The life of a mill dog is not easy or forgiving. The females' bodies are used over and over again with no care, medical attention, nutritious food.. just used over ... and over.
One beautiful Sunday afternoon we, Chuck and Marlene Tingler, two of the many Col Potter volunteers, met a miller to pick-up two girls who are mother and daughter. Momma Aussie and daughter Barbie were rescued and are now in the loving arms of Col. Potter. They were named in honor of Australia Day.
When we called to let Intakes know we had the girls, I told Valerie that the miller mentioned the girls might be pregnant. I must admit, Chuck and I were a little excited. You mean we might – just might have puppies in our house tonight? After talking to Valerie, we called a friend who once raised Cairns and said “Help - what are the signs she is going to whelp?’ So the excitement grew. Wow! Puppies – God's own little creations. The miracle of birth right here in our house. Chuck, having been raised on a farm with farm animals was not quite as excited as I was – he knew the work involved.
We settled the girls in their pens. We took pictures, sent them to Valerie and checked on the girls often. They were scheduled to be taken to the vet Monday morning and we would have them both checked then. But, Aussie just was not acting right – pacing, having a hard time sitting, would not eat and barely drank water. She was squatting a lot and was very uncomfortable. We had signs of either whelping or a sick dog.
To make a long story shorter, through phone assistance from Valerie and Danielle, we made a very late night run to the emergency vet with Aussie. There the Vet determined our girl was about 45 days pregnant. He felt her tummy and said he could feel a puppy. GREAT ! Our hearts started to beat a little faster….BUT… the puppy was not right. Our hearts sank. He felt certain the puppy was dead. Poor Aussie, she had a severely infected uterus, and at least one dead puppy in the sac. What a little trooper and so sweet throughout the exam. Aussie had to have an emergency C-section if we were going to save her. Because Col. Potter is who they are, there was no question – that is what was done. Made us awfully proud to be a part of this group.
That night Chuck and I went home to wait for the phone call from the vet. The ups and downs of the night took its toll - neither of us could sleep. The thoughts of what could have been, what was and what was taking place as our thoughts turned to prayers consumed us for the next 2 hours. The phone call came – Aussie did well during surgery. There were two pups - both were females. We were so thankful that Aussie was going to be ok, but so angry and sad about the loss of the puppies. But, we did what we could – for now, we have to accept that it was good enough.
Early the next morning I went to pick up Aussie and her two stillborn little girls. The vet said they were not right and by the look on his and his assistant’s face, I knew to just hold the box close and picture them as two beautiful puppies. I told them I was sorry we couldn’t save them. I also told them that from now on, in my mind Flinders and Wilpena will always look just perfect.
Aussie's two baby girls are now CP angels. Flinders and Wilpena were cremated together and will be buried in the Memorial Garden. They will eternally be together to live a life they never got a chance to live here on earth. I can picture the two sisters running around the Flinders Mountains, stopping by the Wilpena Pound for a drink, smelling the flowers and happily chasing the animals with their beautiful coats blowing in the warm breezes. Your girls are loved and remembered, Aussie. They did not die in vain. We must remember that for everything there is a time and season and I believe a reason. Flinders and Wilpena will be a constant reminder of the cruelty of the puppy mill and the joy of freedom. They will be held in the loving arms of Col. Potter forever – just like Aussie and Barbie.
Neither mother nor daughter will ever have to have another litter of puppies, jeopardizing their own lives for the sake of making the miller money over ... and over ... They are ready to begin their life of Freedom and Love.
I do not mourn you for what you were but for what you cannot be.