Monday, August 27, 2007

Sad News

We lost the yellow-collared puppy this morning (third born, medium-colored male).

We've talked at length with the vet, and he's pretty certain the pup suffocated underneath Elsie, and that there wasn't anything we could've done differently.

It must have JUST happened when we found the pup.

DH was getting Elsie up to take her out when he came down this morning (I slept on the couch for a few hours, within ear shot, but Elsie and pups were all fine when I went to sleep at 1:30 a.m., and I desperately needed sleep having been up with Elsie all night for the two nights before). The pup was wedged all the way underneath her.

He was still warm, pink, soft, and flexible (no rigor), so we gave him to Elsie to revive. When all her licking and prodding didn't get him going again, we tried puppy CPR (teeny puffs and itty bitty compressions). We tried rubbing him. We tried the bulb syringe. That didn't work, either, so we gave the pup back to Elsie, and she tried again. Still no response.

We kept checking for vitals, and there was no heartbeat or breath sounds, even after all that.

I'm a mess, of course (been crying since we found him at 6:30 this morning). I suspect with how tired I am, I just don't have much emotional margin. I'm having a difficult time pulling myself together (I'm truly not normally a crier).

But it's just the way of things. I know that. It's all part of what happens with litters, though it's not happened to us before (we knew it would sometime, and this is only our second experience whelping and raising a litter -- we didn't lose any from our first litter years ago).

Dr. Lukoff, our vet, spent quite a while on the phone with me this morning, and we discussed all the details at length. He assured me we're doing everything right -- that sometimes it's just unavoidable. He said it happens to everyone, even the best of breeders.

That comforts me somewhat. But I keep wondering if we did something wrong or could've done things differently. The vet and DH both say no, that we didn't do anything wrong. We're doing all we can to give these pups a great start, and doing it all correctly, the way it's supposed be done.

But I'm still sad.

Anyway, we're down to eight now (five girls and three boys), still one more than our expected seven. The yellow-collared guy was one of the quietest of the bunch (not very vocal) and one of the medium colored ones (not super dark, no super light). But he was healthy and gaining weight, so it was just that Elsie's weight suffocated him (her weight on his body, not his face...DH said you could see his head when he pulled him out from beneath Elsie).

I thought you all would want to know.

I know this is just part of breeding, but I'm not that stoic yet. I still feel the loss. I know some breeders even put down weaker pups from larger litters to give the others the best chance at survival. But I'm not one who could do that. And this pup was healthy, from all we could tell.

Maybe I'm not hard-hearted enough. I just wish we'd found the pup a minute sooner (again, he was still pink and warm and flexible).

Then in my head I go the route of "maybe if I hadn't slept" but suffocation happens so fast. Even the vet said I could have been up all night again watching, and it may still have happened anyway (I don't check the pups every single minute -- Elsie doesn't even check the pups every minute -- there's just no need with pups who appear healthy).

I don't know. I think I'm just grieving and trying not to be too worried about the rest. And I think I'm very tired.

I'll update you on the rest in a separate post. Please say a prayer or send good thoughts for protection for the rest. It's just tough.

Thanks for listening. And thanks for all your kinds words and support. I hope you don't mind me letting you all know. I just felt like it was the right thing to do since you've all been involved through the process with us (and this is apparently still part of the process - something I suppose I'll have to get used to).

'Til next time,


Mary said...

No need to feel bad about being sad. I believe it shows you have a huge heart and you truly love your animals. Just remember, the puppy will have a very special place over the rainbow bridge and one day you and Elsie will see him again. He's being taken care of right now in the hands of God. Bless you all for your experience and thank you for sharing it with us. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

Jill said...


I've been following Elsie's pregnancy with much anticipation. I'm so sorry to hear that you lost one of the pups. My prayers and thoughts are also with you.

JuliaR said...

My heart goes out to you. I was holding my breath during the birthing process because I know what can go wrong (even though I have never bred dogs). I am so sorry. I think you should just go with how you feel for now and not think about it too much. Maybe Elsie doesn't really know either so at least you don't have to worry about her. I hope you feel a bit better later.

FG167 said...

I am so sorry. I know this must be very difficult for you, but it's not your fault. You've taken all the necessary precautions that you can take. Sometimes sad things happen, and there is usually a reason, so don't feel bad.

"Sunshine" said...

Some comfort, I hope!

Psalm 34:18 - "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit"

Psalm 30:5 - "Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."

Psalm 29:11 - The LORD blesses his people with peace.

God never promised life would be easy, he did how ever promise that He would "never leave us or forsake us", He will "walk through the valley of the shadow of death" with us. May your joy in the eight beautiful pups you have ease the sorrow you feel over the one lost.


Jamie said...

Joan, Elsie & the rest of the family,
Sorry to hear of the loss of puppy #3. I know it is so easy to beat yourself up and play things over and over in your head. Just remember we can't controll it all. It's not in our hands. It will hurt for a while but it is suppose to. With all my animals I have gone through this too many times. Try to find the happiness in the great gift of Elsie's health and the remaining puppies that are going to need all your love.

teresamc said...

I'm so very sorry to here about puppy #3. You all did everything you could, so don't blame yourself. Your in our thoughts and prayers.

kate Flynn said...

Oh joan i am so sorry to here about your little #3 guy, you have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about you have done nothing wrong, i know i keep on about my guinea pigs but that is my only experience of animal birth,one of my momma pigs died 2 days after giving birth, apparently she hadn't delivered all of her afterbirth and died of toxic shock so this left me with 4 dependent babies to look after- i read my piggy manual and it said i could feed them an infant formula from a spoon- i nervously set about this and to my joy the babies lapped it up and began to thrive- about a week later i was feeding them and one little guy just started flipping in my hand and died- i was distraught- it turned out he had aspirated on the milk- it had gone down the wrong way- i cried and cried and blamed myself.
I guess if i'd never of tried feeding them he would certainly of died and the other 3 went on to become big, fat healthy adults whom i still have today- sad he didn't make it but like you say i'm thankful the other 3 did.