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.