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”...it'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