One of our Bravo Digital Producers, Megan Segura, recently had the shock of her life when she found out her newly-adopted pit bill was pregnant. Here’s her story, in her own words:
On May 1, 2016,my husband and I went to the Manhattan ACC and picked out this scrawny pit bull that was so underweight they couldn't spay her right away. They told us to take her home, help her put on some weight, and then bring her back for the procedure. After a week, we did a weigh in and she had gained 10 pounds because (…drumroll…) she was already pregnant when we adopted her!
Once we got over the initial shock, we called the ACC to tell them what happened. They said the most humane thing to do would be to go through with the spay anyway—which would result in the loss of the puppies. In fact, we were told by several people this was the best thing to do because there are way too many unwanted pit bulls in shelters already.
As it turned out, we weren’t able to go through with the spaying. She had kennel cough (and dogs need to be 100% healthy to go through surgery), and she had a major iron deficiency and would possibly need a blood transfusion. It was decided—we were going to have these puppies.
What I didn’t know is that a dog’s gestation period is only 58-68 days long. So we only had our sweet Penelope for three weeks before she went into labor. During that time, I went into mom mode myself. I researched everything I could on the internet (both in terms of how to prepare her for the babies and how to help make sure these puppies survived under my supervision). Soon, I could feel the puppies moving inside her tummy, and it started to feel very real.
During the last weeks of pregnancy, my poor dog became a spectacle on the street. Everyone wanted to know her story, and they weren’t always the nicest about it. Pit bulls carry a stigma, and many people assumed I was either an irresponsible pet owner or was purposefully breeding her. I know she had no idea what was going on, but I couldn’t help but shield her from all the looks of contempt we received.
One night, Penny finally went into nesting mode. Just like the internet warned me, she started moving blankets and towels into the baby pool we had purchased for the big event. Within hours, she was going into labor. She started panting loudly and wanted nothing more than to press her head into my chest. I stayed up all night with her and then finally, around noon the next day, the first puppy made its arrival. Since we didn’t know how many she was pregnant with, it was a waiting game. After each puppy emerged, it was 30 minutes before she started to push another one out. At one point I was on a hands-free conference call as I was pulling a puppy out of her! I ended up helping her give birth to 7 puppies (6 boys, 1 girl) in my one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. It was one of the craziest and most amazing experiences I’ve ever been a part of.
For seven insane, loud, crazy, sleep-deprived weeks, we took care of the pups. At first, it wasn’t that bad. (Puppies are born blind and deaf, so they were very quiet.) Penny did all of the work in the beginning: She fed them, cleaned them and cleaned up after them. But a few weeks in, just as articles had warned me, she got sick of them. She no longer wanted to be around them all the time and would cry if she was made to stay inside their little enclosure with them. She stopped cleaning up after them, so we had to clean up seven puppies’ worth of pee and poop at least three times a day.
When the babies started getting their sight and hearing, they learned to cry for Penny. And cry they did. Our days started earlier and earlier and eventually we were woken up at 5 AM to clean or start feeding them, so we could wean them off their mom. During these seven weeks, we were in contact with a number of rescues to find homes for the little guys and girl. We finally landed on Pitties. Love. Peace., Inc, a Pennsylvania-based non-profit rescue group that specializes in pit bulls.
At the end of seven weeks, one of puppies went home with my parents to Texas, and the rest went to foster homes that the organization helped set up. To say that it was hard saying goodbye to their cute little faces would be such an understatement, but more than anything I worried about Penny’s reaction. Our rescue coordinator told us she would be happy to see them go, and she was kind of right. Only twice did Penny go in search of them, but she never cried or got anxious. I think she was OK being the only dog in the apartment again.
Even after all of the craziness, I have absolutely zero regrets about adopting Penny. But take this as a reminder that when you adopt, you are making a life-long commitment to the pet you take home. Even though my husband and I went through a lot in the beginning, Penny has and continues to show us more love and affection than I could imagine. I think she knows she got lucky with us, and we definitely know we got lucky with her.
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