Friday, November 16, 2012

It's a Pupapalooza!

So Wednesday was another milestone for us. For starters, we got word that our kitchen cabinets are back on track. The other event that rocked our world was the arrival of our newest family member, Olivia:

David was off at the cabinet maker when Fernando arrived with the puppy. To say she was the most pitiful looking thing I had ever seen, would not be an overstatement. Apparently, a guy Fernando knows in Ranchito owns the mom, who had given birth to a litter of seven or eight puppies. Their living conditions were abysmal -- nothing but dirt and all kinds of nasty stuff. Olivia, being the runt of the litter, had to struggle more than her siblings to get whatever little bit of food she could scavenge. Seriously, I had never seen a puppy this tiny before...ever.

Fernando wouldn't even let me hold her at first, because she reeked to high heaven. Once he gave her a bath, I wrapped her in a towel, dried her off, and got my first good look. It wasn't pretty. She has very little fur, her skin was just covered with all kinds of scabs, and she could barely stand up. Fernando wasn't optimistic she would make it through the night.

When David arrived home, he was as surprised as I had been to see her and not altogether pleased to have a sickly puppy to contend with. But we both agreed there was no way we could let her go back to her birth family. 

Once she had dried off from her bath, we figured she really could use something to eat. The poor thing was just skin and bones. David, bless his heart, hopped in the car and went off to find puppy chow. When we set down a dish with food, it's was clear she hadn't had a meal in some time. 

During all this, Bronte made her presence known. She tried playing, pawing, and sometimes nipping at Olivia, who wasn't really equipped to defend herself. We did whatever we could to keep the two at paws length. 

But it was amazing that once Olivia had a long nap and a full tummy, she started getting some energy. We were keeping our fingers crossed that she would be okay.

That night we settled on the couch to watch TV. I had Olivia wrapped up in a towel, like a little nest. Next thing we knew, Bronte decided to hang out with us as well:

The peace and tranquility didn't last long. Bronte woke up and decided it was time to play. I sent David  off to bed and got myself as comfortable as I could on the couch to deal with the little ones. Bronte got bored after a bit and headed into the bedroom to sleep on David's head. I am not kidding.

With Olivia curled up on my chest, the two of us tried to doze off. Around one in the morning, I woke up because Olivia was moving around and something felt weird on my arm. Turns out, she barfed all over me and her nesting towel. I got the two of us cleaned up and we tried to doze off again. We did well until about 4 a.m., when she woke up.

While she certainly had more spring in her step, we wanted to have the local vet, Dr. Sheila, check her out. Just as an aside, I can't say enough good things about Dr. Sheila. She is amazing. When I think about what types of cases she must have to deal with down here, well, she deserves the utmost respect.

Dr. Sheila estimated that Olivia is about five to six weeks old -- the same as Bronte. When Olivia was put on the scale, she weighed two pounds. Count 'em...two pounds. No wonder she was such a tiny thing. Dr. Sheila explained that the scabby bits on Olivia's skin were from a fungal infection that she contracted from being in poor living conditions. She gave us some medicated shampoo that needs to be applied once every three days. Due to her small poundage, we would also need to feed her about five small meals of puppy chow mixed with milk or water each day. After her check-up and being given her first dose of heartworm medicine, we were good to go, all for the whopping fee of $20 (BZD) or $10 in US dollars. 

Upon arriving home, I gave Olivia a bath with her new shampoo and wow -- what a difference to her skin and her attitude. Once she scarfed down another meal, she seemed to be transformed into a whole new puppy. So much so that she decided to spend some serious time playing with Bronte.

But after any rigorous workout, a nice long nap is in order:

These two have really hit it off -- when they aren't hitting on one another. 

So while we hadn't planned to add a puppy to the mix this soon, we have been totally smitten and are happy that Olivia will have a chance to be in a loving home, with plenty to eat, and lots of cuddles. She and Bronte are due back at Dr. Sheila's on December 6. It will be interesting to see how much they weigh at that point.

In the meantime, be sure to check back here for updates on the progress of our two tykes.

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