Watched Pot

Here’s a detailed account of Jazz’s “Special Delivery.”  This is an article I was asked to write for the puppy edition of The Griffonier:

The Watched Pot Finally Boiled

by Tami Carr

7:24 a.m., Wednesday, May 18, 2011  — dig, dig … scratch, scratch … nest, nest … temp drop … pant, pant … the watched pot had started to boil!   Although the message had to be sent via Joel and Kristy Rollins, I quickly texted Wembley to let him know that he was soon to be a daddy; labor had finally begun and six hours later, nothing had changed!    A quick phone call to Jazz’s OB Vet Dr. Katherine Settle confirmed that it was necessary to make the hour drive to her office in Sanford, NC to determine the welfare of the puppies.  There had been a slight question as to whether two puppies would provide the feedback Jazz’s body needed to put her into labor but we opted to cling to the doctor’s advice and stay the course for a natural delivery if at all possible.

My SUV was quickly converted into the ‘Whelping Wagon,’ complete with kiddie pool, newspapers and old towels.  Dr. Settle’s assistant Stacey was waiting for us and promptly got everything in place for an ultrasound.  The puppies’ heart rate was holding strong so Jazz was given a very small dose of Oxytocin and we were sent out to the Whelping Wagon to let her relax for twenty minutes.  After twenty minutes, she was given a shot of Calcium and sent back to the Whelping Wagon.  Things started progressing again!  Yippee! But just like earlier, things slowed down much to our chagrin.  The Oxytocin – Whelping Wagon – Calcium routine was repeated and things picked up.  Since my mother (an OB Nurse and Great Dane breeder back in the 70’s) was with me, Dr. Settle encouraged us to make the run for home.  Armed with great coaching, determination, faith, prayer and a pair of rubber gloves, we headed north on Highway 421 … home was only an hour away! It became obvious that the Labor Cocktail was working so we stopped on the side of the road, changed drivers and I climbed in the back with Jazz.  I’m not sure what I thought I could do but if I figured it out, I was there to do it!

By the time we made the screeching turn into the driveway, Jazz was ready to start pushing.  I was certain that the puppy would drop right out when she de-boarded her mobile Labor & Delivery unit but no such luck!  Fifty minutes later, I was back on the phone with Dr. Settle.   I can’t even describe the expression on Jazz’s face when Mama followed doctor’s orders and checked her to see if she could feel the puppy.  Mama knew exactly what she was doing but Jazz wasn’t quite sure!  Then we heard the dreaded words:  Emergency Vet.  I won’t tell you how quickly that Whelping Wagon  made it across town but let me just say that the Red Sea was parted that night and Darin did some pretty fancy driving … NASCAR style!  Dr. Settle had called ahead and Dr. Laura Gill was ready and waiting.

They whisked a bewildered and reluctant Jazz back to the examining room, did an x-ray and planned to make an episiotomy to help deliver the improperly positioned puppy.  Thankfully, the pre-op relaxed her enough so Dr. Gill was able to turn the puppy and deliver him naturally.  At that point, the tears flowed!  New life is always a precious gift.  His little sister graced the world with no problem at all.

Even though Jazz was a little groggy from the pre-op, she knew exactly what to do and cleaned up both puppies and got them nursing almost immediately.  She was even tolerant of the vet’s assistant coming in the ‘birthing room’ periodically to make sure everything was ok.  After about three hours, we were allowed to leave with Jazz and both of her little one-pound lumps of pure sweetness!   We oohed and aahed all the way home as we reflected on the events of the day and listened to the delightful music of puppy grunts and squeaks.

These puppies are not even two weeks old but have already become quite the little chunky monkeys!  Darin weighs them every evening and charts their progress.  So far, they’ve almost quadrupled their birth weight!  Up until this point Jazz has pretty much done all of the work (cleaning, feeding, etc) but the time is fast approaching for us to be involved in more than just caring for Jazz and loving on her puppies.  We’re excited about seeing their personalities emerge and making predictions as to their abilities, conformation and birdiness.

So, you might ask, why would we, knowing the risk and investment, embark on a journey like this … that’s an easy question to answer!  We believe that the breeding of Jazz and Wembley will produce dogs that will enhance the breed in the field as well as in the show ring and from what we’ve learned and seen so far, we’re already excited about a repeat breeding with Wembley next year.  Also, we are incredibly appreciative of the way other Griff owners have embraced and mentored us and this is our best attempt at giving back to the Wonderful World of Griffs!