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Just Call Me...Mom? - 08/05/2020

I have never had children. It wasn't really done by choice, I just didn't get pregnant. And by the time I was with someone whose child I really wanted to bear, I was 40 and had Lupus, which makes it difficult to carry a child to term. So it just didn't work out for me. I was always very into my career, working lots of 50 to 60 hour weeks, so it didn't matter that much to me that I was "childfree." But after I retired, I lost my identity as a business person, and I wasn't sure who I was any more. That was when I adopted my first dog, Pasha, and became a proud Dogmom.

It seems to me that dog owners who don't have children, or whose nest is now empty, are the people who most consider their dogs to be their children. I know I developed very strong maternal feelings towards Pasha, who I referred to as "my little girl." When she died at almost 13, I felt as if I'd lost a family member. I adopted Clara six months later; she was around two when I rescued her. I didn't raise her from a puppy, so my feelings for her were maybe as more of a best friend. I still suffered terribly when she died. And now, I am the proud owner of a tiny baby pug, whose name is Timmy.

I found Timmy advertised online. I had tried to rescue an older pug, with no luck. I wasn't sure if I could handle all the work that new puppies require, but it was also the fastest way to get a pug, at least in Arizona, where pugs are far from plentiful like they are in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. I asked the breeder a lot of questions, and I think she lied about at least some of them. She told me he was eight weeks old, but when I reviewed his shot records he was six weeks on July 23. I got him six days later, so he was probably seven weeks. He was so tiny that I was afraid to hold him. But when I did, he tilted his tiny head and leaned into me, and my maternal insticts kicked in. Someone needed to take care of this boy! So I brought him home, and the first thing he did was have explosive diarrhea all over my carpet. The next three days were a frantic spiral of taking him to the vet for his upset stomach (they said he was fine), finding something he would eat so he wouldn't starve (I even gave him some hamburger meat from my McDonald's burger), and finding a safe place for him to sleep (I got a crate, but he ended up sleeping with me).

The second day he was with me, I fed him pasteurized goat's milk, the substitute recommended for puppies who were weaned too soon from their mamas. He was very tense and scared at first, but when I got the bottle in his mouth, he settled right down. When he finished, he climbed up my chest and gave me a tiny kiss on the lips, as if saying "thank you." My heart melted. The day after, he wouldn't take the milk, but I had baby food on hand, and he ate that, plus some plain yogurt. My fears about him starving subsided. Now we are getting into sort of a schedule, with me offering him food every two to three hours and then taking him outside to pee and poop. We get up once during the night. So far, he seems to be thriving.

For a women who was never a mom, it's a little strange that I feel so strongly about caring for this little "baby." He is just so tiny and defenseless and completely dependent on me. I am so afraid of doing the wrong thing or of hurting him accidentally. I have researched topics like biting and premature weaning exhaustively. He has taken over my feed on Facebook. Friends have suggested that he needs a Facebook page of his own, along with an Instagram, just for the photos and videos that I am taking every day. It's late in my life for me to have a baby. But better late than never, I guess. So, yeah - you can call me, Timmy's mom. My little boy has brought the joy back into my life.

#Childless #PugRescue #PrematureWeaning #DogMom #TinyTim

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