The first year that we had Lilac found us still helping with a small greyhound adoption group that sadly is no longer in existance. Mr. Taleteller and I had agreed to adopt Lilac, so we weren't really fostering greyhounds anymore, but we were still active with the group and doing what we could to help out.
The woman who ran the group lives just a couple blocks down the street from us. She had a pretty good relationship with some greyhound trainers and owners and she'd taken in several greyhounds who'd had an illicit meeting at the back fence and had come into a family way. Greyhound puppies are a hot commodity in greyhound groups. Don't ask me why, they're horrible little creatures most of the time! They're often referred to as landsharks for good reason. In any event, a female was brought to her who was suspected to be in the disgraced condition of being knocked up, but the trainer wasn't sure.
As weeks passed by, we'd go down to visit every few days and it soon became evident that she was indeed expecting. A whelping box was prepared and she had her own private room in the basement. She was a rather young greyhound, but a very sweet girl. When it looked like she might possibly explode and that the arrival of the puppies had to be any day, something unexpected happend. She had a seizure and collapsed on the concrete floor. The mother-to-be was scooped up (no easy task with a dog who'd become wider than she is tall) and rushed to the vet. The vet felt that she was still alright and sent her back to the house, saying that it was likely a sign that her puppies would arrive soon.
Sure enough, the next day, she started to deliver her puppies. The first one was born, a cute little brindle, and then she tried to deliver the second. That second puppy would not come out. Finally, some time later, the stillborn puppy came out. Concern rose because she couldn't seem to get the next one out, either. The woman's husband was gone, so she called us and we went down, helped load mama dog and her puppy into the back of their SUV and Mr. Taleteller rode in back with her while the woman drove. I followed in our car in case we needed to leave for some reason.
It was later in the day and the vet was called at home before we left. He agreed to meet us there at his office. When we arrived, he quickly decided that an emergency C-section had to be performed. I assure you that when I woke up that morning, I had no idea that I was going to be helping with an emergency C-section on a dog. We each had a towel and were given instructions on how to rub the puppies vigorously until the water was squeezed out of their lungs so they could begin to breathe. There wasn't any time to be squeamish about it. It was like catching a water balloon and I worked on my puppy for quite a while and sure enough, soon he started showing signs of life. Another puppy was stillborn, but four more were born alive. The mother was spayed right there before he sewed her up. Because of the circumstances and the fact that she had things already set up for the mother and puppies at her house, they all went back home that night.
The next morning, mama dog killed one of the puppies by stepping on it. By three days afterwards, there were only two left alive. Her maternal instinct just wasn't kicking in, so it was decided that the two surviving puppies would be taken away from her. For a couple of weeks, they were taken care of at the vet's office, but then it was time for them to leave and go to someone who could care for them. That turned out to be Mr. Taleteller and me.
I wasn't sure how our greyhounds would react to the puppies, particularly Lilac. Hawk, in typical fashion, was terrified of them and refused to have anything to do with them. Lilac looked at them as if they were spawns of the devil. Of course, she was the only one of us who had any experience with greyhound puppies, so she was wise to avoid them. I also later learned that just before she'd come to us, she'd left her second litter of puppies behind, so she was definitely still in the mood to be done with mama duties. Treat was fascinated by them, though, and she'd sit beside me when I fed them, carefully supervising everything that went on.
We began taking care of the puppies in July. For several days, I didn't leave the house at all. I wanted to keep a close eye on my little charges. Finally, though, I had a bill that had to be mailed over in town, and so I made up my mind to run quickly to town. I figured that it would only take me about an hour and a half to run over and get back home.
As I got ready to leave, I noticed that the sky was turning a bit grey and a few drops of rain were starting to fall. I contemplated going back home. Lilac is very storm phobic and worries and frets as storms approach, but I convinced myself to go anyway, because my errand really needed to be done. So, I headed out of town. Driving down the main road, I could see the storm rapidly approaching from my right and it looked like one doozy of a storm. The sky was dark, angry grey that just roiled around. I drove past a small manufacturing plant out in the middle of the cornfields and went over a small hill.
It's funny how certain things in life happen all in a matter of timing. Twenty minutes after I drove past that plant, I began hearing things on the radio about a tornado blowing through. The more I heard, the more I felt that I needed to get my errand done and get back home. I called my husband on my cell phone because he'd been out of town for work that day and I knew he'd hear about things from his office and be worried. Getting back home proved to be a monumental task. It seems that I missed the path of an F4 tornado by about two minutes.
The manufactuing plant was decimated. So were four houses that were along the road. As a matter of fact, the whole road was closed because one of the houses was set back down right in the middle of the road. Miles and miles of electric poles were taken out. I had to drive way out and around through small country roads to get back home.
We were without power for a week. Our area was the center of a media circus for that amount of time, too. I felt like I was living in an episode Little House on the Prairie. Suddenly, preparing puppy bottles was a big production. We did get lucky. My dad has a generator and he brought it over, so we had about half of our house running on electricity. It's a big status symbol here in our little village. Actually, for the next three years in a row, we made use of that generator thanks to tornado season and an ice storm, all of which knocked us out of power for nearly a week each time.
It's funny how we take so many things for granted. I was glad that we had the whole experience, though. We learned a lot, and honestly, we really had fun with those puppies while they were here. I also really appreciated our creature comforts after that. I guess it's a good example of life being what you make of it, too!