Daily thoughts by a guy that doesn't like to think deeply too often!

Monday, September 05, 2005


This is my youngest pup, King, a couple of hours after he was born. Originally I planned on naming him Clarence, after the angel in "It's a Wonderful Life". But, he was born on MLK day (Jan 17, 2005), and he was the biggest of the litter, I figured the name "King" was more appropriate.

King had a rough start in life-- the night he was born, in my garage, it was 19 degrees outside. The fuses in the garage blew, so the heat lamps and space heaters stopped working. He and his littermates were shivering and most of them didn't make it. I brought the survivors inside and made some home-made baby formula out of milk, water, yogurt and sour cream. I got them through the first night and then got some real puppy formula from Petsmart the next day. I took care of the babies as best as I could, but I ended up burying 6 of them the first week. The babies had to be fed every three hours. Thank God for Beverly. She took the daytime shift and I took the nights. I didn't sleep more than an hour a night for weeks- as soon as the last one finished eating, it was time to start feeding the first one again. Anyway- things were going well until the fourth week. I fed the pups in the morning- took pictures and emailed everyone about the progress the pups were making (I took this picture that morning). They all had their eyes open, they had learned to walk and they were just starting to eat a mush of dog food and milk. I got home that night and found King in a ball-- turning in circles and flailing his legs. I rushed him to the vet to find out that he had had a stroke. They gave me lots of medicines to give him, but they didn't give me much hope. I didn't give up on him- I took him to three different vets that week. None of them gave me any hope. I seperated King from his brother and sister-- they were in one box in a room and he was in another. I was back to bottle feeding again with King. Between feedings, he would lay in the box: legs still flailing, still turning in circles, and crying.

One night, a week later, I was laying on the couch, between feedings and I realized that I didn't hear him crying. I looked down at the box and King was standing on his back legs, trying to get out of the box. He wasn't having seizures, he wasn't turning or flailing. He was a normal puppy again! I took this picture (above) that night.

He still had trouble walking-- I have hardwood floors and he couldn't get any traction. The other puppies were running around and and testing their new legs. King was still trying to walk, and when he made progress, it was always in a circle.One day I took him outside and let him run in the grass. He got good traction outside and he finally found his legs. He was able to walk again-- he didn't walk normally, pretty much just hopped like a rabbit. But he could walk! It was a miracle and I knew that he would be okay. I took this picture (right) that day. Have you ever seen a happier puppy?

Over time the circles got bigger and bigger. He still walks in circles, his head is still leaned to the side sometimes. He will always have problems, but he's learning to compensate for them. At the age of four weeks old, the doctors told me that if he survived, he'd probably be blind and/or deaf, and/or paralyzed. Well, they were wrong, King is a joy to be around. He's calm, but he can play with his brother, Cletus, like a normal puppy. He was completely house broken by the time he was 5 months old. He learned to sit and shake on his own at about the same time- no training required- he learned it on his own by watching my older dogs do their tricks for me.

Now he's 8 months old, practicly grown up. He's taller than his Momma- even taller than my other "big" dogs, Betty & Shelby. He's a big boy, but to me he'll always be the little creature that I brought out of the cold in the palm of my hand that first night, cried over in 3 different vet's offices, and obsessed over for months. After fighting so hard for the other babies that didn't make it, I vowed that this boy would. He had my heart from day one, and he always will.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Brian, that was so sweet. You're a wonderful "puppy daddy" and King is a lucky dog. As you know, Cletus has become the love of my life altho' I fought taking him!! The best thing for Cletus is that you're so generous about letting him play and stay with the other dogs. He comes home worn out and I get the benefit of having him out from under-foot for a few days and then having him sleep for another day and night when he gets home!! By today or tomorrow we'll be back to Cletus rippin' and runnin' but I'll enjoy the peace while I can.

6:05 AM


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