where I've been

Owlet

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So I've been pretty absent from the bird community lately (dont worry my fids are safe and happy still with me) and I just wanted to share what's been going on as it's been a pretty big experience for me and I could use any advice I could get.

first I would like to preface that I would very much appreciate it if comments could be kept constructive and informative rather than negative and condescending. The below will be talking about dog breeders and while I am of the opinion that not all breeders are bad some of what I will talk about below is definitely bad and I understand the breeders in general arent always the most liked.

I would also like to warn that theres sensitive material below pertaining to death and just in general not great situations.

Also this ended up being longer than I intended, sorry. It's been a very long past 48 hours.

So recently I have been employed by a dog breeder, let's call her Kathy (not the real name no name givens will be real just for privacy sake) and it's been mostly good. Now Kathy has been slowly taking over another breeders business, we will call this one Trudy. Most of the work is done by Kathy but Trudy still gets a say in what dogs are bred and when. Now I started out by just cleaning up after the puppies, giving them baths, and simple stuff like that but as it was needed she taught me how to draw and give vaccines, microchips, and the likes so I got relatively well versed in the dealings of older puppies. However as of last Saturday another dog gave birth. Now this is where the bad stuff comes into play. We will call this dog Emma. Emma belongs to Trudy so what Trudy says essentially goes with this dog as there are contracts in place. Emma has had 2 litters in the past. The first one didnt go very well. I dont have a lot of details other than that. The 2nd litter also did not go well and I believe out of 6 puppies there were only 2 survivors. If it was my call I would have had her spayed the second the puppies didnt need her anymore. However that didnt happen for reasons unknown to me. Now, one litter with complications is worrying enough but with a proven lineage of tested and dnad dogs it's easy to brush it aside as a one time deal and just a bad litter. If it happens twice you know it's likely the dog and even with the slim possibility of it just being a coincidence it's best to retire that dog asap. So please can someone explain to me why Trudy decided to breed Emma again? We had these puppies born on Saturday and there were 7 embryos in total. 1 was mummified, 2 died at birth. The average birth weight for this breed should be minimum of 150g but these puppies ranges from the low end of 150g to 50g I started intensively caring for these puppies on the monday following (Kathy had been prior) and it wasnt great. The puppies were losing weight, and Emma was a hot mess to say the least. The puppies were barely nursing at best and even then it wasnt nearly enough to sustain them so we had been tube feeding them which I was officially taught how to do today and did every hour for 10 hours straight. Now we run into another problem of the moms milk beginning to dry up. We tried milking her to keep it flowing but regardless of our efforts within a day she was pretty much dry. Which raises questions of other problems as despite getting supplements out of the wazoo she was showing signs of calcium deficiency so I dont think she could even produce milk. On top of that, overnight theres a very real possibility that Emma had killed the smallest of the babies. Its unclear if he passed naturally or if Emma had a play in it but it wasnt a pleasant site for Kathy to find, I'll leave it at that. In addition Emma seemed to have extreme anxiety issues when it came to the pups. If you've worked with mother dogs you know they're to a degree very protective and clingy to their babies especially the first few days but this was very much next level. She was obsessively licking them to the point of bright red raw skin and she would nibble at them too which is it's own entire problem. If you so much as touched the puppies she would get extremely worried (not aggressive) and honestly i dont think this dog has actively slept since Friday. And today she began what I can only assume is rejecting the puppies. She will still obsessively clean them but she will not cuddle with them and when they're crying for her she just whines and runs in circles and looks at me expectantly.

So as a refresher we have premature babies, a mom with some sort of calcium problem as well as what I can only assume is anxiety, and poor motherly skills as well as a possible killing connect to her. To say the least it's not a great mix. So for the past 48 hours during my time there (a total of 19 hours now) I have spent sitting in the whelping box actively monitoring her, feeding the puppies, keeping them warm, and pottying them. The most Emma would do is lick them occassionally but for the most part she just wanted attention from me (when yesterday she wanted little to do with me and would just be with her puppies) but in short almost 100% of the puppies care is from me (or Kathy when I'm not there) and 0% from Emma. This comes into play later.

