Archive for the ‘Chester Jefferson-Williams: Rescued!’ Category

Chester Patrick: And Then There Were Twelve

July 18, 2011

Born: Tuesday, July12, 2011

Died: Sunday, July 17, 2011

We were really pulling for Chester Patrick, the runt of the litter. As soon as he was born, I went straight to the pet store to get dog formula and the tiniest working bottle I’ve ever seen, because I assumed that I would need to supplement food for this little guy, so much smaller than his brothers and sisters.

But he surprised us by being a fierce nurser. The way he would climb over his much larger siblings to get food was something to watch. They can’t even walk yet, for goodness sake! Scott and I said it looked like he was crowd surfing over a mosh pit. See, below, Chester P. getting ready to climb over his chubby sister.

That’s why we were so surprised to find him, dead, when we changed the bedding tonight for Iva and her pups.

I read that the first week is precarious for pups, and I was so diligent in the beginning: checking them so often I was probably annoying; making sure, as best I could, that everyone got as much nursing time as they seemed to need; making sure that there weren’t any pups tangled in the bedding or behind/under Chester Iva.

But, today’s day 6! I was finally beginning to relax. Now, I wish I had gone more “Mad Eye Moody” on them: CONSTANT VIGILANCE. *sigh*

As I told my friend Kerri: We’ve lost the largest (Chester V.) and the smallest (Chester P.). With Chester V., I’m convinced it was fading puppy syndrome. I just don’t know what happened to little Patrick, which makes me feel so responsible somehow. — like I should have noticed something I missed. So sorry, P.

Rest in peace, sweet boy. Here’s one more photo, of Scott holding Chester P. just yesterday.

Chester Jefferson-Williams, A Baker’s Dozen

July 16, 2011

We still have thirteen pups! A baker’s dozen!

And I’m starting to be able to tell them apart more easily. Who would have thought that they’d start developing their own little quirks so soon?

For example: Chester Taylor, one of the black female pups, has a habit of “playing dead.” When she sleeps, her legs go stiff and her tongue lolls out one side of her mouth. She frightened me several times a day yesterday and today, though I *think* I’m finally used to it. I was showing Scott last night. We were both laughing at her stiff little legs, until she rolled her eyes back and stuck out her tongue. Then, in near unison, we said, “Okay, Chester Taylor. You’re freaking me out,” and both reached to pick her up and move her, thereby forcing her to change her position.

Chester Marion, the largest tan/white female, is the squirmer. — so much so that she’s been dropped (short distances, thank goodness) three times. I lost my grip when I was handing her off to Scott, who lost his grip and ended up handing her off to the floor. Chester I. did not look at us disapprovingly, however, because Marion is the one pup that Chester I. also dropped when she was transporting them one day. Poor Marion. You just wouldn’t expect such a young pup, and a chubby one at that, to be able to get around so quickly. Needless to say, all three of us handle her as little as possible now.

And, yes, I was a basket case after Scott and I fumbled with her. I was googling, while shamefaced, “Dropped newborn puppy” and making Scott look for signs of white gums/tongue. — apparently signs of internal bleeding. Fortunately, Chester M. made it easy for Scott to examine her, since she was getting bored with us fussing over her, and yawned repeatedly. At last, I consented to let her nap like she wanted to, though I was tempted to shake her every few minutes, to make sure she didn’t have a concussion. Scott kept reminding me that (1) she didn’t fall on her head, and that (2) we both had our hands on her (trying to catch her) nearly her entire way down. Whatever. I’m pretty sure I saw him check her too, at least a couple of times when he thought I wasn’t looking.

And Chester Ellen is the easiest to tell apart, because she’s the one black&white pup of the group. I’ve already featured her in a photo, but I have to include another. Notice the cutest pink and black nose ever.

And guess who is loving all of the puppies in the house? Baby Jack! He’s fascinated by them. I let him hold one (under close supervision and while he was sitting down, of course). He was so protective of her. Mr. Knightley, our dachshund, tried to get close for a sniff, and Jack said, “No, no, no, Ni-ly!” He screamed when we took the pup away. Note: We chose Chester Taylor for him to hold. — the one that rests in the super stiff rather than squirmy position.

And, Arina loves them too, of course. But, you can tell in the following photo that she’s well aware of Mommy’s and Daddy’s mishap with Chester M. She’s holding her pup so closely that you can’t even tell she’s holding one. And she still looks a little freaked.

