Dealing with Loss

New mom and puppies
New mom and puppies

It’s a running joke in our household that I can never remember our past foster’s names. I’ve talked about it before, but I usually nickname them all so the names just don’t stick.

What does stick, in fact, what is burnt in my mind’s eye is the babies that we have lost. In the 2+ years since we began fostering, three lives have come to an end while they were our responsibility. I remember them so clearly and with such detail that it still tears my heart apart when I think about them.

I went back and forth as to whether or not to write about our latest loss, but I believe that sharing our failures is just as important as the successes. The latest mom and puppies came to us 4 days ago. There were 10 puppies and it was immediately apparent that one of them was not in the best shape.

This isn’t that uncommon when we have a foster family first come to us. Usually the calm of our “family room” upstairs, combined with the love and attention that they get from us, gives them all a bit of a boost.

13510908_1035922203158536_2131489454964004291_nThe first night they were here, I heard them whining as I was going to bed but that’s what puppies do and I didn’t think too much of it since they were just getting settled in. I will forever regret my decision not to go and check on them one last time because K2 woke up the next morning to a puppy that had passed.

It is devastating to lose a puppy.  I know that, had I checked on her, I would have been able to do something to prevent it from happening.  It is difficult to accept that my actions led to such an awful conclusion.

I haven’t been away from mom and pups for more than an hr or so since that morning.  There is one particular pup, Merida, who is struggling.  I’m doing everything I can to make sure she makes it, from bottle feeding, to milking her mom for her, but it seems like she isn’t improving despite my best efforts.  I refuse to lose her while I still have an ounce of fight left in me.


The next step is to bring someone in to tube feed her.  It is a risky practice for the untrained, so I would much prefer to have someone who knows what there doing help us out.  We have a few vet techs in the rescue so I’m sure someone knows how to do it.

I named her Merida because she is my brave girl and I won’t let her give up as long as there is still air in my lungs. I’m running on a few hours of sleep over the last few days and I will continue this schedule until she makes it out of the woods.

I will be sure to update everyone on her condition over the next few days.


UPDATE: 7-3-16

After some syringe feeding magic courtesy of K2, Merida has had a surge in strength and has been nursing on her own, fending off her siblings in the process, and I feel comfortable saying that we may be out of the woods with her!  The joy is short-lived though, the runt of the litter is now showing signs of fading.  As usual though, myself and K2 will give every ounce of ourselves to make sure that she makes it.