So today I spent a lot of time milking the mother of the remaining litter as her puppies are on solids and dont need it as much, drawing it up into syringes, and preparing to tube feed the puppies throughout the day. I spent a lot of time trying to coerce the tube down their throat to feed them and I spent a lot of time wiping their bums and trying to stimulate them to go potty. I would also like to note that on Monday within 30 minutes of me being there a puppy seemed to die in my hands. I'm still unsure of exactly what happened but he went absolutely rigid and wasnt breathing. We were able to revive him and he was okay. I can only assume he had some kind of seizure because he had a similar episode later in the day (again we revived him) so in short it's been very emotionally draining. There was only 1 puppy I was relatively confident would survive but low and behold all 3 of the remaining puppies have been gaining weight today. (thanks to my assistance. I'm not trying to brag its just important to note for later)

With everything going on we contacted the vet to see what they had to say especially pertaining to keeping the puppies with the mom or pulling them. The vet suggested taking them away especially after last night's incident. He suggested we tube feed for another few days and then transition onto bottle feeding (puppies are premature, their suckle reflex isnt as strong as it should be currently) and then get them on gruel and solids as soon as possible and at some point introduce a stable and proven mother to provide to their social needs. we felt like this was a good plan so we contacted Trudy about the plan and, i had to walk away during this conversation. Trudy without any hesitation said "if you want to remove Emma from the puppies you should euthanize the puppies" and we were all blown away, like excuse you no that will NOT be happening. Her reasoning was that they wont survive without a mother. Problem is, I'm their mother now and they're doing just dandy under my care. 2 of the 3 puppies actually recognize me as their mother now and will cuddle with me and seek me out for their needs as opposed to trying to seek out Emma. We tried to explain this to her but she was insistent that the puppies wouldn't survive and to just euthanize them if we weren't going to leave them with Emma even though Emma really does nothing for the puppies as previously stated. It was at this point I walked away (and plotted kidnapping the babies) but Kathy continued talking to her and eventually they came to the conclusion that we can do as we please even if she doesn't agree with it. So I guess that works. As of now we have decided to keep the puppies with Emma under supervision and crate Emma at night so she doesnt have access to the puppies outside of supervised times.

Now we intend to send Emma back to her guardian home (and spayed as soon as the vet says its safe) but then we are left with the situation of what happens with the puppies. Safe to say we will NOT be euthanizing them however they will need round the clock hourly care. Kathy is on the older side and it's not easy for her to get up throughout the night and she has a lot of other things she needs to handle so it would be very difficult if not impossible for her to give these puppies all the care they need. I on the other hand am young and barely sleep as is. So we are contemplating the idea of me bringing the puppies home and caring for them like that. Now I'm fairly confident I can do it but theres also the fact I've been doing this for 3 weeks i am less than experienced. I have lots of knowledge but very little hands on experience. So heres where I am largely asking for advice, I will have the support of Kathy and vets and any other resources. I will be given the supplies needed to properly take care of them and it feels like everything is reasonably in place but I do not want to possibly miss something and have it result in a worse case scenario. So please if you have any experience raising baby animals (specifically preemie puppies) please please just tell me everything no matter how small you think it may be. I do NOT want to miss anything. I have grown rather attached to these babies and having the little one pass last night was painful. I know nature may take its course but I want to do everything possible to let these puppies survive.

And finally I do have pictures of the babies but they are kind of hard to look at due to the nature of the situation despite not showing anything gruesome, just puppies. Let me know if yall want to see them and I can figure out something
 

Scott

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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
First, I must commend you for selfless and compassionate assistance to Emma and her puppies. Kathy and Trudy are not likely equipped to feed the survivors round the clock. You will be solely responsible for whatever good comes from the litter; hopefully the rest will survive. If they don't, please don't feel guilty as the entire situation is most unfortunate.

As for Kathy and especially Trudy, they appear to be soulless breeders more concerned with salable "product" than ethics. I shudder to think of the outcome in your absence or other person dedicating to weaning the puppies. Also concerned for your well being faced with great stress and uncertain outcomes.

If you choose to post pics of the live dogs, might consider providing a link with warning rather than embed images in a post. That way members will need deliberate action to view.
 

