Puppy Love

Puppy Love

From A 5th Portion of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Puppy Love

I’ve heard two things for nearly most of my life. One, that animals don’t have any human emotion—even though I knew they possessed fear and pain. Two, that breeders who weren’t happy with imperfect dogs had them destroyed. When I became an amateur breeder myself, I would learn these things on my own.

My family and I owned one remarkable Dalmatian, Kami, who had given us companionship, warmth, love and many sloppy-tongued kisses. We loved her so much, we decided we wanted some of her pups. So we matched her with a purebred named Bo.

We had no idea exactly what it would be like to have Dalmatian pups, but we were sure we could find homes for each and every one we didn’t keep. There was excitement in the air the night of their births. Kami was so large and the babies were so busy inside her that their tiny feet and heads were bulging out of her skin.

We felt like we were playing a part in 101 Dalmatians that night. The first one popped out. Then the second. We counted slowly throughout the night, ten . . . eleven . . . twelve. Twelve Dalmatian pups. We couldn’t believe it. The thrill of having Kami’s pups was remarkable. I felt like a dad of twelve puplets. And fortunately in this case, there was no cruel character like in the movie. Or so we thought.

The pups roamed, tumbled, wrestled and snuggled with each other. We had to help Kami nurse the twelve pups because the largest shoved the smaller guys away. We blended milk with canned puppy food and put it out in pie tins. It was always a daring adventure trying to tiptoe through twelve yapping puppies who could easily be squished with one wrong step.

It was then when we noticed life’s small dose of cruelty— trouble with two pups. They didn’t respond to us like the others. They didn’t charge me when I called out that it was chow time. They ran smack into barking pups. We soon learned that the two brother pups were deaf. It was recommended that the best option was to put them to sleep.

I pondered it for a few moments. While breeders would put them to sleep in a second, it just wasn’t what I or anybody in my family wanted to do. I thought, Why should two pups die just because they were born deaf? I was rewarded for the decision at the next chow time. I stepped out into the feeding frenzy and only ten pups charged me. The eleventh looked at me and ran for the bushes. He stopped and looked back at me again.

I followed, wondering what he was doing. He’d seen me carry the pie tins filled with food. What could he possibly be waiting for? In a few seconds, I knew. Seeing me coming, he charged into the bushes. Seconds later, he reappeared, nudging his sleepy deaf brother from the brush. An overwhelming sense of loyalty and satisfaction swept over me. I learned then the puppy’s sense of love, loyalty and caring. I learned then what an unselfish action the pup had taken.

The brother pups are now living happily together at a home where the family appreciates them immensely.

Last I heard, they brought their adopted family a double amount of love and happiness.

Mark Malott as told to Diana Chapman

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