Gracie's puppies – Week 3

By their third week of life, the puppies were famous among our neighbors and friends.  The kids were so excited about the whole experience (and to be honest, I was just as excited!) that they told anyone who would listen about the miracle at our home.  And anyone who saw Gracie walking around the neighborhood could tell that she was a nursing mother as her nipples swung back and forth as she walked like a runner’s ponytail. 

We had put off introducing anyone outside the family to this precious canine family in hopes of reducing the stress on Gracie and allowing her to develop a strong nursing relationship with the puppies.  But well into the third week, it was clear that Gracie welcomed any and all attention, for herself and for her pups. 

We had put off introducing anyone outside the family to this precious canine family in hopes of reducing the stress on Gracie and allowing her to develop a strong nursing relationship with the puppies.  But well into the third week, it was clear that Gracie welcomed any and all attention, for herself and for her pups. 

We started saying yes when neighbors asked to pop in and see the pups.  When the kids’ friends were over, they were allowed to pop in and visit the pups (with their parents’ permission).  Of course, when anyone was visiting the puppies, I was always right there making sure Gracie was comfortable and that the puppies were handled with utmost care.

By this point, I had completely and utterly fallen in love with Gracie.  She adored me and the feeling was mutual. 

So it took me by surprise one day when I got a phone call from a friend, a mother of one of Mae’s friends.  The friend’s father had picked up his daughter from our house a short while before.  He had seen the girls playing with the pups with Gracie just laying among the children and puppies enjoying a Kong.  Though my friend had told me that she was okay with her daughter being around a mother dog and puppies (with the understanding that I would be present), she had not known the mother was a pit bull.  Her daughter, a frequent guest in our home, would no longer be allowed to be near any pit bulls. 

As I started announcing that Gracie was a pit bull when friends were over, the reactions were mixed.  Most of the parents who were concerned had had a bad experience with a pit bull before.  I wondered if at least part of the bad experience was the fear itself. 

Every parent has the right to make whatever decisions they think are best for their children in the moment and we had some friends who played with puppies and Gracie for hours and others who had to stay out of the basement completely. 

(Ryan, working in pediatric intensive care, carries his own fears regarding ATVs, wave pools, and trampolines.  I carry my own icy roads fear around all winter long.  These fears influence our parenting decisions regularly.)

I was also surprised by how many people LOVED pit bulls in particular and were infactuated with the puppies.   Our teenaged neighbor spent hours just laying down and letting the puppies climb all over her.  Another neighbor seriously considered applying to adopt Gracie, but couldn’t at the time because their older dog was not dog friendly (he ended up passing shortly after and they now have two rescues). 

Fostering Gracie and her puppies taught me that most people harbor strong feelings, whether positive or negative, about pitties.

Meanwhile, the puppies were continuing to grow on Gracie’s milk.  They were bright eyed, chunky, and newly mobile.  They wobbled around adorably and wagged their tails at any and all attention thrown their way.   

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