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A Puppy is Much More than a Sandwich

So I said goodbye to the last of the Sub pups last week. They lived with me for almost three months — three months of laughter and tears and hopes and fears. They were not my first fosters, nor will they be my last, but I wanted to share them with you all on this very important day.

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Today is Give to the Max Day (donate now at https://www.givemn.org/organization/Secondhand-Hounds). It is the single most important day all year for Secondhand Hounds and thousands of other charities. What we raise today will determine the course of the next year: will we be able to save the broken, the sick, the doomed?  It depends, really, on you.

If not for the donations of others, I wouldn’t have met the Sub Pups. They were born July 7th to a breeder mama. There were seven in her yellow lab litter and five had cleft palates. That means they could not eat, not by nursing mama or drinking from a bottle. Historically, breeders often chose to euthanize imperfect puppies. Yes, it seems heartless, but breeding is a business first and foremost, and there is no way a breeder is going to sell a “defective” puppy for full price. Not to mention get back the man-hours and dollars it takes to treat them.

Rescue is about a lot of things, but it is definitely NOT about making money.

So Secondhand Hounds created the Neonatal division, and the coordinator, Teri, has worked hard to let breeders and their veterinarians know that there is another option: surrender the animals to us, and we will do our best to fix them and get them homes. This wonderful breeder agreed to let us help, and we took four of the puppies.

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(Actually, Teri climbed out of bed, made some coffee, hopped in her car and drove hours to get them. Then she snuggled them into the incubator plugged into her car and warming in the passenger seat. She also had to pull over and feed them every 2-3 hours. They were just hours old).

And how did she feed them? Well, since conventional methods don’t work for cleft babies, she (and, later, me) had to insert a tube down their throat and into their stomach and syringe-feed them through that tube. And no: you can’t buy puppy formula at the store. Teri had to figure out her own formula through trial and error (it’s a lot of goat’s milk and Greek yogurt!)

The sandwich shop Jersey Mike’s had run a wonderful fundraiser for us, so they had been given naming rights, and the Sub Pups were born: Jersey Mike, Big Kahuna, Stickball Special (aka Styx) and Philly Cheesesteak (aka Phyllis, the lone girl).

In some ways they were the perfect fosters: they never made a sound. They slept through the night. In fact, they slept ALL THE TIME. I guess that was partly because they were puppies, and partly because they weren’t all that healthy. At the time I got them, they were transitioning to solid food. It’s a challenging time with any puppy (or human infant!), but even more so for a cleft baby. Every time they tried to eat, it would go up through the hole in the roof of their mouths and they would sneeze and couch and it would be yucky out their noses. So we had to get them on solid food asap, and away from mushy baby food.

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I still supplemented them with tube feedings, and every day I weighed them, panicking when they lost an ounce, celebrating at every milestone: they all came in under two pounds, so that first 2 pounder was huge for me!

So they did the puppy thing. They ate.

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(they drank out of what I called a rabbit water bottle so as to not choke on water)

They learned to play!

 

And they slept.

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When they were all diagnosed with pneumonia, we weren’t surprised. It happens. It’s pretty common with cleft palates, as any fluids they consume can easily travel into the lungs. So we started treating them, and we thought they were all getting better.

But not Phyllis.

Little Philly Cheesesteak started craning her neck — like a turtle. I showed it to Teri, and our founder, Rachel, and they decided she needed to go to the emergency vet.

I never saw her again.

Philly Cheesesteak didn’t make it.

The sweet little girlie, the littlest one. She looked like an absolute toy. The vets tried for days, but ultimately she passed in her sleep.

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Phyllis was the first foster I have lost. I grieve her all the time, but I know that I did all I could. That SHH did all it could. And I had three little yellow boys who needed me, so it was time to get re-focused.

I was nebulizing them. I was giving them steam showers. I gave meds several times a day. I did chest percussion treatment to loosen the phlegm. And they began to grow.

From day one I followed the Secondhand Hounds protocol, socializing them and exposing them to sounds and surfaces and textures.

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They met friends!

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And they went places!

Soon it was time to start talking adoption!

