2/27/15 I have the best update yet! China looked up at me just now when I walked into my bedroom! She still sleeps right next to me and every time I walk into the room or look over at her, she is just lying there barely breathing, until just now! She has the cutest tiny face and fat, little body! I'm just so in love with her!
She weighs 12.5oz today!!!!
The vet asked me at our last visit what I was planning to 'do' with her. It struck me as odd, does everyone and everything have to 'do' something? Can't 'being' just be enough sometimes? I guess she has opened my eyes to the fact not everyone sees life the same. Who has more value; the high paid corporate attorney, the school teacher or the fireman? Shouldn't we all have value for each of our gifts? I will vow to open my eyes and make more effort to truly 'see' those around me, and celebrate them and what makes them special and unique. Tiny China has great things to do, they may not involve showing, making babies or getting sold, but she will do valuable things in her life.
2/28/15 China has really perked up since she stopped her meds! She has started trying to push up and scoot around! We are thrilled!
3/1/15 Happy 4 weeks Birthday China! To celebrate reaching her 4 week mark, China started eating solid food today and loved it! She dove right in and gobbled down even more than I expected! After her first meal I saw her body start to shake. It startled me at first, then I realized it must be her body's response to the sugar spike of the food. It stopped and she fell asleep. On to eating like a big girl!
3/7/15 China will be 5 weeks old tomorrow! She has far exceeded all expectations so far! She is now 15.9oz, I think she will make 1lb by tomorrow eating the way she is going now. From starting at 4.3oz and losing down to 4oz, we are thrilled to see every gain. Making it to 1lb is a huge accomplishment and we look forward to seeing how big she actually gets.
Her movement is vastly improved and she can now push up and slowly get around her box. It still takes great effort and her little tail strains straight up to help her find her balance. Her 'brother', Veronica's boy, has been tremendously helpful in her effort to stand and walk. He moves around her knowingly, giving her a nudge from behind or support on the side to help her make her next step. She still falls quite often, but she is moving forward too. This morning I saw her make her first hops on her single front leg to 'walk'. It was amazing and brought me to tears. That front leg hop will be the way she walks for her life, it's amazing to see the first steps! When she got tired her brother wobbled over and he engaged her in a wrestling match. It was so cute. They were tumbling and growling like 'real puppies'! My heart is full!
I must say here without Veronica's single boy, this would be vastly different. He has been such a blessing for China, she desperately needed a sibling to keep her warm, to support her and to challenge her. He is her example and her rock. They love each other and each has been a gift to the other. I never realized how important multiple puppies in the litter were to the development of each puppy. I can see how sibling rivalry stimulates the puppies to nurse, to eat solid food, to drink water, to walk, to explore and to play. They need each other to grow, develop and reach the milestones they need to reach to progress. Who knew only 1 out of 5 puppies conceived by Veronica and 1 out of 2 puppies conceived by Ember would survive and become best friends and necessary littermates. I was so distraught throughout the early part of this journey, I failed to see God had a perfect Plan here. He had control, I just needed to have Faith.
I told China I needed some pics bc people were asking about her. She took these 'selfies' after breakfast, as she said, "for her Fans". She said she was channeling her inner Kim K. I tried to explain to her gently that her bottom would never be big enough to qualify as a 'Kardashian' but that little stinker said, "You don't put limits on me!" I suppose I can't.
We did have a slight scare early last week. China had started to scream when picked up and squeezed close to her injury. A tiny tip of the bone has grown and started to poke through the skin. Of course I panicked and rushed her straight to the vet. As Dr Somersett examined China, there were concerns. The major concern is her size, she is still only 3lbs at 4 months. She is really too tiny to undergo the anethesia well. She is hoping she can wait until August and have her amputation revised and her spay done at the same time. She is hoping she will be closer to 5lbs by then. It is sooner than we hoped to spay her, but it sounds as if her size makes anethesia dangerous. I suppose we will err on the side of doing it early and hoping she doesn't get cancer later in life.
Tiny China was delivered on 2/1/15.