Chester Vaucluse

July 14, 2011

Born: Tuesday, July12, 2011

Died: Thursday, July 14, 2011

Before Chester Iva delivered, Scott said, “You know we’ll lose at least one puppy, right?” I said that I did, but I thought to myself, “We don’t *know* that.” I knew it was likely. I remember our family dog having pups when I was a child. The runt of the litter died the first night, I think. And it never nursed. We tried to feed it with a syringe, and I tried to keep it extra warm in my baby carriage, complete with blankets and a heating pad.

But Chester Iva’s pups were all thriving on Wednesday. Even the runt, little Chester Patrick, eats with gusto. By Wednesday evening, though, the chubbiest girl of the litter, Chester Vaucluse (there aren’t many “V” S. Carolina names from which to choose, by the way) had started crying. Very loudly. And incessantly.

Chester I. and I did everything we could think of to soothe her. I shuffled puppies around, so that Vaucluse would have a nice nursing spot. She wasn’t interested. Then, I thought, chubby girl that she was, that she had overeaten and had a tummy ache. So, I stacked her in the middle of a pile of pups, hoping the warmth would help. Finally, Scott suggested that she was just having a 6:00 meltdown, like Jack does nearly every night. At one point, both baby boy and dog were wailing together.

Scott and I would walk by Chester I., who looked at times stricken, and at other times exasperated. She’d roll Chester V. over and examine her, try to get her to nurse, cuddle with her. Nothing helped. “We sympathize, Iva,” we’d say, pointing at Jack. “See. We have one too.”

Imagine both of our shock to be awakened by Iva at 2:00 in the morning, to find a cold and lifeless Chester V. Scott wouldn’t quite believe it. He thought she had gotten separated from the warmth of the pack, that he could rub heat and life back into her,Roger Radcliffe style in 101 Dalmations. If it worked, he said, we’d rename Chester V. “Lucky.”

Alas, it didn’t.

While Chester Iva took a bathroom break, I wrapped Chester V. in a towel and removed her from the litter for good. I tried to decide which would be worse: letting Chester I. sniff her before I removed her, so she’d know why I did it. Or, spiriting her away.

The latter concerned me, because I remember my mother telling me about a similar incident with her chihuahua, Penny. Penny had three pups, one stillborn. She knew that something was “wrong” with the third pup. She had separated it from the other two healthy pups. But when my mother removed it, Penny was distraught. She ran to my grandmother, complaining loudly, as if telling her that my mother had stolen her pup!

I thought, though, that with thirteen other pups, Chester I. may not notice. So, I took the “spiriting away” option. And either she didn’t notice, or she did but knew that it was a necessary action.

What could have happened? Scott and I wondered if Chester I. had smothered Vaucluse accidentally. But she has been so careful with the pups, and we’ve been super-vigilant, moving pups from behind her to the front of her. We wondered if she got separated from the pack, getting too cold. But we’ve been careful to monitor the temperature since the puppies were born. I covered the vent in their small room and have been setting the air conditioner on 80-85 at night, much to Scott’s chagrin.

Then, I read about “fading puppy syndrome.” Dr. John Kohnke writes, “Many of these puppies [that die from fading puppy syndrome] are vigorous and healthy at birth, but within 2-10 days lose their interest in nursing. They often ‘cry’ in a monotonous way as though they are in pain and discomfort. They lose body weight, crawl into corners away from the rest of the litter and die, despite careful nursing.”

That sounds like what we experienced with Chester V. At least, we’re going to pretend it was “fading puppy syndrome.” Somehow, the idea of her fading away is more palatable than the idea of her being cold or smothered.

Scott buried her this morning, in the flower garden. Rest in peace, sweet Chester V.

So, now we have 13 puppies, and they all seem to be thriving [knocking on wood and crossing fingers now]. We keep a careful watch over Chester P., who is nearly a full half size smaller than the other pups. See Chester P. below, with his sister Chester Ruby.

We decided to call him Patrick, after the Newark pit bull, Patrick, that survived shocking abuse. Chester P. hasn’t had as much to overcome, thankfully. — although managing to get a belly full with a dozen much larger siblings is impressive, just the same.

And, to end on a thoroughly positive note, I offer the following photos of puppies, cuddling on a warm bed of puppies.


Chester Jefferson-Williams

July 13, 2011

Pulled, in utero: Tuesday July 5, 2011 from Dillon County Animal Shelter/Middle Mutts

Rescue commitment: Saturday July 16, 2011 by Save-A-Litter Pregnant Dog Rescue

Meet Chesters Jefferson-Williams

That’s right. Chester Iva has birthed FOURTEEN puppies: 7 boys, 7 girls, 9 tan pups, 4 black pups, and one very special black&white pup.

