Experiencing Loss as a Breeder

Our little Wilma

I have hesitated to write this blog. It has been a very traumatic time in my home these last few weeks. Not many people are aware that we lost Luna and Will’s litter. All three. I am not going to get into why we lost them in this post. I will do that in the future when I am feeling stronger to talk about it. Today I want to talk about the emotional wave of grief that we experience as breeders.

People assume that my life is full of skunky puppy dog licks and snuggles. For the most part, they are right. I am very grateful that I have been given this opportunity to bring joy into my home and into the home of others. But there is another side (actually there are many sides that aren’t always discussed…but again…that’s another post). I have been lucky that we have had healthy litters and dogs and been without tragedy. I knew it was an inevitable part of a breeder’s life but knowing this was not enough to protect me from the pain.

I am a believer that Mother Nature knows what she is doing. When a puppy is born extremely weak or ill and can’t be revived, I believe that it is what was meant to be even though it is still hard to witness. But when a puppy seems to be thriving and you nurture, love and care for it just to watch it one day slip away, it is heart wrenching. Even as I write this, the words become blurry as I fight back tears. I love my puppies…every one of them. I will do everything possible to give them the best start in life. I will buy whatever machine and medicine it takes. I will call every vet and breeder I know for help and support. I will research every article, podcast and video available to me. I will not sleep for days as I listen to every little breath that comes out of those little bodies. Unfortunately, it sometimes isn’t enough.

Vile of plasma

They say with time, these experiences will become easier. I hope they are right, but I am not that confident. I do know one thing though. This will not stop me from my commitment to breeding the healthiest, most beautiful, sweetest bulldogs I can. I promise to use these times to learn more and add to my breeder’s “toolbox”. For example, we will be administering fresh plasma to each puppy during it’s first 24 hours of life (such a great start to a puppy’s life! I will do a post about that as well!) I’ve added a new oxygenator and have a plan for a progesterone testing machine. These are the tools that give me the confidence to give these puppies everything that they deserve.

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