It is with a very heavy heart that I share we lost our first foster dog yesterday. Diablo, one of the days old orphan pups passed away yesterday morning. Since his arrival in our home, he had difficulty eating. He would feed briefly and then stop and cry. Minutes later, he would feed again, only to repeat the pattern. He cried a lot during his week with us, and there was nothing we could do but keep him as comfortable as possible.
Mid-week he began to thrive and I thought he turned a corner and would be okay. On Saturday, he noticeably started losing ground. He lost much of the weight he had gained and became very dehydrated and he began refusing to feed altogether. We began force feeding him using a tiny syringe that holds only 1mL of fluid. By 2am Sunday morning, he was struggling to make his own body heat and wasn't even shivering (we keep the laundry room where the pups are at a balmy 40 degrees Celcius). Later Sunday morning, he wasn't swallowing anymore and I kept him wrapped in a towel to stay warm, cradled in my arms. I needed a little break and passed him to my husband. Diablo let out a tiny scream that my son heard up stairs and came running to see what happened. Shortly after, Diablo settled in and fell asleep.
Since he was sleeping well and appeared to be comfortable we placed him, still wrapped in his towel, with the rest of the litter. He stirred only a little to get comfortable when he was set down. My girls bathed the rest of the pups and left Diablo for last so he could keep sleeping. Hannah went it to get him and saw that he wasn't breathing. She called for me and I knew from her voice that something was terribly wrong. I ran upstairs and found Diablo's body where my husband placed him a few minutes earlier. He had passed away comforted, cuddled, in his sleep. If only we were all so blessed!
This morning, I am again seeing the effects of Diablo's loss in my children. I've been debriefing my kids since Hannah found Diablo to make sure they stay balanced since his death. I've found that right now they are super sensitive to the rest of the litter, and are on the verge of over reacting. It's my goal to give them perspective and keep them balanced. Urraco wasn't eating last night which was a little hard to take and Estoque was really fussy, both of which we saw in Diablo from the beginning until he died. I think I've figured out that Urraco just prefers having me feed him (working to get him over this bump since I'm away for a week starting next Sunday!) and I helped Estoque have the biggest puppy burp I've ever heard! I keep reminding my family to just go back to basics and not be afraid that we will lose another pup from this litter. We might, but we can't allow that fear to guide what we do with these puppies.
Our impact in favour of LIFE has been more far reaching than the tragic loss of Diablo and so we will grow from here and accept this very real lesson of love and loss and we will EMBRACE LIFE!