Parker’s Struggle to Survive: An Animal Rescue Adventure

Sep 6, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Lee Juslin

by Lee Juslin

Beth had been a foster mom for Westie Rescue of Missouri for several years, but she had never had a challenge like Parker.

Surrendered by his breeder, Parker had something called Failure to Thrive. Also called Fading Puppy Syndrome, these puppies often suckle at the beginning and then, within a day or two, become progressively weaker, make fewer attempts to suckle and often die. When Parker first came to Beth, he was very scrawny and obviously in trouble. That first night her father said, “Is this puppy going to survive the night?” Even Beth’s vet was not very familiar with Failure to Thrive puppies.


Parker after 1 month in rescue

“I had never seen a puppy that didn’t seem to know how to eat,” said Beth. “I tried a number of food mixtures to tempt him. Eating from a bowl was out of the question. I often had to put the food right into his mouth or use a syringe. Finally, I came up with a mixture of milk replacer, pumpkin and ground up dog food that seemed to work.

Beth had to feed the little pup several times a day, and it was hard work. “There were times when I thought he had been sent to me to die, but he was such a cuddly boy, I just couldn’t give up on him. And, we’re a rescue. That’s what we do. We step in where others would simply give up.”

Finally, all Beth’s efforts began to pay off, and Parker started to eat on his own. He put on weight and started to play and run with Beth’s two older Westies. Beth began to see a future for him.


Eating – at last

Around July 4 of this year, Parker found his forever home with experienced Westie folks. There is a big fenced-in backyard for Parker to explore and two older Westie siblings, also rescues, to tease. In fact, the two older Westies, seven and nine, have gained new life with the active puppy to spur them on. Perhaps best of all, Parker’s new dad is semi-retired so he is home much of the time with Parker.westie

Parker still has challenges. Beth and her vet think he has neurological problems. He doesn’t know boundaries, often running too hard and too fast and he plays beyond the point of being told by the older dogs to back off. He understands somewhat when a growled warning is given, but he’s back at it in less than five minutes.

It’s no doubt that Parker was saved and is in his forever home because of Beth’s efforts as a determined rescue foster mom. As she points out, Parker is at least the second special needs puppy we’ve gotten from that breeder. “It does make you wonder.”

Established in 1999, Westie Rescue of Missouri is an all volunteer, 501C3 organization that covers Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, and also some of the southern states. You can learn more about this organization, volunteer, contribute, or apply to adopt one of their Westies by visiting the organization’s website: Westie Rescue of MO.

Like Parker on Facebook: WRM_Parker

Learn more about Failure to Thrive or Fading Puppy Syndrome here: Blue Labradors.

You can find more animal rescue, therapy animal, and other pet related articles in our pet section.

Want to know how to see your ad like this at the end of an article? Email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] for more info. 10% of all ad sales goes to animal rescue.

Lee Juslin is a free lance copywriter living in North Carolina with her husband, Scott, and her band of misfits: Tarquin, a Wheaten Scottish Terrier, and three handicapped cats. They can be seen on their website: Hampshire Hooligans. She owns I B Dog Gone, a small embroidery business and is the author of the Nurse Frosty books for children and Frosty’s Story: Tales of a Therapy Dog. She supports a number of national and regional terrier rescue organizations.


  1. OMG! thank goodness he found a forever home. I’m so glad there was someone who would take the time and help little Parker. Thank you again Lee for another heartwarming story.

  2. Great story Lee.

  3. Beth has a heart of gold and worked well with Parker! Westie Rescue of Missouri does good again!

  4. as Beth knows this is not the first SN puppy from this individual, I’d opt for CHV as the causative agent. As stated, FPS is a ‘condition’ not a specific disease, but CHV is frequently the cause, particularly in commercial facilities where sanitation / health concerns may not be as strict as with small hobby breeders.
    Sometimes terriers just won’t take ‘no’ for an answer – even when it is in their best interest – hopefully his kennel mates will adjust to his antics and learn to cope with his enthusiasm and energy.

    Beth really had her hands full with a FPS youngster to pull him thru — frequently just isn’t in the cards.

  5. Love this article! Parker has been amazing to watch grow up. Kudos to his awesome foster mom, Beth and to his new family who continues to share his antics on WRM Parker Facebook. 🙂

  6. Little Parker found himself an awesome, loving home!! You’ll get him to be a well-behaved pup with daily walks, consistent training, and lots of patience ~ sounds like you have an abundance of the latter!!!

  7. WHAT a sweet baby! LOOK at that face! WHO could give up on THAT?! I’m so glad Parker is surviving and thriving! And as for that breeder? Should be put out of biz, if you ask me!

  8. This is such a touching story. Parker’s foster mom saved his life.

  9. What a touching story. Parker was so lucky to have been rescued by Beth. The breeder part, really makes you wonder if they have any idea about what their doing. They probably shouldn’t be breeding at all! Enjoy that forever home little Parker!


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