We said goodbye to Beans yesterday. She had given us the signs that she was ready to wean the pups (entering the puppy pen only a few times each day for a couple minutes – refusing to go in even when there was food available in there – and giving the pups a corrective growl here and there when they tried to nurse).
The morning of her departure, Beans refused to nurse them at all (despite their frantic, desperate requests).
Beans is ready to move out of puppy raising purgatory and into a loving, forever home.
We drove her to the shelter mid morning after a last quick walk around our cul de sac. For the past 50 days, Beans and I have started and ended our days together, with many shared hours in the middle. We took over 100 walks around our neighborhood, spent quite a few sleepless middle of the night hours together, shared too many cuddles to count.
Most poignantly, she trusted me to be at her side throughout her delivery. She trusted me to help her clean and then weigh her babies, to move them in order to change the bedding, to handle them throughout their early weeks. Through all these experiences, she started looking at me with love light (a phrase I learned in adolescence from the book Cages by Peg Kehret and never forgot and in have been lucky enough to recognize in the eyes of several beloved pups).
Beans has so much love to give. And it was time for her to redirect that love onto the right person.
So we arrived at intake with the bittersweet knowledge that it was likely our final goodbye. Beans was greeted with enthusiasm (and hotdog pieces!). She weighed in at a whopping 75lbs, evidence of my weeks of indulging her voracious mama appetite (70 lbs is probably her ideal weight). Beans was enjoying meeting a few new people and getting lots of attention, but there’s always that moment at the end of a foster period, the moment I have to look into her eyes one last time and walk away.
That moment hurts.
Because I know Beans will have a rough couple of days. She needs a health and behavior check. She will be in a kennel with other dogs adjacent to her barking and people coming and going. It is likely that although she was offering the puppies very limited nursing, she will become somewhat swollen in the first couple days.
Most of all, she has to be confused about the changes in her circumstances. Where are her puppies? Where am I?
I try to console the ache by remembering how awesome the shelter staff and volunteers are. They will love on her, offer her yummy treats, walk her, and try to move her into her perfect home as quickly as possible. Once she is cleared for sterilization, they will be reviewing the (hopefully many!) applications for her adoption and will carefully select the best fit. I am guessing that Beans will be moving up and out within the week, sweet girl that she is.
Still, that moment.
Meanwhile, the puppies are thriving. The children all had friends over and played with the puppies for 4 straight hours in the afternoon. The impossible happened: the puppies ceased their mouthing and playing and all fell asleep in laps. Apparently, that is only achieved after hours of attention and play.
A couple neighbors and the friends’ parents popped in to visit the pups and I am sure they looked so sweet and idyllic. Puppies and children are peanut butter and jelly: you can have one without the other, but they’re just not as good.
The puppies have been exposed to several new situations this week (fireworks, the vacuum cleaner, Teddy and Livie poking their heads in the basement, the buzzers – from cutting Andrew’s hair, and several new people). They have taken it all in stride as very young pups will do. These puppies are as friendly and confident as they come.
Their little personalities are starting to shine through. Check back for a puppy personality profile post soon!