A Puppy Death

Losing a puppy or two is a normal part of breeding. It happens with some regularity. Sometimes it is due to a congenital defect of some sort and the little disabled puppy is unable to thrive. Sometimes a puppy is accidentally injured or even rolled on and smothered by the mother.

It happens.

Peanut 2014 (5)

But it has never happened to me. Until this past litter. You see, Rosie didn’t have 8 puppies, but she had 9. It took me a while to get on to post the announcement of Rosie’s litter because we were handling the little death of our little 9th puppy.

It happens.

Peanut 2014 (13)

But that doesn’t make it any easier, does it? It is a part of nature and a real risk when breeding. We do everything we can to prevent it and try to help any struggling puppies as much as possible. Sometimes no matter what we do nature takes its course.

I have heard from many wonderful breeders of purebred puppies that it happens with 1-2 puppies nearly every single litter. I hope that it is a testament to the vigor and advantage of hybrid dogs that this has never before happened to me. I also know a lovely woman who breeds cockapoos in the UK and has never lost a puppy either. I do feel quite strongly that is an indication of the breed’s good health.

My oldest two daughters (8 & 10) took the loss pretty hard. But I knew it was coming and had been up late after Rosie’s delivery fretting over the little man. Once I knew it was certain that we were going to lose the little fellow then I was really trying to figure out how to prep my daughters for the inevitable. It is always hard to see such compassionate little children in earnest tears.

All I could think of was to pray, so they laid their little precious hands over the dying puppy and I prayed aloud.

We asked God to take the puppy to Heaven if he would otherwise live a painful life here on earth and we asked Him to please leave the puppy in our care to live with us if he could live happily with his disability (whatever it may have been).

Our little puppy passed away only a few minutes later.

Most of the time breeders and veterinarians have no idea what causes a puppy to pass away like this and what could potentially be the problem. I have an outstanding veterinarian who is willing to perform a necropsy for me whenever I should like (free of charge).

It is important to take advantage of a necropsy whenever possible. It doesn’t just help the pet owner (or breeder) understand more of what happened, but it also teaches the veterinarian and hones their skills as well. It is a win/win and many veterinarians (those that are eager for continued education and professional growth) perform them for no charge.

This is something I had always thought I’d take advantage of should we lose a puppy. I have certainly taken advantage of the offer when it came to my birds. But in this case I felt our little man just needed to go to his resting place undisturbed.

Peanut 2014 (4)

My daughters switched from tearful to focused solemnity when I assigned them the task of locating the perfect headstone for our little lost puppy and to present him with a name.

After much searching in the drizzle and grey the girls found the perfect headstone and decided to call the little 3 oz baby “Peanut”.

Peanut 2014 (7)

I think Rosie approves. She was very unhappy when the puppy passed yesterday morning and she cried when he didn’t respond to her repeated licking. But she seemed to understand when I wrapped him in cotton and placed him in his little shoebox casket. She has since been very busy tending to her 8 healthy puppies and I think she is more prepared to deal with nature’s handouts than I am.

The girls painted Peanut’s headstone with a dove and lots of flowers. They will locate the right place in the garden for his burial and we will plant some flowers next to his headstone.

I clipped a bit of Russian Lilac to go with him and the heavenly smell filled our little house while the girls dutifully decorated the headstone for Peanut. I think that cheered them up because the tears disappeared and by the end we had smiles.

Peanut 2014 (12)

I think they did a lovely job and they believe little Peanut is smiling down from Heaven.

Peanut 2014 (8) Peanut 2014 (9) Peanut 2014 (10)

Surely dogs go to Heaven. I can’t imagine they do not. I like to believe that all infant creatures that pass away without having the chance to live will perhaps have another chance to live on earth. Maybe little Peanut is being born in another litter somewhere as we speak. Maybe he will come back to us in a future litter. Or maybe he will be running amount the grass and lilies in God’s fields in Heaven where all the dogs go.

Peace be with you, tiny puppy, and lots of love from our hearts and our home.

Peanut 2014 (13)

3 thoughts on “A Puppy Death

  1. Sooooo sorry! It must have been heartbreaking for all concerned. I too believe that they come back again. When this happens it could be to us or to someone else; but they do return, just as we do. I’m sure he felt the love that surrounded him, even though it was for such a short period of time. He also knows that he will be missed and will always have a place in your heart. Linda

  2. Oh this is so sad. It must have been very difficult. You handled your daughters beautifully. They created a lovely tribute for this little angel.

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Little precious Peanut went to heaven while being held ever so gently in such loving hands… What a darling headstone, how very sweet!!! What kind gestures to show honor and respect toward one of God’s tiny creatures. Life and death hold many lessons. Thank you for sharing such an experience so that we too can learn and grow. With love and respect,

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