Charlotte crossed the rainbow bridge this afternoon. I held her close…I kissed her face…I scratched her all over and tried to burn all the specialness of her earthly body into my memory. My little hoppy girl started to slow down a few weeks ago. On Sunday she fell down the stairs. We took her to the emergency vet. Luckily she had not broken anything, but she was not right. They treated her for an inner ear infection…she was beginning to circle, appear like she was blind and had rapid eye movements. We took her home and hoped for the best of three possible outcomes. She continued to decline. This morning she quit eating and would not open her jaw to let me give her any medications.
Just as Charlotte told us in no uncertain terms that she had no intentions of leaving our home and family…she also let me know that she had come to the end of her story. My heart is broken…the tears are flowing. I will miss my little hoppy girl until we meet again. Take extra special care of little Joy, Charlotte! I love you beyond words. Take care…
LYNN & CHARLOTTE’s STORY BEGINS HERE
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2012
Charlotte just came into rescue today – a 10-year old, mom-to-be, any day now, literally any time now. My vet said it would be in Charlotte’s best interest to have her puppies. She X-rayed her and Charlotte has three pups just waiting to be born. I read some literature my vet gave me on how to handle the birth of the pups (although the only experience I have is when I was 14 years old and our Wire Fox Terrier had pups), built a rather crude whelping box, recruited some help from one of our volunteers to get food and nutritional supplements for her, and am now just trying to keep her comfortable. Luckily, Charlotte has had two litters previously and should be a good mom. Wish us all luck!
Charlotte is heartworm negative (thank doG) but has a long road to travel before she can settle down in her new home and enjoy her golden years. If you would like to give Charlotte a loving Christmas gift and donate to SOAR, specifically to the Diana Muldaur Fund (which will cover her expenses), we would certainly appreciate it. You can go to our website at www.soar-airedale-rescue.com and click on the “Donate” tab to find out how. Please indicate your donation is for the Diana Muldaur Fund.
Her pups are sure to be mixes and Lynn O’Shaughnessy will be taking care of them personally until they can be placed. Since SOAR cannot pay for expenses for mixes, if you are interested in helping with any of the pups expenses or adopting one of them, you can send a PayPal donation or an e-mail directly to Lynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you – from a very nervous first time whelper.
THURSDAY EVENING – DECEMBER 6, 2012
Charlotte had refused to eat yesterday and this morning – even with adding liver, yogurt, and cottage cheese to her food to tempt her. I was hoping it was because she was getting close to delivering. Well… she was. Her first puppy was born around 10:30 this morning!
Charlotte is a good mom. She cleaned up her firstborn and chewed off the chord. We have a girl! She actually looked more like an Airedale than anything else. I am scrambling now – what to do first? The puppy is a little chilly – too chilly? I had a heating pad ready in a box. The instructions I was given by my vet said the pup could wait until the siblings are born and then go ahead and eat. Put the pup in a box with a heating pad and keep her warm. But this pup wouldn’t stay in the box (well, she must be mostly Airedale!). I finally decided to cuddle her close and warm her up. That worked and it felt soooo wonderful to hold this tiny life close.
I tied a string around the chord per instructions from the vet and dabbed the end with iodine. Then I waited. Nothing. In the mean time, I got a call from Airedale breeder, Sue Kuhn. She said if I let the puppy nurse, it might stimulate the mom to give birth. The pup did manage to get a little milk but still nothing. It was two and a half hours since Charlotte’s firstborn made her appearance and all the advice I was given indicated that it was time to get her to the vet. After all, Charlotte is 10 years old and something could be wrong. E-gads! Can you imagine having a baby when you are 60 years old?
My husband helped get Charlotte in and out of the car while I held little miss firstborn in my jacket under a towel. She was the hit of the vet staff. But we didn’t spend much time in the lobby, we had Charlotte to attend to. To make a long story short, all efforts to induce labor failed. We were there for an additional three hours and still nothing. My vet had taken additional x-rays and found the remaining two pups were still up in the horns and had not yet dropped. Charlotte’s old muscles probably didn’t have what it took to push them down. A C-section was not what I wanted to hear, but it was time to do it. I gave her a big hug just before they took her to surgery and promised I would be back in a couple of hours. Little miss firstborn stayed with the vet in an incubator, which was probably a good thing. I just realized I had not had ANYTHING to eat today.
I went home to take care of the stomach grumbles I was now beginning to hear and sat down at the computer only to find 88 e-mails. OMG! So many of you were sending Charlotte and her puppies positive wishes. Charlotte has to be okay.
