Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Watching dogs mate isn't my favorite activity. But this was MY dog mating, my Bear, the surprise doggie love of my life. We acquired Bear in a last-second rescue from a puppy mill. I've told that story elsewhere. http://bit.ly/evbFda
Sometimes Fox (that's my wife) takes Bear to the grocery, all five pounds of him, snugged in a sling. Fox was putting milk into her basket when she was approached by a husky woman in her late forties.
"He's male?" the woman asked, putting her face near to Bear so she could see his eyes. She smiled and made kissy sounds. Bear calmly returned her gaze.
"Tell me he's still intact, please!", the woman implored. " I have a female poodle just his size and I would love to put them together. What do you think?"
Fox thought it would be nice to have a companion for Bear, so one thing led to another which led to this: I was to supervise the mating of Bear with Snickers. Fox was out of town when Snickers came into heat. The phone rang, the heat was on and I was designated the Master of Ceremonies.
Bear stands five inches from the ground at the shoulders. He would never win a blue ribbon or Best Of anything unless it was a dog show run by old beatniks on Quaaludes.
It's strangely deceiving to describe Bear as tiny. He has short legs and a round powerful torso. If I had four of him they could pull a sled through the snow.
There was a knock at the door. I pulled the screen back to open. "Here she is, " said Tammy, and dropped a gangly brown creature at my feet.
There was no ceremony, no meeting and greeting as Snickers' owner left her bitch with me." I'll see you tomorrow night around five" she said. "Good luck."
Snickers and Bear had a whiff of each other and without foreplay or so much as a hello, Snickers lifted her tail and accepted Bear's pursuit.
It was clear from the outset that we had a problem. Snickers stood eight inches tall at the shoulder. Bear looked like a sixth grader dancing with a girl who towers over him.
So far Bear had been a masturbator. He loyally and monogamously humped a stuffed toy dog named Greta. He got it right; he knew Greta's business end. He pulled at her ear, beat her up a little bit, jumped and humped for a while before dismounting. Greta was the perfect size and she obeyed implicitly. Bear would beat her up again, hop on and hump some more. Bear's humping was so enthusiastic that he literally launched himself into the air. All four feet left the ground as he banged away.
When we watched, discreetly, we had to turn away lest our laughter disturb the little guy. He was very dedicated in his amatory exercises with the inert Greta. It was no laughing matter for Bear.
Snickers was not Greta. She was alive. She moved. She wagged her tail in the air, and the fug of pheromones filled the room with flirty invitation. Snickers wasn't much to look at. She was a stringy toy poodle, dark brown, with a long pointed nose. She growled but we were told in advance that growling was her only means of vocal expression. There was no explanation why this was so. It was a simple fact. It made Snickers seem as if she had a grievance with the world.
Wonderful. Bear didn't care. Bear had the whiff and was panting as he followed Snickers around the small front room of our RV. I must remind you, we live in an RV. There wasn't any hiding place, no love nest or cozy nook for the two to go off and get acquainted. That isn't the way dog mating works. The act of copulation must be witnessed. And, hopefully, repeated as often as possible.
Snickers' business end was a little bit too high for Bear. He was game, oh yes. He got up on his hind legs and tried to mount the tall girl. Snickers kept walking in figure eights. I had the feeling she'd done this before. In fact, Snickers was a bit long in the tooth. Snickers was pushing the dog equivalent of forty. We hadn't known any of this. Our deal was simple. We would get one puppy from the litter.
Bear tried grabbing her around the waist with his front legs. Snickers kept her tail up and her parts ready for action, but she wasn't helping poor Bear. She kept walking figure eights, up and down, round and round. She dragged the grappling Bear along with her, growling all the way.
Bear tried jumping. He hopped on Snickers' back but the angle was all wrong. He slid back to the ground without gaining purchase.
I felt awful for Bear. His eyes held a bewildered sorrow. His tongue hung out and vibrated in rhythm with his panting. He tried grabbing one of Snicker's hind legs and climbing. Snickers walked around the room with Bear attached to her svelte but aging body. I tried not to laugh. I have learned that Bear is capable of suffering acute embarrassment.
Is that a stretch for you? That dogs can be embarassed? I've learned that animals have complex emotional lives. The best I can do is try to understand their feelings.
Bear was caught between humiliation and lust. In the hierarchy of instinct, lust wins out. Bear wasn't going to quit until he reached his goal.
I think Bear felt a little better when I behaved foolishly. I tried to help by putting phone books under his legs. I was crawling around thrusting books, cushions and boxes to elevate Bear to the action position, but of course nothing helped because the two dogs were in constant motion and weren't about to stop and think things through.
It just didn't work. Now and then Snickers would turn her head to look at Bear and growl. That was the only sound she knew how to make. Growl. I might have hoped for a more supportive partner for my boy, but fate had brought the couple together and fate would determine the outcome.
I sat at my computer while all this strenuous activity went on under and around my chair. Bear's energy was faltering. I was beginning to worry about him.
I tried to encourage him to take a break and drink some water. No deal. He had been following and trying to mount Snickers for three hours and he wasn't about to quit.
That bitch was in HEAT!
I was thinking about ways to end the situation. I was afraid Bear was dehydrating. The only way I had to separate the dogs was to close the door that
enclosed the RV's bathroom and bedroom. I looked down from my chair and noticed that Bear had adopted a new strategy. He was hopping from foot to foot. His front paws were on Snicker's flanks and she was still ceaselessly moving. I wanted to scream at her, Stand still for god's sake!
Bear's hippity hop from foot to foot had the effect of getting him some altitude. I don't know how he worked it out but the next thing I knew the two dogs were locked together.
Nature, clever nature, had designed the female dog's parts to close down on the male's penis and trap it there. Snickers was still moving in her relentless figure eights but now Bear was being dragged along, fumbling over his own paws.
Snickers growled. Bear looked up at me in utter bewilderment. His tongue hung halfway down his chest, his mouth dripped saliva. He managed to get himself onto Snicker's back so he could match her strides with his rear legs. I know he felt
ridiculous. Now and then he would lose his rhythm and drop into an ungainly sprawl. He was dragged on his back, on his side, as he struggled to achieve a position that gave him a modicum of dignity.
When Tammy arrived for Snickers around five the next day, the pair had successfully copulated twice. The second time was easier. Bear used his alternate leg hippity hop move and was trapped by Snickers for another ride around the RV.
I could swear, when the whole thing was finished, that Bear's eyes pleaded with me to get him neutered as soon as possible.
"If this is dog sex, I don't want anything to do with it."
Snickers' litter consisted of two pups, a male and a female. The girl pup,
named Kioni, was twice the size of the boy pup, Gabriel. We didn't want a female,
so runty little Gabe became a member of our family.
At first we thought he might be a special needs dog. That, however, is the next story.