Taking care of babies is no joke — no matter what kind of babies they are. They require constant care, feeding and supervision, and though they are precious they are incredibly helpless and needy.
When it comes to raising orphaned baby animals, there aren’t a lot of people who have success. It takes skill and experience to be able to properly feed and raise any critter.
Laura Labelle is one of those people who possess the know-how.
It was late October when Labelle received some sad news. Labelle regularly cares for and rescues dogs who are in dire straits and come from rough situations, but this one hit close to home.
“On October 23rd one of our rescue partner @tobiessmalldogrescue got a call from a former adopter,” Labelle wrote on Instagram on Nov. 2.
“Her family’s dog had just delivered 7 puppies and then tragically passed away with in a couple of hours.
“The vet told the family to just take bottles and feed them, they would be fine. After a sleepless night of trying to feed the puppies, they knew the needed help; and asked us to take over.”
Cesarean sections are routine in many of the bulldog breeds, as the puppies’ heads are quite literally too large to pass through the birth canal. Despite veterinary care, though, these pups were without their mama.
Labelle was quick to ask people to remain civil in their comments, though, saying the owners were “a very sweet family who has suffered heartbreak, and now wants only the best for these pups!”
The pups certainly made it into the right hands, and soon were dubbed Oreo, Suave, Rico, Chico, Francisco and Frida.
“They all weighed not even half of a pound,” Laura Labelle said in an interview with The Dodo.
“They were hours old, and they were very weak. I sleep with them next to my bed and I wake up every couple of hours so that I can feed them and care for them.”
After four and a half weeks of sacrificing her sleep and tending to the litter of pups, disaster struck. What originally looked like the flu turned out to be distemper.
“Distemper is a very, very deadly virus,” Labelle explained. “Pretty much everyone told me that they were gonna die, and that they really had little to no chance. I was devastated.”
“I had been with these babies since the day they were born, and I felt I owed it to them to be with them until they were ready to go.”
One of the hardest parts about treating pups with distemper is that there’s no cure — it’s a waiting game.
All Labelle could do was ensure they were fully supported and got plenty of supplements.
“I don’t think I ate or slept for three weeks,” she admitted. “I didn’t really leave my house. I was with the puppies the entire time.”
But by Jan. 21, not just a few pups but all the pups were in the clear! They’d turned into sweet, personable, feisty and most importantly healthy dogs and were ready to go to new forever homes.
Of course, after spending that much time with the puppies and putting so much into their care, it must have been hard to say goodbye to her adorable little charges — but the prospective owners were thoroughly vetted to make sure they’d be the perfect, knowledgable owners for these miracle pups.
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