We see pictures of queer foster parents – adopted pet combinations – a cat nursing a young rat or tending chicken, a mare caring for a puppy or a goat, a bitch nursing a kitten. The behavior of this sort is because of an excessive “mother complex.” In the case of a bitch that has not had pups and has no milk a hormone can be injected that will make her into such a good mother that she will steal other bitches’ pups to have something to love and protect. She’ll curl up with them and accept them as her own.
Almost any female with enough percolating in her blood will try to mother some animate thing. Perhaps it is a bitch mothering a duckling, or a rat mothering a young mouse. The trouble with getting a foster mother to adopt a young not her own is generally that she already has gotten used to her own and then it is difficult to make the substitution. Most people have heard what pains a shepherd must take to get a ewe that has lost her lamb to accept an orphan.
The best way to encourage adoption is to smear the orphan all over with vaginal fluids and milk from the foster mother. This makes the orphan smell like one of the mother’s own. She licks the fluids offhand this licking tends to make her want the orphan. There is no quicker way. Persistence will win over a foster mother even if she at first refuses an orphan. It may be necessary to hold it to her breast, remove it so she can’t bury it or kill it, and bring it back to the next nursing. If you are there, she won’t harm it, but if you are not, she may kill it. However, once a foster mother starts licking an orphan it is usually safe to leave them alone.
If no foster mother is available, the greatest difficulty in raising bottle-fed orphans is to arrange for a nipple of the right size, and then to induce puppies to nurse from it. Some people use medicine dropper rubbers through which they punch holes; others use children’s doll bottle nipples. Puppies will usually thrive on rubber nipples for infant humans.
Many small orphans are killed through the careless use of medicine droppers. Unless you are very careful to put a drop at a time on the puppy’s tongue and see that it is swallowing, its mouth may fill with milk. Then it may cry or wheeze and inhale some of the milk. This often causes pneumonia, and from this, the little thing dies. Few of those using medicine droppers know how much milk to give. A day-old puppy of a small breed needs five droppers six times a day, and one from a large breed needs twenty.
As in humans, it varies with the individual dog. People who are desperate to save an orphan often rush to buy goat’s milk. Most people think there is something magical in it that will save the young of any species. Actually, goat’s milk is very similar to cow’s milk and much more expensive. It is richer in fat than most Holstein milk but not as rich as Jersey milk. The only important difference is that in goat’s milk, the fat is broken up into much finer particles than in any cow’s milk. It is not the formula of choice for newborn puppies.
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