Blurry blue-eyed babes
the big milk guzzlers
with tubby tummies
Our wonderful neighbor Bob wanted puppies. He arranged for our purebred kelpie to meet his purebred kelpie. Thor and Meg got it on.
Two months later, nine blind sausages were born. I saw them on their fifth day. They were either suckling from mother Meg or crawling over one another to create a puppy pile.
I never realized dogs could count. But, over and over, we’d see Meg nervously counting the pups. Watching her eyes, she couldn’t settle down to nurse until they were all accounted for.
The roll call was enchanting, like school teachers ticking students off on an excursion.
At my next visit the puppies were three weeks old. Eyes only open a fraction, they fed every fifteen minutes. Drinking, yawning or sleeping, they whined as they stepped on each other, huddling in a mess of sweet faces, legs, backs, tails and full stomachs.
Warm to nurse, the small bundles squiggled, wanting to be back at Meg’s Milk Bar or next to their littermates for warmth.
Yesterday, at six weeks, the small furry bundles still loved being together. Eight boys, one girl, all with cloudy open eyes, all adventuring on the lawn.
Freed from their enclosure, puppies went in nine different directions.
They seemed attracted to our feet. At one stage five pups plopped on my shoes, to chew, to bite, to snag their teeth on the trainers and tug at the shoelaces.
I couldn’t move as their milk teeth pierced the tender skin inside my ankles.
One jumped up to bite a weeping rose bush. Mouthing the blooms, spitting them out, then tasting more flowers only to reject them again.
The pups hassled their worn-out mother for drinks, or lapped water as she walked away.
Puppies dug, pounced and staggered about, following their noses or tails.
Full of life, nine tiny dogs checked out what the world was like in a twenty by twenty-metre space in the backyard.
Packed with the joy, their soft, clumsy bodies bounced about, curious about every sight and scent available.
They roamed, having half-hearted play-fights. Walking over and nibbling at each other’s tails and floppy ears.
One fellow dug a hole in the lawn, sniffed, buried his snout in the dirt and fell asleep in it.
After twenty minutes four other pups put themselves into bed. The other four lay down to rest; sleeping in seconds on the grass.
Oh, it was stunning.
This year has been unprecedented. Drought, fires, illness, lockdown, losing my mother, the rising death toll of Coronavirus and a wrist with multiple hairline fractures that aren’t healing as they should.
Years ago, when we mentioned 2020, we referred to vision; clear sight, good prospects or a fine picture. Instead of clarity, everything has become murky in a disastrous 2020.
The world transformed so radically, some are still in shock, feeling the loss of what we had before COVID.
We are missing extended family gatherings, drinking at bars, dining out, going out, friends, hugs and the fellowship we’ve always experienced.
Riots against racism began when a black man cried: ‘I can’t breathe’, but was ignored and murdered regardless.
The desperate call for freedom in Hong Kong was quashed like a cockroach under China’s tightly bound foot.
The planet has been complicated with continual natural disasters.
Peaceful protestors have been tear gassed and shot at.
Absurd conspiracy theories are everywhere.
The Amazon, Siberia, California burning.
The USA so divided, it’s no longer united.
The world as we know it has moved on.
Liars and madmen are in power.
Another Great Depression.
Permafrost is melting.
Each person has experienced the loss of what was before CV.
We mourn it like the death of a loved one.
Earth is grieving… but I can forget it for a time.
The stressors drift away like mist in sunshine when I pat the puppies.
I’m loved up with dopamine at the sight of nine short wagging tails.
Seeing pups is a salve to our troubles; a healing balm that makes us feel good. This temporary boost of positivity, lightness and happiness is easy to achieve.
There are a million puppy photos on the Internet. Videos on YouTube. Piles of puppies on Instagram. Cute canines of Twitter. Facebook is full of pups too.
See them on your socials if not in real life.
If you’re a cat person try kittens or goat kids, hedgehogs, bunnies, birds.
Go on, spoil yourself.
It won’t change the world, but it will shift your mood.
You’ve got to, got to get some puppy love.
*All photos by the author.