This was planned to be an article about what to do with a new pup AFTER all of the newness and excitement wears off.
But.....it has turned into an article about what to expect when the unexpected happens.
There was great excitement in our house on Christmas morning when Charm (our nearly 4 year old black Lab) presented us with 3 yellow and 5 black puppies. All seemed normal for the first 2 weeks--total sleep deprivation because new-born puppies need to eat every 2 hours and need to be kept in a bed that doesn't go below 90 degrees.
And then in week 3, everything seemed to be returning to normal--except for the one little boy who just wasn't gaining weight like the others were. (We started calling him Tiny Tim or Timmy!)
So Timmy got special meals of goat's milk, special alone time to eat with just his mom, and lots of cuddling and fuzzy blankets to keep him warm. But he just didn't gain much weight--he was only 2.5 pounds when his littermates were all over 4 pounds!
THEN, at 5 weeks old, Timmy started to lose weight and off we went to the vet. To make a long, sad story short, it was discovered that Timmy had some developmental issues and was in a great deal of pain. So, we made the very difficult decision to euthanize him to put an end to his pain.
SO, NOW WHAT? Lots of tears and pain for a part of us that was lost WAY too early. Lots of regrets for a life that had seemed to be full of promise. A feeling of something missing--even though there were still 7 pups in their box. A little bit of guilt that MAYBE I could have done more for the little guy. A piece of my heart missing. AND the knowledge (in my heart) that I gave little Timmy two gifts--a life full o
f love for 5 weeks and also enough love to be with him and let him go when it was his time.
I read somewhere that when you lose a dog, it takes a piece of your heart with it. But it also leaves a piece of its heart with you. And the end result is that you end up with the loving heart of a dog. I can only wish that I can learn to be more like my pups!
So, goodbye little Timmy. Thank you for sharing 5 weeks of love with me and your littermates and everyone you met. I look forward to seeing you again someday!