My husband and I were at the vets at the appointed time and all was well. Charlotte’s other two puppies seemed healthy and were “clawing their own way out of their sacs” according to the vet who did the surgery. Charlotte was just lying down – totally zonked after a really hard day at the office with three youngsters crawling all over her. Well, it was no mystery any longer as to Whoz the Daddy? He was most likely a Black Lab. The other two pups were black with a white blaze on their chests. We have three little baby girls. Awwwww.
Well, one of the e-mails I read during dinner was from Andrea Denninger. Today is Andrea’s birthday. In celebration, she wanted to name one of the puppies, sooooo… little miss firstborn is now Misha. Now I need to come up with names for her two sisters. Any suggestions?
It’s going to be a long night.
FRIDAY EVENING – DECEMBER 7, 2012
I will be sleeping in the guest room with Charlotte and her pups for some time to come. Last night I got sleep in two hour increments. I woke up each time I heard the pups crying. If Charlotte was not in the whelping box, I would put each pup on a nipple as she laid just outside the box and scratch and stroke everyone as they fed. Then put the pups away and get another couple hours of sleep. Charlotte was feeling a bit better this morning and was in the whelping box with her pups crawling all over her.
For the first time she finally ate!!! She got her liver, yogurt and cottage cheese on her puppy food kibble and wolfed it down. She is drinking well and she is such a good mother! She is cleaning her pups and will lay down when they go searching for nipples. I give her lots of pets and scratches.
I would like to thank everyone on Facebook and who e-mailed me with names for Charlotte’s other two pups. Their names will be Merry and Joy. Merry has a splash blaze on her chest and Joy has a horizontal blaze. Joy is the runt of the litter weighing in at two ounces less than her sisters, but I have been able to get her to latch on to a nipple. Sometimes I have to cradle her in my hand while she is suckling. Does she have me trained or what?!?
I got Charlotte up and out a few times today for a leash walk to go potty. She seems to be doing well since her surgery. Other than this, today has been somewhat uneventful compared to yesterday.
My husband walked in to the room where Charlotte and the pups are and caught me sitting in the X-pen just watching everyone sleeping in the whelping box. I wanted to get individual photos of everyone, but really did not see a time where I could complete the task. I did get this one photo of Joy – howling at the top of her little lungs. J
SATURDAY MORNING – DECEMBER 8, 2012
Little Joy didn’t make it. 🙁 This morning I found her in the far corner of the whelping box. She died in my arms. I am writing this through so many tears….
SATURDAY EVENING – DECEMBER 8, 2012
This morning was very sad for me. It will be therapeutic to write about it and put into the web my connection with one very special little puppy.
I expected to be aroused every couple of hours or so by the sounds of puppies squealing…much like last night. For some reason I sat bolt upright in bed…looking at my watch and realized I had slept over 5 hours without a peep. I raced over to the box to count heads and found little Joy huddled in the corner. Misha and Merry were suckling on Charlotte. I picked her up and felt that she was getting cool. Her mouth looked like it wanted to suckle so I put her on a nipple. No luck. I put her in my sweatshirt close to me and aroused my husband. Within 5 minutes, she crossed the bridge.
I know now that little Joy was the one that aroused me so that I could hold her close as she went from this world into the next. I held her close and rocked and bawled…and rocked and bawled. I felt like I did something wrong. Still holding her, I went in and looked at Misha and Merry. They didn’t look as active as they were yesterday…but were still suckling on Charlotte.
After taking care of feeding and pottying Charlotte, I went outside in the rain. I picked out a special spot in my Spirit Garden for my dear little Joy…in my “family” section under a spruce tree and dug her grave. I held her close and bawled all over again…then laid my dear little Joy to rest. As soon as I can, I will get a little stone from our local garden center that says “Joy” and put it by her. Until then, I took one of my concrete birdbaths with a large leaf imprint, that I normally turn upside down for the winter, and placed it lovingly over her. After I went back into the house, it started to snow.
Joy was the run of the litter…weighing about 2 ounces less than the other girls. She had trouble suckling from the start. I had to work at getting her to stay on a nipple and would cradle her in my hand while she fed. I know that many have told me it was nature’s way of saying that she was not to make it to be an adult pup…but it didn’t seem to make it hurt less.
I called my vet just as soon as they opened and bundled up Charlotte and pups to see if Charlotte’s milk was good and find out if there were any problems. The mile was deemed good, but it seemed the only teets that expressed milk were the rather large “udders” in the rear. I know that the pups sort of took turns suckling just about every one of them, but maybe they were not getting anything with the front ones.
My vet suggested that I start to bottle feed so that I know how much the pups were getting…then let them suckle on Charlotte as much as they wanted for any additional. She taught us how to bottle feed and how to tube feed if the bottle feeding was not working. My husband was there so he learned how to be my helper if we ever needed to tube feed. Both Misha and Merry had full tummies by the time we left.
