Crash course in puppy parenting

Guest writer Lucy Parks rises to the challenge of coping with two adorable puppies after rescue dog Yella delivers her biggest surprise

THE JOYS OF MOTHERHOOD

WE CALLED the puppies Eggy and Sock, a derivative of the Greek for “surprise” and “shock”. And I was in shock. With hindsight, we did everything wrong in those first few days.

SURPRISE DELIVERY: the new arrivals take a nap

I’d handled the pups within minutes of being born and, that weekend after they were born on the Friday, I had so many visitors to the house to see the new arrivals, all of them wanting to cuddle the little ones and Yella being hugely tolerant of the attention they were getting.

Not long after getting Yella I’d joined a Facebook group called Dogs of Amersham and Surrounding Villages, which proved to be a huge source of support in those first few days. Fellow dog owners donated a puppy crate, a video on how to raise puppies, puppy pads and emotional support.

The charity that had provided Yella was brilliant. They were as shocked as I was and gave immediate practical, emotional and financial help.

PROUD MUM: Yella and the pups in their makeshift whelping pen

I’d posted about the pups on Facebook the day they were born and, by that evening, I had five or six people who were interested in having one. First dibs went to my best friend, who’d wanted a dog for years, and Yella gave her the perfect opportunity.

They changed her name from Eggy to Lumi – short for “halloumi”, in a nod to her heritage – and Sock, the boy, was bagged by another friend. At least it took away one of the stresses, knowing that I had homes for them.

Yella’s timing could not have been more perfect: the fact she had the pups on a Friday afternoon, when I was at home; that I had the weekend to get my head around the new challenge I was facing; that I had started work at the vet’s that same week so had expert knowledge on tap. That Yella took to motherhood like a duck to water was an added bonus.

Oh goodness, I learned so much that first weekend. It was a true crash course in dog parenting and it passed in a blur. We made a make-shift whelping pen from Yella’s crate and cardboard. Later, we created a puppy pen in the hallway.

HOME COMFORTS: the pups move into the hallway

The eight weeks I had the puppies at home – incidentally, the same amount of time I’d had Yella before she gave birth – proved the hardest job I’ve ever done. These little eating, sleeping, shouting, pooing machines were relentless. Watching their development from tiny blind hamsters to cheeky, adventurous toddlers, though, was wonderful.

TIRED BUT HAPPY: Lumi and Sock sleep off another day of shouting and pooing

By the time they left for their new homes, we were all exhausted and relieved. Yella was ready to let them go and I was just happy to have my house back to normal.

Lucy Parks lives in Amersham, in the glorious Chiltern Hills. She adopted Cypriot rescue Yella in July 2018, her first dog. A journalist by trade, Lucy left corporate life in 2018 and set up her business, Parkslife, as a freelance journalist and artist. She’s also a veterinary receptionist, allowing her to indulge in her love of animals.

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