dog rescue, foster dogs, fostering, oph, pregnant dog, shelters, Spay and Neuter, whelping

Diary of a Rescue: Week One

Word of Warning: If you are not following along on this Rescue Diary on Facebook, you may not know that this story is a hard one. Sadly, it is a reality of rescue that we can’t save them all and that sometimes the damage that has been done prior to the dog arriving with us is insurmountable. Still, we do all we can and while that may not be enough, it is more than many dogs would experience apart from rescue. The following are the Facebook Diary posts in their entirety:

Diary of a Rescue: Day 1
Daisy, a pregnant shepherd mix, arrives tonight on a transport from South Carolina. Puppy room is ready and Daisy is on the van headed north! Travel safe, sweet girl, we can’t wait to meet you! #diaryofarescue#anothergooddog

Diary of a Rescue Day 1 (near midnight):

Daisy has arrived- she is terrified, skinny, and it is obvious that she has already had multiple litters. Settling in but doesn’t look like we will have puppies tonight. She’s a beautiful dog with gorgeous, expressive eyes. Gentle and frightened and yet to eat anything. I’ve tried to tell her she is safe but don’t think she believes that yet. Thanks SAVEDOG Project for getting her here safely.

Diary of a Rescue: Day 2

Daisy is still very unsure of us. She follows me hesitantly and so far is a silent dog. The light of day shows clearly how hard this dog’s life has been. I would wager she’s had many, many litters in her lifetime. Her body is stretched and worn, and the defeat in her eyes just breaks my heart.

One of the signs of impending labor is a drop in temperature. The experts say that when a mom’s temp drops below 100, she will deliver in 24 hours. I’ve had about a 50/50 success rate with that prediction, so I’m not sure it’s ironclad. Daisy’s temp is 98.9 today at lunchtime but she’s finally eating (and most moms stop eating when labor is approaching), so I think we’re still a ways off.

Diary of a Rescue Day 3:

My son, Ian, is a talented photographer and here is a picture he took of Daisy last night.

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You can tell by her face that this dog is carrying some really tough stories around. This is a rare moment when she is looking up. Almost all the time, she is looking down and her tail is tucked between her legs. I was rewarded with a teeny, tiny, almost tail-wag this morning when I brought her food, so I’m hopeful we will win her over soon – hopefully before her pups arrive.

Temp today is 101.5 – perfect normal temperature for a dog which means no puppies are imminent! YAY. This gives us more time to get to know her and for her to begin to trust us. That way if anything goes sideways during the birth she’ll let me help. 98% of dogs don’t need any help when giving birth, and Daisy is obviously a pro at this, so I’m am hopeful that I will be nothing more than a cheerleader and water girl when the time comes.

Diary of a Rescue Dog: Day 4

Daisy spiked a fever this morning so we are at the Pet ER. The regular OPH vet is on maternity leave and her fill-in couldn’t see us. So we have waited almost two hours here, me worrying and Daisy fretting and Nick bored to tears. Finally, they are taking X-rays and giving her fluid and electrolytes to get her temp down and to figure out why it is so high. Of course, this all happens during a snowstorm. Could use your prayers for Daisy and her unborn pups.

Diary of a Rescue: still Day 4:
Headed home from ER with Daisy. Temp still up. Hoping meds work so we don’t have to go back and hospitalize her. Snowstorm complicating things. Good news is that puppies (lots of them) look fine at this point and the fluids seem to have reactivated her appetite! They’ve also inflated her a little so her bones aren’t poking out so much.

Diary of a Rescue: Day 5

We ended up in the ER again last night with Daisy as her temperature shot back up to 105.3. I was only ever able to get it down to 104.2 at home by keeping cold wet washcloths on her feet and cooling her ears nonstop.

Normal temp for dogs is 101-102.5. That high temp put the puppies at great risk, not to mention the stress on Daisy between the fever and the travel (in the snowstorm) to and from the ER twice.

Daisy’s temp was down to 102.4 when we brought her home and this morning it is 99.3. She has very little appetite but otherwise seems good as can be expected – tired and still wary of everything around her.

She’s on antibiotics now and fingers crossed that will knock out whatever caused her fever. I am hoping that the current low temp doesn’t indicate labor coming and that she will have another week to rest and heal and for the puppies to grow.

