Once upon a time, a happy family lived in rural Tennessee. Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Baby Bear... wait, no, wrong story. I'll start again.
In a modest home on a country road lived me (Jean), my husband (Mr. P), and our two dogs, Georgie (a fawn French bulldog) and Polly (a black pug), with an outdoor cat (Smoky, who you might guess is grey) to monitor the mouse population. Our neighbors are farmers and their cows, plus countless stray dogs and cats. Apparently lots of people think it's OK to drop their unwanted pets into a ditch.
Last fall, a sweet white mutt with a black patch over one eye appeared. She evaluated every home in the area and targeted us to be her new family. She must have seen the neon "SUCKER" sign on our roof. We called her Patch, not wanting to invest a lot of effort in naming a dog who would eventually disappear. But she didn't disappear. We fed her, gave her a crate in our garage, and when she began to get fat and her teats distended, I took her to the vet. He told us Patch weighed 32 lbs, was about a year old, and was about 4 weeks away from delivering a litter of puppies. This was not exactly what we had planned for our family, but that SUCKER sign is there for a reason.
On December 21, 2008, Patch gave birth in our laundry room to 4 adorable puppies. Every time we take them to the vet for shots, he says in awe, "And you're keeping them all?" Well, yes. We can't bring ourselves to part with them. We love them all - how could we chose which one(s) to banish? We couldn't give them away in the Wal-Mart parking lot to any idiot who'd drive up and throw them in the back of his pickup truck. We'd have to do a home visit, a psychological evaluation, and get 3 references.
So the puppies stay. Patch and the pups have a large doghouse (an 8x8 shed with a pet door) and share a big fenced-in yard with Georgie and Polly. Although Georgie was interested in eating the puppies when they were small, now that they are 5 months old and bigger than him (he weighs 23 lbs, they weigh about 40 lbs each), he tolerates their rough-housing with only the occasional snarl. As their behavior improves and the weather gets warmer, Patch and the puppies spend more time indoors, but so far none of them have shown an interest in being officially house-broken. (Georgie enjoys snacking on puppy poop anyway.)
The vet theorizes that the puppies are part Rottweiler, part bloodhound. Two of them (Teddy & Meg) are tan with white markings, and the other two (Berry & Jinx) are black with tan markings. We have had Patch spayed and in a month or so will have the puppies neutered, because we can barely afford to feed this crew, never mind more pups.
As the vet says, "You gotta a whole lot of dog goin' on here!"