Linda, your hidden mickeys thing is so funny! I'm SOOO going to do that!!
I hope you don't mind sharing something with you that is a bit long - it is something that when I read it at 5am this morning made me cry a little (in a good way) and make me grateful there are people like this in the world. It's from another forum I'm a member of...Daveann is too, and a couple of others here...which is for people who are interested in Dog Rescue, "Dogpages". Just a warning, it is a little sad at the beginning, but I find it inspirational that one little puppy has fought so hard for his life and one lovely lady puts in the time to hand rear these little ones, one creature at a time (I did ask her permission to post it). It is a little long, and not everyone will get why it is so lovely but I had to share it as it made my day. There are photos at the end by the way. It is in her own words:
Meet Gentle. His life has been a little whirlwind already. He was bred by some people. The people that owned the mother new she was in labour and left her to deliver alone ??? Sadly, on someone returning to the house they found she had eaten the litter.
This one survived because they thought to follow a trail which led to behind the fridge, and there our little one was found. Hiding away.
The people that owned the stud were horrified and immediately sought help, leading them to Berni who then called me.
Soooo instructing Berni to make sure she toileted him and kept him warm and then instructing her to keep him in her bra she zipped her way to my house with a wriggling bra!
He was very lucky to survive. He really was.
So, here I hand fed him, toileted him and kept him warm. Feeding, toileting every two hours <?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" /><v:shapetype id=_x0000_t75 stroked="f" filled="f" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" o:preferrelative="t" o:spt="75" coordsize="21600,21600"><v:stroke joinstyle="miter"></v:stroke><v:formulas><v:f eqn="if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 1 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum 0 0 @1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @2 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 0 1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @6 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @8 21600 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @10 21600 0"></v:f></v:formulas><v:path o:connecttype="rect" gradientshapeok="t" o:extrusionok="f"></v:path><?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:lock aspectratio="t" v:ext="edit"></o:lock></v:shapetype><v:shape id=_x0000_i1025 style="WIDTH: 15pt; HEIGHT: 15pt" alt="ohmy.gif" type="#_x0000_t75"><v:imagedata o:href="http://www.dogpages.org.uk/forums/style_emoticons/default/ohmy.gif" src="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\Debs\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtml1\01\clip_im age001.gif"></v:imagedata></v:shape>and keeping warm at all times. He did well, really well. Gained weight well and took straight to the bottle.
But, we got to 2 weeks old and he became poorly. Diarrhoea and pain, straight to the vets for worming and investigation. He was terribly worm bound (this would be because mother wasn't wormed for through pregnancy). I didn't think he would pull through, his little system was being poisoned from the worms and then when we wormed him all the toxins became higher as the worms died.
He went back down to hourly feeds and higher dependency care.
Thanks to my brilliant vets and lots of chamomile and fennel tea (to settle the tummy, ease the pain and calm him) plus tube feeding he pulled through.
I kept him here in my care the whole time as I didn't want to stress him more by leaving all he knew, taking him to the vets each day he was poorly for blood sugar tests (to ensure he was absorbing meals) and fluids under the skin.
They spent an hour each day with him and me doing all this for him and I'm very grateful to them.
After a few days I was able to put him back on the bottle, he doubled his weight and began to thrive again. Huzzah!
He began to grow as normal.
But, his little ears and eyes stayed shut. Took him back, me and vet concurred that due to illness he was probably just catching up.
Unfortunately it became clear something was up when they still hadn't opened at 18 days.
His eyes opened at 22 days, very late. They are also very dark in colour and not the bright blue that they should be. This indicates that something is wrong.
Sooooooooo back to the vets, and more tests. His eyes are very,very cloudy and aren't responding to stimulus as they should be.
My vet said it is too early to test and investigate as she would like too, also it is too difficult for her to diagnose a condition but did say what ever it is it's congenital and can't be treated.
She recommended to continue caring for him as we are, to prepare for him having no vision and referring to a specialist when he is bigger (around 4 months) and his eyes are more developed (so easier to see).
To me, I can see there is clearly something not right, out of all the ones I have reared I have never seen eyes like it. The way they opened, the colour and the limited activity with regards to the retraction and dilation of the pupil they are also incredibly cloudy.
I do feel it's a possibility he can see light and dark, I am hoping he will continue to develop in this area. Because he is so young it is so hard to tell but they definitely aren't right at the moment.
So it is just a case of observation, caring for him as if he is blind and doing exercises with bright,attractive,sparkly things to try to exercise them.
There is nothing to "fix" so to say, there has been no infection or anything like that, they were like this on birth. So there isn't anything we can do at the moment.
His ears were very late opening, although we did fear he was deaf it's clear that they are getting better and better and he can hear loud noises, I'm hoping that he will have normal hearing.....just because they continue to improve as time goes on <v:shape id=_x0000_i1026 style="WIDTH: 15pt; HEIGHT: 15pt" alt="smile.gif" type="#_x0000_t75"><v:imagedata o:href="http://www.dogpages.org.uk/forums/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif" src="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\Debs\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtml1\01\clip_im age002.gif"></v:imagedata></v:shape>
He will need someone understanding of the breed, and experienced in partially sighted/blind dogs.
He is learning all I can teach him here, as his mother would. He is learning about consequences to actions, bite inhibition and general manners. All these things I have studied for a long time and can put into practice but can't write down how I do it because it's just too complicated. So I am confident his hand rearing will not have a negative effect on his personality.
(My hand rears have all grown up beautifully)
He is growing into a wonderful little dog, he is gorgeously cute, a very quick learner and just so lovely.
The first pic is Gentle when he came to Kat, and the second one is now, at 5 weeks.