My sister and her family in the North Atlanta area have wanted a dog for a long time now. Around 6 months ago they adopted a sweet Lab cross puppy from a rescue shelter, brought her home, fell in love and within 24 hours had to watch her get seriously ill. Turns out she had a parvovirus infection, which is quite preventable with a simple puppy vaccine. Not only did they lose the puppy, but their yard was declared infectious because of her brief presence there, and they were quarantined from getting another puppy for 6 months.
This last Saturday they went back to the rescue shelter, their 6 months being over, to look at a litter of 12-week-old Lab cross puppies. Of course nobody just "looks" at puppies; if you look, you know you're going home with one. In this case they went home with two, a brother and a sister whom they named Sullivan and Abby. Abby had already had parvovirus and survived; Sullivan had been immunized.
Abby and Sullivan settled in nicely and yesterday went to the vet to be spayed and neutered respectively. Little Abby never awoke from the anesthesia. Her heart had been weakened by her battle with parvo and was not strong enough to survive the stress of a general anesthetic and surgery.
So parvo has now claimed the lives of two puppies from my sister's family's house in less than a year. It breaks my little nephew's heart to attach to a puppy and then lose it so abruptly - not once, but twice.
As my sister put it, she sees neglected dogs all over the place, tied out in yards unattended, living in filth without shelter, ignored, flea-infested, stricken with heartworm. She, her husband and her son are trying so hard to take good care of a dog or two, yet their puppies still suffer from previous neglect. It just isn't fair.
Please, folks, if you allow your bitch to have pups, have the puppies cared for by a vet. Yes it is expensive. Yes it is easier not to bother. But if you allow your dog to reproduce, this is a responsibility that goes along with it. Imagine a little child down the road somewhere who will love one of those puppies. Please don't break his or her heart.