The past 6 weeks has gone by so fast for us and Pidge and Aurora's beautiful puppies. Pidge has been the attentive, wonderful Mom she has been in the past. Her puppies are all healthy and happy just as she is.
Aurora was a first-time Mom. We always pay extra attention to our new Mommas and want to be there for help any way she needs. Some new Moms don't instinctively pick up right away what they are supposed to do, that was certainly not the case with Aurora. Having a large first litter is a challenge by itself, but she had an extra burden with a puppy that was born small and began dangerously losing weight.
Little Wheezer started to struggle at about 1 week old. He had not gained any weight since birth but now he started to lose precious ounces. We were on 24/7 watch to give Wheezer and his Momma plenty of one on one time. When this didn't seem to help we started rubbing nutri-cal on his gums to at least give him essential nutrients so that nursing would be more productive. Still, not much progress. We made the decision to begin bottle feeding goats milk. We knew once we did this it would be a 24 hour committment for a long while to give this little guy a chance.
The little man began to respond and gain ever so slowly. These days seemed very long and we had to ask ourselves "are we doing the right thing?"
There was no doubt that Wheezer was the strongest of the litter and all heart. He wanted to live, he wanted to survive. He didn't know he was behind the rest. Just as he really started to grasp the bottle feeding another challenge was presented. Of course these emergencies always seem to happen on the weekend ~ just like having small children!
As we picked Wheezer up to give him a bottle, something looked very wrong. He had been a bit raspy earlier, but did not see anything out of the ordinary. How quickly the tables can turn with a very small puppy. In just a few short hours we discovered a concerning growth or lump that had suddenly developed in his neck. It was like a our worst nightmare. Our little Wheezer, not even a pound, had a very large growth. It looked like a blister or what we really thought was an abcess. We are very blessed to have Dr Keller and a valuable network of friends all over the country through our affiliation with the Council for Purebred Labradors. After sending Dr Keller photos and discussing options, we decided to try warm compress and very gentle massage through the night and evaluate in the morning.
This poor little man just couldn't get a break, no matter how hard we tried. Through all of this Aurora was as calm as she could be, nursing and tending to all just like nothing was wrong. In the morning we were thankful that we made it through the night, or were we? Again, we found ourselves asking "are we doing the right thing?"
We both sat by Aurora that Sunday morning as she was feeding Wheezer, he gasped even more for air, she began licking his neck like he was a newborn (which is a lot of licking) and was kinda hiding him a bit from our assistance. We noticed a little bit of discharge near them that horrified us. We gently picked up Wheezer only to discover Aurora had ever so gently lanced this awful bump and now allowed us to drain what we certainly knew was an abscess.
How much trouble were we in now?
Aurora did what in our hearts we knew had to be done. We were being so careful with every move with this little guy. As a Mom, I know when your child is in danger you just take care of your child and danger is not an option.
Aurora did what had to be done,
and saved her little son's life.
Dr Keller advised us to make sure this little opening did not close up with any infection left inside. We flushed this with a very diluted Theives cleaner and finally Wheezer was breathing normally.
It took this little man a week or so to recover enough and begin to gain real weight! We were bottle feeding ever few hours and then giving him time with Mom. He wanted so desperately to feed like the others and just needed a little boost, we were happy to help!
Once we hit the 2 lb mark weight gain was fairly constant. This experience has taught us much about canine nature...trust in them and they will never let you down. We never gave up on Wheezer, and he never gave up on himself.
I have a very good friend that coined the hashtag #GoWheezer and really helped bring so many followers with prayers and encouragement. We can't imagine life without a Wheezer in it. Anyone lucky enough to meet a Wheezer and a Momma like Aurora will always be touched with a special blessing.
Our biggest hurdle this last weekend was to give up the bottle. Now this wasn't Wheezer's issue, it was ours. I'm afraid Joel was not ready until just yesterday to let this little man go completely on his own.
Dr Keller examined him last week and at this point thinks he is just a little behind. It is still too early to have any concerns that he won't grow to be a very healthy Lab. This is heartwarming for us. Aurora has never shown concern just unconditional love!
The big question we face now is...will Wheezer remain with us, or do we trust his journey is meant to be with a loving family to explore and be all he can be. This has not yet been decided. One day at a time, one step at a time for Wheezer....who am I kidding,
truly it's a day at a time for us.