One day, Helen found Sally wandering around a supermarket car park. It was obvious that she’d been abandoned: she wasn’t wearing a collar or tag, and several hours after she’d first been spotted, she was still hanging around the car park. She was so thin that her ribs were showing, and when offered food, she was ravenously hungry.
At first, Helen thought that this friendly dog might have accidentally strayed away from her own home. She had Sally scanned for a microchip: if this had been present, she could have immediately been reunited with her owner. Predictably, there was no microchip. Next, Helen visited all the shops in the local area, asking if anyone knew anything about the dog. She also went to all the local vet clinics, leaving a description, so that if anyone came looking for her, they’d know where to find her. There was no response to any of her enquiries: the dog was definitely a stray.
Helen decided to keep her until she made a full recovery from the ordeal of being abandoned: she named her Sally. Helen already had a small menagerie of animals, and Sally got on well with them from the start. Her friendly, sociable two year old male Labrador, Alfie, took to Sally as if she was a long lost friend and the two cats didn’t seem to be fazed at all by another dog. For her part, Sally remained calm and quiet, not causing any bother at all.
A couple of weeks after Sally had arrived, Helen returned home to find that Alfie and Sally were getting on better than ever. To be blunt, she caught them in the act of mating. Alfie had not yet been neutered, and Helen hadn’t noticed that Sally was in season. From that moment, she kept the two animals apart until Sally’s season was completely finished. She thought that she might be lucky: it was only one mating, and perhaps pregnancy would not follow.
Unfortunately, dogs are fertile creatures: around 80% of matings result in pregnancy. It is possible to give a “morning after” injection to prevent a pregnancy, but if this isn’t done, in eight out of ten cases, pregnancy follows. It was no surprise when Sally’s abdomen began to swell up, and then exactly nine weeks after the day of the mating, she gave birth to nine puppies.
The pups have thrived. They’ve had the best possible start in life: both parent dogs are good-natured, calm individuals, and the pups have been well socialised from the start. They were reared in the kitchen of a busy family home, with children coming and going all the time, and they’ve met dogs, cats and even horses. It’s very likely that they’ll grow up to be relaxed, well-behaved dogs. They have all been successfully homed.
- If female dogs aren’t spayed, it’s hard to avoid pregnancy
- Even just one “accidental mating” is enough
- It’s very difficult to find good homes for puppies