13 June

Update: Is Hannah Pregnant? We May Find Out Today.

by Jon Katz
Update: Is Hannah Pregnant?

As some of you already know, Hannah, Gus’s mother, and Knox, Gus’s father, have been bred again. Today, Robin has invited me to go with her to the vet to see if the breeding took and Hannah is pregnant. We’re hopeful, since she and Knox had a good time.

Knox is very much a gentleman, and he inspires me to think that a puppy of his could make a great therapy dog.

But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself, let’s first find out if Hannah is pregnant at all. Robin had a hard time  when Gus died of megaesophagus, and we are happy to try again with Robin, who is a thoughtful, careful and loving breeder.

The experts say the cause of megaesophagus is not known, and there is no trace of it in the mother or father’s line.

So we are quite willing to take another chance, with our vet’s blessing.

Gus was a great dog and so is Hannah and Knox. These are the kinds of dogs you want to see bred, and Robin is the kind of breeder you want to see overseeing the breeding.

There are no guarantees in life,  not with dogs, not with people. If Hannah is pregnant, and all goes well, she would deliver her babies in July, and we could get one of them in September (just in time for the Open House on Columbus Day Weekend).

We would love to share that joy with the people coming to see us. I’ll let everybody know what happens when we see the vet today. Last time, Hannah had four puppies.

We’re happy Robin is taking another chance on this, we’d love to end on a happier note this time. If not, we hold no one but ourselves responsible. We loved having Gus, and we would like to continue the small dog/Boston Terrier experience. I loved writing about him and small dogs. If the puppy comes, this will be a book

I am sometimes reminded of the emotional toll Gus’s death took on me, and I am sure, Maria. The other day, someone sent me a photo of one of her dog in a Bailey Chair – the high chairs for feeding dogs with this disease used widely to try to prolong the lives of dogs with this disease.

The woman’s message said “these chairs save a lot of dogs lives!” I took the message as another scolding from people who demanded that I use these chairs with Gus (we used other chairs, recommended by vets, they didn’t work), and I asked her why she was sending me these images, which were more upsetting than I would have  expected.

It was hard for me to imagine that anyone who followed Gus’s story wouldn’t know that I was aware of these chairs, or had good reasons for not using them. And why send the photo to me now, months after Gus had died? I have noticed in the animal world that people come easily to believe that everyone should do what they do, and anyone with a different idea is a criminal without heart. I don’t ever want to be one of those people. I only share my feelings and choices, I do not ever tell other people what to do.

The photo was creepy, it should a big dog climbing out of the big wooden chairs that force them into an upright position while eating. I am glad we found better chairs than that for Gus.

I asked the woman if she really thought I was so dumb that I wouldn’t know about these chairs after spending months researching the illness and  trying to help Gus get through it. As it turned out, she didn’t know why she sent the photo either, and apologized for being insensitive.

She said she just didn’t think about it.

What surprised me wasn’t the message – i got some much worse than that, the self-righteous love the Internet, and the animal world is like the political world sometimes, nasty and rigid. What surprised me was how much the image hurt and how  upset I was to read it. The photo brought it all back, those hours of mixing, sitting with Gus upright, cleaning up messes, watching him starve and wither.

It tells me I still had some grieving to do on my own, wounds are deep, but still there.

The woman and I ended on good terms, she just wasn’t thinking much about it, and I know that I am reminded to work through some of the pain for me. Sometimes I rush past painful things, I’ve relived enough of them in my life and want to move ahead.

I hope Hannah is pregnant, for me, there is nothing more healing after the loss of a dog than getting another one to love.

Stay tuned.


  1. Jon – In my humble opinion, Gus was, in his own way and with your narrative, a therapy dog. I truly feel that way. Maybe others do, too. Having a bad day? Or a tough week? Check Jon’s blog to see what he’s posting about Gus. Anything and everything uplifting about Gus (prior to his illness, of course) couldn’t help but be therapeutic. Thank you Jon and Gus.

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