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Happy Tail - Happy Mother's Day in the animal world

Being a mother of any species has it's euphoric highs and its moments of unbearable sadness. But, author concludes, it is worth every minute of it. Click on headline for story with side story/photo: 'Starrie, the best dog mother ever.' and accompanying photo of little terrier mix found at the Columbia McDonald's and who's waiting to be returned to its human parents.
Next previous Happy Tail - - A.J. Goes to College Posted May 4, 2014.

By Peg Schaeffer
Sugarfoot Farm Rescue

Today is Mother's Day. I hope all the Moms have a good day today. There is one Mother who is amazing and that is Mother Nature. When we used to raise horses it was always interesting to watch the mares. They knew when the time to foal had come and would try to find somewhere quiet to give birth. I've seen mares lay down on one side only to get up and then lay on the other side. It's as if they're putting the foal in a better position.

When the foal is born they lick it clean and then after a brief rest the mare stands in order to enable the foals to nurse. I have found it's best to just stand and observe. Mother Nature guides the foal to the udder and they begin to nurse. It always takes a while and is frustrating to both the mare and foal. A maiden mare is nervous and doesn't quite understand what's going on. As the foal tries to nurse the mare will squeal and jump a little but she seems to understand the need to feed her baby. The veteran mares are more understanding and seem to guide the foals. They'll nicker quietly - a little to the left, a little to the right - there you have it. Rarely a mare will reject her foal but most know what to do.

Mom, daughter reserved same hidden place in the woods for maternity ward

We had a dog once that had puppies in the woods. She hid them and it took us a few weeks before we could find them. Strangely a few years later her daughter had puppies in the same spot. Coincidence? I think not. (In my defense this was a long time ago before I learned what I know now about the importance of spaying your pets.)

We had rescued two Beagles from the Amish. They were both taken to the vet to be spayed. Lucy was in the early stages of pregnancy and the vet was able to abort the puppies. The other Beagle, Lemon, was too far along so she had puppies. Lucy would lay by the pen where the puppies were. When Lemon left Lucy would take over. She would let the puppies snuggle with her. As a result she started producing milk and began nursing the puppies as well. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen for myself.

Motherhood made Nellie more sociable with people

We had another dog, Nellie, who was very timid, that had a litter of puppies. I had had her for quite a while and was never able to pet her. She would eat a treat out of my hand but I couldn't touch her. When she had her puppies I was able to pet her. She would cringe as if she was in great pain while I touched her but she would not leave her puppies. There was another dog that had a litter of puppies at the same time. Nellie would take care of both litters of puppies, nursing them all and playing with them. She would always be so kind and gentle with all of them. When the puppies got older I was never able to touch her again. Yet while they needed her protection she wouldn't leave them.

Animals don't have their Mothers, or friends, or sisters to tell them how to prepare for birth. They don't go to Lamaze classes or read Dr. Spock. There is no one to give them tips about child rearing or proper nutrition yet they manage to care for their young. This is instinct given to them by Mother Nature and no one else.

Animal aunts and uncles help each other with the babies

The animals also help each other with the responsibilities of child rearing. Last week I wrote about A.J., the lone puppy survivor. All the dogs were concerned about her safety. Nellie took care of another litter of puppies besides her own. Lucy and Lemon both cared for the Beagle puppies. Wolves have a pack where they all join together in the rearing of the cubs. Seahorse fathers take care of their young.

Being a Mom has its ups and downs. You're holding this tiny baby that is so innocent. Then there are the terrible twos when they're racing around and as you're picking up one thing they're grabbing another. They're putting things in their mouth that no self-respecting dog would eat. Then they go to school and your well behaved kid comes homes with words that would shock a sailor. Where did you hear that? In school. Then the teen years when you realize you have raised the child who knows everything. They're driving and hanging out with their friends while you're hoping and praying that everything you taught them about peer pressure has sunk in. There is a point where you understand while animals eat their young.

But being a mother is worth every minute of it

But it's worth every minute. Then they have kids and you can spoil them like you never spoiled your own. You can buy them things you couldn't afford when your kids were young. And you can watch them going through what you went through with them and laugh.

"It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge." - PHYLLIS DILLER

Happy Mother's Day!

Peg Schaeffer, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY 42728 Telephone: home 270-378-4521 or cell 270-634-4675 email:

This story was posted on 2014-05-11 05:03:51
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Terrier found near McDonald's, Columbia, KY

2014-05-11 - Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY - Photo by Peg Schaeffer. This cute little Terrier mix was found at Subway by McDonald's on Saturday, May 10, 2014. He is a neutered male and very friendly. Please contact Peg Schaeffer at Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 270-378-4521 if he's yours. - Peg Schaeffer
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Happy Tail: Starrie, best of all dog Mother's

2014-05-11 - Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY - Photo by Peg Schaeffer.
UPDATE: May 11, 2014, Starrie has been adopted. See: Happy Tail - happy endings: Found dog and Starrie
Starrie, a Beagle I rescued from the shelter - In my opinion Starrie has been the best Mom of all the dogs. She was a very devoted Mom and I'm sure she could count. I took one of her puppies to the vet one day and when I got back she was standing by the gate wanting to know why I took her puppy. How she knew one puppy out of six was missing I'll never know. - Peg Schaeffer

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