Tuesday, 23 April 2013
Podge's maternity unit is also my office, and I find it a pleasant contrast to do my mundane, uninspiring paperwork next to this miracle of nature. The puppies vocalise, and I can tell whether it's contentment, frustration, or cries for mother.
At night, I leave the door open so I can still hear the puppies from my own bedroom, and an unhappy cry wakes me from my sleep to get up and investigate. Maybe I need to readjust a lost pup, or dig one out from under a fold in the blanket. Podge does the important feeding and cleaning jobs, I just assist in small ways. My main job is to look after Podge's needs. Podge's main job is to look after her offspring. It's a hierarchy of care.
The renowned primatologist Frans DeWaal postulates that empathy and cooperation in mammals stems from the origins of maternal care. It's definitely an interspecies empathy, which is probably why so may of us choose to share our homes with other mammals like cats and dogs, or our lives with livestock.
I've never been a mother, I'm unlikely to at my age, but I sure can empathise with Podge. I downloaded a little video of the puppies feeding, so you can too.