Written by Jane Dean, Brontillow Wires.
You could have a practice first:
Put about £4000 on a bonfire (to cover cost of stud fee, setting up for whelping, vet’s fees)
Stay awake for 48 hours watching your girl with only a few minutes to pop to the loo and make coffee. Worry about her dying and losing any puppies. Drive to the emergency vets in the early hours of the morning.
Set your alarm for every two hours and stay awake for one hour for at least two weeks to make sure puppies are feeding or to bottle-feed any weaklings.
Stay at home for eight weeks with only trips out food shopping , worry when you’re out that puppies are killing themselves or you’re being burgled.
Make a list of people who desperately and definitely want a puppy more than anything else. Write letters and emails, spend hours on the phone only for 90% of them to ignore all contact because they don’t even have the courtesy to reply and let you know they changed their minds/ bought elsewhere/ circumstances changed, etc.
Take regular trips to vet’s to have crying puppies checked out, emergency operations etc.
Cry for a few hours to practice in case one dies or needs to be PTS.
Leave a few piles of dog poo in your living room overnight and set a tape recording of a flock of seagulls to go off at 5:30-6 a.m. each morning for five weeks to get used to the smell and sound of waking up to a litter of hungry puppies.
Write off every weekend for two months so that new owners can visit their puppies as they grow. Apologise several times a day for your house being in a shit state.
Block up your washing machine filter with vet fleece fluff and dog hair on a regular basis, just when your kids need something washing urgently.
Be prepared to answer the phone at anytime to give advice, answer any questions and possibly take a puppy/dog back if a new owner needs help. You are entering a relationship that will hopefully last 15 years or so.
Sit and cry for a few days when you find that a litter that was carefully planned for years has several puppies with a genetic fault (that you have no idea where it came from because some breeder way back has kept that nugget of information secret) and the puppy (or two) you were planning to keep to show and breed on from will be sold to a pet home and you need to draw a line under years of breeding to start again.
Of course there is a chance it will all be plain sailing, there are rewards, puppy cuddles, the joy of spending hours playing with them and meeting people you stay friends with for life.