Saturday, December 11, 2010

Man Rescues Dog..Dog Rescues Baby Girl

This is supposedly a true story from the Mother Earth News. It seems a farmer in Scotland found a litter of puppies alongside a country road. Only one of the puppies was alive. She was bleeding from the head but was breathing and had a strong heartbeat, so he took her home and nursed her back to health. The puppy grew to be a valued member of the family and gave birth to a couple of litters of her own before she was spayed. She took care of her people and all the farm animals.

One day, she returned to the farmhouse with a bundle in her mouth and deposited it in her bed. The farmer took a look and was amazed to find a little, human baby...a girl, suffering a bit from exposure but otherwise healthy. The little girl went on to grow up and become a nice young lady. Her farmer friend and canine savior had long since passed away.

When I was born, my grandparents had a female lab, shepherd mix named Smoke. She was a really bright and well-behaved dog. From the minute they moved my crib in and placed me inside it, her place to sleep was under my crib. If I awoke, she alerted the household until someone came to see about me. She worked guard duty when I began toddling, pulling me away from the stairs by my diaper. My memories of her are blurry, but the stories told to me by my parents and grandparents are precious to me. I have a badly faded photo of baby-me and Smoke under the Christmas tree with bows on our heads.

It has recently dawned on me that, for these deluded mothers of today who are "choosing" specific adopters and "adoption plans (yuck)," that they might want to make sure that the PAPs have a dog. That way, since Mommy is being edged out of the picture, they could check out the canine family member and be sure that their little ones are getting unconditional love of the highest order. My Grampa once told me that Smoke would have fought off a grizzly bear to save me.

She didn't adopt me. She didn't see me as a replacement for pups she didn't have. She saw me as her human responsibility and a pack leader in the making. My mother would cringe when Smoke gave me a kiss, but I would just chortle in delight. Smoke fetched my cup, my blanket and my toys and would present them to my mother to wash off and return to me. I first walked holding on to her back. She was Nana, Lassie and Rin Tin Tin all in one. Her love for me was uncomplicated by her own needs and fiercely protective.

I was a lucky kid. I was 9 when she died. I do remember that as a very bad day. She stayed with Gramma and Grampa when we moved to SC because she was already getting on in years and the trip would have been hard on her. It was a tearful goodbye and would have been worse had I known it was our last time together.

Perhaps the smart thing to do to screen PAPs, better than the home study, would be to have them adopt, YES, ADOPT, a dog that really needs a home from a local shelter or rescue group. These canine babies come with issues and that would test the unconditional love factor. If they pass that test, then MAYBE, if there is a child that needs the guardianship of others not of their kin, then they could assume that legal responsibility. But no game playing.

Oh, we call ourselves, "Mommy and Daddy" to Dolly but we have better sense than to indulge in a fantasy that she is our real child. Indulging in that fantasy with children born to other families is just as dumb and very damaging in the long run. When the need to fulfill that "as if born to" impossibility becomes obsessive, you have very screwed up children growing up with a lot of heavy baggage. What we do to our children in adoption, we wouldn't do to a dog.

Right now, there are more domestic, companion animals needing homes than there are homes for them. Thousands are euthanized every week. It is such a simple thing to spay and neuter our little friends. It is such a simple thing to teach our adolescent children about birth control. It is such a simple thing to put the money we were putting into 5-figure tax breaks for adopters and tax cuts for the affluent into helping a mother and her child get a fair start in life. It's such a simple thing to honor the mother-child bond without bringing judgment and Victorian attitudes into it. It's such a simple thing to recognize and address the crimes committed against these mothers and their children over the years.

It's all as simple as a dog's devotion to people that would move that so-called "dumb" animal to rescue and guard a human child. Nature's wisdom seems to beat out the assumed wisdom of humanity every time.

Thanks, Smoke.


Von said...

Right on and think of all the pressure and expectations adoptees would be spared.
I adopted a retired Greyhound.He was the best mate I ever had, devoted, loyal, loving and good company.He never argued, well only occasionally, was always keen to go out.He loved unconditionally and with his whole heart.

Lorraine Dusky said...

Nice post.

Dog lover here...we don't have an animal companion now for a couple of reasons but I sure do miss having one.


Eileen said...

Love this post Robin! I have two German Shepherds and my female GSD is so protective of kids. We had nieces over once who were swimming in our pool and they were at the age where they were shrieking as they jumped in the water. My Scully tried to grab them by their swimsuits to keep them from getting in the water since she thought they were in trouble. She also herds my other dog away from any children since he is a big goof and doesn't realize that toddlers fall over when he tries to play with them.

Once, a friend brought over her newborn. Scully would not leave her side. At first the baby's mother was worried that Scully would hurt the baby, but she soon realized that Scully was just protecting her baby. I remember feeling incredibly sad at the time because I thought that Scully clearly seemed like a mother in need of a baby. Of course, this was before my reunion and I couldn't consciously think of myself as a mother. Looking back now it seems that I was projecting my feelings as a mother without a baby onto my dog!

I agree that people who adopt would do well to try their luck with a dog first.

Marilynn said...

People who adopt or raise kids with one or more anonymous parents often say the "real parents" are the ones who "kisses boo-boos" and "sits up with them at night when they are sick" and "are there for them at graduation".

Oh malarkey! They start referring to themselves as mother and father when the ink is still wet on the falsified birth certificate, long before they've done all the things that they say earned them the right to call themselves the parent of "their child". Phooey.

Go ahead and wait then! If they really think its the heavy lifting of raising a child that makes a person a parent they can wipe butts and sew prom dresses for 18 years before calling themselves the only real parents of the kid they adopted. Sheesh.

If unrelated strangers feel entitled to refer to themselves as parents on the day of the adoption then I say maternally and paternally related strangers can certainly call themselves parents on the day of their reunion.

It took total strangers less than 18 years to be treated like family, relatives can do it in half the time. Adulthood lasts a lot longer than childhood and blood is thicker than water.

I reunite families with relatives that have been gone for decades and I do it for free in my spare time because when a parent decides to be there for their child someone should help.

Dana Seilhan said...

Marilynn: I think it's amazing that adopters define parenthood in that way, but they don't redefine siblinghood in that way. In other words, if you have siblings by your first mother or first father, no one disputes your right to call them your brothers and/or sisters. None of this "genetics don't count" B.S., the relationships are simply accepted.

You'd think they'd start noticing the holes in their own arguments after a while. Apparently not. Arrogant toads.