Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2012. We are republishing it for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
Written by Ed Kostro of Illinois
It was the day after the Fourth of July, a day that is always traumatic for so many of America’s pets, and a day that is always extremely busy for animal shelter personnel and pet rescuers. Despite all of the pleas and the warnings for people to keep their pets safe and secure on the Fourth, hundreds of terrified pets run off each and every year and become lost and panic stricken during our nation’s numerous fireworks celebrations. And so very sadly, many of them never find their way home again.
This past Independence Day was no exception. After helping to round up several terrified dogs in our neighborhood, I received a phone call asking me if I could pick up a frightened Pit Bull being held at a police station and then return him to his owner. On my way out the door to fetch him, I soon spotted a small brown blur racing down a street near my home, and I immediately gave chase.
I quickly discovered that this canine was a tiny Chihuahua that looked extremely terrified as she desperately raced all around our neighborhood in search of some kind of shelter. When she spotted me chasing her, her panic only increased, and she quickly hid behind a garbage can in an alley.
I quickly grabbed a discarded cardboard box from a nearby trash can and I managed to push her into it without getting bitten – she was snapping at me in utter terror now, and shaking uncontrollably.
When we finally reached the safety of my backyard, I opened the box and she immediately scurried under an evergreen bush, still extremely traumatized. She was also extremely thirsty. When I placed some food and water near the bush, she raced out, gulped the water down and quickly raced back to cover.
A Sudden Transformation
This terrified little runaway stayed under that bush in my yard for the next three days, and she would cringe and shake in absolute terror whenever I attempted to pet her. It took a few more days before she finally calmed down enough to let me touch her. But once this happened, she became a completely different dog. Now, she wanted to be constantly held and comforted after her lengthy and terrifying Fourth of July ordeal.
When I finally got the chance to examine her, I discovered the deep rope burns around her neck. I immediately decided that she had been tied up outside somewhere during all the fireworks, and that she had frantically freed herself and bolted off into the night.
The next morning when I took her to the vet, I got quite a surprise. “This little girl is pregnant! I’d say she’s due in about a month!”
So I brought her back home, and I now spent the next several days attempting to find her owner – she had no collar, no tags, no microchip, and apparently, no one was looking for her. My wife soon named her ‘Lupita’ and she quickly became a member of our ever expanding animal orphan household. Lupita also now insisted on sleeping on my chest every night. About four weeks later, I became her birthing assistant.
Here Come the Pupppies
She woke me at 5 :00 that morning, nervously pacing and panting all about the house. At 5:30 A.M., she gave birth to her first tiny pup. I soon discovered that she couldn’t bite off the umbilical cord – so I helped her with that.
An hour later, she delivered her second child, and I cut this one’s umbilical cord, too. It took another long hour for the next one to arrive, and so very sadly, her third little one was still-born. Little Lupita and I were both extremely sad now, and I thought that her difficult delivery was finally over.
An hour later, she surprised my wife and I with her fourth and final offspring, and my spouse did the honors with this puppy’s umbilical cord.
Little Lupita turned out to be an excellent canine mother, and my spouse and I soon fell in love with her three adorable pups, too.
I buried her still-born baby under the cherry tree in our backyard that morning, and these days I often find Lupita sprawled out there in the grass next to its grave. Whenever we watch television, little Lupita insists on curling up on one of our laps. And each and every night, she crawls into our bed and dives under the covers.
Lupita is an extremely happy, healthy and affectionate little dog these days, but she still becomes extremely panic stricken whenever there’s a thunderstorm, and whenever she hears any kind of fireworks. I doubt that she’ll ever lose this fear of loud noises, but I can’t say that I blame her after the terrifying nightmare she went through.
Please safeguard your own pets this coming Fourth of July.