Her parents are Ember and Bullet.
Her start in the world was rough, but her story will inspire you!
Last Updated 10/2/15
2/20/15 I have good news and bad news. The good news is China's eyes have opened; bad news is she has developed diarrhea.
This diarrhea appeared as a wet hind leg this morning. I freaked, knowing that water-diarrhea is almost always a death sentence. I checked the other puppies and there was another with it too. He was bigger, so I decided to take him and his littermates to the vet immediately. I did not want to risk stressing tiny China with the drive to the vet and the wait once we got there. The vet said that the puppies had picked up a bacteria from the dirt on mom's feet from mom going out in our front yard to potty. How do we keep bacteria off moms' feet? We cannot drip them in bleach each time they need to potty!
The vet sent me home with meds and we started treating China and all the puppies we have in the house. With tears in our eyes and heavy hearts Tommy and I started treating the babies knowing their lives depended on it. Fingers crossed and hearts heavy to see what lies ahead tomorrow.
2/21/15 Who knew how such a tiny being could make such impact on so many? Tommy and I went to a lovely banquet for the Palmetto Paint Horse Club and all night people asked me about China. How was she? Could they adopt her? They knew the perfect person/family for her. My heart was full seeing that she had opened eyes and inspired people to consider the disabled babies out there. I didn't have the heart to say her life is in jeopardy right now. Let's hope the sun comes up and sees her better tomorrow after 3 doses of strong meds.
2/22/15 China and the others have improved greatly! Life is such a roller coaster, I do my best to embrace the good days and look forward through the bad ones.
China is fat as a tick, super round, weighing 9 oz today! She hates the meds, but we are grateful they are keeping her alive! I'm so in love with her, I pray we can get her through this tough period. Her stump/leg is healing well. The vet was super concerned about the possibility of the diarrhea getting into her open wound. That could be deadly, quickly deadly.
I am grateful beyond words that she is dry this evening and the meds seem to be working! Please pray she continues to improve and I can introduce you all to her and her life! If I can get Tommy to hold her, I will post new pics!
2/23/15 Tommy and I took China to the vet today to see if we could now stop the antibiotics. Her poop is still loose, but not the deadly water diarrhea.
Dr Faulkner examined her and was encouraged by her progress. He felt her 'leg' has healed well and she can come off all the meds. I am elated and petrified all at once. Will taking her off the meds allow her to flourish, or cause her to crash? He could give me no guarantees. Only thing he could honestly say was either taking her off the meds would do one or the other, fast.
3/23/15 China made her first real public debut this weekend, she went with us to her first horseshow in Clemson, SC. We packed her, her 'brother' and her 'adopted mom' in their Puppy Apartment in our camper. When I wasn't riding and showing, I carried her around the show to meet everyone. She loved the trip and everyone went crazy over her! I never set her on the ground (she only has 1 set of vaccines so far), but from my arms she got loads of love! She will make a perfect travel companion for us!
With Dad at the show. My right ear hasn't unfolded all the way yet.
10/2/15 I know this update is long overdue, I'm so sorry! We had a crazy busy summer and China was in the middle of all the action! Our vet wanted to do her leg revision in August, but she was still not big enough. The vet required she be 5lbs before putting her under anesthesia.
She finally made it and actually weighed in at right at 6lbs at her appointment yesterday. The vet opened her leg, the incision is nearly 6" long, cut her remaining humerus off, rounded the bottom, pulled the muscle and extra skin together to make a 'pad' cushion and closed her up.She then spayed her. China woke up fast and was ready to see us when we arrived (anxious and early). She has a great prognosis for a long, happy, active life!
With her extreme shave job for the surgery, she looks like a naked chicken right now. We were a bit shocked at how much of her needed to be shaved. She had just really started getting her adult coat. Oh well, her health is #1, hair will grow back. We are thrilled she has gotten over this huge hurdle and is ready for the rest of her life!
China has also asked me to thank everyone who has come to visit and meet her! She loves visitors! She can't wait to meet You!
