Shortly after we adopted Kali my wife Holly says, “I think she’s had a litter”. It had never crossed my mind but Holly’s point was that Kali was a stray and it was very likely she had a litter or two. We really don’t know how long Kali was a stray or what her history is before being rescued. For all we know a loving family cared for her and she had a wonderful life for four and a half years. Maybe she was accidentally separated from her family and at some point picked up by a good Samaritan who took her to the shelter where TPDS (Taiwan Pawprint Dog-Friendly Society) rescued her. But this isn’t likely given what we know about so many other sad stories of animals rescued by TPDS.
All we really know about Kali is that in February of 2014 she was rescued by TPDS, cared for and prepared for adoption in the US through RTLF (Rescued Love From Taiwan). The paperwork I received indicates that she was spayed in March of 2014. In some cases there are clear physical signs of a dog having had litters. Those signs are not strikingly clear with Kali. Holly’s assertion was not based on physical evidence. It was in part logic but more so that Holly is a mom and – I guess – “a mother just knows”.
Recently Holly and I were watching a nature documentary. One of those productions that have beautiful cinematography and are usually narrated by an actor with a deep baritone voice or british accent. There is a certain paradoxical dynamic when watching these documentaries. One tends to root for the mother lion when shown with her cubs who are crying and hungry. Then later, when the same mother lion is seen chasing a young antelope who became separated from their herd you root for the antelope to get away. At times we’ve wondered aloud if Kali as a stray did have a litter what it was like for her and her pups. To what ends did she go to keep them fed, safe, and out of harms way. Holly says that Kali would have made a great mother. I’m not sure what she’s basing this on but again I chalk it up to Holly’s experience as a mother and the fact that “a mother just knows”…
So as Holly and I sit watching the documentary a mother Polar Bear emerges from her winter den followed by two adorable cubs. A few seconds later we notice Kali, sitting at our feet, staring intently at the TV. She’s never done this before. As we watch the cubs barking and frolicking down the snow Kali’s sits up and directly faces the TV. Her head is slightly tilted and her eyes following the cubs as they move around the screen. She gets up and walks closer to the TV monitor and now has her nose almost to the screen – Kali’s eyes on the bear cubs and ours fixed on Kali. Holly and I are totally enjoying this moment.
All of a sudden a bark comes from Smokey who heard something outside. The spell is broken. Kali’s attention turns from the bear cubs to brother Smokey and what he’s up to. Holly and I look at each other and comment to each other “how cool was that!”
What was it that got Kali’s attention? I’ve heard of other pet owners saying how their pets watch TV but Kali never has. Holly is sure that the barking of the bear cubs is what got Kali’s attention. She says it brought back a memory of a time in Taiwan when as a stray Kali had a litter and cared for her pups just like she was seeing the mama bear do it on the TV. At first I thought that was a bit of a stretch. But then I remembered, Holly is a mom and “a mother just knows”.
And I guess, so does Kali.