Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Invisible Puppies

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this particular furry headache: her name is Story. I named her after one of my favorite things (let's face it, she looks more like a Story than she does Vanilla Ice Cream. And naming her Gary would have created a great deal of confusion around the house). By the way, do you know how often the noun "story" comes up in casual conversation? I do. And so does she. Oops.

I'd held off spaying Story until after her first heat as I usually do with my females. She came into season in August and passed without incident. Before I could make the appointment, life got in the way (among other things, the mini van decided that it wanted a new head gasket and refused to budge until we gave it one). So I decided to put off the spay until November.

Apparently Story got bored while waiting and decided to pretend she was pregnant. Then she gave birth to invisible puppies. She lays in her kennel and talks to them and nurses them (no, I'm not kidding) and frequently moves them around the house (judging from the places we keep finding her). Occasionally one of the puppies will look suspiciously like her favorite blue chew toy that just happens to be vaguely puppy shaped. This is can be a problem when one of the other dogs wants to play with said blue toy. You can imagine her dismay when one of the boys tried to get her to play fetch with it.  

The vet tells me this happens to 60% of unspayed females. He also assures me that she will return to her buoyant self in another week or so and does not need anti-psychotics. Currently she isn't speaking to any of the other dogs--I suspect they made fun of her--and running interference is no fun. She's spending a lot of time in solitary, which seems to be perfectly okay with her. After all, she has her puppies.

Meanwhile I feel like I used to when I'd bring my oldest son (then two and a half) his lunch and he'd ask me to set a place for his imaginary friend "Little". Being a good sport, I would oblige him, only to be told that Little was sitting somewhere else. Over the years, Little's family moved in with us too and sometimes there were parents and a little brother at the table. I never could remember what those people liked in their coffee.



Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

That is the strangest thing!! I had never heard of dogs doing this.

Ray Veen said...

Crazy! I've never heard of this either. Must be very surreal.

Mary O. Paddock said...

HEM--I was aware that dogs occasionally suffered from false pregnancies. I didn't know that they sometimes resulted in pretend puppies. Even more of a surprise-- that it happens 60% of the time.

Ray--It was strange. However, she seems to be past the worst of it and we've scheduled her to be spayed on Monday, so there will be no more unseen puppies. Thank goodness. I have enough trouble with the ones I can see. :)

Debby said...

I have heard of this before. Story is a nurturing kind of critter, and nurturing critters always find something to nurture and love. I mean, if you hadn't had children, you'd have found yourself a batch of children to nurture. They probably would have been real though.

Interesting Story.