The afternoon of December 19th, 2005 a litter of puppies were born to a dog that had survived hurricane Katrina. Six puppies total, three girls and three boys, three black and three brown. After her delivery we whisked them all off to the vet for a check on their health.
All seemed well until two days later when one of the male brown puppies began to hemorrhage from his mouth and nose. We had no choice but to euthanize him to stop his suffering. Even the vet agreed that the mother may have laid on him and crushed his insides and caused him to bleed to death.We returned home and rearranged the whelping box to keep everyone else safe.
Two days following the first puppy's death a second stopped eating, and began to cry in a low painful tone. Around 12 am we rushed that puppy to the after hours animal emergency hospital. The doctor came in and explained that what the puppy had was sepsis or fading puppy syndrome. She showed us the red blotches on the puppy's belly and explained that this puppy like the first would hemorrhage and bleed to death. The only humane thing we could do was euthanize another puppy. We told the doctor that we had four other puppies at home that we would like to bring in and have checked. She agreed that we needed to have them all looked at right away. So we made the 45 minute drive home picked up the remaining puppies and drove another 45 minutes back. To our complete horror we found out that all four puppies had signs of sepsis and would most likely all die within ten days.
With that prognosis we decided to try whatever we could to keep the remaining puppies alive until we had no other choice just incase one or two would survive. We looked up every possible treatment we could find including holistic. I made a call to an herbal store 30 minutes away to see if they had all the things needed for the holistic treatment we had found. They did but they had closed nearly and hour before my call. When I explained what was going on the owner said she would be there for a while anyway doing paperwork so if I could come up right away she would open the store back up for me. So off I went in hopes of saving our little babies. The next evening the third puppy became ill. We injected fluids every four hours like the vet taught us to and put three drops of this holistic medicine stuff on his little head and he held on. Even tried to eat a little by himself. Then the fourth puppy became sick and we started the same treatment. That puppy did not respond to the treatments at all and around 3 am we had to rush the puppy to the emergency hospital for euthanasia. Still that little third puppy was trying to hang on for us and we were not giving up on him either.By the next evening the fifth puppy became sick also and we started treatments. Working on pure hope and fear we followed our steps every four hours with the third puppy and the fifth puppy. It wasn't long before the fifth puppy started that cry and we knew. So once again in the middle of the night we made that trip to the emergency animal hospital, knowing the puppy would not be coming home and having to hear the cry all 45 minutes of the drive. It was so heartbreaking and crushing to our spirit.
Now we are left with one sick puppy still hanging on and one other little black female puppy that had not yet become sick. Suddenly the third puppy who had hung on so long got worse and we rushed him to the emergency animal hospital in the dead of night like the others. This time we just couldn't give up we asked the hospital to do whatever they could to keep him alive until morning when we would take him to our vet to see if they could try something to save his little life. They agreed and we left him there hoping he would make it until morning. On the way home we decided he could not be known just as puppy three he needed a name for he had tried so hard to make it we felt we owed him his dignity. His name was then changed from puppy three to Perry Ellis. We picked Perry up from the emergency hospital before 8 am the next morning and rushed him on oxygen to our vet. We had no sleep at all the night before and our vet wanted us to go home and sleep then she would call with an update. Around 1 pm that afternoon the vet called to say Perry had less than a five percent chance at life that he was suffering and that we would have to face the fact that euthanasia was the best thing for him at that time. So with a very heavy heart we said goodbye to our little Perry Ellis and cried all the way to the vet and all the way home where we buried him in our yard next to his brothers and sisters.
Then there was one. Puppy six still showed no signs and was very stubborn about where we put her. We had a heat lamp in our room to keep the puppy under so she would stay warm but she escaped every day and hid under our bed. As a matter of fact she had always hid under our bed never wanting to be with her brothers and sisters at all. She only wiggled her way out to eat and then would escape again to her little hide away under the bed. We took her to the vet several times over the next couple of weeks just so they could look at her for us. We were terrified she would not make it and we had just been through so much we didn't even know if we could go through all of it again. Finally we were told that fading puppy syndrome only lasts until they are four weeks old and if she made it that long she would probably never get sick. We had hope yet again. The vets did their best to give us answers in what I believe was an attempt to ease our minds that we had done nothing wrong. They said the mother of the puppies most likely had ecoli from the water she drank in order to survive after the hurricane and that she passed this through the placenta to the puppies. While her immune system was strong enough to fight it off theirs was not thus they all suffered from sepsis.
