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Fostering Litter After Litter: One Womans Selfless Mission

Fostering Litter After Litter: One Womans Selfless Mission

Puppy Pandemonium and the Parvo Plague

I’m sitting here, staring at the twinkling lights on my tree, listening to my nearly three-year-old squawk something about not wanting the chocolate cereal, and trying to mentally prepare for another day in what has been a series of very earth-shattering days. As a foster caregiver for Central Virginia Regional Rescue (CVRR), I do everything I can to keep our foster animals safe and well. They live amongst our families, receiving the best care we are able to provide. But this week has been an acute reminder of all the things that constantly whirl around us, narrowly missing catastrophe and collision – things in which we have very little control. In this case, one word: Parvo.

Nine innocent, affectionate, wonderful little souls were exposed at a time when their age prevented proper vaccination. The first puppy to become ill crossed the bridge within a DAY of the onset of symptoms, despite aggressive veterinary support. Last night, we sent another literally the MOMENT he vomited the first time. This morning, three more are headed to receive treatment. I suspect by the end of the day, every one of them will be hooked to IV fluids and fighting for their lives.

The Uphill Battle Against Parvo

Yesterday, someone (outside the group) brought up euthanasia for the sake of this rescue not taking what will (no doubt) be a financially crippling blow. But what is CVRR if not the rescue who fights for the underdog, who supports the downtrodden, those who really NEED a family in their corner? We are that family. We will always be that family. We won’t quit them now when they need us most.

I don’t know how this story will end. What I do know is that at the end of the day, we will have done everything in our power to save these little lives. We need a little Christmas magic. Come on, universe… Our wise leader, Laura, says no news is good news. It takes a good three solid days of fluids and meds before we will know anything. She is correct.

However, the folks at Riverside Veterinary Hospital have been very tolerant of my need to know every detail of the poops and pukes throughout the day. I call twice a day: once in the morning when I know they are changing fluids, and once in the evening before close. This morning, I was informed that they are all still with us (always my first question). Three of them were vomiting throughout the night, and all have diarrhea, but no blood. They are active and vocal. I thanked them for their tireless efforts, as I know the cleanup is messy and smelly. Yes, it’s part of their job, but they have made a conscious effort to support the animals in our care, and they all do it with love and patience. My gratitude to them is unending.

Grieving the Losses, Celebrating the Survivors

It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce that little miss Phoebe did not make it through the night. From here on, I will no longer refer to these puppies as parvo puppies. They are hanging on. They are the Charmed group, and they will use their strength and energy to continue to fight their way through this nasty virus. As of today, some are still vomiting and having diarrhea. This is the beginning of day 3. I am praying that in the next 24 hours, their symptoms will clear up, and they become more active.

Even now, as we grieve the loss of our third puppy, little Leo, we know that the dawn is coming…and we have to keep believing — and having faith that this morning will be the last morning that my phone will ring with a sad voice on the other end of the line. I was a vet tech for over 15 years before my daughter was born and experienced more death than I can say, mostly to end suffering after a long and joyful life. The loss of those so young cuts twice as deeply. My heart aches for all the moments they will never have.

But even in my sadness, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for what they DID have. An amazing vet staff at Riverside Veterinary Hospital rallying behind them and showing them the true depths of human compassion. Foster families who opened their homes and hearts, loving each one. And you all…your prayers, hopes, kind words, and donations. In my heart of hearts, I just know that somewhere in heaven, there is a an extra special giant muddy puddle just perfect for splashing and rolling…and that Leo, Phoebe, and Henry are there — covered head to toe and romping —free of all pain.

A Survivor’s Story of Hope and Resilience

Our most recent update is that two babies are on the upswing, their energy returning. One has started eating and ceased vomiting- we hope she will continue gaining strength. The other three are still very much fighting for their lives. Along with being emotionally exhausting, you can imagine the financial fight we have in supporting so many critically ill puppies. For those of you who have given – in whatever way you were able, every single volunteer at CVRR thanks you for your support.

I will include a link to our PayPal for anyone who feels called to help us continue this fight. My deepest thank you to Dr. Ryan and her staff who give so selflessly of their time and energy, making care as affordable as they are able. I wish we could offer more than a simple thank you. You certainly deserve so much more.