Mike was the first to find his people.

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His new name is Winston, and he is being spoiled quite nicely, thank you!

Then Big Kahuna moved on and was renamed, Barney.

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Both Winston and Barney have cat siblings, and are doing just fine with that!

Styx had to be with me longer, as his lungs just wouldn’t clear up. We sent him to a specialist, who vacuumed his lungs and did a culture and we changed medicines. Two weeks later his x rays were much better, so I started contacting potential adopters. Two weeks after that, he was able to go home.

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Now Mr. Styx got to keep his name. It works well with the resident cat’s name, Skittles. But one kitty isn’t his only furry sibling!

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Styx is an office dog now, who has his own cubicle and gets plenty of love!

When the pups are 6 months old, they will have surgery to correct their cleft palates. If all goes well, they should live the lives of normal, happy, loved dogs. But Secondhand Hounds has bills to pay. When we are done, we will have spent more than $10,000 on their care. We will not recoup that cost from adoption fees. We rely on your donations.

So consider donating, please. Because there are hundreds of animals we want to save. So far, in 10 years, SHH has saved more than 10,000 cats and dogs. Every day we hear of another one that needs help — a dog found starving and abused, a cat who had a litter by the side of the road, a breeder pup born with hydrocephaly, an animal abandoned because it was old and now needs hospice care. We have a donor who is willing to match all donations on Give to the Max Day dollar for dollar. So please: get that donation in NOW! https://www.givemn.org/organization/Secondhand-Hounds

In the meantime, here are a few more cute pics to remind you of where your money goes!

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That link for donation again is https://www.givemn.org/organization/Secondhand-Hounds

 

THANK YOU!

The Results Are In

So just a quick follow up from yesterday (betcha didn’t think I’d post again this fast!)

As soon as Stevie Nicks (fka as Sissy) arrived, I did her DNA and sent it out,  The results came in this morning!

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve heard all sorts of thoughts on what she was — a doodle (my bet), an Irish Wolfhound (my daughter’s dream), a wheaten terrier (I was worried about that one, as they are notoriously hyper) and the latest: a Tibetan terrier.  had to google that one: she does look like it! So, what is she?

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Reading about the various breeds, as described by the good folks at Wisdo Panel, I can see it:

Great Pyrenees: “Can be standoffish and wary with strangers and has a tendency to bark.”  Yeah, that sounds like her.  She is a tad nervous when new folks arrive, but quickly warms up (the submissive peeing is getting better, thankfully). She is, unfortunately, much barkier than I am used to.  Hoping to get some training ricks to work on that.  Like a Great Pyr, she is so soft and fluffy! She has a white streak down her chest that I just love to pet! People often comment on how mellow she is for a puppy, and the Great Pyr litters I have been around are kinda dopey, sweet, chill animals.

Standard Poodle: “Have a sensitive nature and respond well to motivational tools such as treats or favorite toys in a reward-based approach to training.” Yeah, she is so into the food.  All the food.  She learned sit too quickly: when she goes outside to potty, she knows which pocket my treats are in and sits, rather than potties, to get food.  We are working on that, too.

Golden Retriever: “Happy-go-lucky, calm, or easy-going dogs, although some can be energetic or nervous. Usually friendly and are generally good family dogs.” Sounds about right.  Also food motivated, like the Great Pyr and poodle.  We have already caught her stealing food, pantry surfing like her predecessor.  Not good. Working on the food whore-dom.

Terrier group: this one they don’t know which terrier, just that some scruffy business is in there.

Her family tree:

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So basically she has purebred grandparents and great grandparents.  Then someone created a goldendoodle (my guess!), and a pure bred Great Pyr slummed it with a third-generation mutt.  Then their kids hooked up, and we got Stevie.

My fave thing about this is that, most likely, we got the good genes from all the breeds.  They also did her health history, and she genetically only carries markers to sightly increase her chances of two illnesses, both that we can all work with. Her adult size is estimated to get to 40-70 pounds, which is just fine with us.  I mean, let’s be honest: we’d be fine with whatever she ends up being!46302869_10217480512714991_792672863432736768_n

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