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Willow & 9 at 2-1/2 weeks: momma becomes septic and is too weak for corrective surgery -- :(

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Click here to go to their lives at 3 weeks

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Saturday morning, 4 June, I get a call from Lorna --

-- she said Willow was fine the night before, but this AM, she was barely walking.

Here she is, almost collapsed -- :(

The culprit?

Look at the arrow --

-- it's pointing to Willow's mastitis, which led to necrotic, or dead, flesh in Willow --

-- basically, now, Willow's necrotic flesh was infecting her body, so badly that it threatened to kill her -- :(

To confirm this, I spoke with Dr. Jim at our vet clinic, and he was presenting us with hospice options for Willow --

-- I was in disbelief --

-- and when he said, "On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is dead, I'd give her a 9.5"

I was shocked -- and so was Willow's group supporters -- :(

Willow was too weak for Dr. Jim to excise the dying tissue, and she would have certainly passed in surgery.

That said, she had to recover enough through antibiotics to sustain surgery -- :(

-- again, 9.5 -- :(

For a medical idea of what was wrong with momma, Namita writes --

"I spoke to Dr Jim and here is the crux..

Just got the CBC - her WBCs including the neutrophils are low.. she is not as anemic though and the platelets are wnl. Considering the whole history and physical w low WBCs, it seems like a case of severe sepsis which occasionally causes the WBCs to decrease rather than increase. We don't know where the source is ?GI vs post op.

The plan is to --
1. Check if she is hypotensive/needs IVFs or not
2. Check chemistries to see if she has any other organ failure like kidneys or liver - this would further tell us about the severity and the need for E clinic or not.
3. To start antibiotics - IV ampicillin.

The clinic is already closed but Dr Albert is going to take care of Willow till he is there and till we have answers to the above questions. He is also going to touch base w Dr Heather to see if they can keep Willow over the wknd or not depending on the staff situation -- I must say they seem to be very nice people!

Instead of leaving momma unattended at the clinic, we chose to bring Willow back to Lorna's, with her babies, with her people --

-- in case she didn't make it, we wanted her to be with those she loved, and who loved her.

So, through the day, momma got her antibiotics, warm compresses, and she watched Lorna's army of caregivers tend to this family.

I can't tell you the heartbreak that was unfolding before us.

Next, the babies upped their intake, and the bottle feeders obliged -- !!

Bottle-feeding is an art in itself --

-- they can't get any air in the mix, and you have to watch aspiration in their lungs --

-- and most importantly, you have to get their BELLIES full -- !!

Glug glug glug -- !!

Here's the RESULT --

-- so CHUBBY they can barely SEE -- !!

Here's Martina, doing her best with miss Wafer --

-- while Willow, pillow under her head, watches --


Here's the "post-fed" bin --

-- HEALTHY, in short -- !!

Next, momma with her warm compresses on --

-- her pain and lack of movement was unbearable - :(

But, she is such a momma that she wouldn't poop or pee herself in the baby room, so we carried her outside for that.

Here's Wafer --

-- fully FED -- !!

With Willow, she was such a lady, too, that when I carried her, and it hurt, she just gently mouthed my hand to let me know "don't touch there" --

-- I accidentally touched her belly, where the mastitis was -- :(

The victory of the day --

-- pigs in a row -- !!

It was so bittersweet, that Saturday, seeing such beauty of life in one corner --

-- and such pain and suffering in the other -- :(

Ah, just the visuals here are healing...

... more PERFECTION -- !!

Pads and paws EVERYWHERE -- !!

Spotted noses --

Accommodating siblings -- !!

Care-giving Lorna --

Momma's babies...

... like perfection on earth.

While Willow hurt, Lorna did also.

I'll never forget the tone of her voice that Saturday morning --

-- it was like I was talking to another person --

-- the tone, the desolation, the shock --

Here, though, at least Willow was with her own --

-- her people.

The people that rescued her, cared for her, birthed her babies, fed her babies --

-- who treated her like she'd never been treated before.

Who didn't dump her at the shelter, pregnant, unwanted.

Who instead loved her all they could.

For a sweet diversion, back to Willow's wonders --

-- the white pads --

-- the spotted noses --

-- the gentle snores --

The dotted noses...

... the spotted lips...

... the pudgie paws...

So, with that, I left to go home --

-- Willow was in the best of care, and for now, it was a matter of time and medication, to see if her antibiotics would pull her through the night --

-- it seems like night-time is the worst time for ailing dogs --

-- and if we could get through the night, well then, we'd know the antibiotics were working --

-- if they didn't, she would succumb.

As I left, I passed through the break room, and saw these stickers taped to the glass.

