Surrogate Motherhood

We collected our new puppy yesterday. We have known she was coming since roughly the time she was conceived and have been in regular contact with the (very) extended family member whose dog this is. Indeed, we have been to see her a couple of times in the 9 weeks since she arrived.

Despite the sleepless nights we have to look forward to and the “accidents” that we all need to learn from, this is a good time for us and the right time to get a new puppy after we lost Pippa just before Christmas. But it struck me as we were driving to Yorkshire yesterday that this is a two-edged sword – our gain is someone else’s loss. Sort of.

I had a strange feeling that the wife of the couple who had done so much to love and care for this little white, black and brown bundle on our behalf, since she’d been born and ante-natally too, was like a surrogate mother, handing over her baby. Given that she is not a dog breeder and this is the first litter that her own bitch has had, she hasn’t experienced the emotions associated with giving her baby away before. Our puppy is one of six and she is keeping one herself, but three of the other four are actually staying in the same street, with other family members. To see these puppies go is just a case of handing one over the fence to a mother or brother next door. The litter siblings here will continue to enjoy a pack life and wider family life together for years. Ours is going to be a hundred miles away.

As anticipated, it was quite difficult. We called in on a niece and her partner first – Rocky’s new mum and dad – and had a cup of tea. Rocky joined them last weekend, so has started to settle down nicely two doors along from his mum and remaining brother and sister. One of his other siblings lives in the house in between – no doubt they all talk to each other across the gardens.

We went to collect her. There was a full puppy-pack for us with a lovely birth certificate, various puppy-pads for those little spills, literature and a quantity of the food that the puppy is used to, so that we know what it is and continue with it, or slowly wean her off onto something of our choice (which we will do, if only because the food is only available at one outlet locally, which is about 25 minutes drive away and not in one of our usual shopping places).

We sat a while and talked and played with the pup.

A bit too long.

I hurried Ann up and we we left to bring her to her new home, but I know that we left a lot of tears behind.

It must be very difficult. The wife had delivered this little dog, helped it and looked after it at a fundamental time in its life. And then let someone she doesn’t really know take it away. And all she has left is a very modest fee. It’s not something I could do, and I’m sure has dissuaded other family members from any idea that breeding dogs would be a fun thing to do. How women become successful surrogates is completely beyond me. I hope that they get paid a huge amount of money for their services – after all, their commitment makes breeding dogs pale into insignificance – but the emotions experienced in that house in Yorkshire yesterday are on the same scale as those felt in a surrogate’s house. Not something I’d ever though of before and we are very grateful that there are ordinary people who are prepared to put themselves through this.

Anyway. Welcome to the family, Betsy 🙂