Daisy does seem to be trusting me and Nick now – she meets my eye and her tail isn’t clamped so tightly between her legs. Nick had to carry her (59 pounds!) in and out of house and vet, she was too wobbly from the fever and too scared to follow me. I know it wasn’t how he planned to spend his day/night and he missed work to help me, so I’m more than grateful to have a partner who backs me up and grateful we have a good four-wheel drive vehicle that got us safely to and from the ER – twice!

We are all tired and holding our breath and hoping the worst is over, but something tells me this journey with Daisy is nowhere near finished.

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Diary of a Rescue: Day 5 (evening)

Daisy’s temp shot up again this afternoon over 105, so we are at the vet’s office waiting to see doc at Clearview Animal Hospital, LLC. Daisy did well on the hilly drive over here and thankfully we didn’t encounter and downed limbs from the heavy snow and ice. We could use your prayers once again. Hopefully, we can get her some relief and figure out where fever is coming from.

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Diary of a Rescue Day 6:

Let me start by reminding you that when I started this Diary I warned you that there might not be a happy ending. Because this is not fiction (oh, how I wish it was), I have no control over the outcome.

Daisy got more fluids and a new course of antibiotics last night. The wonderful staff at Clearview taught me how to administer fluids and sent me home with more ‘just in case’. Her temp was normal by the time we were home.

I will spare you the gory details, but nothing about what happened next was anything like any of my other litters.
About 10pm Daisy delivered a puppy that was clearly not ready to be born. It lasted only a few minutes. Five hours later, after straining and straining and wandering confused around my puppy pen, she delivered a stillborn pup and this morning, just before I took her back to Clearview when they opened, she had another dying puppy.

Daisy has been amazing through all of this – confused, scared, and trying her best. She has leaned on me and licked my face each time I sat down with her. I’ve done my best to comfort her, but truly, there was not much comfort to find.

She is in good hands now, and I am only focused on saving Daisy. As sad and awful as it is, her body cannot take raising another litter of puppies and I am not holding out much hope that any of the remaining pups will survive. In the end, that will be a blessing.

So much is wrong with this situation, but none of it is Daisy’s fault or OPH’s fault or any of the vets that have treated her or the shelter that held her. The fault lies with some anonymous person or persons in South Carolina who did not care for or value this dog. She has likely already had a dozen litters of puppies in her life, and yet no one who knew about it or adopted one of her cute puppies did anything to help her.

I thought much about this last night as I sat with Daisy. It will not do us any good to be angry now, what we have to do is act. We have to change this crappy situation. There is no excuse for it.

While I so desperately wish this had turned out differently, I’m glad I’m sharing it with you because this is the part of rescue too many people don’t know about. We see the best and the worst and it stretches our hearts, but it will not break them. There is too much work to be done.

Diary of a Rescue Day 6: (midday)

Daisy is struggling to deliver the remaining pups and it has been decided that she will need a C-section. She’ll be spayed at the same time, so one good outcome – no more puppies EVER again. This dog has been through so much, so surgery will be risky, but is necessary. I’m grateful she’s in such good hands and super grateful that they are keeping me updated even though I know they have their hands full with regular patients. Her doc even came in on a day off to do this surgery. Daisy is in the best possible place right now.

One more thing, at this point, one of the puppies she delivered at Clearview is alive. Maybe he takes after his mama and is a fighter too. We shall see. Prayers and positive, healing energy welcomed! #togetherwerescue

Diary of a Rescue: Day 6 (4pmish)

Daisy is out of surgery and doing well! One large female pup survived of the five additional pups they pulled during the C-section (that’s eleven total pups if you’re keeping count). The boy pup has been nursing and holding his own. Once Daisy is fully awake from surgery, they will try to get girl pup nursing. If everyone continues to improve I can bring the little family home tonight!

It will be another long night fretting over this little crew. Daisy will be exhausted and now we have an incision to keep an eye on while being sure the puppies can nurse. Her nipples from her years of having puppies are enlarged and misshapen and some will be impossible for the puppies to latch onto.

Long, sketchy road ahead, but one big hurdle jumped. Can’t say enough about how amazing Clearview staff have been. Courtney has been with the puppies all day long and I imagine it hasn’t been easy to lose so many. Dr. Shank gave up her day off to operate on Daisy and the two of them have taken the time to keep me informed of all that’s happening. Outstanding veterinary care, but more than that, they truly love the animals.

Relieved, but bracing myself for more to come. Thank you all for your many prayers today – I know Daisy and her two little babes have been wrapped in them.  #togetherwerescue #anothergooddog

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Diary of a Rescue Day 6 (evening):

Daisy is home and resting but has lost a lot of blood. She is weak and dehydrated, but I will give her fluids through the night. As hard as this is, I’m learning a lot and gaining skills that will help me with the next litter.

