A Life is New

With the birth of every Llewellin Setter puppy here, I am reminded of the opening paragraphs of a chapter titled “A Life is New” from George Bird Evans’s book, Trouble With Bird Dogs. I can think of no other way to express the feeling and of what a puppy must be experiencing:

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“Out of nothingness resembling nothing so much as death, a gulping intake of air becoming pain merges into smell in blackness that is no sight, stillness that is no sound. A feel—warm, moist, stroking, tumbling, rolling—blends with smell, the Mother smell. Coming with this, another feel, gentle too but with an Other smell, and being lifted away from everything that has happened yet.

After a forever of rubbing, rolling, there is the being lifted back and once more there is the Mother smell and feel of warmth among bodies squirming to be there first. Nothing exists now except the getting to a sucking finding that is new and yet has always been, a flow of sweet and warm with each pull between tongue and top of mouth and with each push against yielding fullness, going on until it blocks out all else. And deep in his dream, needing neither eyes nor ears, there are two smells. The Mother and the Other—first smells in a life that will consist of memories of smells.”

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“Few things are more beautiful than a puppy being born. The long plans, the long, long wait for the parents to reach maturity and prove themselves, the delicate balance of timing that is the mating, the pregnancy with its hazards and anxieties, the immense relief when the puppies arrive. I am totally moved when I see a bird dog puppy come into this world.”

– George Bird Evans

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