for short rests. Several mamas had enjoyed it (along with several solo puppies and a kitten – not at the same time of course!), but it had eventually been so shredded by those same puppy teeth and claws the mamas were escaping that we had also discarded it.
I had mentioned being on the lookout for another couch or love seat on its way to the landfill to Anne Savage. She told me that she had found a good one and could deliver it to us with her truck. Yay!
She arrived Sunday afternoon with a beautiful maroon couch with nary a rip or stain on it. We couldn’t put this perfect couch downstairs to be shredded by puppies!
We had a decades old couch in our front room (which we use as an art and music room) that had reached its last legs. We kept it covered and our dogs often snuggled on it. We decided to haul that one down to the basement and use the one Anne had found in our art/music room.
We put the couch outside the pen for now. I wanted to ensure that Beans used the cozy whelping box as a bed and then for whelping. Once the puppies were a couple weeks old and Beans started seeking refuge, we would move the couch into the pen.
Beans was happy to have a place to sit with humans and snuggle though. She was very pleased to roll around and get comfy on the couch and receive all the pets!
Beans still wasn’t sure about Ryan. He sat on the stairs and tossed treats to her, which she would cautiously dart over to eat. She growled at him as often as she wagged at him. He sat with her quietly for a bit and then gave her space.
We were up at night again, but just to pee.
Monday, November 18th, 2019 – Beans was really settling into a routine now. She was eager to go out first thing in the morning, and then every couple hours thereafter. She was happy to go on longer walks and also satisfied to go out on a long leash just to pee and then return to the couch for snuggles.
She ate a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner so I was pretty sure today wasn’t the day.
Beans sounded the now-standard midnight and 3am wake up to pee alarm. I dragged myself out of bed and downstairs. Livie and Teddy were starting to anticipate this as a time for them to go out to relieve themselves too. Hopefully, they would start sleeping through the night again when Beans and I could.
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019 – No puppies in the morning. Beans ate a hearty breakfast.
When I gave her more wet food at 11am, however, she didn’t touch it. Hmmmm…. This was new. Maybe a sign of labor?
I watched Beans carefully all day. She was still happy to go out for walks and potty breaks. Was she a little slower emerging from the whelping box? Maybe.
She also didn’t eat dinner. Anne wanted to be present for at least part of the delivery. I told her that we might be close.
Ryan came down to visit Beans in the evening. She accepted treats from him happily, if a little warily. Progress!
That night, when I let Beans out at midnight, I was pretty sure she was in labor. She was breathing hard, panting some, and starting to destroy her blankets in efforts to nest. I took the larger comforter out of the whelping box so the imminent puppies wouldn’t get squished or lost in it. Then I sat and waited. There were no changes for over an hour. At 1:30am, I went back to bed.
At 3am, I got up again and went to check on Beans. She went out to pee eagerly. She was still panting and restless. She vomited a couple times, mostly liquid. I sat and waited with her. She placed her head in my lap for a few minutes trying to rest. Then she rooted around in the blankets again. At 4:30am, I went back to bed again.
Puppies were coming soon!!