Serious apologies to those of you who have lost sleep over not seeing part two of our trip. If you missed part one, check it out HERE I promise to continue blogging once I find more time to sit down.
I have been a little busy, here is why.
No, I didn’t have triplets. Nor do I wish that on ANYONE after this experience.
Meet My Foster Pups.
FYI: They need forever homes. If you seriously would like to adopt one, we can make it happen.
The sweet snuggler with a huge voice.
At the end of last year I realized it was time to add to our family of fur nuggets. Toby needed a sister or brother (of the non-human variety). I started to follow all of the local shelter/pound/animal rescue groups on Facebook and day after day a had my heart broken because I couldn’t save them all.
That night, I prepped our house, purchased food, formula, baby bottles, sterilized everything and made sure to research the breed. The pound told me that the puppies were Australian Shepherd mixed with Black Mouth Cur. I suspect they are a mixture of a lot more but anywho. That night I also made a list of pup names and decided that if I was going to get them adopted and into good homes they needed strong names to suite their personalities. I would wait until I learned them a little better before they had their names.
The next day I got up super early, gave Toby extra hugs and kisses (as I KNEW his world was about to be rocked), and went to Starbucks. I took with me a towel and a clothes hamper. I didn’t have a small travel crate because Toby is large (plus that’s what my mom has always used instead of a crate when the puppies were so small).
I went into the front office of the clinic and told them I was there to pick up the four Facebook pups.
They only brought me three and said that another foster was taking the forth one. More on that later.
When I was in the office I asked as many questions as I could to find out the exact situation and they told me that the pups were born in the shelter, the mom was still alive and that her milk dried up. They couldn’t give me an exact day that they were born but said they were about 3.5 weeks old. Experiences like this is why it’s important to spay/neuter your dog. Overpopulation overwhelms pounds and it’s hard to keep record of deaths, births, etc. Note: The shelter that they were pulled from has to euthanize 85% of the animals that arrive there due to overpopulation and poor adoption rates. So, if you are thinking of surrendering your pet to a pound, think again and try to work with a rescue. If you need help finding a rescue, PLEASE contact me. I will do my best to help you.
Okay, sidetracked but back to pups…
Yall, when I say the smelled terribly, that is putting it nicely. They smelled so bad and were covered in their own excrement. I knew they needed a bath because the fleas were jumping off of them and they kept licking each other (ingesting what they were covered in). I decided to wait until after they had eaten to bathe because that was our biggest priority but I knew they needed to be bathed before my husband got home–he has a weak stomach and I didn’t want him to have to endure the smell. Good wife Award. Bathing them required some work because the fleas had to be picked off of them one by one. I used Dawn dish soap because that’s what the wildlife rescue groups use to clean baby animals in the wild after oil spills, etc. In order to safely give them a bath at this age, they need to be held until they are completely dried because they were too young to regulate their body temperature.
Before they were fed I weighed them. This piece of paper is my most prized possession. It shows their weight progress throughout this entire experience. I weighed them daily until I was sure they were eating properly and now I just weigh them every so often.
They wouldn’t eat the powder puppy milk replacement mixed with water from Petco. Frantic, I called my mom and she recommended that I make my own. I didn’t listen to her and continued to try to get them to eat. I swore it was the bottle that I was using so I tried different nipples and one took to the bottle but the others still were not thrilled. Little did I know, mother was correct. Aren’t they always?! So I dashed out to get the ingredients and made a batch. I quickly learned that I needed to make triple batches to keep a supply for a few days. They were eating so much so often that I was constantly making formula. Here is the recipe. I swear by it and I KNOW that this is what saved their lives. Thanks Mom for the suggestion and Sissy for finding the recipe! It takes a village…
Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian. Please consult with a vet before feeding anything.
Amazing, Energy Dense Puppy Formula Recipe
Makes 1 batch
1 can evaporated milk (not normal cows milk–dogs CAN’T drink it!!)
