Pearl

Pearl

4 months: 8 lbs

4 months

4 months

4 months

4 months

4 months

4 months

Pearl

Pearl

9 week weight: 3lbs 7 oz

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

snuggles

9 weeks

9 weeks

Hanging with the big girls

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

Zoomies!

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

waiting for breakfast

9 weeks

9 weeks

7 weeks weighs 1 lb 10 oz

7 weeks weighs 1 lb 10 oz

this little itty bitty has a great

this little itty bitty has a great

personality! She is sweet and cuddly and full of spunk.

as she is able to start eating

as she is able to start eating

dry kibble she will start putting on weight.

her weight is very normal for a

her weight is very normal for a

cleft pallet puppy.

If she continues to grow and gets stronger

If she continues to grow and gets stronger

and able to eat on her own. She has a great chance of becoming a wonderful therapy dog.

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Pearl

Pearl

Week 6 weight: 1lb 6 oz

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Pearl

Pearl

Week 5 weight: 1lb 1oz

5 weeks

5 weeks

exploring the rock

5 weeks

5 weeks

Everyone always wants to hold Pearl

5 weeks

5 weeks

5 weeks

5 weeks

The big dogs love to be near her

Pearl

Pearl

Week 4 weight: 1lb 1oz

Week 4

Week 4

She is so brave for being so tiny

Week 4

Week 4

Hold still silly Pearl

Week 4

Week 4

She searches for a finger to suck on

Week 4

Week 4

Her favorite pacifier is my finger

Week 4

Week 4

She likes to explore

Week 4

Week 4

She is always on the move

Pearl

Pearl

3 week weight: 14.3 oz

3 weeks

3 weeks

Pearl

Pearl

Two week weight: 11.2 oz

2 weeks

2 weeks

2 weeks

2 weeks

2 weeks

2 weeks

she is a lover

2 weeks

2 weeks

Pearl

Pearl

Week one weight: 7.6 oz Cleft palate puppies gain weight VERY slowly.

Pearl

Pearl

Birth Weight: 7.2 oz Pearl was born with a cleft palate, see more info below.

Pearl: Cleft Palate Puppy

Pearl is a special needs puppy. She was born with a cleft palate which is a congenital defect where the roof of the mouth does not close properly during development and leaves a hole between the mouth and the nasal passages. This causes it to be impossible for the puppy to nurse. Her cleft palate involves both the soft and hard palate and may require surgery when she is older. We want Pearl to have a chance at a good life and so we are doing everything in our power to save her. Frequently puppies born with a cleft palate are euthanized as soon as the defect is detected. I have done extensive research and have found that if the puppy can survive until it is big enough to have the surgery, there is a good likelihood of living a happy and long life. That said, getting to the surgery is very challenging and filled with lots of risk. There are actually a higher percentage of cleft doggies that never had the surgery and are doing great. (Here is a site that recommends no surgery http://hennwood.tripod.com/cleft_pup_info.htm). Depending on which vet you talk to, the mortality rate of puppies with cleft palate is very high until they are big enough for solid foods (75% and higher risk of death). Puppies with cleft palates are at huge risk of dehydration, starvation, aspiration and pneumonia. In order to decrease these risks as much as possible, I have been working with cleft palate puppy groups to learn the best way to help Pearl. She was tube fed every 2-3 hours around the clock until she was about 4 weeks old when we switched to a specialty bottle and nipple. She will need a family that is capable of caring for a special needs puppy. One of the good things I found is that there is puppy health insurance that will cover congenital defects including cleft palate and the surgeries involved. We love little Pearl and are working diligently to help her survive and thrive. From every support group I have joined, these cleft palate puppies make the BEST dogs and have a deeper love for people than a regular dog. They make excellent therapy dogs and give unlimited amounts of love. Pearl is definitely worth all of the loss of sleep and countless hours we put into her survival. She now is able to live life with hardly any modifications. Her adoption (will be far different than the other puppies. If you are interested in Pearl, please submit an application and paragraph about why Pearl will be a good fit for your family.

Challenges of a cleft palate dog:

  • The surgery has a low level of success because the puppy will tongue the incision.

  • Without the surgery, the dog can only eat hard dog food and drink plain water.

  • Soft foods, table foods and soft chewy treats can get stuck in the cleft.

  • The dog is at a higher risk of sinus infections.

  • The dog won't have a normal sounding bark.

Benefits of a cleft palate dog:

  • Unlimited love

  • Quieter bark

  • Completely dedicated dog

Week 9 update:

Pearl has mastered solid foods and drinking water from a bowl and from a rabbit bottle. She has not needed supplemental milk for weeks. She hasn't been on antibiotics for weeks. She does occasionally get water or spit in her nose and will sneeze it out. She is working on crate training and potty training. She was in her own puppy area with a potty zone and a crate that was always open, but now that she is bigger, she is going outside to potty. She loves to run, pounce, cuddle, give kisses, watch movies while snuggling, play with toys and chase the big dogs. She has so much energy and love for life. She is finally ready to go to her forever home. 

Week six update on Pearl:

Pearl is more and more playful and she definitely thinks she is the biggest and toughest of the puppies. She makes us laugh daily. She is doing much better at eating solid foods and is eating on her own now, but she still gets some bottle time throughout the day to keep her well hydrated and to keep the calories count high. 

