“Puppies and Sex Ed”

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Cinder met a handsome black Labrador and ended up with five little babies. Here they are being weaned off Cinder and onto Pablum and evaporated milk, apparently the transition food in 1951. They are all sharing the same bowl, which makes it a lot like their nursing experience.

We watched the puppies being born, as we later watched other puppies and kittens being born. There is certainly nothing like being a kid and watching birth to answer a string of unasked questions about the whole thing. We had watched Cinder get “fat”, make a little nest of rags and then work hard to push out each little pup. Each one was in a sac and we watched as Cinder licked it off and went on to push the next one out. We were completely impressed that each pup wiggled their way over to a nipple which supplied the milk. Nipples and milk were already known to me from watching my mom nurse my baby brother. We turned each puppy upside down to find out if it was a girl or boy. So that difference was obvious even to a little kid.

The next excitement was waiting for the puppies to open their eyes.  I knew that human babies open theirs right away, so this was a fascinating difference. I hadn’t known that humans didn’t come wrapped in a sac. This had to be explained to me. But I understood that the cord and the resulting belly button were the same in pup and baby.

I am not sure if kids today commonly get to watch animals give birth. Watching the puppies and the kittens seemed like an urban transition from the typical rural experience kids had long had with sheep, goats, horses and cattle. It was an easy way to learn a lot without being in a classroom full of embarrassed kids. I’m grateful for it.

19 thoughts on ““Puppies and Sex Ed”

  1. What a great experience. We had no pets as children and I only had sisters. I remember asking my mother how the doctor knew whether a baby was a boy or a girl when it was born. I could easily have been about 8 by then – hard to believe now! She told me not to be so silly – I didn’t get any clearer answer from her. I suppose I found out by myself – though I have no recollection of how!

      1. My husband & I were wool growers, so lambing season was a busy time for us, as well as shearing time & harvesting our crops. We didn’t have cattle or horses, although my husband grew up with draught horses. He rode one to school each day!

  2. Lucky you to have seen the gift of giving birth. The closest I’ve seen was a chicken laying an egg. Sex Ed is mostly taught at school. Breast feeding in public seems to be no longer acceptable.

    1. I have to say that I breastfeed both of my children in public. I figure that unless people actually do it, it won’t be normal. Besides if they are hungry, it seems ridiculous that a child should have to wait for something that is wholly natural just because a few adults are uncomfortable.

  3. I grew up in the country with a father who is a veterinarian. I have seen many animals, both large and small, be born. I remember a couple of times even stopping by the side of the road to watch a cow give birth. Watching a baby take its first breaths, be nudged into standing, and begin to nurse really is a miracle. I don’t actually remember ever not knowing or understanding the mechanics of procreation or birth. I one time ask my mom how she went about telling us or explaining the things we saw on the farm, and she said children will ask questions and you just have to answer the questions with answers that they can understand and are ready for. That seems a wholly reasonable way to do it, and I imagine it is how I will go about teaching my own children.

    1. It is very natural to discuss these things with kids. It certainly was obvious to us as kids how things worked. I remember a neighborhood mom being upset that my daughter told her daughter some facts. I felt for the kid.

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