I only find two of four puppies when I get home at 4:30pm. I need to get some work done, but the front yard is not puppy-proof in my opinion, so instead I start searching. The mother, Sheba, finally leads me to one, well hidden in the underbrush of the front yard plants. But still one missing. I keep searching, and notice that there is a small opening in the drain/trench next to the wall, at the front right corner of the cement fence. “Hope its not there,” I think, in what seemed like a dead end old sewage canal, covered with a 2 inch think slab of concrete along its length. It seemed unlikely since the puppy would have had to get over a few obstacles. But they were all getting around a lot, so it is possible.
Then I hear the cries.
Its damp mud, snail shells, I can feel the wall on either side. No telling quite how far into the puppy has crawled, but he sounds close to the entrance. I can hear him, but can’t touch him.
Unless the puppy crawls back within reach, how else to get him out? I figure a sledgehammer could make the opening bigger so I can reach further back.
I go rouse my landlord from the breezy balcony. He can’t think of much else. He calls the chairman of the Guyana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals, but getting anyone to help on a Sunday afternoon in Georgetown was unlikely. He can’t think of anyone with a Sledgehammer.
So I bend a coat hanger to see if I could touch the puppy, maybe pull him out. Manage to scratch my arm up, but not even sure if touched the puppy. It makes me think its like I’m doing some back-alley abortion with a coat hanger in a mucky smelly womb. But in this case, trying to save a life.
I don’t know why the puppy won’t come within grabbing range. Frightened? Stuck?
The puppies’ eyes are still closed (one wek old), ears seem to be, too. I figure the only way to attract him is by smell. hoping the puppy can move, I milk the mother so my fingers will smell of her milk. I wait, my arm wedged into the rough crevice, muck under my fingers, sweaty, neck at an impossible angle. I get poor Sheba back to milk her more and get in on a rag to place near entrance, hoping the smell will attract the puppy.
My Landlady brings home an iron rod to try to break open the hole more. She and I manage to knock off some chunks, but in the end it just makes the hole smoother and less likely to cut me. There is a rod sticking out of the wall that I manage to bash my eyebrow into. She tells me to take care of it, but I’d rather concentrate on the task at hand. I draw a heart with my blood on a tree while she takes a turn bashing the concrete.
I keep going back and forth, trying with the coat hanger. And keep asking my landlords about a sledgehammer.
An hour and a half later, its 6pm and getting dark., so now mosquitoes and darkness to add to the discomfort. I’m wedged in place again. The puppy had not been crying for a while, I’m wondering about euthanasia options, but they seem even less likely than a rescue. Text messages are coming from a fan, the whole situation seems surreal. Or maybe I’m just lightheaded.
He starts yelping again. I wonder why I have to notice these things. Life would be easier if I didn’t notice things like missing puppies. I know his cries will haunt me if I don’t save him. Forehead against rough stone wall, I’m pretty close to tears. Why notice suffering and distress if I can’t help? I think of the Beaver Pond Forest, and other times I’ve fought for things and lost. Will this be the same?
Back inside racking my brain, power goes out. Finally, my landlord says the neighbors might have a sledgehammer. They do.
We get it, in a few minutes, he has managed to make the hole much bigger.
I reach in…and touch the puppy! Very wedged in, so could not have crawled back to the entrance. I realize they can’t backup at this age, so they can crawl into trouble and not be able to back out of it. The small furry legs are warm and limp, no sound. I wonder if the sledgehammering crushed him.
But then there’s movement and yelping. And slowly slowly, I manage to pull him out, like a second birth for this pup, a breach birth out of a very different womb than the one he exited the first time.
Besides some stinky muck, the puppy appears to be fine. It takes a bit to convince Mom to nurse, which the pup desperately needs.
It took two frustrating, hot, sweaty, bloody hours. But its great to see him and his siblings all nursing off Mom.
I guess its not so bad that I notice things.