Nine Lives – Part IV

July 19, 2011  

The story of a mama, her babies, and the woman who rescued them

By Lori Jolly

Still riding high on the successes of last week, I didn’t think much about it when Boone started slowing down a little bit. I noticed he was sleeping in the crate while the other babies were running around the yard, playing and wolfing down their “real” food. The days were getting very warm, and I attributed his sleeping more to the heat. Next thing I know, big beefy Boone was starting to lose weight fairly quickly. I used my standby remedy of Nutri-Cal and syringe feeding sugar water, and made sure he had some every few hours. It took a day or so, but soon Boone was regaining his energy and eating dry food on his own. I was so relieved, and I was finally able to turn my attention to the three tiny neonate kittens whose mother had been killed by a car. They had been without her for two days when they were found, and they were very sickly; one was just too far gone and didn’t make it. The other two are going great guns, wandering around and having no problem at all suckling from a tiny bottle.

A few days later I noticed that Cody (photo right) was having the same symptoms that Boone exhibited; listlessness, not interested in food, but getting him to take Nutri-Cal and water was a struggle. (As a side note: Never force feed any liquid to your animal, it can be aspirated and cause pneumonia!) Soon, he started whimpering, such a sad little cry, and one I will never forget. He was seen by a vet, and although he tested negative for parvovirus, she was of the opinion that it was a false negative and that he did indeed have the parvovirus (picked up while the litter was at the shelter). She felt he was suffering and that I should allow her to humanely euthanize him. I was torn, but since the test did say negative, and I knew how Boone had recovered so quickly, I just couldn’t do it – I was sure he would get better just like Boone had. Cody was given subcutaneous fluids, and I took him home.

Sadly, it was a decision I will regret forever – I should have known better … I did know better. Our sweet little Cody passed away on July 4th. I get comfort by reminding myself what a happy little guy Cody was, how he loved playing King of the Mountain with his brothers and sisters, how he loved chasing Scarlett around trying to get just one more suck! I get comfort in knowing that he was loved, not only by me, but by so many people, people he would never meet, but people whose lives he touched deeply. I get comfort in knowing that he didn’t die in that godforsaken place in Bakersfield that is ironically called a shelter.

I had no time to dwell on my sadness or anger; our sweet little Hucky had fallen violently ill. The decision was made to euthanize him so he didn’t have to endure what Cody had gone through. I held Huck in my arms telling him what a sweet boy he was and how sorry I was. He looked up at me with those heart-melting eyes of his and asked me to not let him go. Looking into his eyes, not knowing for sure what was wrong, I still couldn’t get the negative parvo test from earlier in the day out of my mind. I made the same decision I made earlier for Cody – I just couldn’t extinguish the light that still showed through his pain; Hucky was going back to the vet to try and keep him alive.

Wyatt (photo right) didn’t seem to be right either, so I rushed him, Annie, Janie and Boone to the emergency vet.

Another parvo test was administered, and the positive reading slammed into my brain like a freight train going about a thousand miles an hour. What? Why? How? What about my dogs? What about my other foster dogs? What about Huck and Wyatt? I felt nausea wash over me as all these thoughts and more followed the freight train. The vet was caring and said we might be able to save Huck if he was hospitalized; Wyatt needed to be hospitalized also to increase his chance of survival. I was relieved beyond belief at this news, until I was given the estimate. One puppy overnight in emergency care was approximately $1,000; home care for the remaining puppies was $900. Not knowing how in the world I would come up with the funds, I said OK.

There are amazing people in this world, StubbyDog readers among them. Within a few hours I received enough donations through ChipIn that treatment on Huck was finally started; and I went home with the other babies. Wyatt responded so quickly to his medication and subcutaneous fluids that it almost seemed he had never been ill, although looking at his skinny frame I knew better.

Our little family’s third week ended with Huck, still in overnight care, being watched over by the wonderful Dr. Guajardo at Colina Vet Hospital. The news was very promising. Huck just needed to eat and be able to keep it down. I called almost hourly for updates; little Hucky it seems was in no hurry to put my mind at rest! It wasn’t until the first day of their fourth week with me that Hucky finally decided to eat; I raced off to pick up my little meerkat, not knowing what to expect.

You can read the rest of the story here: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

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