My foster pups are now three weeks old. Their eyes began to open just before three weeks and they’re starting to see the world. Unfortunately, after several days of refusing to eat and overall not doing well, Catalina passed away on Friday very early in the morning. Long story short I came downstairs around 3am and she was cold and very weak. I got her to eat a little and then threw on a sports bra where I let her sleep against my chest for warmth and the comforting sound of a heartbeat (like if they were sleeping against their momma dog). A few hours later I attempted to let her eat again. She refused and was dehydrated so I gave her some fluids. After that I held her to me and just like that she was gone.
That morning was tough for me, but I tried not to blame myself. Everyone kept telling me it could happen when puppies aren’t able to be raised by their mom. Like a friend said to me “the only thing you’re doing wrong is that you’re not a dog“. So true. I’m pretty good at being logical and intentional with my emotions and expectations in most situations so I went into this hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. Sweet Catalina is so dearly missed, but
we have three other puppies who need me.
The day I wrote this post, Monday, Huntington stopped eating again. He started acting weak, refusing food and sleeping even more than usual. I did my best to care for him, bought some pedalyte to help him through this until the vet opened the next day. But as he got worse he reminded me of how Catalina was acting and I decided I needed to make the drive to the emergency vet in Bakersfield. It was a long 45 minutes drive, one hand on Huntington when it was safe, windows rolled up, no AC because he needed to stay warm. If you know what Bakersfield is like in the summer, you’ll know how torturous that was for me.
Instead of typing it all up again, here’s what I shared with the facebook followers of Marley’s Mutts: It kills me to come to you with bad news again, but unfortunately Huntington passed away at the vet last night. He was held in an incubator to warm him until the vet could see him and once he was examined the vet’s guess was something congenital and very bluntly told me that he could warm him up, give him fluids and try to tube feed, but that he was probably going to die. I truly appreciated the honesty, though it caught me off guard at first, and it confirmed what I feared, but also knew. So at around 11pm I started the ride back up to Tehachapi leaving him in the vets hands and got a call a few hours later that he was gone. I almost feel guilty for leaving him, but by the time he got to the vet he was barely conscious and I had to get back home to take care of his two remaining sisters. From the beginning we all knew this was a possibility, though I might have been in some sort of a naive denial. Puppies without mommas don’t do well and while I want to say this is just another part of rescue, that doesn’t make it fair or any less painful. Huntington, you were a sweet boy and are already terribly missed. I promise to do my best to care for your sisters, they are strong little ladies and I have high hopes for them. Going from caring for and loving four puppies, down to two leaves a sadness and emptiness I can’t explain, but the only way any of us can continue the work we do is to give ourselves a minute to grieve and then pull ourselves up and move on.
While I’m not a puddle of tears and emotion, my spirit has been a little broken for the last few days. Like I said above, I have to shake it off and I’ve been pretty good at that. My focus now is on making sure Malibu and Venice, the two remaining puppies, are healthy and happy.
- ears are open and they can hear me when I’m getting ready to feed them so they start grunting and scooting around
- eyes are open, but still a bit foggy so they aren’t quite able to see more than light and shadows, but looking into their little eyes after 2 weeks of caring for them without seeing their eyes is enough to make my heart melt
- pups are now going potty on our own which means lots of bedding changes and laundry to keep things clean
- there are also a lot of warm water baths going on around here, usually at least one a day
- these little stinkers are getting loud when they are hungry, they are quite persistent with their crying
- they are learning to walk so there’s a lot of awkward raising up on all fours, wobbling, falling over and rolling onto their backs AND a lot of butts in the air walking with their back legs and just scooting on their front legs. note to self: take a video!
We are so close to having tiny, but semi functional puppies to play with and I’m so excited! So is Ralph, our chihuahua who loves puppies in general and wants to sleep in their crate with them. Having these little guys around is on one hand time consuming and frustrating, but at the same time it’s such a gift to be able to see them grow up from just days old.
(Honestly) Kate says
Aww…sorry for the loss of Huntington and Catalina! I’ve fostered babies before and I know how it goes. I had a kitten last fall that I was fostering and I’m pretty sure he had some congenital issues – he was really small for his age and it felt like his sternum was twice as long as it should be. Even when you know there was literally nothing you possibly could have done, it hurts to lose them.
Thanks so much Kate. It’s definitely been tough and now I’m almost paranoid about the two pups that are left, even though they are so strong and I have a lot of hope they’ll be just fine. It definitely still hurts even when there’s nothing you can do about it, but it does make me feel a little better knowing I tried. 🙂