The Story of Nine Motherless Puppies (above photo credit Times Argus, thank you Times Argus!)
On April 11, we took into our care nine newborn and motherless puppies who were abandoned in a box. We have been posting about them on social media and in emails, but thought people might like to read the whole story, and keep up with these puppies here on our website. So here is our attempt at Puppy Diaries! The latest installment will be at the top, if you want to read the whole story please scroll down.
PLEASE NOTE: These puppies are at risk and so are in “isolation” – they need to be protected from the outside world and so are not viewable by the public.
We do not know what breed these pups are since we do not have the parents and appearance means very little. They are likely our favorite breed- the American Mutt!
The latest: May 21, 2017- Puppy Jessie had emergency surgery, all is good so far
Puppy Jessie had her emergency surgery this morning for a prolapsed rectum. Through the expert treatment and loving care at BEVS in Burlington, she is out of surgery and so far is doing well. She isn’t out of the woods, please send healing thoughts to this little fighter! We will keep you posted on her progress.
After weeks of 24/7 bottle feeding, our motherless puppies no longer need the bottle and now are in a loving foster home, where they will get age-appropriate socialization and other enrichment activities to help them continue to grow happy and healthy. We are grateful for all the support we have received and again we must thank our dedicated staff and skilled volunteers who made it possible to save eight of nine puppies. Some estimates say that 20%-40% of motherless pups do not survive. It is such a testament to the care these pups received that we were able to beat the odds!
It will be some weeks before these pups are ready for adoption- likely the end of June. Stay tuned, we will keep you posted!
THE WHOLE PUPPY STORY
April 11, 2017 – YIKES
At 4:00PM, we got an emergency call – like so many calls we get – an animal needed help. In this case, NINE tiny puppies were left in a box outside, no momma dog to be found. The local animal shelter (in another part of the state) did not have the resources to care for them, so they called us. An hour later the puppies arrived, only days old. Our staff, already dealing with a full shelter, jumped into overdrive (and overtime) – ready with syringes and tiny bottles to feed the little ones. It took three staff two hours to feed all nine. The pups then went home with two staff so they could be fed during the night. Despite the odds, all nine pups survived that first night.
Faced with the fact that without their mom these puppies might not survive, we worked hard to find their mom to no avail. We happened to have a mom dog at the shelter, she had just weaned her own nine puppies, so we tried to see if she would nurse the motherless pups. Understandably, this mom dog was done with nursing, she successfully reared her nine and wanted no part of possibly nursing these newborns. Now we had to decide, do we try and keep these nine alive with hand feeding, a task that will take enormous time and resources from our organization that is already stretched to the limit? The sad truth is that animal shelters, including CVHS, are faced with such difficult decisions every day. So many animals need help, the amount of time and resources these nine would take could easily save many more healthy, adoptable pets in Vermont and beyond. But, we believe that the animals here at the shelter take priority, it is our duty to do the right thing for any animal that comes to us, . So we decided that we had to try our best to save these pups, and we hoped our community would rally with us to save them.
April 21, 2017 – A Sad Day
The puppies were growing but they were still so small, so vulnerable. This first weekend we had them, the second smallest girl was struggling. She went home with a staff member who fed her small meals every two hours, all day and night, and this tiny pup seemed to have turned the corner. Sadly, despite giving her subcutaneous fluids and other supportive care, she died. Even though everyone here knows on a rational level that all of these pups are extremely vulnerable, and it would be a true miracle if they all survived, we were all heartbroken here at CVHS. We take comfort here knowing that in her short time with us, she knew tender care and love, was warm and safe, right up until the very end. Join us in honoring and remembering the little one we affectionately called Little Madonna (she was so dramatic!). The photo shown is little Madonna sleeping after she got her bottle. we will miss her so!
April 25, 2017 – Puppy Poop! Please Poop!
The first pup has opened her eyes, and it was not the biggest pup, it was the one we affectionately call Runtie (her actual name is Allie). The smallest pup has opened her eyes first! What a great day! They are all getting individual personalities and changing every day. We are currently struggling with them all being constipated. It is vitally important that tiny puppies like these poop and pee on a regular basis. Normally their mom would make sure this happens, but without mom, guess who does it? Yup, our staff and trained volunteers. You never know what will happen in your life, how many people think that someday they will be stimulating a puppy to poop?
The eight puppies are all going strong. All of them have opened their eyes and they have been crawling around like little maniacs. A few of them have started scratching their ears with their hind paws, it feels like they are “real” dogs now! They are also eating like little piggies, we have been going through a ton of puppy milk replacer. We have started introducing them to solid food, kibble soaked until very, very soft. The three biggest ones have shown a lot of interest in this food, while the smaller ones are much more interested in the bottle. We are still worried about these pups, they are still so small, if they start eating solid food it will be a huge milestone for them, and for us!
May 6, 2017 – Cuteness Overload
It has been nearly four weeks now, and these pups are getting bigger every day. Worrying about these pups has been constant for all of us, staff as well as volunteers. We are all working so hard to tryto be certain they are all fed enough and ensure all pee/poop every four hours, all day and night. The fact that they are getting so big is so gratifying! Their individual personalities are just starting to come out. The smallest one (Allie) has learned to growl at her siblings and is a little feisty, and the biggest one (Cash, shown to the left) seems to be a gentle giant. Their personalities will be changing every day as they get older. The biggest girl, Jessie, has already learned how to get out of the whelping box. They are all sweeties in our book!
May 11, 2017 A Looooong Road
It is hard to believe that almost five weeks ago, these motherless puppies showed up at our door, needing our help. It has been a looooong road. One puppy is currently in “intensive care” for pneumonia. A coughing puppy is so sad to hear, and with medication this little one is coughing less and eating better- please keep her in your thoughts. The other seven are on their way to being weaned, a huge milestone. Despite growing everyday, these pups are still at risk and so are still in isolation. It will be some weeks yet before they are ready for adoption! They know what dinner time is, as this video shows. It has taken a village to raise these pups so far- thank you to staff, our skilled volunteers and everyone who donated, you all are making it possible for us to save these precious pups!
When these pups came to us, we knew we were faced with weeks of these pups being at risk, needing round the clock feeding and care. It would have been so wonderful if whoever abandoned these pups had called their local animal shelter instead. It might have been possible to work together to keep these pups with their mom until they are weaned, or at the very least provide vital information like how old the pups are, when they last ate, and get the pups safe and warm ASAP, not left in a box outside. That is what would have been best for these pups. No matter how hard we try, the fact is they are getting bottle fed, and that is not the same as their mom. We believe pet problems are people problems. Whoever abandoned these pups did so because they felt they had to; we know life can be so difficult, and people are struggling with so much. At least they left the pups in a place where they were found quickly. We implore people to call their local animal shelter before abandoning an animal, your local animal shelter is there for you, as well as your pets! It is illegal to abandon an animal. Call your local animal shelter for help!