I was ready: wearing my surgical gloves, a pair of scissors in a bucket of Dettol water nearby and two askari midwives each holding flashlight beam on the proceedings.
Although Princess seemed very bewildered at what was happening to her, once I'd blown in the pup's face and it shrieked in protest, she reached up to lick it. Hallelujah! Her maternal instincts had kicked in!
Ten minutes later Numba Mbilil (number two) made its appearance. While she licked and pulled at the membrane covering the pup, I noticed its head was still in the sealed part. I gently eased it towards the larger opening which Princess had made and it popped out. (Gave me quite rush, this did, seeing life happening in front of my eyes! ) A gentle rubbing of the body, blowing into its face and holding it upside down -is this how it's done? Not sure but it worked! - and the pup squeaked loudly. I placed it next to its sibling which had been latched onto the milk supply for the past fifteen minutes.
Numba tato (number three) and Numba nne arrived in quick succession and were soon squeaking lustily and latching onto the next available teats. After this Princess seemed to be more restful and we hoped that this was IT!
Zechariah and Alphas, two askaris who took their midwifery duties very seriously!
Around 4.30am I supplied the medical team with juice . It was now 5.30 and I came indoors to make Grant a cup of coffee. I also made two cups of sweet, milky tea for my helpers. As I picked up the cups, Alphas Moto knocked frantically on the kitchen window and gesticulated for me to come. I arrived in the maternity ward to see Numba tano (number five) already clean and rolling around near her tummy. Princess sure was a fast learner!
I returned inside again ; washed my hands and got into my exercise clothes. Marita and I do a 6km walk three times a week and I wasn't going to miss out today. Grant was also leaving for work at the same time and came to the hut to inspect the new pups. As we watched, Princess gave birth to Numba sita (by now you may have guessed or calculated that that's number six! ) I helped this baby clean up and start to live and put him near a teat. I had to jog up to the corner as Marita was already waiting!
When I got back at 7.30, Michael, who'd come on day askari duty said that there were SEVEN pups. At least though now, she has finally stopped producing, had two bowls of hot milk and dog biscuits and all's well in the land of Princess' new pups on the yard.
Princess and her perfect litter of seven!
Grant has called the vet who will come and check all is in order with Princess. I wonder, has there ever been a dog in rural Africa who has had such a organized, assisted and clean confinement?