So here we are three weeks later and that little black female was still hiding under the bed showing no signs of being sick at all. She got fatter and fatter from being the only puppy eating and of course she was feeding on all available nipples by rotating every few minutes until she was full. More than once I thought she may eat herself to death wouldn't that just figure I would joke. We took her first picture at five weeks old out of fear that if we took one too soon we would jinx her and she would become sick like the others. At six weeks old we named her Lacey Jane. I don't have any idea how we came up with that name but that was her, our little Lacey Jane.
The following week after we had named her and took her picture we decided she would never go up for adoption for we could not let her go. Weeks turned into months and still she seemed fine. She learned to walk even though I thought she was too fat for her legs to hold her up. She made friends with our other dogs and began to fit right in. At 2 months old she was even big enough to go outside on her own with the big dogs of the house. She plays in the snow, fetches balls, and has a best friend in our golden retriever, Tommygirl.
In March of 2006 we took a trip to Tylertown Mississippi to visit the Best Friends refuge there and until then we had never left Lacey without her mommy Kim not even for a day. I thought that was the hardest thing in the world and we kept calling to check on the baby every chance we would get. Everything has been wonderful and happy and full of puppy kisses. Until April 6th, 2006 when Lacey became ill. It seems that she somehow was exposed to parvo and even though she had her vaccinations her immune system is compromised because of her beginnings. We also learned that she is blind in one eye from juvenile cataracts and may, one day, lose that eye, again from her beginnings.
Now she has to stay at the hospital for four or five days to be treated for parvo. To leave her there meant we had to leave a huge part of ourselves and as I write this I cannot stop thinking of our little Lacey Jane. I hope she is not scared and I hope that she knows how much we love her. We took some of our t-shirts out of the laundry and delivered them to the vet so she could have them to lie on in her cage. We hope that with a piece of us there with her she will know that we are not far away. Lacey was able to come home on April 9th and she was happy to see us. Dr. Simms really worked hard to get her through her ordeal. Thank you Dr. Simms!
On May 17,2006 We had just gotten back from a trip to Georgia where we picked up some rescued dogs from Death Row Dog Rescue a couple of them had gotten sick on their trip back. Kennel cough is what they had no biggie for most of them. The ones that were sick had to stay at our home for a few days until they got better. All our dogs including Lacey have their shots so if they did get it chances are it would be mild. Kennel cough turned into pneumonia for Lacey though and she and another puppy we brought had to be rushed to the hospital where Lacey spent three days and the other puppy spent six. She recovered from that too now and is gaining weight and playing like a healthy puppy should.
She has taken on a very sweet and loving nature in our home and looks after the other dogs. We have an old Black lab who's health is failing and we knew she was getting sicker because Lacey refused to leave her side. First thing in the morning Lacey would go sniff around the elder dog as if she were making sure she was okay. She still checks on her throughout the day. I have noticed that she checks on all of us. I rise early and go to bed early but throughout the night I get woke up by a kiss from Lacey just until she sees me move then off she goes back to lay in the living room. In a couple hours here she'll come again. Granted I don't get much sleep this way but I rather like having a dog that is checking up on me like that. I guess she is making sure that I am okay too. I do not know what Lacey's future holds, but I am hoping that she has a long happy life with us. We love her so much and cannot imagine our lives without her. She even lets us dress her up in silly clothes even though you can tell the poor girl is not having much fun. We'll keep you informed of our little Lacey's life here in the next chapter.
On 3/14/2016 Lacey became very ill and we rushed her to VSS in St. Louis. The plan was to keep her for the night and run some test the next morning. At 3:12 am on 3/15/2016, VSS called to tell us that Lacey had gone into cardiac arrest and that had been trying to resuscitate her for over 20 min. We lost our precious Lacey Jane that morning. A piece of each of our hearts was shattered that day and will never mend. But we know Lacey is watching over us, the same as she did throughout her life..
Until we meet again Lacey... Your moms will forever love and miss you !