"The Proud Father"
What's a man supposed to do when his dog decides to give birth in his bed at 2 o'clock in the morning?
"Pregnant……………..How can she be pregnant? She doesn't know any other dogs!" His mind reeled.
Alison Monaghan was amused, "Nature usually finds a way and surely you have noticed that dogs are interested in her every so often." How can any grown man be this clueless. "However," she eyed him sternly "unless you want to be overrun with puppies every few months, I strongly recommend you have her spayed as soon as she's ready."
"Spayed? What's that?"
"A hysterectomy, it also saves possible health problems in later life. Older bitches are prone to a condition called pyometra which can be life threatening. Between now and then, I suggest you learn just exactly what you have taken on here."
Monaghan turned to her desk. "She needs a proper diet, no more of those," she waved a hand at the crumpled bag of treats she could see sticking out of his pocket. "Plenty of food, water, proper exercise, not just following you about all day; and she will have the puppies in about four weeks." She handed him some diet sheets.
He clicked his fingers at the dog, "Er……right, thanks for that, doc. C'mon Tilly."
Monaghan watched as man and dog departed. Shaking her head, she turned back to her paperwork.
Alphonse drove back to the office. At least the car drove, and they arrived at the office in one piece, but how he managed to get there he wasn't quite sure. Tilly didn't notice, she sprawled idly across the back seat.
"Well!" Charlie looked up from his computer.
"She's pregnant, man."
"Charlie, do you really need me to explain that to you!" Alphonse had not completely lost his sense of humour.
Charlie made a face. "Okay, so who's the father?"
"I have no idea."
"When's she gonna have'em?"
"Monaghan says about four weeks."
"She gonna have'em at Monaghan's?"
"Hey, what's with the twenty questions okay! I dunno! So stop asking me."
Before Charlie could come up with a crushing retort, the door opened. Ice looked in,
Alphonse rolled his eyes, here we go again.
The next three weeks passed slowly. Too slowly for Alphonse. Where Tilly had always followed him around, he'd taken to following her. And reading up on the subject. His work suffered. The other two found this sudden change hilarious, until the work started piling up.
Chrissy walked into the office. Charlie was alone, working away at something on the computer, he looked up and smiled at her. Holding out his hand, he encouraged her to sit on the arm of the chair. Never given to open displays of affection, so they made up for it when they were alone.
"So, how's the father to be!"
"Hysterical! She only has to sigh and he jumps out of his skin." Charlie was amused, "And reading, …….take a look in that file over there."
Curious, Chrissy walked over to Alphonse's desk, tucked inside a case file concerning software counterfeiting, was a large book on dogs' health and care. She looked up at her husband, one eyebrow slightly raised,
Charlie grinned "Yeah, they're everywhere. Second drawer down on the right, there's a couple in the filing cabinet. He keeps phoning up the vet, asking all these weird questions! And he calls me paranoid!!"
Chrissy smiled to herself. The big man's obsession with his pet's health had not gone unnoticed. Most of the ladies in the office thought it was endearing.
Zero hour came and went. Absolutely nothing happened, except Alphonse became more jumpy than ever. Tilly just grew bigger.
Alphonse was awakened by heavy weight on the other side of the bed, she was whimpering, and very restless, getting up, turning round, scratching at the sheets. He rolled over and glanced at the clock …………2.00 am glared back at him with unrelenting redness.
The whimpering stopped. A shudder coursed through her, and she began to strain. Alphonse leapt to his feet, scrabbling frantically for his cell phone. Too late…………..a gush of fluid spread across the sheets, followed by the first puppy.
Alphonse took a deep breath, way too late to call the vet now, and Tilly seems to know what she's doing, he climbed back onto the bed, next to his pet and began to stroke her and talk to her.
"That's it girl,……………….you're doing fine…………….." muttering soothing nonsense in her ear.
Tilly promptly produced a puppy every twenty minutes or so, sniffing at them and cleaning them up. Finally at almost 6.00 am she was finished. Alphonse moved the new mother and her brood over a bit so that he could strip the wrecked sheet from the bed, he was exhausted; Tilly was pleased with herself. He flopped down across the top of the bed, next to his dog, just five minutes, then I'll think about getting breakfast. His eyes closed and he was asleep in minutes.
7.30 am and Ice and Ali were arguing over breakfast.
"Man, it's your turn to cook breakfast."
"Aye well, I distinctly remember it being your turn to do the honours." Ali stuck to his guns. The row was about to escalate when Charlie walked in.
"Guys, we have twenty minutes………….so get a move on." He looked round, "Where's 'Phonse?"
It dawned on the other two that they hadn't seen him. Ice went to look. He came back, an amused grin on his face.
"Take a look at this."
They looked. Charlie went to get the digital camera from the Explorer.
10.30 am Alphonse staggered into the office, he looked rough. Being up all night and then sleeping half on and half off the bed hadn't done him much good.
People keep giving me the strangest looks.Penny Carducci passed by,
"Hi Alphonse," she smiled up at him in a sort of moony way, which was totally unlike Penny.
Bemused, he had his hand on the office door handle, before he registered the source of everybody's amusement.
The photograph was large, full colour and left out nothing.
Tilly snoozing peacefully on her side, her puppies laid out in a neat row next to her. Himself on the other side dressed only in his boxers, one arm folded under his head, the other flung over Tilly's shoulder. There was something scribbled in the corner in Charlie's handwriting,
"The proud father!!"
PROUD FATHER!!! I'll kill him!, Alphonse snorted, then smiled to himself, okay! Maybe I won't, I guess he's got a point!