Bottle babies

July 2016 – SCARS community volunteers often stop to check on dogs that appear to have no one providing food for them. That was the case with three husky cross dogs at a building where workers had gone home. The volunteer could hear “puppy noises.” Sure thing – under the deck there were seven very young pups. The mother dog was watching, protective, so the volunteer didn’t crawl under for a look.

The pressing concern in her mind was to rescue the mom and pups before the pups started to disappear. Predators are an issue. As well, children often hear the pups and take them home to play with them, usually not returning them to the den. Kids don’t know the danger of taking tiny pups away from their mother.

Our volunteer stopped to feed the mom in the quiet evening to gain her trust and check that the pups were still OK. Her worst fears were realized – three of the pups were missing!

From experience, she knew that if she left them, by next morning the pups may all be gone. The tough decision was made to bring the puppies into safety that evening, to leave the wary mother behind and go back for her later in the hope she would be able to nurse and nurture her puppies. Though she’s left the immediate area, we’re still trying to catch the mother.

Once we got a look at the pups, it was evident the momma dog hadn’t been able to provide adequate nourishment for her seven babies. They may well have died under the deck. Lucky for them they are now bottle babies.

The 3 girls and one boy are doing okay. The bigger girl can eat by herself from a dish of formula, as can the boy. Two tiny ones still need to be bottle fed. And the wee one, Serena, became sick and was taken to hospital where she was put on IV therapy. Serena is now home on medication.

This tiny litter is costing SCARS quite a bit of money for formula, special puppy developmental food, and veterinary care. If you would like to donate to help these youngsters, please go to


August 3 update: The angels on earth could do no more for tiny Spirit. With very heavy hearts and many tears, Spirit was released to the angels in heaven. Her Spirit flew and she was free from her crippled starving body. Spirit was one of a litter of 4 bottle babies, rescued at 3 weeks of age at the beginning of July. Their foster mom poured all of her efforts, time and love into saving these wee babies. Spirit’s foster mom felt a special connection with the tiny fighter who would not give up in spite of a couple of emergency stays at the vet. lt crushed us to have to let Spirit go. Her foster mom kept her alive by bottle feeding her long after she would have stopped for a regular litter. If love could have saved Spirit, there was enough love in her life to do it. Sadly Spirit had a couple of genetic conditions that made her unable to swallow her food. A persistent right aortic arch was stranglig her esophagus, creating ME. Very liitle food could get through to her stomach to nurture her failing body. Spirit was ravenously hungry and slowing starving. She will be remembered as a fighter, a cuddler, and a smart little girl. Our condolences cannot relieve the pain that her foster mom is feeling. But we’re confident that Spirit is soaring with the other healed animals over the rainbow bridge.

Aug 12 update: Hero is the last of the bottle baby litter. His two sisters were adopted and one was put to sleep due to a genetic condition. Hero has a few challenges of his own. He has extreme carpal laxity and all of his joints are loose and weak. Picking him up, he feels like a bean bag. His nickname is flip-flop for the way he walks. His front feet flap and his back end wobbles.  The vet says that it’s wait and see at this point. If he’s going to grow out of the condition, there should be improvement by the end of August. Even though he can’t stand up for long, Hero likes short range fetch and he thinks that he’s a mighty tugger (because foster mom lets him win)! Hero is no stranger to the vet with x-rays, blood tests and special food to boost his nutrition.