Week five update on Pearl:

What a tough tiny puppy Pearl is becoming. She loves to play with her siblings even though they are about 4 times her size. She likes to run underneath them and chew on their feet. She has started solid food. She is on kitten food because it is so much smaller and easier for her to eat. She likes to spit her food out and make us a little crazy when we feed her. She still bottle feeds frequently throughout the day, but she only eats once at night. The solid food keeps her much more satisfied overnight. She is still small, but growing and developing. She did get a sinus infection and ended up going in for a shot of antibiotics. The shot worked perfectly and the infection was cleared up within two days. Witht he sinus infection, she had a hard time eating because of her stuffy nose and she lost weight, but she has since regained the lost weight. She has so much energy and was able to go outside and play with her littermates for the first time this week.

Week four update on Pearl:

Pearl now prefers to bottle feed with her specialty bottle and will eat up to 30mls at a time. Afterwards her belly is so round and she passes out almost immediately. She likes to walk underneath her littermates to get around the puppy area. They are so used to her that they will lift a leg up to get out of her way. Captain plays the most with Pearl and is surprisingly gentle with her considering how much rougher he plays with everyone else. She is still tiny, but she is growing steadily. She has the most tiny teeth out of the litter. She has not started solid foods yet because her teeth are still coming in and dry food is still too hard for her. Because of her cleft palate, puppy mush is dangerous for her her eat because of the risk of aspiration. Hopefully next week she will be able to try solid foods. After she eats (when she nudges the bottle away), she searches for my finger to suck on like a pacifier as she falls asleep. She is getting to be a very brave and spunky puppy.

Week three update on Pearl: 

Pearl is growing quickly and is more active and feisty every day. She did have a pneumonia scare, but we caught it early and we were able to get her treated with antibiotics. She is tough and her ability to push around her much larger siblings amazes me. It looks like her cleft is smaller than when she was born. Hopefully it continues to shrink. She loves to eat and suck on my finger. She is so easy to love. 

Week two update on Pearl:

This was a stressful week. She had a major aspiration incident and I thought we were going to lose her. After she aspirated, she was having a lot of struggles breathing and was starting to turn gray. I did a significant amount of percussive therapy and suctioning and spent time in a warm oxygen box and was able to improve greatly. She is on antibiotics to ward of a possible pneumonia from the aspiration. She is doing great now and continues to gain weight. Tube fed and for that matter bottle fed puppies are much smaller than their littermates, so Pearl is about half the size of the rest of the puppies. With time, she will catch up with them in size. Even though she is small, she pushes them around to get to the best spots in the puppy pile. She is a fighter. 

Week one update on Pearl:

What a first week. She started to not tolerate her formula (special for dogs) and was spitting up frequently which increases her risk for pneumonia greatly. I started milking Flora to see if she would tolerate her mother's milk better than the formula (Yes, milking a dog is weird) and Pearl is doing much better with her mother's milk. She is gaining faster. Hopefully this will make the difference so that she can start to catch up with her siblings. Caring for her is very labor intensive at this time. It will get easier when she is able to eat solid foods, but until then, milking Flora and then tube feeding Pearl continues every 2-3 hours. 

Previous Weekly Updates for the litter:

Week Five:

The puppies are continuing to grow and learn every day. They are really enjoying their enlarged puppy area and have a small puppy area to play area ratio. They are starting to crate train a few hours at a time. They absolutely love to play outside and like to chase after the big dogs. Each puppy is really starting to develop their own traits and personality. One of the biggest perks to raising puppies is puppy cuddle time! 

Week Four:

This week was full of firsts. First nail trim, first solid food (puppy mush), first time outside, first snow, first meeting dogs besides Flora, first hair trim (by their eyes so they can see easier. They are very consistent with pooing in the potty area and are getting better and peeing in the potty area. They love to play until they pass out. They are getting cuter and funnier by the day!

Week Three: 

The puppies have grown up so much in the past week. They are learning to use the potty area in their puppy zone. They are playing more each day. They like to cuddle and are learning they have voices. Their tiny barks are so adorable! They are learning to play with toys and with each other. They are so pudgy and perfect. 

Week Two:

All of the puppies have their eyes opened and are starting to get up onto all fours to walk around. Just like toddlers, they fall over easy and they are so pudgy that they roll a lot. They have moved into their new puppy area as they have outgrown their birthing pool. They are getting more fun every day. We have started introducing them to new objects and they get more cuddle time every day.

Week One:

The puppies had their dew claws removed and did great. They spend all of their time nursing and sleeping. We are working on early neurological stimulation (ENS) and early scent training with the puppies. For more info about how these help the puppies become the best dogs, see this link. Flora is so good with her puppies!

Birth: Flora birthed her beautiful puppies on October 28th. She had 8 girls and 2 boys. Flora is an excellent first time mom. She loves to be with her puppies and races to get back to her litter after she potties. These puppies are so loved. They have been in to see the vet and to get their dew claws removed. All, except for one, are doing great. We had a puppy born with a cleft palate, see more below about Pearl and what we are doing for her.