The worst may be over now. Drew and I stayed up with the puppies almost all night for the past few days, keeping them warm and trying our best to keep them hydrated. I even learned a massage technique consisting of a series of tapping and rubbing that was designed to relieve congestion and encourage productive cough for patients with pneumonia. It seemed to really help the puppies get the fluid out of their lungs. They also loved being touched. I even started stretching and rubbing their legs (like nurses do for people in comas) in hopes that it would encourage better circulation. They loved that as well. In fact, I learned that both Pork Chop and Beans are quite ticklish.
But the true hero of the story is Zithromax. When Willie died suddenly we rushed the puppies to the veterinarian to make sure they were not also taking a turn for the worse. Their temperatures were down to a dangerous 94 degrees and the antibiotics they were currently on were not doing a thing. The Doctor prescribed Zithromax and told us that if anything could save them now it was Zithromax.
Along with the massages, Zithromax pulled these puppies back from the edge and got them to start nursing and moving around again. If it wasn’t for this medicine, I don’t think these puppies would be here today.
I didn’t mean for this to sound like an advertisement for Zithromax. I’m just so happy the puppies are alive and seem to be thriving.
I realize that their road to recovery is not over just yet – they still need to be monitored closely for any signs of a relapse – but they are doing a thousand times better than before. I hate throwing around a word like “miracle,” but to me these little creatures are miracle puppies. I hope that when the time comes for them to go on to their forever homes, their new parents treat them with all the love and pampering that they deserve.
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This has been a tragic week. We lost both Pepe and Willie to pneumonia. The rest of the puppies are still very ill and the Veterinarian keeps telling us to be prepared for the worst. Even though they are on medication, he believes the puppies may not make it through the next couple of days and doesn’t want us to have any false hope. The best thing we can do is to keep them warm, fed, and comfortable.
This is devastating. In my years of fostering dogs, I have never experienced the death of a foster dog in my care. It is a terrible feeling that leaves me wondering if I’ve done something wrong or if I could have done more.
I keep thinking about what Pepe and Willie’s lives could have been. I imagine them growing up and exploring the world through curious puppy eyes. Pepe never got to see the world. He died before his eyes opened. Willie had two days with his eyes open before he died. I wish I could have shown him more.
Puppies born in an animal shelter have a higher risk of contracting deadly illnesses and dying prematurely. Mama Emmie gave birth to our foster puppies in a shelter and they spent the first critical ten days of their lives exposed to so many harmful things. They were scheduled to be euthanized due to lack of space and resources, but our rescue offered to take them. They were transported six hours before they got settled in our home.
If there is anything to learn from this devastating experience it is the importance of responsible pet ownership. Always spay and neuter your pets! I cannot say it enough. The price is minimal if not free and it makes all the difference in the world. Spaying and neutering saves lives. Only about half of dogs and cats in shelters ever make it out. The other half will be euthanized. Please don’t contribute to the overpopulation problem. Space, time, and resources are limited for unwanted pets. Be part of the solution. Practice compassion towards animals and teach children that all life is precious.
Mahatma Gandhi once said “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” As a nation, we can do better.
Losing Pepe and Willie is heartbreaking and the idea of losing Matilda, Pork Chop, and Beans is overwhelming. I can only hope that we are offering them the best possible place to either recover, or pass on as peacefully as possible. All we can do now is wait and see.
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Posted in Dogs, tagged Dog Rescue, Puppies on February 18, 2010|
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This Mama and her babies were on the euthanasia list in Kern County. Thanks to wonderful shelter staff and dedicated rescue volunteers, this little family is settling into our home until the pups are old enough to find forever homes.
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