As adorable as these little guys are and as much fun as it's been to have them around, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited for them to leave. Most of them will be going to their new homes next week, some of them the week after that. Freedom is so close that I can almost taste it!
I probably shouldn't get too excited, though, since I won't actually be entirely puppy-free at that point. Aside from Dixie and our little Nora, another little girl will be hanging around here for at least another several weeks.... maybe forever.
Friends, meet Gracie Lou:
Gracie is a special little pup, to say the least. She wasn't born the runt, but her brothers and sisters quickly passed her up in size. As the puppies got older and began
pooping around the clock whining incessantly driving me absolutely crazy playing and wresting with each other the way puppies do, I began noticing that Gracie would often lie in the corner of the kennel all alone.
Concerned by her behavior, I tried to get her to stand up and play one day and that's when I noticed that her hind legs were smaller and weaker than her front legs and both of her back paws were turned inward. When I urged her to walk forward, she did what can only be described as a handstand and she balanced her body in that position for several seconds. I have to admit that my first thought was Whoa! That was totally rad... but at the same time, I knew something was wrong. It was as if her back legs didn't work at all; she would take a couple steps with her front paws, but then when she tried to move her back legs, her entire little body would go up instead of forward.
Long story short, Gracie is most definitely handicapped. We (her vet and I) aren't entirely sure yet what the underlying issue is. He suspects a neurological or congenital disease, but at this point we are waiting to see if a) if she makes it through the next few weeks, and b) how she develops before we try to figure out an exact diagnosis. Aside from the issues with her legs, she has had two rectal prolapses (yesterday they actually sewed her little bum nearly closed in order to prevent another prolapse), and she has really struggled to eat, gain weight, walk, or basically do anything a normal puppy does. Yet through it all, she's been pretty happy.
I've been hand-feeding her off and on since she was born, but solidly (at least four times a day) for three weeks now. Taking care of her has taken so much time and energy, but I just haven't been able to give up on her! I recently told my mom, "I just wish SOMETHING would happen! I wish she'd either get better enough to give me some hope, or I wish that she could just die. I feel so bad for her, I'm exhausted and I don't know if any of the effort I've put into keeping her alive will even matter in the end."
Well friends, that something happened! I'm not sure if my mom called upon the powers of heaven after we talked (I've always believed she has more pull with the Big Guy than I do) but unexpectedly and for no apparent reason, in the past few days Gracie has made a ton of progress! A couple days ago she started eating - not just the formula I've been basically forcing her to eat, but actually eating bites of wet dog food! As of about a week ago, Gracie was not able to walk more than one or two wobbly steps, but now? Well, check it out!
I always was a sucker for the underdog!