Indy delivered 7 healthy puppies in North Ridgeville, Ohio Saturday. Although she was slow to recover after her cesarean section the doctor cleared her to return home with her new puppies. Only minutes after arriving home, Indy stopped breathing. Efforts to resuscitate her had failed and just like that, our beautiful 3 year old girl was gone. Pumping her chest in the back of our speeding car, with the nearest veterinarian’s clinic still 8 minutes away, I reluctantly asked Katie to stop and take us back home.
No matter the stress and sadness inflicted on us by this tragedy, my wife Katie and I had 7 newborn Bulldog puppies to care for and they weren’t going to wait for us to cycle through the grieving process. The task of raising a litter of Bulldogs is a tough one even when the mother is present. In this case our puppies were orphaned. They would need to be hand fed every 2 hrs, 24/7. It became ever-clear to us just how much a newborn puppy depends on it’s Mother.
On the kitchen table, next to our basket full of now hungry and crying puppies, were bags of newborn puppy bottles, plastic syringes and milk replacer Katie had rushed to the store to pickup. Yes, we had backup supplies for an emergency occasion, but not one like this! Besides, a Walmart bag filled with supplies could never replace a Mother’s touch.
Thankfully, Indy did feed the puppies 3 times before her untimely death. These 3 feedings provided the immune system boosting colostrum that is vital to newborn pups for survival.
A Grueling Task Ahead
To receive their meals for the next 4 weeks, the puppies would have to adjust from their natural, God-given care taker to our man-made bottles and syringes. They would have to put aside their instinct to draw close to their warm Mother. For warmth the new puppies would cling to each other – and a Pet Safe brand heating pad.
After a full 24hrs the puppies were excelling at their only job – eating and growing. Suckling, they were consuming 5ml of milk per feeding and slowly mending our hurting hearts. Funny how new life can heal where death had previously left it’s sting.
After hearing what had happened the day before with Indy, my Mother and Sister called to ask what they could do to help us. I simply said, “come visit.” We needed someone to help us think happier thoughts. Maybe a hot coffee in hand and a discussion over these beautiful new babies would help.
My Mother suggested, “Why don’t you go on Facebook and ask someone if they had a dog with milk-a dog that could feed and care for the puppies?” Of course, that was a great idea, but who would have such a dog? We even considered the idea of possibly finding a cat that could fill the Mother’s role. No, that wouldn’t work. Not a chance actually, but it was well worth the laughs.
We Just Did a Photo Shoot With The Pups! Check It Out!
It was around that time we received an unexpected message to our Facebook page,
“Hey guys I am terribly sorry to hear of your loss. I want to throw an idea your way, it may or may not help.
I have a lab that gave birth yesterday and she lost her pups. She is grieving and producing milk like crazy. If you’re interested it might be worth a try. If we can help let’s us know.” – Macy Grubbs
At first, I thought, “It’s a Christmas Miracle!”
I pictured the whole scenario played out in my mind like a Hallmark movie. I couldn’t imagine better news!
Then I realized there was just no way we could do this. How could we take this person’s offer seriously? Besides, we didn’t know this man and certainly couldn’t trust a stranger in our home. You hear so many stories of entire litters of Bulldog puppies being stolen from their homes and I didn’t want to put my family in jeopardy.
I paced back and forth staring at the blinking lights fade in and out on our newly decorated Christmas tree. “It couldn’t hurt to just call him, right?” My wife didn’t seem as worried about this man’s proposal as I was.
So, I called, Macy. I told myself I would play the part of a detective to decipher whether he was legit.
Right away, I noticed Macy’s warm, southern accent. “He said he was from Kentucky, so that much checks out,” I thought. He also mentioned he and his friend, Amanda breed Labradors.
Those next few moments on the phone Macy of CDK Retreivers told me he had a story too. He and Amanda co-owned a Labrador, Pixie, who gave birth to puppies the same Saturday Indy did. Pixie and her puppies were attacked by another dog and her puppies were killed. Pixie and the families that cared for her were mourning down in Kentucky much in the same way we were here in Ohio. Macy’s story instantly filled me with a spirit of solidarity. We truly did share a common bond.
“I believe in fate”
That’s what Macy told me as he began to explain his reasoning. He knew that sometimes terrible things happen to families and we just can’t control that. Macy wanted to help – nothing more. He put himself, his friend, Amanda and their dog Pixie in a vulnerable position to place another family on a better path.
Macy, Amanda and Pixie drove to our home in Ohio the next morning. They explained that Pixie wasn’t quite herself since her puppies died. She had been panting and grieving non-stop. We weren’t sure how to proceed with introducing the puppies to Pixie, but just as we’d hoped, she took to them in no time. It couldn’t have been 5 minutes before Pixie was laying on our living room floor feeding and cleaning her new babies!
As I write, it’s 8:41 pm on a cold Ohio’s night.
Pixie has been given her babies back!
I have my Christmas Miracle!