Puppies are very skinny and have a lot of trouble latching on and staying on. In this grab from my baby cam, she is snuggled around them. She has been licking and nuzzling them, so no matter what happens tonight they are being loved.

Hopeful sign- Daisy walked from her travel crate into puppy box (Nick removed a side for her so she didn’t have to hop over) AND she had a big drink of water.

It will be touch and go tonight. I’m staying close by and will do what I can but we still don’t know the cause of the fever and the abortion of the pups. We don’t know if the pups failing created the fever or vice versa. Hoping she responds to the antibiotics and anti-inflammatories she is on now.

Hoping to turn the corner soon but still far from it. Thanks for your support and kind words- they mean a lot.  #togetherwerescue #anotgergooddog

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Diary of a Rescue: Day 7:

We had a mostly good night. Daisy is eating a little bit of chicken and rice almost every time I offer it. This morning she even ate a little canned puppy food. She is drinking water also. She doesn’t get up for either but obliges me when I offer her bowls to her. All good signs! I think being ‘home’ in the quiet warm puppy room is really helping.

I had planned to take her back to Clearview this morning but she is doing so well we’re going to stay home for now. She has yet to pass any urine or stools so I know she is still very dehydrated, but her gum color has returned and she no longer lying flat.

The girl puppy passed last night but the boy puppy is still with us. He seems determined to nurse but it is a challenge. Daisy spent most of the night curled around him.

We are still not out of the woods and far from that corner I keep hoping we will turn but things are decidedly better. I got some sleep last night and even a quick shower! Hoping to have a moment to sneak over to Walmart to grab something for Ian for Valentines Day. A little normalcy is good for the soul!

Thanks for following along on this rescue- it is comforting to know we are in so many prayers. Remarkable to think that this dog who has been so neglected for so long is on the hearts of so many. I keep saying (about the problem of so many good dogs dying from neglect or crowded shelters) that it’s not that people don’t care it’s that they don’t know.  #togetherwerescue #anothergooddog

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Diary of a Rescue: Day 7 (3pmish):

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Daisy is doing great (although every time I say this things go sideways). She is eating a lot and drinking well, and (this is huge) she finally peed! I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to step on a soak puppy pad in my stocking feet before! Peeing means that she is not so dehydrated, which has been one of our biggest threats for the past 24 hours. Her temp has been normal all day, which is a huge relief. I’m plying her with chicken and rice and hamburger and some fancy canned puppy food I dashed out and bought at Pet Valu a little bit ago.

Boy puppy is hanging on but getting weaker. I will be surprised if he lasts the night, but then again I was surprised when he made it through last night.

Another OPH foster, Chris, is going to come and mama/pup sit for me so I can sneak out to watch Ian swim in the Invitationals (thanks Chris!) later. Going to the store and now heading to a swim meet, I feel like I’m returning to the land of the living, like Daisy and I have been on some kind of Odyssey for the last four days.

This sweet dog’s heart is overwhelming. Daisy rarely gets up, stayng put to let the puppy nurse/stay warm and also because she is beyond exhausted and each time I bring her a bowl to eat or drink, she takes a few bites or sips and then licks my hand. I think it’s her way of saying thank you. #togetherwerescue #anothergooddog

Diary of a Rescue: Day 7 (evening):

Daisy’s baby boy passed this evening. What a little fighter he was- but there were far too many strikes against the little guy. At the end he went very peacefully. It was actually pretty amazing even though it was heart wrenching to witness. Daisy cradled him in her paws for awhile and licked him gently. After he was gone she ripped up all the bedding into a pile in the puppy box and is now lying here on it finally really sleeping hard.

If I try to leave she gets up, so I’m sitting here until it’s time for meds in thirty minutes hoping she has at least that much peace. I’m remembering where this girl was just a week ago and thinking of all we’ve been through. She is still hurting and swollen and I can’t help but wonder why this happened the way it did and whether it’s over (in terms of Daisy’s health).

Tomorrow we start moving forward with this girl- getting her healthy and happy and ready to find her family. But tonight we’re going to sit here together and mourn her 11 babies and all that might have been.

Thank you for your prayers and support for this beautiful dog and her enormous heart.

#togetherwerescue #anothergooddog

It is hard to believe it has been a week since Daisy arrived and that this time last week, I was hopeful and excited to welcome Daisy and her impending family. Now, instead, in my mudroom is a broken and sad dog who is just beginning the long road to healing. I will continue to post her journey because it’s my greatest hope that now is when the good part starts.

