On November 29, 2022, Vannah pregnant with her final litter had a beautiful litter of puppies, all went smooth and normal... however there was the tiniest little yellow puppy, I endearingly called him "little peanut". He was by far the smallest puppy I have ever had born at the Pines and I thought for certain that he would not live out his first week. I ordered a prenatal paste for peanut and gave electrolytes.. and also supplemented with formula.. he never had a strong suction, and never made a peep. Often at night when I fell asleep I thought I would wake up and he would peacefully pass over the rainbow bridge. The first week went by.. he didn't gain any weight, but he also did not lose any weight either, at this point I thought he would starve - from having his body trying to develop without having enough resources to keep up. I reached out to several colleagues and 2 breeders said it seems to be a classic sign of "liver shunt". Typically puppies just never thrive, they could live 4 to 8 weeks and then the toxins in their body start to shut organs down and eventually they pass. There is a surgery that can be done however there is only a 50/50 survival rate, and little peanut at 2 lbs? how could he ever withstand a surgery? At week 3 I made an appointment to our very knowledgeable guru vet Aaron Pollock :) He did an exam and bloodwork, shockingly peanuts liver count was down which was good... and all other tests didn't show anything real significant, after an additional 30 minutes of vet techs loving on little Peanut, the Doc told me to keep doing what I am doing, it would be a 4 month wait to see a specialist in Pittsburgh but he was happy to make a referral... Sigh... so this was good and bad - as we just didn't have any defined diagnosis still and we weren't sure what to expect.. I continued bottle feeding every few hours, I also gave a milk thistle supplement for liver support. by week 4 I added a plant based puppy mush to his diet and by this time he would be awaiting me each feeding with his little tail wagging... I wasn't sure how his little body would handle the more food .. so that was another test... it was the 4th week and 3rd morning I heard a cry.. a cry I have never heard before, and I thought oh my Peanut may have just passed :'( - but nope! to my surprise he was just wanting breakfast! As peanut progressed, a wonderful lady reached out and offered to give supportive care to Peanut (she then wanted to name him Tank!) I spoke with her on the phone and at 6 weeks old Peanut got a new momma <3 all the way in North Carolina! Sue P. his new mom continued caring for him just as I did, and wow after multiple vet visits and check ups and transition to a meat protein diet - he is now a thriving bouncing loving puppy! Tank is only a few pounds less than his siblings and living his best life - chasing balls, helping Sue with the gardening and playing with the cat ... oh and flipping and playing in any water bowl he finds. His story is a blessing and a miracle and makes me view life with a new lens.
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23
If you want to follow Tank on Instagram he is @tankofthepines
Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles. Notice them... <3