Menu Close

Last week we introduced you to our latest little project: Amazing Grace, or Gracie for short. I had intended to update you with a short paragraph or two over the eight or nine weeks she will be in our care, but this past week’s events were more than we can cover in a few sentences, so we will carry on with the full saga of Gracie’s fight for life.As I last reported to you, Gracie finally had turned the corner for the better; she was eating and putting on some much-needed weight. Her biggest problem was her voracious appetite, which was causing her to suck on her bottle as if she were still in a state of starvation. Keeping her from swallowing too much at one time was a constant concern.Then suddenly, once again, the pup was facing an untimely death.

On her fifth day with us during her overnight feeding, a tiny piece of the rubber nipple from her baby bottle broke off. This, coupled with her overanxious sucking, caused her to aspirate, taking formula – and possibly the piece of rubber – into her lungs. From 2:30 a.m. through the early morning hours, she coughed and choked and struggled with her respirations. By 7 a.m., her little pink nose and the pads of her paws were turning gray. The veterinarian was consulted and, unfortunately, the opinion wasn’t optimistic. Once liquid is aspirated, it is very hard for such a tiny being to clear their lungs; if they survive the initial incident, it often turns to pneumonia. The other issue was whether the piece of rubber had been swallowed or aspirated as well. Rather than watch Gracie suffer a slow death, we once again decided to put her down. It seemed that fate had it out for this tiny little girl.Peanut (Photo: CCSPCA)I packed her up and brought her into the shelter, once again thinking it would be our last time together.

When I got in, I got one of our vet techs to assist me in trying to break up whatever was clogging her lungs by using chest percussion (a true challenge on a pup that weighed less than a pound!). It was that or the needle, and I just couldn’t give up on this baby after she survived such a horrific beginning. Fifteen minutes later, Gracie started to “pink up,” and once again I allowed myself to hope. The vet then looked at her, had us give her a shot of penicillin and a shot of Dopram (which is used to stimulate the respiratory system), and put her in an oxygen chamber.As the day went on, Gracie finally started eating again, this time taking small amounts from a syringe rather than gulping down mouthfuls from the bottle. At the end of the day, I took her home. She spent the next three days in the bathroom, with steam from the shower and a humidifier helping to clear out her lungs. On Tuesday morning, little Miss Gracie opened her eyes for the first time. She is now back to eating with gusto (still out of a controlled syringe!) and growing like a weed.What a wild ride this poor little pup has been on! She certainly has contributed to my gray hairs. At the time this column is being written, Gracie is approximately 16 days old. She already has rebounded from the edge of death three times. I’m starting to think that she’s more like a cat with nine lives! Let’s hope she doesn’t use up any more of them any time soon. Stay tuned …

Source: Another amazing week for Gracie

Posted in 2015, SJRAS Articles