When I set out to write this diary, I thought it would be a happy story to buoy us during the long, cold winter. When things began to slide, I wasn’t sure I should continue to keep writing or whether I should share all of the details with you. In the end, I did, except for the long night of labor/delivery at my house because it was so very hard to witness and the outcome spoke for itself.

I decided to keep writing because maybe this was a story that needed to be told and that just maybe it would inspire someone to act, to get involved, to help change the situation in our country in which too many good dogs are neglected and forgotten. Our country continues to euthanize up to a million dogs a year, and that doesn’t count the dogs like Daisy who die in or out of rescue as a result of apathy and ignorance.

If this story has motivated you to help in any way, here are a few options:

  1. Volunteer at your local shelter or rescue – walk dogs, take dogs for a ‘day out’ or a sleepover, or consider fostering dogs. Photographers are always needed because a good photo can be the difference between a dog getting adopted or not. If you’re a cat person (and the cat problem is MUCH bigger), you can cuddle kitties or take pictures/write bios. Volunteers are also needed for fundraising, reference checking, and many other tasks that don’t require that you even get your hands dirty. Even one hour a week will make a difference.
  2. When you decide to get your next dog, consider adopting from a shelter or rescue. And when you hear of others who have done so, thank them for choosing to rescue.
  3. Donate to your local shelter or rescue – stories like Daisy’s are all too common. Adoption fees don’t begin to cover the cost of rescue. If you are moved to help with Daisy’s bills, you can do so through the OPHrescue website designating that your donation is for “Daisy B.’

And, if you’d like to follow along daily on Daisy’s journey, like/follow my public Facebook page. I plan to continue to document Daisy’s journey right up until the happy ending that she so deserves.

Thanks for reading!

If you’d like to know more about my blogs and books, visit CaraWrites.com or subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter (which is rarely monthly, but I’m working at it…everybody needs a goal).

If you’d like to know more about the book, Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs, visit AnotherGoodDog.org, where you can find more pictures of the dogs from the book (and some of their happily-ever-after stories), information on fostering, the schedule of signings, and what you can do right now to help shelter animals! You can also purchase a signed copy or several other items whose profits benefit shelter dogs!

If you’d like to know how you can volunteer, foster, adopt or donate with OPH, click here. And if you’d like more pictures and videos of my foster dogs past and present, be sure to join the Another Good Dog Facebook group.

I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to comment here on the blog, email carasueachterberg@gmail.com or connect with me on Facebooktwitter, or Instagram.

 Best,

 Cara

Released August 2018 from Pegasus Books and available now

Another Good Dog cover

24 thoughts on “Diary of a Rescue: Week One”

  1. Honestly, the world has too many puppies, so I’m not really upset about that outcome given the sad circumstances. For me, the important “person” in this story is this brave dog. Left on her own, she might have died through this ordeal. nI hope Daisy continues to mend and ultimately finds people who will love, cherish and respect her for the rest of her life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for continuing to write. I know it wasn’t easy, but I feel lucky to be a part of the group that you trusted to share this burden with. You are an inspiration (but I know that you aren’t doing this for the reputation). Thank you for giving us options on how we can help throughout the different stages of our lives and allowing us to live vicariously through you. Good luck with Daisy and finding her the perfect forever home ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for being there for Daisy and the pups. It breaks my heart to see what this poor mom has endured. It’s her time to heal and be loved and a time for her to find her forever family. ❤️

    Like

  4. Thank you for being there for Daisy and the pups. It breaks my heart to see what this poor mom has endured. It’s her time to heal and be loved and a time for her to find her forever family. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! What a blessing you have been to Daisy, helping her through this difficult week. As sad as it is, I am glad that you continued writing Daisy’s diary. Maybe, just maybe, it will make it’s way to someone who needed to see this post, to learn from it, or to decide it is time for them to step up to help other dogs. God bless you for all that you do for the abandoned dogs. Praying for Daisy’s healing and finding a great home.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for caring for Daisy and her pups and I am grateful you are sharing this story here. Stories like these can bring about a change for the better and hopefully inspire more people to make adoption their first option. Daisy has been so brave and we send her lots of healing thoughts 💜🐕💕

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So sorry to hear of the pups passing. I know the story of my Doodlebug and was hoping to have the same outcome as she being here today. You have a huge heart and because of you and Nick, Daisy will start to trust again. Blessings to you

    Like

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