Puppies are born!!!

Many of you have been following the story of the two strays that we took in earlier in April.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about you can catch up and begin by reading ‘an eventful week’.

Well, Mama Emma delivered her pups this weekend! 10 of them. When we found out she was in labor, we immediately drove down to her whelping foster’s house. What an amazing experience is all I can say…

Life being brought into the world right in front of your eyes.

For more photos (and videos!), you can check us out on Instagram and Facebook!

All of the puppies were healthy and Emma did practically all of the hard work herself. A new puppy was born just about every 30 minutes since she went into labor. There are seven boys and three girls. No wonder she is passed out…


Look at the little white one!

I am so relieved that this is over for Emma, she was clearly quite uncomfortable the last couple weeks.

Not to mention the last couple days – she looked fit to burst! She gained approximately 15 lbs from the first week we had her. After the pups are weaned she will never have to go through this ever again.

So glad we found Mama & Rusty – everything that day was truly meant to be. I cannot even imagine their lives if things had turned out differently that day.

Emma and her puppies will be available for adoption through Secondhand Hounds at the end of June.


Emma’s Journey

I’m sitting here with that same lump in my throat I had when our first foster dog, Weeser left. It’s been an eventful couple of weeks but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Emma left our home last night and went to stay with a whelping foster family.

(Read first >>> ‘an eventful week’ and ‘an eventful week continued’ to catch up to speed on this story.)

Since we found out last week that Emma or “Mama” was indeed pregnant (and an estimated 20 days away from having her puppies), the rescue and I have been reaching out to find a whelping foster. Meanwhile, I had grown so attached to Mama so I was also trying to see if we could somehow make it work to whelp Mama and her puppies ourselves. But ultimately I knew that I would have to recruit the help of several friends (yet to be determined), to help fill in the gaps of my schedule and then there was still that week that I was out of town…But I wanted to try. This could be a very rewarding and beautiful experience and one that doesn’t always come around.

I also questioned if the rescue would even be able to find another foster and if that foster would be willing to work with her. I did not want to risk her being ‘returned’ – too much moving around is not good for any dog, let alone one that is carrying a litter of puppies. I was getting to the point where I was beginning to prepare having her in our townhome until she and the puppies went to their ‘furever’ homes. I haven’t gone into too much detail about mama, besides that she is one of the most loving, precious and sweet dogs I have ever met. Truly. However, Mama is very timid and protective of that belly. She is a dog that needs very slow introductions. She has many traits which are indicative that she spent some time as a stray. It worked well with our dogs, but after several slow and controlled introductions. While she’s not aggressive, she is definitely not the type to run up and play with another dog. After all, she barely knows what a ball is and really doesn’t know how to play. She thought that Lola and Rio were fighting when they were wrestling and became obviously bothered.


(I have set up a fundraiser for mama Emma. Please consider donating to her YouCaring fundraiser.)

The first couple nights, she would lightly growl at Rio and Lola if they came into her ‘bubble’. She wouldn’t lunge, she would just warn. Lola knew and respected this and Rio quickly learned not to bother a pregnant mama! I was constantly working with her and we made so much progress in the two short weeks that she stayed with us. I had to show her that Lola and Rio are our friends and good dogs also. They were not there to hurt or harm her. And she slowly learned to trust them. Mama and Rio even played a quick game of tug until Rio chickened out after a play-growl, lol. Every single day meant progress and it was such an amazing thing to witness.


But every day also meant she was that much closer to having her pups and there’s no doubt that she was feeling it. Her belly grew bigger and rounder every time I saw her, or so it seemed. I knew that if a whelping foster was going to be taking over, it needed to happen fast. I did not want to be moving mama around the last week that she was expected to deliver. She needs time to settle into her new place and a family that is home enough to monitor her. She needed someone with this patience and understanding. I had to move my heart out of the way and do what was truly best for Mama and pups, who could give her the care that her and the newborn pups would need.

