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.
“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.
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.
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.
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