On the evening of March 26th, 2020 a miracle and a tragedy happened ……… but let me go farther back and begin with the story of our sweet little Lady In Waiting. She was born at Spottadachs to two of my favorite dogs Dutchess and King Ollie. We adopted her out to an extended family member when she was a 4-month-old puppy as an emotional support companion in exchange for a litter back out of her someday.
Over the years they took VERY good care of lady but she never seemed to come in heat. When she was 4 yrs old we decided the lack of heats was likely due to her obesity so I brought lady home temporarily, putting her on a diet and encouraging much more activity than she was used to sitting pretty on her masters lap all day.
After about 8 months Lady had slimmed down and could now walk easier and even play with the other dogs. She finally came in heat so we consulted with our vet if she was in good enough health to breed. He concluded she was so we introduced her to our beautiful boy Pockets. Fast forward a couple of months, to exactly ONE WEEK before her due date Lady started having difficulties breathing. It was of course midnight, on a weekend, in the middle of a whiteout snow storm! Our closest vets are an hour away. However, before we could reach the vet Lady tragically passed away. The autopsy later showed her difficulty was due to an extreme layer of fat still covering her vital organs.
Having grown up on a farm and birthing many animals I knew the pups had only seconds before the lack of oxygen would also kill them. So I did the hardest and only thing I could, right then and there I performed a post mortem C-section. My older daughter and I delivered 6 beautiful puppies however due to the lack of oxygen and only two people working on so many puppies we were unable to resuscitate all but three of the puppies. A little almost pure white boy (we immediately named Wilbur due to the likeness to a piglet), and two blk/tan piebald girls.
We had to keep constantly rubbing and jiggling the three pups to remind them to keep breathing if we stopped for even a moment so did they. We put all three on oxygen and as soon as they stabilized a bit we put them in our warming NICU unit. A week premature on a puppy is equivalent to three months early on a human baby! Their skin is sooo fragile and barely even has peach fuzz. We had to apply creams to keep their skin from drying up and cracking as they were not ready to produce their own natural oils yet. Our vet said he had never successfully raised such a premature puppy he didn’t give them much of a chance, so many things could go wrong.
After taking a quick breather and washing we began attempting to get these tiny ever so fragile babies to eat. Amazingly, they took to suckling fairly easily and we did not have to tube feed them. That in and of itself was our second miracle!
By morning I noticed that one of the girls had dark coloration on her entire hind end legs and tail. The second girl had it just on half her tail. At first, I thought this would just eventually become dark hair areas but as the day progressed it got blacker and blacker. I consulted again with my vet who said it was due to the lack of oxygen those areas were not getting proper blood flow so were dying off. Tearfully we decided to let the little girl who had such extensive damage rest in peace. There was no way to save her limbs and she would have only suffered horribly as her limbs continued to die and rot.
The second girl who only had the black on her tail we were able to dock just the half of her tail that was dying in order to save her life.
That lucky little girl was named Charlotte after the plucky spider who saved Wilbur’s life. Charlotte and Wilburs fight was far from over! Feeding was needed around the clock so my daughters and I took shifts.
We praised the lord as they made it to 24 hours then miracle after miracle all the way to their due date a week later. By then they were starting to grow peach fuzz hair and had gained precious ounces in weight.
As the days wore on we could see the effect of having to heal her tail definitely slowed Charlotte’s growth compared to her brother who did not have that battle to fight. She was a fighter though and even when she caught pneumonia from aspirating milk she never quit fighting.
When the pups were two weeks post due date one of my daughter’s dogs had a small litter of her own. The newborn pups were the same size as Charlotte and Wilbur! I knew being raised by a dog mom would have huge benefits for the pups so slowly I began integrating Charlotte and Wilbur to the new mama and siblings. Wilbur picked up hunting for a nipple right away and quickly integrated into being a regular pup with ease.
Charlotte however had a more difficult time remembering to look for food she had been so used to being woken up and handed a bottle on a schedule. I left her in with her new mama but had to still wake her and coax her to nurse then supplement her with a bottle as well. Finally, she mastered being a puppy and that was the hardest day for me even though I knew Ann was an excellent mama I had put so much into willing Charlotte to thrive it broke my heart to have to entrust her care to “another” mama. I knew she needed to learn how to be a dog for her own mental sanity. At first, every time I walked past or she heard my voice she would cry out for me but after a while, she began to get used to being with her new family.
Because of the close bond she developed with her adoptive sister we decided to keep the two together this is how Mia became a part of our family as well. They are still best friends to this day even though Charlotte torments and bullies her. Charlotte (often referred to as sharklette) never lost her fighting spirit and it is what makes her such a character still.
The loss of Lady was heartbreaking for both families that loved her maybe just a little too much. We are however forever thankful for her two surviving miracles that will carry on her legacy.
So you see this is only the beginning of Spotta Royal Flush In My Pocket (Charlotte’s) story…. because like a royal flush she is indeed full of royalty and very rare.
Hopefully, spunky little Charlotte will continue to entertain and terrorize our household for MANY years to come.