AmyMyBlueFront

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I agree with Scott here..looks like the puppers will be your sole responsibility :eek:
Can I ask what breed Emma is,and how old she is? I truly feel for everyone here,but it sounds like you will make an excellent foster mom for these doggo's, :)
A couple of pictures would be nice. All I can offer is "luck"!
Keep us posted?


Jim
 

Ekkyparrotlet125

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Wow this sounds like something I went through a few years ago! My dog had a surprise pregnancy (long story, my sister’s dog was the father). I prepared the best I could; bought a Whelping box and made sure she was OK at the vet. She gave birth and everything was going smoothly at first, she seemed to be nursing the babies well and caring for them properly. They were putting on weight and seemed healthy.

Then things went downhill. Mommy developed mastitis and was in severe pain.. I’ve never felt so bad in my life. I was in constant contact with the vet and had to milk mom to relieve her swelling. She was put on antibiotics but it was too late for the puppies; they all developed a fever and two of the 7 died rather quickly. I rushed the pups to the vet and they were all given little chance to survive.. however I gave them their antibiotics on schedule, fed them throughout the night and gradually weaning them off of formula. I felt like I was going crazy having to care for them on such an intense schedule and felt like I wasn’t doing it right. The constant worry (and sleeplessness) was getting to me.

I never felt such relief when I saw them accept the solid food I gave them! What I did was mixed a very high quality concentrated wet puppy food with Warmed formula. I put a speck of the mix on my finger and all of the puppies lapped it up readily. I was eventually able to put the mixture on a plate and all of them would come and lap it up. After that we were great.. all gained weight and were healthy. All found homes with our friends and continue to thrive. Just wanted to share my story because I remember the sleepless nights and the worry when things turn around.. it does get better and although it feels like it’s taking forever it’s really not too long before they will be able to care for themselves. I know what you’re going through, hang in there!!
 
OP
Owlet

Owlet

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Emma is a doodle mix if I remember correctly she is specifically a Australian labradoodle (Kathy works with a variety of doodles/poodles so sometimes it's hard for me to keep track of who's what) she was born early 2017 so that would make her around 3 which is also concerning because shes so young to be having her 3rd litter already.

My own mental health was a concern has the past handful of months have been... less than easy and my mental health has taking a serious hit. However in my certain situation if theres something that needs me, my anxiety just doesnt exist and I am able to do whatever is needed of me. And these puppies desperately need me and despite the loss of the littlest one, I am doing okay so far.

I think there may have been some misunderstanding in my story, Kathy has been extremely caring and has shown the utmost care for these puppies despite her physical limitations. She knows that this will likely hurt the business side of things but in the end she doesnt care and would rather take the loss and give these puppies every fighting chance than do what Trudy suggested. As for Trudy, shes an interesting case. I have been in contact with Trudy for several years now as we have acquired a dog from her, and I can honestly say this behavior is new. I had been to her house and seen how the puppies were raised and treated on multiple occasions and there was nothing that had me concerned and I trusted her explicitly. It's hard for me to understand why she has become the very definition of a bad breeder however I know shes suffered some seriously life changes and we believe she has been showing early symptoms of alzheimers so that may have a play. Again it's hard to know.

As for the pictures I intend to upload them to imgur under a private submission and i can link that here so people can view as they're comfortable.
 
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Owlet

Owlet

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http://imgur.com/a/guFx2zT
Here are the images, take caution when viewing they're not inherently bad but it's definitely hard to see. Pictures include the littlest one while he was alive as I believe it would be beneficial to share his size to really show the extreme difference in this litter.
 

AmyMyBlueFront

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And a Normal Grey Cockatiel named BB who came home with me on 5/20/2016.
Oh my goodness! Soooooooo tiny!:11:



Jim
 
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Owlet

Owlet

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Update on the babies! They're still gaining weight one of them gained 10 GRAMS overnight I'm so happy about that. The other two gained 4 and 2 grams but hey at this point any weight gained is good. and theyve all been taking 3ccs of milk every hour which is good they're round little puppies now
 

SailBoat

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In this World, angles seem to appear not often enough. Then moments like this occur when angles like you step-up and make a difference...

