canine health, cats, dog rescue, foster cats, foster dogs, fostering, kittens, Texas, Who Will Let the Dogs Out

Heartbreak and Happiness Exist Side By Side in Rescue

I don’t know what to tell you about Bippity Bop. Her health situation is a mystery. As we back off (very slowly) from the anti-seizure medications, she is still not herself. It’s like the little dog who arrived here a month ago, is gone, vanished.

In her place, is a timid pup who startles easily, is unsteady on her feet, and seems confused most of the time. X-Port Paws and I are reaching out to different doctors and rescue organizations for advice and plan to do all we can to get to the bottom of this, but my heart is heavy as she is deteriorating quickly. I just want my spunky little girl back.

I keep hoping that today she will be better. But then she wobbles as she stands and is knocked over when Fanny darts by her quickly barely brushing her. Bippity is always so grateful for my attention, but it sometimes seems like she can’t even register my presence until I’m right next to her.

She is eating, drinking, sleeping (all the time), and all her gastro systems seem to be working just fine. She doesn’t have a fever, isn’t coughing, has no other physical ailments beyond her lethargy, lack of balance, and confused state. I wonder—has she had a stroke? Is this late stage distemper? Did the seizures compromise her neurologically? Does she have some undiagnosed rare disease that sent us down this path?

Getting to the bottom of this will be costly and we are trying to find the best path to treatment. She’s been to three vets already. What kind of doctor will be able to help us? And much more devastating – can she survive this?

I always debate whether to share the heartbreak with you, but this is rescue. This happens because we don’t take care of the most vulnerable amongst us. No matter where we go from here, at least this little girl knows love, knows safety. I wish they all did.

Every time I think I’ve seen it all in rescue, something new stumps me. And here I am. I will keep you apprised of the situation as best I can via Facebook, but we can certainly use prayers and any advice from anyone who has seen a situation like this.

Meanwhile, I mentioned last week that I was certain my cat porch would fill back up after Simon and Garfunkel were adopted on Thursday, and I was right. By Saturday afternoon, four tiny kitties moved in. Hemingway, Twain, Poe, and Harper are just six weeks old (best guess) and weigh between 10 and 14 ounces. They are teeny-tiny. I’ve never been around kittens this little and worry that I’ll step on one.

Already their funny little personalities are in full bloom. Hemingway is the leader with such a strong little sense of self. He tackles the others and runs to the door when he hears me coming. He is also the biggest and gosh- just gorgeous with all those stripes.

Twain is a smaller, quieter version of Hemingway with an adorably inquisitive face. He’s gentle and lets me cradle him like a baby, content to be held. If I have a favorite, it’s him.

Poe looks more alien than kitten to me. He’s the tiniest and quite feisty. He wants my attention but doesn’t want me to hold him for long, scrambling out of my grasp only to come right back and head butt me for pets.

Harper is the only girl. She is an independent sort and can nap just about anywhere in any position. I’ve panicked more than once not being able to find her, only to discover her snoozing between two boxes or tucked behind the food bin.

She lives for food and after only one meal was covered in dried wet food and kitten formula. Her appearance worsens every day as she literally crawls into the food bowl to claim as much as she can. Here is a picture of the cat from Henry & Mudge stories, that a friend sent me when I sent her the picture of Harper covered in food.

I plan to give her a bath this weekend when the temps will be in the 80’s. I’m assuming that if these kitties were still with their mom, she would be handling the clean up but I will do my best.

Hanging out with my little pack of kittens is a respite from the stress of Bippity’s situation. They are growing (everyone gained an ounce or two already!) and happy and thankfully (so far!) healthy.

After such a long fostering hiatus, we are up to the gills in fosters bringing the joy and the tough stuff. I’m grateful to be able to help as the crisis in our south only worsens and rescues and shelters struggle. If you want to understand why, read my piece on Medium.

And if you’d like to help, consider donating to our next shelter tour. We leave June 6 and will travel to seven shelters in six states (WV, KY, TN, AL, GA, and VA). We will have to restock donations as we go (our rental vehicle is on the small side) and would be grateful for any help you can give us. Click here to donate.

Until Each One Has a Home,


For information on me, my writing, and books, visit

If you’d like regular updates of all our foster dogs past and present, plus occasional dog care/training tips, and occasional foster cat updates (!) be sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.

And if you’d like to know where all these dogs come from and how you can help solve the crisis of too many unwanted dogs in our shelters, visit and subscribe to our blog where we share stories of our travels to shelters, rescues, and dog pounds.

If you can’t get enough foster dog stories, check out my book: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs. Or its follow up that takes you to the shelters in the south One Hundred Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues.

I love to hear from readers and dog-hearted people! Email me at

11 thoughts on “Heartbreak and Happiness Exist Side By Side in Rescue”

  1. My heart truly aches for Bippity. I pray that there is a positive outcome for her. I will make a donation. I know how expensive vet costs are. The kittens are adorable. (Now I need to return to work and a big pile of never ending paperwork!) Hugs to Bippity!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My heart aches for you and sweet Bippity. I hope her condition improves soon. Sending loads of thoughts and prayers your way for Bippity. The newbie kitties are so adorable. No doubt they will sooth your heart as you try to figure out what happened to that sweet little girl that came to live with you a month ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This has been one of those really hard rescues – even as I know we can’t save them all, it’s still a fresh hurt every time. She was such a spunky little girl. She deserved better and I was honored to help her through it. Thanks for being one of her cheerleaders.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Could she have gotten into something? Or perhaps one of the flea/tick meds. Most of them can cause neurological symptoms (see side effects).


    1. Vet is pretty certain we were dealing with distemper. Only other real possibility was cancer (caused by god knows what, even tick meds as you said), but both options meant more suffering and little chance of recovery. Letting her go was the kindest thing.


  4. I’m so sorry to hear Bippity is still suffering! I know how hard that is for you, and for her as well. Praying that the cause of the problem is discovered soon.


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