One year ago, a friend sent me an e-mail with a few PDFs attached and the following note:
From a faithful reader: please please please can you post the dog chart with intercalations of CS rates by state? I would LOVE to see Florida or New Jersey stacked up against golden retrievers and Pekingese.
Naturally, I began immediately making charts for her. After all, she might truly be the smartest person I have ever met and has as many board certifications as a dog has legs (except for Little Tripod here). However, my “research” on the “internet” led me to uncover the troubling “truth” about dogs and cesareans and I recoiled in righteousness and horror, vowing to return to composing this piece when the time was right.
Of Bitches and C-sections: A Powerful Exposé of a Movement
An article in the October 2011 issue of the Green Journal titled Vaginal Birth: A Relic of the Past in Bulldogs and Women? made the point that better pelvic floor research is needed before pushing prophylactic cesarean on human patients. More importantly, the article highlighted a real problem in our culture: dog cesareans.
Outraged, I read a completely unrelated article from the UK on dog cesarean rates by breed and I knew I had to do something right then and there. I needed to be a voice for those bitches. If I didn’t speak up for them, who would?
I began writing and found that not only were many people surprised to learn of the over-medicalization of the whelping process, but there is also a small percentage of people who feel that all-natural is always the way to go, no matter what. In fact, they already had a framework established for explaining it and receiving dogs who had a bad veterinary experience and it goes like this—dogs are being duped right and left by conniving veterinarians because vets secretly hate bitches. Did you know this?! I didn’t! Wow!
Newly enlightened, I read everything I could about whelping. I turned to the internet and found the following evidence:
Fact: Naturally-whelped puppies sparkle much more than cesarean puppies.
It’s the natural oxytocin that makes them superior, obviously.
Fact: Bitches are at their most powerful when they are whelping.
Afraid of her power to rip your arm off? You really ought to see her in a whelping box.
I familiarized myself with natural whelping literature.
Owner-Coached Childbirth Classes available through The Learning Annex
At first, I just called it like I saw it.
Then there was some of this because it is clearly relevant.
Kanye didn’t let Lassie finish and Timmy never made it out of that well.
There were wolves. Three of them.
My blogging on the topic got some attention from advocacy groups and other bloggers.
NAPB (National Advocates for Pregnant Bitches) issued a statement about the dangers of the puppyhood movement and how the rights of the bitch should never be sublimated by the perceived rights of the litter, as the state cannot legally intervene as parens patriae to the unwhelped.
ICCAN (International Canine Cesarean Awareness Network) put out a press release on the importance of bitches educating other bitches on the dangers of veterinary care.
The Skeptical Vet left the following comments on 10 sites:
I was asked to help plan and was interviewed for a documentary about the dog cesarean problem.
I made some really important charts and graphs.
Chihuahua mad. Chihuahua calls bullshit on suspected macrosomia claims.
(J Small Anim Pract. 2010 Feb;51(2):113-8.)
That was all effective to some extent, but it was time to hit the streets and really let everyone know about dog cesarean rates.
I personally took to the dog parks for some hardcore Distractivism™ to let dogs know their breed’s cesarean rate.
Everyone knows this one exists solely because I have waited four years to blog a picture of poo.
August 2012 marks four years of blogging and I have thought for a while that a lot of bitches are barking up the wrong tree. Is it helping anyone to cling to ideals of a time past and leaders who are pretty out of touch with the modern whelping female? If someone’s goal is to reach so-called “mainstream” dogs, then they’re not listening or paying attention. They’re proselytizing and trying to spread what they think is a universal truth. That’s all well and fine but how much should a philosophy that is shared only by a very small percentage of pregnant and laboring females be used to influence health policy that will affect everyone?
Thank you for trusting me to keep a space open for respectful dialogue and for sharing your struggles and triumphs with me, both on the blog and personally. My ears, mind and heart have been open even if I appeared to be just goofing around sometimes. If any sociologists want to research the concept of the modern social activist, you should get in touch with me, as I have been observing all of this as if from the outside for at least the last two years.
I’ll be around on the Facebook pages (The Unnecesarean and VBAC) because those have grown into thriving, respectful communities and I think they are well worth any time invested in them (and are a fine vehicle for some of the goofy PhotoShop stuff). I think that CesareanRates.com is a valuable resource and I hope that one day the site is completely obsolete because the government provides accessible, current hospital data to the public. For now, you’re just stuck with me compiling stuff at my kitchen table.
I couldn’t think of a better way to sign off than by mocking myself and the evolution of my activism in a blog post. Later, bitches.
(To comment in the Facebook module, you must be on this page: http://www.theunnecesarean.com/blog/2012/8/8/the-final-post.html. Why? I have no idea. Just click on it and comment, dog.)