For all of you who have send very comforting words during this very sad day, I want you to know they were heard and read – each one. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. They have been a tremendous comfort to me. Just before I sent this to Andrea to post, I got this little note from Bogie Sherman:
“Brandy arrived at the bridge safely. But we had a tremendous surprise. Brandy was carrying something in her paws. It was a little baby puppy, Joy! wow..it’s a good thing Brandy took such good care of Joy and helped her make the journey. She is a real hero. They will both rest a short while then join us for all the Chanukah festivities. I am going to light the giant Menorah tonight and every night some other doggie will be honored . Love to Penny Sprague and all.”
Michele Morrissey Miller-Day wrote “…I have to say that when I looked at this precious picture of Little Joy I noticed that her marking on her chest is in the shape of angel wings. She must of come here to touch your heart in a very special way to let you know what a “Wonderful” person you truly are and to keep up the beautiful work you do.”
The tears flowed all over again. The Airedale community is very special…
SUNDAY EVENING – DECEMBER 9, 2012
Today was the first full day of ‘round the clock feedings for Noelle and Merry. This has been working out pretty well. I see full, round, little tummies after each one. Charlotte is still being a good mom, licking and cleaning her puppies each time I give them back to her after a feeding.
My night was interesting as the temperature in the guest room where my little four-legged guests are staying (and I am sleeping) is now 85 degrees as suggested by a breeder. It helps keep the puppies warm. This kind of makes sense because it seems when Charlotte was not in the box, the puppies didn’t always make it to the heating pad or under the heat lamp. However, it does make for interesting sleeping for me.
Noelle and Merry are much more active today. Sometimes, instead of suckling, they have started to crawl all over Charlotte. I had a really good photo op and no camera at hand. Merry had climbed up on Charlotte’s neck and fell asleep. How cute. But the best news of all is they both gained weight! Roughly an ounce and a half. Try weighing a wiggly puppy on a postal scale – taking averages of the wildly swinging needle.
I also got to get some individual photos of Noelle and Merry. But the best news of all is that a friend of mine is interested in adopting one of them when the time is right. They live close enough to come see them, perhaps several times as they are growing. Awesome news.
I have to admit that Joy was in my thoughts quite a bit today. Many more kind words kept coming and I appreciate it all the more. But at least today I knew that I needed to concentrate on Charlotte, Noelle and Merry and see them through all of this and into happy homes in Joy’s memory. It will be her legacy. Her short, little life will have meaning, at least for me.
Monday Evening – DECEMBER 10, 2012
Noelle and Merry each weighed in as about two ounces heavier than yesterday – YEAH!!! So far they continue to be good eaters from the bottle.
Today Charlotte wagged her tail for me and for my hubby! I am taking this to mean that she is beginning to feel better. Shortly after that, I noticed the puppies seem to be wagging their tails, too! Charlotte is also spending just a little more time outside of the box, mostly sleeping. She deserves it. She has a new rawhide chew in her area if she so desires, but she usually prefers snoozing.
Wishes keep pouring in for Joy. She has to know she was loved by many. Eva Brosco sent this little verse to me today:
Hi Lynn, Thinking about Joy and sending you my thoughts. Eva
The Irish dogs ran to meet her crossing the bridge. They jumped and danced and welcomed the wee one across… Oh wait just a moment, you bring a piece of the noble Labrador with you, a friend to all mankind. They are brave and honest and ever so kind, what a happy day to share with the Irish dogs. We too are brave, honest and kind but are heads are narrow not round.. We welcome your shape and your tiny size for you bring a new spark of love. We terrier dogs get carried away by the admiration our humans endow, you give us pause to wonder and reflect that our purity comes from our purpose, to bring love to our human friends. So come on over our Emerald bridge we will teach you the bow and the butt-tuck run and you will forever be ours. We will learn from you the ways of the Lab and the Terrier makes a new friend.
Not much new today…but then I think I prefer that for now………
Wednesday Morning – December 12, 2012
Update that was supposed to come last night … but I was just so tired. ZZZZZZZZ
This photo was taken after morning feeding – mom and pups relax with full bellies.
Well, today Merry and Noelle hit the one pound mark! Merry weighed in at one pound, one ounce. Noelle weighed in at one pound. Awesome! They are really growing now. I notice Charlotte is beginning to pull away from them a little bit each day. I think she knows her milk is not producing very well. This means that I now need to stimulate the pups to pee and poo after feedings if Charlotte does not lick them to do so. Cotton balls work great!
At least once an hour I go in and check on Charlotte and the pups and sometimes I just sit and watch them for 10 or 15 minutes and scratch Charlotte behind the ears.