3/28/15 China has really matured and gained confidence. She can now hop and jump with ease. She tears around the living room playing with her toys and her 'brother'. 'Mom' Vanessa is going crazy trying to keep up with her. She has started really playing with both puppies. It's the cutest thing ever! Every time I try to video them, Vanessa stops. Hopefully I can get some footage for you very soon.
My ears have both unfolded and aren't they the cutest!
3/13/15 Baby China is almost 6 weeks old and she is feeling frisky! She is doing great and loves to bounce and play with her 'brother'. I moved them out of their birthing suite today (I usually move them between 2 and 3 weeks) into our master bathroom in their Potty Training Puppy Apartment. It was adorable bs both puppies were immediately in love with their new squishy bed in their bedroom. I was concerned whether they would potty on the new bed, but they didn't disappoint. As I watched them enjoying their new digs, both puppies got up, rolled out of their bed into the bathroom portion of the apartment, tinkled, ate a few bites, had a few sips of water and hopped back into bed to wrestle and tumble together in pillowy comfort! I believe China approves!
I dewormed her today and she weighs 19oz. I think she will make it to 20oz for her 6 weeks birthday. We have never had such a tiny girl. I'm now wondering how big she will get? Mom Ember is really tiny and she was never compromised, I wonder what she will do with all the challenges she has faced? Everything has grown on her evenly except her tail. Poor little China has a freakishy short tail at this point. I wonder if it will catch up, or if it will stay extra small? Either way she is perfect. We love her and she loves us! She is so funny when I walk in to check on her, she hops up and starts wriggling around for attention. When I open her door she reaches up for rubs, then rolls over so I can rub her belly. She LOVES belly rubs and will lie back as long as I will scratch. She also adores being carried around the house. She wants to see everything! She gives kisses and I LOVE that!
3/17/15 China is a wild woman! She is 6 weeks old and a ball of wild a crazy fun! I took a video to share with you today!
4/2/15 China continues to improve and bond with us. Now if she is left alone in the bathroom in her Puppy Apartment (with her 'brother') and she hears either Tommy or me in the house, she starts to howl and go crazy wanting to be out with us. When her door is opened, she comes jumping out and stays right on our heels everywhere we go in the house. If we sit down, she wants to be held, kissed and rubbed, or she chews our toes with her needle sharp teeth.
We thought we had foiled her by picking our feet up where she couldn't reach them. After throwing a bit of a fit she races around looking for anything she can sink her teeth into. Shoes and cords are her favorite things to chew, so today she got a 'playpen' to keep her safe, but also with the family in the living room. She isn't thrilled about being confined, but she likes it better than being stuck in the bathroom. She enjoys watching tv and taunting the other dogs through the bars. It is best that she is contained, I was worried about her getting shocked after she ruined an Iphone cord in just a few loose seconds.
She is still too tiny to go outside, I don't think she is 2lbs even now. She is using puppy pads and newspaper until she gets big enough to tolerate the initial shock of her body when the bacteria and germs from dirt hits her system. Tommy says he doesn't think her three white feet will ever hit the ground, but I know I will get her outside soon, very soon, once she gets bigger.
6/3/15 Lots has happened with tiny China since my last post! If you are not already my friend on Facebook, friend me, to follow her story.
Every scar tells a story, a story that says, I survived!
We have decided to keep China. So many, like me, have seen past her disability and seen the greatness and opportunity in this tiny soul. I want her to be a light to help people look for the abilities and gifts in others. None of us are perfect in the human eye, but all of us are perfect in God's eyes!
China will travel with us all over the country meeting people and touching lives. I want her to be the one that plants the seed in a child's mind that they or their friend who may be labeled with a 'disability or challenge' doesn't have to stay in the shadows, hidden away. They can rise and be fabulous, in full view, stronger for overcoming what was seen as weakness ready to change the world!
This puppy will change the world for dogs, humans and all that meet her!
