• Gator Quad


Updated: Aug 6, 2020

So it’s my junior year of high school and my mom is going through some hard times. Everybody in my house is semi supportive but no one exactly knows how to make her feel better. It was hard to navigate because my mom is one of those people who is very driven and analytical, but as a result, isn’t very emotionally expressive. As a result when she has a problem she throws herself head first into a project to keep her mind busy.

In this case the project took the form of wanting to breed our Lab, Nellie. She had taken some vacation time off of work and spent hours every day researching stud dogs, getting genetic tests of Nellie done, and building a whelping box in our basement. Within four days of Nellie going into heat mom had frozen semen shipped overnight from a registered field trial dog in Minnesota. Within twelve hours of the package arriving, I experienced the one of the most uncomfortable days of my life: helping her artificially complete the process. Don’t like it? Adopt don’t shop. Anyways, the first weekend in March, Nellie begins tearing up pillows and burrowing herself under cars, meaning it’s time for her to go into labor. It took a full twenty-four hours for her to push out seven black Lab pups- all of them female. Of those five survived till the next morning. Throughout that next day my mom did not leave the box. She had helped Nellie push the pups out, cut the cords and imprinted on them as the first touch they knew. There’s one puppy, that we've named Crush, like the orange pop. She doesn’t move around as much as the other pups. When my mom asked the vet about it, he told her that Crush has a deformed chest that was flattened in the womb. My mom proceeded to spend HOURS every day to work on this pup to try and correct her rib bones before they solidified. My mom patiently rolled Crush onto her side, and pushed her limbs in when she slept. She even held Crush up when the pup was learning to walk.

Eventually this puppy got so used to human touch she won’t leave any of our sides. When we would leave she would cry and when we would come back she would crawl all over us. Eventually Crush’s bones grew right and she was be able to support herself fully. She ended up being the one we kept. We've renamed her Sophie and she’s grown up to become a hyperactive little athletic Lab.

I always joke and say she’s our little Frankenstein, made in our ‘lab’. But it really showed me how amazing and determined my mom really was. The pups, and Sophie, gave her purpose and a reason to come back to life in her own world. Her five little joys haven't just preoccupied her as just another project; they have helped her heal and regenerate.

~~ Maureen Bricker, Junior Year, High School.


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