Then Sunday rolled around and I received a text message from the foster coordinator who said she had found a family who could take Emma. As soon as I was off work, I called the family and spoke with them on the phone for about 30 minutes – it was definitely a good sign. They came over to meet Mama that night and as expected, she was fairly shy but I was completely open with them about her “issues”. They were willing to do everything they had to and sounded like they would be able to give Mama and pups more care and attention that possible for us, as hard as it was. Had it been anyone who I had any doubts with, Mama would still be with us. So as rewarding of an experience this would have been for the human involved (me), I had to think about what would be best for Mama. After all, this is about the welfare of the dog, Mama…

Please consider donating to our YouCaring fundraiser where 100% of the donations will be used towards medical expenses and goods needed for Emma and her pups.

In the meantime, I’ll be curled up on the couch with Lola, Rio, a spoon and a jar of peanut butter. Or ice cream.


P.S. I will be visiting Mama (and the puppies!) and will continue to keep everyone updated. And who knows, we may even foster Mama once the pups are gone – we’ll see how the story unrolls. Thanks for all of your support.


An eventful week continued…

An eventful week continued - on pregnancy, heartworms & fostering | @lolathepitty

(read first —>>> an eventful week)

Let’s see…where did we leave off? Oh yes, we were still unsure if “mama” or Emma was pregnant and we had a rescue lined up for Rusty but he was still needing a foster after his vet visit.

We had a pretty quiet weekend with them and the schedule was kind of like this: sleep, eat, feed dogs, take two dogs out at a time to go potty, take dogs on walk or give them some exercise & repeat. Not like this is really any different than having two dogs, but it just takes more time.

Sunday, after work (I also have a part time waitressing job that I’ve had since college) we took Emma and Rusty for a long walk. They were both super out of shape, or so we thought. The seemingly short, one-mile or so walk transformed from them walking beside us, to them slowly falling behind us. Meanwhile Lola and Rio were romping around at Camp Bow Wow, a doggy daycare they go to when we both work long hours.

Stray-Dogs 015

Monday rolled around and I arranged to bring Rusty to a vet which is about 30 minutes away after I got home from work. I let Rusty and Mama say their goodbyes (okay, I know they have no idea what this is) and I myself was heartbroken. I hated separating these two. They were companions. But it was hard enough finding each of them a rescue to go to last minute let alone the same rescue with the same foster. And then you run into the issue down the road at the time of adoption, would the adopter take both of them?! The chances of them making it through all of that together, I knew, was going to be near impossible and we didn’t exactly have a lot of time on our hands.

An eventful week continued - on pregnancy, heartworms & fostering | @lolathepitty

Turns out, Mama seems to be doing fine without Rusty, she’s just her normal self…sweet, a tad bit crabby but ever so loving and affectionate. She melts my heart.

Then comes Tuesday – I dropped Mama off at her vet appointment to get an x-ray to confirm whether she is pregnant or not. I was literally on the edge of my chair at work all day. I even called the vet’s office at lunch to see if they had seen her yet (she was a walk-in) and they informed me they had an emergency come in so they would be able to check her out in about an hour or two. I was desperately hoping that they would call and say, “Nope! She’s actually not pregnant, it’s just looking that way from a recent litter”. But that was not the case. Mama is pregnant. She is about 40 days in and it is unclear how many pups she is having.

I lost focus from everything I was working on. I was upset, I feel bad that she has to go through this, again…I know this can be a controversial subject, but I asked if the rescue ever does a gravid spay in these instances – they do not. Plus she is pretty far along. I contacted the foster coordinator and told her that we are unsure if we can take on the task of the whelping foster. She was aware of this when they agreed to take her in as their rescue animal and said she would start looking. It breaks my heart, I love this girl.

An eventful week continued - on pregnancy, heartworms & fostering | @lolathepitty

Wednesday rolls around and I check my email first thing in the morning only to find out that Rusty is heartworm positive. My heart sunk…It all makes sense. The lethargic behavior, the exhaustion and heavy breathing after a light walk. I felt like an idiot for not recognizing those signs. I also feel for the small rescue that took him in. They do not have many of the resources and donations coming in that other, larger rescues have.

