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Happy Tails: Mothers Day is for all mothers

She's emphatic to let everyone know that she loves her own son, more than anything else in the world. Realizing that bond, she writes of the special maternal instincts of her close friends in the animal world, the wonderful mothering instincts of her horses and dogs. Click on headline for entire Happy Tails column with photos
The next previous Happy Tails column: Happy Tails: Is this the dog for you?

By Peg Schaeffer

Happy Mother's Day to everyone. This is a special day for Mothers everywhere. I'm a proud Mother. I have a son, Chip, who means the world to me. He still lives in CT and although we are 1,000 miles apart he's close to my heart. I love my son more than anything in my life.

It's funny. When I was pregnant I was apprehensive about having a child to be responsible for. I was afraid that I wouldn't be a good mother. How do you care for a child? But when he was born nothing else mattered to me. This precious gift from God was a part of me and I would love him forever. Mothering is a natural instinct. No one trains you to love your child. It just happens. And it happens to the four legged animals too.

I have raised horses for years. You have a maiden mare that has her first foal. She kicks when the foal tries to nurse. It's painful to her. But she seems to realize this is something she needs to do. The mare will squeal, kick gently, but understands that she needs to do this. A mare that has foaled before will nudge her foal and guide it to her udder with a gentle nicker. She knows what needs to be done.

Dogs who have puppies know when it's time. They find a secluded place to whelp. Each puppy is cleaned and pushed to her milk. No matter how many pups they have they have the routine down pat and each one is cared for.

How do they know what to do? It's instinct. But - is it more than instinct? Do they really love their babies? They do. Take my word for it. I have seen many mares foal, cats have kittens, and dogs have puppies. They love their babies

. Recently we had three dogs appear. It was a cold, rainy day and they were looking for help. I brought them in, dried them, and warmed them up. There was a Beagle/Basset mix; I named her Trinket, who was pregnant. There also was a male Beagle that I named "Hank". When the time came for Trinket to deliver her puppies I had her set up in a pen with a heat lamp. Hank waited outside like any expectant father. He stayed there the entire time. After the puppies were born and Trinket had taken care to details she left them. He immediately went into the pen and lay with them until she came back. When she returned he resumed his post outside of the pen. As the puppies grew he would lay with Trinket and help her care for them. Somehow he knew they were his puppies and he was responsible for them.

A while back I rescued two Beagles - Lemon and Lucy. Lemon was pregnant and too far along to end the pregnancy without complications. Lucy was early in her pregnancy so I had her spayed. When Lemon had her puppies Lucy was there for her. She would lay with Lemon and the puppies loving them as if they were her own. Within a few days Lucy started to make milk. She loved Lemon and the pups and was able to care for the pups in Lemon's absence. If Lemon would leave her puppies, Lucy would nurse them. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself.

Motherhood is not something you learn in books. It just comes naturally. If you have a child, a puppy, a foal, a kitten - you just know automatically how to love and care for it. And that's what you do. People have more help than the animals do. You go to classes, you have a coach, and after the birth your family is there for you.

But what if you're a dog that's been abandoned? You are expected to give birth to your puppies and care for them in the wild. Once you bring them up and they are now old enough to be weaned what happens? They are now feral. They've never been touched by a human. They're scared, they have mange or lice, they have pot bellies from worms, and they aren't the cutest puppies because of all of their ailments.

You are probably tired of hearing this from me but we need to spay and neuter our pets. Yes, puppies and kittens are SO CUTE. But what happens after? They are left to fend for themselves. They become feral and can't be handled. They are loaded with parasites and worms. It's no longer a pretty picture.

Please - spay and neuter your pets!

I am on the Board of Directors for Lifebridge for Animals which will provide low cost spay/neuter for dogs and cats. Contact me if your pet needs to be altered and I will give you a low cost application. They are not based on income. The cost for dogs is $50 and cats $40. A Happy Mothers day to everyone - Peg Schaeffer

Contact us if you would like to help.

Peg Schaeffer, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue,
860 Sparksville Road
Columbia, KY 42728
Home telephone: 270-378-4521
Cell phone: 270-634-4675

This story was posted on 2013-05-12 11:42:11
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There's a special bond between all mothers

2013-05-12 - Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY - Photo by Peg Schaeffer. Horses at Sugarfoot Farm Rescue are great parents. Motherhood is not something you learn in books. It just comes naturally. If you have a child, a puppy, a foal, a kitten - you just know automatically how to love and care for it. And that's what you do. People have more help than the animals do. You go to classes, you have a coach, and after the birth your family is there for you. - Peg Schaeffer
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