3 oz. sterilized water (I boiled mine)
1 raw egg yolk
1 cup full fat Greek yogurt (has more protein than regular yogurt)
1/2 tbs corn syrup (don’t use honey!!)
Use a blender and mix ingredients. Warm to puppy body temp (around 101 degrees) and check the temp on wrist before feeding them.
I stored the milk in a Bubba Keg Thermos with a lid in the fridge. This helped a lot because sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, I would add all of the ingredients and shake it up instead of whipping out the blender.
They LOVED it!! One still had issues latching but we tried a different bottle and eventually she took to it.
Another pup would lick instead of suck the bottle which took forever (Rory).
I quickly realized that she could lap from a bowl so I started to feed her from a heavy spoon. This was perfect because it had rubber on the bottom and kept it from sliding around.
We had to burp them like regular babies because they were being bottle fed. The air can cause a lot of discomfort for them. THANKFULLY, they were past the age where they need to be stimulated (warm wet paper towel rubbed on their bits to simulate the mother licking them) to go to the restroom! One day Ruthie was constipated so we gave her warm water to drink and my friend Denise and I had a celebratory poop dance once she went. I’ve never been so happy to see a pile of poo in my life. With the many health issues they endured, I was always paranoid it was another sickness.
Baby wearing while doing dishes. I really embraced this whole experience. I loved every minute of it. Even the sleepless nights and the constant worry.
Toby on the other hand wasn’t having ANY of it. He was curious mostly but then he started to ignore me (more than usual), look at the pups with sad eyes then back at us, wouldn’t let me pet him, stayed upstairs when we were downstairs, stopped acknowledging the UPS truck going by and STOPPED eating. The final straw was when he started to throw up one night. Later I learned that if a dog doesn’t eat he will throw up yellow foam vomit because the bile irritates an empty stomach. Before I learned that, I felt so guilty. I was crying and was so upset that I had brought the puppies into the house. They had given him whatever they had. It was MY fault. That same night, I learned that pup #4 was still in the shelter because the foster never picked her up or either brought her back. I don’t know which but it overwhelmed me. Toby was sick and I was bringing ANOTHER pup into this house. That night was super rough. I was tired and felt so guilty because I felt what I was doing was right because I was helping them but it felt so wrong too because I could have made my other dog sick. Despite being exhausted, It was so easy getting up every three hours to feed them. They were so cute and I could see it was making a difference. Plus, I was worried about Toby. He stayed on the couch that night and watched from a distance as I fed the pups. I could tell he didn’t feel good/was upset.
I took him to the vet early the next morning before picking up pup #4. The vet said he could have something or it could be his emotions with the new puppies and how he didn’t get all of the attention now. To confirm it they would need to take his temp. and he wasn’t allowing that to happen so instead of putting him through more emotional distress we decided to give him anti-nausea medicine and keep an eye on him. The vet said if he started to develop any signs of an infection we would start medication ASAP!
After that, I went home and prepped to pick up pup #4. I put the bath supplies near the sink, pulled the heating pad out, prepped a bottle and fed the others before leaving the house with that same hamper and towel (which had been washed three times since that day).
Feeding the Pups
At the beginning they were exclusively on warmed homemade formula. As their teeth started to come in I started to mix Purina One Smartblend Puppy Food in with the liquid formula. The pieces were still to large so I food processed large batches at a time to a sand consistency and mixed that into the formula. It created a mush texture and they were able to eat it.
As they’ve grown, I’ve slowly put less and less formula into the bowl and replaced it with warm water and food processed less. They are now on full sized puppy kibble mixed with warm water to soften it. They eat like little piglets.
I’ve always had fresh water for them to drink and thankfully one no longer poops in the bowl. After the bowl pooping incident, I started to use the water bottles on the side and that worked but this particular one started to leak so I stopped using it. Now i just use a bowl from our kitchen. One that’s heavy enough that they can’t chew or tip over (less learned).
Each pup came off the bottle at different times. Kate was the last one off because she was more malnourished than the others.
