On February 28, 2023, TXHR received an URGENT request to take a mama and her four newborn puppies. Mama Katya (her story will be told shortly!) was unable to care for the puppies, but thankfully, our amazing foster volunteers bottle-fed the puppies every 2-3 hours. The puppies, Red/Gray (males), and Purple/Green (females), were at HIGH risk, and now needed intensive, round-the-clock human care to increase their odds of survival.
Bottle-feeding is a last resort because it is time-consuming, and perilous, especially with undernourished, immature puppies. The puppies all seemed to thrive the first week, but by March 10, the foster noticed Purple having some chest congestion and concerning breathing noises. All the puppies were taken to a local vet and given the all-clear.
But, early the next day — little boy Gray was lethargic, not taking his bottle, and his breathing sounded labored. His foster mom rushed him to the Emergency Vet, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Gray was placed in the ICU oxygen chamber to try to improve his breathing. The vet called later, saying Gray was still declining, gasping for air and that we needed to make a very hard choice. Sadly, within seconds, the vet called back to say Gray had passed — our hearts were broken.
Later that afternoon, Purple showed the same symptoms, and was rushed to the same ER vet — her lungs were even worse. Though she fought for her life, she sadly crossed the Rainbow Bridge that night, where we believe she was met joyfully by brother Gray.
That night, the two remaining pups were checked out at the ER vet. Their foster waited five hours, as we knew Red and Green were at risk. Much to our distress, the other two puppies also had pneumonia, with Red’s lungs being worse than Green’s condition. They were given antibiotics and sent home. Over the course of Sunday, March 12, Red’s condition worsened, and again, his foster rushed him back to the ER Vet. The vet who treated Gray was there, and she gave Red a 20-30% chance of survival. She said there had only had one bottle-fed puppy survive pneumonia in all their experience.
We had serious discussions about humane euthanasia to end his suffering; however, the foster parent said he was a fighter, and if love were enough to save him, he would be thriving. We count on our fosters’ commitment and intuition, so we went all-in on saving his life. Red spent about 24 hours in the ICU, including time in the oxygen chamber. The foster was right…Red fought for his life over those 24 hours. It took several days, while we held our collective breath, but both Red and Green managed to recover from the horrible pneumonia that had taken their siblings’ lives.
These two puppies, dubbed “The Survivor” puppies, were renamed Lucy (Green) and Jude (Red).
Sharing the story of Katya and her puppies is important, but we also want to share the importance of committed, dedicated fosters, willing to put in the countless hours to nurture and advocate for these huskies. Nothing is ever certain, and sometimes, there isn’t a happy ending — but no matter what, we stand with our packmates. As we heal our broken hearts after the loss of Gray and Purple, we are all the more grateful for Jude, Lucy and their amazing foster family who helped nurse them back to health.
Medical costs for Katya and her puppies have put a strain on TXHR financials. Expenses for the four puppies so far are $7,483, and Jude and Lucy get their first vaccines and microchip at an estimated cost of $300. Jude and Lucy were recently diagnosed with Demodex mange, exposed by their mother, with the symptoms becoming more apparent over time. They also have hookworms, and poor Lucy has coccidia. Their additional treatment is underway, and they are expected to fully recover!
TXHR, its volunteers, fosters and donors, made an investment in this small husky family, and did so at a cost….not just the financial, but the emotional toll.
If love could save them all, we wouldn’t need a Rescue, but love isn’t enough. What we do saves lives; if you can’t foster, volunteer. If you can’t volunteer, please donate — so we can #savemorehuskies!
Please donate through our website here!