She has graduated to going outside with the other dogs during the day and LOVES it! She is as fast as anyone else and twice as tough! She loves running and barking, chasing her young friends around the yard. Her huge heart a tremendous spirit warm the soul of everyone who visits. At this point we all forget she had challenges and only see a vibrant little puppy bounding around getting into mischief.
2/13/15 This puppy is a true miracle! I tried to switch her to a bottle, but she was nursing too hard and kept choking. I then used our mom Maisey (who has tons of extra milk) to see if she could nurse the real thing. It worked! That night I rotated moms to see who was the best at lying still for the feedings. Veronica was the best and she has now adopted the sweet baby as her own! Her wound has filled in enough, that Veronica doesn't notice the little bone. Actually both this puppy and Veronica's lonely boy have vastly improved with a 'sibling'. Both are gaining weight well! It looks like a tiny girl and V's tiny boy are going to make it! Unbelievable blessing if I have ever seen one!
2/8/15 Things have gotten worse and better. Yesterday midday the puppy was fading and Ember was getting upset. Ember was trying to get her to perk up and she noticed the little piece of bone coming out of her wound. Fortunately I was sitting right next to her when she decided the bone had to go. The baby screamed and I whisked her away.
I called my vet to see if at 6 days she was old enough to safely start oral antibiotics. He agreed she had no hope without them so we started them yesterday.
Now, after 24hrs of care, the tiny girl seems a little stronger. She is still only 4.1oz, but I have faith she will gain on my feeding schedule. I now have her in her own box with a heating pad and clean towel. I tube-feed her every 2-3 hrs around the clock. I hope as she gets bigger and gains strength, she will be able to transition to a bottle. I'm doing 100% of her feeding, pottying and care. She gets oral antibiotics twice a day and topical antibiotics with every feeding. I stimulate her to potty every hour (tiny puppies won't go potty unless stimulated by mom). She gets a boost of Nutrical at each feeding too. Your prayers a greatly needed. I am doing my best for this tiny girl.
2/6/15 The baby is still hanging on. She has not gained weight, but she is nursing. The prayers are working! Please keep them coming!
Raising puppies is not for the faint of heart. God has a Plan for this litter. We are grateful to learn Ember can cycle, get pregnant and free-whelp. Her 4oz girl is substantially bigger than the little boy that passed. With extra supervision, I see she can truly produce the 'teacups' many of you desire. We will try again with her.
The good news is she shows no sign of infection, swelling or redness at the site at this time. The vet sent us home with pain meds for when it hurts. We will do antibiotics if infection comes, and we will do our best to get her to August before needing surgery. She explained the torn, ragged bone didn't know it was wrong to grow. When she goes in, she will cut the bone back to the shoulder and round the bottom. She will then pullup lots of skin to make a pad under the bone. This should solve today's problem and any issue in the future. She said if it were life threatening now, we would do it now. But now the risk of death from anethesia is high, and with no infection, this issue is painful, not dangerous. We are doing our best to address her needs as quickly as possible. This is not a money issue, it is a desire to wait for the best time for China.
China continues to make friends and inspire people every day! Even our friends Mary and Bill Rausch came over and took pics with their children holding China. She truly feels she is a celebrity everyone is here to meet her and hops out to greet everyone! I suppose on our little farm she is pretty famous. She has worked very hard to live, I suppose we can give her that... ;)
Update: 2/1/15 Ember delivered today. She became overzealous when I stepped out of the room. She now has 1 puppy with 3 legs we are working to stabilize. First time moms are inexperienced and unpredictable. Some days are better than others. Please pray for our little sable girl.
2/2/15 We have bad news and good news; the bad news is we had to put one tiny puppy to sleep, the good news is the tiny sable girl (4oz) with three legs is doing well and mom has settled. The vet has said we need to wait and see. If we start antibiotics for the open wound where her leg was, her digestive system will be wrecked and she will likely pass right away; if we don't do antibiotics, she may get an infection and pass later. He says if she can live 4 weeks, antibiotics are safer at that point. His recommendation is to keep mom calm and the birthing suite super clean.