These were of an earlier day, when Willow was a strong, vibrant mother --

-- a survivor, a winner.

She couldn't die, I said again and again, to myself.

That night, I slept restlessly, and at 4AM texted Lorna, expecting the worst --

-- here's what I got back --

"Got thru the nite!!"

There was hope!

Click here to go to their lives at week 3

Click here to go to their home page!

Things I like in an application:

- Applicants who join our pit bull forum, at There, you'll find a small army of pit bull lovers -- 4,500 at the present -- !! For you, the adopter, you can learn about canine diet, pit bull temperaments, multi-dog households, and you can meet a nice group of people. For us, the rescuers, we can see your baby as they grow with you, hearing your stories about them and seeing pictures you post of them in their news lives -- win-win, right??!!
PLEASE DON'T IGNORE THIS PRE-REQUISITE -- it means a lot to us here -- !!
- Adult adopters, ready to be adults. People aware of the responsibility of a puppy, and aware this puppy will become an a medium-sized dog, with its own temperament and personality. Adult adopters who are ready for a 15 year commitment. This puppy does not have a depreciating "useful life" that is over when it becomes an adult -- instead, this dog's whole life is useful -- !!
- Owners who are aware of and who respect the pit bull temperament. This means people who know you can't "love" dog aggression out of their dogs -- instead, owners who are RESPONSIBLE with their pups -- crating them when unattended, supervising them with children, never leaving them outside unattended, and those who are ready for licks and lovin' in return! For more on dog aggression, click here.
- Adopters who treat their newest addition like a member of the family, realizing that this isn't a "dog in the box" and that its little life must be encouraged to go the right path and that obedience, socialization and training will get her there -- !!

- Financial commitment. Adopters willing to spend money on their new investment, including premium foods (like Candidae, Wellness, Nutro or raw food), plus adopters who will invest in pet insurance or a "dog fund", lest vetting be required, which may get expensive.

The adoption fee is $345 per dog. This is reasonable, considering the premium services that each pup gets. Each dog, before placement, is examined by a licensed veterinarian, spayed or neutered, wormed with premium wormer, given vaccinations on a regular basis (not just a one-shot deal), microchipped with a premium Home Again chip (made by Schering-Plough), fed premium raw food (not 'Ol Roy, or some other filler-laden junk) and has spent it's puppy fosterhood in a wonderful, attentive, CLEAN environment. Also, each puppy is accompanied by a personal home visit to YOUR home at placement, to ensure they're going to have the life of a king or queen -- !! If the home visit doesn't pass, puppy doesn't stay. This isn't some parking-lot-of-a-pet-store adoption scheme, instead, it's the highest-quality service I can provide for these young souls, as they journey off in to their lives. Note, too, we have had a recent increase in adoption fees, due to increased veterinary surgery rates.

- Smart and informed adopters, who research this breed and who realize that these pups are not for everyone. Pit bull temperament can be Googled, and a great start can be found here.


Things I shy away from in an application:

- Youth -- sorry kids -- this is a living being, not an iPod!! Young peoples' lives change a lot, and the first thing to get dumped is usually the dog, whether it be on their parents, a friend, etc., who are oftentimes ill-equipped and disinterested in this four-legged life -- then, the dumping or neglect begins.
- Renters. I get calls all the time saying, "Please take my dog -- I moved in to an apartment that doesn't allow them." Ummm -- did you fall asleep in an apartment that allowed them, and then wake up at a new address, in an apartment that doesn't allow them? This isn't magic here -- it's responsibility, and dogs come first. Please don't lie on the application, either -- this will show up in the home-visit -- !!

- Multi-dog households. While I love having many pit bulls, quite a few people aren't ready for the commitment and responsibility it takes to sometimes crate their dogs, rotate them out of the crates and generally own them responsibly. When that happens, I get calls saying, "I have to get rid of one of my dogs ASAP." I can never understand why these people think their lack of planning is all of the sudden my emergency.

- Busy households. Sure, puppies are cute, and they're cuddly, and after they're bathed, they smell nice. But when they grow up in to dogs, and the busy household moves on to their new obsession, the dog, now needing obedience, love and affection, is dumped in the suburban sense. The dog may even live "out on the porch" -- people mention that to me like it's acceptable -- dogs are social beings, and will not flourish in situations of neglect!
- People that call me sounding like gangsters. It happens a lot -- and they never want a spayed or neutered dog. Sorry folks -- this is rescue, not a puppy mill, nor the "syndicate". Also, please don't bother me with requests for "papers" -- last time I checked, no people I knew had "papers", and that didn't make them any less a "person" -- !!