Hi, I’m Coop. You may know me as a #ParvoPuppy, but you may now call me a #survivor. And I am thankful for that. I am thankful for the love, prayers, and monetary donations you have made toward the care of me and my siblings. I am super thankful for Aunt Laura (the president of CVRR) who told my foster momma that she “did the right thing” by getting us to the doctor. Laura didn’t have to make that decision and take on that responsibility. But she did. And because of it, she helped save my life and the lives of at least four of my littermates. Hopefully, we will receive good news on Penny soon.

A Bittersweet Tale of Triumph and Tragedy

All I remember is that there was a big commotion in our house, and we had to leave our fur momma. She was so warm and kept us fed and healthy. My first foster momma was sad that we had to go, but knew it was to help keep us safe. We went to a new place: new foster momma and two human siblings. We missed our old place, but this place seemed nice. They played with us, let us go outside with the other dogs in the house. We got to see the sun and feel its warmth.

On a Sunday, my brother Henry got sick. He kept sleeping, and his tummy was really upset. It worries my new foster mommy. She took him to the doctor on Monday, and Henry didn’t come back. Momma had these big water drops on her face. She was so sad. She still smiled at us though. Her human boys still played with us. Leo was the next one to take ill. One by one, each one of my sisters started throwing up. We didn’t feel like eating or playing. My momma put us all in a crate and took us to the lady doctor at Riverside Veterinary Hospital. I saw those big water drops on her face again, and I wondered why they were there.

Dr. Laura and her team put us in our own room and gave us medicine every day. Some days I was too weak to wake up and play. Some days it was really quiet, and I didn’t know where my sisters were. Then, one day I woke up, and I was hungry. So they gave me some food and some pill to help my tummy. My sisters began to wake up too. They are loud! My foster momma came on Wednesday and picked up my sister, Patty, and me. She was clearly happy (but I just don’t understand these humans and the water things coming out their eyes). We had to leave the others behind. Each day, one or two are allowed to come home. Everyone is home but Henry, Leo, and Phoebe (who could not beat this sickness we had, and they went to sleep forever), and we are waiting on Penny. She’s gotten really thin, and we are all praying for her return. We are eating better and getting stronger each day. My momma doesn’t even fuss when we attack the tree and use the warm cushy thing to lay on. She just looks at us and smiles. My sisters climb in her lap and make her laugh.

A Heartwarming Conclusion and Call to Action

If you are able, would you please make a donation to our care in honor of Henry, Leo, and Phoebe? You can go to this link or you may send it directly to Riverside Veterinary Hospital in Bedford. Thank you, and have a Blessed Christmas! -Coop

It’s a cloudy day here in Lynchburg, but the sun is shining on the hearts of this family! Paige (now Layla) gets to go back to her furever home. Back? Yes, Paige had been exposed to parvo, and her new family was diligent in watching out for her symptoms because they knew she had been exposed but was NOT sick. As soon as they noticed she was ill, they brought her to Riverside for treatment, at our expense (because that is what we do at CVRR). After a long recovery, her family is thankful to have her back. There is going to be a very happy little girl after school today! Best wishes, Layla Paige!

The best Christmas present everrrrr—Piper was adopted today! Her new mommy, Eslam, has been looking for the perfect pup to train to be a service dog. Intending to adopt a male, this young lady took one look at Piper and it was instant love! Even though Eslam is officially on Christmas break, she drove 4 hours this morning so Piper could spend Christmas with the family. Happy Tails to Piper! We look forward to watching you grow.

I always thought that rescue was simply about helping animals. More and more I realize how much of a human component there is to this mission. From the tireless efforts of our team, the willingness of our veterinarian partners, and the eager, open hearts of our adopters, there are many human connections that are made, friendships bonded, and hearts healed. I am deeply honored and pleased to introduce Patty as the newest member of the Simms family. Their story is one I will never forget. They came to my house in December to pick up Leo, knowing he’d been exposed to the parvovirus. They were willing to love him and watch over him so he could get medical care if needed. At the first sign of illness, Leo was taken to Riverside Veterinary Hospital. Unfortunately, he didn’t come home. After a few days, I received a text that melted my heart and gave me a renewed love for the spirit of the human heart. They wanted one of Leo’s siblings so they could honor Leo by loving and caring for one of his litter-mates. So today, the first day of the Year of the Dog, 2018…Patty goes home. Happy New Year to you all!!

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