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Gnarla's Story

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You would think that working as a Shire Ranger, not much would shock you when it comes to ill treatment of man's best friend... but this is just sad.

I was called to a house that was being cleaned out after the occupants left. Seems their relationship had broken down and they went their separate ways, leaving her family to empty and clean the rented property. The caller said there was a dog and puppies and some dead puppies in the back yard and neither of the previous tennants wanted the dog. When I arrived I found an emaciated mastiff cross girl about 2 years old defending some barely squirming puppies in a makeshift wooden kennel in the backyard. There was evidence that they had tried to feed mumma dog with two minute noodles and uncooked fish fingers - doubtless what was left in the fridge as they cleaned it out. There was probably no dog food in the house.

(Please note photos of kennel were taken the day after mum and pups were removed, as all I could think about was getting them out of there!!)


The kennel had a mostly dirt floor and two filthy rags for bedding. Using a catch pole I gently coaxed out mum and led her to the vehicle. She walked OK once she got going but she was obviously very distressed. It was only when I returned to the kennel for the puppies that the full extent of the horror came over me.


There were 6 squirming pups in the dirt and flies with the smell of rotting flesh very evident all around. The bedding was stained and there were obvious dead pups amongst the debris. I climbed inside and began to pull out the live pups and crate them up for the trip to the pound. They looked to be about 2 days old. Once these were removed I began to remove the smelly rotten bedding and the dead pups were amongst the dirt and rags. I counted 5 more here and there was another dead one some distance from the kennel and the people told me that the other dog had been eating some of the dead ones and that there had been 16 in all!!! Maggots were evident on the bodies of the dead pups and afterbirth and umbilicus clung to the smallest ones - hopefully these had been born dead.

Once they were loaded in the vehicle I called by my house to pick up some clean bedding for the little family and took them to our pound where I knew they would be clean and on a heated floor.

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At the pound I made mum, who I now knew to be named "Gnarla" and bubs as comfortable as I could and put out bowls of food and settled her down in a nice warm, clean bed. I know you will groan at my taking her to the pound but I am already caring for other small dogs at home and was not sure how I would accommodate a large - defensive mother dog and her brood. After a couple of hours I returned to check how they were getting on and mum was feeding the puppies and seemed to have plenty of milk but something was wrong. She was very flat and shaking and had not eaten any of the food and I knew she really needed something in her tummy. I called our local vet. The wonderful staff at Mivet Narrandera decided they needed to see her for themselves and actually called out to the pound to check on Gnarla and the pups. Gnarla was obviously ill with a temperature of 40.4 degrees and no body condition and dehydration as well. They treated her with a needle to help her pass any remaining material, a calcium and glucose bolus and an antibiotic injection. Gnarla rallied a little and ate all the wet food in the bowl in the next hour or so. By my next visit Gnarla had passed a lot of really gross material and was still heroically feeding her little pups. She was still very ill and I called the vet once again. we gave her the rest of the fluids subcut and a another dose of AB's and cleaned up the pen and put out more food. I'm no expert but I knew she was still not 100%. I checked in on her many times during the day and just after lunch time I found she had thrown up everything she had eaten and was not feeding the pups. The pups were squirming through the vomit and were spread out over the whole pen at the pound and I was in a state of panic. I called the vet and they said she may need surgery to remove her uterus and whatever was causing the problems. In the meantime I had another urgent call to dogs attacking goats and had to rush away. As soon as I could though I called the vet and asked them if they could still fit her in. They said to bring her down straight away. When I loaded her and the pups I noticed that the smallest pup had not survived, thus leaving only five. The worrying thing was that the surgery was going to cost up to $1000!!! While Gnarla was at the vet I took the puppies home and washed them off and offered each one some formula. Most drank well and after toileting them they snuggled up to a warm wheat bag oblivious to the fight for life that their mum was going through at that very moment.

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Gnarla was in a lot of trouble. By the time I went down to the vet she was still on the table with her enlarged uterus exposed. It was still full of gunk and was starting to infect her system. The only good news was that it hadn't ruptured and there appeared to be no material in her abdomen. The vet finished the surgery and closed the incision, and we waited for Gnarla to come around. She got more AB's and pain relief intravenously but she was very slow waking up.


She had no body fat at all and not a lot of strength left.


Once she was beginning to come around we carried her out to the car and I brought her home. I just had to fit her in. The pound was no place for this little family. My wonderful hubby made up a pen and bed in the garage and the vet lent me a gel heat pad to help keep her warm. We cover the pen with blankets and blocked off any connection to the other dogs in care in the yard (three kelpie pups and one staffy x kelpie from a house fire; and two jack russells) and made her comfortable for the night. I left a small serve of wet food for her but she was still recovering from the anesthetic so I kept the pups inside for another feed before reuniting them with their mum. She did not react to them but they soon snuggled up to her on the heat pad and we left them to sleep and recover.

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This morning I went down early to check how they were doing and mum was sitting up and cleaning the pups bums as they suckled peacefully. She even managed to come outside briefly to go to the toilet.


She hadn't eaten anything though and my concern is whether or not the pups were getting enough nutrition. They were sleeping ok though so will check again tomorrow. This evening my hubby managed to get her to eat some steak and her Antibiotic tablet so we'll wait until tomorrow before we deside to sup feed the pups if necessary. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers and if you can help with the huge vet bill we are facing or have any suggestions that would be good too. Please don't judge me - I am doing my best and its really all about Gnarla and her pups not what I "should" have done!! I'll update this thread tomorrow.

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Oh Gnarla you are an awesome girl :heart: .... so glad you rescued them when you did Cheryl...we are all crossing our paws for a speedy and safe recovery for Gnarla and her pups. :kissbetter: Thanks for sharing Cheryl!!! :angel:

xo Lea xo

Edited by BelleBeau
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:cry: oh dear how tragic, thank dog for you

Can I donate towards Gnarla's vet bill? I would be more than happy to help a little

Yes thank you 'Hollys mummy' Donations can be made to RADAR I will pm you bank details. Please use "Gnarla" as the reference.

Your help will be most appreciated. :thumbsup:

Woops - couldn;t pm so will risk it here

Donations can be made to RADAR's account at St george Bank

BSB 112-879 Acc 473359638. "Gnarla" Thank you so much!


Edited by chezal58
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Sunday morning and gnarla seems a bit brighter, although still too weak to stand for long, she made it outside - well hubby carried her actually, to pee and then ate a little of the cooked lamb we offered. She took her ab's like a champ and ate the nutrigel paste. Today I will definitely sup feed the pups as she is just to weak to even produce milk.

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Who could resist this beautiful but sad and tragic face!

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Such a moving story. :thumbsup: RADAR and Chezal

It is Mother's Day and I have just transferred some money to your account in memory of my dear darling mother who always found room in our home for any stray animal in need and I know she would want to help this poor dog.

Edited by nawnim
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What a wonderful job you and hubby have done :thumbsup:

She is safe now, and hopefully the rest of her life will be as it shoud always have been. well done, i don't know how you do it, i would have cried rivers.

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I am crying now after reading your wonderful comments and learning of your kind donations. I have fed the pups and will do so again. Gnarla is not wanting to feed them at all and is lying on her nipples, but Lea and I have cleaned her pen and she is now on a heated bed with her babies. Lea even coaxed her to eat and drink a little bit!! Pups are definitely not getting much from her and she has little to give. I just wish she would eat and get better. Thank you so very much for your kind words and donations that have touched my heart and made me cry! Will see how she goes next feed

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