I lost one of the puppies early this morning. There being only two of them, the loss feels all the more painful.
The signs had been there since late last night. The puppy was mewling inconsolably and no amount of repositioning would make calm her down. The other day, her sister was also crying incessantly, but it must have only been for the heat, because when I took her down from their mattress and laid her on the cement floor, she would stop. I assumed the same of this other one. Or maybe she was just hungry, but the mother would not let her latch. Perhaps the mother would just come around, I hoped. The only time the puppy stopped crying was when I took her in my hands and gave her a rub. But it was close to midnight and I also needed to sleep. So I let her be, plugging my ears to her cries.
When I woke up early this morning, I went to their cage to see how the pup was doing. She lay prone on their cushion, not moving. Perhaps asleep? I bent down to touch her and only felt a stiff coldness. She had probably died in the night.
I can write about it now with some calm but this morning I was anything but. The puppy had died under my watch. What to do, what to do? Lacking newspapers in the house, I grabbed some printed sheets, remnants of a research project from before and I wrapped the corpse in those and set it aside. The mother seemed not to understand because when I came back she was attempting to nurse it. Finally I took it to our garden and laid it in a hole.
I kept telling myself: the puppy would not have survived anyway. There was something wrong with her. Her body had grown and her stomach was bloated, but the head and the leg remained tiny. Each leg was only half the thickness of my pinky. I had wondered how the puppy would look when it became older. Apparently something I need not worry about anymore.