Who says guys don’t have maternal instinct?

My last post was a lamentation about blogger’s block. OK, so it was a pathetic pity party, but let’s not parse words, shall we?

A loyal reader of mine, let’s call her “Patrecia with an e” in order to protect her identity, suggested I should just write about what’s going on in my life right now. She actually suggested she would be interested to know. That took guts. Unfortunately for the rest of you, I took her advice to heart.

These last few days have been nerve-wracking. Our sweet little puppy, Sadie Mae, had to go in to be spayed this week. Like some soon-to-be mother about to give birth, I stressed out about this for the several days leading up to it. You’re probably wondering how a macho, Hollywood leading man type like myself could equate this to a maternal instinct, but to explain I need to go back to when we first got the puppy.


After arriving home from the breeder, one of the first things you are required to do is have the puppy examined by a vet so the guarantee is valid. The very next day I took her in. Except for a little “bump” on her belly which was a fairly harmless umbilical hernia, she got a rousing good bill of health and I thought all was well. However, within a few days she was coughing, breathing rapidly and throwing up. Back to the vet. Apparently she had contracted kennel cough during her previous visit to the vet. She immediately went on 10 days of antibiotics and a couple of other meds. Not being able to abide with her suffering in her crate during the night, I was up with her on my lap and wrapped in a blanket at all hours for several nights until the medicine finally did its job. Keep in mind this was a helpless, nine week old, four pound, nine ounce little fur ball who had just been extracted from the security of her mother and siblings without any say so in the matter. Someone had to fill that void. I was happy to do it. A strong emotional and, dare I say it, maternal bond developed between us during those early morning hours that has endured.

Anyway, back to this week. In spite of the fact we have had other dogs “fixed” before, I was extremely anxious about my lilliputian Sadie going under the knife. You see, she also had to have that umbilical hernia repaired during the procedure, adding to the risk. Suffice it to say, I had more than one restless night’s sleep and a few extra glasses of wine toward the end of the ordeal.

The day of the surgery was the worst. I had to have her in by 7:30 am. She came happily  and trustingly out of the house and bounded into the car, probably imagining another of our fun walks together. I kept thinking to myself this must be what it means when they say “leading a lamb to the slaughter.” She went willingly into the door at the vet and frolicked around until the tech came to get her. She then jumped in her arms and kissed her face as they disappeared behind the door. Those last 5 minutes raised my guilt several degrees above its already prominent level.

I tried to keep busy during the day, but everything I did was half-hearted and meaningless. When I got home from an errand there was a message from the vet to say everything went well and we could pick Sadie up at the end of the day, I couldn’t help but get misty-eyed. My little trooper had done it again.

She’s home now and trying to cope with a restrictive cone around her neck and soreness and itching from the incision, plus being quarantined from our other dog Bella, with whom she was inseparable.


They say that we can learn a lot about life from dogs. I’ve always agreed with that, now more than ever. My dear Sadie has taught yet another lesson, forgiveness. In spite being subjected to traumatic surgery instead of a fun walk, Sadie still wants to cuddle and love it up with me and doesn’t leave my side.

Truly, a mother’s best friend.


28 thoughts on “Who says guys don’t have maternal instinct?

  1. Glad to hear your little girl is ok. It takes a tough man…ah, no, that’s the chicken commercial. Hm. Enjoyed reading your “family” story. Now I know where the “Big” Al came from–it’s the size of your heart. Sadie is a beauty with those big brown eyes and that tiny little face.

  2. Ah ha, and here we are…lovely post and your doggies are very special, as are you and your lovely bride. Hugs ❤ xXx

  3. So glad she is ok

    I identify completely, we got Wilson when he was 4 months old and he has always been ‘daddy’s dog’ but Woodrow was only 10 weeks old & attached himself to me like glue. He is sitting on my lap as I write. I am already considering leaving his dangly bits alone if they ever appear… but we did Wilson & he was ok…..

    I agree with Patrecia by the way… day to day life in the Al household is all we want to read about 🙂

    • Of course,I have loved every dog we’ve ever had, but this is a different feeling. She was so small and helpless it just tugged at my heart.

  4. Poor little mite. I hate that they have to shave a leg to inject the intravenous needle. And the bare patch takes a while to recover also. My guys go in next month for teeth cleaning heart worm tests, and I stress about that. You are the second person in as many weeks to say your pup had kennel cough. I know like me you have your dogs vaccinated, so what gives?

    • She was vaccinated by the breeder but if you read about it, no vaccines are 100% effective for every dog. Also, vaccines take up to two weeks to get fully into the system. I took her in so soon that maybe it was too soon.Guess Sadie was one of the unlucky ones. I asked the vet if she needed to be vaccinated for it again and they said no, she should be especially immune to it now. She’s been fine since.

  5. I can see she is adorable, and I’m really glad she has come through all her trials in good order, although with considerable stress to her owner who, I might say, has done everything a carer of dogs should do and rather more. Let us hope she shares many years of happiness with you.

    • Thank you, Peter. I’m trying to remember if I ever worried about my kids this much when they were young. Probably, but since I only have X amount of RAM in my memory cache, it’s the current stuff that takes up all the bytes.

  6. That was indeed wonderful. No bloggers block because you were writing about somebody you really cared about and so the words camd flowing naturally and from the gear.
    you know me, I love animals , all of them, big ones , sn
    mall ones, the cute and the not so cute but yoyr two girls are really stars and such lovely dogs. No wonder you go all soft like a xloppy sponge…well done buddy, now find some more tales to tell ..loved it

  7. S S S Sadie, beautiful Sadie….oh that was Katie…but no matter…that song came to my mind when I read your heartwarming blog and saw the photos of her. What a story. I’m so glad you’re both okay! I remember when our Samoyed mix Nutmeg was spayed, she had begun acting weepy, and clingy, so I called the Vet who said “she’s over-reacting to her stitches.” That’s when I learned the truth about dogs, how sensitive they are, so we gave her all the extra attention she needed. Great blog, AL!

  8. You just never quite get over puppy love, do you? Don’t ever get a male dog, Al, I don’t think there are enough bottles of wine in the booze factory to take the edge off the trauma you’d feel in empathy over what your boy pup would have to go through to get “neutralized.” 😐

    • I think there’s something about being of the opposite sex that ramps up the sympathy factor in us during these neutralizations. Poor Sadie has an extra long incision because of the hernia. I about gagged when I saw it. She’s now romping around here like “what operation?” She has always been an “OK, that’s over, what’s next?” type of dog.

      To answer your question though, you’re right, I was smitten with her the first time she licked the crumbs from my cookie duster.

      • That’s what I love about dogs–no drama. They just deal with what they have to deal with and move on with the business of unconditional love. If only people could be more like dogs… 😉

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