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September 7, 2020: Petey

Petey is the name of my friend Sarah’s dog. She is named Petey because Sarah said that’s what, growing up, the dogs in her family were named. This Petey is a retriever – she has the coat and build of an otter hound – she’s lanky and her reddish brown hair sticks out rather than lies flat.

Petey has brown eyes that radiate warmth and kindness. She loves people and is a very social girl. She’s accompanied Sarah and me on several horseback rides. The last time, in the late spring, she and Ryder romped through the spring grass and had a great time.

Sarah and Petey

Yesterday, Sarah brought Petey to the day’s lesson. Sarah tied her up at the far end of arena and grew concerned when Petey started barking. This didn’t bother any of us, but Sarah went and put her back in the car.

Two hours later, as I was getting ready to teach the final equitation class of the day, I heard Sarah say that Petey was having contractions. I looked over to where Sarah was, Petey was lying on a blanket and Sarah was sitting next to her. “You mean she’s having puppies?” I asked. “Yes,” Sarah said.

Now I knew that Petey, age eight, had gotten it on with another retriever, but I didn’t think the breeding took because she seemed to me to still be on the thin side. But as Sarah had said, her middle had thickened. I was also dubious because our goat Stormy’s middle had also thickened, and she did not give birth to anything.

I excused myself and went over to Sarah. Yes, Petey was having contractions. I sat with Sarah and did some TTouches. The others sat in chairs and talked. Sarah reasoned that Petey was going to give birth soon, and so she did not want to take her home.

So there we all were, hanging out in the Saddle Up Arena, with a dog having contractions. About an hour later, Sarah’s husband Neil showed up. He foresaw that this event might take a while, so he went back home and brought back a keg of beer. He owns Lazy Mountain Brewery, a backyard business.

It was a party, sort of. It was short lived because Petey got up, went outside, and alternated having contractions and peeing. Sarah then wisely decided to take her home.

Pete had taken our horses home, so I went back to Sarah’s place. There, she situated Petey in her whelping box. Sarah then made several phone calls to area veterinarians. It was Labor Day weekend, so none were available. Pete arrived, we hung out for a bit then went home.

Late last night I received an email from Sarah with the header “Sad News.” She and Neil had taken Petey to the veterinarian. Petey had one very large puppy lodged in her birth canal. She had been unable to expel it, and it had died. This morning the puppy was removed and Petey was spayed.

I felt bad for this dog because after all that hard work, she had nothing to show for it. But I feel worse for Sarah, who undoubtedly thinks she erred in not getting Petey to the veterinarian’s sooner. As I will tell her when I see her, this was just a situation that was unforeseeable. And when situations are unforeseeable, you deal the best you can when they arise. And really, she and Neil should count their lucky stars because their most wonderful dog’s life will soon be back to normal.

Next: 248. 9/8/20: So many books, so little time

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