Bouncy, adorable Tilly was quickly growing into her personality. She was finding new and interesting ways to use her sharp puppy teeth, making friends with the resident dogs and cats in her foster home, and delighting her foster parents with her puppy antics. Looking at Tilly now, you would never know that just weeks ago, we didn’t think she would survive.
Tilly and her eight siblings were brought in at less than a week old, all with their eyes still closed. The pups would need round-the-clock care, and were split up and sent to a few different experienced foster homes to ensure they would each get the intensive care they needed.
But almost immediately, things started to go downhill for this group of pups. They weren’t eating, were losing weight, and started having serious stomach issues. Their foster parents, which included a few of our skilled vet techs, did everything they could. But the babies were too small and too sick, and one by one, each of them passed away over the following days and weeks after spending their last hours being loved and cared for by their foster parents.
But not Tilly. She was small, frequently refused to eat, and had a few scary episodes where her breathing became labored. Her foster mom, HSSV veterinary assistant Stephanie, worked endlessly to keep Tilly alive. She spent nights with very little sleep, supplementing Tilly with fluids and calories to keep her going.
Tilly and Stephanie
As the days went on, Stephanie set up shifts with her housemate overnight so that someone checked on Tilly every hour to make sure she was okay. Stephanie brought the puppy to work every day, where coworkers asked for updates about Tilly and cheered on her progress.
At three weeks old, Tilly turned a corner. Her stomach issues were resolving, she was gaining weight, and she had become a happy, friendly little puppy.
At four weeks old, Stephanie felt confident that Tilly’s progress was lasting. She handed her over to a new foster, one of our staff members with lots of resident pets that would be helpful in socializing Tilly.
Over the next few weeks, Tilly thrived in her foster home. She had plenty of opportunities to socialize with cats and dogs, met lots of new people, worked on her potty training, and started to grow bigger and stronger. She was developing into a sweet (and sometimes feisty!) little pup with a lot of big opinions and a love for new things.
At eight weeks old, Tilly was big and healthy enough to be spayed and put up for adoption. But Stephanie’s housemate, who had taken so many of the night shifts caring for Tilly in the early days, couldn’t stop thinking about the tiny, sick puppy that beat the odds and lived. Tilly had such a big place in her heart that she decided to make her a permanent part of the family.
Stephanie visiting Tilly after her adoption
We are so grateful that Tilly not only survived, but is thriving in her new home. This sweet puppy’s will to live inspired so many, and we are thankful that our staff and her incredible foster families were able to provide her with the care she needed. “Thank you for bringing joy to so many people’s lives, Tilly,” says Stephanie. “Most importantly, thank you for being there for me. Even though you were tiny, you were there for me when I needed it the most. I am so proud of you little girl!! “
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