Wednesday Evening – December 12, 2012
Merry and Noelle provided some Kodak moments today…so today’s update will be a photo essay of these two little hams.
INTERVIEW WITH CHARLOTTE – THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13
“Charlotte…you’ve been around the block…so to speak. Can you give me your take on a few things?”
“Why of course…ask away!”
“Well, lately it seems that your world has been turned upside down. You had puppies at the age of 10, and found yourself in a new home less than 24 hours before they were born. How come you seem so happy?”
“Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Despite the fact that I have undergone a lot of changes in the last few weeks for an old gal…I already decided to be happy. Each day is a gift and as long as my eyes open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away…just for this time in my life. No one is in charge of my happiness but me.”
“How do you feel about having puppies at age ten?”
“How would you feel if you had a human baby at age 70? Ouch! Having the pups wasn’t very much fun,but all I have to do is look at their little excited, wiggling bodies and my heart melts. I guess the other bad thing is my sagging teats. But, hey, I like to take each day as it comes. Every day I can open my eyes is a blessing and I am so grateful for it.”
“If you had one piece of advice to give your pups, what would it be?”
“Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Lick their faces instead.”
Have you thought about what kind of new family you would like to adopt after you are finished raising kids?”
“Well, they would have to be absolutely head over heels crazy about me. They would have to love to give scratches behind the ears and belly rubs. I like rawhide chews, too…and cottage cheese and yogurt added to my kibble. And – I almost forgot – they have to like slow walls and would have to let me sniff and explore while we walk. I am not high maintenance. I just like the simple things.”
“If you could be granted one wish, what would it be?”
“Oh, that’s easy! I would love to have a day at the doggie spa and get a haircut and a bath. That ought to make me feel sexy!”
MONDAY EVENING – DECEMBER 17, 2012
WEDNESDAY EVENING – DECEMBER 29, 2012
SUNDAY EVENING – DECEMBER 23, 2012
FRIDAY EVENING – DECEMBER 28, 2012
Merry and Noelle are getting fat and Sassy! I am hearing and seeing a bunch of firsts – their first little squeaky bark, their first kisses, and their first BiteyFace play! They are getting more and more mobile and demanding of some attention.
I have spent a bit of time watching them interacting. Just when I think that Noelle is the instigator Merry instigates the next time. Their personalities are definitely beginning to show.
Their interview will be coming soon…
MONDAY EVENING – DECEMBER 31, 2012 – NEW YEAR’S EVE
WEDNESDAY – JANUARY 2, 2013
Today Merry and Noelle ate their first solid meal. They took to the food like they knew what to do all along. This is a mixture of crushed puppy food and goat’s milk. I was so happy to see this ad they were getting fussy about drinking from the bottles. Could be they knew better than I they were ready to move on.
Merry decided to climb up the side of the box and fall backwards into what was left of the food. She got a little sponge bath.
THURSDAY EVENING – JANUARY 3, 2013
SUNDAY EVENING – JANUARY 6, 2013
MONDAY EVENING – JANUARY 7, 2013 – SPA DAY!
MONDAY – JANUARY 14, 2013
INTERVIEWS WITH NOELLE & MERRY
SUNDAY EVENING – JANUARY 20, 2013
FRIDAY – JANUARY 25, 2013 – Last Day Together
FRIDAY – JANUARY 25, 2013 – Noelle Goes to Her New Home
TUESDAY – JANUARY 29, 2013 – Merry’s Last Day with Lynn
FRIDAY – FEBRUARY 8, 2013
FRIDAY – DECEMBER 6, 2013
Charlotte has settled in nicely with our family. Interesting that we have three female Airedales and they all get along great! Charlotte has many of the traits Alice had and can bring a smile to my face as I notice them and remember my Alice girl. Charlotte likes to got out…come in…go out…come in…okay Charlotte…make up your mind! She likes to lay on the couch and sleep a lot…so did Alice. Charlotte is very independent and doesn’t always care to see what is going on with the other dogs…same as Alice. Charlotte also has many nicknames. She is sometimes “Hoppy” as she hops up and down on her front legs when we come home and when it is dinner time. She is our “Busybody” as she is right at the pantry door with her nose in the dog food bag just as soon as we open the door. My hubby sometimes calls her “Fat Thing” although Charlotte prefers to be “Fashionably Chubby” Despite our efforts to help her to lose some pounds…her metabolism seems to keep her right where she is.
Below: Charlotte loves to lay upside down on the couch. For that matter, she likes to lay upside down just about anywhere.
Click Here to read about Noelle (now Macie) in her new home.
Click Here to read about Merry (now Merrilee) in her new home.