The Sad End To Our Foster Journey, Adopt, Don't Shop

Our fostering journey came to an end last weekend when we lost all of our precious babies to a virus called canine distemper. It has been one of the most heartbreaking experiences I have ever been through.

Dobi was our first to go. She was such a little dork, loved her so much! She started struggling two weeks ago and then began to cry aloud continuously. We took her to the vet, tried to determine a cause and thought that perhaps she was having some digestion issues. So, we started an every two hour feeding and pedialyte regimen. I "slept" with her right by my side in a laundry basket. She had everything she needed, my fuzzy most favorite-est blanket, a (very bright, might I add) heat lamp to keep her warm and cozy and my constant attention (every two hours anyway). I was determined to bring her back to life.
3 am came around and when I put her on the ground she began to prance around my bedroom. A huge sigh of relief came from my body and I was convinced we were past the worst. She spent the next day with my mom while I went to work and seemed to be making progress. Til later that night when we began our 2 hour feedings again. This time 3 am brought discouraging signs. She became consolable. She cried and just ran in circles. 
This never stopped until her poor little life ended later that night.We went to the vet again, she received an antibiotic shot and pain medication just in case something was bothering her, but there was little to no relief.

I have never been present when something or someone has died and I have to admit it did something to me. 

We had the next week ahead of us with 6 little puppies still needing our love and care so we had to move forward as difficult as it was. And believe me, it was tremendously difficult.

But we were in for far worse....

Saturday morning came and Coco started behaving strangely. She began showing the same symptoms as Dobi. She ran in circles and seemed to have fits of craziness. It finally hit us.....seizures. Coco was having seizures. 

We immediately went to the vet and were prepared for their diagnosis and treatment suggestions. That was when we had to say goodbye to Coco and when we first heard the word "distemper". The plan was to send off Coco's body to get tested to determine how to move forward if that was indeed what she had and what the other puppies could possibly have.

There wasn't enough time for that.......

Brutus was my baby, my little man. We had always had some kind of connection. I was already planning about how to keep him, looking at my finances, taking into account my life and my plans and how I was going to care for this bundle of fur. He was just a snuggler at heart. He would follow me around the house, find my house-shoes wherever I was standing...and make himself at home.

I called him Brutus because from the very beginning he was the biggest and would push everyone else out of the way merely because of his size. Later, his name definitely didn't fit his personality. It broke what was left of my heart when we began to lose him Sunday morning, just 24 hours after losing Coco and one week after losing Dobi.

The hardest decision ever is to know when to say goodbye. To know that you have reached a point where you can do no more. I wasn't ready, but came just the same.

Charlie, Zoe, Oreo and Skunkers

The final four. The only ones left.

The vet did not come in until noon so we waited to speak with her about how to move forward. We took her advice and left them with her at the vet to receive continuous care and to be able to put them down quickly if they began to slip away.

I was confident we would get Charlie and Oreo back. Zoe had always been small and feeble. She struggled from the very beginning with "puppy strangles" and never really grew past it. Bless his heart, Skunkers was sick, I knew he was in pain, on some level I wanted them to take him because I knew he was hurting. But Oreo was a fighter. She grew and ate and grew and ate and was ready to take on Molly right before we lost her.
She was a fighter, literally and figuratively. I thought for sure we wouldn't lose her. She and Charlie were just more spunky and had more life. But we got the call on Wednesday. 
None. None of them made it. 0 out of 7.

Literally worse than I could have ever imagined. These little boogers had left tiny paw prints all over our hearts.
 Were they a pain? Yes. I never want to pick up 5 piles of poo before my morning coffee ever again.
Were they messy? Does doing 10 loads of blankets a day answer your question?
Did they cause problems? Hello? I had 10 dogs in my house!

Were they worth it? 
Absolutely. I have never fostered and in true Anderson style, we took it all on at once. Do we take one small dog for 1 week? NO! We take 7 puppies and a mom for 9 weeks! But if those little stinkers only had 5-6 weeks of life to live, I'm so glad they spent it with us. 

I realized how important fostering. It is hard to tell from a picture of a dog in a cage, but once you know them, you realize how unique each one is, they all have a story but more importantly they all need a future. 

Maci (aka, mom) is doing fine. She is thriving right now as she is finally getting over being a mom and preparing to just be a dog. She and Molly are bestest of friends and she gets spayed on Friday so she can go to her forever home with my Aunt and Uncle on 5 acres in the country. Even if everything else was literally the crappiest thing ever!! We take comfort in that through all of this Maci will have a great life and will never be in the shelter again.

Meanwhile we still miss these little stinkers......

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