Never a smooth road

A well-adjusted, friendly mother dog, arriving in late May,  when the weather is nicer, and likely staying through mid July. I had hopes this was going to be a calm and uneventful foster situation. But circumstances change quickly.  On Thursday evening, I noticed one of the puppies lying on her side crying. Healthy newborn puppies don’t do much crying.  If they are hungry, they find their mother and nurse, if they are sleepy, they quickly fall asleep. Lengthy crying is a sign that something is seriously wrong.  Sometimes “fading puppy syndrome”  is the cause. Remember Holly the first dog I blogged about? This is what I suspect caused some of her puppies’ deaths.

The crying puppy was very thin, thinner than when the puppies had arrived Wednesday. And I noticed several others were very thin as well. And when I picked her up, she was cold. For about an hour and a half, Amanda and I took turns warming the puppy next to our skin. Then I returned her to her mother, helping her find a nipple, and supporting her while she nursed. Afterwards, I placed her in the midst of the other puppies so she would stay warm.  When I came back to check on her a short time later she was already cold.  Not a good sign. The next morning, Saturday, she was dead.

That wasn’t all. Two more puppies were now lying on their sides crying. When I picked them up, they too were cold.  So I warmed them next to my skin then fed them sugar water with a syringe. These efforts were unsuccessful. One was dead by mid-morning, the other by evening. And a fourth puppy had begun crying and would be dead by Sunday morning.

There was a fifth puppy who was just as thin as the ones who had died.  All Sunday, I waited for her to begin crying too.  But she kept sleeping and nursing normally.  Monday, Tuesday and now Wednesday morning have passed with no new puppy deaths.  I’m beginning to feel hope the final five will make it.

Hestia making herself at home:



puppies 10 days old:






6 thoughts on “Never a smooth road

  1. How heart breaking it must be for you when a puppy dies…Does the mother dog seem to notice when a puppy is “fading”?


    1. Holly and Hestia both ignored the fading puppies. It’s almost as if they knew the puppies couldn’t be helped and they needed to focus on the well ones. Once I had a mother with a litter of puppies that excepting one, all died of distemper. This was when I kept the dogs in my porch room; on nice days would leave the backdoor open. Before I even knew the puppies were sick, the mother some of them and put them outside in a nest of pine needles. I brought them back in and shut the door. Then she picked one up and stood in front of the sliding glass door, looking for us. Later I wondered if she knew they were ill and wanted to get them away from the puppies who weren’t yet sick.


  2. Wow, that’s fascinating that the mom may have been protecting the well puppies by taking the puppy away from the other puppies. Maybe her sense of smell or another sense helped her. You are such a wonderful midwife and godmother to these dogs and puppies. I am so proud of you!


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