Monday, February 18, 2013

Introducing a very special Bean!

This is the story of little Lentil Bean, as told by his foster mom...that is- until he is old enough to put his “own” perspective into words!

Eleven pm on February 3, I received a phone call from my FBRN Foster Manager asking if I was up for tube feeding 2 newborn Frenchies with severe cleft palates and deformed noses. I told her that I would have to think about it, but the truth is -- I was already gathering up my heating pads and baby supplies before we even got off the phone! From that moment, I was in “mom mode.” Anyone who knows me, knows that I can't say “no” to a bulldog....especially one with special needs.

The next morning, I had called her back and agreed that I would take them on. By 5pm, I found myself driving to northern Jersey to pick up a box of babies that would change my life forever.

The drive back to Hope Veterinary Specialists seemed as if it were taking days. I'm sitting next to a cardboard box with these 2 little “beans” that I have yet to even hold, and already, the attachment to them was huge. At one point, I peeked in, and promised them that I was there to take them as far as they were willing/able to go. I am dedicated to doing just that.

After getting our supplies of tubes and syringes, the 3 of us headed back to my house to set up for the long road that was ahead of us. Edamame, Lentil's sister, was extremely lethargic and suffering from severe aspiration pneumonia. The fluid in her lungs was so bad, you could feel it without even having to listen for it. The night was long, but the 3 of us pulled through...somehow. I had never given up on Edamame, but it was obvious from the start, that she was tired. Edamame passed about 17hrs later. Whether you've had a dog in your care for years, or just for a few short hours, it's always difficult to lose them. However, I do take comfort knowing that she was loved.

It took me awhile to gain the courage to actually write this blog. With any baby, but even more so a special needs baby, life continuously has its ups and downs. Lentil and I are still plugging away....and this is our story...

Day 1 with me, Lentil weighed in at a mere 5.7oz- it's hard to even put something that tiny into perspective- and even harder for me to believe that something that small can have such a strong will to survive. It seemed as if there were so many odds against him, and after losing his sister (which was the third in the litter to pass on), life became much scarier for both us.

My daily routine is now focused around him. Instead of sleep, I have 2hr naps. Every morning at 8am, it's weighing time. Once I have his current weight for the day, it's time to calculate food intake. (I knew math class would come in handy one day)! Then it's insert tube, check once, twice, and then a third time (because I'm an overly cautious “mom”) that the tube is in his stomach. Once I'm confident, remove the dry syringe and place the formula filled syringe onto the tube to feed. Wash everything and repeat 2 hours later... I've bottle fed countless homeless pups over the years, but this is much different. The act of having to insert a tube into a tiny baby's mouth and into his stomach every 2 hours is something that I don't think will ever become less frightening. And as he grows, and becomes more of a puppy- it becomes even more stressful. He now sees me, sees the tube and gets excited to be able to “eat”'s tough to keep an excited pup under control! Although, I have to say, I would much rather my task be harder, as it shows that his life is becoming easier.

We are now on Day 15 together. We've seen our vet more times than I'd like to admit...because it's usually me that's having a panic attack. I can truly say at this point that the doctors and staff at Bethel Mill are more caring and patient than I could have ever asked for, and I can't thank them enough for dealing with my craziness! I can't stop looking at him and worrying. Each day he changes. He's grown now from 5.7oz to 13.2oz this morning! And on Valentine's Day, he gave me the gift of opening his eyes!

Lentil has a long road ahead of him, but I feel as though we are on the right track. We still don't know what the future holds, so he and I make sure to make every day special. I cherish every moment I have with him, and I wanted to be able to share these moments with anyone who is interested in reading it. This is the story of Lentil....the puppy who eats from a tube <3


  1. Hag in there Lentil, you have the best mama on the job!!!

  2. I love you FM! Go Lentil go! We are routing for you Lil Sweet Bean <3

  3. Kisses baby boy. Your foster mom rocks!

  4. I am the proud momma of a cleft palate and heir lip Chihuahua that is now three years old. I was also the foster momma of a bully breed pup with a cleft palate that sadly passed away at three days old. I feel your loss and also your strength for pushing on for Lentil. Sending strength for you and puppy kisses for Lentil! Hang in there! xox

  5. Beautiful story so far!!! I am rooting for you little bean and your amazing foster mama who seems to care so much and know so much!! As soon as I saw your picture I fell in love...It's stories like this one that help to restore my faith in humanity :) Hugs and kisses from me and my two piggies Lilo and Jack <3333 My thoughts are with you guys!!!!

  6. You have several of us following Lentil-Bean's story from Oklahoma. Including my 10 year old nephew who was born with a cleft lip and palate and feels a sort of "kinship" with Lenny. We are rooting for you Lentil-Bean!

  7. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. You are an amazing mama and Lenny the Lentil sounds like a brave, fighting, sweet puppy. This world is a better place because of people like you who are willing to help the little ones that people just give up on. Cannoli (my Frenchie) and I send love and prayers and wish you the best on this journey!!!

  8. Lentil?! I love your name!! I have three frenchies and we all keep you in our prayers every night!! Keep strong and frisky, Lentil!! All the love, well wishes and prayers to you and your moma from us here in Wisconsin!! ♥

  9. Adelaide, (frenchie) and I send our love. I shared this amazing story on my facebook wall so hopefully man more will hear this story and follow along. Little Lentil will be on my mind during this journey!! fingers crossed! Stay strong!

  10. My wife (and out frenchie Goomba) have all been following your journey and praying along the way :) We had a dear friend lose one of their 18month old frenchies to cancer right around the time Lentil was born so its a sign he is meant to survive! God Bless!

  11. Moghee (frenchie) and I send our love and many always your loving boughbie...

  12. So heartwarming to read the story about little Lentil and his mommy. God bless you; I will keep checking back to see how the little guy is doing. Lentil, your mommy is an angel!

  13. Hi Lentil Bean and Family,

    My name is Bentley and I am a French Bulldog puppy like you. I was born at 11pm on March 3rd by emergency c-section. I am an only child and I have a cleft palate and a small hole in my heart.

    I saw your story and wanted you to know that I am rooting for you and that I understand what you have been through. My human mommy has also "slept" on a couch in order to tube feed me every 2 hours.

    I will be five weeks on April 7th and I am doing pretty good despite a small bout with an upper respiratory infection. I have already been to visit my oral surgeon who will repair my palate when I am older. I have also been to my cardiologist for an echo-cardiogram.

    My Uncle Dante is my inspiration. He was also born with a cleft palate and weighed only 3.8 ounces at birth. Mommy kept him alive so I know she can care for me as well. We are going to be part of a research study on cleft palates at UC Davis. We hope to be part of the prevention for future pups to come!

    All my best to you! Would love to be your pal as I have no littermates either.

    Frenchie Kisses, Bentley

  14. Lentil, you are eating from a BOWL!!!!