Please consider donating to Rusty's rescue - he is confirmed heartworm positive - @lolathepitty

*Please consider sharing Last Hope’s donation link. Heartworm treatment alone is about $400 for the rescue and plus the cost of keeping Rusty in rescue for that much longer is tough on a small rescue.*

 I then began to think, what if Mama is heartworm positive? What if that is the reason that she is so tired, lethargic and breathing heavy in combination with the pregnancy? I’m stressed. And since they cannot treat a pregnant female, we will have to wait until after the pups are finished breast feeding to confirm and treat her if she is positive. Please tell me she isn’t, this sweet girl could really use a break.

Please keep us in your thoughts and we will continue to keep you updated. You can also follow along on our Facebook page.

UPDATE: read the latest on Emma’s journey…

An eventful week continued - on pregnancy, heartworms & fostering | @lolathepitty

Another Successful Foster

Ox - former foster dog from @lolathepitty

I was looking back and I can’t believe I never dedicated a post towards Ox. If you follow us on Facebook, his face is probably very familiar as our page was filled with updates on him – from the moment he was pulled from the shelter to the day he left our home.

As usual I was scrolling through Facebook and saw this face:


He had one day left at the shelter he was at in Kansas and everyone previously interested in fostering him had somehow fell through. I tagged ‘A’ in his photo with a little smiley face. Shortly thereafter I received a text message, “Do you want to foster that dog from Kansas?”. I guess he knows me all too well. So we discussed it briefly (as in, “Yep – is that okay? Okay, great!”).

Next the shelter was contacted and Ox was safe. I was so excited to get this little beefcake into our home.

We’ve always had great luck with fosters getting along with Lola. We hadn’t fostered since we adopted Rio, but everyone loves Rio, he’s pretty easy going. But there was still that little voice in the back of my head questioning whether all three of them would get along. Ox had been brought in the shelter as a stray, so it was unsure if he would have any food aggression/guarding issues. So slow introductions is always the way to go.

Ox arrived in Minnesota and we went to pick him up. Can you believe this boy was only estimated to be six months old? I guess his big dopey puppy paws give it away – but look at that big ‘ole head! I just love him. We introduced him to our dogs, one at a time and it went wonderful! He did have a little food aggression, but we were able to work through that pretty well in the two weeks that we had him. Ox and Rio became best buds and I secretly think they had a little crush on each other. Lola on the other hand was Ms. Independent and played when she wanted to, but of course never letting her authority slip.

Ox-Rio 001

While it did cross my mind of keeping Ox for ourselves (doesn’t this happen with every foster? Okay, all but one…) I knew we weren’t in the situation to add another dog to our family at this time and the applications for him were literally rolling in. Plus, I’ll admit it was very difficult at times with three dogs in a townhome with no yard. We really need a house and a yard. Or just a yard. Or really, just decent weather.

Then came the not-so-fun part, Ox had giardia. Shortly thereafter, Rio had giardia. Ick, ick and ick. A few bad days, two rounds of treatment later (and a lot of other ish) and we were all healthy again. Luckily Lola managed to avoid that one, which was surprising to me because if it’s out there – it seems that she’ll get it. The rescue was very cooperative though and even gave Rio the medication he needed to treat the parasite. Phew!

We had three applications come in that seemed like an amazing home for Ox. And that is one of the challenges of fostering. Telling another family, that has met your foster, that he’s a better fit with someone else. Ouch. But it all worked out. The first family that came to meet him, loved him of course but their resident female dog and him were not a good match.

The next day, his family came to meet him and five minutes into the meet-and-greet they were begging me to let them take him home. This tells me a lot. There were no hesitations, no questions, no concerns. “Once he comes home with me, he stays there for the rest of his life” they said. A few days later after all the paperwork was said and done, they came and picked up their baby and said “Thanks for taking care of him for us until he found us”. He is loved. I am happy and once again, my job as foster mom is done. Good luck in your new life, Ox!

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