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Brood Bitch: A mother's reflection

By Celia Townsend Wells

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Brood Bitch is a mother's reflection inspired by her hand-raising a litter of Pembroke Welsh corgis whose own mother died after a Caesarian delivery. Devastated by the loss of her only companion and awed by the task of saving the puppies, the author is surprised to discover she enjoys this exclusive commitment. With an education, a career, a marriage, and mothering all behind her, Wells broods on these past commitments-usually conflicted-in light of her success in the role of a canine mother. Parallels between the birth and care of the puppies and her daughter keep coming to her consciousness, helping her to understand her sense of failure as a human mother. However, nurturing the puppies leads to profound introspection, which eventually heals the pain of her insecure mothering. The experience also enables her to appreciate the vast scope of motherhood in both corgis and women-its variations, illusions, ideals, realities, frustrations, and rewards. Wells realizes that she is a mother for life. Having mothered the litter so happily and bonded so closely with the one she kept, she is able to forge a bond with her daughter through links to their past that extend into the present. Though a slow process that may take most of a life re-lived, rearing the puppies makes it possible for her. Her final recompense is a guarded hope that the lovely young bitch, who never knew her natural mother, will succeed in the role and provide them both with a corgi companion for the rest of their lives. It becomes a reality under conditions even more rewarding than her mothering of this brood bitch because she now recognizes so many of the complications of motherhood. She at last observes a mother superior, whose existence among women requires a vow of celibacy.

Date 2003
Series Title New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond
Publisher Purdue University Press
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Dogs
  3. Females
  4. Gender
  5. Mammals