May 30, 2004

Summer Science Projects--Specimens

Snapshots In My Time, Of My Time.....Hauntings.

Again summer of 1969 or 1970-Middle School

We had a German Shepard named Lady. Lady was a beautiful dog. She had a litter of puppies that summer and we did not even realize she was pregnant. When she came home carrying a puppy in her mouth we set her up in the garage with a blanket and food and water. She retrieved about 6 little puppies from the woods behind our house. The puppies were very cute. Lady was very protective. We did limit our contact with the puppies.

About 3 days after they were born we noticed one of the puppies was dead. Lady had been laying on the puppy with full body weight. We thought it was an accident or it had just died of natural causes. We buried it in the back yard. The next day 3 more were dead. My mother thought that Lady was smothering the puppies. I had never heard of that before but she said that some animals control their populations by smothering the babies or eating them. I was mortified! My father removed those puppies and lady was left with 2 puppies. We decided to separate her and the puppies for a while. We called the vet hoping to save the other two. We were able to keep them separate except to nurse and we supervised the nursing. This worked for about 2 weeks. We thought things were okay with Lady so we let her and the puppies stay together for about a week. Things were going well.

Infanticide: Cub killing among lions: Of the higher mammals, the lion shows the most definite cannibalistic tendencies. There have been many reports of male lions killing and then sometimes eating young cubs. In almost all cases, however, the male lion is prompted to kill the cub, not from hunger or population pressure, but by a need to safeguard his own offspring. In most cases, the young are killed but not eaten. This is better described as infanticide, the killing of young, rather than cannibalism.

This extreme behavior is linked to the fact that a female lion reproduces quite slowly, usually coming into season again only after her cubs have become independent. Also, the male has a short breeding period of only about three years. By killing any cubs and young lions already present, he both encourages the females to come into season and eliminates the chance of any rivalry against offspring he later fathers.

We went out to go grocery shopping and when we came back the other two puppies were dead. She killed them all. My brother and I were very sad. She must have sat on then and smothered them as well. My father removed those puppies. This was most likely during the month of May.

Jump ahead to maybe September or October. One day on a Saturday after being out with my mother and brother shopping we come home to a horrible smell. So horrible it cannot be described. It permeated the entire house and we did not know what it was or where it was coming from. We opened all the windows and doors and began to look for what ever it was. We looked under beds, in the bathrooms, in the garage, in closets. We looked for about 40 minutes before finding it. It smelled like rotting meat with some sort of chemical mixed with it.

The last place we looked was the kitchen. We had all cleaned the kitchen that morning and it was spotless so there was no way it could be coming from there. But it was.

We looked underneath the kitchen sink and got a horrible surprise. My father, still in science experiment mode from the summer, had taken matters into his own hands. He had placed three of the puppies in three of those large pickle jars I told you about in the Shadow Box post. He filled the jars with rubbing alcohol in order to preserve them. Well, I guess rubbing alcohol is not the same as formaldehyde. Who knew?

Those puppies had begun to swell in those pickle jars filled with rubbing alcohol and the pressure became too great. The puppies exploded and then the jars did. We had exploded puppies and puppy juice and alcohol covering the bottom of the shelf under the sink and running out onto the kitchen floor. I got just a glimpse of the exploded mess before my mother screamed for me to get out the room and take my brother with me. I never got the full effect. I guess I should be happy. My mother was ranting and raving about biohazards in her kitchen! We did not clean it up. Instead she said that we had to leave the house and she would have my father clean that mess up when he got home. We went back to the mall and waited.

Once the time arrived for him to arrive home, my mother called and told him he had to clean up that mess before we came home. My mother and brother and I ate dinner out at the S&S Cafeteria. (That company has long gone out of business) We went home and all the windows were open-doors too-with fans going to air the place out. It took about two weeks for the smell to subside and a full month to go away altogether.

My mother asked my father what was he thinking. He said he was trying to preserve the puppies for my brother and I to take in for a science show and tell. It was to be a surprise. We thought all the puppies had been buried in the back yard. It was a surprise all right! Dead puppies are no joke!

Dead Puppy and Dead Baby Jokes!
Remember these from the 80's?
What's present do you get for a dead baby?
A dead puppy.


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