Broken Hearts for a Broken Puppy

This first week of 2018 has been a real roaster coaster ride for us at Secondhand Mutts and it all started with a surprise puppy born just after the ball dropped.

While we were all surprised by Lucky’s arrival what we did know was that we had taken in Dakota, Lady and Nico who were surrendered together by the same owner from a shelter in Tuscarawas county on December 13, 2017. Lady’s earlier offspring, Nico, was six months old and given their time together at the dog shelter before arriving to us and neither being spayed or neutered, we knew Nico had to be the dad to Lucky. This inbreeding is very likely the reason there was only one puppy to begin with.

Inbreeding happens when individuals who are closely related produce offspring together. Inbreeding is bad. Genes carry the code or instructions for every aspect of how a dog will look and function. And aspects of the dog’s personality too. As with everything in this world, sometimes genes get broken or don’t work. Or are faulty and work in the wrong way. This is when things can start to go wrong.

Things were ok with Lady (mom) and Lucky (puppy) for just a couple days. Foster Provider Alysse reported to us first thing Thursday morning that Lady had started moving the puppy around a lot (unusual), was not allowing him to feed unless she (Alysse) intervened and said Lady was getting very rough with Lucky and had actually managed to make him bleed just a little bit that morning. After a quick consult with our partners at Gateway Animal Clinic we determined we had to remove Lady from her puppy. Gateway advised Lady just might be “over it” – having back to back puppies and due to the signs she was exhibiting it would be best to have Lucky bottle fed and to give Lady a break away from him.  

This past Thursday Lady returned to The Mutt Hutt where she was able to start decompressing from the puppy and Alysse made her way to the store to pick-up all the items listed off from Gateway to start bottle feeding. Thankfully Alysse was successfully able to bottle feed Lucky and one of her own dogs, Lyla was helping to mother him a little, cleaning him, loving on him a little. It seemed like things were moving right along. Given the success of the bottle feeding and Lady not seeming to mind not being with her puppy we moved to set-up her trial  adoption that had been approved before she had given birth to Lucky. Lady and Nico (don’t worry – he’s neutered and she will be as soon as possible!) excitedly left with their hopeful adopter Sheryl Saturday morning.

In Rocky River puppy Lucky’s very attentive mom had a problem when she woke up Saturday morning. She texted Leah early and sent along a picture of a very distended puppy belly. Leah immediately referred her to our partners at Gateway and thankfully Emily was available to take her call and have her rush Lucky into the clinic.

It wasn’t good news.

The medical staff at Gateway x-ray’d Lucky because there was no reason they could determine why he was so bloated all of a sudden.The x-rays showed a bit of a mess and a mystery inside, they weren’t sure what was happening but it wasn’t good and it didn’t seem likely he was going to survive. Lucky was full of fluids and his insides weren’t all where they were supposed to be. Lucky had unlucky genetics due to having been an inbred puppy.

The news was devastating. Emily worked hard to console Alysse and speak with Secondhand Mutts founder and director Becca and the heart-wrenching decision that Lucky needed to be humanely euthanized was made. His future, if he even survived was beyond bleak and would offer him no quality of life. Lucky was given a few hours (he was not in any distress) of monitoring at Gateway but when his breathing became labored vet tech Emily (who also happens to be a Secondhand Mutt board member) and Dr Nikki knew it was time and Lucky took his last breath while in the arms of Emily. The euthanasia was gentle and peaceful and he was surrounded by love.

Lady likely knew earlier on what we learned today, that Lucky was sick, broken. Mother dogs, when left to their own devices reject unhealthy puppies sometimes hurting or even killing them. Lady knew poor Lucky was not well and we’re certain this is why she was so anxious and out of sorts with him.

Puppies can have and make puppies at a very early age, spay/neuter is so very important. By spaying or neutering pets this helps control the pet homelessness crisis, which results in millions of healthy dogs and cats being euthanized in the United States each year simply because there aren’t enough homes to go around.

This is so shocking and heartbreaking for all of us here and especially for Alysse and Eric who went through so much and rode an emotional roller coaster over the past week. We are so grateful to their dedication to helping save dogs, their attentive care and their always appropriate interventions and calls to us. Alysse and Eric respected our dogs every step of the way and told us today “We were truly lucky to know and love him.”

We at Secondhand Mutts are truly lucky to have such amazing people to work with.  

Respect the dog.


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Our Adoptables Are
  • Socialized in a cage-free dog daycare environment
  • Dog-Friendly
  • Cat Tested (upon request)
  • Fostered in real homes
  • Spayed or Neutered
  • Temperament tested
  • Veterinary Health Checked
  • Fully Vaccinated
  • Distemper Vaccinated
  • Rabies Vaccinated
  • Bordetella Vaccinated
  • Heartworm Tested
  • Microchipped
  • Flea Preventative
  • Heartworm Preventative
  • Groomed prior to adoption

Services provided by
Gateway Animal Clinic

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