To say that fostering this litter of Yorkie puppies has been a stressful, heartbreaking and eye opening experience is a true understatement. I began with the hope of an amateur, knowing that raising puppies from five days old and beyond would be hard, but convincing myself we’d beat the odds. Then Catalina died. She was the only one to die in my arms, she was the only one I held as tears streamed down my face in sadness, frustration and disappointment in myself. When Huntington started to go I spent the whole drive down to Bakersfield holding him with one hand, driving with the other and let myself get emotional for just a few minutes.Then last week, even quicker than the others, Malibu just got lethargic, stopped eating, and passed away. At this point I was almost in a fog from the lack of sleep, the guilt, just everything. By the time bedtime came I knew I should stay up with her, but I also knew that her mind was no longer active and her body was just barely hanging on. Early the next morning there she was, half out of the blanket I had cuddled her up in, gone, just as I had expected. I don’t know if I even cried this time around. While there’s a sadness, there’s also this feeling that I can’t describe better than just “acceptance”. That alone made me feel like a monster, I wasn’t as sad as was socially acceptable when losing a 4 week old puppy that I had raised from a newborn. I was just so tired, physically and emotionally. I honestly don’t even think I realize now how tired I am as I push forward. The crazy thing is I’ve been so (ridiculously) worried that people would view me as the girl who let three puppies die. To be honest, I would judge myself if I were looking in from the outside.
Now Venice and I are continuing on this trying journey with a lot of hope, but also a lot of caution. One feeding at a time. One day at a time. Venice is now five weeks old and very obviously delayed in development. She continues to be shaky on her feet, though she’s getting stronger, and still hasn’t mastered the art of lapping formula out of a bowl so I continue with bottle feeding. At this point she should be a playful bouncy puppy, and while I’m starting to see her personality just barely peek through the newborn puppy phase, she still seems so tiny and almost fake to me.
Here’s to Venice, who was always the strongest of the four and who has the best chance at surviving. It’s just you and me, little lady.