It’s over. Finally. I thought that we were finished two days ago. Then we found several new small specks of blood on the sheets that have been covering the couches and chairs for the last month. But now it is really over and the heat period that had featured twenty-nine days of bleeding could be put behind us. After all, this was to have been the time for mating Fessie with her boyfriend Cousteau, but due to a conflict between Fessie’s expected delivery date and the out of town wedding of a dear family friend, the Cousteau-Fessie nuptials had to be postponed until her next season.
The onset of Fessie’s heat period is always a catalyst for lots of discussion about the pros and cons of motherhood for Fess. The women in my family worry about potential complications for her during the pregnancy and the delivery. They also fret about the effects on her body. Will she lose her puppyish playfulness in fulfilling her maternal responsibilities? Will her titties remain saggy after nursing for six to eight weeks? We are all so in love with her that it is easy to become paranoiac about any potential glitch. Yet it is the very same love for her that empowers us to override our sometimes irrational fears.
Caring for her during her this time is quite an effort. Fessie doesn’t have the build for us to buy clothes off the rack and her pants with diapers have to be customized. During her first heat, my wife Linda bought several outfits for her to wear. The results were quite comical as fitting Fessie into these get ups was like trying to fit the proverbial square peg into a round hole. For starters, things just didn’t line up well. The hole that was supposed to allow a normal dog’s tail to stick out as well as to allow the wearer to defecate lined up with her oozing vulva, ironically the very spot we wanted to cover. But it was Kotex Light Days Panty Liners that saved the day. At last count, on this heat alone, we went through one hundred and eighty of the absorbent pads. Using the adhesive strips on the underside of the liners we would combine three of them to cover the opening. There was, however, a flaw to this system that Fessie was able to exploit by doing the “Fessie Roll.” The slow swaying motion of a bottom-heavy punching bag characterized this movement, with Fessie using her rear end as the pivoting point. This allowed her to snag the exposed adhesive strip that traversed the opening in the pants on the underlying rug or carpet, which in turn allowed her to literally walk out of her pants. She even started doing the “Fessie Roll” without her pants on which prompted some members of our household to accuse her of actually pleasuring herself. After that she always seemed to have a guilty expression on her face when she was caught in the act.
As I said earlier, this was the heat period that we had decided to mate Fessie. Dogs generally come into heat once every six to seven months. The heat is characterized initially by a swelling of the vulva and the onset of vaginal bleeding which usually lasts for ten to twelve days with ovulation occurring just as the bleeding is stopping. The egg remains viable for about seventy-two hours so the mating must take place during this window of opportunity. Pregnancy usually lasts about two months. You can imagine my chagrin when Fessie started swelling on July first, knowing that I was due to be in San Francisco for a wedding from September fourteenth to seventeenth. I called Cousteau’s family to let them know about Fessie’s condition. They were very excited at the prospect of fatherhood for their boy, but were deflated by the news about the wedding. I told them that unless she ovulated by the tenth of July the due date would be too close to the wedding date and that we would need to wait for the next opportunity, which would probably be in late February or early March. (God forbid, there may even be a potential conflict there as my daughter, Melanie, is due to graduate from Berkeley in May, so let’s all hope that Fessie stays on schedule). I dutifully checked vaginal smears from her every few days and the changes in the structure of the cells indicated that she would be ovulating on the fourteenth of July. Of course, that quashed any chance of mating this time.
But the biggest irony turned out not to be the conflict with the wedding, but with the fact that on the very day that Fessie was ripe for fertilization, I was going to the convention center in San Diego to attend Comic-Con. Guess who lived across the street from the Convention Center? None other than Cousteau and his family! Before leaving from San Diego I called the bride’s mother with the admonition, “She better get married on schedule. I’ve postponed Fessie’s breeding!” (Amazingly, five days later, another wedding that I was to attend in San Francisco was abruptly cancelled four days before the ceremony!).
The following day, when I returned to work I was lamenting the bad timing of the heat and the wedding to many of my clients in the course of their visits. To my surprise, when I mentioned the bride’s name and the date of the wedding, one client revealed that he was a childhood friend of the groom and that he and his wife would be attending the wedding, too. Small world.
And the heat went on…and on…and on.
It was getting crazy. Fessie continued her bleeding and it seemed to be picking up in volume. My girls informed me that Fessie smelled like a woman during her period. I laughed, because in all the years that I had been in practice, I had never taken the time to literally and metaphorically smell the flowers, and thus had had no accurate comparison until now. It really came as a surprise since the source and significance of the bleeding is so different. During a woman’s menstrual cycle, the bleeding is a sign of infertility; the discharge coming from the uterus as it sloughs its life supporting lining. The bleeding from a dog (or any animal that has an estrus cycle) is an effusion of life as the blood that seeps from the engorged vagina is a signal that the reproductive tract is preparing itself to accept and nurture the fertilized eggs that will hopefully follow.
And the heat went on…and on…and on.
As the month of July wound to a close we were completing a refurbishing of our bedroom. While the room was a construction zone, it didn’t matter that the ecdysiast Fessie would lose her pants and leave her marks on the carpet and fabrics that were going to be replaced. Now that the new stuff was in place Fessie was a pariah, a persona non grata if you will. But she was too hard to resist and neither Linda nor I had the discipline or the heart to banish her. Instead, we layered old sheets, towels and carpet remnants throughout the entire room to accommodate Fessie and allow ourselves the pleasure of her company.
And the heat went on…but just a little while longer.
Just when you think that you’re the only person in the world that must contend with a particular dilemma, something always happens to put the whole thing in perspective. Consider my surprise when in the course of an office visit, a client came in with her two Boston Terriers. Liberty had been in heat for a week and was wearing the identical pants that Fessie had been wrapped in for the past month. Now when I describe the physical differences between French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers, I frequently describe the Frenchy as having the conformation of a Boston on steroids, owing to the increased muscularity of the French Bulldog. But the basic shape of the two breeds is similar enough to create the same difficult fit when it comes to doggie apparel. And sure enough, Liberty also needed modification of the opening of her panties. I liked the solution even better than what Linda and I had done with Fessie. The opening was simply sewn closed thus allowing the adhesive of the panty liner to adhere only to the underside of the fabric and prevent its interfacing with any underlying rugs or carpets.
This particular visit also presented another unique situation. The reason that the two dogs had been brought in was that they had failed in their attempts to mate naturally. As Liberty was now ovulating it was obvious that I would need to perform an artificial insemination. The first step in this process is to collect a semen specimen from the male. Normally, this is easily accomplished, as the male is generally hyper-stimulated by the scent of the female and with a little manual manipulation an erection is followed by the ejaculation of approximately one to two teaspoons of semen. This in turn is placed into a syringe with a thin catheter that is inserted into the female’s cervix where the fluid is deposited. However, in this case, Spike was either not in the mood or was inhibited by his lack of privacy and for the first time in hundreds of attempts, I couldn’t obtain the specimen. I briefly gave the two ladies a lesson in how to masturbate their dog, hoping that he would be more relaxed in his own environment. My hunch was correct as two hours later two giggling ladies reappeared with the “lover’s” semen specimen in hand (well, not quite “in hand” but in the syringe casing that I had provided). They became so good at it that two days later they returned for a second breeding, again with the specimen “in hand.”
Fessie teased us a little over the last few days. The discharge stopped for a day and then two days of mild spotting followed. But finally it was over. The sheets, towels and carpet remnants came off and were put away for future use. Fessie was now free to roam the house unencumbered. We were all happy to have her back. Now if only she would cooperate and come back into heat by next February.
To find out the next kink in this tail, click here!