Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My family and other animals

Well, Apart from Kitty Boo Boo (and my lengthy absence!) There have recently been some other furry visitors around. At Easter (ok, not so recently, but mentally I'm only just getting to Easter ok?) We had some dear little foster dogs to stay for a few weeks.

I don't usually do fostering, not because I don't want to, but between the three dogs, cat, kid, husband, house, work etc, I usually have enough going on. However, I am listed as a foster with the SPCA in Santa Cruz, so I get copied the occasional email asking for help when they really need it. Anyway, around that time, up popped on of those emails, with a hoarding situation with well over 100 dogs that needed emergency foster care. I made the call and before I knew it I was at the shelter, waiting to see who had been assigned to me.

Around 15 puppies (the older dogs were being managed elsewhere) were being sorted into crates and pens. Before long there were several batches of clear litters, and 3 left over little guys who didn't really fit anywhere else. These were the ones I would bring home.
One larger boy, probably around 10lbs and 10 weeks old, and two tiny 1lb girls around 4-5 weeks old, who did look like sisters. I was given some instruction, and off home we went.

My first job was to bath them, as the were covered in urine and poop from living in difficult circumstances. The little two were not too bad, as they were small, but one of them felt hot and had a hugely distended belly (thought to be worms). The poor big guy was simply terrified, having had no socialization in his short life, and he pooped, peed and bit throughout our attempts. Next, of course, they were starving. I couldn't seem to give them enough food, and the poor little guys had to manage with wet kibble as the SPCA didn't have any wet puppy food on hand and neither did I until later.

Over the next few days we started to realize just how traumatized the boy was, as he was pretty much catatonic with fear. The tiny girls were doing better, at least for a day or two until the one with the huge belly started to show signs of fatigue. At first I put it down to stress, but by late Sunday night her breathing seemed labored, and she was reluctant to eat or move. I decided to call it in to the SPCA first thing Monday morning, but sadly, when I came to check on her early Monday morning, she had clearly died in the night.

Here are the three pups. The little dark faced one didn't make it.

I felt sad and awful. Wondering if I should have done something different. I took her little body back to the SPCA, and they arranged for an autopsy that day. They thought it may have been a worm blockage caused by having so many worms and then taking worming medication. They called me later to say she actually had peritonitis, probably caused from being bitten at some point in the past couple weeks, so she had become septic.

We sadly said our goodbyes to the little girl pup, and returned to focus on the others. We decided to give the remaining guys temporary names, so we could interact with them better. The little girl became Taffy, or Taf Taf, and we called the big boy Dexter.

They stayed with us for several weeks continuing medications and socializing, until they were ready to return to the SPCA for adoption. I am thrilled to report that both dogs were adopted in the following weeks, and through the ASPCA Facebook page I found the new owner of Dexter (now Theodore) and am so happy to know he really does have a wonderful new home. His new owner is still working with him to be less scared, and a little bit more socially comfortable, but He really should have a wonderful life now.

It was a tiring experience. Suddenly having 6 dogs, 1 cat, 1 kid, husband, house, work etc, but an incredibly rewarding one. I'm glad I could help them on their way, and I'm glad I was able to give the tiny girl who didn't make it some genuine love and attention before she passed.

Here are a couple pics of the pups. This is Dexter (Theo) and Taf Taf


  1. How sad for you. The babies go downhill fast when something's wrong. The other two are a beautiful contrast in sizes. Great photos. I know that you must have had some sleepless nights and exhausting days. Puppies are hard work. They'll remain forever in a warm and shining corner of your heart.

  2. So good that there are people like you out there willing to care for these poor babies.

  3. Lovely to catch up with you via your blog. I seem to have neglected mine rather a lot lately. Selling my cottage in Bridport has been a bit stressful and things slip. Glad the surviving pups did so well and found good homes. Take care