This Mother’s Day we’re celebrating our wonderful dog mums, and the fantastic volunteers who care for them. 62 puppies from our small but growing breeding scheme started on their journey to become life-changing dogs last year.
Roma has had two litters of puppies for the charity and lives with Cathy and her family. We asked Cathy what’s involved in looking after one of our special dog mums.
Why did you decide to become a brood carer?
I first heard about Dogs for Good when they visited the Hook Norton Brownies where I was one of the leaders. I was impressed at what the dogs could do. At the time we did not have a dog and I was keen to have one, but was not sure how it would fit in with our busy lives and how I could persuade my husband who was very sceptical! Roma quickly won everyone over and then having the litters of puppies adds an extra dimension which the kids (and I) love.
What’s the part of the role that you find most rewarding?
Roma is a lovely dog- she is so calm and unflappable. Seeing her when she first has her puppies is amazing as she is such a good mother. Watching her care for them for the first few weeks is wonderful, but I think the most rewarding bit is when the puppies pass their training and we get the photos and letters through to say they have been matched with someone. Then you feel really proud of Roma and see how her hard work is the start of a dog who will hopefully go on to make a real difference in someone’s life.
How do you prepare for the arrival of a litter of pups?
The first thing is getting the whelping pen up and ready and making sure Roma gets used to it for a few weeks before she whelps. Next is going through the box of goodies from Becci, the charity’s Dog Supply Co-ordinator, including cleaning fluid/ weighing scales/ nail varnish to mark each puppy as it is born, and the all important thermometer. Also making sure you have old towels ready to dry the puppies and piles of newspaper for after they are born.
As you get nearer to her due date then watching Roma for signs that she is getting ready to whelp such as a change in her temperature and then restlessness.
When Roma isn’t busy being a mum, what are her favourite things to do?
Roma loves going for walks, on runs with me, and is always keen to have a swim if there is a water nearby too. On walks she always likes to make sure everyone is included, so she will go from one of us to the other with a tennis ball making sure everyone has a turn throwing it for her!
Her favourite games are playing with balls and running around the kitchen playing with the children. She loves teddy’s but we have yet to find one that lasts longer than a few months once she gets her teeth on it!