Thank you, for sharing!
 

saxguy64

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In this World, angles seem to appear not often enough. Then moments like this occur when angles like you step-up and make a difference...

Thank you, for sharing!

Perfectly said, I couldn't agree more!
 

itzjbean

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What a crazy past few months it has been for you!

Whatever happens, these puppies could not have survived without your diligence and care! Keep continuing to do what you're doing and they should all continue to gain weight! Im no vet or expert but I sure love puppies!

You're really giving these guys a second chance at life. That good karma will come back your way when you least expect it :)
 
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Owlet

Owlet

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another update:

This image shows the growth from Monday to today and I think it's pretty amazing
https://i.imgur.com/3ySuRxF.jpg

And here are the notes from today that contains their weight in grams throughout the day
7/22
9:04 am
BC: 128
LC: 96
Choc: 132

4:52 pm
BC: 144
LC: 106
Choc: 148

9:20 am fed 3cc each
10:30 am fed 3cc each
11:40 am fed 3cc each
12:54 pm fed BC/Choc 3cc LC 1.5cc
1:40 pm subq fluids 3cc each
2:12 pm fed BC/Choc 3cc LC 2cc
3:30 pm fed BC/Choc 3cc LC 1.5cc
4:46 pm fed 3cc each
 

Inger

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I don’t have any advice. I just want to echo the sentiments above: you are an angel and these puppies are only alive because of you. No matter their long-term outcome, they will know love and affection and you are to thank for that.

I’m also sending you a virtual hug because it sounds like you need one. If you need more-it’s reusable [emoji1]


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Owlet

Owlet

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Another update:
So the suckle reflex on the puppies has been increasing and they've been trying to nurse more frequently so as of last night Kathy didnt tube feed them as much to keep that going in Hope's Emma would start producing. Now we have discovered she must be producing a little because while the 2 cream pups dropped in weight the chocolate puppy gained 12 grams of weight. So my theory is shes producing some and the chocolate pup is hogging it all because hes by far the strongest. I still personally believe it would be best for me to take them home as even if Emma does start producing enough milk for all 3, I worry it would negatively impact her since shes been having seemingly so many calcium complications. I'm going to talk to Kathy about this later today and see what she thinks.

Also thank you all so much for all the kind words it really means the world to me and as I previously stated the past few months havent been easy (i would semi-seriously joke about how i was surprised I hadnt been struck by lightening yet and I was doubting myself as a person a lot) so it's really nice to feel like I'm doing something genuinely good and not have it linked to something selfish. I genuinely want to help these puppies, I know I'm getting paid for it but also I would be perfectly happy not getting paid if it gave them a chance. I never wanna see anything or anyone suffer if I can help it.
 
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Owlet

Owlet

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Update: Yesterday I had a short day with them as I had one of my treatments scheduled. it was nice to be able to work with them so more but definitely distressing that it wasnt for long. I have definitely come to view these puppies as 'my' babies, oops.

Anyways, all puppies appear appear to be actively suckling now, however while the chocolate continues to gain weight without any intervention on my part the creams will loose. So clearly whatever milk the mom IS producing is being almost exclusively hogged by the biggest and strongest pup so we continue to tube feed the creams. Now due to my treatment I cant work with them today and it breaks my heart I just want to make sure they're all doing good and improving especially since the mom has started treating the little cream one how she did the littlest chocolate before the incident... trying to push to have the little cream separated but it's a difficult decision since theres so many factors.

edit: this post was written right after I woke up. I have been informed it is still Friday and not actually early saturday morning. another reason why I probably shouldnt be working with the puppies right now.
 
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Owlet

Owlet

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Been a bit since the last update and we've got some big news! LC and Choc both shot up in weight. Chocolate is over 700 now and LC is in the 400s. They're both completely self sufficient and require little to no human intervention, they're completely suckling on their own. Theyve also opened their eyes and are making attempts at walking. BC however is still struggling and requires hourly 6cc feedings of formula. He seems to be strong and active and will seek out mother to nurse but he just.. isnt nursing properly from what we can tell. Hes also learning how to walk (hes the best so far) but his eyes are still sealed shut.

