Dottie was very, very pregnant. The Australian Cattledog mix came to us from a shelter in the Central Valley, just days or even hours away from giving birth. She was still recovering from pelvic fractures she had suffered previously, had a foxtail embedded in her ear, and needed a safe place to land.
But Dottie was about to get the second chance she needed.
At HSSV, there are a few things we seem to “specialize” in. One of those specialties is caring for pregnant mama dogs and their babies. Over the years, we have seen and taken in more and more moms and puppies, and we’ve gotten really, really good at it.
Just hours after arriving at our shelter, Dottie was sent to one of our amazing, experienced foster homes. Debbie came by as soon as she got the call to pick up Dottie, and was amazed at how close Dottie was to having her puppies. Three days later, Dottie gave birth to three girl puppies in the comfort and safety of her foster home.
It was 10 hours of love and labor, and Debbie stayed by her side throughout the process.
For the first few days, Debbie hovered worryingly. The puppies didn’t seem interested in nursing from Dottie, so Debbie bottle fed them in between encouraging them to nurse. Luckily, despite everything Dottie had been through before arriving at Debbie’s house, Dottie was sweet and friendly with Debbie and her family and allowed them to handle the puppies with no problem. Although the puppies weren’t interested in nursing at first, she was still an attentive and caring mom. Finally, after a week of supplementing Audrey, Greta, and Grace with bottles, they started to nurse. It was a huge relief.
Once the babies were a week old, Debbie brought Dottie to HSSV’s medical center for a quick trip to remove the foxtail in her ears and clean up the wounds around her head. Thanks to our medical team and her amazing foster mom, Dottie was on the road to recovery.
As the puppies grew older, Debbie moved them out of their “nursery” – a spare bedroom that gave the puppies piece and quiet – and into a pen in the living room where they could socialize more with Debbie’s family and resident pets. Dottie had access to the pen, but was also able to take frequent breaks from the puppies and their ever-sharpening teeth and nails.
Debbie worked extremely hard to make sure the puppies were well-socialized. Because it was only a few months into COVID, she had to get creative to find ways to socialize the puppies with new people. She set up an outdoor enclosed area and invited friends and family to her yard to visit the puppies in small groups and make sure they were getting the important socialization they needed.
Zonked puppies after an afternoon of socializing.
As the puppies grew older, they became more and more mischievous. They found new, clever ways to show off their Cattledog brains and kept their foster family on their toes.
Finally, after 8 weeks under Debbie’s watchful care, it was time for Dottie, Greta, Audrey, and Grace to find their forever people.
All three puppies found their new homes the very same day they were made available for adoption. Dottie, the sweet, doting mom who had been through so much, found her home in just two days.
After their adoptions, Dottie and the puppies’ new families found each other and set up a playdate. They invited Debbie along to see how her former fosters were doing.
The reunion was so sweet. The dogs all seemed to remember each other. All three puppies played together, and Dottie, now lovingly named Lanie in her new home, bossed her kids around and adorably (and bossily) kept other dogs from joining their group.
Since their adoptions, Lanie and her puppies are doing so well and their new families still keep in touch and set up regular playdates. We are so thrilled for them, and grateful that our amazing medical and foster teams have the knowledge and ability to care for moms and their puppies just like this little family.
Thank you for your support of HSSV and the animals we care for. We couldn’t do what we do without you! To help us continue to care for moms and puppies like Dottie and her babies, please donate today.