Stories from the
When you work with an animal rescue organization you get used to hearing hard-luck tales and sad stories, but it doesn’t make it easier. Our latest variation on the story begins with two pregnant dogs in a local kill shelter.
Athena, affectionately known as Big Momma, (top photo, right) a 3-year-old Yorkie, had given birth to six tiny puppies in a kill shelter. The shelter pleaded with us to rescue this sweet girl. Fortunately one of our foster parents has a soft spot for Yorkies so she came to a FHS foster home. But then Big Momma started getting sick. A trip to the vet led to a diagnosis of Parvo, a highly-contagious virus that attacks the lining of the digestive system and is usually fatal in puppies. It can also kill adult dogs if not treated promptly . Big Momma had to be separated from her puppies immediately and she then remained at the vet’s office to be treated.
The little ones would now need constant care, including being bottle fed every two hours. Sadly, there was only a slim chance of the puppies surviving since they had been directly exposed to parvo but with the dedication, hard work and unconditional love of our foster two of the original six puppies have survived. Every day they grow stronger. Big Momma has recovered well and she was able to come home after a couple of days at the vets.
Sadly, the loss of four sweet puppies could have easily been prevented had Big Momma’s original owners vaccinated her.
Our second rescue dog, Quinn (top photo left), a 3-year-old terrier mix, was at the same shelter and had potentially been exposed to Parvo. Quinn looked about ready to pop with puppies and we all thought she about a week or so away from giving birth. A foster was called and asked to save her from the shelter so that she could have her babies in a safe place. Once in her foster home, flea-covered and filthy, Quinn enjoyed a bath and a good meal before snuggling into her new person’s lap. This tail-wagging lap dog would be a great family dog once her puppies were weened.
Her foster watched carefully for any signs of parvo – we were worried about her even though she had been vaccinated. The next morning Quinn was vomiting – a symptom of parvo – she was rushed to the vet where we were happy to hear that her parvo test was negative. But it wasn’t good news – upon further examination, the vet told us that Quinn wasn’t pregnant at all but had advanced heart failure due to heartworms – we knew she had tested positive for heartworms but had no idea they were so bad. Her little chest was full of fluids and pushing on her lungs forcing her to painfully gasp for each breath. Queenie had so many heartworms in her heart that it was impossible to save her and she was humanely put to sleep that day in the arms of her foster.
Again .. her life could’ve been saved if her owners had given her monthly heartworm prevention.
We must learn from these sad events – please, please give your dogs their monthly heartworm prevention, and vaccinate as recommended by your vet.