People ask me all the time if she's had puppies. "Yes." I say. "But, now she's fixed." Then, "She's a rescue." Just to be clear that I'm not the one responsible for pet over-population and abandonment and death. No, it wasn't me. I didn't do this to her or any of them.
These dogs, and this one in particular, have opened my eyes and touched my heart. There are so many good and loyal pups out there, misunderstood, with no hope and no chance. My 9 that I've housed have been the lucky few, and I've seen them bloom from scared and confused to full of personality and love.
My Mama here, laying next to me on the couch, was tail between her legs, looking around frantic, unsure of everything except for the love and concern she had for her 4 babies. That she knew and that she showed. The pups are gone and it is just her and us now. She is there to greet me, tail wagging, when I come down the stairs in the morning. She is there at my feet, waiting hopefully, when I'm working in the kitchen. She is finding her trust and feeling safe. I can pat her head without her cowering away, and throw things that she fetches rather than hides from. She moves her toys from room to room and rolls onto her back smiling as she twists and turns on the carpet. I know there is more to her than her sagging nipples and her puppies.
She just never got the chance to shine.