Cindy Buckingham is a great friend, fellow foster, our volunteer coordinator and so much more. I shared a story about another of her foster experiences, A Lucky Little Life, a few years ago. This is her story that follows is Cindy’s telling of a recent experience that she just had to share and I just am so happy to share here in my blog. Thank you Cindy for all that you are doing to change the lives of animals in need.
Now Is Not a Good Time – The Story of Cammie
By Cindy Buckingham
It was the first week of Camp Ruffin’ It 2015 and one of the busiest weeks for me – ever. As camp adjourned on this particular day the shelter transport van pulled onto the lot. The doors were opened and staff proceeded to unload a van full of animals that had been taken from a home. Wow, I had to get out of there and get ready for the next day of camp.
Before I could get to my car, Debbie Hines approached me with an extremely pregnant chihuahua and asked if I could foster her. A thousand excuses – well maybe not a thousand, but close, ran through my head. I could absolutely not foster a pregnant dog during camp. Now was not a good time. As I looked up and saw everyone rushing to make sure the animals coming off the van were being taken care of and made comfortable, yes popped out of my mouth.
I had never seen a mother dog give birth and I had never fostered newborn puppies and this was one of the busiest weeks for me – ever. All the way home I just kept thinking I can’t believe I said I would take this dog.
Cammie turned out to be the sweetest dog.
So pregnant she had lay on her side and just waddled around, but happy to be warm and cozy in our guest bathroom. The next day at camp I was able to show the kids pictures of her, a great illustration of our spay/neuter education for camp.
Lee took his place sleeping on the floor outside the bathroom and we waited. Cammie proceeded to have her puppies a few days later, just as we were sitting down to have a family dinner. One again, not a good time. I ate dinner with my family and Lee ate his in the bathroom watching Cammie. As luck would have it, this birth was not going by the book. After a frantic call to Michelle Earl, we were instructed to take her to the emergency vet. She ended up having 9 puppies at the vet. She weighed 11 pounds after the birth – too many puppies for this little dog.
Now the fun part. They had to be bottle fed. Cammie’s milk was not enough for all the puppies and she was very weak. At this point all I was waiting for was someone to say they didn’t think we could handle this and take them all.
Sleepless nights and worry. I finally realized the only way I would ever sleep again was to get support from Carrie. She made a house call and assured me that we were doing everything correctly and that Lee did not need to sleep outside the bathroom on the floor – that did not change. All 9 puppies thrived and eventually Cammie was able to feed them all and we just supplemented the small ones. Carrie had warned that it would be perfectly normal for not all of them to survive, but they did!!!
Four weeks later at the July Session of camp I was able to once again use pictures of pregnant Cammie and now the puppies to educate the importance of spay/neuter.
After nine weeks Cammie and her adorable pups were loaded on the rescue van and whisked away to find their forever homes.
What I thought was not a good time turned out to be a fine time. I learned I don’t need as much sleep as I thought and most important it felt really rewarding to step outside of my comfort zone and now be able to foster puppies when needed. My hope for 2016 is that more volunteers step out of their comfort zone and allow themselves to realize the joys of fostering. It’s a good time!!!