[ame="https://youtu.be/iHX0kS1d4sU"]learning to walk - YouTube[/ame]
 

noodles123

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omg!!!!! so tiny and sweet!!! Good work!
 

Laurasea

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So tiny! Yes great job!!
 
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Owlet

Owlet

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Probably the final update on the pups. Today they are 8 weeks old. LC and Choc have gone home with their families and BC will be on Monday. It's been a rough journey but all the puppies are thriving at this point and I couldnt be happier. Once LC and Choc gained their suckle reflex and we got the mother producing milk they were able to completely come off of tube feeding and sustain themselves off mom. However BC never seemed to get the hang of suckling, despite his best efforts, and required tube feeding for 5 weeks. He didnt mind though he was always very excited for the tube and would suck it down.

At 5 weeks we began introducing non-milk / formula foods starting with goat yogurt. They all took to it immediately, especially little BC. However we quickly ran into the issue of anything BC consumed without a tube some of it would come back up his nose and it would lead to congestion. This worried us because we wanted him on solid as soon as possible because formula wasnt going to he able to sustain him for much longer. We continued providing a mix of goat yogurt, puppy puree, and pumpkin to all three of them and BC was supplemented with formula so we could give him a special kind of raw honey that's good for dogs and medication for the congestion. We talked to the vet and the vet did a series of xrays and we couldn't find anything wrong and chalked it up to just a weak swallow. We continued like this for about a week and over time he would sneeze up less and less until he just wasnt getting congest anymore and we stopped giving him formula around 6 weeks and a half weeks old.

We also sent the mother home to her family around 5 weeks old as she was getting really rough with the puppies in their play and was growling at them when they came near. Since LC and Choc will still nursing at this time we tried to give her supervised visited but she learned how to break into the puppy area pretty fast and in the middle of the night and eventually the risk was too much and the puppies were in a place where they could sustain themselves without mom, so we sent her home with some supplements to help dry up what little milk she had left.

By 7 weeks all Choc weighed over 2000grams, LC wasnt far behind and BC is nearing 800 grams (which is amazing considering we were struggling to get him above 150 for like 2 weeks) all puppies were reliably gaining weight every day and had a very healthy appetite. 8 weeks is when puppies normally go home and we were waffling for a bit because they're not completely on solids yet. LC and Choc are eating a mix of Steeve's freeze dried raw food soaked into a mush and soaked kibble. BC is still on just the Steeve's as we dont feel comfortable upgrading him to kibble yet. The reason for this is they still dont have their teeth fully grown in (and BC is so small and with the weak swallow we are worried he would choke) but despite this we've decided to send them home as there isnt much left we can do for them. Choc went home with a lovely family with 2 young kids that adored him and were super sweet. We arent worried about Choc. LC went home with the guardian for the father of the litter's daughter. Shes well aware of his... penis issues (the mother nibbled off the sheath which could lead to issues but we arent too concerned) and is ready to handle anything that may arise financially. BC got the best home though. He went with a friend of my mother's. He is a nurse, has experience as a vet tech, and his partner is almost always home taking care of their adoptive child who has a feeding tube. I havent met this family myself yet but my boss says she adores them and their kids and doesnt think BC could have found a better home. They also feed their already existing dogs a raw diet that they put together themselves. So we know BC will be getting only the best of care. All families are well aware of their food situation and have been given instructions on how to go about feeding times and of course we will be a call away at all times.

I'm super sad to see these puppies go, especially BC as I've grown really close with them its always been the best part of my day when I get to go in and give them a big cuddle. I'm hopeful that at least with BC I will be able to see him grow (and maybe I can wiggle my way into being able to visit him / take care of him sometimes) but I am so happy we've gotten from being unsure of theyll make it to knowing theyll continue to thrive.

Here is a gallery of their growth from day 4 to 7 weeks old.
http://imgur.com/gallery/bYj8yKp

I might throw together all the little videos I've taken of them too and post that. Thank you all for following the journey with these babies ♡

edit: A couple photos didnt post for some reason so here they are:
http://imgur.com/a/TrjIqMN
 
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saxguy64

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What a wonderful conclusion! I love this story! Proud puppy mama, you've done an amazing job with them. :D
 

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