Born to be a midwife (for pets, not humans!)   Leave a comment

I got a new book from work yesterday (I work at Wordsworth Books during the day, puppy class in the evening):

‘The Art of Raising a Puppy’ written by The Monks of New Skete. Published by Little Brown, R300 at Wordsworth.  ISBN 9780316083270.

Written 20 years ago and recently updated and revised in a lovely hardback version, full of photos of their dogs and other dogs brought to the monastery for training.

Some quotes:
“There is an art to raising a puppy that is not solely the domain of the naturally gifted.  It can be acquired by any responsible owner; what is needed is a desire for true companionship, an openness to learning, and a willingness to invest time and energy in caring for and training the puppy.  The more informed you are on the background, development, and training of your pup, the more you will approach him with the patience and understanding necessary for an enjoyable and rewarding relationship.”

“…dog training actually goes far beyond the elementary instruction of basic obedience commands; it must encompass a whole new attitude and lifestyle with your dog.  It must touch on the levels of a dog’s own life that have often been ignored.”

So far I’ve read the first few chapters where they carefully take the reader through the birth and first weeks of life, using one of their bitches and her litter as models.  Having been midwife to 4 Jack Russell litters, 2 German Shepherd litters and 9 or so Burmese cat litters, I can honestly say that those hours spent waiting with my 4 legged girl friends, feeling their trust and  courage, watching the incredible birth process and mourning the ones who didn’t make the traumas of being born have been amongst the most precious of my life.  I WISH I could earn a living being an animal midwife!  So this start to the book resonated strongly with me.  Their purpose in starting right at birth is to help new owners (I prefer the term guardians) become aware of the impact of those early days on their puppy.  Many owners seem to think their dog’s life only began when it arrived at their house.

Will say more when I’ve read more!  You’ll find I’ll be talking books quite often as I am pretty obsessed by reading in general and learning as much as I can about understanding dogs more.

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