Two Days After Found in Park, Tiny Dying Puppy Brought to Shelter

On March 1, 2016, a dying puppy was brought to the San Jose Animal Care Center. The female puppy – weighing only 0.5 pounds! – was found in a park two days earlier, and the person who found her had tried to care for the puppy by feeding her milk. However, the puppy’s condition deteriorated, which led the individual to bring the dying puppy to the shelter.

Two Days After Found in Park, Tiny Dying Puppy Brought to Shelter

When the puppy arrived at the shelter’s veterinary clinic, she was cold to the touch, her gums were pale to gray in color, and she was barely responsive. The puppy was at risk of dying at any moment. The veterinary team was told that the shelter would urgently look for a rescue to take the puppy, but that it could take hours to find one. The veterinary team wasn’t confident that the puppy would survive 30 minutes, much less hours.

The puppy was hypothermic (low body temperature), hypoglycemic (low blood sugar levels) and dehydrated. Unfortunately, puppies and kittens are not able to self-regulate their body temperature and their blood sugar levels very well. Normally, this period of time coincides with the time they are being cared for by their mothers and have regular access to their mother’s warm body to keep them warm as well as their mother’s milk for frequent feedings. Without the warmth and frequent feedings, puppies and kittens will die.

The veterinary team immediately started caring for the puppy. She was given heat support, and the team prepared to place a catheter. Given how tiny the puppy was, the chances of being able to place an intravenous catheter was low, so we opted for an intraosseous catheter – something our team had never done before. Intraosseous catheters are placed into a bone rather than into a vein, and they can be used to administer fluids and life-saving medications, similar to catheters that are placed in veins.

We did not have the medical supplies specifically for intraosseous catheters, so we used a spinal needle as a catheter. Spinal needles are typically used to administer epidurals, but since they are long and hollow needles, they would suffice in this emergency. The area over the puppy’s left hip was shaved, a local anesthetic was injected into the area, and the skin was scrubbed as if prepping for surgery. The needle was placed into the femur, and it was determined to be in the correct position.

Two Days After Found in Park, Tiny Dying Puppy Brought to Shelter

Intraosseous catheter in place alongside illustration of the procedure.

Next, the puppy received a bolus of fluids with life-saving sugars that would help combat the hypoglycemia she had developed. She was then maintained on a constant drip of fluids that contained sugar through her catheter.

Two Days After Found in Park, Tiny Dying Puppy Brought to Shelter

The puppy was also syringe-fed. At first, she was barely swallowing or recognizing that food was in her mouth. After her body temperature increased back to normal levels, and after her fluids and sugars began having an effect, she started to more actively swallow and also became more responsive.

Two Days After Found in Park, Tiny Dying Puppy Brought to Shelter

Check out this heartwarming video of the little puppy being syringe fed and then falling asleep:

After a few big meals, the puppy took a nice, relaxing nap.

Two Days After Found in Park, Tiny Dying Puppy Brought to Shelter

After hours of care from the San Jose Animal Care Center’s veterinary team, the puppy was picked up by a veterinary nurse who is fostering her for Fred’s Friends. She has been named Lily and is continuing to do very well!

In this particular case, the person who found the puppy may have had good intentions to help her. However, the puppy simply needed more care than the person knew to provide, and consequently, the puppy’s condition deteriorated over time.

Sometimes good intentions can be more harmful than you would expect. Many people who find kittens or puppies assume that they are orphaned instead of waiting to see whether their mother comes back to them. The babies will do best in their mother’s care, so removing them from their environment before you are sure their mother is not coming back could hinder their chances of surviving. If you are convinced that mother is not returning to her babies and you are not well-versed in caring for orphaned kittens or puppies, please take them to your local veterinarian immediately for guidance.

For more information on caring for orphaned kittens, please visit the following links:

Link 1:

Link 2:

Link 3:

Link 4:

UPDATE 3/16/16:

Lily’s doing fabulously! Healthy and happy! 🙂

UPDATE 5/13/16:

Lily’s foster mom decided to adopt Lily!

26 thoughts on “Two Days After Found in Park, Tiny Dying Puppy Brought to Shelter

  1. I was there when she was brought in and talked to the rp outside and inside the shelter.
    She left her contact info as she wanted to adopt Lily if she pulled thru. She really wanted to bring her in Sunday but thought you were closed..She did try her best with a pup so young..Fred’s Friends did not get her contact info. Can you find it and give it to them? I feel really bad as I told rp they would contact her…..Thanks
    ps: she had fallen in love with her……
    I am a foster for HSSV and have picked up/and or transported/fostered many, many kittens from SJAS Marsha Benson

    1. Hey Marsha. Good for you guys, all of you. I”m picking up yet another litter of kittens in the morning — we’re looking for transport now. They are at United Vet and their tech is overnighting them. How funny to be talking to a friend and sister rescuer here. 🙂

  2. Is there a place in flint, michigan i can take some outside cats too, everybody i call says they are full and can’t take them, they are growning up and most of them come to me now, there are 9 cats and they are so precious and i don’t know what to do with them-i love them all but their only gonna keep multiplying and it cost more money, i have 2 dogs and 1 cat of my own.iam stuck between a rock and a hard place and don’t know what to do with them, my boyfriend says something has to be done with them or we’re gonna have more and more, poor kittys- love them all so much but its to much for me, i always have to get more food and sometimes i don’t have the money-its just sad, what do i do????? I REALLY NEED HELP FOR THEM LIKE YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!

    1. Rosalie Wagner,
      Did you try Paws? Or try contacting the USHS and asking them for a contact who can help you to at least get them all spayed, nuetered and shots. Hope you can find some help!

      PAWS Animal Rescue
      P.O. Box 87
      Swartz Creek, Michigan 48473

      Voice mail
      (810) 635-9649
      (Calls returned in 24-48 hours)

      or use the form below

  3. Lily is so cute and its good to hear a story about a animal getting saved when most of what we hear now days is an animal getting hurt or abused in some way who ever left that little puppy should be found and charged

    1. It is possible the mother dog gave birth to the puppy in the park or was moving her puppies to a safer nest. My sister fed a stray cat and gave her a bed in her closet, then found out she had babies in the neighbor’s garage! Mama cat avoided their dog and moved her newly born kittens over one by one to our house.

  4. Thank you for making EVERY life matter. 🙂
    It sucks that there are so many that DONT!! :(….

  5. Lily is beautiful! I am so happy there are such good people that help the animals, thank you! I have rescued pigs, dogs, ferrets, hedgehogs, lizards, rats and fish. I feel it is why God put me here. It hurts horribly to lose them but I know we will meet at the rainbow bridge one day. My heart hurts to see anything mistreated (except murderers and pedophiles ).! Keep up the good work!

    1. I do the same thing and also cringe when I see animals being abused. I wish I had money to save them all. Nice to see the lucky ones who are rescued. God bless all the great caretakers of these innocent little creatures.

  6. Lily is so beautiful. Blessings on all who gave her such great care from rescuers to the vet team.

  7. What a wonderful team you are. Lily is meant to be on this earth. She is such an adorable puppy. It was interesting to see her respond to the food in the syringe so quickly by licking her lips and the syringe. Well done to your recovery team. Thankyou to her rescuers – although she didn’t respond to you care you sought professional help just in time to save this darling little puppy.

  8. Love Happy Ending stories. That is one adorable little dog. So glad you were there to give her the medical care she needed and so happy to hear her foster mom adopted her.

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