This is a video of Kate’s first time drinking from the spoon rest! Victory!!! No more bottle washing!!!!!!!!!! Now we use the bottles as play toys. I put a little kibble in them and it sounds like a rattle. They really like the sound.
Their Illnesses aka My anxiety
When we adopted Toby (read about that here), he had a slight cold. That was it. One trip to the vet and he was better. I never thought that these pups would have to go through so much. I have also never been so worried in my life. The first round of illness was quite minor. The pups all had green nasal discharge. Thankfully it was NOT distemper (I cringe to even write this because I fear it will jinx us) and it was just an upper respiratory infection. Quite common for pound pups living in close quarters. An easy antibiotic twice a day. It took nearly two weeks to go away because the pups were growing so fast that they outgrew their dosages. After strengthening the dose, it went away. ((Knock on wood please)).
Once Kate came along, we had one great day with her and then she started to fall. And fall FAST! At first I thought she was really tired (most puppies are) so instead of having her brother and sister play and pounce all over her, I pulled her out of the clothes hamper to lay with us so she could sleep without being disturbed. From the beginning she was the less playful of the bunch but it was because she was ill.
These photos are minutes within each other. She sort of became lifeless and her eyes started to glazed over.
That night I didn’t sleep and every hour I was checking on her and making her drink fluids. She wouldn’t take from a bottle so I had to give her water in a syringe.
I used washi tape to label all of the syringes to prevent cross contamination.
Monday we started Toby and the rest of the pups on the same medication as Kate. The vet also put them on flea prevention. I continued to weigh them and then continued to grow! Things were starting to look up until three days ago. The pups were finished with their medications and were doing well. I started to itch so bad! I thought it was related to acupuncture and the release of toxins. Nope. Then Rory started to itch nonstop. Yall I swear she itched for 48 hours straight. She didn’t sleep at all. And she whined so much from the itching that she lost her voice. Then the other pups started to itch. Their skin started flaking and crusty. Google said they had scabies and the vet confirmed it the next morning.
It took everything I had not to name this blog post
“Hi, I’m Lura and my foster pups gave me scabies”
But this post is about so much more than the pups giving us all scabies.
I didn’t sleep last night because I was itching like crazy and stayed up pounding iced coffee and pop-tarts until the entire house was sanitized. Us humans have a cream we have to use and in a few days the itching should subside.
Toby and the pups have a gel that goes on their backs and we will repeat that again in two weeks just to ensure it’s all gone.
Gotta love the not so clean facilities of the pound.
Note: After each diagnosis was confirmed, I contacted the pound to let them know what was going around in their pound. With an 85% kill rate, you can imagine how that story ends. From my knowledge, they don’t see a vet in this pound. Please correct me if I am wrong.
So How Has Toby Been ??
Well it’s no hiding the fact that Handsome is VERY spoiled.
When we brought the puppies home at first he was really curious. Then he ignored us. Did the whole not eating thing. To fix the issue we over exaggerated his attention and when we were holding the puppies we pet him at the same time. It seems to have worked.
Now I think he just wants peace and quiet. He still doesn’t like the pups walking near his feet. He jumps really high when they do. He likes to be the one that approaches them. When the puppies play/growl he goes over to their pen and whines and barks until they stop.
He also likes to supervise bath time.
He plays with all of the puppies which is great because it tires them all out.
If you follow us on IG, you know that we are keeping Kate. After she almost died, I couldn’t imagine someone else looking after her.
The other three babies will be adopted. The rescue that pulled the babies is based out of NJ (the power of social media yall!) so they will be flown there and adopted out to good owners.
What Can You Do to Help?
You can spay/neuter your pets!!
Prevention is key!
Adopt, don’t shop!
You can donate money to the rescue of these babies. All money donated will cover medical bills, their first shot and spay/neutering costs (if we raise enough). The rescue runs soley on donations and I want to make sure they are all set for their furever owners.
Share with your friends. Tweet about it and lastly,
Pray for the health of these babies and pray they find good homes.
This is exactly how I felt night two at 2:30 am.