So, in keeping with my system of naming (Chester + SC towns/cities/counties), the boys are:

Chesters Jefferson, Kline, Oates, Patrick, Sumter, Ulmer and (William)s.

The girls are:

Chesters Lydia, Marion, New (Ellen)ton, Quinby, Ruby,(Taylor)s, and Vaucluse.

Fortunately, Chester Iva decided to stop at fourteen, since there aren’t any SC towns/cities/counties that begin with X, Y, or Z. Scott says that this means we can no longer foster.

And it’s true that I’ve met my original goal of 22 fosters, rescued in honor of the Chesterfield 22, the dogs shot at the Chesterfield County Animal Shelter. In fact, Chester William makes 23 total fosters.

Now, I’d like to get to 28 at least, because that’s how many dogs a family of four would have to foster in order for the City of Columbia Animal Shelter to be a no kill shelter.

And, I *think* I can talk Scott into it. After all, how can you resist such puppy cuteness. See Chester Lydia, below:

And Chester Ellen:

And sweet brothers, Chesters Jefferson and Kline, who are always snuggled up together, in one position . . .

. . . or another:

When a friend of mine inquired about the mother, Chester Iva, I admitted that she was a champ! — that I didn’t even have to re-watch The Adventures of Milo and Otis, like I had planned. Iva gave birth with ease and has been a busy and attentive mother ever since. I joked that I may let her adopt Arina and Jack, since she’s so much more of a capable parent than I am.

If a dog could roll its eyes at a human, I think Iva would have done so with me and Scott.

1) The first evidence of our clueless-ness: We had no idea *where* Iva should give birth. Scott thought she needed to do so inside, where it’s air conditioned. (And he pretends that he’s the one who doesn’t care about rescuing dogs).

I thought she’d prefer to find a nice place outside, because I read that dogs seek isolation and quiet when about to give birth. One thing our house is NOT is quiet. We have miniature dachshunds that bark at everything they see outside the window, and a toddler and six-year-old who run and scream and cry and throw things. — well, moreso Jack than Arina.

The compromise: We opened up the door to the crawl space under the house. That way, Iva could benefit from the air conditioner, which leaks cool air below, and be in a quiet, dark place. Scott made a makeshift fence out of some spare boards, so that she wouldn’t stray beyond our reach, in case she needed help.

The result? Iva jumped Scott’s makeshift fence (quite a feat, considering her size; see photo below), tunneled far underneath the house (way out of our reach), and tore down some itchy installation, from which she made a nice nest. *SIGH*

Fortunately, we do not have a photo of me and Scott, army-crawling underneath the house, to bring out the newly born pups. Even more fortunately, we do not have a photo of me doing so, before Scott arrived to help. I would crawl out with one pup, and while I was fetching another, Iva would pick up the previous one in her mouth and carry it back. Needless to say, we didn’t get far. But, I can’t say I blame her for not trusting our judgement.

Now she’s in the house, in our tiled half bath, in a plastic swimming pool, behind a baby gate. I alternate old blankets/towels for Iva and the pups to lounge on. This has worked well so far, because she seems to feel safe behind the gate, and we can help her keep an eye on the pups. There are so many that she sometimes loses track, and we’ll have to move one from underneath a blanket or behind her back, so that it can nurse. — although my mother nearly had a fainting fit at the thought of eighteen dogs in one house.

2) The second evidence of my clueless-ness: I honestly thought I was going to be this dog’s midwife and have an active role in delivering the pups. Rather, I watched as she tore off each amniotic membrane, bit off each umbilical cord, licked each pup clean, and then tidied up the mess by, yes, eating it. /shudder

So, my midwife role was regulated to holding up water for her to drink, bringing her the occasional dog biscuit, and saying “Good girl” while awkwardly petting her.

But, I suppose when you’ve sat, hugely pregnant, for weeks in a small-town kill shelter, you can handle just about anything. — even birthing fourteen puppies in a house full of pampered pooches, incompetent adults, a toddling terror and an incessantly chattering six-year-old. Still, kudos to you, Chester Iva. And welcome to the world, Chesters Jefferson, Kline, Lydia, Marion, Ellen, Oates, Patrick, Quinby, Ruby, Sumter, Taylor, Ulmer, Vaucluse and William.