It's hard to find the words to describe what I am feeling right now. Pain. Intense Sadness. Anxiety. Concession. Frustration. Anger.
We know that coming into this, the deck is stacked against us. Rescued dogs comes with baggage, at least most of the time. They're usually not well fed, full of worms, maybe even heartworms, covered in fleas and ticks, and with little or no socialization. Even the owner turn-ins can be this way - we just took in a husky that was taken from its owner, and you would be sickened to see her fur and raw exposed skin, even bleeding in places.
This is doubly true when we take in pregnant dogs. They are usually malnourished and loaded with worms. We have to be careful what meds we can give, so we do not endanger the pups. The pups have the deck stacked against them from the start. Even if mom is making enough milk, it often is not as nutritious as it could be, should be. They have an uphill climb.
Patience is a sweetheart. Four weeks ago she gave birth to six pups. Tonight, the fifth one died. In my arms. He literally drowned, because his lungs are swollen shut, just like his sister before him. He could no longer breathe. I spent 40 minutes giving mouth-to-mouth to him, hoping to open his lungs enough that he could breathe again on his own. God knows he tried. There just was nowhere for the air to go. I could not even get his lungs to inflate. I cheered him on, encouraged him to fight, to pull in that air. I cried. I listened for his heartbeat - still there, but getting weaker. I blew some more, hoping and praying.
It just was not enough.
We don't even know for sure what is wrong. They have enough Clavamox in them to kill any bacterial infection. The vet is sure that a virus cannot cause problems this severe. He believes that it is likely roundworm larvae migration that is causing severe inflammation of the lungs, making it difficult, ultimately impossible, for the pups to breathe. We dosed them with Ivermectin yesterday. If it was the right move, it was too little too late for pup #5.
It's hard to find the words. Sad, definitely. Pained. Anxious for the viability of the last pup. Frustrated that all of our efforts are not keeping these pups alive. Angry that - that - I don't know. That it's just not fair. Conceding that the deck was stacked against us from the start.
Yet we will not stop. We will not even hesitate. We will do everything we can reasonably do to continue to save puppies' and dogs' lives. It is what we do. It is what we love.
Rest in peace, dear pups.